Thursday, June 26, 2008

A constitutional right to a gun

SCOTUSblog reported Answering a 217-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession. Although times have changed since 1791, Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority, “it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” The opinion can be downloaded here. Relevant quotes from the majority opinion can be found here, and a replay of our LiveBlog can be found here. Tom’s commentary is here.

This is good news, but I wish it had been more than a 5-4 decision.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

McCain Energy Plan

Political Radar reported During a roundtable discussion on energy security at Santa Barbara's Natural History Museum, one of the panelists invited by the McCain campaign to sit onstage beside the candidate -- disagreed with the Arizona senator's energy plans and lambasted his nuclear energy proposal. "I'm a little bit bemused that I ended up on this panel," said Michael Feeney, chair of the Santa Barbara Land Trust, a non-profit conservation group.
Has Feney sld out to the Dems?
He excoriated a proposal McCain outlined last Wednesday to build 45 new nuclear plants in the United States by 2030 and another 55 in later years.
We should fouble it, but it is a good start.
"I don’t understand how it’s not compromising our environmental standards to propose a crash program to build more nuclear power plants when the industry has not complied with the federal law that requires there to be safe disposal for the radioactive waste," Feeney said.
That is because Congress is standing in the way of using Yucca Mountain.
McCain responded by citing the example of nuclear technology in Europe and Navy ships powered by nuclear energy. "My friend, the technology is there. The Europeans do it. I mean it's safe. It's being done. So, to think that that is going to require some pain on the American people economically when the Europeans-- 80 percent of the French electricity is generated by nuclear power. They are doing fine," McCain said to applause from the audience.
And if we had a source of cheap electricity it would spur electric cars.
"It's not a technological breakthrough that needs to be taken," McCain said, "It's a not-in-my-backyard problem, we have got to have the guts and courage, to go ahead and do what other countries are doing and they are reducing the pollution to our environment rather dramatically without any huge pain to anybody," McCain said.
Precisely. No CO2 emissions from a nuclear plant.
"And I'd like to have you respond but the United States Navy has sailed ships around the world for 60 years with nuclear power plants on them, we have never had an accident, we have never had a problem. And I think the world is safer, the world is safer due to the presence of the United States navy with nuclear power ships on them," McCain said.
Feeney also highlighted McCain's new-found support for U.S. off-shore oil drilling as a way to decrease domestic gas prices. "It makes me nervous to think about those who are proposing to drain America’s off-shore oil and gas reserves as quickly as possible
We are not draining them at all.
in the hopes of driving down the price of gasoline," Feeney said. "Were we to open up the California coast ... it would be twelve, 15 maybe 20 years before those resources came online
Not necessarilly, and even if you are right, then in 12, 15, or 30 years we would be better off than if we do nothing.
and got to full production. That’s not going to impact the price of gasoline any time soon."
It just might cause the speculators to have second thoughts.