It is not possible to replace Scalia

A few months before his passing, Kira and I had the chance to go see Justice Scalia speak at the Union League. Of the Supreme Court, his jurisprudence was the one with which I most often agreed (even though sometimes he did not align with his own stated aims!). During his remarks, he spoke at length about the importance of cases that affect the structure of government or the balance of powers. Scalia asserted that even if the court made a bad ruling about an individual right, our government was designed in a way that over the long-term that would be corrected through legislation or other action. On the other hand, he observed that any time the balance of powers or structure of the government changes, it is virtually impossible to roll back. I’d never considered this delineation, and it really speaks to the heart of a lot of issues that the court looks at, and how I think they ought to be decided (for example, the Obergfell decision which was absolutely wrong in the sense of the ruling, but absolutely correct in terms of the individual right it granted). 

Sandra Day O’Connor should replace Scalia
It won’t happen, but this op-ed from the Baltimore Sun points to Justice O’Connor as the perfect, non-political short-term replacement for Scalia. It’s honestly ridiculous the argument has even (d)evolved to where it is. Divided governments are a good thing in general, but especially for Supreme Court nominations. The compromise they create only reinforces the exact belief Scalia held so dearly. A Democratic nominee that is palatable to a Republic congress is moderate — which is what the courts need. Ideologues on either side (Clarence Thomas OR Sonia Sotomayor) lead to activism for the bench, which is bad in both its liberal and conservative forms.

Student aid drives education costs
This is being touted as some kind of revelation, but I thought this was understood for years? Introducing inexpensive, widely-available capital causes inflation in any market. Why would colleges have any incentive to lower costs, as long as people keep paying every time they raise tuition? Reining in student lending might cause a year or two of hiccups for kids who can’t enroll, but I think you’d see education prices plummet overnight.

What went wrong in Flint
Ever since it entered the news a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking for a real explanation of the water crisis in Flint. The majority of the coverage has been around the economic and racial implications of the criss, but I had not found anything that straightforwardly explained what actually happened. FiveThirtyEight uses the water testing data to show how the state missed the problem that was coming, and how the activists who suspected something were able to prove it beyond a doubt.

There’s still a bank crisis coming to Europe
For all the crap we hear about the problems with American capitalism, its hard to argue things look any better in Europe. Bloomberg looks at how, unlike American banks, Europe’s are still teetering on the edge and may have another crisis ahead of them. Europe’s slow, steady post-World War II decline appears to be continuing right along.

Boston has the best Chinese food
I’ll never forget the first time I wandered into a Chinese restaurant outside of Boston and ordered Lobster Sauce. My dinner was the blandest-tasting white sauce possible, instead of the dark, sweet ground pork concoction I was expecting. Boston-style Chinese food is a real thing, and I’m happy to finally have a third-party verifying my assertion!