Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 28, 2010

MONDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* This could get even uglier: "Federal officials are increasingly concerned that high waves from Tropical Storm Alex may interfere with the oil cleanup effort in the Gulf of Mexico, National Incident Commander Thad Allen told reporters in a Monday afternoon briefing."

* Major 2nd Amendment ruling: "The Second Amendment's guarantee of an individual right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control laws, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision." More on this from Scott Lemieux, and at his brand-new, stand-alone blog, Adam Serwer.

* Sarbanes-Oxley also fared well at the high court: "The first group established by Congress to regulate the accounting industry survived a constitutional challenge on Monday, emerging only with its members' having a little less job security.... In its ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which established the board and sought to reform corporate America after the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals." It may seem unrelated, but this matters to legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

* Not inspiring confidence: "Top officials in President Hamid Karzai's government have repeatedly derailed corruption investigations of politically connected Afghans, according to U.S. officials who have provided Afghanistan's authorities with wiretapping technology and other assistance in efforts to crack down on endemic graft."

* And in related news: "The chairman of a key House subcommittee said Monday that she would strip $3.9 billion in aid for Afghanistan from next year's spending bill over concerns about rampant graft in the country and alleged efforts by President Hamid Karzai's government to derail corruption probes."

* Shades of the Cold War: Russian spies arrested in the U.S.

* I'm genuinely delighted to see so many Senate Democrats dismiss the "umpire analogy" as it relates to the Supreme Court.

* Not encouraging at all: "Leaders of the world's biggest economies agreed Sunday on a timetable for cutting deficits and halting the growth of their debt, but also acknowledged the need to move carefully so that reductions in spending did not set back the fragile global recovery."

* Slightly improved: "Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in May more than forecast, a sign households are gaining confidence in the recovery and the job market." Personal incomes were up a little, too.

* Former Vice President Dick Cheney was hospitalized over the weekend for medical reasons, and was released earlier today.

* The White House hasn't given up on immigration reform.

* Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii becomes the new president pro tempore of the Senate.

* The Monthly's Daniel Luzer interviews James Kvaal, the next deputy undersecretary of education.

* For all the bizarre theories about the now-defunct Journolist, I can personally attest to the fact that the truth is far more mundane.

* In light of the Dave Weigel mess last week, some Washington Post insiders trashed in-house bloggers to Jeffrey Goldberg. Don't miss Greg's Sargent's beautiful response.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Comments

* Shades of the Cold War: Russian spies arrested in the U.S. -- Steve Benen

If the Russians stay true to form of that era, expect most of the American Embassy to be obliged to take the plane home soonest (if not earlier).
Also: there goes the Medvedev/Obama brief romance...

Posted by: exlibra on June 28, 2010 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Glad that Cheney made it out alive. It keeps my tenuous hope alive that the law will catch up with him eventually.

Posted by: sparrow on June 28, 2010 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was hospitalized over the weekend for medical reasons, and was released earlier today.

Damn!

Posted by: pol on June 28, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

The umpire analogy is hilariously stupid, a real key to the thinking of the right.

If anyone really did call "balls and strikes", all of them would have been called out on strikes ages ago.

Posted by: Bob M on June 28, 2010 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Major 2nd Amendment ruling: 'The Second Amendment's guarantee of an individual right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control laws, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision'."

This is a complete reversal of Supreme Court precedent. From 1876 through 1939, the court held on four different occasions that the Second Amendment does not apply to individuals, but is limited to service by citizens in "state militias". The court also held that the present day National Guards are the equivalent to “state militias”.

So much for Roberts and Alito promising to respect Stari Decisis.

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 28, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

"You lied to us about umpires and balls and strikes and stare decisis and all that, but we didn't believe you ... No, I wouldn't say that you were at fault."

Posted by: Tham Thpade, Thenator on June 28, 2010 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that the right wingers believe in the balls and strikes analogy themselves. If it were true, all we would need is a computer programmed with the Constitution and we could send the rest of them home. The purpose of a judge, as the name implies, is to use judgment in his/her decisions. This has nothing to do with balls and strikes.

Furthermore, we're talking about the Supreme Court here. If everything were so cut and dried, they wouldn't have any business to do because it would all be settled long before it gets to them.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on June 28, 2010 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Not encouraging at all: ‘Leaders of the world's biggest economies agreed Sunday on a timetable for cutting deficits and halting the growth of their debt, but also acknowledged the need to move carefully so that reductions in spending did not set back the fragile global recovery’.

We are doomed.

Of course, Krugman once again accurately predicts the future:

The Third Depression

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 28, 2010 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

I agree basically with this SCOTUS A-2 decision. Chicagoan Otis McDonald should be able to keep a gun in his house and use it for self defense as needed. I suggest progressives support such personal freedoms (while accepting possible avenues for reducing misuse, such as registration, locale restrictions etc.) Stare decisis: Good point re self-consistency of conservatives, but we're supposed to be less rigid about that ...

Karzai: another Bush turd (like Roberts) who presumably will be blossoming for years to come. If Chalabi had taken power in Iraq, what a coup it would have been!

Posted by: Neil B 23 on June 28, 2010 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

With the passing of Robert Byrd, is there still a copy of the Constitution in DC?

Posted by: anomaly,too on June 28, 2010 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

interesting - so far pretty much blanket silence re Hastings at the WaPo. Plenty about the other cases and Kagan - and of course all the usual "On Faith" blather about "secular" issues - but here an important Supreme Court decision that didn't go the proper way, I guess - and suddenly a huge rush to talk about other things.

Not even a news article. Wow.

Posted by: sparky on June 28, 2010 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Shades of the Cold War: Russian spies arrested in the U.S.
=================
Considering how the GOP is falling into the abyss of hate and Psychosis, I have a feeling these spies have already accomplished much of what they were tasked with.

Posted by: Moxo on June 28, 2010 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

So much for Roberts and Alito promising to respect Stari Decisis.
-----------

Hopefull womeone will ask Kagan if she has as much respect for precedents as Roberts and Alito.

Posted by: Moxo on June 28, 2010 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Understanding Palin's Magical Realism

I think certainty is the one quality that truly distinguishes the Republican mind. The reason why republicans never apologize? They are certain they are right. Certainty is also, of course, the one thing that distinguishes the mind of a fundamentalist...

The Dunning-Kruger effect gets at the origins of certainty. And film maker Errol Morris, in a five part series in the NYT, interviews Dunning and fleshes out other deep ideas:

The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)

Good stuff...
For sure.

Posted by: koreyel on June 28, 2010 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

So, the story on Byrd's successor is this: Manchin appoints one but there's going to be a special election as well. Only... the special election will be in November of 2012, because it's already too late to file for 2010. In effect, in November 2012, two guys (or maybe one and the same?), from the same party, will be running for the same seat: one to fill the seat immediately after the election (for the remaining portion of Byrd's term) and one for the full 6yr term, beginning in January.

We used to have something called "theatre of the absurd" back in Poland, but, inventive as it had been, it didn't begin to match the absurdity of reality as it happens in West Virginia

Posted by: exlibra on June 28, 2010 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii becomes the new president pro tempore of the Senate.

Thereby taking the NEXT step in the the takeover of the mainland by the Second Hawai'ian Empire.

Shaka!

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on June 28, 2010 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

When the fools running the Washington Post fire Greg later this week will he get his old job back at TPM?

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 28, 2010 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

"This could get even uglier" GOM hurricane threat.
Anything COULD happen, but it probably won't.
Ned
hppt://chumpsandlosers.blogspot.com

Posted by: Ned Pepper on June 28, 2010 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Neil,

I agree basically with this SCOTUS A-2 decision. Chicagoan Otis McDonald should be able to keep a gun in his house and use it for self defense as needed.

I agree as well, as protecting ones homestead is a longstanding tradition, but it should be with a rifle or shotgun, as criminals are not too fond of carrying long guns around.

Posted by: Joe Friday on June 28, 2010 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Experts will tell you that a shotgun is the best weapon for home defense. It will stop an intruder in his tracks and won't kill the nice lady down the street. That said, a cell phone and good locks are also important home defense devices.

I agree with Neil about the Chicago decision.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 28, 2010 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't we simply replace the supremes with nine blowup dolls (sex organs/preferences optional) complete with baseball umpire's uniforms, and a Ouija board ? To me this would be a vast improvement.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 29, 2010 at 4:06 AM | PERMALINK

-I'm often tempted to wander the streets with a sixgun at my side, just to see what would happen.

Anybody know a good Constitutional lawyer that works pro bono?

Posted by: DAY on June 29, 2010 at 5:39 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Krugman once again accurately predicts the future:

Posted by: replica louboutin on June 29, 2010 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

Great typo there re: Scott L's new standalone blog.

Posted by: RhZ on June 29, 2010 at 6:19 AM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Court's past two rulings on the 2nd Amendment need to be studied closely and broadcast loundly for the cynical hypocrisy of the Court's reigning right wing faction.

In the first DC case a few years ago, the Court's "originalists," who claim to be mind-readers able to discern the "original intent" of the founders, read right past the introductory clause regarding "a well-ordered militia being necessary..." in order to declare that what the founders really meant to say is that the right to bear arms gives individual citizens a personal right to pack Uzis and 50 .cal machine guns.

But this case is even appalling because it involves the application of a constitutional principle that the conservative faction, and especially Justice Thomas, claims does not exist -- namely the extension of federal Bill of Rights guarantees to the states via their "incorporation" through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Incorporation has been the vehicle whereby liberal courts have battered down the walls of reactionary state laws that treat some Americans as second class citizens, which is why conservatives have fought it. And if you read Thomas' dissent in the Texas case involving the display of the 10 Commandments on a courthouse lawn, he says clearly that he does not believe the 1st Amendment's Estblishment Clause guarantees against a state religion apply to the state's because he does not believe in the principle of incorporation. As it stands, Texas has its own form of the Establishment Clause in its state's constitution. But if it didn't, then Thomas is content to say: Let Texas declare Christian Fundamentalist as the official state religion if they want and restrict voting rights in elections for state office to Christians only. If that is what Texas wants, then who are we as members of a Supreme Court pledged to uphold the Constitution as the supreme law of the land to mess with Texas.

Posted by: Ted Frier on June 29, 2010 at 6:20 AM | PERMALINK

Ted, Thomas concurs in the Chicago case. He reaches his conclusion using a different legal theory. I have to admit that Alito's thinking is that Heller held the right of self defense, especially in the home, is a fundamental substantive due process right, a handgun is the preferred method of self defense in America, and there is no good reason incorporation through the 14th Amendment shouldn't apply. Actually Alito's reasoning is pretty much means the incorporation of all of the original 10 Amendments. Justice Black's view has been achieved, but just took 70 years.

The decision is limited, Chicago can't ban guns all together. They are permitted in a persons home for self defense purposes. Alito says there can be limits on gun ownership, but they have to meet a higher standard than "because we say so." What those limits are will be litigated over the next 30 years. I am pertty sure that the limits are this side of the unlicensed private ownership of machine guns and machine pistols.

All the crap about original intent is out the window. The majority opinion embraces the traditional liberal view.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 29, 2010 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers,

So, basically you're saying I shot first and asked questions later. Wouldn't be the first time! Thanks for the concise summary.

Posted by: Ted Frier on June 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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