March 20, 2007

Some Thoughts On Keeping And Bearing Arms

by Sanford Levinson As most readers are aware, the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia recently invalidated the District's basically absolute ban on the private possession of loaded guns.

Congressional Culpability & The U.s. Attorneys

by Stanley I. Kutler Congress is on the verge of rare bi-partisanship: the administration's calculated decision to rid its ranks of "disloyal" U.S. attorneys, who did their duty to enforce the law without political fear or favor, has roiled the blood of Democrats and Republicans alike. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez's days appear numbered; at the very least, his authority is severely diminished. Karl Rove, the architect of many Democratic defeats and Harriet Miers (alas!

Department Of Tortured Metaphors

From the Miami Herald, here's President Bush--he of the 30 percent approval rating--at a White House ceremony yesterday honoring the University of Florida's national championship football team: "Instead of, like, discouraging them that they got the bad deal when it came to the schedule, all that did was cause them to play harder,'' Bush said. "And it put them in pretty good stead going into the championship game [against Ohio State]. Like you might remember, all the pregame polls said you couldn't win.


Great moments in cross-cultural confusion, from the Boston Herald: Cubans in Miami are steaming mad at former Gov.

The Head Doesn't Know What The Tail Is Doing

First sentence of an article in The Politico today: "President Bush this morning telephoned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, one of the few remaining Texans who came to Washington for Bush's first term, to try to buck up his friend after word leaked that GOP officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor." Last two sentences of the same piece: "Asked if Gonzales will stay, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said Monday: "We hope so.

March 19, 2007

Inherit the Wind
12:00 AM

To a New Orleans boy in the early '70s, the only acts of God that offered anything like the pleasure of a hurricane were the big rains that filled up the city like a bathtub and made it possible to paddle down the streets in a cone, waving at grown-ups trapped inside their floating cars and buses. Compared with the hurricanes, however, these rains were second-rate thrills—the Ferris wheel next to the giant roller coaster. They didn't close schools, knock down trees, rip roofs off houses, or even cut the lights.

Health of Nations
12:00 AM

How quickly times change. Just a few months ago, universal health care was a perfunctory item on the Democratic wish list, more wistful than realistic. But, thanks to John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Wal-Mart--yes, Wal-Mart--a debate over universal health care is suddenly underway. And, to the shock of reformers, they find themselves mulling a previously unimaginable question: Can universal health care actually pass?Unfortunately, this is where the discussion gets tricky.

Heart of Darkness
12:00 AM

What is wrong with Dick Cheney? Since the earliest days of his vice presidency, people have been asking this question. At first, it was mostly out of partisan pique; but, increasingly, it's in troubled tones, as one of the most powerful men on the planet grows ever more rigid, belligerent, and just plain odd in both his public utterances ("Go fuck yourself," Senator Leahy) and private actions (shoot a man in the face and not bother to call your boss 'til the next day: What's up with that?).

Athwart History
12:00 AM

Although he remains the most eminent conservative in the United States, his face and voice recognized by millions, William F. Buckley, Jr. has all but retired from public life. At the apex of his influence, when Richard Nixon and, later, Ronald Reagan occupied the White House, Buckley received flattering notes on presidential letterhead and importuning phone calls from Cabinet members worried about their standing in the conservative movement.

The Agitator
12:00 AM

In 1985, Barack Obama traveled halfway across the country to take a job that he didn't fully understand. But, while he knew little about this new vocation--community organizer--it still had a romantic ring, at least to his 24- year-old ears. With his old classmates from Columbia, he had talked frequently about political change.Now, he was moving to Chicago to put that talk into action. His1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, recounts his idealistic effusions: "Change won't come from the top, I would say. Change will come from a mobilized grass roots. That's what I'll do.