Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nip it in the Womb

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who easily ranks in any top ten craziest Congressperson list, is now alleging that terrorist cells are exploiting America's birthright citizenship to create a new class of terrorist babies with American citizenship. It seems to me that the only way to stem this threat is to capture all immigrant mothers, and force them to abort their kids (the Executive has an inherent power to assassinate American citizens to be if necessary for our national defense, after all). Otherwise we're just training the next generation of terrorists (it's unbelievably to me that this argument is not actually a one-off).

Friday, June 25, 2010


There was some sucky stuff that happened on the intertubes today (see here for back story), but there was one redeeming factor. I discovered MadCrazies blog, and I think I'm in love. Not as much love as I have towards the proprietor of this blog, of course, but a fair amount of love all the same.

The anti-Zionist bingo card is pretty good. But I really loved this passage on what it's like as a queer women when one goes out with guys:
Fun part is, going out in public with an adult human male is like an invisibility cloak! When you take one with you, you cease to exist not only as a queer but as a person at all! This is actually kind of nice sometimes. It doesn't matter what my male companion looks like, going out at night is no longer about "how many street harassers can I shiv".

For. The. Win.

And for the blogroll, I might add.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

German-Arab Youths Attack Jewish Dance Troupe

Very scary stuff. And apparently the festival organizers, instead immediately calling the police when the thugs starting chanting anti-Semitic slurs and throwing rocks, tried to "de-escalate" the situation on their own. What the hell?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Most Dangerous Game

The FRC is angry that Grover Norquist is joining the board of GOProud, a conservative gay rights group. One of the alleged sins of the group is that it will seek to leverage “concealed carry reciprocity” amendments whereby guns can be carried and recognized across state lines in order to create precedent that gay marriages legal in one state be likewise recognized in their fellows.

This, as David Kopel notes, is not an accurate summary of GOProud's position -- they support concealed carry laws so that gays and lesbians can protect themselves against rampant anti-gay violence. He suggests that the FRC should have instead made a slippery slope argument (that, regardless of intent, concealed carry reciprocity amendments would end up weakening state exclusion of foreign gay marriages), but adds the following:
obviously the FRC is free to organize is policy preferences any way it wants. Personally, though, I think that federal legislation which directly protects the Second Amendment rights of all Americans is far more important than whatever tiny effect the bill might have on gay marriage.

Well, Kopel might think that, but look at it from the FRC's point of view. Gay marriage will destroy democracy and is worse than child rape. Even an infinitesimal chance that such horrors might come to pass is far, far more important than any other legislation Congress might consider.

Let's Go 'Hawks!

It pains me to say that, but they deserve it:
Professional sports stars haven't played much of a role in the 40-year history of Chicago's Pride Parade.

Sunday's parade will be different, with the Chicago Cubs entering a float and a player from the NHL champion Blackhawks set to tote the Stanley Cup down North Halsted Street. ...

The Cubs' participation was encouraged by new owner Tom Ricketts, who wanted the Cubs to be seen as "good neighbors," a team spokesman said.

While players from this year's lineup won't be on the team's float — they'll be busy playing the White Sox — "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks will.

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel will be carrying the Stanley Cup in the parade to honor Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke. Brendan Burke came out as a gay man shortly before dying in a car accident in February.

Brendan Burke was a student at Miami University in Ohio and worked with the school's hockey team. After opening up about his sexuality to the team, he spoke publicly about his experience growing up as a gay hockey player.

An excellent and touching gesture.

Teaching Peace Now a Crime

Roger Alford points out that the recent SCOTUS decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project "upholds a criminal ban on teaching international law". This is not a hyperbole.
Plaintiffs claim that §2339B is invalid to the extent it prohibits them from engaging in certain specified activities…. [T]hose activities are: (1) “train[ing] members of [the] PKK on how to use humanitarian and international law to peacefully resolve disputes”; (2) “engag[ing] in political advocacy on behalf of Kurds who live in Turkey”; and (3) “teach[ing] PKK members how to petition various representative bodies such as the United Nations for relief.”…

The Court first held that teaching international law fell under the category of “training” and “expert advice or assistance", and thus constituted material assistance to terrorist groups under the terms of the statute. It then held that restriction constitutional under First Amendment attack.

The dissenters (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor) responded:
[T]he majority discusses the plaintiffs’ proposal to “‘train members of [the] PKK on how to use humanitarian and international law to peacefully resolve disputes.’” The majority justifies the criminalization of this activity insignificant part on the ground that “peaceful negotiation[s]” might just “bu[y] time . . . , lulling opponents into complacency.” And the PKK might use its new information about “the structures of the international legal system . . . to threaten, manipulate, and disrupt.” What is one to say about these arguments—arguments that would deny First Amendment protection to the peaceful teaching of international human rights law on the ground that a little knowledge about “the international legal system” is too dangerous a thing; that an opponent’s subsequent willingness to negotiate might be faked, so let’s not teach him how to try?…

The risk that those who are taught will put otherwise innocent speech or knowledge to bad use is omnipresent, at least where that risk rests on little more than (even informed) speculation. Hence to accept this kind of argument without more and to apply it to the teaching of a subject such as international human rights law is to adopt a rule of law that, contrary to the Constitution’s text and First Amendment precedent, would automatically forbid the teaching of any subject in a case where national security interests conflict with the First Amendment.

It's not that the majority's concerns are unfounded. Any observer of international law is keenly aware that international law can and has been used as a tool of "lawfare" -- less to promote human rights protections and peaceful coexistence than to subvert these goals. But the dissent is considerably more right that it would be far more dangerous to prohibit speech simply because it could be used to promote ill-ends, prohibit training on peaceful coexistence because it could be used to sabotage the ideal. Whatever the shortcomings of the world's legal system -- and they are manifold -- it is one of the only clearly established alternatives to terrorist violence by NGOs, and thus it is clearly a benefit when NGOs and rebel groups adopt that approach above violent conflict.

The Supreme Court's decision is a massive triumph of despair over hope. And that's worrisome. Because no legal system predicated on individual rights can survive if our legal system defaults to fear.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Perils of Being British

A British writer tries to figure out why he (by his own admission) is obsessed with Israel. After ruling out anti-Semitism (based off a deep searching of his own soul and the fact that He Has Jewish Friends (tm)), he thinks he's got it nailed: Unlike Zimbabwe, North Korea, Sudan, Tibet, or Burma, Israel is basically "an English county planted on the Mediterranean shores."

Oh joy! As the Judeosphere points out, this is scarcely anything more sophisticated than undisguised Orientalism. Burma and Sudan, they aren't civilized enough to care about. But Israel, why that's almost like Britain -- that is, if Britain was run by "burglars and con-men". It's all the joy of liberal guilt-induced self-flagellation, except the wounds show up on someone else's body. How grand.

Richard Lazarus Takes Post on Oil Spill Commission

Congratulations to Georgetown Law Professor Richard Lazarus, who was just appointed staff director of The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Professor Lazarus, in addition to being an experienced Supreme Court advocate, is a specialist in an environmental and natural resource law, and will thus be an invaluable asset in, you know, trying to save the planet.

On a more personal note, Professor Lazarus was a personal mentor of mine back in high school (I was on the debate team with his son), and we've maintained off-and-on contact with him in the intervening years. In fact, we were supposed to meet to catch up earlier this month, but, as he put it, "something came up". I'll say!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Anti-Israel Protesters Prevent Cargo Ship From Unloading in Oakland?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a group of anti-Israel protesters, primarily affiliated with ANSWER, have successfully blocked (at least temporarily) an Israeli cargo ship from unloading in Oakland.
Becker [of ANSWER] said some workers [from the Longshoreman's Union] showed up for the morning shift, but virtually none did for the second. All agreed not to unload the ship or cross the picket lines, citing concern for their personal safety.

I find it very interesting that -- apparently by Becker's own admission (but the language is ambiguous here) -- the reason that the ship was unable to unload is because ANSWER threatened the personal safety of the dockworkers if they did (or at least, they perceived a threat to their personal safety).

Yeah, that's some peace movement. It's so nice to see that "leftist" advocacy has once again devolved into threatening workers -- if for no other reason than to reveal the true colors of the movements responsible.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Thanks, dad, for everything. I hope you realize that the fact that I left my card at the office in no way diminishes the thoughts behind it.