Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Reaction to the News (11/21/07)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Here are some interesting stories you might want to check out:

1) San Francisco Chronicle: "California Secretary of State Debra Bowen sued a Nebraska voting machine company on Monday, seeking fines and reimbursements of nearly $15 million from the firm for allegedly selling nearly 1,000 uncertified machines to San Francisco and four other counties."

pse·phol·o·gy (sē-fŏl'ə-jē) n.

The study of political elections.

[Greek psēphos, pebble, ballot (from the ancient Greeks' use of pebbles for voting) + –LOGY.]

Yes, that's how the Greeks voted, by dropping pebbles into urns. The modern equivalent is the paper ballot and the ballot box. And what's wrong with that? There's something to be said for marking an X next to the candidate of your choice, is there not? This is one case, I would argue, where technology has not made our lives any better. The count may be quicker (and, arguably, more accurate, assuming no funny business, which is not something it is wise to assume) with voting machines, but consider what we give up as voters and what the democratic process itself loses in abandoning the older, and ultimately more fulfilling, method of voting.


2) TPM Muckraker: "The Center for Public Integrity's brand-new report on Iraq contracting, Windfalls of War II, identifies at least $20 billion in contract money that has gone to non-U.S. companies that it cannot identify."

War is hell. War profiteering is eternal.

This war just keeps getting better and better, eh?


3) SCOTUSblog: "After a hiatus of 68 years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to rule on the meaning of the Second Amendment — the hotly contested part of the Constitution that guarantees "a right to keep and bear arms." Not since 1939 has the Court heard a case directly testing the Amendment's scope -- and there is a debate about whether it actually decided anything in that earlier ruling. In a sense, the Court may well be writing on a clean slate if, in the end, it decides the ultimate question: does the Second Amendment guarantee an individual right to have a gun for private use, or does it only guarantee a collective right to have guns in an organized military force such as a state National Guard unit?"

Who am I to disagree with Balkin? "I predict that the Court will hold (1) that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right, (2) that this right applies against laws in federal territories like the District of Columbia, (3) that a relatively deferential standard of reasonableness applies, and (4) that, even under this relatively deferential statute at least one part of the D.C. gun control law is unconstitutional. That is to say, I predict a decision that tries to split the difference and is aimed roughly at the middle of public opinion, even if not the exact center."

In other words, the fight will continue, with crazy gunmongers claiming a right to own anything and everything and fare more sensible people arguing that compromise is desirable. As for me, I would prefer to have the Second Amendment struck down altogether.

(See also The New York Times and The Washington Post.)


4) Examiner: "Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay may not be in a leadership position on Capitol Hill anymore, but that doesn't mean he can't weigh in on the current GOP leadership.DeLay told Yeas & Nays that Republicans in Congress are "looking for something to believe in" and "they're not getting it out of this Republican leadership... The leadership just isn't getting it."

By "getting it," I assume The Hammer means leading sex-obsessed crusades against the opposition, gerrymandering electoral districts for partisan purposes, promoting violence against judges, befriending and working with disgraced lobbyists, turning K Street into an organ of the GOP, and vice versa, taking money from Russian oil interests, misusing federal agencies, violating campaign finance laws...


And last, but certainly not least:

5) MSNBC: "Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan blames President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for efforts to mislead the public about the role of White House aides in leaking the identity of a CIA operative."

Big news, but hardly surprising. It was Bush and Cheney and Rove and Libby and Card -- all of them pushing the lie and lying to Scotty McC.

Olbermann responds. See Crooks and Liars. (And see also Benen, who asks the right questions.)


That's it for now. More posts to come.

Good night, everyone.

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  • You do of course realize that completely striking down the 2nd amendment would make things even harder for the rural poor?

    By Blogger Dyre42, at 1:17 AM  

  • How so? Because they wouldn't be able to repel a British attack?

    No, seriously. Striking down the Second Amendment would not make gun ownership illegal. We don't have a constitutional right to bear arms here in Canada, but people, including the "rural poor," do own guns. My point is that there shouldn't be a formal constitutional right to bear arms, which, in any event, is unclear (for individuals? for state-run militias?). Without such a right, the debate would open up and become much more reasonable: Under what conditions should gun ownership be permitted? Rather than what there is now, which is the absolutism of the gun lobby, demanding the right to bear arms without restriction.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 9:28 AM  

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