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October 01, 2008

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My post, which I emailed you about more than an hour ago.

I also included the other video and transcript, btw, on separation of church and state, where she appears to have made up a "quote" from Thomas Jefferson, while again not getting the concept of a Constitional right or prohibition.

This makes me feel a lot better about the debate...

"[UPDATE: Gary spotted this first.]"

Ah, thanks kindly.

By which I mean: there's a lot of hand wringing of late: "Sarah Palin's a fine debater - she'll do much better than expectations." "Joe Biden's a gaffe machine". Etc.

It's hard to look at them side by side, though, and not conclude that he just knows the issues much better than she does.

Being a petty, petty, petty blogger, with a small soul, I wouldn't mind at all if you included the link at the Washington Monthly, btw. :-)

Gary: done. I put a link in, rather than doing it the way I did here, since I didn't think I could just say "Gary" over there and be understood.

President Palin is going to be awesome.

There's always the case where the Supreme Court took GOD out of the classrooms

em, uh,uh, Whatsit vs. Whoozat

If only Palin hadn't been handicapped her whole life by being pretty and popular.

"Can you explain the Pythagorean theorem, Sarah?"

"The triangle's sides, and there's a special thing that's good for some of them, you know, you add them up, and the answer is that's the right number,"

"And what kind of triangle does it have to be?"

"Well, let's see. There's some triangles that are true and others that it doesn't work the same way."

"Very nice, Sarah. Very nicely explained. Gold star. I think our afterschool sessions are really helping. Velma, same question."

"It's a special case of the law of cosines, because the cosine of 90 degrees is zero, so the expression ..."

"OK, that's enough. No need to show off."

My respect for Katie Couric (sp?) is enormous. I've discovered that the most enjoyable aspect of these clips is watching the expression on her face -- projecting an air of friendly encouragement, while those eyes just scream incredulity.

byrningman... you're (at least) a minute or two ahead of me. I was just thinking, if elected, Obama's first official act should be to award Katie Couric the Medal of Freedom.

If only Palin hadn't been handicapped her whole life by being pretty and popular.

"Can you explain the Pythagorean theorem, Sarah?"

"The triangle's sides, and there's a special thing that's good for some of them, you know, you add them up, and the answer is that's the right number,"

I think, in fact, in that situation Palin would have made more reference to the great America's great and rich history of triangles of all shapes and sizes, whose individual adherence to Pythagoras' theorem should be a state matter and not dictated by the evil evil federal government, and whose right to bear at least two perpendicular arms has been strongly defended by John McCain for years.

Palin wants the states to decide some issues that heretofore been the province of the courts, but obviously that's not going to work ... unless there's a trade involved! Now, deciding what the fundamental individual right to privacy means is a real biggie, an all-star of judicial responsibilities. If the courts are going to give that up, they deserve something big. Maybe the courts should get education funding, zoning, and a state authority to be named later.

Oh yeah? Well, everywhere like such as!

wow. it is just stunning that she doesn't know about the role of the right to privacy in Roe v Wade. that completely destroys her prolife credibility.

I know how excited the prolife movement was to finally have someone like Palin on the ticket but it would take huge amounts of denial to look past this.

This just confirms that it's a mistake for me to see too much of the candidates if I'm going to be able to work and vote for them.

Making violence against women a federal crime? Wasting a freaking thousand hours of hearings for something that's clearly not going to happen? That's showboating of a very unattractive, increase-federal-power-for-the-hell-of-it kind.

That's showboating of a very unattractive, increase-federal-power-for-the-hell-of-it kind.

There's something to that.

Sometimes life is a matter of choosing which flavor of showboating is gonna get you to a better place.

Thanks -

"I put a link in, rather than doing it the way I did here, since I didn't think I could just say 'Gary' over there and be understood."

Agreed (they're just shockingly ignorant there! ;-)); many thanks!

"Wasting a freaking thousand hours of hearings for something that's clearly not going to happen? That's showboating of a very unattractive, increase-federal-power-for-the-hell-of-it kind."

VAWA has been law of the land since 1994.

At least you are on the first page of Google results, Gary. That's definitely something.

First, something http://amygdalagf.blogspot.com/2008/10/blankness.html>Gary's post touched on:
Sarah Palin: His intention in expressing that was so that government did not mandate a religion on people. And Thomas Jefferson also said never underestimate the wisdom of the people. And the wisdom of the people, I think in this issue is that people have the right and the ability and the desire to express their own religious views, be it a very personal level, which is why I choose to express my faith, or in a more public forum.

Yeah, making up a Jefferson quote is sleazy, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and just say she was confusing him with someone who said something similar.
What really scares me is that she thinks that the 'wisdom of the people' has decided (will decide, maybe?) that everyone wants prayer in public school and bible study in 2nd period. Her absolute ignorance of the amendment is amazing. Does she really think that there's a fence around public buildings that says, "No Gods Allowed!"?

As for other decisions she disagrees with, maybe she's just peachy with everything but Roe. Maybe Dred Scott didn't have any rights white men are bound to respect. Maybe blacks ought to be separate (screw the equal). I think you're being much to harsh on Palin. She's not incompetent, she could just be REALLY out of the mainstream!

"At least you are on the first page of Google results, Gary."

I used to be the #4 Gary on Google for a couple of years, but it's been at least a couple or three or more years since that was the case.

I used to gloat over Gary, Indiana, but no more.

Ditto I was the #7 Farber, but now I'm not even on the front page. Damn you, Dana Farber Cancer Center!

MeDrew, the fundies usually love to denounce Dred Scott - it is a metaphor for Roe to them. And the R's like to cite it because it harks back to the founding of their party, on the side of the angels. Now maybe she felt she couldn't cite it in this election because anything remotely connected to race might be fraught, but your imputation about her position on Dred Scott isn't just unfair, it's very likely to be the opposite of the truth.

Warren- I hate it when the facts get in the way of a good (or not so good!) joke. ^.^

Thanks, for the correction, though. I honestly forget how the party was founded sometimes, considering how much has changed since Lincoln.

As for other decisions she disagrees with, maybe she's just peachy with everything but Roe. Maybe Dred Scott didn't have any rights white men are bound to respect. Maybe blacks ought to be separate (screw the equal).

How could one be in favor of both Plessy and Brown, though?

To be fair, Jefferson was a firm believer in what he grandly called lex majoris partis (majority rule). Some might take this to imply a faith in the wisdom of the common man. Actually, though, it was more like Oliver Wendell Holmes view that the consequences of withholding whatever the majority felt passionately about, however stupid, would be worse than the thing itself; Jefferson frequently linked paeans to majority rule with reference to the French Revolution, saying that that there is no middle ground in the end between majority rule and tyranny.

I'm sure, given her other comments, that Palin doesn't mean to merely endorse 4th Amendment privacy rights against unlawful search and seizure and not, other broader privacy rights derived from the due process clause of the 14th Amendment (or, in an argument courts have largely not accepted, the 9th Amendment). But even though she doesn't mean this, I think this post and similar ones at other blogs could benefit from addressing the argument that she does mean that, basically because I'm sure some hack either already has or will argue that she meant it.

washerdreyer, I can't easily hyperlink using this device, but (while I realize he's been good to hilzoy), Andrew Sullivan is your hack - he posted that Palin believes in the Constitutional Right To Privacy without further explanation or overt irony.

I have to agree with Nell here - Biden's answer, specifically his horrific twisting of the Commerce Clause, made me lose a good bit of respect for him as an honest lawmaker. (Note: I agree with the aims of the Violence Against Women Act. I think it's good policy. But if that's the best argument Biden can make for its constitutionality, it pretty clearly isn't constitutional.) Compared to Palin, though...my God, even if I didn't agree with the law Biden was pushing, the gulf in knowledge and understanding of the American government is staggering. I'll take tortured justifications any day over someone who genuinely doesn't seem to realize that the federal government is supposed to protect your Constitutional rights.

David, my knowledge of the law is only as a casually interested layperson, so I'm perfectly ready to defer to expertise, but my recollection is that, while I'm inclined to agree with you that it seems a questionable gambit, using the commerce clause to justify federal intervention in law enforcement was fairly common at the time Biden was promoting the VAWA. A test case of this very commerce clause question did get to the Supreme Court - having to do with drug-free zones around schools IIRC - but that was later, and I don't recall how the decision went.

IANAL, but U.S. vs. Morrison held that part of VAWA exceeded Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, specifically the part that gave "victims of gender-motivated violence the right to sue their attackers in federal court."

U.S. v. Lopez is the one that held "that while Congress had broad lawmaking authority under the Commerce Clause, it was not unlimited, and did not apply to something as far from commerce as carrying handguns, especially when there was no evidence that carrying them affected the economy on a massive scale."

But after Rehnquist retired, and September 11th happened, it's my understanding/impression that the SCOTUS has more or less passed its high water marks on limiting Congressional authority.

Actual lawyers with SCOTUS knowledge are welcome to correct me.

I wasn't clear in my original post, but I appreciate David's expression of what I meant.

I wasn't objecting to the idea of federal legislation to strengthen and make more consistent the ability to hold accountable perpetrators of violence against women, but the specific idea that women should be able to bring suit in federal court for such crimes. And, in fairness, Biden's "thousand hours of hearings" were spent on many different aspects of the Violence Against Women Act, many of which I support wholeheartedly.

But Biden's argument about the Commerce clause is lame, and really reaching. This approach was all too common among Democratic members of Congress, I've come to realize, and the abuses of ever-expanding federal power don't seem to bother enough of them. I used to be a full-out liberal statist with very little patience for libertarianism.

The Clinton and Bush-Cheney administrations changed that.

Especially because its goals are admired and worthy, legislation protecting women and children is a favored vehicle for new expansions of unfreedom:

At the end of 2005, a little-noticed provision was slipped into the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill that provided the federal government with the power to collect and permanently retain DNA samples from anyone arrested for any crime whether or not they are convicted, any non-U.S. citizen detained or stopped by federal authorities for any reason, and everyone in federal prison.

[Note: Excerpt is from Center for Constitutional Rights page urging people to comment on the proposed rule, not from the 'expansion' link, which is a report with more context.]

I have to agree with Nell here - Biden's answer, specifically his horrific twisting of the Commerce Clause, made me lose a good bit of respect for him as an honest lawmaker.

I'm not a SCOTUS expert, but I thought the answer was particularly nimble. Ept even. If he had gone with some one that everyone agreed with (Plessy perhaps or Korematsu?), everyone would say yeah, yawn. He couldn't go with a current decision (imagine the uproar if he had suggested Ledbetter or Kelo and he would also might be poisoning any relations with the current SCOTUS) Doing something related with the VAWA hits that key demographic in a way that prevents conservatives from getting a foothold on some sort of boogeyman notion of an Obama-Biden administration.

I suppose the analogy is that the question is similar to a Philadelphia publication asking Biden his favorite food and he skips the obvious cheesesteak, and hits something that is less obvious (a soft pretzel? a wishiniak? I use the example of cheesesteak because of this, not any deep understand of the cuisine of Philadelphia)

Looking as his answer as politics rather than as some representative of the state of his legal thinking makes this look a lot better. And that's what I'm thinking Biden really needs to concentrate on, not on trying to reveal the inner heart of his legal notions.

If you recall, Palin just mentioned a Supreme Court case she disagreed with, less than a month ago. Granted, naming a case you disagree with is a little trickier than just naming any case. Of course she disagrees with Roe. I assume she disagrees with Dred Scott. Let's say Exxon v. Baker is too esoteric and obscure, and of no national political interest. However, in her convention speech, she bashed Obama for agreeing with Boumediene v. Bush, and the crowd went wild. She said: "Al-Qaeda terrorists still plan to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights." Hmmm, could it be that she had no clue about what she was reading off the teleprompter? Apparently she believes in a constitutional right to privacy, but not habeas corpus.

in her convention speech, she bashed Obama for agreeing with Boumediene v. Bush,

odds are good that she didn't write that speech.

Is it possible to get thru high school these days without hearing of Brown v. Board of Education? It sure wasn't when I was there. And Palin didn't go thru high school all that long after I did.

When I went to HS in the 80's, we were required to take US History 1 and US History 2. 1 was strictly a history class. 2 was a civics class. In 1, we spent half the year on the Colonial Period and the Rev War thru War of 1812. I don't know if it had to do with being just outside Philadelphia in an area where there were lots of Rev War battles and such, but the end result was that we kind of ran out of time to cover much of anything after WWII by time the end of the school year came. No Brown v Board of Ed.

in her convention speech, she bashed Obama for agreeing with Boumediene v. Bush,

to which cleek noted
odds are good that she didn't write that speech.

I'm sure that the Boumediene v. Bush riff was added to provide a woman's touch to the speech and they only had to cut the Gitmo lemon chicken recipe out because the networks didn't want the convention to run overtime...

Graduating in 2002, our US History was 2 semesters junior year. First was up to the Civil War, second seemed to finish at about Watergate or so. We went over civil rights in about a week, but Brown took up an entire period. Government/AP Gov was senior year. I did AP and we spent 4 weeks on civil rights, I know regular Gov was comparable.

As for college, I'm a history major, so I'm a little skewed, but... US History, 2 semesters similar to HS, just a lot more in depth. Again, a week or so on civil rights and we were expected to know the big cases. Then in intro PoliSci, a TON of time on civil rights.

Both classes are requirements for a liberal arts degree, so assuming standards haven't changed too much, a journalism major like Palin should be at least familiar with the territory.

Just as an additional data point: Like hairshirthedonist, I went to school just outside Philadelphia. (Could we be alum siblings? I'm Cheltenham High, '66.) Eleventh grade history was American history, as I recall, and we were definitely taught a handful of Supreme Court decisions: Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Ed., maybe one or two others.

I'd be surprised to hear that this was still the case, but I'd hope it was during Palin's era.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I forgot almost all of it as soon as the exam was over, but then had the pleasant shock of recognition years later when I began to read and care about such things.

With one exception, I've learned all my history through going to the library. With one exception, there was nothing covered in high school or earlier years I didn't already know far more about from my own reading.

That one exception was a high school AP history course on the Civil War, in which we did nothing but read both original sources, and various historians, such as Charles Beard, Allan Nevins, etc., considering different theories on the causes of the War. That's more or less the only course in all of high school I remember with enjoyment, and got something out of.

I don't really remember anything covered in any other history courses, other than that the teaching seemed superficial, spotty, simplified, and prone to error. Mostly I tended to correct the teachers on various points and misstatements, and otherwise tried to do my own reading under the desk during class. (No, I haven't changed; thanks for asking; I was even worse in elementary school. Autodidacts 'r us.)

Hey, Hilzoy, did you know that both you and I are "conservative bloggers," according to tv station 9, WTVC, in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

:-)

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