Thursday, October 29, 2009

From My Cold Dead Hands, Baylor Law Review!

Great news! My submission to the Baylor Law Review write-on competition has earned me a spot on the staff, starting in the Winter Quarter. As I understand it, our job is to review the law, which I give a solid 3 out of 5 gavels. Strong on casting, weak on writing and dialog.

Part of the the strength of my piece, I think, is that the topic was very interesting and I was able to enjoy myself a bit. The prompt was basically the cert question in McDonald v. Chicago, which is whether the individual right to bear arms the Supreme Court articulated in Heller last year should be incorporated to the states through the 14th Amendment. So that's fun enough by itself. But cert was also granted on whether such incorporation should occur through the privileges or immunities clause, overruling the Slaughter-House Cases! Crazy!

So what do we think? Is the right to bear arms "fundamental" and/or "implicit in the Anglo-American concept of ordered liberty?" I say hell yeah, but I've been known to make rash decisions based upon the awesomeness of firearms.

On a related note, I think  this should be the next Federalist Society Professors' Debate topic. Who do we want to see argue guns?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ApOrang-splosion: Global Warming and Heated Debate

Global Warming is a dish best served cold, like pizza (30 Rock, anyone?), but the sequel to the controversial Freakonomics is raising more emotions than temperatures around the world. The book is gaining SUPER press exposure this week - from The Daily Show to the Wall Street Journal. Adding more fuel to this fiery debate, Stephen D. Levitt's NY Times "Freakonomics" blog hosts a SuperFreakonomics Global Warming Fact Quiz.

My question to you:

Would we "be better off doing nothing until the state of technology can catch up to the scope of the problem" or going all Inconvenient Truth on the Earth?

I fall approximately room temperature on the spectrum - I don't think it is worth spending trillions of dollars on a problem that we do not fully understand, but it couldn't hurt to compost in your backyard or drive an electric car (depending of course on the cost and/or how the electricity was generated).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Step Toward Legitimate Blogging!

My friends, this morning I embarked upon an exciting new adventure--participation in a legitimate blogging effort that has nothing to do with Baylor, Waco, our house, or whatever. As part of the promo efforts for our forthcoming book, a group of fellow authors and I are now posting over at the new Reclaiming the Right blog. The general idea is thoughtful conservatism, and an intellectual underpinning to some of the more emotion-driven current debates. Should be fun! Check out my first post, on Afghanistan (the author is listed as "Robert Wheeler," but that's a temporary bug). Don't worry, there will still be plenty of fun and debate here at The Davis Firm. I expect that the tone of my posts at the new blog will be more academic, and probably sound a lot like the pieces I wrote in a former life. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cath-Anglican: But Now I'm Found?

The New York Times article, "Pope Sets Plan for Disaffected Anglicans to Join Catholics," highlights a new twist in the Great Anglican Divide:

"In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse, the Vatican on Tuesday announced that it would make it easier for Anglicans who are uncomfortable with their church’s acceptance of women priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church.

A new canonical entity will allow groups of Anglicans 'to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony,' Cardinal William Levada, the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said at a news conference here."

As a new Episcopalian, I am not sure how this would play out - among Catholics and/or among Anglicans. In order to preserve traditionalist values, would Anglicans rejoin with the Pope? Friends, Catholics, Anglicans, lend me your thoughts!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Knew That Obama Guy Was a Stoner!

The buzz today is that Big O is set to announce a new marijuana policy, under which the DEA will no longer enforce federal marijuana prohibitions where they conflict with state laws allowing the use and distribution of medical weed. This isn't exactly unexpected--as the ad at left demonstrates, NORML campaigned hard for the guy they knew would loosen marijuana laws. But the announcement is still big news.

What are we to think of Obama's new drug policy? I know our national drug policies need to be reworked, and think I can get on board with the idea that we may have over-criminalized marijuana use (just look at the number of young people in prison today for possession of relatively small amounts), but does that mean that the President should direct the DEA to ignore federal criminal statutes? I don't think so. If this is going to be his policy, he should ask Congress to rewrite the law. It's their job. His job is to "faithfully execute" the laws. See generally The Freakin' Constitution.

If the states want to decriminalize marijuana, and the Congress wants to decriminalize it at the federal level, let's have that debate. Let's talk about our drug policies and come to a legislative conclusion. If you're interested, Texas Monthly ran a great piece last month on the marijuana debate in Texas, and it included a good summations of the arguments for and against.  I mean come on, who did the country elect president, Barack Obama or Matthew McConaughey?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Snuggies and Healthcare

Ok, so Colbert and Jon Stewart are famous for putting members of Congress in awkward, and generally embarrassing, situations but D.L. Hughley got 2 members to wear Snuggies. I am pretty sure that sets a precedent.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Real Headline: 'Bunnies Burned to Keep Swedes Warm'

'Stockholm's Bunnies Burned to Keep Swedes Warm.'

This. Story. Is. Hilarious. Apparently the Swedes, well know for ingenuity in the furniture arts, have found a new way to make lemonade when life hands you lemons. Or more precisely, to make bioenergy when life hands you thousands of tiny rabbit cadavers.

Well what do you expect from the deranged people who brought us Bursjön the stool? (not to mention a demonic stuffed bunny, "Gosig Kanin") I mean, this is a perfectly logical solution to two problems--too many rabbits, and not enough heat. But how horrifying! It's like a car that runs on shattered dreams, or a sneaker-sewing machine fueled by the tears of Indonesian children.

Many of the destructive little herbivores start life as pets, and when kids get tired of their new friend they put them outside to "play with the other bunnies." Ha! More like "play with the grim spectre of a violent shooting death followed by slow roasting in a hellish pit of fire." What will we hear next? 'Norwegians Find New Life for Killer Whales...As Luxury Condos.' You monsters, not Shamu IX! We didn't even know if it was a boy or a girl!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SFW: Gently Heartbreaking and Overpriced

We haven't had a "Scenes From Waco" installment for a while, so I thought we'd catch up with two.

The availability of movies is one of Waco's many idiosyncrasies. Some movies just never screen here, and you also run across a lot of videos at Blockbuster that you've never heard of before. Mostly straight-to-DVD Jesus stuff. But the poster at left struck me for two reasons: 1) I'd never heard of it, and what the heck is it even about anyway? Two ladies moving a stuff around for 90 minutes? and 2) The best billing they could give this flick is "Funny..." (ok, good so far) "...and gently heartbreaking." Huh? That's exactly what I want to see, a manic-depressive film about two ladies moving stuff around. Perfect Friday evening.

HEB stores are a big plus for Waco. I know HEBs in other places are sometimes the nasty, run down store in town. But here the betters ones are big, clean, and run great deals. They also sell a lot of non-grocery items, which are generally way overpriced. Case in point, the tin flamingo at right. All this thing does is sit in your yard (or living room maybe?) and bob up and down in the wind. How much is the pleasure of owning such a device worth to you? $20? $25? How about $49.95!? Well that's what they want you to pay. Worst part is, I see less and less of these things everytime we go to the store. Somebody's buying them! There's a flock of expensive tin flamingos overrunning the town!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

War is Peace, Irony is Fantastic

After winning the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, the Obama White House declared war on Fox News on Sunday saying,

"'What I think is fair to say about Fox -- and certainly it's the way we view it -- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party,' said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. 'They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is.'"

Anita Dunn is right, Fox News is no CNN:

Friday, October 9, 2009

WTF? There's a Nobel Prize for Sitting at Home and Eating Cheetos?

If you read my post yesterday, you know how highly I regard Obama's job performance thus far. (Ha!) But apparently he's doing such good job of being an ineffectual wiener that they gave him the Nobel Peace Prize! Conclusive proof that the Nobel Peace Prize has become a worthless paperweight. Literally, utterly worthless. Too bad Yasser Arafat isn't around to chat Obama up at Peace Prize Winners Reunions. But now Big O and Al Gore will have something to talk about besides how much they hate Bill and Hillary.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Obama: Hero to Zero in Just 10 Months

So it's October, and the Big O (or should that be a "0"?) has yet to deliver on a single major campaign promise. Don't believe me? Just watch the video below, he explains it himself (thanks to The Tuegel and Magnificent Vista for the tip--I missed the first 10 minutes of SNL this week). Come on, what did you think was going to happen? I mean the guy was campaigning on "I'm going to lower the level of the sea"--we know he got a little too big for his britches. Dear Barrack- just because you think you're invincible and everyone tells you that you're going to be the best president ever doesn't make it true.

If I had the time, I'd lay down some erudite and hard-hitting analysis on why Obama's first year is shaping up to be a failure. For now, I'll just hit three of the high points.

1) He's a wiener. Obama can't get stuff done because he's too busy trying to please everyone (and never switched out of campaign mode), and he doesn't have the cache on Captiol Hill to make everyone jump in line.

2) He can't manage expectations. Americans don't expect a prefect president, or even a terribly effective one, but Big O promised us the moon. Well ok, W promised us the moon, but Obama said he'd save the economy, fix healthcare, reverse global warming, turn all the Washington Fat Cats into cuddly kittens, and solve our race relation problems. Did Obama not go to that seminar on setting attainable goals? He's like that guy who gets Ds as a pre-law undergrad and is convinced he's going to be a Supreme Court Justice. You have to set your self up for sucess, not unmitigated failure. Case in point, the Olympics. Here's a good idea: go ahead and give the world a reason to shoot down the US, after they're already pissed at us for causing a global financial meltdown. I'm sure they'll give Chicago the Olympics, just as long as you ask nicely and smile. A smart politician stays a thousand miles from away from something like that if there's even a outside chance he'll lose. Instead Obama went and put his personal credibility on the line. Dumb. This is such a no brainer that I heard Hugh Hewitt say before the fact, "Of course Chicago is getting the Olympics. Otherwise Obama wouldn't be going to Copenhagen."

3) He played the race card. Or at least didn't properly deal with it after Carter played it. Don't even give me that line about how Jimmy Carter was spekaing for himself, and Big O had nothing to do with it. Obama's the party leader, Carter is a Democrat, and all such birds come home to roost with the president. Obama doesn't have to have anything to do with Carter's asine remarks for them to be his problem. You can't run a campaign on "post-racial" politics, and then let some crazy peanut farmer spout off about how racist your opponents are. Even if there are some racist nuts out there, what kind of arrogance is it to let someone call the majority of your opposision racially motivated? If Carter really was off the reservation and O didn't see some truth in his words, he should have lambasted the remarks publicly and called Jimmy a crazy old coot. Instead he just left the knife in tolerant white America's back.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Share and Tell

Oh, the trial of obtaining adequate sleep! I think Christoph Niemann illustrated this ubiquitous battle perfectly through his humorous visual blog: "Good Night and Tough Luck."


Friday, October 2, 2009

Going Rogue

After all of Sarah Palin's blunders and gaffes during the '08 election, you'd think someone would have caught this one: the (hopefully) unintended use of rogue in the title of her upcoming book, Going Rogue.

Top 3 Reasons Not to Describe Yourself/Political Entity as Rogue:

1. Probably not a good idea to apply the same word used to describe North Korea to yourself.

2. Although you may have seen X-Men 1 or 2 (hopefully you have not seen the ugly stepchildren 3 and Wolverine), the character of Rogue sucks the life out of everything she touches. Not exactly positive, vote for me imagery.

3. The definition of rogue from Merriam-Webster is as follows:
1 : vagrant, tramp
2 : a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
3 : a mischievous person : scamp
4 : a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
5 : an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation

Seriously. Did you intentionally use this word or just think it sounded cool? Or maybe Sarah Palin is getting career ideas from Justin's blog. Wait a minute, didn't he intern in Alaska this past summer? Oh. my. gosh. Conspiracy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Swan Lake of Death

There is an epic battle taking place in Brooklyn's Prospect Park:

Two rival houses lived separately, but harmoniously, on opposite ends of a territory. We'll call the Northern Clan "Swanords," and the Southern Clans, "Swansurs." The two houses were both without an heir for months, until this fateful deadly year. The Swanords were blessed with a beautiful baby boy, but not to be outdone, the Swansurs had five. Mwahahahahahaha! And the prophecy of the five Swan princes was set into motion.

Over the summer months, these Swanlets grew. The Father of the Swansurs trained his sons to be great, vicious fighters - forcing them to complete complex and traditional swan fighting patterns in the secret of the night. The Father of the Swanords, taught his son to respect the environment and to love everyone and everything. Swanord, Jr. grew to be a kind and gentle creature, while the 5 Swansur sons grew to be evil, bloodthirsty animals.

For the Swansurs had always been territorial. It was in their blood to rule all the lake they could see and destroy all that got in their way.

After months of palpable tension, life on the lake suddenly transformed in an instant of terror. The Swansur Father ordered a daylight attack on the Swanords! With the fierce battle cry of silence and flapping wings, the Swansur charged. Oh, the horror!

But, the Swansur made one fatal mistake: daylight. Since he had trained his sons by the light of the moon, no human had previously witnessed their deadly capabilities. And now, in the brilliance of the sun, Truth illuminated their evil plot.

"Curses! Foiled again! Seriously, humans. Stop making swans with your doggie bag leftovers, only to throw them at us in an attempt to thwart our violent ways!" shouted the mute Swansur.

That night the Swansurs held a family meeting and swore by their beaks that they would get those Swanords, even if it meant destroying the humans too.

So, yeah. You better watch out New Yorkers because they are watching you.