There’s a great explanation of the issues at hand in the DC gun ban case, DC v. Heller, here at Concurring Opinions. Concise, informative, not too heavy in legal jargon. If this is representative of the writing at that site I’m going to become a regular reader. Professor Mike O’Shea authored this article and gets right to the heart of the matter.
Here’s the question presented in Heller, which the Justices themselves drafted as part of the certiorari grant [bracketed text mine]:
Whether the following provisions — D.C. Code §§ 7.2502.02(a)(4) [banning handguns], 22-4504(a) [banning gun carrying, including at home], and 7.2507.02 [requiring all guns to be both unloaded and locked or disassembled] — violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?
The question suggests that the Court has its eye on the right issues. It breaks down naturally into three interpretive steps:
(1) Does the Second Amendment protect a right of individuals?
(2) If so, do individuals enjoy that right regardless of whether they are currently affiliated with a state-regulated militia organization?
(3) If so, then what purposes, of the various purposes for which individuals may wish to keep or bear arms, are constitutionally protected?
Heller wants the Court to answer “yes” to (1) and (2), and to give an answer to (3) that is broad enough to include the purpose of individual self-defense against violent crime. If Heller loses on (1) or (2), he loses his case. But if he wins on both (1) and (2), that may suffice to strike down some of the challenged D.C. gun prohibitions. If Heller prevails on all three steps, it’s almost certain that some of the challenged prohibitions will be held invalid, and Heller may well prevail across the board.
Indeed. Heller is to file his brief next week and the case is supposed to be heard in March. I’ll keep you advised it I hear more.
Captain’s Quarters talks about the latest campaign finance disclosures and the reaction to Romney’s balance sheet by McCain’s campaign team. They’re calling the notion that Romney’s campaign is being funded mostly by himself “alarming”. Ed Morrissey – no fan of the BCRA (a.k.a. McCain-Feingold) – says that such self-funding represents 1 advantage that the supporters of BCRA were always touting. That’s the fact that self-funders don’t owe lobbyists when they get into office. However,
Now the author of the BCRA wants to complain about running against a candidate who self-funds. John McCain can’t have it both ways. If he dislikes the wealthy who have to spend their own money to challenge the power system, then get rid of the Byzantine mess that his McCain-Feingold bill has created — and its attendant insults to the First Amendment. That’s what is truly “alarming” in politics.
I’m guessing McCain’s distaste for Romney’s spending wouldn’t rise to the level of his dismantling BCRA. In fact, if he wins he’ll likely just laugh about the money Romney’s spent and leave it at that.
Instapundit brings us a pointer to this article by Bob Krumm wherein he wonders what’s up with the “McCainimosity.” Have a read of the article and then take a moment to read the comments as Krumm’s readers give him a clue. I’ll be writing a bit about that later when I have more than 5 minutes at lunch.
“McCainimosity.” “McCain Derangement Syndrome.” Is it just me or is everyone diving at an opportunity to tie a cutesy, dismissive name to the act of actually, you know, opposing a candidate on the basis of his political record?
More later, folks.
Update: Well, it’s later. Diving right into this, what gets me the most about articles like Krumm’s is this immediate assumption that anyone who stands firmly opposed to McCain’s candidacy and record hates McCain. Krumm doesn’t use the term specifically and, to be fair, it only makes the implication lightly. It’s the term he’s coined: “MCainimosity.” The definition of “animosity” is “a feeling of ill will arousing active hostility.” There are certainly people who are going overboard with their opposition to McCain – getting inappropriately personal. But there are plenty more who haven’t and whose opposition to McCain gets belittled by having this term applied.
Worse is the genesis of the “McCain Derangement Syndrome” reference, a term I’m sorry to say seems to have been generated and further propagated by 2 men I admire a great deal. It’s pretty obvious that the reference is to “Bush Derangement Syndrome” which is a malady many on the right have ascribed to many on the left for several years now. The implication is that anyone who accuses someone of having the latter has no better claim to rational thought and suggested action should they, themselves, be accused of the former. I call foul because there’s just no equating the former to the latter. Here’s why.
When someone continuously harps on the notion that Bush lied to America and Congress to get us into the war, that he’s turning this nation into a police state, that he actually arranged the 9/11 attacks, etc., that person has BDS whether you choose to call it that or not. The common feature among all the assertions these people make is that they have absolutely zero evidence to prove their accusations. More unsubstantiated accusations does not evidence make and that’s the hallmark of BDS.
The people talking about “MDS” are referring to people who have legitimate issues with McCain on the basis of well- and publicly-documented actions and McCain’s own policy statements. There’s no lack of evidence for the issues brought up. (For my list, see this post.) Making this kind of implied equivalence – that some jackass repeating over and over “Bush Lied! Bush Lied!” in the face of compelling evidence that he did no such thing is as justified as my opposing McCain over the Gang of 14 action or his attempted immigration bill shove-down – goes beyond insulting. It not only dismisses my concerns, it conveys an attitude that the entire issue is somehow smoke and mirrors. There’s nothing smoke-like about McCain-Feingold or McCain-Kennedy or the Gang of 14. They happened, McCain was at the center of it, and the results were or could have been very, very bad.
I don’t hate McCain. I don’t dismiss his military service and I certainly don’t dismiss his being shot down and held as a POW. None of that grants immunity to opposition when he assumes a political stance that I find to be wrong-headed. The folks who are busy coining these terms would do better actually addressing my concerns and advancing arguments as to why they shouldn’t matter.
Stepping further out of the realm of science fiction, a full-scale railgun has undergone testing at the highest power setting yet at the US Navy’s testing center. A railgun being developed for use in the new destroyer designs being discussed was fired at 10 megajoules, topping the previous record of 9.
(OK, so what’s a “megajoule”? Well, that’s 1 million joules. OK, funny man, what’s a “joule”? That’s a force of 1 newton applied over a surface of 1 square meter. You’re killin’ me. What the heck’s a “newton”? That’s a measure of force. Force is defined as ‘mass times acceleration’ and quantifies the difference between someone tossing you a roll of quarters using a slow, underhand throw versus someone shooting that roll of quarters at you using a cannon. One newton is the force generated by 1 kilogram of mass moving at 1 meter/sec squared. Let’s just say a megajoule would put a pretty good hole in ya. And 10 of them would… well, you get the idea.)
A railgun does its job not through gunpowder but by accelerating a projectile using a series of incredibly strong electromagnets. The advantage to the Navy would be huge. A ship equipped with these instead of traditional cannon wouldn’t need to carry any chemical propellant, completely avoiding the risk of an accident like what happened on the battleship Iowa back in 1989. The power to the gun can be varied to a far greater degree of precision than chemical powder to a cannon, allowing a vessel to “dial up” a specific setting for a given range and desired hitting power. Theoretically, such a gun could fire at targets literally in orbit given the right amount of power.
It’s a significant step and a direction we need to keep going to maintain our technical superiority in combat.
In the latest of the “internet” consolidation moves, Microsoft has made an offer to buy out Yahoo for $31 a share. MS has been getting its butt beat up in the on-line services department, unable to establish itself online against the incumbents like Google and Yahoo. This isn’t the first time MS has come a-courtin’, either. This was tried last year. Maybe the boys in Redmond think they’ve got a better shot at it given the downturn in the markets of late.