TheDC Morning: Academic proposes far-out political policy, crickets chirp

Mike Riggs Contributor

1.) Christ Christie commutes sentence of man convicted for being manly — While Florida Gov. Charlie Crist continues to toss and turn over the thought of pardoning the hell out of Jim Morrison, NJ Gov. Christ Christie has been worried about somebody more low key: Brian Aitken. Aitken was sentenced to seven years in prison this past August because he had two unloaded firearms in the trunk of his car. “Police found unloaded guns that had been purchased legally in Colorado. New Jersey law requires residents who want to transport firearms legally to request a permit from a local law enforcement office and produce a letter stating why it is necessary for them to carry a gun.” Aitken was switching residences and had yet to get the paperwork, ergo he deserved to lose seven years of his life. According to The Daily Caller’s Amanda Carey, Christie “commuted the sentence of Brian Aitken Monday, reducing his sentence from seven years in prison to time already served. According to Christie’s order, he will be released as soon as it’s ‘administratively possible.'”

2.) Visitors to Washington will now have their 4th Amendment rights trampled everywhere they go — It only makes sense that in this age of security theater, dadaist threat levels, and terrorists who hide crappy bombs in their man panties, that Washington, D.C. would eventually get in on the fun. According to the Washington Post, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority today began rifling through the bags of customers. “Excuse me ma’am. We are doing random bag searches. It will take about 25 seconds of your time,” WMATA employees have been instructed to say. The agency first attempted to implement the bag checks in 2008, when their strategy was to frisk every x number of customers as if he/she were a terrorist regardless of whether he/she was behaving suspiciously or carrying a bomb-shaped package. WMATA’s strategy isn’t much different this time around: “To protect from attack by having police using explosives-screening equipment and bomb-sniffing dogs pull aside every third person at locations where checks are taking place. If people refuse the inspection, they will be barred from entering the station or boarding a bus with the item.” It is difficult to imagine how terrorists could possibly get around a screening policy that targets EVERY THIRD PERSON.

3.) ROTC gets a boost from the gays — “Presidents of some of the nation’s highest profile colleges and universities, where the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program has been barred for decades, said that the U.S. Senate’s vote Saturday to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” will usher the return of the program to their campuses,” reports Inside Higher Ed. According to Columbia President Lee Bollinger, the end of DADT “also effectively ends what has been a vexing problem for higher education, including at Columbia — given our desire to be open to our military, but not wanting to violate our own core principle against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” Bollinger looks forward to “a new era in the relationship between universities and our military services.” Harvard and others will likely join Columbia in reopening their campuses now that gays and lesbians can openly experience roadside IEDs.

4.) Bad idea of the month: Force Americans to buy newspapers — Now that the argument for forcing Americans to buy things they do not want to buy in order to make those things cheaper for the Americans who do want to buy them is a mainstream argument, folks are asking themselves, “What else can my government force my neighbor to buy?” Donnie Johnston, a columnist for the Fredericksburg Star, recently asserted “if Congress can force every American to buy health insurance, which helps the insurance industry, it certainly should be able to force every American to buy a newspaper and help the newspaper industry.” Also: computers, TVs, toothbrushes, and other things Johnston deems necessary to living a rich life. Johnston is being sarcastic, of course! He has “read that old Constitution many times,” and can “see nothing in there that gives the government the power to force any person to buy any product.” If only our elected officials had read their Constitutions! Or just Donnie Johnston!

5.) Overpaid public servants feel unappreciated — “More and more, when politicians talk about government employees – whether they are federal, state or local – it is with the kind of umbrage ordinarily aimed at Wall Street financiers and convenience store bandits,” reports a vewy vewy sympathetic Washington Post. “Relative job security with generous benefits that extend into retirement has long been part of the appeal of working for the government. But an eight-hour day in a drab Independence Avenue office building can look like a supremely privileged lifestyle when Americans in the private sector are panicked and furious over what has happened to their own salaries, health coverage and 401 (k)s.” This is an attempt to show that working for the government is hard sometimes! The Post reminds us that the latter group’s anger at the former group is, at its heart, an attack on organized labor. People in the labor movement don’t “see it as a coincidence that all of this is happening at a moment when, for the first time in history, a majority of union members work for the government rather than the private sector, where labor membership has plummeted.” To which we ask: Why do unemployed private sector types hate unions? Don’t they appreciate having weekends off?

6.) Lefty professor proposes plan for reigning in the executive branch — A frequently asked question during the hullaballoo over TSA’s new scanners was, How did we get like this? How exactly, did we go from taking off our shoes to letting our government look at us and our loved ones with no clothes on? The answer is that we were scared, and so we dealt with the intrusion; and while we’re not scared anymore, we’re used to having our rights trampled. Bruce Ackerman, a constant foe of the excesses of the executive branch, has a solution: “My proposal is to have a new emergency statute which recognizes that right after a 9/11 catastrophe — and we may well have worse catastrophes in the 21st century — it is appropriate for the United States government and the president of the United States to take really sweeping actions for a brief period of time,” Ackerman told Miller-McCune. “I’d say, 45 days. I say, however, that this state of emergency has to be approved by Congress, and that every 60 days thereafter, the president has to go back to Congress and get it approved again, with a supermajority.” Interesting? Unlikely? Discuss.