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2051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 24, 2011, 08:27:23 AM
I am disappointed in Linda Greenhouse here.  She knows better than to say some of the things that she wrote in this article.  She is almost always spot on, and if anything over-informed.  But here, she seems to forget information she used to know.

1.  "When I looked at voting patterns, I was surprised by what the numbers revealed: that in the divided cases, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has voted more often with Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor than with Justices Thomas, Scalia or Samuel A. Alito Jr. The number of cases is small, only nine, and there was no particular ideological spin to most of the decisions, so this is not to suggest that the term will disprove characterizations of the Roberts court, or the chief justice himself, as conservative."  This means nothing.  While she admits that it might mean nothing, by including it she draws attention to nothing.  Here is why: if in the majority at the conference stage (when the justices meet post-oral argument to preliminarily hash out the votes), the CJ will assign the majority opinion.  It is entirely possible that Roberts is voting with the "liberal wing" more often simply because he wants to assign the opinion.  CJ Burger was known to do this same thing.

2.  "Justice Thomas... has yet to write for the majority in any case this term. ...  The court’s eventual opinion in a case called Connick v. Thompson, argued back on Oct. 6, may be revealing. It is the only undecided case left from among the 12 the justices heard during the first month of the term, so by deduction, the opinion assignment should have gone to Justice Thomas, the only justice without a majority opinion from that session (Justice Kennedy and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg each have two.) "  There is NO SUCH THING AS "SHOULD" HAVE ASSIGNED AN OPINION.  Here is why: first of all, while balancing the workload is important, the Chief Justice (see above for why) can assign opinions for many reasons.  Who writes the fastest, who is closest ideologically, who can support the majority, who is an expert in the area of law being questioned, etc. etc.  Moreover, if Justice Thomas did not vote with the majority, he wouldn't be assigned the majority opinion.  Greenhouse has no way of knowing if he was in the majority or not, so she can't know that he "should" have been assigned the opinion.

3.  "Perhaps Justice Thomas, having received the initial assignment to write the majority opinion, has been unable to hold four other justices to his approach to this case. Or perhaps a dissenting opinion is taking a long time to incubate."  While all true reasons why an opinion announcement might be slow in coming, since she can't know that Justice Thomas was assigned the opinion, this is also meaningless. 

2052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 18, 2011, 07:08:32 PM
Clinton still never got more than 48% of the vote. I guess, despite Dems furious bribes to people with more and more taxpayer money this is a center right country.

A popular vote majority is a rather rare presidential election.  Don't read too much in Clinton's inabilty to get 50% or more. 
2053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Men have become the weaker sex on: March 18, 2011, 04:24:00 AM
2054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran admits cyber-attacks on: March 18, 2011, 03:57:29 AM
2055  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Rest in Peace on: March 17, 2011, 05:04:07 PM
Haven't read EAKAT, but did enjoy HT's HAs many years ago.

Also part of that crew was Ram Dass.  Is he still alive?
2056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Rest in Peace on: March 17, 2011, 06:23:29 AM
I would recommend reading the "Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test" and Hunter S. Thompson's "Hell's Angels" together at some point.  Kesey and the HA were parts of a social circle and the differences of perspective on interactions is interesting (as are the interactions, all by themselves!). 
2057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Radioactive Plume to SoCal on: March 17, 2011, 06:19:06 AM,0,4670867.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Ktxl-Fox40NewsAtTen+%28KTXL+-+FOX40+News+at+Ten%29
2058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 16, 2011, 02:54:00 PM
Guro and GM (in particular), I read a local newspaper account in which the local nuke plant manager says that the plant was built to withstand a 9.0 RS earthquake.  That surprises me given that those in California were not built to withstand such a shock.  I think that, like Guro, I am a bit sceptical. 
2059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 14, 2011, 05:00:23 AM
Given the vast difference in gov't funding, it sure looks like the AWEA gets much more bang for it's lobbying buck, does it not? What's the overall size of the green industry vs. that of the oil/gas industry?

I would think that an industry that is smart with its money would appeal to you.  Also, I'm not sure the rest of subsidy information in the video is correct.  If he was wrong about the lobbying activities, I am not sure why I would trust him with the other half of that information.
2060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 09:07:42 PM
GM: According to the economist, Robert Michaels, in the video, the wind energy lobby American Wind Energy Association is "right up there" with lobbying efforts of the oil industry.  He was wrong:

AWEA gave less the $250,000 in 2009-2010.  This was the top contributor in the alternative energy industry (

The top 20 oil contributors ALL gave more than AWEA in the same time frame:

Also, I couldn't anything on the New Madrid plants' construction strength, except for one local broadcast assuring residents that a local plant was safe. 
2061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 08:04:29 PM

Note the magnitude of earthquake the reactors are built to withstand. 
2062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 08:00:58 PM
GM: "I think we can all agree that "areas of seismic activity" shouldn't have nuclear plant built there."  This was the point of my original post.  I was talking about my concern with a second power plant that has been considered in an area with a major fault line.

Also, I am about to listen to the YouTube video you posted.  Thanks for the link, and for the information on CO and TMI. 

Doug: You've not offended me.  I just wanted to be clear.  I was also a bit more curt than I intended.  I was trying to call your attention to the point not "call you out."  Incidentally, Heritage does lots of interesting things.  I've even sent a student there as intern.  She had a great summer, and met, among many others Laura Ingraham and Bob Barr. 

2063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 02:09:02 PM
According to this website,, which I selected because it was the first one I found (which makes it practically a scientific find  grin), the population density of the LA area ranks 90th in the world.  New York is 114. 

More over, I am not exactly sure why this came up.  I said something about walking to work.  I don't consider my legs public transportation.  Cars led to people moving away from where they work.  This is the reason why people needed more cars and drove farther each day.  I made a conscious choice (see that Doug?) to live close to work, rather than farther away. 

I did not, and would not, suggest coercive measures for this.  But for a country that wants to have energy independence from the rest of the world, this seems like a good way to go. 
2064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 11:18:02 AM

The majority of Americans don't live places where public transportation is economically viable. We need cars. I can tell you that as someone that has seen lots of MVAs, including fatals that smart cars aren't.

However, as people increasing move to urban centers, this becomes less true.
2065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 06:51:57 AM
Thanks for the replies on that.  BD in particular, I understand those concerns.  Of the other alternatives possible today to expand (including doing without), which way do you lean, may I ask?

Doug, I think that GM is right to point out that power has to come from somewhere and that a fully "green" energy "alternative" is largely a falsehood.  There are plusses and minuses with sources of energy.  I think that wind energy is probably my choice given the current state of technology and use.  Wind farms, many contend, are unsightly.  I never did like Senator Kennedy's view on this.  Given that I can see the nuclear power plant from at least 20 miles away, I think that is at least as unsightly.  And wind farms are a far cry from the impact on the view of coal mine operations or oil production. 

The biggest thing that I think we, as a country, need to work on is consumption.  I realize this is said all the time, but why the hell we all need separate cars, that are big, and we refuse to walk to work, or turn off a light at home, etc. etc. I just don't understand.     
2066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 12, 2011, 07:50:47 PM
I also have fears based on wide spread use of nuclear power.  I was a kid when 3 Mile Island occured, and remember Chernobyl well.  I live close to a major fault line myself (although well outside of California), and my elected representatives have decided to explore the idea of having a second nuclear power plant in my county.  Egad!
2067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 11, 2011, 07:47:52 AM
I'm not sure what comments to add on the Scalia piece.  It seems about right to me.  There is a long literature related coalition formation on the Supreme Court (and many other multi-player institutions).  Supreme Court specific: perhaps the most famous example of an extremely smart, highly regarded, non-influential justice was Felix Frankfurter.  A former law professor, he lacked people skills, and had difficulty convincing others to join him.  The most famous counter example was William Brennen.  He was able to convince justices to join him, in large part, because he had abilities to compromise in mutually beneficial ways to him and the other justices on a coalition.

I suspect that Scalia will be influential in the long run, though, not unlike Justice Brandeis.  Brandeis famously dissented in a case called Olmstead.  The dissent went on to form the legal understanding of wiretaps beginning in the 1960's.  I suspect that Scalia's dissents, which might be scathing, but are also well written and clear, may have an impact similar to that of Brandeis.
2068  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: U.S. Marshal Dies of Shooting Injuries on: March 10, 2011, 07:40:00 PM
U.S. Marshal Dies of Shooting Injuries

Wednesday, March 09 2011

(St. Louis, MO) -- A United States Marshal involved in a shoot-out in St. Louis Wednesday, died from his injuries last night.
Another marshal was wounded in the incident as was a St. Louis police officer.

The suspect also died after being shot by police during the standoff.

Tuesday morning, Marshals went to the door of a 36 year old man to serve a drug warrant.
Officers say the man opened fire.     

One marshal was shot and critically wounded.  He later died.  He is now identified as Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry.

The other marshal, Theodore Abegg, is in fair condition. The police officer has minor injuries.

Three children inside the house were taken to a neighbor's home before the shooting started.
2069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: March 10, 2011, 08:56:20 AM

March 10, 2011, although the "storyline" goes back a few days.
2070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 10, 2011, 08:54:33 AM

I think there are some posts about him earlier in this thread.  Apparently he has extensive successful big corporation executive experience.  In response to the argument of the article you posted, I would point out that this is QUITE a bit more experience than Obama had -- though allow me to make clear that I am not suggesting that it is enough.

Thank you, sir.  I did, indeed, find what I figured someone here knew eearlier in the thread.
2071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: March 10, 2011, 08:53:10 AM
Nice find grin

Thank you, Freki.  And let me say that I thoroughly enjoy your contributions on the Founding Fathers/American Creed. 
2072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: March 10, 2011, 05:10:52 AM
The presidential election of 1800:

2073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Herman Cain??? on: March 08, 2011, 12:44:18 PM
Do any of you know more about Herman Cain than is present in this story?  Thanks.
2074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / US/UK relations since the Iron Curtain Speech on: March 04, 2011, 08:14:26 PM

Sixty-five years ago, Winston Churchill gave a landmark speech here in Missouri about the Iron Curtain that had descended in Europe, and the long history and future of the strategic partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. His speech at Westminster College in Fulton focused on an alliance that delivered jobs, security and economic growth - the very same issues that tie together our two nations today.

I'm coming to Missouri to mark the anniversary of Churchill's address on March 5, 1946, and to visit businesses and universities with strong links to Britain. Throughout my time here, I'll be making a modern version of the case Churchill made on the lasting importance of the U.K.-U.S. relationship.

2075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 02, 2011, 01:57:24 PM
From DougMacG: "Your point 3 (hypocrisy) has definite validity and DOMA is a pretty good example.  The criticism works just as well aimed at the other end of the political spectrum.  Privacy unenumerated is gospel when killing the unborn, but meaningless for other personal choices like two centuries of pay as you go healthcare."

Yes, yes.  And I thought I had made a similar point with free speech when I replied this morning.  I did not.  My apologies for the oversight.

"Point 4 'the elected branches often ignore decisions handed down by the judiciary' -  isn't that the central thesis of Fay's piece, a warning to readers that this President may press on with Obamacare even if struck down by the Supreme Court.  I don't agree with her on that but we may find out soon enough."

No.  The point of the article is that Obama is somehow single handedly causing the largest constitutional crisis since FDR's court packing scheme, or words to that general effect.  My point is that the hypothetical reaction by Obama does not portend a crisis, because presidents consistently ignore Supreme Court rulings, and have for years.  There is nothing about THIS policy or president's reaction that should constitute a crisis.

Now, if the article was talking about the gradual erosion of the separated powers, or some similar thesis, then there might be a worthy discussion.  
2076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 02, 2011, 10:36:12 AM
1st Amendment protects military funeral protesters
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Mark Sherman, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals, despite the pain they cause grieving families.

The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented.

Roberts said free speech rights in the First Amendment shield the funeral protesters, noting that they obeyed police directions and were 1,000 feet from the church.

"Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker," Roberts said. "As a nation we have chosen a different course — to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

Alito strongly disagreed. "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case," he said.

Matthew Snyder died in Iraq in 2006 and his body was returned to the United States for burial. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who have picketed military funerals for several years, decided to protest outside the Westminster, Md., church where his funeral was to be held.

The Rev. Fred Phelps and his family members who make up most of the Westboro Baptist Church have picketed many military funerals in their quest to draw attention to their incendiary view that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God's punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

They showed up with their usual signs, including "Thank God for dead soldiers," "You're Going to Hell," "God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11," and one that combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, with a slur against gay men.

The church members drew counter-demonstrators, as well as media coverage and a heavy police presence to maintain order. The result was a spectacle that led to altering the route of the funeral procession.

Several weeks later, Albert Snyder was surfing the Internet for tributes to his son from other soldiers and strangers when he came upon a poem on the church's website that attacked Matthew's parents for the way they brought up their son.

Soon after, Snyder filed a lawsuit accusing the Phelpses of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. He won $11 million at trial, later reduced by a judge to $5 million.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., threw out the verdict and said the Constitution shielded the church members from liability.

Forty-eight states, 42 U.S. senators and veterans groups sided with Snyder, asking the court to shield funerals from the Phelps family's "psychological terrorism."

While distancing themselves from the church's message, media organizations, including The Associated Press, urged the court to side with the Phelps family because of concerns that a victory for Snyder could erode speech rights.

Roberts described the court's holding as narrow, and in a separate opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer suggested in other circumstances, governments would not be "powerless to provide private individuals with necessary protection."

But in this case, Breyer said, it would be wrong to "punish Westboro for seeking to communicate its views on matters of public concern."

Margie Phelps, a daughter of the minister and a lawyer who argued the case at the Supreme Court, said she expected the outcome. "The only surprise is that Justice Alito did not feel compelled to follow his oath," Phelps said. "We read the law. We follow the law. The only way for a different ruling is to shred the First Amendment."

She also offered her church's view of the decision. "I think it's pretty self-explanatory, but here's the core point: The wrath of God is pouring onto this land. Rather than trying to shut us up, use your platforms to tell this nation to mourn for your sins."

2077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 02, 2011, 05:57:20 AM
This article seems to be a non-starter for me.  Here are some reasons: 1, there is no real reason for the Obama administration to end the implementation of "Obamacare" based on the decision of a district court.  If you disagree, and that is fine, please recall that the Bush administration did not alter the course of the war on terror when district courts made constitutional decisions about issues such as prisoners' rights.  2, any auther who writes as though the Supreme Court/judicial branch has a monopoly on constitutional interpretation is either pretending or is ignorant.  The executive branch interprets the Constitution all the time (see, for example, "Office of Legal Counsel").  (Side note: additional proof of the auther not being the most informed court watcher comes early in the article when referring to "Justice" Vinson.)  3, it never ceases to amaze me when conservatives decry the role that the Supreme Court plays in the constitutional schema in one breath, and then, when convenient, want to uphold the rule of law (or however it is worded) when the Court (or a court) decides a case in a manner that they like.  You can't have it both ways.  4, the elected branches often ignore decisions handed down by the judiciary.  (Google INS v. Chandha legislative veto). 
2078  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Poi Dog on: February 25, 2011, 06:56:24 AM
Congratulations, Guro Poi Dog! 
2079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 10th Amendment and the individual on: February 25, 2011, 05:28:12 AM

The Supreme Court seemed ready Tuesday to hand criminal defendants a new weapon against federal prosecutors, allowing them to contend they were charged under laws that usurp authority the Constitution reserves for state governments.
2080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PsyOps used on US Senators? on: February 24, 2011, 07:13:09 PM
2081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McDonald's oatmeal on: February 24, 2011, 07:09:25 PM
2082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Voting issues on: February 24, 2011, 07:02:12 PM
2083  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: February 22, 2011, 04:46:26 AM
This is a very cool video of a college QB doing trick shots.  Check it out:

2084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: February 22, 2011, 04:43:05 AM
Very much so.  An imperfect student in these things that I value so highly, I am grateful for your extensive knowledge and perspective in these matters and your integrity in how you present the various POVs.

Thank you, sir. 
2085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: February 21, 2011, 05:22:52 PM
Thank you BD.

May I ask you please to expand upon the basis for thinking Lincoln's waging of the war unconstitutional?

Yes sir.

1.  President Lincoln did, in fact, wage a war without congressional approval for months.  Congress was in recess, back when that meant something, and despite the presidential power to recall it to Washington (U.S. Constitution Art II, section 3), he did not.  That said, the majority opinion in the USSC's The Prize Cases, penned by Justice Grier, makes a very fine statement (one which was used by the Bush (II) adminstration to defend its powers in the war on terror, with the caveat that civil war not present): "As a civil war is never publicly proclaimed... against insurgents, its actual existence is a fact in out domestic history which the Court is bound to notice and to know."  However, note that Congress is given the power to suppress insurrection (Art. I, section 8, clause 15).

2.  Lincoln did suspend the right of habeus corpus, which is allowable in a time of "rebellion or invasion."  However, as that power is present in Article I, section 9, the intention was that only Congress could suspend this right.  The power of the president to suspend habeus corpus was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Milligan (1866). 

Is this discussion the type of thing you desired, Guro? 
2086  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: R.I.P. C-Desert Dog on: February 21, 2011, 05:05:06 PM
I've struggled for a day to say what I want to in a manner worthy of C-Desert Dog.  I did not meet him, but I still have a sense of loss.  My heart goes out to his family and friends, and to those on this forum who were both.  When we lose a piece of the puzzle, we lose a piece of ourselves.  RIP warrior. 
2087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Napolitano on: February 21, 2011, 01:17:33 PM
Is Napolitano correct that the C. was formed by the States?  Or was it formed by the American people?  Is the claim that slavery in The South was susceptible to withering away as it did elsewhere correct?  Was succession triggered by the entry of non-slave states into the Union, thus leading slave states to demand more slave states?  What of the federalism principles in light of the Dred Scott decision's imposition of requiring northern states to enforce southern slave claims within their (northern) territories?

Maybe BigDog will weigh in here , , ,
Judge Napolitano on Lincoln
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The recent discussions in the media about Ron Paul's comments regarding Lincoln and his political legacy got me to thinking, wouldn't it be great if Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, would weigh in on the subject. I had this thought because Judge Napolitano included a chapter entitled "Dishonest Abe" in his brilliant book, The Constitution in Exile. Judge Napolitano is a very busy man, hosting a radio show as well as appearing on television, making speeches all around the country, writing books, and practicing law — in addition to (hopefully) having a private family life. Since I am a big fan of his writing I thought I would try to pique our readers' interest in what the judge has to say on this subject.
The first two sentences of the "Dishonest Abe" chapter of The Constitution in Exile are hard hitting: "The Abraham Lincoln of legend is an honest man who freed the slaves and saved the Union. Few things could be more misleading." He then goes on to say exactly what Ron Paul told the Washington Post, and which seemed to mystify and confuse Tim Russert in his "Meet the Press" interview with Congressman Paul: "In order to increase his federalist vision of centralized power, ‘Honest' Abe misled the nation into an unnecessary war. He claimed that the war was about emancipating slaves, but he could have simply paid slave owners to free their slaves . . . . The bloodiest war in American history could have been avoided." And, as Ron Paul would likely add, all the other countries of the world that ended slavery in the nineteenth century, including Britain, Spain, France, Denmark, the Dutch, did so without a war. This, by the way, included the Northern states in the U.S. There were no "civil wars" to free the slaves in Massachusetts, New York (where slavery existed for over 200 years), or Illinois.
Lincoln's "actions were unconstitutional and he knew it," writes Napolitano, for "the rights of the states to secede from the Union . . . [are] clearly implicit in the Constitution, since it was the states that ratified the Constitution . . ." Lincoln's view "was a far departure from the approach of Thomas Jefferson, who recognized states' rights above those of the Union." Judge Napolitano also reminds his readers that the issue of using force to keep a state in the union was in fact debated — and rejected — at the Constitutional Convention as part of the "Virginia Plan."
He also discusses Lincoln's Confiscation Act of 1862, under which "any slaves behind the Union lines were captives of war who were to be freed and transported to countries in the tropics. This was in keeping with Dishonest Abe's lifelong position (his "White Dream," according to Ebony magazine managing editor Lerone Bennett, Jr, author of Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream) of deporting all blacks from the U.S. "Colonization" was the euphemism that was used for this.
"The Confiscation Acts," writes Judge Napolitano, "show that Lincoln did not have much concern for the slaves. He did not suggest to Congress that freed slaves should be granted civil rights or citizenship in Northern states. Once the freed slaves were transported out of the United States, they would no longer be Lincoln's problem." This is also why Lincoln tinkered with proposals for compensated emancipation in the border states while they were under U.S. military occupation during the war. These proposals included immediate deportation of any freed slaves. He saw the occupation of the border states during the war as an opportunity to begin ridding the country of "The Africans," as he referred to black people, as though they were from another planet. Judge Napolitano quotes Lincoln in one of his debates with Stephen Douglas as saying what he repeatedly said throughout his adult life: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes." "Lincoln was more concerned about the failure of [the seceding] states to collect tariffs than he was about slavery, " says Napolitano.
Unlike all those hopelessly miseducated neocon pundits who sneered at Ron Paul's statements regarding how Lincoln did tremendous damage to the principles of the American founders, Judge Napolitano is well schooled in constitutional history. He writes of Lincoln's complete trashing of the Constitution by "murdering civilians, declaring martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing . . . private property without compensation (including railroads and telegraphs), conducting a war without the consent of Congress, imprisoning nearly thirty thousand Northern citizens without trial, shutting down . . . newspapers, and even deporting a congressman (Clement L. Vallandigham from Ohio) because he objected to the imposition of an income tax."
"Saying that Lincoln abolished slavery and calling him the ‘Great Emancipator' are grossly inadequate mischaracterizations," writes the judge. "Lincoln was interested in promoting his political agenda of centralizing government power, and freeing the slaves was only a means of advancement of that end."
Lincoln destroyed the union of the founding fathers. He "replaced a voluntary association of states with a strong centralized government. The president and his party eagerly lifted the floodgates to the modern thuggish style of ruling that the U.S. government now employs" (emphasis added). This "opened the door to more unconstitutional acts by the government in the 1900s through to today."
The next time you see Lincoln's portrait on a five-dollar bill, the judge concludes, "remember how many civil liberties he took away from you."

The first half is largely nonsensical.  Some sticking points: 1, South Carolina secceeded before Lincoln was sworn into the presidency, effectively limiting the possibility that President Lincoln could have freed the slaves by paying the owners.  2, Lincoln could not have paid the owners to free the slaves.  Congress is responsible for outlays, and the idea that the president would take a unilateral action of the type described here did not really occur until several decades later, even with the powers Lincoln used during the CW.  3, the states did not ratify the Constitution.  The people of the states did.

That said, much of the discussion is right on point.  Lincoln did, at the very least, wage a war of questionable constitutionality.  Judge Napolitano is right in saying that the actions of Lincoln did lay some groundwork for future presidential actions and national centralization.  This is not to say, as GM points out, that the holding of slaves was right, with or without the permission of the Constitution.   In the end, was the freeing of slaves, whether intentional or otherwaise, worth the cost of the war?  I think many, myself included, would say yes.  In much the same way, I would argue that WWII was worth the fight no matter what the consequences of, for example, the United Nations (even if you disagree with the organization its roles globally).   
2088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Police officers and suicide on: February 21, 2011, 08:24:12 AM
This is the story of a particular police officer, William Vize.  There is a subtext of the article that deals with the difficulty of policing, and the impact on the officers' lives.  A story worth reading, in my opinion.
2089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 20, 2011, 08:22:04 AM

This is a talk on creativity killing schools.  For those of you who don't know, TED talks are consistently interesting and thought provoking, and the talks cover a wide range of material.  You might want to spend some time poking around.
2090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 20, 2011, 08:19:25 AM
DougMacG: My family homeschools, and I think it is a wonderful choice for us.  We have two extremely bright, kind children who also have peculiar learning styles.  So, they get, at worst (when at home), 2 "students" for one teacher.  It is often 1-1.  We also have field trips consistently.  It helps that we live close to major zoos, art and other museums, a large university and in a small town with two liberal arts colleges.  There are often events in and around our home town.  
2091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / P. on G.H.W. Bush on: February 19, 2011, 08:41:05 AM
2092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Vegetarians in MMA on: February 19, 2011, 08:38:01 AM
2093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 10, 2011, 04:49:03 AM

This is a trailer of a forthcoming documentary of the rise of homeschooling.  It looks like it may be interesting.
2094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 09, 2011, 08:49:31 PM
Are you saying that the MSM might have an agenda, BD?   wink

I've never said otherwise, 
2095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 09, 2011, 01:53:57 PM
This is just political drivel by POTB.  Can't trust anything coming from this source.   grin

That comment out the way, my statement above is true, but not necessarily due to politics.  It has to do with the author's inability (or lack of willingness?) to read the Gallup Poll.  As with any good poll, the Gallup provides information with the results it publishes.  In this case, if one is willing to read the "fine print" one learns that "For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points."  In other words, according to the poll, statistically speaking there has been no change (68-4= 64, the results of the previous polls). 

This information is something that college students are aware by the end of introductory course on political science and/or statistics.  Shame on the author. 

2096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 09, 2011, 07:51:51 AM
If the Reps are not both shrewd and careful while being aggressive, they are going to get outplayed.

Yep.  And the Republicans also need to hope that in the primary season they don't do the political equivilant of eating their young.  The winner of the nomination might have too much dirt associated with him (or her) to beat President Obama. 
2097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Will today's GOP embrace Reagan's real legacy? on: February 09, 2011, 05:26:34 AM
2098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Federal judicial vacancies reaching crisis point on: February 08, 2011, 09:47:56 AM
2099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 08, 2011, 09:46:12 AM
DougMacG: I think you misunderstood Tribe's intention in regard to Scalia and Kennedy.  As you are no doubt aware, there is much made about the "political decisions" of the Court, and the view of a few justices in particular.  I think what Tribe is trying to do, at least in part, is to take a pure legal view of the merits, and note that the justices in question have voted in a particular way in prior cases.  This would suggest, Tribe asserts, that the justices will follow precedent rather than follow the politics that they are often accused of.  (I would think that, on its face, this is something you would agree with.)

What may be less apparent from the article is the ongoing battle between legal scholars and political scientist who study Supreme Court decion making.  Legal scholars opine, not surprisingly, that the law matters, and that the value of stare decisis helps to understand why cases are decided in a particular fashion.  Some political scientists, with Jeffrey Segal and Harold Spaeth being the most cited examples, believe that we can predict how a Supreme Court justice will vote based on personal preferences.  I suspect that much of Tribe's article was aimed at political scientists. 
2100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lawrence Tribe on the constitutionality of "Obamacare" on: February 08, 2011, 05:34:24 AM
This is an interesting discussion of the legality of the health care law, two Supreme Court justices, and the role of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
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