Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Going South

Are the Republicans degenerating or just revealing their true selves?  With his latest charge that M. Mitt speaks French (Newt does too), it must be speculated that Newt is indulging in (self-)caricature. Of course it can always get worse--someone can appeal to states' rights.  Here's a good explanation of why conservatives should speak of federalism instead--plus a few other New Year's political resolutions.

Categories > Conservatism


A Conversation Between Entertainers

This clip of Louis Armstrong and Danny Kaye singing "When The Saints Go Marching In" from 1959's Five Pennies is one of my favorite videos to watch; it's a type that turns a poor day into a good one. The enjoyment that the two entertainers have as they sing to each other of the great musical artists is catching. Even more fitting is the very American character of the two men singing, who both came from nothing and despite hardships in their past were able to exhibit such joy and fun and beauty with their music that it helped reveal them as great. Good stuff.
Categories > Leisure


Tea Party at the Supreme Court (Update)

The EPA faced tough questioning at SCOTUS.  Justice Alito to counsel for the government/EPA:  "If you related the facts of this case . . . to an ordinary homeowner, don't you think most ordinary homeowners would say this kind of thing can't happen in the United States?"  The case involved an alleged wetlands protection violation and whether the owners had a right to a judicial hearing.  Chief Justice Roberts to counsel for the government:  "What would you do, Mr. Stewart, if you received this compliance order? You don't think your property has wetlands on it and you get this compliance order from the EPA. What would you do?"  Counsel responded meekly about obeying the law. See pp. 36-37 of the transcript of the oral argument. See pp. 42-44 for the government's reasoning for not granting hearings to those being prosecuted by the EPA. This is not mere Tocquevillean soft despotism! Even the liberal justices expressed sympathy for the landowners.

The Pacific Legal Foundation argued for the plaintiff landowners, the Sacketts. It will put up the audio later in the week. Someone who attended the oral argument told me that Mrs.Sackett had to restrain her husband from doing fist pumps when they heard the hostile questioning from the justices. 

UPDATE:  I forgot to mention that the President paid a surprise visit to the EPA yesterday, bucking up the staff and cheering them on. "When we clean up our nation's waterways, we generate more tourists for our local communities."  In the Sacketts' backyard? Of course Obama allowed, in one of his typical throwaway lines, "we have an obligation every single day to think about how can we do our business a little bit better."

Categories > Courts


An Old Berliner

"Oh, they've always liked the Americans. Especially the Berliners, ever since the young president gave that speech."
Sitting in a room aptly-named the Churchill Lounge, a cigar in one hand and glass of port in the other, I had the opportunity to spend some time probing the mind of an old man from Berlin. He was orphaned during the war, and told stories of the sirens sounding during bombing raids, and how all the kids in the orphanage would need to run for shelter. When asked if that was tough, he shrugged his shoulders. "It became no different than running inside from a rain storm."

He told tales of living in a city divided by that Iron Curtain. As a young man he was in want of cigarettes, and it was late and the stores in West Berlin were shut down, but he heard that a store on the other side was often open late. He had not been to East Berlin since the war, but he knew he had a grandmother on that side, so he thought nothing of it and drove over (the Wall was not yet up). After all, he was just a guy looking for some cigarettes in the town he grew up in. Within moments he was stopped and had guns pointed at him, angry guards shouting at him. The old man said that his younger self was absolutely terrified and tried telling them he was just looking for cigarettes. After being held for several hours, he was finally released and allowed back into the West--he said he never stepped foot into East Berlin again until the reunification of Germany decades later.

The old man said that Americans are still loved in that country, but most especially in that city. They remember our magnanimity in victory, and our help against the Soviet Empire through Kennedy and Reagan. This is all worthy of retelling for two reasons. The first is to remind us of some of the virtues for which the United States are respected and even loved around the world. The second is to remind us that our current peace is a new and fragile thing; the scars of Hitler and Stalin are still fresh. It has been only a few decades since bombs fell on one of Europe's great cities and men made it impossible to roam freely. How these men rose to power, and the costs and sacrifices it took to stop their wickedness, should not be forgotten.
Categories > History