Patterico's Pontifications


The Heller Argument

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,General — Patterico @ 8:33 pm

I’m listening to and reading the Heller argument now. The transcript is here. The audio is here. Both come courtesy of Howard Bashman.

I’m trying not to look at too much analysis before I finish up — and I may not finish tonight. But if you’re looking for analysis now, here is Jan Crawford Greenburg.

After having listened to Dellinger and Clement, I have the impression that 1) Kennedy supports an individual right; 2) Scalia and Roberts think you could still ban, say, machine guns consistent with the Second Amendment; 3) It’s probably 5-4 with Kennedy in the majority and Roberts writing a narrow opinion focusing on the sweeping nature of the ban; and 4) Scalia seems to think strict scrutiny is just fine. I’m not sure how Scalia reconciles 2) and 4), but it may not be necessary given 3). And that may be the sum total of my analysis even after I finish listening to the guy arguing for Heller.

UPDATE: A cute exchange between Breyer and Scalia during the argument by Heller’s lawyer:

BREYER [to Heller’s lawyer]: But does that make it unreasonable for a city with a very high crime rate, assuming that the objective is what the military people say, to keep us ready for the draft, if necessary, is it unreasonable for a city with that high crime rate to say no handguns here?

JUSTICE SCALIA [to Heller’s lawyer]: You want to say yes. That’s your answer.

He’s there to help.

Fisking Obama’s Speech Today — Didn’t See It, Just Reading The Text

Posted By WLS: 

I’m in no way enamored of Obama — neither his style nor his politics. 

So, I’m looking at his speech with a very jaundiced eye.  And there are lots of things I don’t particularly like in the text:

I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together

 From what I’ve read over the last few days, he didn’t learn “togetherness” as a method of problem solving from Rev. Wright.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

Which remarks have you condemned, and why did it take until this moment for you to condenm them?  Were they not equally worthy of condemnation two weeks ago?  Two months ago?  Two years ago?  Two decades ago — because he’s been saying them as long as you have been a member of his church.  You are the one identifying — without specifying — that he has made comments in your presence that you disagreed with and considered controversial.  Tell us which of his comments you consider controvesial — so that we will know which ones you DO NOT CONSIDER CONTROVERSIAL.  That would tell the voters much more about you than you have told us in the 4 years since you hit that stage in Boston.


Jeremiah Wright’s Bible

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 pm

Barack Obama says he was more interested in Jeremiah Wright’s thoughts on the Bible than in his thoughts about race or politics.

Fine. Point of theological accuracy, then:

God damn America. That’s in the Bible.

It is?

Can someone cite me chapter and verse on that? It’s been a while since my last Bible study . . .

UPDATE: Commenter Tom wants me to give a fuller quote. OK:

The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a Three Strike Law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America”? No, no, no! Not God bless America! God damn America! That’s in the Bible! For killing innocent people! God damn America! For treating our citizens as less than human! God damn America!

Mmm, still don’t think that’s quite in the Bible.

Arthur C. Clarke, Dead at 90

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:48 pm

I was a fan. I managed to convince my 10th-grade teacher to teach us “Childhood’s End.”

Clarke is widely credited with the idea of using satellites for communication — and was, at least, the most famous proponent of the concept.

He will be missed.

My Two Cents about Obama’s Race Speech

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I read the transcript of Barack Obama’s speech at Drudge, and I think it’s a masterful speech. It identifies the concerns of diverse elements of the Democratic Party and persuasively argues that only Obama can unite them. However, I also see some drawbacks:

At one point, Obama said of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.” That’s a powerful statement that will make an excellent soundbite but, if he were debating online, Obama’s argument would be immediately exposed. No one asked Obama to disown the black community, just one incendiary slice of it. The fact that Obama believes he can’t disown Wright without disowning the black community says a lot about Obama and the black community.

Obama’s refusal to distance himself from both the message and the messenger, instead of just the message, may come across as tolerant but what it means in practice is that Obama will never be able to distance himself from Wright’s incendiary rhetoric. Obama has given his adversaries a visual and audio soundbite that will affirmatively connect him to Wright’s inflammatory statements throughout the campaign. In my opinion, that statement may be a short-term winner in the public opinion battle but it will be a loser in the long-term war.

Many will be impressed by Obama’s message of uniting, not dividing, and see Obama as both a literal and figurative example of that message. Obama uses that message to emphasize that he is a messenger of hope and positive change. Nevertheless, even though Obama emphasizes that his goal is to talk about what Americans can do, his examples and his core message are primarily about what Americans can’t do. In this speech, Obama’s focus was largely on how America and Americans have failed: Failed to bridge racial divides, failed to educate our children, and failed to provide meaningful opportunities to poor and disadvantaged Americans.

Obama may have channeled Abraham Lincoln in the introduction to his speech but his text was straight out of John Edwards’ “Two Americas.” That may be a winning combination for Obama but it wasn’t for Edwards.

[EDIT NOTE: Paragraph 3 edited for clarity to add the phrase “instead of just the message”. Thanks to Aplomb for noting it in comment #4.]

UPDATE: James Taranto adds related thoughts.


Obama’s Big Race Speech

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 am

I’m listening to it now. Apparently he never heard Jeremiah Wright say a cross word about white people — you know, the same white people who (Wright thinks) deliberately gave black people AIDS. He is explaining about black churches and black anger, and how whites shouldn’t condemn expressions of black anger without understanding its roots.

I’m not finding it inspirational in the slightest. I find myself wishing I could be listening to Larry Elder, who preaches that we still have racism — but that with hard work and determination, you can do what you want.

At the end of the day, we’ll see how the speech played out, but to me, it exposes the weakness of the Democrat message on race.

Heller Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:17 am

I’ll post on the oral argument tonight, but in the meantime I’d stay tuned to How Appealing for good links about which way the winds are blowing.

Here is video from Jan Crawford Greenburg on the case. Newsbusters is surprised at how fair Greenburg is to gun rights advocates, showing that Newsbusters isn’t really familiar with Greenburg’s stellar reputation for fairness.

Feel free to post thoughts on the oral argument below. I expect you guys to have accurate predictions of the Court’s vote by the time I get home.

Another Sad Indicator of the Declining Power of the United States

Filed under: Humor,Law — Patterico @ 6:03 am

The case: United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins.

The winner: the shark fins.

Affirmative Action for SWAT

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:58 am

Armed Liberal quotes an anonymous female LAPD supervisor on Bratton’s plan (reported here by Robert C.J. Parry) to change entrance standards for SWAT so that SWAT “looks like Los Angeles”:

SWAT is who I call when the situation overwhelms my immediate resources. If I need them, I don’t give a damn if they are “reflective of the community” or six toed farm boys with acne, I just want them to be the best. Only the most physically capable, tactically gifted, expert shooters, with a proven ability to perform for the good of the team and the innocent victims in immediate need of their services should qualify for SWAT. If some of those super qualified candidates happen to be female, terrific, but I cannot understand, for the life of me what benefit is reached for officer or public safety by lowering standards and tweaking the process to increase the numbers of minorities and women qualifying for this unique and vital function. Chief Bratton’s transparent attempt to court certain groups in this and other situations indicates a troubling willingness to endanger lives in pursuit of his personal ambitions.

Read it all.

UPDATE: I told you on Sunday that Robert had made some news with this, and that we’d be hearing much more about it from the L.A. Times. Always trust content from Patterico: the story is on the front page today.

To my surprise and to the paper’s credit, the story concentrates, not on the secrecy of the report (although that gets prominent play), but on the dangers caused by the watering down of standards for this elite unit. It’s a great example of the paper actually paying attention to the right things for a change, and kudos are in order. And once again: well done, Robert!

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