Sunday, July 24, 2016

James Comey And The Search For The Non-Existent Center

James Comey, the Republican but well-respected (by both parties) director of the FBI, cleared Hillary Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing in connection with her use of a private server for her e-mails as Secretary of State (a use made by both of Clinton's two Republican predecessors).  However, unlike most well-respected law enforcement officials, he did not let the matter rest there; instead, he took it upon himself to offer his personal opinion of what he considered to be Clinton's reckless behavior with regard to the use of the server.

Why?  I suspect that, like any good Beltway insider, he was attempting to pass the investigation camel through the eye of the bipartisan needle.  By clearing Clinton legally, while rhetorically shaking his finger at her (Bad Hillary!  Bad, bad, bad!), he was hoping to keep himself immune from political pressure coming from either side of our great political divide.

Except that it didn't work.  All it did was give Congressional Republicans another opportunity to exploit, for political purposes, what should have been a closed case.  And they used Comey to do so, by having him testify on Capitol Hill.  By doing so, they undermined the very rule of law they claim to be so important to them.  And Comey did much the same thing himself, by failing to respect past procedures in Justice Department investigations and failing to preserve Clinton's own right to a fair investigation of her conduct.

Which just goes to show that, in politics as in the rest of life, there's something more important that trying to be "fair and balanced."  It's called telling the truth.  Without fear or favor.  And without editorializing for the sake of keeping your own job.  Whatever respect Comey has earned over the years, it certainly wasn't justified by this investigation.  And it did nothing to pull America toward a "center" that seems to have vanished for good.

Good Riddance To Roger Ailes

The departure of Roger Ailes, the man who helped package Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush for the American voting public, and who then, in conjunction with Rupert Murdoch, helped to complete the process Murdoch began in the 1970s of transforming all American journalism into tabloid journalism, is at best a belated cause for celebration.  It would mean more if there was some easy way to undo what Ailes did to destroy our national political discourse through Fox News.  But I suspect there isn't.  When people have to go to Comedy Central just to get a complete picture of the day's events, that gives you some idea of how little is left of the Fourth Estate, in the wake of Murdoch/Ailes and their transformation of what was once almost a world of public service into just another consumerist way of tickling itching ears.

Besides, Ailes leaves behind him legions of acolytes who could conceivably take his place and continue the harm he's inflicted on the rest of us.  Take Sean Hannity, for example.  He easily has Ailes' ability to talk out of both sides of his mouth when he needs to do so.  Actually, reading recently how Hanitty tried to strike back at Jon Stewart's take-down of him on last Friday's "The Late Show" was pretty pathetic.  He accused Steward of the crime of --gasp!--making money! Outrageous!  If you're not a Republican, that is.  And then, he accused him of not giving to charity. Which is outrageous in a difference sense, when you consider this.  Or this.  Or this.  Or this.  Shall I quit now, Sean?  Or will you admit that I don't have to take you prisoner, because you're already dead?

So, what's my takeaway from Ailes' departure?  Apart from profound sympathy for his victims, I have to ask:  why do men who look like Jabba the Hut think that power makes them so alluring?  I have some advice for you, Roger.  Look at yourself in the mirror some more when you step out of the shower.  That should give you some idea of what women see when the see you.

Top Ten Reasons NOT To Vote For Trump (With A Bonus Reason To Vote For Hillary)

Last Friday night, after the orgy of horror called the Republican National Convention was finally over (and bravo to the great city of Cleveland for surviving it intact), there was a pleasant surprise on Stephen Colbert's "The Late Show"; his friend and former Comedy Central colleague, Jon Stewart, made a surprise appearance to (a) help Colbert celebrate the decline and fall of Roger Ailes (more on him in another post), and (b) offer his take on the aforesaid orgy of horror.  He did this largely by using the transparent hypocrisy of Sean Hannity (more on him in the aforesaid other post) to skewer Trump, a man who begs to be skewered and thereby produce more sizzle than any of his self-named steaks.  Needless to say, it was hysterical (and don't take my word for it; just take a look here).

Now that Trump's nomination is official, and polls show very little if any statistical space between Trump and Hillary Clinton, I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Colbert's predecessor, David Letterman, and list my top 10 reasons for NOT voting for Trump.  These are not necessary in any particular order; frankly, I think any one of them are bad enough.  Taken together, in any case, they illustrate why this pathetic excuse for a man shouldn't be president of a restroom, let alone the nation.  And, since it's a Letterman tribute, I'll start counting backwards.

10.  Donald Trump is a racist.  Not someone who occasionally says racist things, such as his Mexican diatribe at the beginning of the campaign.  Not someone who occasional acts in a way that could have a racist meaning or context.  No, when it comes to racism, Donald Trump is the real thing; a person who uses all of his resources to effectively declare war on people of color.  I could easily give you a typewritten list, but Nicholas Kristof has spared me the trouble.

9.  Donald Trump is a sexist.  Again, not someone who occasionally does or says questionable things with reference to women.  Someone who is the proverbial real deal.  Again, this is not just me saying this; to borrow a phrase from "The X Files," the truth is out there.  Personally, I think that his three marriages are bad enough.  They reflect the planning of a man who uses women for specific reasons.  The first marriage was for children, the second was the consequence of an affair he had to keep his middle-age fears at bay, and the last was to have arm-candy for corporate purposes.  Poor Melania!  Bad enough that she was given someone else's words to say, but what was worse is that she was clearly uncomfortable as a public speaker.  What kind of man forces his wife to humiliate herself that badly for the sake of his ego?

8.  Donald Trump is a child abuser.  Only a man who needs to be treated as an unquestioned authority would put his children in charge of his campaign, with no one else given input.  What child is seriously going to question the word or decision-making of his father?  No child should have to do that, not even if the child has been raise to be a cog in his or her father's machine.  And there's no evidence that Trump's children were raised for any reason except to flatter Trump and make him feel powerful.  And I don't just mean politically powerful; what decent father puts his hands on his grown daughter's hips in public?  The same father who "hit" on the same daughter on his overrated prime-time TV show.

7.  Donald Trump is a thief when it comes to his creditors.   When it comes to his business dealings with the powerful and the powerless, Donald Trump treats them both the same way:  he steals mercilessly from both.  By his own admission, he has used bankruptcy law as a vehicle form defrauding hundreds of creditors, destroying businesses, families and lives in the process.  And again, folks, I'm not making this up:  it's all right here.  And here.  You know where Donald's national debt reduction program is coming from, folks?  Right out of your Social Security checks.

6.  Donald Trump has wasted his own assets.  Like so many Republicans, he was born on the financial equivalent of third base.  Had he done little more than put his inheritance in the stock market, he would have created more jobs and income than he has through all of his misguided adventures in self-promotion.  Again, I'm not making this up.  There's just one problem:  had he done this, no one would ever had heard of Donald Trump.  And that's the point.  Do you want a President who puts self-interest above the national interest?

5.  Donald Trump has done 7. and 6. with the help of public officials.   He likes to brag about how business thinking needs to be used to combat government waste and cronyism.  He's not so upfront about admitting how much of that waste and cronyism he's generated himself.  Take a look.  A classic state capitalist, much like--well, I can't mention his name without being considered an extremist, but I'll put it this way:  a celebrated Broadway musical celebrated his "springtime."

4.  Donald Trump is a destroyer of his home town and its historic buildings.  The construction of overpriced, overrated, ugly buildings for the 1% was the beginning of turning New York from a city that made things possible for everyone into a city that made them possible only for billionaires. And, in the process, he destroyed valuable parts of New York's architectural and cultural heritage. I'll take the Bonwit Teller building and the Commodore Hotel over the buildings that replaced them any day.

3.  Donald Trump is an open formentor of civil unrest and physical violence.  Listen to his rhetoric about Mexicans.  Look at the footage from his rallies, and see how protesters are treated. And listen, if you can do it without having your stomach turn, to his so-called acceptance speech, in which he deliberately lied not only about crime statistics but about the source of gun violence.  It's about easy access to guns, stupid!

2.  Donald Trump is an unrepentant, pathological, serial liar.  See my previously-cited reasons.

1.  In short, Donald Trump is a world-class narcissist and bully who can’t be trusted with the nuclear button.  He'll become frustrated with having to deal with an entire country full of people who won't bow down to him, just because he's Donald Trump.  So, he'll either walk away from the job, if we're lucky (and leave us with Mike Pence, which makes us no-so-lucky), or he'll change the national conversation by starting random wars.  Perhaps even nuclear ones.  Don't forget:  he's a real estate developer.  To him, nuclear war is just another form of site-clearance.

And the bonus reason for voting for Hillary?  SHE'S NOT TRUMP!  Maybe she is the lesser of two evils, but there's still an argument to be made for voting for that.

Enjoy the saner convention that starts tomorrow.  And remember:  NEVER, NEVER, EVER TRUMP!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Beautiful Use Of Land-Use Law

Every once in a while, even a paper as conservative as the New York Post can appreciate the impact that public policy can have on the private sector.  Like real estate, for example.

This article, which discusses the impact of New York's "setback law" on skyscrapers built in the early part of the last century, illustrates how laws that have an aesthetic aim as well as a quality-of-life aim can also lead to the creation of landmarks that can serve more than one purpose over the course of their lifetimes.  The "setback law," which was designed to prevent New York from becoming a metropolis of monoliths that shut out light, also let to the creation of beautiful office buildings in Lower Manhattan.  Now, those same buildings are becoming luxury residences, with the setback upper floors becoming popular penthouse conversions.

This is just one of many illustrations of how overrated an unregulated economy can be.  Good regulations that thoughtfully respond to the real needs of citizens can often have multiple benefits. And landmarks that are created as a result, and then protected, create a unique sense of destination, something that matters to a city like New York that depends so heavily on tourism and foreign investment.

Sometimes, I think we all need to be reminded that the American Revolution was not a revolution against government, but a revolution against government that didn't serve the needs of the people. The latter is the kind of government we need.  Hopefully, soon, we can begin to work together so that we can have that kind of government again, at all levels.

And THAT'S Why You Don't Throw Away A Billion Dollars

In federal transportation dollars, that is.

I have written previously about the foolishness of Maryland's current mistake for a governor, Larry Hogan, in halting the Red Line cross-town transit project for Baltimore, which had the potential to begin the process of building what Baltimore and Maryland desperately need:  a true metropolitan rail system that could link Charm City with the nation's capital and create, in the process, an economic powerhouse on the scale of New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.  Foolishness, in fact, even by Republican standards:  his former mentor, former Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich, consistently stressed the need to capture every federal dollar available.  (I should know:  as a then-State employee, I was at Board of Public Works meetings and heard him say it.)

But somehow, good ol' Larry thought that he could then come back to Washington and request more than ONE-FOURTH of the money available to the ENTIRE NATION for two transportation projects, one of which just happens to benefit a cushy real estate development.  And what a surprise:  Uncle Sam said no.

And now, generations of Baltimoreans and Marylanders will have to pay the price for Hogan's opportunistic, short-sighted attempt to look like a big-budget cutter.  Why didn't he do with the Red Line what he did with the Purple Line:  ask Baltimore to assume a bigger share of the cost?  Or scale down the size of the project, to make it more affordable?

Nah.  That would have been way too reasonable.  Better to stick the budget knife into the urban corpse of Baltimore.  Folks there aren't going to vote for you in 2018.

Well, guess what?  No one else should, either.  Because we all lost something when you killed the Red Line, Larry.  People will figure that out in two years.  And then, we'll see if you're popularity still hovers at 70%.

And, Speaking Of Double Standards ...

... we have it's close cousin:  the false equivalency.

S.E. Cupp recently provided an example in a column in which she blamed both Democrats and Republicans for practicing the politics of division.  That might sound very fair-minded, especially coming from a commentator who generally leans to the right.  Only it isn't.

Republicans have been practicing the politics of division at least since the end of World War II, when they realized they didn't have to advance anything that benefited the American people, so long as they could get away with calling their opponents "Communists."  Democrats spent decades trying to talk over the GOP's ad hominem diversions and talk about issues instead.  But it got them nowhere. And it got the American people nowhere either:  the Republicans who got elected as a result of all this saddled the nation with war, debt, and scandal.

It has taken a new generation of Democrats to wise up and understand that, sometimes, you can only fight fire with fire.  Especially when Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama offer Republicans more than half a loaf (welfare reform, Obamacare), and the GOP sits back and demands the whole thing.

We didn't start the fire, S.E.. But we would welcome help from your side in putting it out.

Once Again, It's OK If You're A Republican (Justice)

Antonin Scalia may be gone, but his legacy lives on, in myriad and perverse ways.  For example, during his lifetime, it was not uncommon for him to comment, sometimes at length on political issues, thus exposing himself to the possibiliy of having to recuse himself from ruling on a case before the Supreme Court.  Not, mind you, that he would ever actually do that, even in a situation that all but demanded it.

But let Ruth Bader Ginsburg speak her mind about a man who's never going to be President of the United States (not if there's enough sanity left in this country), and she's all but forced to her knees by the not-so-liberal press.

And, of course, it really doesn't matter that Scalia is a conservative and Ginsberg is a liberal, right? Of course not.  Republicans love being held to high standards.  As long as it's double.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dallas, And The Turning Of The Gun Worm

Like what I hope and pray are most people, I mourned the five slain police officers in Dallas, every bit as much as I mourned the two slain young African-American men in Minneapolis and New Orleans days earlier.  Every bit as much as I have mourned every victim of every senseless gun-violence tragedy that has occurred in the nearly eight years since the nation decided to elected its first African-American President.

There, I did it.  I acknowledged the 800-pound gorilla in the nation's living room.  Then again, how could I avoid it.  We now have conservatives openly blaming the violence on Barack Obama's Presidency.  In one sense, it's the most astonishing confession I've ever heard.  "He did it!  He should have known how much taking orders from an [N-word] would anger us!  If it hadn't been for that, we wouldn't have had to make it so easy to shoot his own kind!  And his supporters among our own kind!"  (See, e.g:  Giffords, Gabby.)

More about this in a moment.

So, while I mourned all of the victims (and I haven't named any only because there are simply too many to name, and it's overwhelming enough writing this post as it is), I'm not surprised about the news from Dallas.

Let me be very clear about what I am saying.  Blue lives = black lives = all lives.  None of these deaths are justifiable.  All of them are unjustified taking of precious lives.  All of them diminish our collective lives and our fundamental humanity.

But it is a fundamental lesson of human history that, if one segment of society has declared war on another, it is only a matter of time before the other segment becomes desperate enough to fight back. And that is all the more so if a member of the other segment has been trained by our government to kill and our government has done little or nothing to re-acclimate that member to civilian life.  (Memo to conservatives:  wars have consequences, even when they're over.)

That's not me fomenting violence.  That's me describing reality.

So that's why I, believe it or not, do not think the New York Post was out of line with this.  I'm sure they're ascribing blame to the wrong aggressor.  But they're otherwise right.  Extremely right, just like the NRA, which will defend to its last breath the rights of gun manufacturers to make profits. Just like Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, where toy guns will be banned but real guns will be just fine.  And just like this idiot, who loves gun rights more than he loved his son and the future his son might have had, but for his violent narcissism.

What is it about guns in America in the first place?  If this is really all about the Second Amendment, then maybe we need to understand its history, which is after all our history.  And that history does not say that  the Second Amendment was created to guarantee an individual right for everyone to bear arms at all times.  Nor does it give much cover to the idea that it was created to facilitate state militias.

What it does support is the view that it was created to keep slaves in line. That's right. Racism is embedded in our history of so-called gun rights.  It's always been about keeping them in line.  That explains the lack of objections from white America to gun violence.  Except when they're the victims. And, most of the time, they are not the victims.

Thank G-d that people are finally waking up to this.  The majority of us.  Our courts.  Even Newt Gingrich, for crying out loud.

I pray it's enough to prevent any more senseless victims.  White, black, blue or otherwise.

After Brexit: Great Britain Is Neither

Much has been written about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and much of what has been written has been to the effect that a great empire cannot fall from without until it has fallen from within.  Up until recently, Great Britain was a different example of imperial decline:  long after it lost its ring of colonies around the world, it nevertheless maintained its political, cultural and economic importance as a great power.  Britain was still great because, like its American cousins on the other side of the proverbial pond, it had learned how to preserve the essential aspects of its national character while adapting to the changing world surrounding it.  It welcomed its Commonwealth subjects as citizens, it listened to Elvis and gave us the Beatles, it sought new opportunities for investing its capital and found many such opportunities here in the U.S, and it joined its Continental neighbors in providing an expanded safety net for its citizens.

All of that lasted until the beginning of what we can now call the Thatcher-to-Cameron era.  And, if there's a useful way to sum up the feelings of Britain, now that it is over, it might be this:  Screw adaptation!  We want our white world back!

That's not the sort of tone I try to strike in this blog, but it's hard to talk civilly about Britain in the wake of Brexit.  Perhaps the closest I can come to being civil about it is to say this:  after Brexit, Great Britain is neither great nor is it really Britain anymore.

Let's begin with the fact that the pro-Brexit or Leave vote was an English-Welsh vote, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to remain in the European Union.  The latter vote was so overwhelming that there is already talk of a second referendum on Scottish independence.  Even more amazingly, there is talk of Northern Ireland not only leaving Britain, but becoming part of a united Ireland.  To my surprise, there is already a legal framework for making such a union possible.  This ought to give anyone familiar with Irish history cause for pause.  If the Irish on both sides of the bloody religious divide value EU membership so much that they are willing to put centuries of Protestant-Catholic enmity aside for the sake of sharing EU benefits, what does that say about the British ideal?  And does anyone have any doubt about the outcome of a second Scottish referendum?

Even if a unified Ireland and an independent Scotland did emerge from the Brexit rubble, its hard to imagine that the core English voters, the ones who live outside the cosmopolitan island of London, would care very much.  Unlike their upper-class fellow Tories, they don't define being English in any institutional sense, whether the institutions in question are the House of Lords or the stock markets. They define it in the crudest way possible:  by the color of their skin.  They are not even bound by the traditional English appreciation for civility protected for centuries by unarmed bobbies.  They openly foment violence, even when they deny that they are doing so.  And they are unmoved by the possibility that their actions may lead to economic chaos.

If there is anything that could be said to link voters on the Remain and Leave sides of the Brexit vote, it may be an exhaustion and frustration with the fruits of laissez-faire economics, the hallmark of the Thatcher-to-Cameron era.  This, of course, is an exhaustion and frustration shared by Americans, who have had their own taste of this misery in the Reagan-to-Bushes era.  An economic policy that promised freedom and opportunity for all has been, over time and in both nations, to be a con game run by the investing class.  Anger at this is legitimate, but responding to it with bigotry is not.  All that does is pit one set of victims against another, with the one-percenters laughing as they count the money we continue to funnel to them.

That is what British and American conservatism now have in common:  each is a mix of wealthy cosmopolitans and poor bigots.  They are houses divide against themselves, and as such neither can stand any longer.  It may be unfair to criticize David Cameron too much for this:  like Nicholas II and Egon Krenz before him, it may simply his fate to have been the last man standing at the end of a historical charade.

Then again, perhaps the British themselves are weary of a national identity that seems no longer able to provide them with peace and prosperity, regardless of who is in charge of government. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of all of this is how few people really cared about a vote on an issue that clearly dictated the fate of the nation.  Many people voted with their feet, by staying home.  It may be the case that they just took Britain for granted, and only cared about the outcome once it was too late.

Or, it may simply be the case that they no longer cared if the majority of their fellow Britons no longer cared about anything other than being English and white.  In that case, perhaps the fate of the British Empire does mirror the fate of its Roman counterpart.  It did not fall apart from without; it fell apart from within.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

And, To End June For TRH On A Positive Note ...

... and, since I'm going to a conference on historic theaters, I'm happy to share this with all of you.

What an amazing place the Richard Rodgers Theater (formerly the 46th Street Theater) must be!  To have become the home of not one, but two hit musicals about American history!  In the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, "1776" made its original Broadway run there.  Happily, not long after it closed, a film version of the musical was made with many members of the original Broadway cast, thus giving us a record of the show that has kept its greatness, and its insights into our history, alive and well many decades later.

Today, even as I write this, the now-Rodgers Theater is once again the home of a hit musical about our history, in a way that allows its story to overlap with the one told by "1776" about the Declaration of Independence.  As we all know by now, "Hamilton" tells the story, in rap-music form, of one of the most complicated and intriguing Framers of our Constitution--Alexander Hamilton. Perhaps even more so than "1776," it makes use of contemporary music, and even more contemporary casting, to take the past and bring it to life in the present.

And how lucky we are that two men, each essential to one of these two shows, got together on the stage of the same theater in which they both made history and helped it come alive at the same time, and talk about what it all meant to them!

There may be no greater argument for the value of historic theaters than this historic meeting.

I'll have more to say when I come back from Chicago.  Happy Fourth, everyone!

Can Markets Be Created To Serve Public Needs?

In the case of Feeding America, an organization that distributes food donations to food banks around the country, the answer is apparently yes--in a spectacular way.  Working with an economics professor, Feeding America was able to create a market for making and getting food donations that actually increased the overall supply of donated food.  You can read about this in greater detail here.

It's possible to look at this article approvingly from two different perspectives.  Conservatives will, with some real justification, see a practical demonstration here of the efficiency of markets versus the ineptitude and heavy-handedness of central planning.  But that's in part because contemporary conservatives see everything from an even-or, zero-sum perspective.  As the article shows, the market created for food bank donations and distributions was, in effect, a heavily regulated one, and one in which the regulation was done with a very clear goal of optimizing the outcomes for everyone.  This was not an case of putting faith either in social Darwinism or Big Brother.  It was a choice in favor of something in between.

And "something in between" is usually where the truth lies.  Would that we could get back to remembering that.

The Future Is In Space, Whether We Like It Or Not

Just ask tiny Luxembourg, which recently decided to use a very large chunk of its money--well into nine figures, in fact--to invest in the future of asteroid mining.

We do not have an infinite Earth, folks.  We are, far more quickly than we realize, not only reaching peak oil, but in fact peak everything.  Well, a lot of things, anyway.  And yet, many of the things we're running out of on this planet can be found elsewhere.  Specifically, beyond the planet.  In space.

For a long time, we have faced the future only through the medium of science fiction.  Perhaps that's because the present has become so frightening that the only vision of the future people can conjure is one that's even worse than the present.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  The best of what can be found in science fiction--which includes asteroid mining, by the way--has almost always made it into science fact.  Science fiction has, in fact, often served as a guidepost to some of the greatest developments in human history.

So don't bet against Luxembourg's bet on mining in space.  We will need to find new sources for natural resources soon.  If they are extraterrestrial sources, so be it.  And human ingenuity has thus far always found a way to get what it needs.

White Justice, Black Justice = No Justice

A tale of two young men in 21st-century America.

Both of them college athletes.  Both found guilty by the criminal justice system of raping unconscious women.  And both of them sentenced for their crimes.

But that's where the road diverges in two directions in the narrow woods of American justice. Because one of the young men is serving a mandatory sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison.  The other young man was only sentenced to six months, with the prospect of only having to serve perhaps half of that sentence.

One of these young men is white.  One of these young men is black.  Guess which one got the stiffer sentence?

Not much of a guess, is it?  Not in an America where a bigoted businessman can parlay his lack of experience, and his hatred, into a full-scale campaign for the Presidency of the United States, uncovering the rancid bigotry of a major American party in the process.

There will be no justice in America as long as there is racial disparity in sentencing.  None. At. All.

We all need to fight this.  For all of our sakes.

Steve Cuozzo's Prayers Are Answered

And so are mine.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post, who writes on New York real estate and is not anyone's idea of a preservationist, had written a column about the impending demolition of a former Presbyterian church in Manhattan, in favor of yet another high-rise hotel development.  The church had meaning to Cuozzo because, in an earlier stage of his career, he had worked there as an administrative aide when the church was being used as a performing arts center.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that even Cuozzo, who normally takes a 1-percenter's view of real estate development, could find room in his heart for being sentimental about a piece of old New York.  Which is why I'm happy to join him in reporting that the developer has decided to incorporate part of the church's facade into the new hotel.

Perhaps most impressively, as reported by Cuozzo, the developer is doing this out of recognition that preservation can add financial value to a project.  It's what preservationists such as myself have been saying for years.  Let's hope and pray that more and more developers recognize this--and soon.

And So The Heller Decision Begins To Crumble

I have written several times about the jurisprudential badness of the Supreme Court's District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the late Justice Antonin Scalia amputated the Second Amendment to find an individual constitutional right to bear arms, but then tacked on to the ending a lecture on the need to regulate guns that was unsupported by any legal rule or precedent.  A decision that much at odds with itself is not bound to be respected for very long.  And, in any event, Heller cannot be allowed to prevent a government from carrying out what is unarguably its most basic responsibility: the safety of the governed.

Which is why this is so important.  Although it respects the logic of Heller to the extent that such logic exists, it nevertheless enforces a view of the Second Amendment more consistent with what the Framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended:  the view that the right to bear arms is subordinate to the right to be safe, especially in public.  We have, sadly, allowed the need for gun companies to make money to get in the way of what was once patently obvious.  Let's hope that, with the help of courts like the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, it can become patently obvious again.