SCOTUS Tells Berkeley Law Students To Fraternize With Fornicators, Sort Of…..


Today, among other decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the “public” Hastings Law School in California can deny recognition to the student run Christian Legal Society because they deny membership to students who do not share their beliefs. Specifically, members are held to a “statement of faith” prohibiting “fornication, adultery, and homosexual conduct.”

My best advice for the group and others like it is to drop the words “homosexual conduct” from your “statement of faith.” You’ve got fornication and adultery in there. Arguably any kind of sexual conduct between any two people outside of marriage is included in that set of no-nos. Since you’re at a public school, why don’t you play it smart? If people at your meetings want to bend these rules, evangelize them. This is a public school. You’ve got to play by at least some rules. Although the rules the school wants is that all groups must admit “all-comers,” the “comers” you don’t want in your group are less likely to “come” if you leave out incendiary words in your by laws. Let the school go to the Supreme Court and ask you to let in “fornicators and adulterers.” They wont.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Chicago Gun Ban


The Court today struck down Chicago’s ban on handguns as a violation of the Second Amendment, as incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.  Once the Court had decided in the Heller case two years ago that the federal government could not absolutely ban guns in the District of Columbia, McDonald’s outcome was virtually inevitable.  There were still a few surprising things:

First, the four liberal justices (Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor) dissented from incorporating a key aspect of the bill of rights, even though I presume they would never question that other rights, such as the right against search and seizure or against self-incrimination in court, apply.  It remains stunning that the liberals would engage in this choosing and picking of rights that they favor for incorporation or not against the states (this is something the conservative justices haven’t done). 

Angela Wins One, Loses One


The Wall Street Journal’s headline on the pow-wow in Toronto: “Rich Nations Back Halving Deficts by 2013, Signaling Intent to Ease Stimulus.”

What this means, as best I can make it out, is that Angela Merkel won half her battle with Barack Obama. By getting him to give up any thought of enacting another vast, useless stimulus bill, she made sure he wouldn’t make the American deficit even bigger. As far as it goes, that’s good news.

Malaysia’s Next Top Muslim


Fox News:

The show, called “Imam Muda” or “Young Leader” […] is a natural fit for Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation that has tried to defend its Islamic traditions while also welcoming high-tech industry and Western culture. It’s these parallel strains in society that the program taps so successfully.

Five Ways Toy Story 3 Is Not Like The Obama Administration


Every Monday, I post a culture column on my website, and then go on the Mike Gallagher show to chat about it. In all modesty, or in some modesty, I thought today’s column – titled as above – was worth linking to:

Toy Story 3 centers around an apparently lovable and benign leader who is really a corrupt bully – so okay, it’s like the Obama Administration there. But in the movie, even the Barbie doll understands that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed…

Krugman: Depression is Coming Unless We Spend More; Obama: Higher Taxes are Coming No Matter What


From the Happy Monday file, here’s Paul Krugman in the NYTimes, predicting another depression:

But future historians will tell us that this wasn’t the end of the third depression, just as the business upturn that began in 1933 wasn’t the end of the Great Depression. After all, unemployment — especially long-term unemployment — remains at levels that would have been considered catastrophic not long ago, and shows no sign of coming down rapidly. And both the United States and Europe are well on their way toward Japan-style deflationary traps.In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven’t yet done enough to promote recovery. But no: over the last few months there has been a stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy.

Only in America


Former drug lord Ricky Ross is suing rapper Rick Ross and Def Jam boss Jay-Z for trademark infringement, among other things. The suit is for $50 million, but this is small change to Ross (the former drug trafficker):

Ross was the premier distributor of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and beyond during the 1980s, thanks largely to his connection with CIA-linked supplier Oscar Blandon. Ross claims he often moved $2 million to $3 million of crack per day. “Our biggest problem had got to be counting the money,” Ross told the San Jose Mercury News in 1996. “We got to the point where it was like, man, we don’t want to count no more money.”

Why not filibuster Kagan?


Why is the GOP leadership so skittish about filibustering Kagan? Why not — with all honesty — denounce Kagan as “outside the mainstream” — which will nicely reinforce Americans’ growing suspicion that Obama is way, way outside the mainstream. Kagan can hardly complain since she’s on the record as calling for a searching examination of the ideology of court nominees. She may still prevail, but I don’t see the downside.

Remember, Mr. President, Israel Is Our Friend


This past week, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, circulated a letter imploring President Obama to support Israel’s right to self-defense, and urging him to consider adding the IHH to the list of foreign terrorist organizations.  The letter, of which you can read excerpts below, was signed by 87 Senators.

We write to affirm our support for our strategic partnership with Israel, and encourage you to continue to do so before international organizations such as the United Nations.  The United States has traditionally stood with Israel because it is in our national security interest and must continue to do so.Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East and a vibrant democracy.  Israel is also a partner to the United States on military and intelligence issues in this critical region.  That is why it is our national interest to support Israel at a moment when Israel faces multiple threats from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the current regime in Iran.  Israel’s opponents have developed clever diplomatic and tactical ploys to challenge its international standing, whether the effort to isolate Israel at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference or the recent effort to breach the naval blockade around Gaza.

In praise of a pundit who isn’t just talking out of his keister


After all my complaining, I thought I’d point to an example of a pundit who seems really to understand Turkey well. Harold Rhode’s assessment of the mood of the Turkish public tracks closely with what I’m sensing from talking to people here. He’s noticing just the right things to notice.

So, who is this guy? I’d honestly never heard of him before. Someone sent me the link; I opened it. I was impressed that he seemed to know what he was talking about, so I Googled him. Turns out I really should have known his name, because apparently, he’s

A Reset Button in a War Zone


To what extent, if any, should we use the change of command in Afghanistan to make a clear-eyed assessment of tactics and strategy?   The situation in Afghanistan is about as tenuous as things were in Iraq when General Petraeus turned things around.  If anyone can pull this off, it is General David Petraeus. 

That being said, is it time to revisit the Rules Of Engagement?  In today’s New York Times, Bob Herbert quotes one Army Sergeant’s frustration with the current ROE: 

From Our Officer in the AOR


Our Officer in the Area of Operations sends along observations and impressions from his first day in Kabul:

Very first impression walking from the C-130 to the bus for transport to the passenger terminal … looks just like Las Vegas.  By that I mean it’s HOT and all the mountains that surround Las Vegas are dark brown, rocky and without vegetation.  Additionally, in some cases you can see urban sprawl climbing up the mountain sides.  Now in Afghanistan, urban sprawl is more mud huts and walls predominantly although in one certain spot, very modern looking homes with swimming pools were visible.

Is Happiness Beside the Point?


A while back on Ricochet we were talking parenthood and happiness — a subject I care about as a political theorist, a father, and a human being. Back during our conversation I wanted to talk about whether happiness is really the right word to describe what we want out of life, or whether it now means or implies too many things that don’t get at the deep purpose of life, and our deepest human longings.

Fortunately, Tony Woodlief decided this weekend is the perfect time to raise just this issue!

From Sexy Humans to Mechanical Animals


Continuing to ride the bourgeois beat today (see below), I give you Camille Paglia, resurfacing at the New York Times while she writes a book. My favorite leftie tees up American sexual culture and knocks it out of the park:

Pharmaceutical companies will never find the holy grail of a female Viagra — not in this culture driven and drained by middle-class values. Inhibitions are stubbornly internal. And lust is too fiery to be left to the pharmacist.