Archive for June, 2008

Thursday is Heller Day. So?

Photo courtesy of barjackAt the close of today’s public session, Chief Justice John Roberts indicated that all the court’s remaining opinions will be issued tomorrow at 10am. That includes District of Columbia v. Heller, which is going to start us off on what will no doubt be a long and loud road towards what new gun regulation will come to be in the District… and likely, everywhere else.

Tom Goldstein wrote on SCOTUSBlog on Monday his speculation that the Heller majority opinion would be written by Justice Scalia, which is probably going to be great news if you’re in favor of an individual right to own a gun versus the more traditional collective militia interpretation. Goldstein points out that Scalia is the only justice who hasn’t penned a majority opinion from the cases in March’s sittings – and this is the last of March’s cases – though of course this assumes (a) Scalia will be on the pro-gun side – probably a fair guess – and (b) that the pro-gun contingent is going to carry this decision, which sure sounded that way from the oral arguments.

That’s divergent from what Mike O’Shea predicted right after oral arguments, when he believed that Justice Roberts or Kennedy would be writing the opinion, though both think there’s going to be an individual right component to the decision.

The reasonable thing to wonder in response to that is, of course, so what? What’s that really mean for people visiting and living in the district? Well, Nina Totenberg’s NPR article here points out that the DC law as it stands doesn’t prohibit residents from keeping what I’d call “long guns” at home for protection, provided that they’re trigger-locked or disassembled, so odds are we’re just going to see that residents will be able to keep pistols as well as rifles at home. Whether they’ll have to continue to be locked is more up in the air. Justice Scalia certainly seemed pretty firmly on the side of self-protection, and DC circuit court ruling said not just that Heller had the right to have the gun at home, but also loaded and unlocked.

I think we can be pretty much certain that at the end of this there’s not going to be any expectation that you’re going to have the right to have a gun out and about with you when you travel through town, visible or not. That might be the next fight Heller and others like him choose to pick, but I’d be overtly astonished if there’s any overt statement on that kind of matter in the decision. The Court likes to give a thumbs up or down to lower court decisions without further narrowing, and the Circuit opinion outright says “Heller does not claim a legal right to carry a handgun outside his home, so we need not consider the more difficult issue whether the District can ban the carrying of handguns in public, or in automobiles.” Or in other words, we’re going to punt and just ignore this sub-issue. Bet on a follow-up case – if this goes as expected and residents are allowed to have guns in their home – over being able to transport them to and fro.

See you at the range.

Guns In Grey, courtesy of barjack

Gun Ruling Today? Looks Like No.

Last we’d heard, the only justice waiting to weigh in on District of Columbia v. Heller was Justice Antonin Scalia (and chances, he’s all for the guns, is my guess) which means that we have to be close to a verdict in the case. The Supreme Court in a special sessions released four verdicts this morning, among them, one Rejecting the Death Penalty for Child Rape, and another to Slash the Exxon Valdez Judgment.

Generally, if Heller were to have come today, we’d know all about it by now, along with the rulings for the Valdez and Child Rape cases linked above. So, looks like we wait another day or two for Justice Scalia to finish his scrivenings. It’s gotta be out by Monday, as that’s when the Court’s term is done. But, worst to worst, it could be extended.

So, who’s setting up the pool?

LA Gun Club — Originally uploaded by seanbonner

Twain Prize Winner Carlin Dies at 71

George Carlin died last night at the age of 71 from heart failure. He’s this year’s recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for Humor, and probably one of the best satirists of the last 50 years. Tickets for the Award Presentation show go on sale on August 11th.

So, without further ado, please enjoy some really, really not-safe-for-work language to honor his contributions to American Humor, and to incense a few of the Congresscritters who will cry out “Think of the Children!” before keeling over.


The Hill in One Word or Less

If you want to check out what’s going on at the Capitol, but can’t be bothered to read all of the Congressional Record and even the Post’s Politics section is far too detailed, check out Capitol Words, which will give you the word of the day on The Hill:


The word of the day last Wednesday was Oil. I can tell you’re shocked and appalled.

Wear a Shirt at Nats Park or Leave

Well. The best you can say is that the double standard’s gone.

But, if you are planning on going to a Nats game and bearing your hairy man chest for the crowd to see, be prepared for the ushers to descend on you and request you get dressed or leave. I mean, I get that they want to make it family friendly, but this is bordering on silly.

If you can’t take a shirtless dude on a hot day at the ballpark, really? You’re too much of a prude to be seen at a baseball game anyway, mmmkay?

And I thought Uncle Stan liked those guys who painted N A T S on their chests. Oh well.

sexy — Originally uploaded by Dre’s Pix

Smithsonian on Flickr

Smithsonian Birthday on the Mall 1996 The Smithsonian has joined The Commons on Flickr, which started as a pilot between the Library of Congress and Flickr to increase access to publicly-held photo collections and allow the public to contribute knowledge and information (such as tags) to those collections.

The Smithsonian’s photostream contains some fantastic gems, including portraits of scientists, cyanotypes cataloging the Smithsonian’s other collections, and cool photos from past Folklife festivals.

Go look, add some tags, but be careful- much like the LOC collections, you can find yourself losing hours poking around at this stuff.

George Carlin awarded Mark Twain Prize

Speaking of the Kennedy Center, it has announced that this year’s Mark Twain Prize will be awarded to George Carlin. A worthy recipient indeed, as Carlin is one of the defining luminaries of stand-up comedy, and American comedy in general.

But I can’t help but note the irony of the Kennedy Center awarding its prestigious comedy award to an artist best known for his bit on the “Seven Dirty Words” you can’t say on television, when they wouldn’t allow Lewis Black to associate the Center in any way with his “Red, White, and Screwed” special because he says the word “fuck” too much.

In any case, congratulations to George Carlin for this much-deserved honor, and thanks to the Kennedy Center for giving Lewis Black more comedic fodder.

Tim Russert’s funeral service at the Kennedy Center

Photo courtesy of hykuIf, like our Mr Bridge, you’re a fan of the late Mr Russert, you might be interested in WAMU’s live coverage of his funeral service today at the Kennedy Center. If you’re one of the 8 people in the country with an HD radio you can turn into HD-3 on 88.5 FM. If you’re one of the rest of us, WAMU streams all three stations online and you can find links here. The funeral service will be at 4pm this afternoon.

Tim Russert – PRSA International Conference – Philadelphia, PA, courtesy of hyku

Jesus loves you, and dispenses aspirin along the way

Photo courtesy of MeI actually took this picture a few weeks ago when out in Chantilly to have dinner with a friend, but the Washington Post got around to writing about the pro-life pharmacy before I did. [and let me assure you, we were at a nice little Indian place a few doors over, not at any of the crap chain restaurants mentioned in the above story]

I don’t know that I have a lot to say about the matter, other than it being somewhat interesting that this kind of thing crops up wayyyyyy out in the burbs rather than in the city. I wonder who their market is, or what their necessary purpose might be. After all, if you don’t approve of Plan B, you’re just as able to not get a prescription for it filled at CVS as you are at DMC Pharmacy. Is it that important to be able to fill your prescription for penicillin somewhere that there’s no condoms on the rack, tempting you?

Perhaps it’ll all a way to get a job for a friend or family member who is a pharmacist who finds himself unemployable at the majors because he won’t dispense birth control pills. Beyond that I’m hard pressed to understand the need for this business – when you open an alternative to Outback you don’t serve everything BUT meat, you have an entirely different set of offerings. What’s DMC Pharmacy going to bring to the table other than… what it doesn’t put out on the table?

Passport Lost and Hope to Find

Lets say a friend of mine lost their passport somewhere in Washington DC. The current best guest is in the back of a DC taxi cab.

Where should my friend look for it? Is there a global taxi lost and found? Or should there be a call-a-thon to each taxi company? Or would even that matter since most cabs are individually owned?

At least, if the passport cannot be found, the passport line is gone.

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