damnum absque injuria

February 28, 2008

Yesterday’s Runner-Up: New York Times

I still think Hillary wins the dubious distinction, but the competition for yesterday’s title seems to have been a bit stiffer than I thought. Via Patterico and Allah we learn that the New York Times has exhumed the time-dishonored debate that has dogged Chester Arthur, Lowell Weicker, Barry Goldwater and George Romney in the past: can you be a “natural born citizen” qualified for the Presidency if you were born outside the U.S.? The problem was obvious for Weicker and Romney, who were born in France and Mexico, respectively. It was more of a stretch for Goldwater, who was born in Arizona three years before it became a state but long after it had become a U.S. territory. Arthur was the most interesting of the four, as he was born in Vermont, whose status has yet to be determined. Now it’s an issue for John Sidney McCain, III, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone long before Jimmy Carter gave it away to Panama (but hey, he also gave us the Reagan revolution, so no hard feelings).

If you’re like most normal people, you’ve probably assumed that anyone born to one or more U.S. citizens is a “natural born citizen” for purposes of Article II, Section I of the Constitution. But according to the NY Times, there’s a “musty debate” on that question, even if they can’t find a single legal scholar willing to endorse the opposite view. Still, it’s noteworthy that while none of the individuals quoted in the article were willing ot endorse the view that only individuals born in U.S. state, none had the stones to dismiss it as frivolous, either. Allow me.

Let’s start with a brief civics lesson. Article II, Section I is part of the original Constitution, which was ratified in 1788 and took effect in 1789. Citizenship based on U.S. birth or birth to citizens abroad were soon codified in the statutes, but neither concept made it into the Constitution until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. This leaves us with two possible interpretations of “natural born citizen,” leading to two very different conclusions, to wit:

  1. A “natural born citizen” is whatever the statutes say one is. Therefore, Chester Arthur, Lowell Weicker, Barry Goldwater, George Romney and John Sidney McCain, III are or were all “natural born citizens” qualified for the U.S. Presidency.
  2. A “natural born citizen” is only what the Constitution says one is. Therefore, from 1789 through 1868, there was no such thing as a “natural born citizen,” and every President from John Tyler through Andrew Johnson was illegitimate. [Earlier Presidents get a pass since they were U.S. Citizens at ratification.]

MDS sufferers, pick your poison.

Between this and the eight-year-old non-scandal involving McCain’s legislative favors that were not given in return for non-sexual non-favors from his non-paramour lobbyist, I’m beginning to wonder if the Gray Lady really likes McCain after all, and figured that the best way to help him shore up his base is to attack him.

February 27, 2008

Constitutional Attorney of the Day: Hillary Clinton

Competition is always tough for Idiot of the Day here at damnum absque injuria but if this story is accurate, it definitely rises to the challenge:

I actually think that it’s unconstitutional, what the insurance companies are doing.

Mrs. Billary did not elaborate as to whether she believes the insurance companies in question own slaves or engage in bootlegging, the only two ways a private company could violate the Constitution if it wanted to.

‘Hat tips: Uncle and Sean Brainstead.

February 26, 2008

Home for Sale

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:47 pm

In compliance with Virginia’s Silly Names Act (not to be confused with its English antecedent), please be advised that this house, is offered for sale by a guy named Xrlq in the Lickinghole District of Goochland.

February 25, 2008

Moron of the Day: Neil Jorgensen

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:44 pm

This dubious award goes to Neil Jorgensen of Kalona, IA, who managed to get himself fired from the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort by repeatedly requesting a prostitute at the same resort during his stay, and then appearing in the nude when hotel workers went to his room to ask him to stop. Jorgensen’s non-explanation:

The advertisement is that it’s just like Las Vegas, so I thought I was in Las Vegas.

Where, I might add, prostitution is also illegal. Oops.

February 24, 2008

Not on the Same Side

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 5:43 pm

Uncle observes a tendency of some gun owners to spend more time and effort attacking each other than attacking the real enemy, the Judean People’s Front Brady Center to Prevent Gun Ownership. Usually the fight is between the NRA-ILA and smaller, more ideologically pure organizations like Gun Owners of America. My response has generally been to advocate that those who favor a more ideological NRA should join both organizations, thereby lending support both to those whose views most closely matched theirs and to the group which, like it or not, is far more likely to get anything done.

After reading this idiocy, I’m seriously wondering whether GOA has anything of value to offer at all. John McCain is hardly my first choice as President, but when it comes to guns, he runs circles around anyone who has served in my lifetime, let alone GOA’s. Yet GOA gives him an F-, almost entirely for reasons unrelated to guns. Imagine if this idiocy were applied to real grades. You know, the kind they give you in school. Suppose your son or daughter came home from school one day with a report card that showed an F in biology, which surprised you because you already knew he had gotten the highest score on the final of any student not only in the current class, but if any class that particular teacher had taught. So you ask the teacher what went wrong, and he replies with “Your son/daughter is a real jerk. He/she sucks at everything, the big jerk, and I hate having him my class. And he’s a crappy student overall, um, I mean, in biology, yeah, that.” You respond by pointing out that not only doesn’t your son/daughter suck at biology, but that he/she had gotten the highest score on any of his tests, ever. The teacher grudgingly admits “Yeah, that’s true, but you should have seen the crap he wrote in his English class, and I hear from his history teacher that his essays in that class weren’t too hot, either.” What does any of this have to do with biology, you ask. “Well, it just goes to show he’s a bad student, and really should get an F somewhere, so I’m giving him an F here. And oh, by the way, while his test may have had the highest score of any student I’ve ever had, it wasn’t a perfect score, as he did get one minor detail wrong, and I like to think of myself as a ‘no-compromise’ kind of guy, except for that other nerdy kid I gave an A to for doing slightly worse than your kid in biology, but writing English essays I liked much better. So screw you, your kid’s F stands.”

If that happened, would you allow your kid to remain in that idiot teacher’s class? If not, is there any earthly reason why I should not cancel my GOA membership yesterday?

February 21, 2008

Stick a Fork in the Primaries, They’re Done

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:15 pm

It’s McMaverick vs. Obamarx, whether Billary and Phuckabee care to admit it or not. Now it’s just a question of how quickly the fake primaries can go away without doing too much damage to their inevitable winners. When Romney was in the race, Phuckabee’s entire campaign focused on (1) how much he hated Romney; and (2) what great guys he and McCain are. Now it all seems to be about what a great guy Phuckabee himself is. Phuck him, it’s long past his time to go exit stage … uh … wherever the hell the nearest, locked-from-the-outside exit may be.

On the Democrat site, much as I love the graphic, I’m not sure Hillary is that dead, but she is dead nonetheless. That she’s even thinking about attempting to persuade not only the stupordelegates but also the pledged ones only goes to show how this is all about her. Not to say she should drop out, of course; as a committed Republican, I say let this slow-motion train wreck go on! The longer these two grossly underqualified hard lefties fight each other, the better off McCain, his party and the country will be. Think Dukakis in 1988: would the GOP even have discovered Willie Horton without a little help from Al Gore?

February 20, 2008

That Didn’t Take Long

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:26 pm

Apparently, the Gray Lady has just figured out that their favorite maverick is now the face of the party he used to buck.

UPDATE: Allah (h/t: Patterico) has much more.

February 19, 2008

My English Is Going South

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:50 pm

Today I caught myself – twice, actually – using a double modal. I still can’t understand Boomhauer, though.

February 17, 2008

Understatement of the Day

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 5:02 pm

Today’s Ass. Press headline:

Police finding dark side of man who killed 5 on Illinois campus

Ya think?

February 16, 2008


Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:47 pm

If there is ever another war between the states, it will be over:

  1. Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin’ Donuts
  2. Baseball vs. NASCAR
  3. One license plate vs. two
  4. Whether the second person plural pronoun is you, y’all, ya’ll, youse, you’uns or y’uns.
  5. Whether or not y’all is plural.
  6. Whether or not all y’all is redundant.
  7. ???

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