First up, Detroit. The New Yorker's Thomas Sugrue examines the tragic fate of Detroit's middle class and says that hacking away at pensions and other middle class support systems will have a tragic effect:
A few decades ago, Detroit barely survived the collapse of the auto industry. Bankruptcy poses just as pressing a crisis. The city will likely have no choice—short of the near-impossible prospect of a federal bailout—but to cut spending drastically, lay off workers, and axe pension and health benefits. But the cuts will exact a high price.The New York Times warns against using Detroit's bankruptcy as a mechanism to impose austerity that will backfire:
city officials should resist the idea of cutting the pension payments for the city’s public workers, which averages $19,000 a year. Unlike the situation in other troubled cities where government officials made lavish pension promises and workers gamed the system to inflate their benefits, Detroit’s are quite modest. Moreover, city employees have already had their pay and benefits reduced significantly in recent years. Slashing the meager fixed incomes of retirees will also hurt the city’s weak economy because they are more likely to spend most of the money they receive in local businesses. Labor unions also argue that Michigan’s Constitution protects their pensions from cuts, which will set up a potentially long legal battle that the city can ill afford.More analysis of the day's top stories below the fold.
There's lot of analysis out there about how to "raise a royal baby" or previews into the life that the new heir will live. Bloomberg's Zara Kessler says it's ok to indulge in some fleeting moment of excitement and happiness (and puts a moment of perspective into the story):
Yes, there are many other news stories -- an earthquake in China, Israeli-Palestinian talks and the Trayvon Martin fall-out are all featured on the Guardian's home page -- that deserve far more attention. There are also news stories that deserve far less. But few stories are so universally happy and stand to produce so many winners.Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal Constitution warns the GOP about Ted Cruz:
The British economy may cash in on what the New York Times dubbed a "Royal Baby Boomlet," as people buy souvenirs and celebratory alcohol. Other babies born today will be eligible for one of 2,013 silver coins from the Royal Mint. A thousand people passing through London's Heathrow airport will receive free swag. Niagara Falls, CN Tower in Toronto and various attractions in New Zealand will glow blue this evening
England has a new prince, one who may one day be king. More important, a family not blind to scrutiny and controversy and tragedy has a son, a grandson, a great-grandson.
So indulge your inner Royalist and take a few moments to celebrate. Odds are higher than 2:1 that the tensions in the Middle East will wait for you to put away your Union Jack.
For a quarter century now, the Republican Party has suppressed its own instincts, refusing to nominate candidates who dared to give full voice to the sentiments of its base, refusing to surrender to that temptation. The result has been a series of lackluster nominees -- Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, Romney -- that time and again left the party faithful disappointed in themselves for compromising.Michael Tomasky at Newsweek says a Cruz run would be a boon to Democrats:
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is their giant box of Godiva chocolates at a Weight Watchers convention, their open bottle of Jim Beam at an AA meeting. He's the bad boy tempting them to throw away all restraint, the one whispering in their ear all the things they want to hear and believe.
And if they succumb, he's going to leave them fat, drunk and pregnant.
Now let’s be clear. Cruz would lose. Clinton would destroy him. Oh, maybe we’ll have an economic meltdown in September 2016, and unemployment on Election Day will be 9 percent; or maybe someone will learn that Bill has been doing something extracurricular that shocks even longtime Bill-watchers. But barring those two circumstances, she’ll crush him like a grape. Remember where you read it: If 2016 pits Clinton against Cruz, the Democrats will carry Georgia. Yes, Georgia (last carried by her husband in 1992, but not 1996). Under normal conditions, Cruz can’t possibly top 165 electoral votes against her. Even against Martin O’Malley, his various paths lead to 235, 240.Meanwhile, on the FISA front, James Carr writes in The New York Times:
And this brings us to the interesting question my liberal pals and I have been discussing, more interesting than the question of Cruz’s chances of becoming president, which are near nil. From our point of view, would Cruz-as-nominee be a good or bad thing? The “good” case is much along the lines I laid out above, although it goes further: Yes, he’d be creamed; and then, after having lost three elections in a row, and the popular vote in seven out of the last eight, the Republicans would finally return to some measure of sanity. This is the Cruz-as-Robespierre theory: he’d take things so far that nearly everyone would say, “OK, we’ve gone a little far, and we’re sick of losing, so let’s tack toward the center and change a few positions” (path to citizenship, same-sex marriage, etc.).Thermidor would set in.
In an ordinary criminal case, the adversarial process assures legal representation of the defendant. Clearly, in top-secret cases involving potential surveillance targets, a lawyer cannot, in the conventional sense, represent the target.
Congress could, however, authorize the FISA judges to appoint, from time to time, independent lawyers with security clearances to serve “pro bono publico” — for the public’s good — to challenge the government when an application for a FISA order raises new legal issues. [...]
Having lawyers challenge novel legal assertions in these secret proceedings would result in better judicial outcomes. Even if the government got its way all or most of the time, the court would have more fully developed its reasons for letting it do so. Of equal importance, the appointed lawyer could appeal a decision in the government’s favor to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review — and then to the Supreme Court. No opportunity for such review exists today, because only the government can appeal a FISA court ruling.