Josh Patashnik

Is Obama's Gay Marriage Stand Incoherent?
July 01, 2008

Ramesh Ponnuru writes: [Obama] says he opposes [same-sex marriage]. But he also thinks that a constitutional amendment in California to block it is "divisive and discriminatory." I think the only way to square these positions would be for Obama to say that he opposes same-sex marriage as a religious or moral matter, but supports it as public policy. He is, that is, "personally opposed." But I don't know whether Obama actually takes that position, or is simply muddled.

Liberaltarianism, Revisited
June 30, 2008

Via Matt Yglesias, an interesting post from Tim Lee on the subject of Brink Lindsey's excellent book The Age of Abundance. Lee writes: Too many libertarians seem to define libertarianism as a very specific and restrictive political program: as a laundry list of government programs to be abolished, or equivalently as a very short list of government programs that won’t be abolished. By that measure, libertarianism is nowhere close to successful.

Happy Tunguska Day!
June 30, 2008

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the Tunguska event, when a massive explosion (likely resulting from a small asteroid or comet) rocked a remote region of central Siberia, flattening trees and reportedly knocking people to the ground in the nearest settlement 40 miles from the blast. Science News and Scientific American have had articles recently highlighting the latest developments in the ongoing debate about what caused the blast.

Stupid Headline Of The Day
June 27, 2008

NYT: "Coercion Seen in Zimbabwe in a Runoff With One Candidate" Gee, ya think? --Josh Patashnik 

Let A Thousand Mitt Romneys Bloom
June 26, 2008

Today's opinion in the DC gun-ban case is getting all the headlines today, but Phillip Carter makes a compelling case that its practical impact will be limited--there just aren't that many gun laws out there nearly as restrictive as DC's draconian version, and Justice Scalia's opinion (pdf) goes out of its way to emphasize its compatibility with more tempered efforts at gun control (assault weapons bans, waiting periods, etc.).  It's also worth paying attention to the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Davis v.

Yoo's On First
June 26, 2008

The House Judiciary Committee hearing with David Addington and John Yoo is proving to be exceptionally bitter and acrimonious even by House Judiciary Committee standards. If you're around C-SPAN, I recommend turning it on--this is entertaining stuff. Addington continually displays unveiled contempt for the members of the committee (I was about to say "thinly veiled," but even that would be too charitable). Yoo is slightly more polite, but no more helpful.

Alan Dershowitz: Ultra-liberal?
June 26, 2008

It's a big day for legal news in Washington. The Supreme Court is handing down its final opinions of the term, and has apparently struck down DC's gun ban by a 5-4 vote. The speculation was correct that Justice Scalia was writing the opinion. Elsewhere, I'm here on Capitol Hill at a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing investigating the administration's interrogation policies, where John Yoo and David Addington are testifying (Addington in response to a subpoena). Yoo's opening statement is here (pdf); Marty Lederman has some preliminary reactions.

Unfree Kicks
June 25, 2008

Among the four teams that advanced to this week's semifinal round of the Euro 2008 soccer tournament, three aren't particularly portentous. No one is surprised to see pre-tournament favorite Germany still alive. Nor is it particularly shocking that talent-rich Spain has survived, although most expected the team to uphold the time-honored Spanish tradition of flaming out in the quarterfinals.

Et Tu, Bruce?
June 25, 2008

Via High Country News, the Arizona Daily Star reports that Bill Clinton's interior secretary is raising some eyebrows: As U.S.

Putin's Team
June 25, 2008

My web-only article on Vladimir Putin's influence on Russia's soccer team is online now, just as today's first semifinal between Germany and Turkey gets underway. I'm trying to break out of my unfortunate habit of spoiling games for those who have TiVoed them to watch later (sorry again, Frank!), so I won't say anything about what's happened so far, but it's been interesting to read about the dilemma of Turkish-born Germans who are torn as to which country to support.

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