Microdisarmament

David Kopel, another sub-par co-blogger at the Volokh Conspiracy, has done a case study on microdisarmament – the sensible act of banning firearms. Unsurprisingly, he concluded, unclouded by personal opinion, of course, that microdisarmament is ineffective. His cases? Bougainville, Guatemala, Albania, Cambodia, Mali, and Panama. I’m sorry, but none of these countries can be characterized as been developed and/or stable nations/regions. They are all impoverished and war-torn. How this has any bearing on firearms policy in the United States – an internally stable, rich country – is beyond me.

More Support ≠ Moderation

Juan Non-Volokh, the pseudonymous co-blogger of Eugene Volokh, posts yet another incoherent argument:

Today’s 56-43 confirmation vote for Justice Priscilla Owen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit provides further evidence that the oft-repeated claim that Senate Democrats only filibustered the “most ideologically extreme” of President Bush’s judicial nominees is false. As Howard Bashman observes, two other Bush nominees — Dennis Shedd and Jeffrey Sutton — squeaked by on closer confirmation votes without ever being subject to a filibuster.

Owen’s greater support means nothing; she was only supported by two Democrats – Robert Byrd, a racist who would thus agree with a lot of what Owen says, and Mary Landrieu, a moderate conservative whose home state houses the court Owen will be destroying. Also, she was opposed by one Republican – Lincoln Chafee – and the most senior Republican in the Senate – Ted Stevens – refused to take a position. Besides, votes aren’t necessarily a good indicator of extremism. The fact that a facilitator of torture, an aide to the person who appointed her, no less, considers her extreme is perhaps more relevant.

Filibuster “Compromise” Reached

It’s over:

A bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement after days of talks to avert a showdown Tuesday over President Bush’s judicial nominees, Sen. John McCain announced Monday evening.
Standing with a group of 14 senators, the Arizona Republican said the seven Republicans and seven Democrats had brokered a deal to “avert a crisis” over the nominees.

Presumably, this is similar to previous attempts at compromise, wherein the Republicans agree to oppose the nuclear option and the Democrats agree not to filibuster any more nominees, and give up on some current filibusters. Let me make myself perfectly clear: this is not a compromise. Under a compromise, both sides benefit. This is certainly not the case now. The Republicans get de-facto approval of every crackpot, extremist judge they want to sick on the bench. The Democrats have been robbed of their ability to stop this onslaught. If this holds through a Supreme Court nomination, then Roe vs. Wade, Lawrence vs. Texas, Lemon vs. Kurtzman or even Griswold vs. Connecticut could be overturned. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, TANF, and Head Start could all be dismantled by the court. This nation would be a cross between a objectivist utopia and Gilead. That’s what’s at stake, and we, for all effects and purposes, just lost.
P.S. Jeffrey Dubner confirms my fears: a woman who called the New Deal a “triumph of the socialist revolution”, a woman who the president’s own Attorney General said engaged in “an unconscionable act of judicial activism” when it came to abortion, and a man who refers to the freedom from religion as “the so-called wall of separation between church and state” will all be allowed to attack our courts; the only significant person blocked is William Myers, a man who doesn’t have a law license. Again, this isn’t a compromise; this is a landslide defeat for freedom.

The Attack on Choice

The war against choice has acquired three unlikely supporters in Matt Yglesias, Mark Kleiman, and Kos. Both Yglesias and Kleiman link approvingly to this horrendously awful post by certifiable madman Kos:

NARAL, and many people here, whined and cried about Langevin, the way they whined and cried about Harry Reid, because of those Democrats’ personal opposition to abortion. Didn’t we know, they demanded, that choice was a core principle of the Democratic Party?
To which I have a simple answer: The hell it is.

The Democratic Party has been, since the 1948 Democratic Convention, the party of civil rights. Civil rights means feminism, and feminism means unregulated choice. And the day this party abandons feminism is the day I abandon this party. The sickest thing about this is that all the whining is about NARAL’s endorsement of (gasp!) a pro-choice candidate, Sen. Lincoln Chafee [R-RI] over a potential anti-choice candidate, Rep. Jim Langevin [D-RI]. If the left-wing blogosphere is going to give knee-jerk endorsement to every Democrat in every general election in the country, then we’re no better than the Republicans. Now, I’d be willing to forgive Democrat with undesirable positions on, say, trade, or taxes. But abortion is different; it’s an issue of human rights. That goes over everything, including partisanship. It’s extremely disappointing to see that Kleiman and Yglesias are willing to destroy basic human dignity in order to win an election or two.

Apple & Intel

Note to Readers: Minipundit has an unhealthy obsession with computers, not unlike his unhealthy obsession with politics. This post reflects that.
Via Slashdot, I see that the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Intel is in negotiations with Apple to have Apple switch to an x86 (most likely 64-bit x86) processor structure in place of its current PowerPC structure. This move would be a seriously mixed bag. On purely technical grounds, it’s a stupid decision; PowerPCs are demonstrably faster than x86 processors. However, in terms of what this would do for Apple’s market share, things are less certain. If this takes place, then at most a simple hack could make OS X work on a Wintel machine. While this would make it easier for Windows users to make the switch, it might cannibalize Apple’s hardware; Apple would just be another hardware vendor, albeit one with more aesthetically pleasing, and, thus, more expensive products. While this might succeed for the same reasons the iPod has, I doubt it will happen. So, Mac OS X for x86 would most likely massively increase the OS’ market share, it would destroy the hardware division. Personally, I wouldn’t really mind; Apple’s hardware quality has been dropping for sometime now, to the point where I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had to drop a computer off at a repair shop. In addition, Apple still has not produced a subnotebook, but that’s just a matter of personal preference. So, as I said, a mixed bag.

Safe, Legal, and I Don’t Care About the Third One

I think this is a first:

I’m disagreeing with the Carpetbagger:

Dionne seems to believe the left will reject arguments such as Suozzi’s because it tacitly admits that abortions are “bad” things that should be reduced. I see the point, but I’m afraid that train left the station some time ago — even the most ardently pro-choice Dems tend to embrace the “safe, legal, rare” line crafted by Clinton over a decade ago.

I guess I’m more ardently pro-choice than even the “most ardently pro-choice Dems”. Whereas I do think that Republicans oppose abortion for the same reason they oppose women’s rights in general, I don’t support for the opposite reasons. While I agree with Gloria Steinem’s line that “if men became pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament”, that’s still a hypothetical, and thus the issue isn’t one of equality. I support the freedom of choice on purely utilitarian grounds. Fetuses can’t feel pain; indeed, until the third trimester, they wouldn’t even notice being aborted, as being dead feels exactly the same as being “alive” for them. Thus, as abortion doesn’t affect their “lives” in any way, I don’t see any reason to ban it, or, for that matter, reduce its use.

Victory Coming on Stem Cells

It appears that we have the votes in the House and Senate to overturn Bush’s despicable stem cell policy. However, we don’t seem to have enough to override a veto. While I certainly want the policy gone, I think that I’d actually prefer him to veto it. Bush has not yet used his veto power during his presidency, due to Republican control of Congress. Thus, if he chooses to use it here, he will officially make his first veto about denying life-saving treatment to the chronically ill. This guy has decided that the only thing he cares enough about to veto is a bill that could assist in curing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and juvenile diabetes. If there’s a better campaign issue, I haven’t found it. With the public favoring stem cell research by a 63% to 28% margin, the midterms would be a walk for us if we pushed this.