In this video, the Insitute for Justice takes a look at the individual mandate that is different from the arguments most often made against the law. George Will also explores this perspective here.
Lawyers and laymen alike know vaguely that in McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court found that state and local governments are, as the federal government is, limited by a constitutional individual right to bear arms.
But not everyone who approves of the end result is happy about how the 5-4 majority (or rather, 4-1-4 plurality) arrived to this conclusion. My good friend and legal scholar Josh Blackman explained a few months ago the two different paths the court could take: it could incorporate the Second Amendment against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause, or it could use the Fourteenth Amendment's privileges or immunities clause.
The plurality went with the first option (Justice Clarence Thomas was the only one to go with the second). There has been and will be a lot of analysis of the implications of this decision, but the article Blackman co-wrote for the Washington Times explained and summarized the situation simply and clearly. Read it here.
Because it now lets you get into your car, fly it to work, a friend's, a concert, or a game two states away, and park it in your garage upon returning home. The stuff of science fiction:
John Hawkins is out with another one of his fun polls, this time a like/dislike poll for a good list of people on the Right. Click here to see the entire list.
Two quick observatons. First, wow:
How do you feel about Thomas Sowell?
Strongly like: 82% (66 votes)
Like: 17% (14 votes)
Dislike: 0% (0 votes)
Strongly dislike: 0% (0 votes)
I assure you I am among those who "strongly like" Mr. Sowell, only for the lack of a more flattering option. Second, how can up to nine right-of-center bloggers not like Jim DeMint?
How do you feel about Jim DeMint?
Strongly like: 46% (35 votes)
Like: 42% (32 votes)
Dislike: 11% (9 votes)
Strongly dislike: 0% (0 votes)
The facts speak for themselves:
A telling story is illustrated by the murder numbers since the handgun ban and gun-lock bans were struck down. Between 2008 and 2009, the FBI's preliminary numbers indicate that murders fell nationally by 10 percent and by about 8 percent in cities that have between 500,000 and 999,999 people. Washington's population is about 590,000. During that same period of time, murders in the District fell by an astounding 25 percent, dropping from 186 to 140. The city only started allowing its citizens to own handguns for defense again in late 2008.
Few who lived in Washington during the 1970s can forget the upswing in crime that started right after the ban was originally passed. In the five years before the 1977 ban, the murder rate fell from 37 to 27 murders per 100,000. In the five years after the gun ban went into effect, the murder rate rose back up to 35. One fact is particularly hard to ignore: D.C.'s murder rate fluctuated after 1976 but only once fell below what it was in 1976 before the ban. That aberration happened years later, in 1985.
This correlation between the D.C. gun ban and diminished safety was not a coincidence. Look at the Windy City. Immediately after Chicago banned handguns in 1982, the murder rate, which had been falling almost continually for a decade, started to rise. Chicago's murder rate rose relative to other large cities as well. The phenomenon of higher murder rates after gun bans are passed is not just limited to the United States. Every single time a country has passed a gun ban, its murder rate soared.
Funny stuff (mild content warning):
Solid material from Cato's Gene Healy:
The Constitution requires that the president "from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union." But it doesn't mandate the modern pageant of pomp, circumstance, and phony promises we suffer through every year.
In fact, for most of the Republic's first century, the SOTU was a modest, informational affair. Presidents sent the written address to Congress, to be read aloud by a clerk. That was thanks to President Jefferson, who thought delivering the speech before Congress assembled smacked too much of a king's "Speech from the Throne."
When the power-hungry Woodrow Wilson overturned the Jeffersonian tradition in 1913, one senator cursed the revival of "the old Federalistic custom of speeches from the throne," calling it a "cheap and tawdry imitation of English royalty."
When Obama had to make way for Lost, some lamented the fact that many Americans preferred trash TV over presidential enlightenment. But the public's lack of interest in the SOTU is actually a sign of political health.
When all eyes turn to the president, demanding he cure whatever ails us, the result is a dangerous concentration of federal power. Thus, it's good that our national talk-show host suffers from declining Nielsens.
John Hawkins over at RWN polled 69 right-of-center bloggers, including yours truly, on which candidate they so far plan on supporting in the 2012 GOP Primaries (assuming those candidates run). The results are here.
A few observations: First, in what gives me my biggest smile in weeks, Mike Huckabee secured a grand total of zero votes. Making me almost as happy is Ron Paul's single vote. Otherwise I like the spread (well, actually, I like the fact that there is a spread), although bloggers seem to be under the impression that some of these candidates are "true" conservatives when they are, in fact, not. Such candidates will inevitably be smoked out, and the field will be cut significantly. It will be interesting to see who will stand to gain - I am guessing the top three: Palin, Pence, and Romney, but Pence more than anybody because bloggers already know Palin and Romney and chose against them. Newt Gingrich should also be polling higher, but I think the bloggers are still punishing him for endorsing Dede Scozzafava in NY-23. His numbers will recover with time if he stays in it.
Now to whom did my vote go? I voted for [computer malfunction]
Governor Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio are now tied in the 2010 race for the Republican Senate nomination in Florida.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters finds Crist and Rubio each with 43% of the vote. Five percent (5%) prefer another candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.
Crist’s support has fallen from 53% in August to 49% in October. Rasmussen Reports noted at the time, “The fact that Crist has fallen below 50% in a primary against a lesser known opponent suggests potential vulnerability.”
Rubio’s name recognition has grown in recent months and he is now viewed Very Favorably by 34% of Likely Primary Voters. That’s up from 18% in August. As his name recognition increased, Rubio’s support in the polls has jumped from 31% in August to 43% today.
Can we start a pool on when Crist will pull a Specter and switch to the Democratic Party? I'll take March.
Let this not be confused as an acceptance of Barack Obama's foreign policy, as a change in my belief that he should have refused the Nobel Peace Prize, or as anything that might take away from my previous commentary (here and here) regarding Obama as less than satisfactory on the international stage.
But he gave a mostly good speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize (transcript) in Oslo. Sure, it had the obligatory rhetorical shoe tosses at George W. Bush, but it also contained some solid parts that I could have written myself.
I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
I raise this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter the cause. At times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world's sole military superpower.
Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions - not just treaties and declarations - that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest - because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another - that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier's courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause and to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such.
I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later.
I understand why war is not popular. But I also know this: the belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. Peace requires responsibility. Peace entails sacrifice. That is why NATO continues to be indispensable. That is why we must strengthen UN and regional peacekeeping, and not leave the task to a few countries. That is why we honor those who return home from peacekeeping and training abroad to Oslo and Rome; to Ottawa and Sydney; to Dhaka and Kigali - we honor them not as makers of war, but as wagers of peace.
All good stuff. But the thing is, why have we reached the point where we are pleasantly surprised that America's president is saying good things about America on the international stage? What a low standard the man has set for himself. This speech might be a tiny step in making amends, but that also assumes that he believes it all.
And it doesn't even exist... yet:
In a three-way Generic Ballot test, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Democrats attracting 36% of the vote. The Tea Party candidate picks up 23%, and Republicans finish third at 18%. Another 22% are undecided.
This should sound a bell in the GOP establishment circles that have forced this new reality. But will it?
Here's a random mix of stories that stood out for me this week:
Climategate: Follow the Money (Bret Stephens, WSJ)
Remember When Democrats Wanted to Win the "Good" Afghanistan War? (Byron York, Washington Examiner)
New: Booze in a Pill (The Times of India)
Study: All Men Watch Porn (Jonathan Liew, Telegraph)