Thursday, January 18, 2018

Moose Hunters

We recently saw some moose in our neighborhood.  These critters are dangerous.

Friday, December 29, 2017

News Flash: The Constitution Applies to All 50 States

Here’s a novel concept: enumerated civil rights apply equally in every state in the union. Can speech be more stringently regulated in Maryland than it can in Montana? Do police have broader search and seizure latitude in Arkansas than they do in Alaska? Why no, no they don’t. And that means that . . . States have a constitutional duty to recognize gun rights nationwide.
In response to the House of Representatives passing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (which would essentially require states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states) this month, those who oppose gun rights are invoking states’ rights — an argument conservatives favor in other contexts. But a federalism argument cannot stand where Congress is exercising authority that has been explicitly granted by the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.
The Fourteenth Amendment (along with the Thirteenth and Fifteenth) is one of the Reconstruction Amendments, passed in the immediate wake of the Civil War. It (was) intended to redesign American federalism by requiring the states to respect basic rights of their citizens, including “the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments to the Constitution.”
Isn’t the Second Amendment one of those first eight Amendments in the Bill of Rights? Why yes, yes it is. But wait … aren’t gun rights somehow different?
The question then is: are gun rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment?  During the debates on the Amendment, and the related Civil Rights Act of 1866 and Second Freedman’s Bureau Act, the right to keep and bear arms was explicitly invoked frequently as one of the elementary civil rights and rights of citizenship that Freedmen, who were regularly and violently disarmed, were entitled to enjoy along with whites. The Supreme Court recognized this and more in 2010, in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. In that case, the Court unambiguously held that the Second Amendment is a “fundamental right” that “is fully applicable to the States.”
Hmmm - a precedent like that could be downright inconvenient for the forces of civilian disarmament if a national concealed carry reciprocity law ever comes before the Supreme Court.
To be sure, there are other considerations that should be part of the reciprocity discussion. For example, moving between and among the several states is a fundamental right upon whose exercise the states may not place a substantial burden. Nor can states discriminate against new residents by treating them differently in matters of importance, like medical care and welfare benefits. This has implications for American gun owners. If a state may not chill the freedom of interstate travel by placing restrictive conditions on certain benefits, it is reasonable to conclude that stripping one’s carry rights in order to cross state lines would also be impermissible under the Fourteenth Amendment.
So while I'm not a constitutional law expert, it seems to me that national reciprocity is on good legal footing should the bill currently in the Senate is signed into law, and subsequently challenged in court.

You can bet the farm that there are plenty of hoplophobic anti-constitutionalist snowflakes frenetically scribbling an irrational and hypocritical challenge as you are reading this.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bar Stool Economics: For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Many of my faithful readers have probably seen this before - it has been around in various forms for quite some time. Since the Fake News media outlets have been babbling about how pending tax cuts are exploitative of the poor to the benefit of the rich, now is the time to revisit what will happen if the Liberal version of "fairness" is implemented.

The author chose to base his analogy upon the swilling of beer in a a tavern in hopes that it might better relate to Snowflakes that think everyone else owes them something.

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers?How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share”? They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. ' I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Al Franken - Resignation or Expulsion?

As of this morning, December 6, 2017 there are at least 15 United States Senators from the Democrat side of the aisle calling for the resignation of Al Franken.

Add that to the 52 Senators on the other side of the aisle to arrive at the magic number of 67.

Why is 67 a magic number?

Well, Grasshopper, according to Section 5 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, this is the number of Senators needed to expel a seated Senator.

In the history of the United States there have been 20 members expelled from Congress  -  15 from the Senate and 5 from the House of Representatives.  Of these 20 disgraced reprobates, 19 have been members of the Democrat party.  The only outlier was a fellow expelled before the Democrat party was founded in 1828.  Senator William Blount of Tennessee was expelled for treason in 1797.

So, as you can clearly see, this will be nothing new.  It is about time that the Senate grew a pair and took some positive action.

Stuart Smalley – you have got to go.  You are not good enough, not smart enough, and doggone it, people don’t like you.

By the way, according to the Constitution of the United States Congress refers to both Senators and Representatives.  All Senators are Congressmen, but all Congressmen are not Senators.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A World Where Ordinary People Believe They Are Constantly In Deadly Danger

Below is one of the best bits of common sense I've seen in a long time.
It is entitled:  "How to Talk to Your Kids About Guns" and was written by Katherine Mangu-Ward the editor in chief of Reason magazine.

After you read this one, check out this article as well:  The Fragile Generation

Perhaps these pieces seem to be common sense only because I've been tooting the same horn for a long time.

Here are two true statements:

1. The number of privately held firearms in America has nearly doubled in the last two decades while the number of gun murders per capita was cut in half.

2. The number of kids abducted by strangers in 2011 was 105, out of approximately 73 million children in the United States. That's down slightly from 115 two decades ago.

After Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more by firing into a crowd from the 32nd floor of his Las Vegas hotel in October, America dove headfirst into our now-traditional national shoutfest about gun laws.

One side sees its argument as self-evident: The moment when dozens of people lie dying in the street of gunshot wounds is the right time to pass laws restricting private gun ownership. The other side, by and large, frames its argument in the language of rights and freedoms: You may not like what some people do with some guns, but the Second Amendment exists for a reason.

Too often absent from both sides of the debate are well-parsed statistics. Restrictionists will cite the approximately 33,000 annual gun deaths in America, but that number reveals almost nothing about the question the public really wants answered after Vegas or the Orlando nightclub shooting before it: How likely am I to die in an incident of random violence?

Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, as statistician Leah Libresco explained in The Washington Post shortly after the Vegas shooting, and "almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them." Next are "young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides" that are often gang-related, and after that "the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence."

The number of people killed in mass shootings is far smaller—there were fewer than 90 incidents that fit the FBI's formal definition of "mass killing" with a gun in the last three decades, most of them with just four victims—yet the center of gravity in the gun control debate isn't suicide hotlines, drug legalization, or domestic violence shelters. Instead, politicians and pundits perseverate on reducing firing speeds, excluding mentally ill people from the right to buy a gun, and building lists of people with ties to terrorist groups: interventions aimed at minimizing the odds of already-rare deaths from mass shootings.

A frenzy of attempts at preventive policy making follows each high-profile incident but actually creates the conditions for future failure. Gun prohibition produces the same problems as drug or alcohol prohibition; attempts to restrict harmless sale and possession in order to catch a minority of misusers yield all kinds of unintended consequences.

Black markets make the purchase of prohibited items riskier and more expensive, and make the transactions untraceable. Bans are likely to be disproportionately enforced among black and Muslim gun owners, increasing racial disparities. Narrowly tailored restrictions will push product development teams at big firearms manufacturers and garage tinkerers alike to find workarounds that circumvent the letter of the law. And any mass confiscation of illegal weapons or accessories will lead to more violence, as die-hard gun rights believers inevitably fight back against law enforcement.

Take a misunderstanding of the scope and nature of a problem, combine it with a desire to "do something" in the face of national anguish, and you get a recipe for both bad law and cultural conflict.

A nearly identical problem plagues another heated national conversation: Are our children in danger? How likely is my kid to be grabbed by a kidnapper? Underlying much of the invective about helicopter parents, millennial snowflakes, and trophies for everyone is the question of what risks American kids realistically face.

In a country where violent crime has been largely declining for decades, and where crimes against children have declined even faster, there is nonetheless an overwhelming conviction among parents and the press that the world is more dangerous than it was for previous generations. But the FBI says reports of missing children are down 40 percent in the last two decades, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that teen homicide rates have fallen by more than 40 percent; homicides of kids under 14 are at a near-record low; and overall child mortality rates have declined almost by half.

As Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt explain in "The Fragile Generation" (page 18), the result is a cultural and legal landscape where attempts to protect kids from imagined or exaggerated risks generate new—and very real—threats to their well-being. Oversupervision and reflexive appeals to authority for conflict resolution push ordinary kid squabbles and teen misbehavior into the principal's office or even prison, instead of giving kids the chance to resolve disagreements on their own. As parents opt to keep children indoors, opportunities to practice independent decision making and to make mistakes in low-stakes situations with friendly strangers disappear. Obesity is on the rise, and physical fitness—an aid to self-determination and independence, according to J.D. Tuccille (page 14)—is suffering.

Parental paranoia also conspires with legal paternalism to keep teens out of the grown-up world. On page 54, check out a map of all the ways the law is delaying adult milestones and sending mixed messages about when adolescents can be trusted to make decisions about marriage, work, driving, smoking, and more. In her interview with Reason's Robby Soave on page 56, advice columnist turned Atlantic essayist Emily Yoffe describes a campus culture where women in particular are neither trusted nor expected to know their own minds when making decisions about sex and alcohol, and where young men are subjected to flawed adjudications where adult authorities determine their fate, sometimes without ever getting a chance to defend themselves.

Raising kids to believe in personal responsibility and autonomy is tough in a world where the politicians and bureaucrats respect neither. In the 21st century, when a child is taken from his parents by people he barely knows, it's likely to be the result not of a snatching by a stranger but of busybody neighbors calling Child Protective Services because they disagree with someone's parenting choices.

Mass shootings, kidnapping, and child abuse all happen, of course, and they are horrible. But demagoguing those small-but-real threats to push through intrusive laws is dangerous in its own way.

Unfortunately, citing statistics rarely changes hearts and minds. Each mass shooting seems to ratchet up the panic over private gun ownership. Each kidnapping calls for wall-to-wall coverage while parents enroll their children in yet another supervised extracurricular.

One reason Americans are more inclined to panic over shootings or kidnappings these days is, perversely, that these incidents are so rare. They are the last isolated cases in what was once an epidemic of commonplace violence. Because kids do not go missing as a matter of course, we freak out more on the rare occasions when they do. As even schoolyard fistfights become unusual, we treat each one like a national security incident instead of a learning experience. Our culture has changed, mostly for the good, with wealth, a robust rule of law, and an ever-expanding circle of empathy driving the drop in violence.

Legislation is a blunt instrument, and carving ever-changing mores into the legal code means pushing well-meaning adults to behave in nonsensical ways. Police, social workers, and a large number of teachers, doctors, and other trusted figures are increasingly required by law to behave as if the sidewalk in front of the school, the Publix parking lot, and the Las Vegas strip are risky environments, when in fact they're safer than they have ever been. The law is nearly always a lagging indicator of changing social practices and expectations, not a leading one.

Would-be restrictionists of all kinds thrive in a world where ordinary people believe they are constantly in deadly danger—even when that danger is grossly exaggerated. 

I found this article here:

Thursday, October 12, 2017