Our new and improved second amendment!

June 26, 2008

Ok so I have not read the opinion yet, but the court struck down the washington DC handgun ban.  Now, the second amendment is officially an individual right!  Federalism under this court confuses the hell out of me.  When the ADA is at issue, states win (federal law loses and states are free to discriminate based on disability).  When guns are involved, federalism means that the states cannot regulate guns (federal law wins).  When marijuana is involved federalism means that federal law governs (no medical marijuana for you California!).  As someone who holds dear civil rights I’d like to be able to embrace the court’s willingness to recognize individual rights but they only seem interested in doing so some of the time. 

Here is the opinion (opens as a PDF from the SCOTUS website) – we should actually read it and discuss, but I was jsut thinking that maybe Kennedy was going to get this right given his recent excellent decisions on the death penalty.



A first amendment purist passes . .

June 25, 2008

RIP George Carlin – The following video has some bad words in it.

Clayton Williams, McCain Fund Raiser

June 19, 2008

Some Dems think McCain should return the big bucks raised by Mr. Williams, who said some disgusting things when he lost the 1990 race for governor of Texas to one of my favorite people, Ann Richards.  McCain did cancel the fund raising dinner to have been hosted by “Claytie,” but this man’s reputation is awful, & even scheduling an event with him shows poor judgment if you ask me.

New forms of (grand) jury nullification

June 19, 2008

The New York Times today brings us another of the sort of story it loves to do:  look, folks, the antiabortion folks are at it again, and it’s the usual metholodology:  take old law (in this case, state statute dating from 1880s that permits citizens to petition for empaneling grand juries) and twist it from its intended purpose in order to attack abortion providers whom they have not yet succeeded in putting out of business.  In short, if you get the requisite number of signatures (no problem there, obviously), you can get a grand jury empaneled to consider returning indictments on whether crimes have been committed in the provision of abortion services.  The laws governing the provision of these services are still being debated in the courts, by the way, so it’s not as if the grand juries have clear standards to guide them.  But hey, you know, when you’ve got righteousness and whatever else on your side, it’s full speed ahead.  Several interesting facts jump out at me from this account:

1.  Kansas is still not a state I’d want to live in (despite the fact that Kathleen Sibelius is the governor, and despite the fact that I live in Indiana, which is nearly as crazy);

2.  The elected officials there seem to be the voice of reason–scary thought (at least the ones quoted in the story);

3.  The grand juries have proven unwilling, in almost every case, to return the desired indictments against the abortion doctor who is the target of most of these petitions.

4.  One grand jury essentially warned the legislature that the statute was being abused by citizens using the provision for this purpose and all but declared its refusal to indict as a result.

If the recent reports about how white supremacists are going to use an Obama victory to foment civil war over the imposition of gun control and abortion are in fact true, I might point out that the seeds of discontent were sown long before Obama gained national prominence; he just makes an awfully visible lightening rod for the forces of rage.  As we go forward, I am far less worried about the terrorists abroad than those within. 

John McCain’s Absurd Right-Wing Pander On Guantanamo

June 17, 2008

I seem to be making a habit of quoting George Will — Here’s a non-hysterical conservative Republican’s response to Sen. McCain’s hysterical, pandering overreaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Guantanamo habeas case. In case you don’t want to click on the link, or don’t want to read the part where he throws a bone to the dissenters, here’s the start:

The day after the Supreme Court ruled that detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus hearings, John McCain called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” Well.

Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect? With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

Did McCain’s extravagant condemnation of the court’s habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court — meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees — a campaign issue.

I’m with Vicky. I don’t want John McCain to appoint Supreme Court justices — he doesn’t get the idea of an independent judiciary, and is cynical about civil rights.  He seems to share with Mr. Bush an inability to conceive that his judgments might be incorrect, and therefore to conceive of the value of judicially-enforced limitations on presidential power.

Link to Guantanamo Decision

June 12, 2008

the case is Boumediene v Bush and this link will open the PDF for you. 

Rest In Peace Mildred Beaubrun

June 12, 2008

There but for the grace of God goes every woman you have ever known. 

Read this.  Men in car pull up to women on street and ask for phone number.  Women refuse.  men shoot women.  Goes nicely with the whole porn/degradation theme we have running in another post.  I think you get to the place where men feel like this is OK in baby steps.  One fo the first baby steps is thinking of women as less than fully human.

And people think women are paranoid about street harassment. 

Hat Tip:  Hollaback