Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fire the Transit Workers

I hope Mayor Bloomberg has what it takes to do the right thing and fire the NYC transit workers a la Ronald Reagan's canning of air traffic controllers.

Even aside from all the obvious arguments about why this is wrong, including their stability in a government mandated monopolistic job and the fact that they are no less essential to the city functioning than the police department, what do the unions think they'll get out of this? They've been slapped with a contempt fine of $1,000,000 a day, which will cost the average Ralph Cramden who has to pay for it with his fees. They're not getting any sympathy from New Yorkers, or won't if this goes on much longer. And the fact that they already agreed not to strike when they took their jobs in the first place means that they can no longer be trusted at the bargaining table to keep their word about anything. This is a suicide move by out of touch union leadership who think the "rightness" of their cause is more important than the inevitable and disastrous consequences that will result from it.

Public unions have to force people to join them by law. Private unions haven't prevented layoffs at Boeing, AT&T, GM, or anywhere else. The only good thing about this strike is that it will continue to weaken the labor movement which passed the point of usefulness sometime back in the 50s.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bork on Original Intent

In a letter to the WSJ.

Its about time that a voice of authority came out against the hideous abomination that is the chocolate martini. Also reassuring that he draws a bright line between drinks and vegetable snacks ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Roe v. Wade: Should we chuck it?

It looks like we're all taking a bit of a break for exams, but I read an interesting article in this week's Economist. It argued that the Democrats would be better off if Roe v. Wade was overturned. The two central arguments: The decision has served as a lightening rod for social conservatives and has caused the court to get drawn into politics (note that Roe has almost taken over confirmation hearings, which used to be about judicial philosophy, &c). Also, since most Americans actually support abortion rights under most circumstances, losing Roe would only result in massive abortion scalebacks in a handful of states, most of which have few abortion centers anyway.

I support the concept of a right to privacy, but this is an alluring idea. If we dropped Roe, abortion rights would stop being a federal issue, and we wouldn't be appointing our Supreme Court justices largely on their religious views. That's appealing to me. And living in a state that is clearly pro-choice, I don't have to worry that overturning Roe will impact people close to me.

What say you all?

P.S. I didn't link the article because you'd have to have a subscription to the Economist to read it, even online.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Journalist Privilege" Harms Free Speech

This New York Post editorial sums up nicely why the media has lost our trust. In short, it points to Woodward and Bernstein as harming the country beyond measure by inspiring generations of young journalists to make it their mission to take down (or at the very least to challenge) The Man.

In fact, you could use All the President's Men to teach a course in journalistic ethics, using it as an example of what NOT to do - using anonymous sources without corroboration, revealing high level, sensitive information without considering their consequences, and making a mission out of taking down a politician. I'm not excusing Nixon, but his bad acts cannot justify theirs.

Now, journalists want to legally protect this type of bad behavior by creating a "journalist-source" privilege that would protect them from revealing such communications in a legal proceeding. They sanctimoniously note that they "have a duty to tell the public everything they learn, which is The Truth", while omitting or downplaying information that may not comport with their pre-established world view. (Case in point, the reporting on the US Economy.) The problem is that doing so would necessitate defining the word "journalist", and doing so in such a way that creates a de facto "official, licensed journalist." That would give the industry a larger chokehold, giving them an edge over bloggers, startups, and other ordinary citizens who want to get the word out. And that, as any corporation-phobic hippy will surely tell you, is a threat to a robust free and diverse press.

The First Amendment makes EVERY American citizen a journalist by birthright. The Internet makes that even more of a reality, with easy access to the ability to publish world wide. But we also have responsibilities as citizens, one of which is to cooperate with criminal investigations and to not harm our nation in time of war.

Journalists should remember that they are human beings first, then Americans, and THEN journalists. If their reporting of key facts assists the enemy in an armed conflict, they have an obligation to refrain from publishing those facts. If they are privy to information about a criminal affair, the "Public Right to Know" should not somehow supersede the right of the criminal justice system at a public trial to also know those important facts. If their reporting aids international terrorists by undermining the war against them, and by legitimizing suicide bombers on school busses as "militants" or "freedom fighters", then they have lost their humanity.

This is not to say that they necessarily should be silenced. But they should be condemned by all Americans, and by all people who think saving lives and promoting freedom is worth more than their job.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dean Machine

Are the Democrats unhinged? Howard Dean is prosecution's exhibit #1. When will the grownups, if there are any left, turn that back into a serious political parth.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The SCOTUS Panel

Check the comments below for my comments (whatever they're worth).