URLs du Jour

2018-03-28

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 14:11 is probably not meant to be taken literally, but…

    11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
        but the tent of the upright will flourish.

    You'll know the wicked have been defeated when we're all living in tents, pitched among the ruins of their destroyed houses. They'll be nice tents. They'll be the best tents ever. After a while, you be sick of the tents, you'll go "Please, please, could we get a slightly less flourishing tent?"


  • At NR, Kyle Smith breathes a sigh of relief: At Last, Honesty from the Left about Hating the Second Amendment.

    I don’t think conservatives realize just how huge a win it is for our side that the Left has finally been smoked out on the Second Amendment. Progressives are finally coming clean about how much they hate it, and wish to see it repealed. Good luck with that.

    The essence of the Left is that they must always be pushing on toward some previously unthinkable social goal; once upon a time it was racial equity and, starting in the 1990s, gay marriage. Gradually the position of the most dreamy-eyed among them takes hold with the most left-wing officials in the safest seats, then spreads out to become dogma for the Democratic party as a whole. The gun debate is, for the Left, moving very quickly away from the reasonable center. Having first center-right columnist Bret Stephens then retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (who was appointed by Gerald Ford and hence can be labeled s a “Republican appointee” though he was notoriously left-wing) call for repealing the Second Amendment in the New York Times is a godsend for Second Amendment fans. Check social media and you will find wild, unrestrained cheering on the bicoastal Left for the idea of repealing the Second Amendment. This is the party’s fervent base, and their views have a way of steering the party due to their cultural influence and their ties to the fund-raising apparatus of the party.

    It would be smart for the GOP to… OK, I realize the unlikelihood of what I just typed there, but anyway… It would be smart for the GOP to get every Democrat up for election to commit themselves on this issue.


  • At the Federalist, David Harsanyi advises the aforementioned retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: You Can Try To Repeal The Second Amendment, But You Can’t Repeal History.

    Whether repeal of the Second Amendment is feasible or not, historical revisionism is meant to mangle its meaning into irrelevancy.  Stevens claims that his conception of gun rights is “uniformly understood,” yet offers no legal precedent to back the contention up. Stevens claims the Second Amendment’s explicit mention of “the right of the people” does not create an “individual right” despite the inconvenient fact that other times the term is mentioned — in the Fourth, Ninth, and 10th Amendments — they have been found to do exactly that.

    Now, I’m not a legal scholar, but the idea, as the former justice argues, that the Founders wanted no limits on the ability of federal or state authorities to take weapons from law-abiding citizens conflicts with the historical record. Never once in the founding debate did a lawmaker rise to argue that gun ownership should be limited. Most state constitutions already featured language to protect that right. A number states demanded that the national constitution include such a provision, as well.

    [Amazon Link]

    Four years ago, Stevens wrote a book (link at right) advocating a Second Amendment repeal-and-replace. Which contained, as Cato's Trevor Burris pointed out, a common "grevious error" in describing weaponry used in mass shootings. Gun ignorance never stopped John Paul from ruling on matters concerning them.

    Now apparently he's just going for repeal.


  • Reason brings out a print-edition article by Eric Boehm: Gerrymandering Is Out of Control. (Could have really used an exclamation point in the headline, but that would be too unReasonable. Get it?) Boehm relates the recent history, if you're interested, of the Pennsylvania redistricting battles. And there's math:

    Various methods for calculating compactness have been proposed. The Polsby-Popper system, invented by two lawyers in the 1990s, compares the ratio of a district's area against a theoretical circle with the same circumference as the district's perimeter. That ratio indicates how much the district is indented on a scale of zero to one. The national average for a district is about 0.223, but the infamous Pennsylvania 7th scored just a 0.041, making it one of the least compact districts in the country.

    There are other methods for measuring compactness as well. The Schwartzberg score is similar to Polsby-Popper, except it's the ratio of a district's perimeter measured against the circumference a circle whose area is equal to the district's. The Reock score requires drawing the smallest possible circle that would encompass all points of a district, then comparing the area of the circle to the area of the district.

    But as I've said before (and tiresomely): the "fairness" problem isn't so much a matter of district line-drawing, but about the winner-take-all feature of elections: voters backing the candidate with a winning plurality get 100% of the representation they desire; other voters get nada. So (once again), I recommend my article from last year: Pun Salad Crackpot Proposal: Congressional "Fairness" Reform.


  • And my Google LFOD alert rang for an article in—whoa!—the Socialist Worker, which is published by the International Socialist Organization: Trump's cruel stunt in a state full of suffering. And that state full of suffering is … New Hampshire! Ohmigod!

    Standing before a handpicked crowd of supporters, local politicians and law enforcement officials in Manchester, New Hampshire, Donald Trump outlined his vision for combatting the opioid crisis. And combative it was.

    Instead of throwing his support behind the growing calls to treat the epidemic as a public health crisis, Trump made clear his intention to launch a revamped war on drugs.

    Here's the first thing that sprang to my mind: Google considers the Socialist Worker to be a "news" site, instead of a propaganda outlet for a discredited, ugly ideology. Hm.

    But in fact the article is relatively tame. Yes, it's predictably tendentious, contains a lot of easily-debunked cant, and is mostly insight-free. But in that, it's similar to a lot of stuff you'll get from MSM sources.

    Like that "cruel" adjective in the headline. How many times have you seen that in the past few weeks?

    Anyhow, where's LFOD? Ah, there it is:

    The very ethos of New Hampshire seems to reflect a form of idealism that is at odds with the holistic approach necessary for a statewide recovery effort. Encapsulated by its motto "Live Free or Die" there's a pronounced libertarian streak that exaggerates personal autonomy and dismisses the sociological phenomena that strongly influence behavior. Just as Ronald Reagan pitched the idea that many are "homeless by choice," there seems to be a lingering sentiment in New Hampshire that opioid addicts are solely responsible for their affliction, and the sole agents of change to overcome it.

    Yes, unsurprisingly there's LFOD-hostility among the International Socialists.