The ‘government shutdown’

1:58 pm October 21st, 2013

My mom called me the other day to ask whether I thought the “government shutdown” would impact some state program or other. I can see how the thought arose, given that there are hardly any independent “state programs” any more (most having fallen victim to the siren call of “supplemental federal funding,” which leaves them about as independent as if they were accepting short-term loans from your local Mafia.)

“Mom,” I asked, “there’s a federal prison not that far from you, in Danbury. Are you worried about all those federal prisoners wandering the streets, now that they’ve let them out?”

“What?”

“Of course you’re not worried about federal prisoners roaming the streets.” (Not that anyone WOULD worry, since federal prisoners don’t tend to be violent rapists or robbers or murderers, most of those guys being handled by the state court systems. Federal prisoners, rather, are mainly people caught up in the web of arcane, unpredictable, largely unconstitutional federal “regulations,” like that guy down in Georgia who got convicted of “conspiracy to manufacture marijuana” because he sold light bulbs at his light bulb store that some of his customers used to grow marijuana at home) “That’s because none of that has happened.

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Unintended Consequences

11:50 am October 1st, 2013

In the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty’s father fails to follow the common-sense course — sending soldiers to arrest the evil fairy, warning her that if any harm comes to his daughter through that malevolent curse concerning sewing needles, said fairy would have her wings plucked and find herself locked up in a dark place for a long time.

Instead, the king attempts to ban all sewing needles from his kingdom. Brilliant. We all know how that worked out.

Yet today’s politicians continue attempting to solve their problems — an unwillingness or inability to identify, treat, or lock up dangerous lunatics; a generation of spoiled, jobless, quasi-literate youth who amuse themselves playing endless blow-off-their-heads video games in dark basements — by attempting to ban various sorts of firearms, a 500-year-old technology now so well developed that cheap automatic rifles are widely stamped out in Third World countries in factories originally designed to produce typewriters and license plates.

They might as well try to ban people from using telescopes to look at the planets.

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Attack ‘Stand Your Ground’, turn out the black vote

6:46 am September 1st, 2013

So now a unanimous citizen jury has agreed with Sanford, Fla. police chief Bill Lee (fired for resisting political lynch mobs and refusing to file baseless charges — http://tinyurl.com/l5bch6w) and the state prosecutor who first investigated neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman’s fatal 2012 shooting of black teen-ager Trayvon Martin.

The jury listened to the eye-witness, considered the corroborating physical evidence, compared that to a set of prosecution witnesses that left defense attorneys with little to do but raise their arms and shout Hallelujah, and ruled no crime was committed by the 28-year-old resident of the gated Twin Lakes community.

Novelists and screenplay writers would be told to come up with something more believable if they tried to invent a prosecution “star witness” to rival young Martin’s hefty girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, a 19-year-old high school senior whose ebonic accent and vocabulary often proved incomprehensible to those in the courtroom, and whose charming tweets on the subject of being unable to pass the Florida state high school competency test (http://tinyurl.com mlmo7jl) I decline to copy verbatim, even here.

As to the substance, it was all over once the fat lady sang. Miss Jeantel admitted on the stand she had not told police Martin — in his cell phone call to her shortly before his death — had said he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker.”

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Who’s too crazy to own a gun?

5:45 am August 1st, 2013

I see where retired astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, brain-damaged former Arizona Congresscritter Gabrielle Giffords, are criss-crossing the country, traveling with an extended staff “resembling that of a political campaign” in private planes and helicopters, trying to stir up state-by-state support for more laws designed to make it harder for law-abiding Americans to buy and keep guns — part of a planned $20 million fund-raising effort by their “Americans for Responsible Solutions.”

Yes, I know those crying for ever more rigorous “background checks” and other permits and fees say making things harder for law-abiding gun owners is not their goal.

And if you believe that, be sure to also write your name on your luggage when you leave it behind to board the cattle cars at the train station, so they can forward it to you in the “resettlement” camp.

To a wealthy white person, it sounds like no big deal to be required to take a $100 “safety” course offered at your local suburban gun store, then drive to some police facility during business hours to get fingerprinted and pay another hundred bucks apiece for “permits,” “background checks,” etc.

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What have you done to make gun ownership more difficult, today?

5:14 am July 1st, 2013

The statists may have failed on the federal level to enact new anti-gun measures this year, but their farm teams in the state legislatures are stepping into the breach.

In April, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed new legislation that adds more than 100 firearms to the state’s so-called “assault weapons” ban (none of the guns on the list are actually assault weapons, since none can be set to fire full-auto.) The law also creates what officials have called the nation’s “first dangerous weapon offender registry” as well as “eligibility rules” for buying any rifle, shotgun or ammunition.

To get a new “long gun eligibility certificate” in Connecticut, an applicant will have to sit through (and pay for) a firearms safety training course, be fingerprinted, and undergo a national criminal background and involuntary commitment /voluntary admission check. (In other words, if you sought psychiatric help 40 years ago, you could find yourself jailed awaiting trial for “illegal gun possession/ mental health,” even if you’ve been a law-abiding gun owner ever since. The federals are prosecuting just such a case right now, in Nye County, Nevada.)

Buying ammunition in Connecticut will require a new revocable “ammunition eligibility certificate”, which will also require the applicant to pass a national criminal background check.

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A Bridge Too Far

5:49 am June 1st, 2013

Every once in awhile Harry Reid realizes another six years have sped by. He then feels obliged, like a salmon seeking out the quiet stream of its birth, to fly to Nevada.

Here, he temporarily dons a new pair of blue jeans and gets himself photographed a) sitting on a hay bale, and/or b) holding a .22-caliber rifle with which he contends he once shot a rabbit.

To get re-elected in Nevada, you see, a politician has to contend he’s serious about that “protecting the Second Amendment” stuff, at least for a few weeks every term.

So you’ll pardon me if I suspect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasn’t terribly shocked and disappointed when the latest round of federal “gun control” proposals failed to carry a filibuster-proof majority and went down to defeat in the U.S. Senate on April 17.

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It’s unfortunate …

6:58 pm May 21st, 2013

Attempts to contact Vin at his former work email address or phone number may appear to go unanswered. Ditto, possibly, with snail mail … we haven’t checked. But it does seem that emails sent to him are going into a black hole somewhere — and the answering machine will take a message though he’ll never get it. He’s not ignoring you.

Surely an oversight on the part of his former employer, but it does create an awkward situation.

If you’re determined to get in touch, chances are you’ll find a way without too much trouble … in the meantime, we’re working on a way for legit emails to get through via the blog without the inevitable barrage of spam.

Thanks, Heidi, Mitch, Mama, and Ralph for your comments (sorry if I’ve missed anybody, I don’t approve comments and may not have seen them all.)

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Will anyone miss them when they’re gone?

5:50 pm May 6th, 2013

The daily paper as you’ve known it is going the way of the drive-in movie, the party line, and black-and-white TV.

The financial reasons are well known: The Internet and tax-subsidized direct mail have sucked up much of the advertising revenue — by providing better, more efficient targeting — and significantly altered the business models of many former large advertisers. (In fact, when customers use your store merely to check out merchandise that they then rush home and purchase for less, online, the advertisers themselves are doomed. See “Circuit City.”)

But there’s another reason daily newspapers are failing. A hundred years ago, readers could choose among as many as a dozen newspapers in large cities, two or three even in medium-sized towns. They tended to choose papers whose editorial philosophies matched their own, wherever that might lie on the socialist-to-libertarian or -conservative spectrum.

Now they’re doing that again, choosing politically and philosophically agreeable sources of news and commentary … on cable TV, and especially on the Internet.

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The struggle to stop a ‘threatened’ species from breeding and thus ruining everything

10:56 am May 1st, 2013

The Mojave Desert Tortoise is listed by the federal government as a “threatened” species, which allows extreme environmentalists and their co-religionist government thugs to impose restrictions on land use by humans in Southern Nevada, supposedly to protect the tortoise’s delicate wild habitat.

Anyone not familiar with this particular exercise in lunacy might draw the conclusion that the tortoise prospers only in untouched arid desert, that upon sight of an approaching human or cow, let alone a human-generated dirt road or house or barn, the poor reptiles just roll over and shiver until they die of fright.

But anyone drawing that conclusion might be puzzled by the new Nevada state regulation set to take effect May 1, allowing owners of pet tortoises to keep only one such animal at a time.

Why? The Nevada Wildlife Commission, which adopted the regulation last month, says the problem is that when allowed to pair up the tortoises breed, and the last thing the government wants is any bigger population boom among this “threatened” species.

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Margaret Thatcher, freedom fighter, at 87

4:49 am April 10th, 2013

The discredited Left can find little to say, save that she was “divisive.” How refreshing, then, to hear the enthusiasm in the equally widespread reports that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday at age 87, managed in her remarkable 11-year tenure at Downing Street to vanquish socialism and restore the free market to Britain.

She was indeed a remarkable leader who did what many considered impossible. Unfortunately, these good-hearted reports could seem to declare victory in a struggle yet ongoing.

Yes, socialism calls for collective ownership of lands and factories, and Mrs. Thatcher’s success at privatizing many state-controlled industries — British Telecom, British Gas, Rolls-Royce, British Airways, British Coal, British Steel, the water companies and electric system, even privatizing some public housing — breathed new life into the foundering economy of the United Kingdom in the 1980s, even as her victory in the Falklands restored much of England’s lost prestige and credibility.

But tax-funded old-age pensions, tax-subsidized housing and schooling (no matter how enervating), and especially a sharply graduated income tax designed to punish the wealthy and shower the poor with the earnings of others (no matter how this discourages work and job creation) are also basic tenets of socialism, and those remain stubborn fixtures in Britain, as well as here.

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