Writings and observations

Anyone following the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, and its activities and connections, will want to check out this extensive blog post on DI’s links to a new bill in Louisiana, likely to become law soon, aimed at installing de facto creationism in the state’s schools.

Further of note: The person who may make it law is the governor, Bobby Jindal, who is being talked up quite a bit as a possible vice presidential pick for Republican presidential nominee-presumptive John McCain.

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Washington

Some years back, in an early version of this blog, we said that plans for renovation of the Idaho Statehouse were driving up the cost, once estimated at around $40 million, upward in the direction of $100 million.

That drew a stern chastisement from one of the people on the committee, arguing that estimates had the cost at nowhere near $100 million – no, far less.

Today’s headline in the Idaho Statesman: “Capitol renovation boosts budget to $122.5 million.” Up from a recent previous estimate of $120 million.

Couldn’t help noticing . . .

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Idaho

One of our long-standing political rules of thumb: Major court rulings that address emotional topics tend to energize the side that lost. Think abortion. Think busing. Think gay marriage (2004, though much of the emotion so prominent then seems bleached out now). And now, as of today, think gun control.

Well we remember an evening some years back at a political event in the Idaho Panhandle. After hearing several Democratic candidates make their case, a group of guys in the back of the room were still shaking their heads, and they would not be swayed. They agreed with the bulk of what the candidates said, but had two problems. A nagging one, with abortion. And a big one – they were convinced, no matter what they heard from the candidates (several of whom also owned guns), that the Democrats were about to take away their guns if they got elected. Period. And that was a deal breaker.

Well, today, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in effect that the U.S. Constitution would bar any attempt to do what those guys in the back of the room were concerned about: “Held: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for
traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

That rustling sound you hear is the air going out of the they’re-coming-for-our-guns mindset. Not all of it, of course: No decision or action by anyone would eliminate it all. But a lot of people for whom gun ownership is very big deal are likely to look at that subject a little differently, with less concern, than they did not long ago.

Eventually, there may be some counterblast, from the organizational roots, for gun regulation. But not right away. In the meantime, the dynamics may well have changed.

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Idaho