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A Matter Of Opinion

Archive for July 2010

The Constitution, commas and immigration

The meaning of the Second Amendment is oftened debated and sometimes the placement of a  comma becomes a focal point. We’ve been down that road, but it could come up with the 14th Amendment and the issue of “anchor babies.” The authors of the Arizona immigration law want to go after them now, and they say they have the 14th Amendment behind them. It’s all explained here.

Excerpt:

(from 1866) “This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

People out to deny babies their birthright point to Howard’s comments as proof that he didn’t intend to confer citizenship upon babies born to several groups: foreigners, aliens and those who belong to families of ambassadors. More likely, from the structure of the sentence, he was referring to one group: foreigners, that is aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors.

So who is right on this one? Did the framers of the amendment want an exemption for babies of all foreigners or just those born to diplomats? Should babies born in the USA be deemed citizens?

Meanwhile a judge imposes a temporary injunction on the more controversial parts of the Arizona law.

July 26 thread

Allow me to be the first to say, “Hot enough for ya?”

Random thoughts here.

 

 

Friday’s loose thread

What, another week almost over? So soon?

Time to dangle a loose thread at A Matter of Opinion for anyone who wants to (borrowing an expression from my distant, decadent youth) tie one on. One topic for conversation, that is.

Push ‘em back, push ‘em back

 

U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill in Connecticut ruled this week that competitive college cheerleading does not qualify as a sport under Title IX.  The decision comes in a case filed over Quinnipiac University’s plans to drop volleyball and replace it with a competitive cheerleading program. But a lot of other colleges and universities around the country (including my alma mater Oregon) could eventually be impacted, because they’ve relied on this activity to satisfy federal requiring gender equity in college athletics.

Parochial footnote:  The law came about over complaints first raised at Washington State University.

Judge Underhill didn’t reach his decision because he considered cheerleading, with all its acrobatics, unworthy of the label athletics.  It was because the competitive cheerleading competitions are organized and run not by colleges and universities but  by private organizations.

What strikes me about this development is that after more than 30 years of expectations that institutions of higher education would commit generally balanced resources to men’s and women’s sports, so many schools are still relying on artifices to look like they’re complying instead of just meeting the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

I bet you have opinions, too.

Tuesday’s loose thread

 In the age of interactivity, what do you want your fellow Internet denizens to talk to you about this evening?

Kagan moves on

The conservative website GOPUSA called on South Carolinians to hang their heads in shame over Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham’s decision to vote in favor of confirming Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Graham, the ranking Republican of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was the only Republican to vote for confirmation today.

Graham, explaining his decision, clearly was focused on evaluating Kagan’s ability, her intelligence, her legal scholarship — not her politics, with which he obviously has many differences. 

His remarks struck me as a call for civility and reason in spite of ideological differences.  Unlike the polarization exemplified at GOPUSA.com, Graham reflected an appreciation that diversity of thinking can make us stronger rather than breaking us apart.

 

City will do the heavy lifting

The Spokane City Council voted 5-2 last night to retain responsibility for inspecting elevators here.  The alternative was to turn the statutorily mandated work over to the state, which every other city in Washington except Seattle has already done.

Either way, under current practices, the work is not going to be done on a timely basis because both state and city inspectors are way behind. 

What, if anything, did the city gain by this decision? 

 

The July 19 thread

Post your random musings here.

 

Equal rights in Washington state

When are all the horrors of adopting the “everything but marriage” law going to materialize? Tour the state, and you’ll see no damage. So, the Our View editorial asks, what’s the big deal?

 

The July 12 thread

Anyone watch “Treme”? Just finished the first season. It’s about a cast of characters and their lives after Katrina. If you liked “The Wire”, you’ll like this. Terrific story-telling. David Simon, a former reporter for the Baltmore Sun, is a genius, as far as I’m concerned.

OK, what’s on your mind today?

Idaho county is simpatico

I mean sympathetic to Arizona’s plight. So cancel the fiesta and start the celebration! Oh, and please pass the freedom fries.

Local elections, anyone?

It’s election season. We’re in the midst of endorsement interviews for the primary. Which candidates do you like and why? What questions would you ask them?

 

July 6 Loose Thread

Recently finished “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis. He also wrote “Liar’s Poker”, another excellent book about Wall Street. This one is about the oddball characters who saw through the housing bubble and bet big that it would burst. One of them has Asperger’s Syndrome (autism), which actually helped him to study the numbers, filter out the nonsense and resist peer pressure. He was also featured on “60 Minutes.” Here is an excerpt that focuses on him.

What’s interesting is that his bet required patience, but many people investing with him didn’t have any. They carped and complained as the fund lost money. When it turned spectacularly successful and they got rich, he barely heard a peep from them. Human nature, I guess.

What’s on your mind?

 

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