What Rights Should We Accord Felons?

 

One of the virtues of being the age I am is that I have former students who are out and about in the world, and every once in a while one of them does something that sets me chortling. Here is one such example — a letter that appeared in Pravda-on-the-Potomac on Sunday:

As a retired state and federal prosecutor, I was surprised to read in Gideon Yaffe’s July 28 op-ed, “Let felons and prisoners vote,” that prisoners “should be allowed to vote, no matter their crimes,” apparently because “we cannot hold citizens to account for violating our laws while denying them a say over those laws.”

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Whatever may happen this election cycle, the #NeverTrump movement will have its work cut out for it. If Hillary Clinton emerges victorious this November, the fight for NeverTrumpers to reclaim the soul of the Republican Party will have already begun. I have a feeling that this would be less a matter of trying to persuade […]

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Much ink has been dedicated to the notion that Donald Trump is a vile man. I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. He only recently hurled insults at the parents of a fallen American soldier. Add that to the existing laundry list: mocking John McCain for being captured, mocking the handicapped, accusing Megyn Kelly of being […]

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As a long-time Great Courses fan, I eventually ran into their music courses taught by Dr. Greenberg. The very first one of his courses I ordered and listened to was “How To Listen To And Understand Opera”.  Why did I do this?  I didn’t like opera, and thought it was nothing but an entertainment genre […]

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Not one to get worked up over looming disasters, but Getting a little worrisome… http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article93057392.html Federal health officials on Monday advised pregnant women to avoid a Miami neighborhood— marking the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against travel to any area within the continental United States — as a Zika outbreak […]

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In case you missed this on Fox News, here is an open letter to Mr. Khan, who lost his beloved son in the Gulf War. Mr. Khan addressed the Democratic Convention last week and now it is a point of heated contention toward Donald Trump because of Mr. Trump’s suggestion to halt Muslim refugees coming into our country […]

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After missing Khan’s DNC speech live, and enjoying a couple of necessary news-free days I caught up and not only saw Kahn’s missive against Trump, but Trump’s responses which are now deservedly the latest outrage. Whether or not you watch John Oliver (I find him the only watchable show from HBO’s stable of leftist fake news), last nights […]

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Helpful Guide to Exploiting Dead Children

 

At this point in the election cycle many of you may be confused. You saw Khizr Khan at the Democrat convention. His son was a heroic American soldier who died in the Iraq War and he criticized Donald Trump and when Trump attacked him back, the media said Trump was very bad. But what about Patricia Smith? Her diplomat son died at Benghazi and she criticized Hillary Clinton at the Republican convention — and the media said she was very bad.

Likewise, when Cindy Sheehan’s son, an American soldier, was killed in Iraq, she protested against George W. Bush and she received international media attention. But when Cindy Sheehan’s son, an American soldier, was killed in Iraq, she protested against Barack Obama, and was completely ignored.

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But until now, it looked like the Khans were just Gold Star parents who the big bad Donald Trump attacked. It turns out, however, in addition to being Gold Star parents, the Khans are financially and legally tied deeply to the industry of Muslim migration–and to the government of Saudi Arabia and to the Clintons […]

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The GOP & The South

 

So last week the strange case of GOP racism was aired out again on Ricochet. Allegations, half-allegations, answers, indignation, popped collars, bursting veins, & all the paraphernalia of indignation & justification. Mr. Peter Robinson tried to answer the matter with facts. Of course, that’s not possible to do on a live podcast. Instead, you get quarrels. Well, here you get such a brief history of how the South turned to vote GOP.

For those of you not in the know, the allegations came from Mr. Avik Roy, formerly of Ricochet, on the Ricochet podcast. He said the GOP is sorta-kinda white identity politics. Then several Ricochet members responded, on both main & member feeds, at great length, to what seems like a pretty big insult. Hundreds of comments, ensued, almost none of them happy… Notice I say seems, because Mr. Roy made an admittedly correct distinction between his quotes for VOX & their juxtaposed write-up–that’s at least extenuating circumstances. Well, he did it to himself, so if I misrepresented him–it serves him right!

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I could have laid around the house yesterday, done chores, look at Ricochet, talk with a buddy or two, and read some of a novel. My wife was gone and we’ve been eating out, going to movies, and doing chores. We went rafting instead.We did see Hillary’s America and I spent a bit of time explaining […]

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Occasionally, out of the depths of my love for my wife, I accompany her to Chinese restaurants. When viewing the menu I look anxiously for chicken-on-a-stick, the only fare ever on offer in such places that I find at all palatable. (One Chinese place we visited had chicken fried steak on the menu, which I […]

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Are Voter ID Laws Racist?

 

i_voted_stickerThere are few things as controversial in American political life as voting rights. The issue surged to the fore this past week in Veasey v. Abbott when the Fifth Circuit, by a 9-6 vote, delayed the enforcement of Texas Law SB 14. This law limited the forms of photo identification that could be used when registering to vote to state driver’s licenses, U.S. passports, military photo IDs, concealed weapon permits, and U.S citizenship certificates with photographs. Although the law provided for some exceptions for poor and disabled persons, it has been attacked as the most restrictive voting rights law in the United States.

A variety of plaintiffs mounted both a constitutional and a statutory challenge to the law—the former under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the latter under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as amended in 1982. The plaintiffs’ burdens under the two provisions are distinct. It has long been accepted under the 1976 Supreme Court decision in Washington v. Davis that an equal protection challenge to any law cannot rest simply on proof that the law has a disparate impact by race, but rather, must show that there was some intention on the part of the lawmakers to abridge those rights on the grounds of race.

In contrast, the 1982 Amendments to the 1965 Voting Rights Act gravitated toward a stricter standard by prohibiting any law “which results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” That standard is then further refined in ways calculated to invite litigation, taking into account the possibility that the “political process is not equally open to participation by members of a protected class”—code for minority members, who have “less opportunity to participate in the political process.”

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I may have joined a gym. Actually, my wife joined a gym and I’m something of a gratuitous addition. We used to belong to one of the better gyms, the kind people mention at dinner parties with racquet ball, tennis, squash, basketball, pools, saunas, steam rooms, etc. Our new gym is not that kind of […]

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Pulling Up the Drawbridge: America and “Authoritarian Populism”

 

twenty20_eaa6e594-53ef-42cf-b839-b2a163724fc2_drawbridge-e1469814494579Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Brexit. The growing popularity of “authoritarian populist” parties across Europe. In a lengthy piece, the Economist sums up the state of the (advanced economy) world this way:

From Warsaw to Washington, the political divide that matters is less and less between left and right, and more and more between open and closed. Debates between tax-cutting conservatives and free-spending social democrats have not gone away. But issues that cross traditional party lines have grown more potent. Welcome immigrants or keep them out? Open up to foreign trade or protect domestic industries? Embrace cultural change, or resist it?

This echoes a 2007 Tony Blair quote — one I’ve frequently referenced, most recently in my new The Week column — where he says the “modern choice” in politics is not right versus left but “open versus closed.”