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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The 34 Percent

According to Greg Sheffield at Newsbusters, it's CBS as usual.  How long until they claim that it's fake but accurate?


Monday, February 27, 2006


Many, including JSW, have covered George Will (one of my favorite writers) on happiness on the political spectrum. He was covering a Pew research study which found conservatives to be generally happier than liberals. Here's a great post on the topic by the Harvard fed.soc. blog. It examines libertarians, and whether their jaundiced view of the world makes them more morose. As a libertarian, I'm interested by this study. Personally, I'm happy, but I suspect that has more to do with other factors than my political ideas, or perhaps the fact that I'm too immature to take my political worldview, or myself, all that seriously.


The Rundown

I was at the Fed.Soc. Student Symposium over the weekend. I'll give a complete rundown later. In the meantime, here's a liveblog of the first panel of the symposium, which coincidentally, was also the worst. I'll post my own thoughts on the best panel (which contained the inimitable Judge Easterbrook, at some later date).


Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's called protestantism, I think that's what you're after.

I just read a strange Pioneer Press article (HT Southern Appeal), "Catholic couple clashes with church over gay rights".  The situation is all kinds of screwed up, which we should have known from the very beginning, given that

"In their 20s, he was a Roman Catholic priest; she was a teacher and a nun. They fell in love and chose to marry."

Well, that's just not the best way to score points with the Church, now is it?

What's more, they have a gay son:

"Now, love looms tall again to test the St. Paul couple's strong ties to Catholicism. The church has toughened its stand against Catholics in same-sex relationships. And one of the couple's six children is gay."

Toughened?  If by that you mean that the stand is the same as ever.  
So they're upset, predictably:

"At the Cathedral of St. Paul, people wearing rainbow-colored sashes — considered a political statement in support of people in gay relationships— are refused communion."

Honestly, who does that?  I went to mass there last night and didn't see anything of the sort, but it was my first time there (they have a 7pm instead of 5pm, and I was running late on everything, as usual) so I can't really say whether or not it's actually a big deal.  

"All gays want is the protections heterosexual couples have," Charlie Girsch says.

And that means that the Catholic Church should be ok with it?  Also, why is it always "protections"?  Furthermore, Charlie, you need to work on your grammar.

"Charlie Girsch felt another sort of sting when he was denied Communion because he wore a rainbow sash. He realized he had lost, however briefly, the white, male — and straight — privilege to which he was accustomed.

"In some ways, it didn't hurt," he says. He knew he could go back to the Communion rail without the sash and partake of the sacraments."

Now, I can't figure out if this is supposed to be a news story, but receiving communion is emphatically not a matter of straight white male privilege, nor has it ever been.  Lines like that seriously drive me crazy.  Here's the bottom line Charlie.  Opposition to gay marriage is not the same thing as hate for gay people.  Trust me on this one.  No sensible person hates your son for being gay.  There probably are people who do, but they are probably not incredibly bright.  Church is not a place to score political points, and you of all people should know that, having been a priest.  Or maybe, I would guess, you just don't get it.  Your past actions would tend to suggest this conclusion.  You aren't going to change the Church's mind on this, so leave politics to political institutions; you just might make some progress there.  For what it's worth, I don't dig the Archbishop's postcards either, and I am more or less ok with civil unions.  If you want religious sanction though, I can't help you.  I'm sure there are some sects out there that would be glad to let you wear whatever sash you want.        


Friday, February 24, 2006

Port Authority

Sorry about the posting drought, I was at the Library.  I haven't posted much on the whole port brouhaha yet, which is the issue-du-jour (or really, semaine), so I thought I might try to figure out just what I think.  A little conversation at the Library with a friend got me to this point:

     1. We haven't exactly had a lot of problems with the UAE.
     2. This is a business deal (an acquisition; contracts exam flashback imminent),
         day to day operations shouldn't change much, and as for security, that's our job
         no matter who is in charge.
     3. All of that aside, they're OUR ports, so we should have Americans running
         them (can I join the AFL-CIO now?).  Not Brits, not Arabs, not Scots, not
         Japanese, not even Australians.  As my friend pointed out, the President
         rides around in Cadillac for a reason.
     4. If I hear you say that President Bush is selling the ports to Arabs, I might lose
         it.  I heard this enough times over the past week that I had to go back to what
         I had read originally, and sure enough, yup, it's the Brits selling the ports.    

So basically, this change hardly registers on my meter.  I guess it called attention to the issue of who runs our ports, which is good, but sale or no sale has no effect on the fact that I don't particularly care for them being run by foreigners (am I a xenophobe yet?), whoever they may be.  

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg has an NRO column on the topic here.  


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Good TV is the first casualty of the winter games.

Veronica Mars is a repeat tonight.  Does UPN really think they would lose that much viewership to ice dancing?


Republicans and Democrats Play Hockey!

Here's a video of the annual "bi-partisan" hockey game put on in Washington D.C. Pay special attention to Teddy Kennedy drunkenly mixing it up with Bill Frist in the middle of the ice, and Dick Cheney swinging his hockey stick at someone's face.


"It's remarkably tone-deaf"

James Lileks on the UAE port controversy:

"Short version: the administration may have thought it was helping a Valuable Ally and probably a pal, end of story. But it plays like Bush defending eminent domain to condemn a neighborhood to build a mosque."

Read the rest.


Heckling Nino

Apparently, Scalia was heckled yesterday. Sounds like there were a few funny exchanges. I'm going to try to scout around for the video. The "shame on yoo" people were out in force. Frankly, stupidity like this helps people like Scalia more than it hurts him. Couldn't you try outsmarting rather than outshouting for once?



It just dawned on me that Ted Kennedy and George Washington have the same birthday.  Don't tell Ted.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Decline and Fall

To bastardize my favorite poet: this is the way a civilization ends, not with a bang but a whimper. The article is by Mark Steyn (a writer I enjoy), and it talks about the declining birthrate in Europe, America, and Japan, while the birthrate soars in other countries. He (rather morbidly) sees the current free speech debates as anger as a dying civilization (literally) tries to enforce its norms on a youthful one. It's an interesting point (although I think you have to get a subscription to read the whole thing, or go out and pick up the magazine). Back in the day fears that "we" would be overtaken and overwhelmed by "them" were used by people like Hitler and even such modern "heroes" as Margaret Sanger to inflame the public into endorsing their policies. But these fears were predominently racial in tone. Is it (and this is going outside the article), acceptable to be concerned about the dearth of births when one is in the middle of a culture war? I think small things like the cartoon riots, as well as big things like terrorism, suggest that we are in a culture war. The peaceful wing of Islam has been beaten pretty thoroughly, and now the thugs are coming after Western values. Could it be that this war will not be lost by bombs, ideas, or any of the other ways that wars are conventionally lost, but by procreation? I honestly don't know. All I know is this. It's your responsibility, gentle readers, to keep up. So get out there and impregnate for the good ol' U.S. of A!


Those Pesky Saudis

Now apparently they're going to own our ports. My reaction? If they're willing to pay, let them have them. I understand the need for security, but I'm even more of a fan of free markets. If you think this deal could hurt security, figure out a way to closely watch the ports, or something else. Don't suddenly decide to ban investment from the Middle East. Our greatest weapon in the war on terror is our way of life (though in the radical circles who are most interested in fighting the war it's probably the greatest motivation as well). So, keep the economy running strong by letting people make deals.


Monday, February 20, 2006

WFB on Quailaquiddick

Must reading, as always.

"Now that gentleman’s [a NYT columnist] concern for the wellbeing of the Bush administration is on the level of his concern for the quail that Mr. Cheney did or did not kill (this is the only detail of the event unexplored by the historians). Why did the critic want Mr. Cheney to resign? Because “Mr. Cheney is arrogant, defiant and sometimes blatantly vulgar.” Oh? Yes — the critic arrived with documentation in hand: “He once told Sen. Patrick Leahy to perform a crude act upon himself.” You do not say! Well, that’s the kind of thing one would expect from somebody who goes about crippling his friends while ostensibly aiming only at quail."

That said, news coverage and blog discussions of the past week have called to mind this excellent thread on Ace of Spades HQ.

Also, I hate the usage X-gate used to describe any problem a politician may have.  Therefore I am going to use the formulation X-aquiddick, since Wednesday is Ted Kennedy's birthday.  Liquid lunch anyone?  



In Torts I often tried to think of damages in terms of "hours spent being pistol-whipped."  Here's a story of some people who seem to deserve at least one each.  



Ah, I knew I saved my old Times-Delphic (Drake's student newspaper) columns for a reason.  Today, Presidents' Day (actually George Washington's Birthday on the books) was the topic of my first.  Looking back at it, I was a little prone to exaggeration, but not by too much, and my writing style needed help.  I was also more a fan of Thomas Jefferson than I am now.  Anyhow, here's a relevant portion (disregard the names of administrators, just know that they were student activity folks who sent far too many emails):

Flash back to a month ago, that Monday that you didn’t have class.  Classes were cancelled and there were events [honoring] Martin Luther King Jr.  I do not mean to reduce the general appreciation for Dr. King, but where were the e-mails from Herschel Jackson about Presidents’ Day, if not specifically Washington’s Birthday?  It wasn’t even mentioned in Jan Wise’s usually meticulous Campus Calendar for the week.  I’m not saying that we need another day off; I’m saying that we, as a nation, have lost sight of our origins.  We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day for his work in the Civil Rights movement, but there are still people living who remember that time and knew him personally.  Not so with Thomas Jefferson.  Independence Day is now more about fireworks and parties than about reverencing our liberty, and given time, MLK day could devolve into something else as well.  Jefferson outlined the moral philosophy on which the new nation was to be founded.  Washington became the symbol of the growth of this great nation.  All else, from the accomplishments of Lincoln to Susan B. Anthony to Martin Luther King Jr., has been an expression of corollaries, which could not have existed without the earlier expressions by Jefferson and Washington.  If we lose respect for our foundation it will eventually crumble.  That being said, I encourage you all to take some time on Feb. 22nd to honor the man who shaped a largely untrained militia into a force for freedom, the man who refused to be King, the Father of Our Nation, George Washington.

And I think the point I was trying to make is valid. The U of M has graciously given us both Monday and Tuesday off, though under the guise of either A) "Law School Winter Break; or 2) some kind of "Mental Health Holiday".  It isn't that I don't appreciate it, I do, believe me, I DO, but I think somehow we're missing the point.  

In closing, and old joke(ish thing).  What was the greatest thing George Washington ever did for the United States?  (I will post the answer in the comments)


Religion and Academia

Can Baylor be the Protestant/Baptist Notre Dame? I don't think so, but then again, I'm Papally biased.  (ht Southern Appeal)


Half of a pig, watermelons, cornish game hens, homemade ballistics gel; what do these things have in common?

My Science Project takes on the Cheney-Whittington shooting incident.  These are the guys who have previously evaluated such propositions as the maximum amount of alcohol that can be used in Jell-O shots, which should be reason enough for you to check it out.  


Great Cartoon Article

(via JSW) The editor of the newspaper that first printed the controversial cartoons has a powerful defense of his newspaper here. I don't know what else there is to say. I can't agree more with his points.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

More ABA

David Bernstein has more on the ABA's new "Equal Opportunity and Diversity" standards, which were the subject of his OpinionJournal op-ed that I excerpted earlier this week, including the relevant regulations and some more specific criticism.  You really should read it.  I've been trying to compare/reconcile the ABA's accreditation bullying with the Solomon Amendment requirements, but just thinking about it makes my head hurt.  Comments?


Friday, February 17, 2006

Am I the only person who has a problem with this?

Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t care about them and won’t watch them. In fact, I figure that when Thomas Paine said that “these are the times that try men’s souls,” he must’ve been talking about the start of another Winter Olympics. Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sportswriters pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don’t understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it — these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February. So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin.
--Bryant Gumbel

Apparently, I am. I saw this on drudge the other day, and I heard about it on the radio. People are trying to justify this different ways. To me it's unjustifiable. I don't care about what socio-economic point Gumbel thinks he's trying to make. It's a racist comment, and it's unacceptable. I'm not going to make the point, what if Rush said the opposite, which I think is just trying to excuse what Rush said. But the fact that Gumbel is skating by on this one with nary a mainstream word of dissent is absolutely ridiculous and disgusting.

EDIT: Here's another post on it from one of the best hockey bloggers around.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Kurdistan, cont...

Michael Totten, who has written for the WSJ and TCS, and who has his own blog at, spent some time in Kurdistan recently, and shares some thoughts in a brief Q&A on NRO.  


Governor Denny Green

I think this case is awesome. The governor of Maryland decided not to talk to two Baltimore Sun reporters, and ordered those serving in his administration not to talk to them as well, because of what he believed was biased coverage. I'm all for freedom of the press. Had the governor tried to shut down the paper, get the reporters fired, etc, because of negative coverage, I'd be a lot more upset. But I do think the press in this country feels a vast entitlement to talk to whoever they want, whenever they want, no matter what they say about this person. I do see that this could be a slippery slope, with administrations using its power to shut people out of the loop to get good coverage. Only problem is, that happens now in every other walk of life. Football coaches and players, for example, frequently give the best interviews to those that are most favorable (which is why Sid still has a job). I know the government is "more important" and we need to inform people of what's going on. I don't think the press realizes that they don't have the monopoly anymore. If I want to find out what's going on in a given state, I can find out fairly easily, without having to go to any newspapers.


More Socialism

I forgot to mention something that came up earlier in the fascism and communism article from Volokh. One of the commenters made a good point, I think. Fascism, racism, and a lot of other bad things are often associated with the right (usually unfairly I think, outside of Pat Buchanan, who I don't even associate with the right anymore). However, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would stick up for those systems, especially the "thinkers" of the right. Everyone knows that fascism is a failed system, and no one sticks up for it. In fact, it's an insult of the highest order. Meanwhile, communism and socialism are typically associated with the left. And if you call someone on the left a communist, there's a "there you go again" response typically. And yet the left still has a soft spot for socialism, and as the figure skater, as well as much of academia has shown, and even for communism in the form of the USSR. If you accept the various labels assigned to the right and left, than the right seems to me to be the only one that has disowned its radical fringe. But this post is mostly to provoke debate.


Everybody Loves Cheney

This is funny.  Read it NOW!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Is the ABA always this awesome?

Here is George Mason Law Prof and Volokh Conspirator David Bernstein’s take on the ABA’s move to mandate racial preferences:

“According to its mission statement, a primary goal of the American Bar Association is to "promote respect for the law." In the interest of mandating racial preferences in admissions, however, the ABA has just ordered law schools to do the opposite--in fact, to violate the law--and is resorting to blackmail to achieve its end.”

What the hell is going on here? (thought you might ask)

“Meeting in Chicago this past weekend, the ABA's Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted in favor of "equal opportunity and diversity" standards. Under these standards, any law school that seeks to maintain or acquire ABA accreditation will be required to engage in racial preferences in hiring and admissions, regardless of any federal, state or local laws that prohibit of such policies. Since only graduates of ABA-accredited schools may take the bar exam in the vast majority of states, the association has, in effect, a legal monopoly on accreditation standards.”

Seriously, it only gets better from there.  Check this out:

“Interpretation [the interpretations are given “equal weight” to the rules] 211-1 states that "the requirements of a constitutional provision or statute that purports to prohibit consideration of gender, race, ethnicity or national origin in admissions or employment decisions is not a justification for a school's non-compliance with Standard 211."”

Whatever whatever, we do what we want…


Figure Skater in Soviet Jacket

What. A. Tool.  


Fascism, Communism, Totalitarianism

This post on Volokh is very interesting to me (as are the comments on it). I think the rise of totalitarianism in the world is very troubling. The specter of totalitarianism is weak but gaining strength in Russia, China, and South America. Meanwhile a more fascist movement is growing the Middle East. Personally, I've never seen that much of a difference between fascism and communism. In both cases, the government controls almost every facet of society, while giving the power to different organizations, putting the priorities on different things, and fighting different "problems" from the bourgeouis to the Jews. In other words, I've always seen the continuum as totalitarianism and anarchy (with me quite close to the anarchic wing). And it seems to me that the problem of the day is not terrorism, which is just a tool for fascist sentiment that is growing in the Middle East. Personally, I think the fight is most likely to be won as we have less rather than more government. Unfortunately, I believe that (on both the right and the left), the trend is to (as always) solve the world's problems with the coercive power of government. (Although I do believe that national defense is one of the few areas where the government is the only reasonable supplier.) However, I think we are (as always) much more vigilent towards and distrustful of the influence of fascism (as currently defined), or increased governmental control on civil liberties to aid national defense, than we are to the still growing government control to aid socialist aims.


Monday, February 13, 2006

I wish I was this brave

Interestingly enough, the demonstration by the muslims is worthy of protection as free speech, but the demonstration by the two guys are incitement, and not worthy of protection. In other words, watch this video. These guys are pretty foolhardy, but I still envy their courage.

And as long as we're linking to video, here's the video of the Brits beating up some Iraqis. A lot of British people are outraged by the video. I'm a bit perturbed by whoever's doing the filming, because his comments are a little too gleeful. But I can't really feel too badly over what's going on. I understand that at home, a country at war and at peace, must balance civil liberties and security. I would tend to favor liberty over security, but that's just me. But when people are firing at you, and mobs are struggling with you, sometimes feelings boil over. I'm not saying all the actions taken in this video are right, but understandable.



I was hoping to be able to lampoon the Cheney situation. Unfortunately, Jason beat me to it. I'll probably do that later. Meanwhile, is it possible for Al Gore to be more irrelevent, and yet more arrogant and pontificating? I don't think so.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

"What led Vice President Cheney to shoot an elderly man? More at 10".

Really, are the local news stations that desperate for viewership that they need to use statements that simplistic to attract people?  The whole story is here.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Me=Always Lost

So I attended (technically yesterday now I guess) a lunch discussion on “US Human Rights Policy/Kurds in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq” put on by the Human Rights Center and the Amnesty International group here at the law school.  In all honesty, I walked into the wrong event (not unusual for me), though I maintain that they were in the room that was supposed to have the event that I had planned to attend.  In any event, it was still interesting, and I am at least a bit sympathetic to the Kurdish people’s grievances.  Here are a few problems that I had:

1.  The random, pointless, haphazard anti-western/anti-American statements.  Now, these may play well with the AI crowd, but seriously, you’re not reaching new people when you do this.  When you insult Winston Churchill and quote him favorably in the same talk, in my mind you should

2.  The speaker’s demand that (paraphrasing) “if you are a sensitive person you refer to northern Iraq as Iraqi Kurdistan” or some such.  Seriously, no one is being insensitive by referring to the accepted political borders.  Also, this Kurdistan never has, as best as I can tell, existed as a nation state, and those who demand it should be open to the possibility first that it is possible to have personal and political freedom without the creation of a new nation state.

3.  The attempts to invoke Israel, slavery, and the American Civil War in my mind fell flat.  

I have no dispute with the stories he told themselves, only that it left me wondering about statistics and evidence outside of these anecdotes.  


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Carpenter Joins the Conspiracy

University of Minnesota Law Prof. Dale Carpenter, who I recall criticizing in the past on this page, and a former faculty advisor (before my time) to the UMN Fed-Soc, has apparently joined the Volokh Conspiracy.  He’s guest blogged there before, but from what I can tell he is now a full-fledged Conspirator.  I haven’t had any classes with him, but I hear that he’s very good, and I think it should be interesting to read him on the blog.  


Introspection or self-importance? You decide.

Jim Geraghty, of the National Review Online blog TKS has an Op-Ed in the Washington Times on the growing role of bloggers in political discourse, starting with the confirmation battles just past.  


Another Funeral Goes Awry

This was pretty outrageous. Whatever happened to civility in our political system? The president of the United States has shown up to honor the memory of a civil rights pioneer. Whether or not he agreed with her politics, whether or not she agreed with him on everything or anything, and whether or not he even wanted to be there, or was motivated by political reasons, he was there. And he deserves at least a modicum of respect. Perhaps a speech or two touches lightly on modern applications of CSK's work. That's fine. But don't incite standing ovations on blatant attacks on the man sitting right behind you. Paul Wellstone's funeral was worse. There was booing when Republicans entered the place. But this was pretty bad. And on a related note, why in the world is anyone still paying any attention to Jimmy Carter. I'd say he was becoming senile, but the man has been an idiot since day one. He has to be considered one of the the worst presidents of all time, and probably in the top three. And yet the man is honored as an elder statesman, when all he is is a confused old shell of a former president, who happened to be a confused slightly younger president a long time ago.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Law and Philosophy

First Things, the Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, has a review by Justice Scalia of a book by Steven D. Smith (co-director of the Institute for Law and Philosophy at the University of San Diego) entitled Law’s Quandary.  I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but so far it is interesting.  

Also, saw this one linked on Southern Appeal today, a site called The New Constitutionalist, and it looks interesting.  Their mission:

The New Constitutionalist is devoted to exploring and advancing the cause of liberal constitutionalism as understood by the founders of the American republic. Contributors represent a broad spectrum of disciplines include professors of political science, mathematicians, economists, lawyers, journalists, and other informed citizens who share this commitment.

As Matthew Franck at Bench Memos points out that this means “’liberal’ as in ‘conservative.’”  

They have some really good stuff up right now, topics including: Abu Ghraib, Intelligent Design, judicial nominations (yeah well, who doesn’t), Israel/Hamas, and more.  

Incidentally, we are working on updating some things, so I will dedicate the comments section of this post to any thoughts you may have on what to add.  Wow, this is me encouraging spam, but I reserve the right to smite/mock.  



Do you subscribe to Imprimis? It’s a FREE monthly speech digest put out by Hillsdale College, containing a couple of smart and typically also timely and relevant pieces from interesting people each month.  When you sign up you’ll probably also get a load of information about Hillsdale College (I did), but is that really a bad thing?  I’m planning to add a link to the site for those who don’t subscribe, since content is also online.  Right now it’s Mark Steyn on America and the U.N.     


More Cartooning

So, Iran is soliciting Holocaust Cartoons? Boy, that's unexpected. JSW's got a good post on the subject, but I have something else to add. I've kind of rethought my position. As a religious person, I'm kind of upset, not proud, that a lot of Christians don't care enough to protest when the mainstream press bashes them. But I am proud that we don't resort to violence, burning buildings, or attempting to respond in kind. And we're supposed to believe that Iran was just sitting there, full of love for their neighbors, and all of a sudden cartoons popped up, and just to teach us a lesson, they're going to show us what free speech entails? And equating a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb for a hat with cartoons making fun of the death of millions of people? Will Eisner's last graphic novel should be mandatory reading for these people (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, go look it up).


Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh, so she was the victim...

So apparently Col. Janis Karpinski, formerly Brigadier General, the commanding officer under whom the Abu Ghraib abuses were committed, is associating with communist sympathizers (note the understatement) and peddling nonsense stories about our military women in Iraq dying of hydration after abstaining from liquids late in the day to avoid having to use the latrine at night, out of fear of rape.  The Mudville Gazette is on the case.



Jag Recruiters on campus this week.  From a career center email:

The University has determined that the Law School must allow the military full access to assistance from the Career Services Office so long as the military represents that it does not unlawfully discriminate.  Nevertheless, the Law School wants to make clear that the military’s hiring practices do not conform to the Law School’s and the American Association of Law Schools’ nondiscrimination in employment policies. Allowing the military on campus is not an endorsement of the military’s policies with respect to Gays and Lesbians.

Now how hard was that?


MY President's Day

That’s right, today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday.  


1st Amendment & Religion

Surprisingly, this is not about cartoons again. Nor is this about my newfound ability to link to things without having to put in the whole URL. This is, however, about blood-sucking and circumcision. Apparently this is an ongoing problem between some Hasidic Jews in New York and the authorities. The post on prawfsblog is here, referencing an earlier post by volokh, and a piece by Jeffrey Rosen. I for one am very interested to see how deferential Alito and Roberts will be on religious questions. I would probably be one who would be deferential on free exercise questions. I certainly believe the government should be tolerant of religious practices. But I think it's absurd (as some are arguing) that that means getting rid of many of the freedoms it holds dear, by censoring the press. Freedom of religion should mean freedom to critique, even harshly religion. Personally, I think my own religion can handle it. It has for some time. And I think Jack Straw (and some state department officials as well) are idiots for suggesting otherwise. (Hmm, I guess this became a cartoon topic after all).


Sunday, February 05, 2006

The real meaning of Borking.

Retired Supreme Court Nominee (can I say that?) Robert Bork has a review of Justice Breyer’s new book, “Active Liberty, Interpreting our Liberal Constitution”, up on the New Criterion’s website.  Let’s just say Bork isn’t really “down” with the Breyer method of interpretation.  


Saturday, February 04, 2006

More Cartooning

Volokh's got an interesting post on the cartoon scandal. He wonders if there's a double standard for Islam, with people asking for more tolerance for Muslim beliefs than those of Christians. I already posted on this subject, but since than there has been a rising furor, and some of the cartoonists have gone into hiding. In case you are wondering, here are the cartoons in question.

Some of them seem to be in poor taste. I don't deny it. However, do we have a double standard here? Tolerance is usually a good thing. But in placating the thugs who are trying to incite violence from a few brushstrokes might be a mistake. Compare, if you will, the previous cartoons to those on this site (I was directed both to those cartoons and these from infinite monkeys, an excellent blog.)


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Oh right, it's Black History Month

Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP, apparently delivered some sort of nonsensical tirade at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.  If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the gist of it:

Colin Powell and Condi are tokens

"The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side," he charged.

He referred to former Attorney General John Ashcroft as J. Edgar Ashcroft. He compared Bush's judicial nominees to the Taliban.

In July 2001, Bond said, "[Bush] has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing, and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."

ME: Yawn, it’s a shame that people take this guy seriously.  The NAACP could  be a useful and worthwhile organization, but the devotion of their leadership to the screaming left has rendered it, well, redundant and irrelevant.      


Follow Up

Muslims are still upset, and more newspapers are reprinting the cartoons. Violence is being threatened, boycotts are on, and (predictably) the French are backpeddling.

Meanwhile, Christians decry a new show making fun of the crucifiction. But no riots, boycotts, or violence ensue.\Culture\archive\200602\CUL20060202b.html


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cartooning - By Salman Rushdie?

This whole deal that has broken out over the Danish cartoons is getting ridiculous. Countries have withdrawn ambassadors from the country, and Danish flags have been burned. This just highlights some of the problems with not only extremist Islam, but perhaps Islam in general. Printing cartoons in a newspaper is nothing compared to the almost daily attacks on Christianity in this country (many humorous, although some rather mean-spirited). If this is the reaction, what would happen if a picture of Mohammed was engulfed in urine and called "art", one wonders? Is a culture that is clearly not ready for free speech ready for democracy? These are questions supporters of an expansive foreign policy must answer, I think. Spreading democracy is all well and good until Hamas is elected. Maybe the answer is letting some people stew in their own juices until they realize the necessity of protecting basic liberties (while always being sure to protect our country).


Man, Alito looked good in that robe.

Dana Milbank, who is generally not high on my list of people to read, has some notes on the applause of SCOTUS justices during the SOTU.  Interesting read, as are some of the comments from senators later on.  Here’s Chucky:

"Tonight," he said, "when the president announces to applause the fact of Judge Alito's confirmation, what he should really hear, because of the partisan nature of his choice, is the sound of one hand clapping."

Yeah, it’s hard for the right hand to clap when the left hand is permanently frozen in middle finger position.