Friday, June 24, 2005

David Mayer on "Supreme Nonsense"

I've been waiting for a few days for David Mayer to post his thoughts on the recent horrible Supreme Court decisions Raich and Kelo. He's posted his analysis:

I particularly like the selections from the dissenting opinions penned by Justice Thomas. These dissents are hard hitting and make no bones about the the devastating blow to freedom and individual rights these rulings will have. As he says in the Raich dissent "the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution's limits on federal power". We need more justices like Thomas.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wayback Machine: Funding NPR

With the recent news attention on the possible end to federal funding of public television and radio, I thought I'd a post a link to an old op-ed I wrote on this topic. Save NPR! Not!

It's a bit out of date. 1) There is a possibility that the federal funding will end or decrease (though I actually doubt it) and 2) NPR seems to have veered towards the left even more. I find I can't hardly listen to the news analysis shows anymore. Worse than any bias though is the overall pessimism that seems to pervade the entire broadcast. It's hard to quantify or give examples because its just this general attitude, but what I am left with after listening is negativity and despondency.

A major step backwards

Very disappointing year for the Supreme Court. First they rule against federalism in the medical marijuana case and today they've ruled against private property by allowing local goverments to use emiment domain to take private property for private development. They call this "public use" because the government claims the development is needed for economic development and that economic development is a public good (whatever that means). Further the Court affirmed the idea that a legitimate government function is economic development. This is a major step backwards for freedom.

Here's the press release from the Institute for Justice announcing the decision:

And a link to the decisions themselves:

Second Update:
Cox and Forkum editorial cartoon nicely captures the ruling:

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Book Meme

I've seen this on a few blogs, beginning with Diana Hsieh's NoodleFood. I thought I'd take it up. Here's what I came up with:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. My favorite genre, and this one, in large part, gets it going. Plus, how cool would it be to be Humphrey Bogart? (A side note: I am embarrassed to say that I never read Fahrenheit 451, and if you've slacked like me, I'm told that at the end of the book, each character chooses a book to memorize and I guess they become that book for a while)

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I don't think so. I suppose Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged comes the closest, but that's more like worship than a crush.

The last book you bought is:
Dreams of a Final Theory by Steven Weinberg (Just came today from Amazon)

The last book you read:
False Prophet by Faye Kellerman. Part of the Peter Decker series. It's another detective fiction novel.

What are you currently reading?
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington (just started last night)
Natural Goodness by Philippa Foot (I'm working on a paper on Foot)
Virtues and Reasons: Philippa Foot and Moral Theory by Rosalind Hursthouse, Gavin Lawrence and Warren Quinn

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (This one is a little too obvious, no?)

The Complete Works of Aristotle Vol 1 & 2. (I could spend my lifetime just studying Aristotle's works)

The Collected Dialogues of Plato (I guess I should have some Plato along with Aristotle. And while I prefer Aristotle to Plato, the dialogues can be quite fun to read.)

William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. (Drama, comedy, poetry: what more would I need)

(I suppose I am cheating a little by taking these complete works anthologies, but they are all books that one could carry with them to the island.)

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons)? And Why?
Karl: if he actually does anything with this, it'll be hilarious.
Patrick: same as Karl, but a lot more cheese.
My Mom: She reads a lot and might enjoy the exercise.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The excess of democracy

David Mayer, my favorite consitutional scholar, explains why the US is not a democracy, but a republic. He goes on to show how the US is suffering from an excess of democracy. Read the essay