damnum absque injuria

June 30, 2008

Dumb and Dumbererer

Time for another straw poll. Which is dumber?

  1. Endorsing polio because without it, we never would have developed the cure vaccine.
  2. Endorsing Barack Saddam Hussein Obama because it took James Earl Ray Carter to get us Ronald Woodrow Wilson Reagan

Make that two more. Which of these is dumberer?

  1. Opponents of Barack Hussein Obama harping on the fact that Barack Hussein Obama’s middle name is Hussein
  2. Supporters of Barack Hussein Obama changing their own middle names to Hussein

UPDATE: Commenter Murdoc notes that my first analogy was terribly unfair – to polio.

UPDATE x2: Corrected the analogy to reflect that we only have a vaccine for polio, not a cure. If today’s polls are any indication, we don’t have either a cure or a vaccine for Carter.

June 29, 2008

Keeping the Subprime Court in Check

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:29 pm

You’d think that after Heller, I’d be giddy about the Subprime Court. Sorry, not happening. Heller itself should have been the easiest case in the world to decide, right up there with determining that the First Amendment gives the people a right to speak freely, the Fifth guarantees a right not to have private property taken to be given away to other private parties and prohibits the states from discriminating by race, or at least as easy as deciding that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about abortion, sodomy, contraception, execution of 17 year old thrill killers who murder innocent neighbors for fun because they know they are minors, hard-core pedophiles who only ruin their victims’ lives figuratively rather than literally, or habeas rights for non-citizen terrorists. Have I missed anybody? Probably.

Four years ago countless pro-gun conservative or bloggers rooted for President Bush’s defeat, figuring that if we can’t elect a model conservative to the Oval Office, we might as well give up the reins entirely. Now, in the past week, we came one Supreme Court Justice’s vote shy of seeing the bill of Rights literally decimated. [Some would argue that it was already decimated when McCain-Feingold was upheld 5-4. Perhaps so, but we also made significant headway in reversing that dreadful precedent, thanks again in no small part to Bush appointees Roberts and Alito.] Now we have one candidate who promises to appoint more Robertses and Alitos, vs. a guy who voted against confirming either of them, and even joined a filibuster against one, and who promises to appoint judges with big hearts instead. Conservatives can either vote for McCain, and fear he may be lying, or they can vote for Obama and hope to God he is.

If, for some reason, you still can’t get the picture, here it is:

McCain Sticker

June 27, 2008

Today’s News in Brief

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:13 am
  1. Water isn’t always wet. Ice isn’t, for example, and steam only barely is, once it dissipates.
  2. While there are many sharp ideological differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, none have anything to do with the respective merits of democracies vs. republics (or, more precisely, between republican and non-republican democracies).
  3. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea isn’t really a republic, nor is it run by democratic people.
  4. More often than not, Best Buy isn’t.
  5. Seattle’s Best certainly isn’t.
  6. The American Hunters and Shooters Association is not a real group representing American hunters or shooters.
  7. The American Civil Liberties Union is not now, nor has it ever been, a union of Americans interested in protecting or advancing the cause of civil liberties.

H/t: Uncly-Wuncly, who is too sick to celebrate the fact that five whole Justices were able to figure out what should have been one of the most obvious Supreme Court decisions in history.

June 26, 2008

Bummer

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:25 pm

The North Carolina DMV has finally figured out what Whiskey Tango Foxtrot stands for, and are now offering free replacements for anyone who has these letters on their license plate and wishes to get rid of them. Unfortunately, they’re not offering free replacements to those of us who’d like to switch in the opposite direction.

Parked

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:53 am

Well, the big day is finally here. In about 3 hours, we’ll all learn whether there’s a Second Amendment lodged in there somewhere between the First and the Third, or whether a consensus among international law should trump. I’m cautiously optimistic that a majority of Justices will rule that Dick Heller and his co-plaintiffs are “people,” handguns are “arms,” and that DC’s flat-out ban infringes their right to keep and bear them. I’m cautiously pessimistic that that’s about all we will find out. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Affirmed 5-4. Will have more commentary after I’ve read the opinion. For now, let’s just say we dodged two .50 BMG bullets in 1987, when they borked Bork, and in ’04, when cooler heads prevailed over the Real Conservatives who would have allowed Kerry to win in hopes of purifying the Republican Party later. [It's possible, but unlikely, that we dodged a third bullet in '05 when Bush's second appointment got "Miered" in controversy. Had that nomination gone through, the most likely outcome is that Antonin Scalia would have written exactly the same opinion he did, and gotten exactly the same number of Justices to sign on.]

UPDATE x2: No, I am not the J. Bishop cited on p. 4 of the majority opinion, alas.

UPDATE x3: Nice linguistic tidbit on the theory that “bear arms” is meant in its idiomatic sense, to wage war (p. 13):

In any event, the meaning of “bear arms” that petitioners and JUSTICE STEVENS propose isnot even the (sometimes) idiomatic meaning. Rather, they manufacture a hybrid definition, whereby “bear arms” connotes the actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really an idiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No dictionary has ever adopted that defintion, and we have been apprised of no source that idndicates that it carried that meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easy to see why petitionsers and the dissent are driven to the hybrid defintion. Giving “Bear Arms” its idiomatic meaning would cause the protected right to consist of the right to be a soldier or to wage war – an absurdity that no commentator has ever endorsed. See L. Levy, Origins of the Bill of Rights 135 (1999). Worse still, the word “Arms” would have two different meanings at once: “weapons” (as the object of “keep” and (as the object of “bear”) one-half of an idiom. It would be rather like saying “He filled and kicked the bucket” to mean “He filled the bucket and died.” Grotesque.

UPDATE x4: Another gem, from p. 15-16:

JUSTICE STEVENS points to a study by amici supposedly showing that the phrase “bear arms” was most frequently used in the military context. See post, at 12-13, n. 9; Linguists’ Brief 24. Of course, as we have ssaid, the fact that the phrase was commonly used in a particular context does not show that it is limited to that context, and, in any event, we have given many sources where the phrase was used in nonmilitary contexts. Moreover, the study’s collection appears to include (who knows how many times) the idiomatic phrase “bear arms against,” which is irrelevant. The amici also dismiss examples such as “‘bear arms … for the purpose of killing game’” because those uses are “expressly qualified.” Linguists’ Brief 24. (JUSTICE STEVENS uses the same excuse for dismissing the state constituitonal provisions analogous to the Second Amendment that identify private-use purposes for which the individual right can be asserted. See post, at 12.) That analysis is faulty. A purposive qualifiying phrase that contradicts the word or phrase it modifies is unknown this side of the looking glass (except, apparently, in some courses on Linguistics). If “bear arms” means, as we think, simply the carrying of arms, a modifier can limit the purpose of the carriage (“for the purpose fo self-defense” or “to make war against the King”). But if “bear arms” means, as the petitioners and the dissent think, the carrying of arms only for military purposes, one simply cannot add “for the purpose of killing game.” The right “to carry arms in the militia for the purpose of killing game” is worthy of the mad hatter. Thus, these purposive qualifying phrases positively establish that “to bear arms” is not limited to military use.

June 25, 2008

Atheists for God

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:02 pm

A recent story by the Ass. Press reports that 21% of atheists believe in God. What does that mean?

  1. 21% of all atheists are retarded.
  2. 21% of all people are retarded. This particular question exposed the retard contingent among atheists, but the right question could accomplish the same for any other group.
  3. The Ass. Press is retarded, and completely botches 21% of the stories they run. This one was part of that 21%.
  4. 21% of self-identified atheists are actually theists who are hard of hearing. The question posed was “are you atheist?” but they heard “are you a theist?”
  5. 21% of self-identified atheists are people who, irrespective of their theological views or lack thereof, get really pissed off when pollsters call them at dinnertime. Their method of revenge on these intruders is to deliberately feeding them inane answers guaranteed to keep them up all night.
  6. Other (specify)

June 24, 2008

You’ll Get Gay-o For Our Mayo

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:04 pm

Can anyone explain what the point of the gay Heinz mayonnaise ad was supposed to be? That only gays like mayonnaise? That everyone from New York (where there is no Heinz mayonnaise) is gay? Or was this just one of those ads where the only point was to make you ask whiskey tango foxtrot?

June 23, 2008

Odd Timing

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:16 pm

I finally got my concealed handgun permit today, just in time for the Supreme Court to rule that I don’t need one anyway.

OK, probably not, but a boy can dream, right?

June 20, 2008

Kitty Genovese Goes Mainstream

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:17 am

Sorry, I don’t buy the theory that a dozen able-bodied adults sitting and watching helplessly while some punk beats his kid to death is “justified.” Excusable? Maybe, at least in a nation of cowards like Cali where no one has the means to take him out from a safe distance. But justified? Never

June 18, 2008

Superprime Six?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:30 pm

JJV has coined an amusing name for Chris Dodd, Kent Conrad, Alphonso Jackson, Donna Shalala, Richard Holbrooke and James Johnson: the “Subprime Six.” It has a nice ring to it, and just like the Keating 5, all but one are Democrats. Plus, seven being a prime number, it follows that six, being lower, is a subprime one.

The analogy is not perfect, however. For one thing, while two of the Keating 5 were ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, it’s hard to see how any of today’s 6 could be. For another, all five of the Keating 5, whether ultimately found to have engaged in wrongdoing or not, did at least have a common thread of having met Charles Keating. By contrast, I find it doubtful that any of the ultra-privileged souls JJV describes as “subprime” have ever had the misfortune of watching subprime-time TV or eating subprime rib, let alone having to make payments on a subprime mortgage. Quite the opposite, in fact.

[Full disclosure: I am a former employee of an insurance subsidiary of the lender at the center of this controversy. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Friend Of Angelo, whom I met only briefly on one occasion, and who almost certainly would not recognize me on the street today.]

 

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