Sunday, November 08, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club

The size of the frame should depend on the consequences of error. The Constitution specifies that congressional apportionment be based on the actual decennial census of persons present. The Fourteenth Amendment in part reads
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
The Left has tried for years to replace the actual head count with statistical sampling and failed. What they have noticed is that the text apportions according to persons and not citizens, only reducing the allotment for citizens unfairly denied the vote. So they are seeking to increase the representation of left leaning districts by increasing the presence of illegal immigrants and hiring fraud prone partisans to conduct the Census.

For a criminal legal case the bar should also be set high. To put someone's life and liberty at risk because of testimony that other persons in similar circumstances had carried a volume of drugs is very close to assigning collective guilt. That is not to say that I am opposed to circumstantial evidence. That is used with expert testimony all the time to get a conviction. Fingerprints are circumstantial evidence that someone was present. In the drug case an experienced investigator could testify that the mule had possessions that were consistent with carrying a volume of drugs. If they had carried internally then a physician might testify to the condition of their digestive organs regarding the probable volume carried. Still if the evidence is not there then the government should not just make it up. Sometimes you have to let the bad guy go and keep an eye on them.

For civil cases the standards are lower. The slippery slope of using statistical evidence to shape a legal case and subsequent public policy goes back to Brown v Board of Education. The argument that separate was not and could not be equal that was relied on by the Court to reverse Plessy v Ferguson depended on psychological studies such as the "doll test" that are subject to criticism.

The Halls of Montezuma could not stretch its frame beyond the experience of its crew and audience. What it shared with The Adventures of Robin Hood was a common culture shared by the audience that believed in the essential rightness of a system of liberty and law and the sovereign right of a free people to defend that. The film about the more mythical past could affirm the justice of fighting for the Rights of Englishmen, using Robin and King Richard as archetypes without considering their real characters.

To some extent that is always true and every portrayal of the past says more about the present. The Iliad tells us more about early Iron Age Hellenic Civilization then it does the Mykenaean warriors that sacked Troy. Yet it does carry the memory of Bronze Age individual combat into a tale told by Bards to an audience focused on the themes of Honor and Pride.
As the Editor said in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

bogie wheel,
Concur with your analysis and Walt’s list.

In Which We Serve
They Were Expendable

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
Das Boot

Not a Leatherneck but I did drive the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) so that should make me a Devil Dog.
Happy Birthday to all and theirs.

For those who want a good under noticed anti-war film I recommend Sidney Lumet's The Hill (1965), starring Sean Connery.

Both versions of Henry V are worth watching and Battleground was brilliant. When I was at OCS the Chaplain who gave us the lecture on their role specifically disavowed the idea that they would preside over services for another faith.

No comments: