Are You Smarter Than a Supreme Court Judge?

Stevens' idea for amending the Constitution is a loser, too.

Stevens’ idea for amending the Constitution is a loser, too.

April was not a good month for Americans that still believe the Supreme Court is a font of legal wisdom. Former Justice John Paul Stevens authored an Op–Ed in the WaPost proving you can be ignorant of history, blinded by ideology and confused regarding the plain meaning of words and still get to wear the black robe.

Stevens’ essay was titled ‘The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment.’

And no, Stevens’ five words weren’t “you can’t have a gun,” but that’s a good guess.

He began his effort in problem–solving by using the left’s favorite technique: Use distorted statistics to shock the public and advance a disingenuous argument: “Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents.”

That’s a big number. Almost as big as the total number of Americans killed each year in car crashes. What Stevens purposely leaves out is the fact that 19,392 — or six in ten — of those deaths were suicide!

Once the suicide is removed from the total, it become obvious that riding in a car driven by a cell phone–wielding woman is much more dangerous than living in Virginia where people are allowed to carry guns openly. And cell phones aren’t protected by the Constitution.

What Stevens should be calling for is federal suicide control. If Congress would stop listening to the mortuary lobby and pass an effective law banning suicide — or at least get the ball rolling by creating suicide–free zones (this alone would speed up Metro travel in DC) — we could eliminate almost two–thirds of the gun deaths overnight.

The rest of the country could experience the safety and tranquility that residents of Detroit and Chicago currently enjoy in their gun–free cities. Once suicide is outlawed only criminals will kill themselves, surely a win–win.

But suicide doesn’t generate much news coverage so publicity–seekers aren’t interested in this sensible step to prevent unnecessary death.

Stevens contends the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment was ‘settled,’ much like global warming science, until the NRA went rogue. “For more than 200 years… federal judges uniformly understood that the right…was limited in two ways: First, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.”

That’s accurate without being truthful, since for two centuries neither states nor the federal government were trying to ban types of weapons, restrict the sale of weapons or impose ownership restrictions. So who would file a suit to stop an infringement that didn’t exist?

As for not imposing a limit on state or local governments, Stevens proves his knowledge of the Constitution is limited. If what he wrote is true then the Bill of Rights wouldn’t prevent states and cities from limiting speech, searching without a warrant and shutting down the newspaper if it criticized Barack Obama.

Stevens then lurches from urging judges to butt out because, “Public policies concerning gun control should be decided by the voters’ elected representatives, not by federal judges.” To complaining that those same legislators aren’t doing enough to seize weapons from the law abiding in the wake of Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.

Before gracing us with his five–word prescription for domestic gun bliss, Stevens’ last contribution is to completely misrepresent the Bill of Rights and specifically the 2nd Amendment. He claims the amendment “was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were “well regulated.” This is ludicrous on its face. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to protect individual rights and without those 10 amendments the Constitution would not have passed.

The obvious plain language of the 2nd protects an individual right to own weapons, but that’s evidently too subtle for a retired Supreme Court justice.

Then Stevens graces us with his solution: His amended amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

If anything those five words would initiate an explosion of litigation.

In Athens a citizen was subject to military service until age 60. I figure I can pull a trigger until well into my 90’s. Sixteen–year–olds often served in militias, too, so many underage restrictions go by the board, thanks to Stevens.

As a serving militia member I will need my weapons at hand in case of a sudden call out. That makes militia members immune to any restrictions on carrying a firearm. I can carry in schools, courtrooms, national parks, football stadiums and even Toby Keith’s.

Stevens evidently believes the same legislators who aren’t passing the gun laws he wants are suddenly going to come down hard on militias. Historically militias were locally based and locally run without interference or control from the state government.

Each militia decided what weapons to carry, uniforms to wear, method of selecting officers and how often to meet. With Judge Stevens help you can think of the new militia as the Shriners with sidearms.

And as for what weapons to carry, let’s look at the world’s best–known militia the Taliban. The Talibs have RPGs, fully automatic rifles, grenades, heavy machine guns and donkeys. Everything the well–equipped American militia member could want, except for the donkey.

Stevens’ ‘solution’ removes age restrictions, expands the scope of weapons allowed for personal ownership and eliminates most geographic restrictions on where weapons can be carried. It’s the exact opposite of what Stevens wants, but not an unusual outcome for leftist social engineering.

If it weren’t for those boring monthly militia meetings, I would support him 100 percent.

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Eros and Estrogen on the Front Line

Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

Do women–in–combat cheerleaders realize Lt. Ripley was only a movie?

This December it will be 42 years since the last male was drafted into combat, but it looks like the fun is just starting for women. Not that they will be going to the post office to register anytime soon. Instead woman already in the military — who thought they were being all they can be by typing 130 WPM or checking PowerPoint presentations for typos — will find themselves assigned to combat arms to meet a quota designed by a wide–load Member of Congress whose most strenuous activity is the Pilates class she makes once a month.

Still, they won’t be seeing the elephant overnight. Right now only a handful of the 203,000 women currently in the military can pass the physical for combat infantry or Marines. When faced with the reality that women can’t pass the test, Congress and Pentagon paper–pushers will change the test until they can pass.

(For details see the shifting metrics that define Obamacare. Currently the administration has ruled that if a patient is able to get an appointment with the foreign–born medical professional she’s stuck with in the new, severely limited health care network — and the doctor doesn’t recommend bleeding as a cure — the program is a success!)

Unfortunately, when you lower standards by definition you get substandard material. This is not to say women as a group are substandard. I’m married to one that’s outstanding, but even in her twenties she wasn’t ready for combat.

The Marine Corps, which I was counting on to maintain standards, is showing signs of going wobbly. CNS News reports the Corps has delayed a requirement that female Marines do a minimum of three pull–ups. The postponement came after 55 percent of females in boot camp couldn’t meet the standard. By comparison, only 1 percent of the males failed.

This test is important for the future of our military’s combat effectiveness because upper body strength is vital both in combat and on the front line where soldiers carry ammunition, lift the wounded, manhandle sandbags and tote weapons.

I suppose we could allow women to push a shopping cart into combat or issue ‘spinner’ luggage. But that won’t work either because after she fills the bag with shoes there won’t be any room for equipment.

The deadline for degrading the combat arm is 2016 and as the date approaches, and the lack of qualified women becomes obvious enough for even a Democrat to see, that’s when the pressure to change the test will be the most severe.

Pentagon mouthpieces may continue to reassure an anxious public that physical standards won’t be lowered to pass females into the combat arm, but recruiters also telling female recruits they can keep their doctor.

What’s really strange in all this is the left’s inability to maintain a consistent story line. On one hand every female recruit is a potential Lt. Ellen Ripley. On the other, current female troops are already engaged in hand–to–hand combat with members of the opposite sex and they’re losing. The female that’s ready to put her life on the line in defense of her country is evidently incapacitated by a pat on the behind.

The Pentagon recently released the results of a survey that showed 6 percent of the women in the military (a total of 12,000) were victims of unwanted sexual contact. This covers everything from rape to following too closely in the chow line. (Maybe the left wants women issued rifles so they can defend themselves when they’re on the receiving end of sexual friendly fire.)

But as The Washington Times Rowan Scarborough has pointed out the Pentagon’s results are wildly out of step with overall US statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey showed that in contrast to the Pentagon’s 6 percent, only “one-fourth of a percent of women ages 18 to 34 had suffered such abuse in 2010. Preliminary numbers for 2012 show a rate of just over four-tenths of a percent.”

The difference in the numbers reflects methodology. The Pentagon survey, so beloved by sexual harassment axe grinders, used email for results. The Bureau survey used 146,570 in–person interviews and follow–up telephone sessions. In–person and telephone interviews are the gold standard of survey research. By comparison if cheap email surveys were accurate, politicians would use them in their campaigns, but they don’t.

The Pentagon survey even manages to have a larger total of victims than the total of completed surveys. One item that was particularly interesting is the 14,000 men that claimed they were victims of sexual assault, which means some men were evidently telling in spite of official policy not to ask.

Of course inaccurate results are no obstacle for leftist social engineers if the numbers can be used to advance an agenda. The Obama administration likes to depict our fighting arms as havens for macho cavemen that need to be curbed. One gets the feeling they are shocked the military, of all places, attracts men with a high testosterone count.

The Soviet Red Army had political commissars assigned to every unit, maybe the Pentagon plans on assigning sexual commissars to tell soldiers how much fraternizing is allowed with your battle buddy. I’m thinking commissars will prove invaluable during those unfortunate times when females are captured by the enemy and the captors are agonizing over the knotty moral question of whether a simple rape or the more inclusive gang rape is allowed.

Leftist social engineers never account for reality in their planning. The enemies we are most likely to face don’t have women in combat slots and they aren’t making the barracks safe for lavender. The fact that no successful military in history has put women in combat has escaped Pentagon HR planners completely. Brunhilde, and Ripley for that matter, were only a myth.

When conflict occurs armies aren’t matched according to brackets or seeds. If that were the case we could volunteer to fight the Isle of Lesbos and leave it at that. The obvious solution for sexual assault in the military is fewer females in close proximity to males or at least a more accurate survey, but with this administration neither is likely to happen.

Flavor Is a Human Right, Too.

Flavor is not a choice. What bigot would deny this man his rights?

Flavor is not a choice. What bigot would deny this man his rights?

The biggest problem Christians and conservatives have in making the case for marriage to the younger generation is we don’t speak the same language, and I’m not referring to the number of ‘likes’ inserted into each sentence that replace thought. Our frame of reference has only a tangential connection with that of the younger generation.

The default authority for Christians when explaining their opposition to homosexual marriage is the Bible. But it’s not for the generation born after 1980. The Washington Times reports, “More Americans are doubting the infallibility of the Bible, treating it as a guidebook rather than the actual words of God, according to a survey released Wednesday.”

This belief (no pun intended) puts that generation in agreement with Episcopalians, Methodists and Unitarians who also don’t understand what the big deal is when Rev. Adam and his wife, Steve shake hands with the faithful as they leave the sanctuary on Sunday.

This finding was part of a survey conducted on behalf of the American Bible Society. In the Times its president, Roy Peterson explained, “I think young people have always questioned their parents, questioned the church…Today the skeptics are saying, ‘It’s just like any other piece of literature, and it’s no different from that.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when a Christian references the Bible, the youngster counters with, “You may like the Bible, but I’m partial to the Epic of Gilgamesh. However, if there was a modern language translation, the Egyptian Book of the Dead also has some value for those who want to increase their spirituality quotient.”

This declining interest is an indication there’s a real chance the Bible may lose it’s spot as the perennial number one best–seller, although this is not sufficient cause for Ellen to hope her bio will take its place.

The importance of the Bible for moral instruction has also declined. In 2013 almost a third of respondents “blamed a lack of Bible reading as the problem” behind a decline in American morals. This year it’s only 26 percent, but that decrease may be explained by the corresponding number of Americans who purchased 70” TVs in the intervening months.

So how does one explain opposition to homosexual marriage in terms the young can grasp? How does one put in context the aggressive demand that Christians conform to an unprecedented definition of marriage that didn’t exist even 25 years ago and flies in the face of all of human history?

How can they relate to our rejection of this absurd definition of marriage that completely upends an accepted way of life in the interest of pleasing an intolerant minority and its cheering section.

There are essentially no sexual taboos today, so approaching the problem from a Biblical angle is like expressing your opposition to the healing power of crystals by using the Physicians Desk Reference, when your audience hasn’t read either one.

Fortunately in today’s brave new culture food taboos have replaced sex taboos and it is here Christians can make our case in a way that duplicates the situation we encountered with homosexual marriage and is simultaneously understandable by the younger generation.

My analogy works regardless of whether you’re locked in debate with a smug and superior homosexual marriage supporter or you’re simply answering a question from one of those ‘love and let love’ types unable to understand why we feel so strongly about the issue.

The demand that Christians completely redefine marriage and accept a radical new definition that institutionalizes and affirms a form sexual practice the Bible specifically forbids, is the exact equivalent of pork lovers demanding that vegan restaurants serve bacon.

If America’s homosexuals can demand “marriage equality” then bacon lovers can demand “flavor equality.”

A vegan’s unconstitutional exclusion of bacon is simply elevating personal preference over a fundamental human right to have food that tastes good. And even diners who aren’t eating bacon because of an irrational fear of being attacked by their heart, can still feel the pain and humiliation of being ostracized.

Just try wearing an Arkansas Razorbacks’ Hog Head hat into your nearest Busboys & Poets restaurant if you want to see how a real second–class citizen is treated by kale bigots.

And who says vegans get to define what qualifies to be labeled as “vegan?” Flavor is flavor, people. Just as we’ve been told “love is love.” You may like the slimy feel and hay–infusion aftertaste of tofu, but I like the crunch of crispy, fried bacon and how can that be so wrong?

One doesn’t choose to love bacon any more than one chooses whom to love. It’s fried into my DNA.

I should be able to go into Sweet & Natural bakery and ask them to whomp up a delicious quiche Lorraine and not get a bunch of sanctimonious static about beliefs, animal rights and cholesterol.

Who are these Pharisees to tell me I can’t eat pork?

And the same goes for the photographer who refused to document my family’s annual fall hog butchering reunion and hoe down. If she/he (I think the photographer was undergoing some sort of transformation) is open for business to the public, then the photographer should not be allowed to discriminate based on unscientific belief and superstition. Go down that path and the next stop is Montgomery and Bull Connor.

Separate but equal is inherently unequal. If Western Sizzlin’ can offer food for vegans then its only fair that Arugula ‘R We be forced to offer a BLT.

World Vision’s Secular Myopia

Even better than having 'Vision' in your name is having it in your brain.

Even better than having ‘Vision’ in your name is having it in your brain.

Maybe it was a Mexican divorce.

Last Monday World Vision President Richard Stearns walks hand–in–hand down the aisle pledging fealty to homosexual marriage until death do they part. This is big news, because World Vision is a Christian charity and the nation’s 10th largest.

Then, only 48 hours later, the happy couple is fighting over who gets to keep the china as Stearns backpedals furiously.

And through all the uproar Stearns has this slightly baffled aspect, as if he’d just spent the last two days selling flowers in Terminal A for the Moonies, and now his parents have whisked him back home where he decides joining the Jaycees isn’t that bad after all.

For those who missed the controversy, in Christianity Today World Vision announced it“will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman” — an implied endorsement of homosexual marriage.

Stearns characterized this surrender as a “very narrow policy change.” Yet AP described it as “a dramatic policy change on one of the most divisive social issues facing religious groups.”

During an interview Stearns became defensive, “We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope…This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues.”

Which makes one grateful World Vision didn’t have any members of Westboro Baptist on the board.

Still you can’t help but wonder what version of the Bible Stearns and the board is consulting. “This is also not about compromising the authority of Scripture. People can say, ‘Scripture is very clear on this issue,’ and my answer is, ‘Well ask all the theologians and denominations that disagree with that statement.”

This is sophistry. Bart Ehrman is James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the UNC and a best–selling author, yet he denies the divinity of Christ, which at the time this is written World Vision still supports. Evidently Stearns and the board pick–and–choose among theologians as they pick–and–choose among Bible verses.

Then demonstrating his utter cluelessness regarding fundamental issues of church doctrine and how the secular world views the faithful, Stearns remarked, “I don’t want to predict the reaction we will get. I think we’ve got a very persuasive series of reasons for why we’re doing this, and it’s my hope that all of our donors and partners will understand it, and will agree with our exhortation to unite around what unites us.”

I suppose this type of reasoning makes sense when your reading matter is limited to The New York Times and Sojourners.

But in the Evangelical Christian world his “persuasive series of reasons” produced a stunning backlash. In the ensuing 48 hours World Vision lost money, support and credibility. Approximately 5,000 individual sponsors and contributors canceled, costing the organization upwards of $2.1 million. 60 church partners called the office to withdraw their support. And a number of employees at headquarters resigned. Some in protest, some because of the stress of dealing with the fallout from Stearns’ colossal stupidity.

Wednesday a chastened Stearns and board chairman Jim Beré signed a contrite letter that read, “We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

Later in a conference call with reporters, Stearns elaborated, “We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness” and if he “could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders.”

But he just ran out of time, what will all the meetings with The New York Times editorial board, the Human Rights Campaign and the cast of The Laramie Project.

The rapid retraction is a good first step, but the fact remains World Vision’s current leadership is unfit to run the organization.

In a post–divorce interview with Religion News Service, Stearns is taken aback by the notion he bears any responsibility. “No, there have been no serious requests for my resignation. I would certainly under- stand if the board wanted to make a decision around that. Some of the board members have asked the question about their own resignation. Right now, our feeling is we were all in this together. We made certainly, in retrospect, a bad decision, but we did it with the right motivations.”

Here we agree. Stearns and the board are all in it together and they should all take the honorable path and resign.

Here’s just a brief rundown of the unnecessary havoc these morally blind people have caused:

  1. Seriously damaged a reputation in the Evangelical community it took 63 years to build.
  2. Proved themselves totally unfit to manage the reputation and public relations of a billion dollar organization by demonstrating a basic failure to understand the culture and media.
  3. Potentially endangered employees working in Africa where governments are passing laws criminalizing homosexual conduct.
  4. Cost the organization millions of dollars.
  5. Opened World Vision up to scrutiny and attack from militant homosexual organizations and a hostile Obama administration.
  6. Distracted the staff from the mission of serving the world’s poor.

Any one of these offenses is enough, but all are an indictment that only resignation, reflection and repentance will answer.

Naturally many Christian leaders are welcoming World Vision’s return to the fold and urging Christians to resume financial and prayer support. But as for me, if I want to make a contribution to an organization run by leadership that is this slippery and disingenuous, I’ll send a check to Congress.