In little more than a couple of months, dozens of people – most of them cable-news pundits, D.C. media elites and a number of A-list bloggers – have become experts on the legal record (or lack thereof) of Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan.
And if not that, then we’ve got a peanut gallery’s worth speculating about her sexual orientation.
Well, everything I ever needed to know about Kagan I learned by skimming headlines on Google News.
All I need to see now is a birth certificate:
Jim Phipps points out that back when Arlen Specter was the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary committee, he voted against Kagan when she was nominated for solicitor general. Now that he’s a Democrat, he may have a tough pivot to supporting her now. (G.D.)
If the oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon accident continues its march into Louisiana’s already fragile wetlands, Brentin Mock says “the cost of damages from geographic and animal loss alone could be way out of reach for BP or the federal government.” Also, we’ve got pictures of the spill here and here. (Blackink)
President Obama spoke at the Institute’s commencement yesterday, and, showing his penchant for conciliation, said he would not take sides in the Battle of the Real H.U. “As one Hampton alum on my staff put it, the last time Howard beat Hampton, the Fugees were still together.” (G.D.)
TNC (sorta rightly) accuses Obama of faux-fogeyism during his faux-HU commencement address. (Shani-o)
Jonathan Chait says the conservative opposition to the deficit commission — with its goal of cutting spending and tax hikes to put the nation’s fiscal house in order — runs counter to their stated goal of reducing the size of government. “Conservatives ought to be ecstatic — they could achieve both an ideological goal (reducing the size of government by reducing spending) and a non-ideological goal (preventing the fiscal meltdown.)” But Republicans are opposed to tax increases, full stop, they aren’t likely to play ball. (G.D.)
Ms. Magazine says we should celebrate all caretakers, not just mothers. (Quadmoniker)
CJR had great coverage of the Huffington Post’s fifth birthday. (Quadmoniker)
Also, CJR reviews the posthumous autobiography of former New York Times editor Gerald Boyd, one of first black editors at the “Gray Lady” and victim of the Jayson Blair scandal. (Blackink)
If and when the U.S. finally loses the Drug War, we’ll probably mark the start of the defeat at this SWAT team raid in Columbia, Mo., in February. Fair warning: this link is not for the faint of heart. (Blackink)
A student at American University in D.C. recently identified two fellow students by name and identified them as rapists on Facebook. “I was aware of the dangers of that. I knew it was a bold move,” said Chloe Rubenstein. (Blackink)
The Quick and the Ed’s Kevin Carey watches College, Inc., a doc on for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, and remains deeply skeptical of them. But he wonders if the Obama administration’s push to regulate them shouldn’t be applied to traditional colleges as well. “Corporate higher education may be the fastest growing segment of the market, but it still educates a small minority of students and will for a long time to come. There are plenty of traditional colleges out there that are mainly in the business of preparing students for jobs, and that charge a lot of money for degrees of questionable value. What would happen if the gainful employment standard were applied to a mediocre private university that happily allows undergraduates to take out six-figure loans in exchange for a plain-vanilla Business B.A.? … Attacking corporate interests is good politics for a Democratic administration. Challenging the academy to do a better job of teaching students and helping them graduate is a much bigger lift. But that’s what will have to happen if the administration is serious about meeting its 2020 goal for college completion. The clock is ticking, and the easy targets are only going to last so long.” (G.D.)
You don’t have to know much about anthropology to know how big this study of the Neanderthal genome, and the possibility that non-African humans might share a small amount of genetic material with them, to know what a big deal this could be. #nerdysciencestuff (Quadmoniker)
Bing continues nibbling at the edges of Google’s cool: it’s currently offering a free iPhone app that has full versions of the top 100 songs for every year from 1947-2009. Yes, comparing 1947’s and 2009’s top songs is as depressing as it sounds. (Shani-o)
Dan Savage has called for support for the 20-year-old male escort who accompanied anti-gay minister and founder of the conservative Family Research Council George Rekers to Europe on a recent vacation. “… let’s demand that one of the big gay orgs—HRC, Lambda Legal, NCLR—steps up and provides Roman with the lawyer and the advisors he needs.” (Blackink)
There’s more to Hugh Hefner than boobies. There’s also Hollywood. (Blackink)
Good question from Rob Iracane: why is it that athletes of color are the only ones called out for displaying a “lack of hustle?” (Blackink)
Dave Zirin explains why Los Suns are winners beyond their stunning four-game sweep of the Spurs. “Maybe this will be the start of a new trend where teams see the unifying benefits of going out on a political limb and taking a stand.” (Blackink)
Chris Paul was more valuable than LeBron James? Hockey goalies are overpaid? Isiah Thomas wasn’t that bad of an NBA executive? A pair of economists assault conventional sports wisdom in their new book, “Stumbling on Wins.” (Blackink)
More later. Enjoy the week.