If the weather here remains clear tonight I might drag the telescope out and try to catch Comet Tempel 1, headed towards its collision with one of NASA’s probes. As before, a report will follow, if I get the scope working.
To celebrate my climb up the proverbial blog ladder to Slithering Reptile I’ve decided to expand the Unknown Blog of the Week feature to include one blog from every level below mine. Share the love!
- Crawly Amphibian: Jackalope Pursuivant
- Flippery Fish: Rat Spleen
- Slimy Mollusc: no, 2 self
- Lowly Insect: Django’s Portion
- Crunchy Crustacean: snarkylicious, who brings us this for our annoying amusement
- Wiggly Worm: Hobbits WebDev
- Multicellular Microorganism: Daily Phil
- Insignificant Microbe: Wonderings by Andrew Cairns
Barack Obama, the extremely junior senator from Illinois, opened his mouth recently and this poured forth:
“In Lincoln’s rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat – in all this, he reminded me not just of my own struggles. He also reminded me of a larger, fundamental element of American life – the enduring belief that we can constantly remake ourselves to fit our larger dreams,” Obama wrote in a package dubbed ‘Uncovering the Real Abe Lincoln,’ on newsstands Monday.
Fair enough. It’s good that we can identify with the greats from our history. But then he continues:
“I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator,” Obama said. “As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African-American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice.”
Sen. McCain, Sen. Kyl, & Rep. Grijalva are my members of Arizona’s Congressional delegation. In light of the recent Kelo decision, I decided to follow the lead of Bill Hobbs, so I asked them these questions earlier today, via their websites.
- Do you believe this to be a good or bad decision, legally? Why?
- Do you believe this to be a good or bad decision from a moral standpoint? Why?
- Do you believe this to be a good or bad decision from a public policy point of view? Why?
- Do you believe this to be a good or bad decision for economic reasons? Why?
- Do you believe this to be a good or bad decision for the future of freedom in America? Why?
- And, finally, if you believe it to have been a bad decision from any of those perspectives, will you – in your office in the U.S. House/Senate – make it a priority to craft, sponsor, and pass legislation to restrict the power of government to take private property from one property owner and give it to another?
Answers (hopefully) forthcoming, and will be posted here.
I know, I know. Not enough guns to keep some of you folk happy. Well, here’s something you don’t find everyday (or at all, for that matter): a lever-action that can take pointed bullets, the Winchester 1895, by John Moses Browning:
It was chambered in 7.62x54R, .30-40 Krag, .30-06, .303 British, and .38-72 and .405 WCF, among others. With a 5 round magazine capacity it could shoot as many rounds as the German Mauser and American Krag of the time, but with the lever action instead of a bolt it could do it faster. The Russians were the most prolific purchasers of this piece, buying approximately 3 out of every 4 made (a total of 300,000). Like Browning’s other weapons, this one has interesting safety features. When the lever is activated it not only disengages the bolt but also the trigger, swinging it out of the way so that it can’t accidentally activate the hammer. Also, the magazine stored the cartridges vertically, not horizontally like most lever guns. This meant that the pointed bullet from one cartridge would not risk detonating the primer of the cartridge in front.
(And yes, I am looking for a way to make the Neptune format wide enough to accomodate the image. Use the theme switcher until I do.)
Too bad Amazon doesn’t sell these shirts.
From Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Judge Spencer Roane, September 6th, 1819:
In denying the right they usurp of exclusively explaining the constitution, I go further than you do, if I understand rightly your quotation from the Federalist, of an opinion that “the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government, but not in relation to the rights of the parties of the compact under which the judiciary is derived.”
The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.
What is needed in a replacement justice of the court is not only a strict constructionist, but also a person skilled in the rhetorical arts. This type of person can not only write decisions that compel the public, but also opinions that compel the othe justices. This type of person will secure the Constitution from the bench.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I have a desire to be one. If I was, I’d probably have a different view on these cases. That being said, let’s review them.
- van Orden v. Perry: A 10 Commandments display is legal …
- McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky: except when its not. Come on, people, what the heck? Breyer was the one who couldn’t make up his mind. This will lead to nothing but more confusion. Expect more rulings on this type of display in the future.
- National Cable & Telecomm. Ass’n v. Brand X Internet Servs., with FCC v. Brand X Internet Servs.: Cable modem companies are exempt from regulation under the Communications Act. The interesting thing in this case is that Scalia is joined by Souter & Ginsburg (!) in arguing the FCC has exceeded its authority by creating an atmosphere of non-regulation by misreading the Congressional statute. This indicates Scalia is a great judge – he insists on following the letter of the law, even if it means his stereotype as a conservative is questioned. He’d rather be a constructionist that a conservative. Good for him.
- Castle Rock v. Gonzales: Apparently, when the police have a restraining order against your ex-husband, that’s not enough for them to keep him from kidnapping and murdering your children, as you need a greater “property” interest in the situation that that protected by the due process clause. I’m not sure what to make of this one – I feel like I should agree with the respondent and justices Stevens & Ginsburg. It’s a really strange feeling.
- MGM Studios v. Grokster: This 9-0 shellacking of the file-sharing community bodes confusion for other industries. Where it is obviously illegal to encourage others to break the law (as the Discovery phase of the trial found), the court effectively implied it is permissible to sell or distribute a good or service that can be used for evil or good if only you encourage legitimate use and discourage illegal use. The implications for the firearms industry are obvious and should be examined. The makers of Grokster should be slapped with a cold fish. The interesting thing is that Ginsburg, Rehnquist, & Kennedy say you can be held liable even if you aren’t advocating its illegal use, while Breyer, Stevens, & O’Connor argue you can’t. Scalia, Souter, & Thomas argue it’s irrelevant to this case. Contrast this with the court’s decision earlier this year to not hear the petition to dismiss a suit against gun makers.
- Bell v. Thompson: A court may take its time in filing its paperwork, even when a man’s life is on death row. This is lawyers with tiddly-winks, though it appears that a single lawyer’s incompetence (he failed to include a doctor’s testimony in one of his filings) brought about most of the trouble.
More on these cases later, after I mull them over. Thanks to SCOTUSBlog for the links, as well as the visual guides to the decisions and other commentary.
I know, I know, there aren’t many of them (except, apparently, in the NY Times editorial office). Regardless, let’s ask some questions of them:
- What is left to restrain a corrupt city official from claiming the land a church sits on via eminent domain and handing it over to a big-box store if the church preaches a doctrine he doesn’t agree with?
- What is to prevent an art museum director from bribing a government official to seize via emminent domain the private collection of one person and adding it to the museum, if the museum can claim it will generate more tax revenue?
- What is to prevent a city official from seizing the firearms of an individual who lives next to a school and “donating” them to a school safety organization, who could then turn right around and destroy them for the “greater good”?
More thoughts later this morning on the decisions handed down today.
UPDATE, 1610 27June2005: Another question, from The Countertop Chronicles: “Can the federal government avoid compliance with [the third] amendment simply by condeming someone’s house and then selling it to Halliburton or another defense contractor who will in return rent it back to the federal government to use as housing?”
Oy. I’ve finally gotten the pics up from the most recent brewing of 1776 Ale. Gilby posted about it, putting it on the Ale side of the Beer Map, brown color, just above the main line, very close to Yuengling Black & Tan – quite a compliment.