Jessie Hill has an interesting three-part series about potentially overturning Roe at PrawfsBlawg. [HT: Volokh Conspiracy.] The long version of what I have to say on the issue can be found in my article last summer in TAP here and my reply to Benjamin Wittes-type “letting Roe go will be good for reproductive freedom” arguments here. To give the short version:
- The starting point for any discussion for the consequences of changing abortion law, I think, has to be the law on the ground, not the law in the books. The pre-Roe status quo ante was not that no women could get abortions, but because of arbitrary enforcement patterns affluent women had access to safe abortions and other women did not. What is at stake in abortion rights is whether poor women will have access to safe abortions.
- I think Hill is correct that Roe is safe for now–there are still 5 votes on the record for affirming it. Even if Republicans get another appointment to replace Stevens or Ginsburg, my guess is that Alito and (especially) Roberts would prefer not to formally overturn Roe, at least right away, but would rather simply empty Casey‘s “undue burden” standard of any content. However, in some ways this is the wrong question to ask, since for advocates of reproductive freedom this is the worst of all worlds–it would be much better if Roe were directly overturned than if states were allowed to create the pre-Roe status quo ante through the back door. Keeping Roe as (to use Rehnquist’s phrase against his approach) a Potemkin precedent while removing any bite the “undue burden” standard has gets most of the policy benefit while denying the Democratic Party the political benefits of overruling Roe.
- The question of what would happen to laws still on the books is an interesting one. I can’t believe that there would be any problems at all if there was a trigger passed by the legislature, and it’s also hard to believe that a Court that would overturn Roe would prevent states from enforcing laws on the books (particularly since getting into questions of application would raise many difficult questions for advocates of criminalized abortion.)
It’s also important not to focus too much on the precise wording of statutes or exactly how exceptions are worded; these distinctions have very little effect in practice. Whether the statute is an outright ban or delegates the decision to panels of doctors, the effect tends to be abortion-on-demand for well-connected affluent women and severely restricted access for women who aren’t either way.
[Cross-posted at TAPPED.]
Ayn Rand, high priestess of tedium, speaking to the the graduating class of cadets at West Point, 6 March 1974:
Something called “the military-industrial complex”–which is a myth or worse–is being blamed for all of this country’s troubles. Bloody college hoodlums scream demands that R.O.T.C. units be banned from college campuses. Our defense budget is being attacked, denounced and undercut by people who claim that financial priority should be given to ecological rose gardens and to classes in esthetic self-expression for the residents of the slums.
Some of you may be bewildered by this campaign and may be wondering, in good faith, what errors you committed to bring it about. If so, it is urgently important for you to understand the nature of the enemy. You are attacked, not for any errors or flaws, but for your virtues. You are denounced, not for any weaknesses, but for your strength and your competence. You are penalized for being the protectors of the United States. On a lower level of the same issue, a similar kind of campaign is conducted against the police force. Those who seek to destroy this country, seek to disarm it–intellectually and physically. But it is not a mere political issue; politics is not the cause, but the last consequence of philosophical ideas. It is not a communist conspiracy, though some communists may be involved–as maggots cashing in on a disaster they had no power to originate. The motive of the destroyers is not love for communism, but hatred for America. Why hatred? Because America is the living refutation of a Kantian universe.
Today’s mawkish concern with and compassion for the feeble, the flawed, the suffering, the guilty, is a cover for the profoundly Kantian hatred of the innocent, the strong, the able, the successful, the virtuous, the confident, the happy. A philosophy out to destroy man’s mind is necessarily a philosophy of hatred for man, for man’s life, and for every human value. Hatred of the good for being the good, is the hallmark of the twentieth century. This is the enemy you are facing.
Eight years to the day after delivering this speech, Ayn Rand went toe-up.
It’s pretty obvious that the Forbes list of best general managers in sports is seriously flawed; the first entry from Major League Baseball is Billy Beane at 26. Either baseball GMs are an incredibly inept lot compared to their brethren in football, basketball, and hockey, or the methodology is flawed. The error seems to be the focus on winning percentage (indeed, winning percentage was double weighted). Since there’s a narrower range of winning percentages in baseball than in any of the other sports, baseball GMs get excluded from the top (and the bottom, presumably). It seems like this would have been a simple problem to note and correct for…
…UPDATE (SL): I can’t judge McHale, although if I understand correctly all NBA fans think he’s awful, but allow me to say that any list that ranks Doug “Let’s trade Doug Gilmour and Jamie Macoun for 5 guys who aren’t nearly as good as Jamie Macoun” Risebrough over Darryl “Miikka Kiprusoff for a draft pick, Kristian Huselius for a 6th defenseman, etc.” Sutter has to be the worst. methodology. ever. Did John Lott design this thing? Although at least Peter Bavasi didn’t make the list.
One of the most promising elements of the F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) is the capability that one variant will have for V/STOL, or vertical/short take off and landing. The gap in capability between conventional carrier aircraft and land based fighters closed a long time ago. However, fixed wing aircraft (aircraft that take off from runway of normal length, or that need to use catapults in order to lift off from aircraft carriers) still have a substantial advantage over even the most advanced V/STOL craft. They’re faster, they use less fuel, and they can carry heavier payloads. The F-35B variant is supposed to have V/STOL capability, and when (if?) it enters production it will immediately become the most effective V/STOL fighter in the world. The F-35B still gives up a lot in exchange for this capability, as the fuel requirements of a short launch are very high, and some payload will be lost, but the gap is nevertheless narrowing.
The Royal Navy and the USMC are the biggest backers of the F-35B. The Marine Corps has operated the Harrier for quite a while, and wants to keep its vertical capability. The Royal Navy wants to use the F-35B on its new CVF, the next generation of British aircraft carrier. The implications of the F-35B, however, extend beyond British and American use. Right now, only the United States and France are capable of extended carrier operations with modern, fixed wing aircraft. Russia has a large carrier (Admiral Kuznetsov) that operates Su-33 fixed wing aircraft, but pilot and crew training are so spotty that it’s unlikely Kuznetsov could carry out operations in war conditions. Brazil operates Sao Paulo (the old French Foch), but only flies A-4 Skyhawks, a very old attack aircraft (John McCain was shot down in one). The F-35B and its foreign contemporaries have the potential to give states that can’t operate carriers big enough to carry fixed wing aircraft (Italy, India, Spain, Thailand, and potentially a few others) the options of flying a modern, advanced, capable fighter aircraft. It’s a development that has the potential to level the playing field a bit in naval aviation, both by itself and as part of a general trend towards the narrowing of the gap between fixed wing and V/STOL aircraft.
Of course, the F-35B may never be built in large numbers. The Royal Navy CVF program is in question, and the CVF frame is large enough to accomodate normal fixed wing aircraft. Indeed, France is investigating constructing a CVF to its own specifications that would operate such aircraft. Still, it’s a program that merits some attention.
Cross-posted to Tapped.
Thanks to the LGM crew for the invitation to guest blog. It’s a wonderful opportunity — I get to make fun of Althouse as much as I want, secure in the knowledge that no matter what I say, she’ll just blame Scott. Hot Dog!
Tonight, though, I’ve instead been ruminating on the rather convoluted way in which Movement Conservatives tend to consider questions relating to race. (Just to narrow this down, by “movement conservatives” I mean, well, people who actively participate in the conservative movement, by writing or buying Regnery books, going to CPAC conventions, writing or commenting on right-wing blogs, and so forth — I don’t mean someone who just tends to vote Republican, or even, say, John McCain, who is quite far to the right on every imaginable issue, but for any number of reasons simply isn’t considered one of the gang.)
Take this extraordinary post on Red State, for instance, where we learn that Barack Obama is, well, guilty of racism.
No, really. The argument is crazy, but fascinating:
Mr. Obama himself – he of the “don’t call him articulate because you marginalize his race” defense – has stepped into just that situation, and I think that this question is a very valid one to ask: if the African American community is, as I believe, and as Obama and his defenders have claimed to believe, as normal, articulate, intelligent, etc. as anybody else (to the point that, as we have been fighting for years to achieve, race should no longer matter or be noticed), then why does the fact that he is speaking to an overwhelmingly southern black audience mean that he has to change his manner of speech altogether, from his usual measured, clear, enunciated oratory to THIS
The “THIS” goes to a YouTube video of Obama addressing the Selma Jubilee. We’ll watch it in a moment, but let’s be clear about the accusation Red State poster Jeff Emanuel is leveling against Obama. He’s saying he’s a racist — perhaps an unwitting racist, but a racist all the same:
If I were to radically alter my enunciation specifically for a talk to an audience composed of a certain race, well, there’s no question what message that would send about my opinion of that race’s intelligence and importance – and it wouldn’t be a good one.
The question is, will anybody notice the message that Obama is sending regarding his opinion of his own race in the video above – and will anybody allow themselves to really think about what that message means?
What’s interesting here is that the Red State poster is not at all challenging Obama for claiming a particular racial and historical identity, a line of attack one might suppose someone interested in a thoroughgoing critique of identity politics might utilize. (Obama’s speech, as we’ll see, is a retelling of his family history in the context of the American civil rights movement in the South, in which his family did not directly participate.) No; the substance of the speech is not addressed at all, merely its manner of delivery, which, we’re led to believe, is some sort of horrible cakewalking minstrel show nightmare.
Got that? OK, now watch it:
I have to say, I don’t see the pandering. I also don’t see how Obama’s delivery here is radically different from his delivery at the 2004 Democratic convention, his best known appearance so far:
Hell, Obama’s speech at Selma is more grammatical than the one he gave in 2004: no sentence fragments (that I caught, anyway).
But the real issue here is not the necessarily subjective comparison of the speeches. I don’t hear any radical differences, but that’s just me, some guy on the Internets.
No. The real issue here is the subjective reception of the speech on the part of the people to whom it was directly addressed.
Let me go out on a limb here and suggest that veterans of the Civil Rights struggle in the American South are actually pretty good at figuring out when someone is talking to them in a condescending fashion. I’ll even go nuts and suggest that every person you see on the dais behind Obama in that Selma video has likely heard literally thousands of speeches on this general topic, and has by now a pretty good idea of what’s well said and what’s baloney. And call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s up to me and my pale ass, nor up to Red State and its tutti-frutti behind, nor to my Aunt Barney the Purple Dinosaur, or whoever, to make the call as to what’s derogatory and what isn’t to that audience.
I saw them applauding. Maybe some of them didn’t like it. I don’t know — but neither does anyone at Red State either. And that’s the rub.
I don’t think this Red State poster specifically, nor movement conservatives generally, appreciate a very fundamental point. Most people are far less bothered by what you say about them than they are royally pissed off when you try to speak for them. That’s what really makes people nuts, and rightly so.
I am myself critical of identity politics, in many ways. But I don’t see how modern movement conservatism has in any way contributed positively to a mature discussion of race in 21st century America. They’re all about the point scoring. Too bad they don’t seem to actually understand the game. Or the reality.
In the midst of a defense of the “Wanker of the Day” feature, Ezra makes such a nice summary of the problem:
The feature actually has a substantive point. Among other things, the lefty blogosphere was founded on a critique of the mainstream media that argued, contrary to popular belief, that the media was not actually liberal. The individuals who comprised it may have been tolerant on cultural issues, but years of sustained attacks from the right had cowed reporters into a hollow set of “objective” protocols that served to obscure truth rather than enhance it. Simultaneously, decades of sustained attacks on liberals had spurred “serious pundits” to underscore their independence by routinely attacking the left. The result was a media which may have voted Democratic, but was fairly hostile to progressivism.
Eric Martin has a fantastic post on Walter Reed and the Bush administration:
The fiscal policy has centered around the goal of redistributing money to the wealthiest Americans through a series of multi-trillion dollar tax cuts, and it has been wildly successful. Credit where due. There have been some unfortunate side effects necessitated by this massive diversion of resources, such as underfunding the VA/military hospital system, but this was anticipated and not the result of “incompetence.” Similarly, we should recognize that the widespread problems with this health care system won’t go away without a restructuring of fiscal priorities. Holding a certain number of military officials accountable, and working to streamline the bureacratic processes that are contributing to some of the problems, are worthwhile goals but not nearly sufficient to rectify the situation.
Shrill. Oh, so shrill.
I offer the following in the spirit of non-partisan sobriety, acknowledging the Great and Awesome Blessings that the sustained life of our Glorious and Respected Comrade Leader bestows upon us all.
Lest anyone doubt the reason for Richard Bruce Cheney’s deliverance from peril into the waiting arms of March, unto you I say behold!
March is DVT Awareness Month. DVT Awareness Month is being sponsored by the Coalition to Prevent DVT to raise awareness of this serious medical condition among consumers, healthcare professionals, government, and public health leaders.
US Vice-President Dick Cheney has a blood clot in his leg and is being treated with blood-thinning medication, his office has said. . . .
Mr. Cheney recently returned to Washington after long flights to Japan, Australia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Blood clots – or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – can be associated with long-distance flying because it leads to inactivity and dehydration.
In addition to mustering us all quietly to war against Iran, our Beloved and Beneficent Vice President has now drawn our attention — as the month of March requires — to an affliction that will strike over two million Americans this year and will kill around 200,000. Until today, roughly three quarters of our countrymen had little or no awareness of the severe threat posed to our nation’s existence by DVT.
Thanks to Dick Cheney, even the Islamofascists are now better informed about this silent killer. Thanks, Mr. Vice President. Keep on truckin’.
Since two members of the L, G & M consortium will be in Las Vegas for the Western Political Science Association conference, this week we are pleased to announce (as you can see below) that the estimable LizardBreath of Unfogged will be making a return appearance. In addition, Thers of Whiskey Fire (and some more obscure outlets) will be favoring us with the highest levels of civiliosity. Welcome them both!
Tara McKelvey at Tapped is hearing military gossip that soldiers have been told to expect being sent to Iran:
Soldiers in three separate units in Fort Stewart have been saying they are now being informed that they will soon be deployed for 12 to 18 months — and they should plan on going to Iran. At least that’s what I heard from an army wife in Hinesville. I didn’t really believe her.
Still, I mentioned it at a recent NYU Law School symposium, “The Mirage of the State: Fragmentation, Fragility, and Failure and the Implications on Law and Security.” (We just called it the “Failed States” event.) A woman sitting next to me said she had heard the same thing from a lieutenant colonel she knows. “He has been told that they are going to Iran,” she recalled.
I haven’t heard anyone seriously argue that attacking Iran would be a good idea. I’ve seen plenty of people argue that it would be an absolutely terrible idea. Gossip like this, which gives the impression that we’re inevitably sliding toward war despite the fact that there’s no sane justification for it, frightens me unspeakably.
There may be nothing at all to this; and I may be worried about nothing. But worrying about nothing is harmless — letting a gradual movement toward another insane war go forward without comment is a terrifying idea. (also at my home blog Unfogged.)
Somerby notes that Maureen Dowd that when it comes to obsessing about allegedly feminine Democrats, is essentially Coulter without the outright slurs:
But then, why should pundits criticize Coulter when she describes Dem males as big “f*ggots?” It’s very similar to the gender-based “analysis” their dauphine, the Comptesse Maureen Dowd, has long offered. In Dowd’s work, John Edwards is routinely “the Breck Girl”(five times so far—and counting), and Gore is “so feminized that he’s practically lactating.” Indeed, two days before we voted in November 2000, Dowd devoted her entire column, for the sixth time, to an imaginary conversation between Gore and his bald spot. “I feel pretty,” her headline said (pretending to quote Gore’s inner thoughts).That was the image this idiot wanted you carrying off to the voting booth with you! Such is the state of Maureen Dowd’s broken soul. And such is the state of her cohort.
And now, in the spirit of fair play and brotherhood, she is extending this type of “analysis” to Barack Obama. In the past few weeks, she has described Obama as “legally blonde” (in her headline); as “Scarlett O’Hara” (in her next column); as a “Dreamboy,” as “Obambi,” and now, in her latest absurd piece, as a “schoolboy” (text below). Do you get the feeling that Dowd may have a few race-and-gender issues floating around in her inane, tortured mind? But this sort of thing is nothing new for the comptesse. Indeed, such imagery almost defines the work of this loathsome, inane Antoinette.
Quite right. Dowd reminds me of Glenn Reynolds engaging with Andrew Sullivan:
The Ole Perfesser calls Andrew Sullivan an “excitable” “emoter-in-chief” who should write “a bit less about gay marriage.” To his credit, the Perfesser did not just up and call him a faggot, but when you have such command of schoolyard code, you don’t have to get crude.
And the difference between Dowd and Coulter, of course, is that the former is much more damaging to both Democrats and the nation’s political discourse.