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Commander-in-Chief Rolls Up Sleeves



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Great speech from the president to troops in Qatar. But, did you see it the footage: Did they put every female stationed there behind the president?

Thought For The Day



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I know, I quote Sam Johnson too much. Can’t help it–I worship the
man–have the Barry portrait looking down on me from above my desk. A
fellow-worshipper has just reminded me of the marvelous opening line of
Rasselas: “Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and
persue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform
the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be
supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas prince of
Abissinia.”

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Partial-Birth and Federalism



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So Prof. Adler concedes that my equal-protection case for the constitutionality of a federal partial-birth abortion ban is “reasonable,” but says that Congress has not made the necessary findings to sustain that case. Ok, professor: What’s the justification for the Court’s striking down an otherwise constitutional law simply because the Congress doesn’t make an explicit argument, within the law itself, for its constitutionality? Let’s go further: Let’s say the Congress makes a law that has a constitutional justification, but the law itself makes some zany, unsound constitutional argument for itself. Should the Court strike it down on that basis? I think that idea is itself a little strange. If my argument about equal protection is sound, it seems to me to follow that a constitutionally conscientious congressman is able, and possibly obligated, to vote for the ban and the Court is obligated to uphold it.

Web Briefing: July 31, 2014

Children of The Corn



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Today’s WSJ notes (in an editorial only available to WSJ.com subscribers) that three of the Democrat Presidential hopefuls — Lieberman, Kerry, and Graham — voted against ethanol subsidies in 1994, but have now miraculously changed their position. I’m all for tradition, but this is one of the poisonous effects of Iowa’s early caucus.

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Surgeon General Would Ban All Tobacco



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An interesting tidbit reported in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Cruelty to Animals



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Bizarrely, quite a few readers seem to think that because I disagree with Rod I must be in favor of cruelty to livestock. I’m not and have said so in the past.

Dissent in The Ranks



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From a reader:

Sorry, Jonah, but I think you are way off base with your argument. Rather than addressing Rod’s true point, you are basically setting up a straw man by interpreting his word choice (“as God made it”) in the most extreme way possible. Yes, yes, cows and other farm animals have been selectively bred for millennia, and farmers have for many years tried to carefully control what these animals are fed – but I think most people see a big difference between such subtle tampering and injecting (or feeding) an animal massive quantities of chemicals. When you carefully breed chickens to obtain ones which lay very large, healthy eggs, you are using “God’s system” to obtain the favorable results you are looking for. When you splice fish genes into your chicken so that it will glow in the dark and make fish oil, then you have entered a completely different territory. Giving hormones to cows may not be quite in this category, but it is nevertheless troubling to many of us. And I’m NOT a crunchy con, by the way.

Jews and Original Sin



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A Jewish reader notes that I stole a theological base by saying theology is on my side when I say that we are all born in sin. Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin, he notes. And he’s right. We don’t. Click here for the rundown on this point. But Jews do believe that man is born fallible and, in effect, flawed. Jews also believe that good conduct requires understanding God’s will and that only comes through instruction and education. That’s all I meant. But since I was the one who raised theology, I should have been more precise in my terminology.

Freezing Downstairs?



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Every day is full of surprises: A pro-life activist imed me this morning: “the best article on the House vote is in the New York Times.”

Btw



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Adler, never apologize for being disagreeable. The Corner counts on it!

Victory Questions



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This seems like the perfect “best of the Corner” moment. One of our best weeks ever, I think, was when Ponnuru and Adler went at it on partial-birth abortion and the Constitution. The link is here. Search for “Why Adler’s Wrong” and read and read.

State Ags Sue Epa



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Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts filed suit against the EPA yesterday, charging that the EPA has a legal obligation to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. I previewed the litigation here, arguing that the suit is on weak legal ground, but the Bush EPA has taken steps that strengthen the states’ position. For more on this, and related, litigation, see the links I’ve compiled on my website here.

Vdh On Boney



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Excellent review by VDH of Paul Johnson’s Napoleon in the Claremont Review
of Books
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Just two notes: (1) Among the catalog of Napoleon-worshipping
intellectuals, let not Puccini be forgotten. In the second act of Tosca,
when the news of Napoleon’s victory at Marengo comes through, Cavaradossi
cries out “Vittoria! Vittoria!” then launches into some allegro concitato
about: “Surge up, Liberty! crushing all tyranny…” (2) Napoleon was a
keen amateur mathematician, and there is a theory in geometry named after
him. On the sides of any triangle at all, construct three equilateral
triangles. The centers of these three equilateral triangles form another
equilateral triangle, sometimes called “the Napoleon triangle.”

More On “as God Made It”



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I don’t want to pick on Rod, but this whole “as God made it” thing has been bugging me. Yesterday, Rod said that he preferred his meat “As God made it,” i.e. without hormones or other human tampering. Also, I’ve been reading The New Atlantis, a very interesting — though a bit dry — new journal on technology issues. So this stuff is just in my head.

Anyway, I don’t like naturalism of the sort Rod is invoking. I think it buys into some of the biggest propaganda of the left. I say propaganda because much of the naturalism (by which I mean the view that things “unadulterated by man” are always better) is based on a series of lies and deliberate misunderstandings. Take the cows Rod prefers “as God made them.” Well, in reality, the cows God made are very hard to find and probably taste terrible compared to what we find at Mortons. Cows have been genetically engineered for thousands of years, through selective breeding programs. The “organic” beef we buy at Whole Foods simply does not occur in nature. Ditto for chicken, pork and all the other tasty animals.

And that goes for even non-tastey animals — like humans. When people arrive simply “as God made them” they are a mess, physically, emotionally, psychologically, politically and — trust me on this — literally. Moreover, I believe theology is on my side on this. We are born in sin after all. It is only through the acts of man that God-made humans improve. How that improvement takes place depends on your individual faith. But the point remains that without teaching, understanding, training and insight or revelation, we remain a mess. Sure God is the conductor directing this whole symphony, but without the very human musicians no one would ever get the tune right. Give a baby a violin without human instruction and you’ve got an expensive chew toy.

I do believe there is something hardwired into our genetic codes which makes such appeals to nature “as God made it” sound more authoritative than they really are — and that alone should teach us something about the kind of world we want to live in. But if the choice is to live in any God-made world — save Eden — unimproved by man and technology or to live in a society with man’s handiwork all around, I’ll choose the latter every time.

For more on this you can see my whacky column about my hernia operation. You didn’t this post was ending there did you?

Let The Pryor Battle Begin



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Next Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Alablama Attorney General BIll Pryor’s nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yes — Every Tuesday and Friday



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Paul Krugman wants to know if he’s exaggerating when says the “selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history — worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra.” . . . Um, that’s an easy one: “Yes!” In fact, as Don Luskin points out in the latest edition of the Krugman Truth Squad, Krugman can be seen exaggerating, and outright lying, every Tuesday and Friday in the New York Times. But now, in an expected twist, the liar — in lockstep with the left-leaning media — is crying “liar!” But the Truth Squaders are all over it. Just as they can handle Krugman lie for lie, they can also defend the president false-accusation for false-accusation. Be sure to check in with the Squad today.

Victory - Clarification



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Given some of the e-mails I’ve received, I thought I should make clear that although I suspect the Supreme Court will strike down the federal partial-birth abortion ban, that is not the basis for my claim below. Rather, it is that under almost any reasonable constitutional interpretation, the ban is unconstitutional. Moreover, while I suspect the Supremes will strike the law down, I have little confidence they will do so on the proper constitutional grounds.

Huffington...Ahhhh



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There is perhaps no columnist or pundit whose views I have less respect for than Arianna Huffington. I can muster some respect even for the Scheers, Ivins and Conasons of the world whereas for Huffington I have nothing. Anyway, she’s been emailing me her column for a while now and each time I’ve responded with a request — very polite at first — to be removed from her mailing list. I’ve never heard back and the drek kept coming. So today, I finally did the right thing and simply blocked her email from ever coming to my account. It felt good.

Re: Victory?



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Glenn Reynolds and I have made the same point as Prof. Adler, at greater length.
Outlawing a particular type of abortion procedure simply isn’t within a reasonable understanding of Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. Partial-birth abortion is horrible, and if I were a state legislator, I would support a state-level ban. But abortion performed within a single state is not “interstate commerce.” Nor is divorce, gun possession, drug possession, most violent crimes, and many other human activities.

Victory?



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I’m sorry to be so disagreeable, but I don’t think it’s a “victory” when the House passes unconstitutional legislation. A federal ban on partial birth abortion is simply beyond the scope of Congress’ enumerated powers. A federal ban on a medical procedure, like a federal murder statute, is not a regulation of “commerce among the several states.” Banning only on those procedures “in or affecting interstate commerce” is a farce. While Ramesh has made a reasonable argument that federal abortion legislation could be justified under the 14th Amendment, Congress has not made the sorts of findings that would be necessary to support such claim, and the 14th Amendment argument is weak when Congress only elects to target one method of abortion. There should be no constitutional barrier to state bans on partial-birth abortion — such as Ohio’s ban, which the Bush Administration is defending in federal court — but such legislation is simply not within the scope of federal power.

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