Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Rundown

Item the first: Muqtada al-Sadr announced this morning he's extending the Mahdi Army cease-fire another six months. This is very good news for our guys in Baghdad--always preferable to minimize the amount of crossfire you're caught in--and good news for the Iraqi government, such as it is, which now has another half year to flail around on life support without having to worry about this particular bug doing it in. If this cements al-Sadr's position as a national leader, well, maybe not so good in the medium- to long-run. But whatever. If it brings more stability the next president can leverage into a ticket home for every pair of boots over there, I'm all over it.

Item the second: Arizona legislator feels state not quite Wild Wild West enough; acts to remedy situation.
A House panel voted Thursday to let people pull out their guns without fear of winding up in jail if they believe they are in danger.

The 5-4 vote came despite questions by several legislators as to whether that language would provide a legal defense for gang members caught waving their weapons, as they could say they were in fear a rival gang had threatened them.

And Bob Ticer, a lieutenant with the state Department of Public Safety, said he feared this kind of law could escalate a simple dispute into an outright gunbattle.

What fair municipality, you ask, might have produced the legislator who proposed this latest bit of gungungun escalation? Amazingly, it's Mesa. Home of Karen "More Guns In Schools" Johnson. Don't worry, though--the guy has a foolproof argument against the other legislators' (and the cop's) concerns:

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, sponsor of the measure, dismissed their concerns as unrealistic.

Pearce said police officers "sometimes have not used the discretion or the good sense the Lord gave them."

"Some folks are capable of taking care of themselves and other folks are frightened or intimidated very easily," Pearce said. He said individuals should be able to "express their fear in a proper manner."

Um. Let me see if I follow this correctly. Trained police officers sometimes don't use discretion or good sense, and some people frighten very easily, so they should... be allowed to brandish a firearm at every perceived threat? What happens when the perceived threat is another person who frightens easily? Or, god forbid, a cop not exercising discretion that day?

Clearly, there are not enough rivers of blood flowing in Arizona from gun violence. Glad Rep. Pearce is looking out for the rights of gangbangers to wave their Rugers at each other as long as they don't actually point them at someone.

Item the third: The New York Times breaks the news that John McCain may have had an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist. Result? McCain says it's a lie, and the conservative base--which heretofore wouldn't give him the time of day--suddenly rallies to his defense. How would this have played out had the accused candidate been Obama or Clinton? Think "it's not true" would be more than enough for everyone to shrug and write it off as a smear tactic? Uh-uh, I don't either.

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