SCOTUS will not issue ruling in Heller case today

The DC gun ban case heard before the Supreme Court in March is due to be ruled upon soon. But not today.

The Supreme Court won’t give its ruling in the D.C. gun ban case Monday.

The court has scheduled a special session for Wednesday.

The law, which banned private ownership of handguns in the District, was taken to the Supreme Court after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the law violates the Second Amendment.

The crux of the argument is to focus on whether the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right to bear arms or protects the right of states to maintain militias.

Indeed it does. DC v Heller, as the case is truly named, will be a definitely decision in the matter and lay to rest (hopefully permanently) the question of whether the Framers intended the 2nd Amendment to apply to all citizens or just those in military/militia service. Wednesday it is, then.

Fred on Boumediene

Fred Thompson lends his considerable intellect to the analysis of the Supreme Courts supremely bad decision in Boumediene v. Bush, the case where SCOTUS just handed Constitutional protections to enemy combatants held prisoner by the US. I already linked to Fred’s commentary over at Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air scored an exclusive follow-up with Fred that you can find here. After that, wander over to Pajamas Media and hear more from Fred on the efforts by Obama’s supporters to mitigate the damage their candidate does to himself every time he opens his mouth.

Read and understand so you can better answer our fellow citizens who are simply buying what Mr. Obama and his staff puts out in P/R’s.

The goal is efficient traffic flow

This past weekend I had the chance – again – to hit the road and drive to a destination a couple of hundred miles or more distant. Since this is late spring/early summer, the road construction season is firmly upon us. In driving through parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, I was able to see the different ways these states handle road construction and maintenance and that has definitely given me insight into the differences in viewpoint about the mission of our Departments of Transportation.

Let’s cut to the chase: Pennsylvania is, hands down, the worst state I’ve ever driven in with respect to their project management in road maintenance and construction. In northern Virginia, when a road needs to be resurfaced they close off a section of about a mile or two and send in the task teams in quick succession. The milling crew comes in with the machines to strip off the old asphalt, if needed. They’re gone for no more than a day when the road prep teams come in. They remove any debris, usually with big honkin’ street sweepers, and then perform any general repair or prep of the surface. There are occasions where they need to bring in cutting teams to remove a section of the concrete below the asphalt and then pour a replacement section, but that’s usually done the same day or the day after. The day after that, the surfacing teams come in and lay down the new asphalt. If they do that in the morning, they’ve usually got someone starting to repaint the lines by the afternoon. I have seen sections of road being re-done where all of these teams are literally within the same 1-2 mile stretch of closed road. They travel down the road in a cohesive string, closing only as much road as they reasonably work. There are roads near my home where resurfacing has been completely accomplished in 48 hours.

On Interstate I70 in Pennsylvania, between the PA line with Maryland and Breezewood, There are at least 3 sections of road closed on the northbound side, reducing traffic to 1 lane. The closed sections range in length between 3 and 4 miles and when I went through there, there was not a soul or a piece of road equipment in the closed sections at all. I was through there 2 weeks ago on Friday, June 13 and again this past Saturday morning, June 20. The sections that were closed the week before remained closed this past weekend. The areas being resurfaced had not been completed, not even 1 yard of the road was done. In a week. In traveling further north on PA 220/I99 between Bedford and Duncansville, there were more of these closed-and-deserted sections of “work zone” again ranging in length between 3 and 4 miles. Again traffic was 1 lane.

The difference in approach is something I’ve become familiar with in my own industry. There are companies with IT departments and network management groups where the techies have grown to consider the information systems they work on to be there simply for them to work on. The users (and that word is usually spoken as a curse by these types of IT people) are an annoyance, intruders on the systems these IT guys maintain. Systems are designed with an eye more toward making life for the IT department easier and maintainence on these systems is done with more of an eye toward “maintaining the system” than in maintaining its usability. Networks, you see, don’t exist as separate entities in my view. There is a purpose for them, and that purpose is to enable the efficient flow of user data and user requests. It is the user experience that is – or should be – the primary driving factor in how, when, and where the IT staff perform the tasks necessary to keep the systems running at peak.

Road systems are the analogy for network systems and I use roads and highways as metaphors very often when speaking with non-technical people about this or that network design element. What the difference in road maintenance approaches used by Virginia (at least in the northern part) and Pennsylvania tell me is that the PA DoT people have lost sight of the purpose of their road systems. They are quite obviously managing the projects to maintain the road system so as to present as little problem for themselves as possible. They stake out huge tracts of road and implement 1 task of the process in that entire section before getting the next task team in place. They don’t work on Saturdays to complete the process quicker. They start many, many work zones that then lie completely fallow over many days when they clearly don’t have the teams available to complete the job. (Well, they’re unavailable or they’re simply not being deployed, 1 or the other.)

The purpose of the road system is to move traffic. That mission should be driving their approach to maintenance and it most obviously is not doing so. The object of a project is supposed to be completing the project, not merely starting it. Here at home, I don’t see the lack of concern regarding traffic disruption that I did in PA. There are construction projects going on in literally dozens of places (and there are some that close lanes for extended periods) but there’s something about those projects that you wouldn’t have seen in PA: people are working on them. There’s gear in place, there’s materials being used and brought in, etc. There aren’t miles of orange barrels surrounding torn up areas (and some that aren’t torn up, even) where nothing appears to be going on within.

I’ll be going through those areas again a number of times in the weeks to come and I’ll see if there’s any progress as we go along.

George Carlin dead at 71

While on the road again for business (which, interestingly enough, is giving me more time to blog), I took sad note this morning of death of comedian George Carlin. Carlin died of heart failure at the age of 71.

I remember listening to recordings of him that my older brother owned back when I was a kid. (Mom and Dad wouldn’t have appreciated that he was letting us listen, I’m sure.) I found the 7 Bad Words You Can’t Say on TV to be just the funniest thing I, at age 10, had ever heard. And yes, I can still recite them all. I actually got the chance to see him perform in 1981 when he did a show at the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall and he was every bit as funny as I’d remembered.

In recent years, his commentary and comedy turned darker than usual picking up on the distaste – sometimes downright hatred – of our present Administration. Still, he managed to entertain in ways that avoided the whole politics thing, for the most part. While it makes perfect sense to me now that I’ve heard it, I was surprised to find out that he was the voice behind the Disney Cars character Fillmore, the 60’s-era doper VW minivan.

He’s become a classic, now, and classics are missed when they are gone. Godspeed, Mr. Carlin.