North Korea Destroys Yongbyon Nuclear Cooling Tower

Somehow, I just don't think that talking to our enemies without preconditions will ever lead to results like this:

Canadian Star Chamber Drops Case Against Steyn And Maclean's Magazine

The odious Canadian 'Human Rights' Commission has wisely dropped its complaint against Maclean's magazine and Mark Steyn. The case generated a typhoon of protest both in Canada and the U.S., to the point where there are grumblings about doing away with the Commission altogether.

Truly free societies should not have a bureaucracy dedicated to prosecuting liberal thought crimes, so that is not a bad idea.

Unanswered Questions From Heller

The Heller decision, published yesterday, ruled that the District of Columbia cannot impose restrictions on guns that would completely ban weapons for self-defense. The scope of the case is limited to Washington DC however, and it is an open question as to whether other extremely restrictive anti-gun measures will be affected or not. The reason for this is the incorporation doctrine of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Bill of Rights, when written, did not apply to the states. There must be some federal question or federal jurisdiction in play before the Bill of Rights will be invoked. But, the Supreme Court has also held that certain parts of the Bill of Rights are so important that they must be applied to the states as well. The court does this via the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which states:

. . . nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Many parts of the Bill of Rights have been incorporated and now apply to the states as well, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Second Amendment, alas, has not yet been incorporated, and Heller did not address this issue. Nor should it have - Washington DC is obviously not a state, so the incorporation doctrine was irrelevant.

So the bottom line is, the Second Amendment must be incorporated via the 14th Amendment to apply against the states before cities like Chicago and San Francisco will have their very restrictive anti-gun laws overturned.

Another questions is just what restrictions would still be allowed after Heller. Scalia, writing the majority opinion, went out of his way to say that restriction on gun ownership and use are valid, but did not get into specifics. No amendment to the Bill of Rights is without restrictions. Not even the vaunted First Amendment is sacrosanct, and the Supreme Court has recognized 'time, place and manner' restrictions on the exercise of free speech, for example.

The state constitutions have their own versions of the Second Amendment, and Illinois has a great example with Scalia's restrictions built right into it:

Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

'Police power' here does not mean the cops - it is a legal term of art that means "the capacity of a state to regulate behaviours and enforce order within its territory, often framed in terms of public welfare, security, morality, and safety." Chicago has one of the most restrictive anti-gun laws in the nation, thus proving that Illinois does not take its own Constitution seriously. Completely eliminating the right to keep and bear handguns goes way beyond reasonable police power. But, the amendment perfectly illustrates what Scalia is talking about.

Thus the Heller decision opened as many questions as it answered. But I like the direction the discourse is taking!

Some Reactions To Heller

Although an individual now has a constitutional right to own guns, that new right is not unlimited, wrote [Justice Antonin] Scalia, a hunter. Reuters

I agree with the ruling, however, the Constitution does not grant us the right, it enumerates that right. It is a natural law that man is able to defend him or her self. Chuck Mallory

If D.C. street thugs are pleased by anything, it's probably the fact that five of the justices -- a slim majority, but that's all it takes to win -- have come around to seeing things their way. Colbert I. King

What I find very much amusing is that the second dissent in part relies upon laws passed in 18th century America. I mean, I thought the Consitution was an evolving document, and we couldn’t be expected to live our lives according to the dictates of 18th century life. But, lo and behold, the dissention references a law pertaining to the storage of gunpowder, something not necessary for the use of fire-arms today, as proof of the government’s ability to limit the second amendment right. Intriguing. VolMagic

It's good. If Fat Tony Scalia comes anywhere near your home, shoot the motherf*cker. David Ehrenstein

But I must first pass along this rather brilliant observation from professor Stephen Wermiel from American University, who wonders why none of the dissenters cautioned the majority that today's decision "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." (Boumediene, Scalia, J. dissenting.) Dahlia Lithwick

Unlike Senator Obama, who refused to join me in signing a bipartisan amicus brief, I was pleased to express my support and call for the ruling issued today. Today's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans. Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is an important right- sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly. John McCain

We’re all originalists now. One of the most extraordinary things about this case is that it presented, for the first time in modern memory, a chance for the Supreme Court to decide the meaning of a constitutional right without a heavy overlay of “constitutional law” – a body of relevant decisions from the Supreme Court itself. For “faint-hearted” originalists, like Scalia and others, the existence of non-originalist precedents can be a barrier to reaching originalist results. But here the issue was one of truly first impression, presenting a “clean” controversy. It therefore allowed the Court to address the issues on first principles of constitutional interpretation. Dale Carpenter

How is it 4 justices that could find a right that wasn’t there for terrorists can’t seem to locate the 2nd amendment? Sue

These comments clearly show which side is serious about constitutional rights, and which side isn't.

Gerrymandering: Perhaps Not Quite What You Think It Is

It is a bit surprising that venerable old pundit workhorse David Broder doesn't know how gerrymandering works, and what it is supposed to accomplish. Gerrymandering is a technique whereby politicians draw political boundaries in a way best suited to help their party - and it doesn't quite operate the way Broder thinks it does.

Broder sees gerrymandering as a huge problem, maybe even bigger than campaign financing itself:

As a number of scholars have pointed out, the scarcity of real competition in nearly all districts has many consequences -- all bad. It makes legislators less responsive to public opinion, since they are in effect safe from challenge in November. It shifts the competition from the general election to the primary, where candidates of more extreme views can hope to attract support from passionately ideological voters and exploit the low turnouts typical of those primaries.

Gerrymandered, one-party districts tend to send highly partisan representatives to the House or the legislature, contributing to the gridlock in government that is so distasteful to voters.

The problem with Broder's article is that the idea behind gerrymandering is not to build safe districts for the party. In fact, the point is to do nearly the exact opposite: build slim majorities in as many districts as possible, so as to maximize the party's number of representatives in Washington D.C.

Read the article and see if that doesn't completely change and obliterate Broder's analysis.

Hillary Open To Being Veep

Supposedly, allegedly:

WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton told colleagues Tuesday she would be consider joining Barack Obama as his running mate, and advisers said she was withholding a formal departure from the race partly to use her remaining leverage to press for a spot on the ticket.

On a conference call with other New York lawmakers, Clinton, a New York senator, said she was willing to become Obama's vice presidential nominee if it would help Democrats win the White House, according to a participant who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to speak for Clinton.

Obama would be nuts to bring her on as VP. The Clintons would hover over him like vultures, undercut him at every opportunity, and plot his demise (one way or another) so Hill can run in 2012.

She also proved to be an inept campaigner . . . she went from being an all-but-coronated inevitability, to being beaten by a senate half-term nobody with a foot in his mouth. How much worse would she get if now she has to campaign for someone else; someone she would just as soon see lose?

Robert Byrd Taken To Hospital

Hugh Hewitt just reported this on his show, I went to Google news and a few other places and haven't seen any news on this come across the wire.

I suspect it is true though, given the senator's age, hopefully it is nothing serious.

Meanwhile, doctors have reported that the operation to remove a tumor from Ted Kennedy's brain "accomplished our goals", though creepily, Kennedy was awake during the operation and helped the doctors by giving them feedback.



WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Robert C. Byrd's spokesman says the 90-year-old lawmaker was hospitalized Monday night at his doctor's urging after suffering from lethargy and sluggishness at his home.

Press secretary Jesse L. Jacobs says the West Virginia Democrat will be there overnight for observation.

Byrd, who is the longest-serving senator in history, voted during a 5:30 p.m. roll call Monday, then went home. Jacobs says that less than an hour later the senator began to feel ill.

He was found to have a fever, and at his doctor's request he was taken to a nearby hospital.

Jacobs added that he didn't know which hospital Byrd was taken to.

Does The Michelle Obama 'Whitey' Video Really Exist?

There is, allegedly and supposedly, some kind of video of Michelle Obama with Louis Farrakhan railing against 'whitey'.

Or is it 'why'd he', as explained by Jim Gerahty:

Apparently, if the tape ever comes to light, her words will sound something like:

Whitey cut folks off Medicaid? Whitey let New Orleans drown? Whitey do nothing about Jena? Whitey put us in Iraq for no reason?*

...when the intended message is,

Why'd he cut folks off Medicaid? Why'd he let New Orleans drown? Why'd he do nothing about Jena? Why'd he put us in Iraq for no reason?

As for whether the tape actually exists, Roger Stone of Fox News claims that it does, and Geraldo Rivera gives Stone props for being right about Eliot Spitzer:

Well speaking of Geraldo Rivera, this mysterious tape might end up having all the impact and drama of Al Capone's vault.

If not and it proves to be real, the only two white people voting for Obama this fall will be Bill Ayers and Father Pfleger.

Quote Of The Day

From commenter Seneschal at Jake Tapper's blog Political Punch:

"John McCain spent five years in chains listening to anti-American propaganda, and he paid a dear price.

Barack Obama spent twenty years sitting in a pew listening to anti-American propaganda, and he happily paid for the privilege."

I read Tapper's blog a lot, because he is one of the very few MSM correspondents that doesn't think his job is to heap adoration upon Barack Obama.