Monday Link-O-Rama

Monday, June 04, 2007

New! With Misinformed Commentary and Bad Opinion!

So what it comes down to is that I am too overworked today top actually write a well-informed post. It's one of those days where I rely on you, The Reader, to fill-in the gaps with your thoughts.

1. Fuck this guy. A 16-count, 94-page indictment. Bad all the way around, and deserves swift punishment if he's found guilty. Which I am sure he is.

2. Watch this closely. Free Speech is at stake. A Marine, discharged honorably from active duty, is now being brought before the Marines to face the potential for a dishonorable disharge for wearing his uniform (from which all insignia were removed) during a protest. Disgusting waste of resources indeed, Cpl. His defense atty asked "what if his actions were in support of the Bush Administration?" What indeed.

3. Sure, it's from drug-addled reporters from a prominent music magazine...but good luck to Rudy. How do you think the author feels about him?

4. Maybe as long as these groups keep infighting we can get some other policy work done without talking about abortions all the fucking time.

Anything I missed?


steves 1:28 PM  

I have been insanely busy and haven't been able to get a decent entry, so I can sympathize with you. I'll try to fill in some of the gaps.

1. Corruption in Louisiana?!?! Say it ain't so. He sure as hell seems guilty, but I am waiting to see how his buddies will spin it.

2. There has to be some precedent to this. Vets protested the Vietnam War. Military law is totally foreign to me, though I remember someone that had worked for the JAG saying that their prosecutors had a 92% conviction rate.

3. A few months ago I was in Best Buy and they asked me if I wanted a complimentary 4 issue magazine subscription. I picked Rolling Stone. I had subscribed to them when I was in college and it wasn't a bad magazine then. Holy shit, have they gone downhill. I know they have always been left-leaning, but when they had PJ O'Rourke, there was some balance and at least the articles were well written. The quality there is abysmal...on par with the rantings of some angry high school student. Needless to say, I let my subscription lapse.

BTW, Rudi is a statist assbag. I hope he loses.

4. Roe v. Wade was bad law then and it is bad law now. This is an example of the price we are paying for very poorly articulated legal opinion. In making abortion into a Constitutional right, the Supreme Court effectively removed this topic from public debate and cut off any chance for a resoanble compromise. If the decision would have been left to the states, I am resoanbly confident that this issue wouldn't be nearly as divisive as it is now and we would have a more workable system. Instead, we have extremists on both sides and most people somewhere in the middle.

B Mac,  2:02 PM  

1. This seems to be a pretty flimsy case to me. I know I have certainly been known to keep thousands of dollars in my freezer wrapped in tin foil. Doesn't everybody?

2. I also have no military law experience, but I will predict two things; 1) this guy will eventually be punished, and 2) it will be a travesty. As far as I'm concerned, he can wear a picture of the President sodomizing a puppy while burning an American flag. He's earned that right the hard way. Whatever happened to the idea that "these guys are fighting to protect our freedom"?

3. Rolling Stone:
~ Analysis of whether the Beatles could beat the Who in Tecmo Super Bowl= brilliant.
~ Analysis of anything political= incoherent.

4. I disagree that Roe made abortion any more devisive. It took a debate that was already raging, and nationalized it. There is now a standard by which the issue can be measured ("does this violate Roe?"). Without it, a debate would change from an ideological debate to a clusterf*ck of a policy struggle. Were Roe overturned tomorrow, you would have 50 states worth of abortion debates, not one national debate.

If elected officials had free rein on abortion laws, it would become the primary deciding factor in elections on every level for years (hell, look what it's done to the process of nominating a supreme court justice). It would drown out any meaningful debate on health care, poverty, etc.

(BTW, the Who would probably win a Tecmo matchup with the Beatles, as long as no one was allowed to be the 49ers.)

Smitty 2:39 PM  

1. This guy needs to get charged for many reasons, the least of which being that the Dems said they act different from the Repubs, and they actually need to act like it. Pelosi wants this guys to get fucked quick so he doesn't mar the party. So the Dems can say that while they take care of their own, they also take care of their trash.

2. The only precedent to this is when active military bubbas walk around at a protest in their dress uniform at protests. They key is that they are still active, not IRR and not out completely. Yes, their conviction rate is huge because the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) works waaaay different than our court, and usually, when you're busted in the military, you actually did do it. You may have been told to. Justice is a little more Napoleonic (guilt before innocence), but you are allowed an attorney who is actually competent (you can't be a fuckstick and be a JAG).. This, however, is not even that level of hearing. This is a hearing with a special board who determines discharges. I disagree with b_mac. I think he gets off. I think the military does the right thing. I have faith in my Marine Corps.

3. I am with you. At its core, the article was a poorly-written angry rant. That rag has no balance to it and calls itself literature. Sort of like how Fox News calls itself News. But...the message is also true. Rudy is a half-cocked opportunist and a farce.

4. What strikes me as most funny is that the anti-abortion camp is infighting about who is harder-core. "They aren't true pro-life because this position waffles from our ideal." That shit is funny when you start to fight about who is the bigger idealogue. It finally allows us to talk about other shit on the national stage, and maybe the rift will be large enough that people who are moderately pro-life like me can have a place to comfortably sit. That's what I want to come out of that infight: reason.

steves 6:03 PM  

I guess I would also categorize myself as moderately pro-life. I guess I think this should be a state issue because there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government say over this kind of issue. It is certainly not one of the enumerated powers and the argument that it is a privacy right that comes from the 'penumbra' of the bill of rights is weak.

I think we need to be careful when we remove something from public debate and place it above reasonable discourse. I agree that it would be a contentious topic, but it would work itself out. Instead, it has been a divisive issue for more than 30 years with no end in sight.

Smitty, I doubt you will have any reason as long as it is up to unelected judges, as opposed to physicians, that control the debate.

steves 6:04 PM  

BTW, the Who would wax the Beatles in Techmo Bowl. I agree the 49ers were way overpowered.

Otto Man 11:33 AM  

If the decision would have been left to the states, I am resoanbly confident that this issue wouldn't be nearly as divisive as it is now and we would have a more workable system.

This is a common assumption, but a closer look at the actual history doesn't bear it out.

Between 1965 and 1973, when Roe was handed down, the issue was being sorted out by the states, and it was a fucking nightmare. State legislators can barely handle paving the highways, much less sort out issues of embryonic science and the legal definition of personhood. There were some knock-down, bloody, ugly legislative battles out there, debates that only made the issue more complicated and more contentious, and not less.

When the Court stepped in after eight years of this infighting, it did so in part to stop the insanity. There was a weird assortment of states where abortion laws had been liberalized -- not just coastal states like NY and California (where Gov. Reagan signed the law) but also North Carolina, etc. It was a piecemeal approach to something that the Court, given its lens as a right-of-privacy issue, believed needed a universal standard.

That said, Roe itself is a poorly framed decision. The justices should've just gone with a straightforward 14th Amendment equal protection argument, and created a decision that would've been purely feminist and, moreover, more firmly grounded in the constitution. Instead, they hung it on Griswold, which was a shaky foundation.

steves 2:38 PM  

I am familiar with the history and wouldn't make the argument that it would have been an easy issue to work out. I still think it is a state's issue, rather than a privacy or equal protection one. As bade as state legislatures can be, the feds are no bastion of logic and reason. Additionally, abortion laws are currenlty debated and passed by states. In the end, we are stuck with what we have and no real way of knowing what would have happened. Most of my theory came out of a fairly long discussion in a Con Law seminar I took 3 or 4 years ago. I do believe that this will continue to be a contentious issue until a more workable compromise can be crafted. Apparently, Ron Paul agrees with me. I was surprised, since I thought he was pro-choice, like most libertarians.

Griswold is shaky ground, but it is one of those decisions where I liked the result and shows my inconsistency.

Smitty 3:26 PM  

Additionally, abortion laws are currenlty debated and passed by states

Sure, to no avail. We can pass them all we want; they're unconstitutional.

It does mean the debate is happening in states as much if not more than the federal level. All the state can do, though, is limit abortion by type, not outlaw it outright. In other words, states can make it damn near impossible to get an abortion, they just can't outlaw it. It's a fairly common strategy on national-level issues: go state-by-state until you have enough to say "okay feds...time to act for everyone." You see it with mental health see it with abortion

B Mac,  3:34 PM  

Oh, I have as much faith in the feds to screw things up as I do with state and local government. I refer you to Ted Stevens, and his soliloquil debate on whether the internet is a big truck or a series of tubes...

My worry is the process more than the results. I'm sure the world would continue to turn (and the Detroit Lions would continue to suck) if Roe were altered (or struck down, expanded, etc.). But if the issue was fully on the table, the devisive nature of the issue would filter into every other debate. Look what the debate over the Iraq war has done to discourse at all levels; when you get a hot-button issue, the luke-warm buttons are either ignored or warmed up themselves.

I'm not saying it SHOULDN'T be a state's issue. In fact, it probably should be. But even if it isn't perfect (which it clearly isn't), Roe was an an act of mercy; a coup de gras for a political process flailing at the issue with fists clenched and eyes closed.

Justices Black and Scalia may turn over in their respective graves, but every now and then the courts have to save us from ourselves (wait, Scalia is still alive? Huh... who knew?).

steves 5:26 PM  

Though I am not always consistent, I am somewhat uncomfortable with an argument based solely on results. If Roe is bad law, should it stand if one likes the result? I hear a similar argument by supporters of the Patriot Act or torture. They will say, "who cares if it is unConstitutional, as long as it keeps us safe from the terrorists." I say that following the Constitution does matter, even if it means we may not always like the results.

Drug laws are another area that the feds don't belong in, to the extent they are now. I think if a state wants to legalize medical marijuana, why should DC have a say?

steves 7:33 AM  

My avatar is gone. Arrgggh!

If I can find it again, I will bring it bac. For now, enjoy this picture of future DNC chairwoman, Rosie O.

Smitty 8:13 AM  

YYYYAAAARRRGGGHHH!!! NO!!!! Bring back the boobies!! QUICK!!!!

steves 8:52 AM  

Is this better. If it is a bit much, I'll change it.

B Mac,  11:50 AM  

Two points:

Point #1: Steves, you are right about the dangers of jurisprudence of convenience. I am certainly not advocating for decisions like this to be driven by outcome rather than precedent and constitutional interpretation. I have no idea how the court came to the conclusions they reached in Roe (whether they used their reading of the constitution to decide the question at hand, or whether they massaged the constitution to reach their desired policy outcome). What I am saying is that however they reached that conclusion, it has saved us more headaches than it has caused.

I understand the comparison to the Patriot Act, but I see one major difference. Roe draws meaning from the 'spirit' (or penumbra, if you will) of the Constitution where the language is mute. The Patriot Act specifically negates ennumerated rights. Reading between the lines is problematic, but ignoring the text itself is dangerous.


Girl in Brown Bikini, you will be missed...

Smitty 12:40 PM  


Yeah, we try to be at least a modicum of "family-friendly" around girl in brown bikini is about as far as I can go. This is, after all, a public blog, and if the wrong person came by, it's my ass. Sorry.

George 2:38 PM  

Does it seem odd to anyone else that the thread boils down to two things--abortion rights and a woman rubbing her tits?

Maybe us guys shouldn't have a say in the first one....

steves 3:05 PM  

No problem. I agree and thought the same thing after I posted it. The good news is I found the same girl in a slightly different pose.

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