Friday, July 03, 2009

Life imitates the Onion

"Palin to Resign" seemed too silly to be true -- some kind of July 4 joke -- but it seems to be for real:
Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska announced Thursday that she would step down by the end of the month and not seek a second term as governor, allowing her to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

Ms. Palin, who was Senator John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in last year’s election and rallied the party’s conservative base, explained her decision at a news conference at her home in Wasilla, accompanied by her husband, Todd, and other family members.

We know we can effect positive change outside of government,” she said in making the announcement.
Well, she's made a good start.

(The epistemological validity of my judging what's "for real" by going from a blog entry, to its linked story at an Alaskan TV station's website, to a New York Times blog entry, seems both obvious and a little weird to me, premised I guess on the theory that the Times has no sense of humor.)

... You can perhaps judge how much time you spend on the political internet by how long it takes you to read the above and go, "I wonder what Andrew Sullivan thinks of that." (His one-word summary is "Toast." In a country where that was necessarily true, she wouldn't have been the Republican veep nominee in the first place.)

In other news:

--David Frum touts nuclear energy, which I have always thought more sensible than not. Whatever the flaws in his thinking, they aren't evident to me, nor it seems to the French.

--Eugene Volokh observes the Fourth by reminding us that barbequing our flags is quite properly constitutionally protected, and provides some entertaining examples of colonial-era "symbolic speech":
The Framers were working within a late 18th century common-law legal system that generally treated symbolic expression and verbal expression the same. Speech restrictions -- such as libel, slander, sedition, obscenity and blasphemy -- covered symbolic expression on the same terms as verbal expression.

Many cases and treatises, including Blackstone's "Commentaries" published in 1765 and often cited by the Framers' generation in America, said this about libel law. And early American court cases soon held the same about obscenity and blasphemy. Late 18th and early 19th century libel law cases and treatises gave many colorful examples: It could be libelous to burn a person in effigy, send him a wooden gun (implying cowardice), light a lantern outside his house (implying the house was a brothel), and engage in processions mocking him for his supposed misbehavior.
No less entertaining is that the Senate sponsor of the latest ban-the-burning bill is David Vitter, whose sex with hookers seems positively quaint in retrospect.

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