Toward life, liberty and the promise of safe drugs

April 10, 2008
The volume of press coverage given lately to D.C. v. Heller, the Guantanamo Bay torture cases and John Yoo’s memo has unsurprisingly allowed more than a few other legal issues to escape public notice. The comparatively boring right of consumers to sue drug companies hinges on a relatively obscure doctrine known as pre-emption. The legal »

In face of competition, myopic Democrats fold

March 27, 2008
The 2008 presidential election was supposed to be a referendum on a divisive commander in chief who led his country into an expensive and bloody war and presided over an economy marked by worrisome instability. Generally, such a situation would lend itself to a rather hefty advantage for the opposition party. Unless, of course, that »

Platonic joy in competition for the sake of itself

February 28, 2008
Last night, the John J. Lee Amphitheater played host to three basketball games: the championship contests for each of Yale’s three levels of intramural men’s basketball. As I write, the games haven’t happened yet. I don’t know who won, how many people watched, whether the games were exciting or dull. And it doesn’t matter. At »

Consistent politicians fail to change with times

February 15, 2008
We tend to value “consistency” in our politicians — often, it seems, for its own sake. Ask Mitt Romney or John Kerry what happens when the electorate thinks a candidate is a waffler or a flip-flopper or just not strong enough on the issues. Kerry’s “I voted for the war before I voted against it” »

Clintonian politics may force Obama to deal dirty

January 30, 2008
Ignore Bill Clinton’s snide comments about fairy tales and improper comparisons of Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson. Barack Obama’s resounding victory in South Carolina virtually guaranteed that the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination will continue beyond Super Tuesday. It virtually guaranteed that the fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton — truces and promises notwithstanding »

Inflated Iowa caucuses force candidates to pander

January 17, 2008
Every four years, the most successful democracy on planet Earth kicks off its most important election with a quirky, undemocratic semi-event in a small Midwestern state. And every four years, the media flocks to Iowa and portrays the caucuses not as a dubiously necessary oddity but instead as a harbinger of the nation’s electoral will. »

Guns, well-regulated, are the right of the People

December 3, 2007
In last Thursday’s edition of the News, I tried to articulate a meaningful difference between Supreme Court jurisprudence and the human costs of gun violence. In response to criticism, I feel compelled to offer a more formal justification for my understanding of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment protects “the right of the people to »

Death is human cost of misreading 2nd Amendment

November 29, 2007
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a circuit court decision overturning Washington, D.C.’s restrictive gun ban. Three days ago, Washington Redskins Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor was shot in his Florida home. He died in a hospital on Tuesday. The two events are not directly related. But each »

Democratic candidates unwilling to risk deeper pockets

November 8, 2007
Remember when the Democrats were that scrappy little party that fought for lower- and middle-class Americans? Howard Dean had that good, old-fashioned populist rhetoric going. John Edwards could look at you with those piercing eyes under that perfect hair and talk about “two Americas.” Way back in 2004, Democrats could blame their electoral disasters on »

Republican party boasts meager front line for ’08

October 25, 2007
Back in 2000, Sen. John McCain had the audacity to launch a bid for the Republican nomination against George W. Bush. Back then, we didn’t know much about Bush. He was little more than the evangelical son of a former president, a popular governor and a charismatic candidate. And we knew that he was the »

Gonzales moves first in Republican exodus

October 11, 2007
On Jan. 6, 2005, newly elected Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of Alberto Gonzales. (Full disclosure: I worked for Ken Salazar’s election campaign in 2004.) Here is an excerpt from Senator Salazar’s brief remarks: “Judge Gonzales has indicated his willingness to balance out the needs for »

Security mercenaries give U.S. a bad name

September 27, 2007
Interested in serving your country after you graduate? Uncle Sam says … don’t join the U.S. Army! Instead, you can become a private contractor in Iraq. Better pay (up to $19,500 per month), immunity from local laws, plus fewer of those pesky incident reports to file if civilians wind up dead or if your weapons »