Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yom Yerushalayim

Many years ago, I saw a book called "So Sorry We Won!", סליחה שניצחנו in the original Hebrew. It was published right after the Six-Day War and contained columns by Ephraim Kishon and cartoons by Dosh from that period. I remember one of the latter in particular, probably done right after the war: A very old man, with a long white beard, is sitting with a little boy on his knee. Spread out on his lap, the floor, the walls, are books and maps depicting the war, arrows showing how the Israeli forces swept here and there. And the little boy is saying, "Oh, come on, Grandpa! It couldn't have happened that way!" The grandfather, probably a veteran of the war, has a small smile on his face.

And here we are, the veterans of that war grandfathers or greater. I thought of that cartoon at the small "kibbud" we had after the shacharit chagigit this morning. One elderly mitpallel started talking about the miracles we experienced, leading our gabbai to reminisce about what it was like as a soldier in the weeks leading up to the war. Wow. It did happen that way, didn't it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Et, tu, Abigail?

Abigail Thernstrom writes, regarding the Constitution:
Might the Three-Fifths Clause have been a wee bit of a defect?
This is a common meme among the race-hustlers. And, of course, it is quite simply wrong. The Three-Fifths Clause was meant to increase the rights of slaves and perhaps even help bring about the end of slavery (something that the document hints at elsewhere as well), not decrease them or declare them less than human, as is claimed. Not perfect, of course, but hardly what Thernstrom should be pointing to in order to make her point. (Come to think, I can't really think of something she can point to.) That a scholar of race relations can so glibly state this is troubling.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Remember the Commerce Clause?

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution reads: [The Congress shall have power] "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes". The original intent was clear, even if it isn't to the Left portion of the political spectrum, which neither knows what the Constitution is nor cares much about what it was intended to accomplish: The Constitution was written so as to create a stronger Union between the States; one fear was that states would set up trade barriers, tariffs, and so on at the borders to protect their own industry. Thus, Congress was given the exclusive power to do so, so that there would be complete free trade between the states. (I suppose the power was reserved to Congress for the rare instances in which regulations would have to be made, e.g. the blockade of the South during the Civil War, although I imagine most examples aren't all that drastic.)

The problem is, that clause has been much abused in pursuit of the increase in Federal power in the last hundred years or so, to the point that it has been completely removed from its original context. Namely, it has been read to give a positive power to Congress, such that Congress is said to have the power to regulate anything relating (however marginally) to commerce between states, a definition that, it has been seen, takes in pretty much all activity by anyone anywhere.

Well, this morning, thinking of how various cities have been talking of boycotting Arizona due to that state's eminently reasonable new immigration law, I got to wondering: Isn't this exactly what the Commerce Clause was designed to outlaw? Don't states have no power in this matter, and aren't they forbidden from discriminating against trade with other areas? I doubt Congress will rise to the occasion, but it seems to me like it would make a beaut of a Constitutional lawsuit. Just my two cents, from thousands of miles away.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"NY car bomb suspect cooperates, but motive mystery"

That's the AP headline. Lord save us all. (And from the likes of "Probably someone angry at the health care bill" Mike Bloomberg.)