The news of the week comes in two different parts, and I think that they both are distressing.
The high court of Maryland held up a law which has banned all gay marriages there. They didn’t, however, say lawmakers cannot repeal the decree if they want. In other words, neither the ban nor gay marriage is unconstitutional there. This nonetheless comes as a setback for anyone trying to legalize it; I fear that repealing the law will not happen for several more years at this rate.
Also, the EU rejected a plea from their parliament asking to cancel the ban of all liquids on flights coming into or leaving from Europe. They claim that the liquids can still pose a threat in the hands of some mythical terrorists (these people, apparently, somehow are able to blow up a plane with the liquids but cannot, of course, simply carry them on in the smaller containers allowed). The problem as I see it lies in the fact that the only known terororists ever considering using a liquid explosive were foiled without such a ban, and instead they were caught using only police and detective work (note that I thought there were older attempts, but I can’t seem to find them again; I recall that they also had planned to use liquids and they, too, were stopped by police work instead. I think this had been in the ’90’s sometime, but it’s honestly just a gut feeling.). However, the EU’s Commission decided that lifting the ban would still “lower its guard” and instead they require “the full range” of (useless and impotent) measures in place. These rules are so stupid; I wish someone there would just tell them they’re being irrational.
To get it out of the way, 32 people were killed today by a gunman at Virginia Tech. No one seems to have any more details yet, and I really can’t speculate on anything here.
The Democrats have tied military funding to a withdrawal of troops in 2008, though Bush plans to veto this bill. Expectations are that the Democrats will then try to tie such funding to measurable progress in Iraq itself. This seems unlikely to happen, however, because six Iraqi cabinet members resigned in protest of Prime Minister Al-Maliki’s close ties to the United States. These resignations were called for by Moqtada Al-Sadr, who also organized rallies in Baghdad in protest of the current government. This is a pretty big blow to Mr. Al-Maliki, but the government is expected to remain intact.
The European Union has reproached Russia for its heavy-handed crackdown on protesters, which ostensibly included beating reporters and passers-by, as well as arresting chess legend Garry Kasparov. I’ve caught bits of Russia becoming more USSR-like, but this has brought the issue to a head. President Putin has been locking down the country slowly but surely, with the latest move to pass laws of questionable constitutionality restricting the rights of protestors. Russia is gearing up for an election, and I honestly don’t know how these measures will affect it.
Finally, some good news for a change: the former Duke lacrosse players have been found wholly innocent of raping a stripper at a party. Unfortunately, they have already been found guilty in the eyes of the media, have received death threats, and can no longer safely return to Duke. Can anyone at Duke comment on how the student body has perceived these events?