August 31, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 8/31/05
Lawrence Lynch on Buddy Bell and anti-war protests at Arlington National Cemetary.
*This Michael Yon combat journal is a must-read, albeit of the "print and read at leisure" variety due to its length. Yon is that rare journalist who gets so close to the fight that, in this instance, he had to pick up and fire a weapon.
*Quote of the week, from Justice Scalia (of course):
Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?
*LaShawn Barber on the DaVinci Code movie; I hadn't realized it was quite so perniciously anti-Christian. And yes, that bothers me a lot more in a movie than in a book; at least books are read by people who read. Of course, I agree with one of her readers that, in contrast to the Muslim reaction to similar provocations, "the DaVinci Code’s movie release may provide an opportunity for Christians to show that we can oppose such a blasphemous work without resorting to violence . . . "
*The US has, in fact, been quite fortunate not to have the sort of radicalized and subversive Muslim population that exists in Europe. But Wizbang notes that that doesn't always mean that American Muslims are sympathetic and cooperative in efforts to root out terrorists in their midst.
*Via Instapundit, the international tribunal investigating the Rafik Hariri murder may be closing in on pointing the finger at the only plausible suspect, the Syrian government. Of course, that will once again front-burner the issue of what to do about Syria; we would desperately like to see the end of the Assad tyranny, which (as this investigation is likely to show) has grown incompetent in addition to brutal. But unlike in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, there's not a lot of cause for optimism in the short term about a democracy movement arising to take Assad's place. Still, as always, there's no way out but forward.
*Stuart Buck catches Jack Balkin, who is a very smart liberal law professor, giving away the game in defending the "living constitution" as opposed to originalism:
Originalists are right that the Constitution is binding law, but they confuse the constitutional text -- which is binding -- with original understanding and original intentions, which are not. A living Constitution requires that judges faithfully apply the constitutional text, given the meanings the words had when they were first enacted, applying those words to today's circumstances.
(Emphasis mine). Of course, reading the words to mean what they meant when they were first enacted is precisely what originalists set out to do. But go read Stuart's whole analysis, which points to more concrete examples of why Balkin's framing of the issues doesn't get him where he wants to go.
*Buck again, on humorless liberals calling John Roberts a sexist for what any lawyer, or any person with a little perspective, would instantly recognize as a lawyer joke.
*The people losing their homes in the Kelo case in New London are now being billed by the city for rent for living in their own homes.
*From the Blogometer, yes, people on the left are eagerly blaming Bush for the hurricane:
For more than a few lefty bloggers, Pres. Bush bears a lot of responsibility for the suffering that is expected. Diarist Patricia Taylor at Daily Kos: "Historically, it is the National Guard, along with other emergency personnel, who attempt to provide emergency services to the community in disaster relief situations like Katrina. And where are these National Guard right now? Iraq." Wampum calls it "A Bush-made catastrophe in the making..." Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and Swing State Project make similar points. So does Steve Gilliard, who writes: "The next closest thing to this is a nuclear explosion." AMERICAblog suggests that New Orleans could get more attention from the Bush admin. by renaming the storm "Hurricane Terri"; a little Photoshop work places Terri Schiavo's face over the eye of the storm. TalkLeft: "One other point: we need to stop destroying the Louisiana wetland which serves as a buffer." Wizbang's Paul picks up the Daily Kos diary, and adds this comment: "Actually if the dumbass used google news they would have known the Guard is in the Superdome." Liberal BooMan Tribune: "It looks like it is time to put partisanship and politics aside. Dealing with this calamity is going to require a unified approach from all Americans."
Maybe New Orleans would get more compassion from the administration if it didn't repetitiously elect corrupt Democratic Senators
Well, obviously, 'Do they elect Democrats?' is the first question we should ask when people are under 20 feet of water.
Yeah, this isn't the time to be blaming the Louisiana electorate.
Regarding the Scalia line, it reminds me of the famous P.J. O'Rourke line about how "being bitten in half by a shark is a compromise between being left unharmed and swallowed whole."
I think there is a distinction between "blaming Bush for the hurricane" and blaming him for having a large portion of the LA National Guard in Iraq along with useful epuipment such as water purifiers. In the NW, luckily, we have not had a huge fire season as there would be almost no way to fight wild fires of any size. They are emptying prisons in LA so that the guards can act in place of the missing Guardsmen/women. Seems relevant to me.
I wouldn't describe the Da Vinci Code as anti-Christian as anti-Catholic. I don't know how much of it will go in the film, but he spends a lot of time on Opus Dei as this malevolent force in the Church, mostly for shock value. It is a quick-moving, kind of exciting, story, but it's also stupid in a lot of ways, and anybody who takes Brown's ideas seriously is simple-minded at best.
I suppose that the danger of the "DaVinci Code" movie is that, removed from Dan Brown's moronic prose and in the hands of Ron Howard, it may appear to take on more legitimacy.
Am I missing something or did this legel expert get it wrong in the Washington Post, saying "The Constitution does not explicitly forbid the national government from discriminating on the basis of race." (see link to 'What to Ask Roberts, WaPo, 8/29/05; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/28/AR2005082801073.html )
I am pretty sure it does in the 14th Amendment.
What do you think?
I had meant to blog that Sunstein piece, I still may. Sunstein is literally correct: the 14th Amendment speaks only of the states, not the federal government. Its framers were concerned about state (i.e., Southern) discrimination, not discrimination by the government that had just won the Civil War.
I'm not an expert on the question, but I believe the theory for applying it is some sort of reverse incorporation through the Fifth Amendment, or some such pretext. What's funny is that it's the Left that would prefer to avoid having it apply to the federal government, since basically all of the existing forms of legalized discrimination these days are in the racial preferences area.
First ignore the idiots from the left thinking the level or speed of federal aid will in anyway be affected by politics. How stupid can they get?
Secondly, in your first entry it is Chris Lynch not Lawrence.
I'll put this in here, since it's a well-populated comments section. The gang over at BaseballThinkFactory is starting to organize a drive for folks to get together, probably in early October, and collect baseball equipment & money for the hurricane victims. (Check the link for more details, although it's still fairly nebulous at this point.) It may seem trivial right now, but it's still something that will help make people's lives a little better.
Speed of aid may not be affected by politics but it certainly is by policy. At present this is an unbelievably poorly coordinated relief effort on the Feds part. Aside from the fact that little was in place to begin with since all/most of the funding for a situation of this nature dried up a while ago it seems like there is no sense of urgency in this horrific matter.
Bush's press conference yesterday? Has there been a worse presidential response to a crisis than that sorry display?
If this isn't a homeland security issue what the hell is? Perhaps if we had not spent $300 billion in Iraq and had innumerable troops and national guard over there flailing away in the desert than this horrible situation might be mitigated at least in part. I get nearly physically ill with anger watching this tragedy unfold more horrifically each hour.
Bush should change his name to Nero.
Are we forgetting or ignoring the fact that FEMA is a supplemental agency meant to augment overwhelmed state and local resources?
From everything I've seen the local emergency planning in New Orleans and most of the affected areas seemed to consist of 'play more jazz and hope it goes away'. The area was not effectively evacuated, there were no adequate refugee processing centers planned for a metropolian population of 1.3 million and, pardon me for sounding callous, but wasting precious resources plucking people off of rooftops who refused to heed warnings to get out while they could was a massive waste fo public resources.
Tragedy this may be, but an avoidable one. New Orleans' failures complicated FEMA's job and shouldn't count as a mark against the agency