Saturday, June 28, 2008

British defeated, colonists have the right to bear arms!

Well, the Supreme Court has handed down their decision in D.C. v. Heller. According to the big court the Second Amendment applies to individual citizens and not just to members of the "militia."

The decision makes sense to me. Some have argued that the amendment was put into place to keep the Federal Government from disarming the states ans so did no apply to the individual citizens outside of state sponsored and organized militias. I have always felt that this interpretation just didn't fit. Looking at the time period of the writing of the amendment we see that the British had recently (within 10 years) been defeated by an armed citizenry. Granted, the colonists were formed into militias during the conflict but the individuals usually owned the weapons they were using. The individual colonies, or states, did not normally supply small arms.

I also find it ironic that the weapons in question Heller were handguns. At the time of the writing of the Second Amendment sidearms were the weapons of officers and some mounted troops. The vast majority of the colonists carried muskets or hunting rifles. These were the assault rifles of the day. If the amendment is strictly construed it seems that an argument could be made for overturning assault rifle bans as well as D.C.'s handgun ban.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book review - Lost Victories

Just finished reading a book called Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson by Bevin Alexander. The book is an analysis of General Jackson's military career in the Civil War.

Mr. Alexander makes several good points in his book. He accurately points out that, in some areas, Jackson was ahead of his time in his strategy and innovative in his tactics. He covers the early war and Jackson's desire to take the war to the Northern populace. This strategy was proposed by Jackson just after the Valley Campaign while the Army of the Potomac was engaged creeping up the peninsula towards Richmond. Mr. Alexander accurately states that Lee and Davis overruled Jackson and ordered him to Richmond to take part in the Seven Days battles.

What Mr. Alexander does not discuss was the grand strategy of the Confederate States. Their aim was to be seen as defending themselves, not as the aggressor. By the time of Sharpsburg it was clear that the tactic of defense had succeeded in winning the emotional battle on the diplomatic front but a win on Northern soil was needed to firm up the deal. As Mr. Alexander properly notes, no politician likes to back a loser.

Sharpsburg is the point where Mr. Alexander makes his next unusual point. He claims that Lee's orders to concentrate at Sharpsburg effectively lost the campaign. As evidence he points out that the Army of Northern Virgina had already scored a major victory by capturing Harper's Ferry and the garrison there. By concentrating at Sharpsburg, Lee committed to a stand-up slugging match with no room to maneuver and against a heavier foe. This resulted in his army being bled white. Upon reflection it seems that Mr. Alexander has a point here.

While his Sharpsburg analysis is interesting and thought provoking, he has one major flaw. In Mr. Alexander's book Jackson made no mistakes. Those that history has attributed to him are credited to his subordinates or to Lee. Lee is knocked about pretty sharply on the strategical and tactical fronts as well. While Mr. Alexander is proper to credit Jackson with much, it may be a bit of a leap to consider him as the strategy source for the Army of Northern Virgina.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thorny dilemma

Recently Mrs. Spiff received an interesting email. It was from a fellow Believer who claims to be politically conservative. The gist of the message was that this person had found out about a third party candidate that they felt was an attractive alternative to John McCain.

While the particular candidate involved was not a decent choice in my opinion it got me to thinking. In my mind it doesn't take much to be an attractive alternative to John McCain. There are several third party candidates that would be much better than McCain, in my view. The idea of voting for one of them is indeed a powerful draw for conservatives. However, before we sign petitions, put up yard signs, or pull the lever let us consider the big picture.

History shows us that in modern times no third party candidate has ever won the presidency. Most barely break double digits in the polls. This means that, absent a concerted defection on behalf of a huge chunk of one of the two major parties, McCain or Obama will win. Given the recent failure of conservatives and Christians to act in concert in the GOP primaries, the chances of such an defection are dim indeed.

I am no John McCain fan. See previous posts if you need any doubt removed. McCain is pretty spineless and is a crackpot on several issues. While I am not a McCain fan I am very offended and worried by Barack Obama. Let's take a look at the candidates.

McCain is not a conservative but he may well choose a conservative running mate. Obama probably has the list narrowed down to Raul Castro and Raila Odinga. McCain has a pretty solid pro-life voting record. Obama is pro-abortion. McCain has stated that he will appoint Supreme Court justices in the vein of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. Obama probably considers the Ninth Circuit to be too conservative. McCain has clearly stated his intention to win the war in Iraq. Obama has stated just as clearly his intention to lose it.

I don't like John McCain. I have nightmares about Barack Obama. A vote for a third party candidate might send a message to the Republican Party. It might also put Obama in the White House. At this point I don't plan to vote for John McCain; I plan to vote against Barack Obama.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Read this and then come back to this post. I am bothered by this on a very deep level. The disrespect shown is almost unreal.

I am sure that Obama didn't know where the porta-johns were placed. I am also sure that he is in charge of his campaign and that he would be among the first to call for a police chief's head if his officers placed porta-johns on a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. during a police function. I am sure that Obama and his ilk would scream bloody murder and hold the chief directly responsible, even if he didn't know where the porta-johns were placed.

Aside from that aspect, what kind of people is Obama consorting with? Who would do something like this anyway? What kind of thought process leads someone to put toilets on top of a memorial dedicated to those who have died to maintain the order that allows for rallies such as this?

Perhaps we can learn more about Barack here. That should make you at least wonder about Barack and look deeper into who he is, what he stands for, and who he flushes the toilet on.