December 31, 2012

NYT Op-ed: ‘Let’s Give Up on the Constitution’

Well, at least we know one of the New Year’s resolutions on a certain radical professor’s list. That resolution, undermining the Constitution whenver and wherever possible to serve the “progressive” agenda, has been on the list of the paper for which this professor wrote for quite a while.

On Sunday, in a New York Times op-ed (“Let’s Give Up on the Constitution”) which appeared in today’s print edition, Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of constitutional law (seriously) at Georgetown University, and the author of the forthcoming book “On Constitutional Disobedience” (given the conduct of the Obama administration, it’s hard to understand why such a book is even neceeary is a mystery), wrote that “our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.” Here’s more of what we will likely see from other quarters in the new year:

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Searching for Christmas 2012: To a Record Extent, the Press Said It Was the ‘Holiday Shopping Season’

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 5:21 pm

This is the eighth year I have done shopping and layoff-related searches on how often the words “Christmas” and “holiday” are used.

As has been the case since the enterprise began in 2005, news reports are far more likely to refer to the commercial time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the “holiday shopping season.” Meanwhile, compared to shopping references, news reports are several times more likely to refer to Christmas in connection with layoffs. This years raw results — originally gathered here, here, and here at my home blog, along with comparisons to previous years — follow the jump:

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AP Plays Guilt by Association (With Bain!), Gives Sotomayor a Pass in Covering Federal Judge’s Contraception Mandate TRO

An unbylined Associated Press story at 1:34 p.m. (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) disgracefully covered a federal ruling which delivered a defeat (for now) against the enforcement of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate.

Unlike the Hobby Lobby situation (covered earlier today at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), where the dispute is over certain portions of the contraception mandate requiring employers to cover abortifacient drugs and devices, the ruling in the case of Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza who is now has a property management business, involves the entire contraception mandate. Monaghan nevertheless was able to get a temporary restraining order (TRO). The full five-paragraph AP report is after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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No, AP and Politico, It Isn’t About ‘What Hobby Lobby Says,’ It’s About What Is Actually True

One of the establishment press’s favorite tactics to diminish the perceived strength of a position taken by people or companies they are inclined not to favor is to take objectively true facts and statements and reduce them to things only those people or companies “say” or “believe.”

Hobby Lobby’s court battle against the ObamaCare mandates is a perfect case in point, with both the Politico and Associated Press providing recent related examples of this fundamentally dishonest tactic. In the December 26 item at the Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn and Kathryn Smith also falsely framed the situation as an argument over “contraception” (more on that in a bit; bolds are mine throughout this post). But first, let’s look at how the pair employed the “they say” tactic:

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Gun Grabbers Gone Wild

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Activism — Tom @ 8:10 am

This column went up at FrontPageMag.com earlier this morning.

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The left’s gun grabbers believe that the Newtown massacre gives them a ghoulish yet golden opportunity to permanently undermine citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Exhibit A is California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s promise to introduce a bill which will supposedly stop “the spread of deadly assault weapons.” Her bill would go far beyond the so-called “assault weapons ban” passed in 1994, but which Congress refused to reauthorize in 2004.

Feistein’s proposal, among many other things:

  • “Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.”
  • “Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered.”

The only way Feinstein can accomplish the first of her two listed goals is to confiscate all such “devices” that already exist. This would be a massive, ugly — and logistically impossible — enterprise. At the Washington Post, reporter Brad Plumer wrote in mid-December that in 1994, there were “roughly 1.5 million assault weapons and more than 24 million high-capacity magazines in private hands.” Putting aside the fact that every weapon used to commit a crime against a person, including items which aren’t guns, is by any normal definition an “assault weapon,” there are surely more of the weapons and magazines Feinstein wants to see seized now than there were 18 years ago.

What’s more, their number is growing. Law-abiding citizens are responding to gun grabbers’ aggressiveness by buying any and every weapon they can, while they still can. The Associated Press reports: “The prospect of a possible weapons ban has sent gun enthusiasts into a panic and sparked a frenzy of buying at stores and gun dealers nationwide.” I would characterize what the AP describes as a “frenzy of buying”  as “a wave of common sense.”

Feinstein justifies her far-reaching ban largely on a Justice Department study claiming that “the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders, holding all other factors equal.”

Nice try, DiFi. Plumer, who clearly leans left, cites a University of Pennsylvania which concluded, in his words, that “While gun violence did fall in the 1990s, this was likely due to other factors.” One of the more important “other factors” was the passage of concealed carry laws in many states during that period, and the growing interest in personal self-defense those laws helped to generate.

The word “grandfathered” in the senator’s second listed objective above would require the registration of all guns not otherwise outlawed. In other countries, this has historically been the opening round of governments’ efforts to confiscate guns, make their possession by ordinary citizens illegal, and subdue their populations while moving, sometimes glacially but often quickly, towards tyranny.

Blogger Doug Ross has summarized the impact of Feinstein’s registration provision quite well:

… once a gun is required to be registered, it is virtually confiscated. The government will know who possesses which firearms and where those arms are stored. And when they desire physical possession of those weapons (which history tells us is inevitable), they can then order the citizenry to voluntarily turn in their weapons.

This has happened over and over again throughout all of recorded history.

Tyrants and tyrant wannabes know that gun confiscation enables them to more quickly subjugate their society’s otherwise resistant elements, enabling them to consolidate their power more quickly and ruthlessly.

On December 20, as if to prove Ross’s point, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in an Albany radio station interview, discussed his plans, as described at the New York Times, to “propose a package of gun legislation in his State of the State address on Jan. 9.” Cuomo’s specific ideas: “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.” Not wishing to unduly alarm the Empire State’s populace, the Times dutifully buried the story on Page A29.

On the Friday before Christmas, the Journal News, a White Plains, New York-based newspaper owned by Gannett, helped make Mr. Cuomo’s ideas more easily achievable by publishing an interactive map showing the names and physical addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. It obtained this information as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests.

The agenda behind the map is obvious in the paper’s ominous headline: “Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?” — as if residents should be presumptively afraid of anyone who has the nerve to own a gun in the same way they should be concerned about convicted sex offenders in their neighborhood. In response, a New York State Senator has proposed making this information off-limits to all except those with a need to know in law enforcement — something which is obviously long overdue.

While the Journal News apparently hopes that other citizens will treat permit holders as pariahs, the following results are far more likely:

  • Criminals will use the map in one or both of two ways — either to target homes from which to steal weapons, or to target homes without permits for home invasions and away-from-home assaults on those who don’t have permits. I believe we’ll see more of the latter than the former; criminals prefer soft, non-relatively defenseless targets.
  • As a reader at Instapundit pointed out, “women who have gun permits due to stalkers and abusive spouses now that the paper has revealed their new addresses” will either have to relocate or live in constant fear for their and their children’s safety — just in time for Christmas.
  • Ex-cons with vengeance on their minds will now be able to find otherwise unlisted or hard to find addresses of law enforcement officers who arrested them, prosecutors who convicted them, and judges who sentenced them.

President Barack Obama, whose involvement with legally manipulative efforts to undermine the Second Amendment is an inarguable matter of historical fact, has, according to AP, “pledged to put his ‘full weight’ behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.” Senator Feinstein’s proposed legislation won’t accomplish that aim, but that’s not her or Obama’s point. Ultimately, it’s about control.

Law-abiding, freedom-loving Americans must strenously oppose any such efforts to water down their Second Amendment freedoms.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (123112)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Vietnamese fishermen rescue American man after 8 days of drifting at sea on disabled yacht

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Hanoi:

Updated: Monday, December 24, 4:23 AM

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnamese fishermen have rescued an American man who had been drifting at sea for eight days on a disabled yacht.

Coastguard official Vo Hoang Liet from southern Soc Trang province said Monday that Kenneth Putney of Melbourne, Florida, was in good condition after being rescued Thursday.

Liet says Putney, 54, told Vietnamese authorities that he and three others were towing a yacht from the Philippines to Thailand when the towing rope broke on Dec. 15.

He says Putney jumped onto the yacht because he feared it would be lost. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Politico’s Framing of Jackson’s Resignation from EPA: ‘After Four Years of Battling Republicans and Industry’

In their December 27 story about Lisa Jackson’s resignation from atop her perch at the Environmental Protection Agency, Darren Samuelsohn and Erica Martinson at the Politico wanted readers to believe that occurred after “after four years of battling Republicans and industry while also giving the White House some heartburn along the way over her push for new clean air rules.”

Please. It’s not as if only Republicans oppose the EPA’s energy-hostile agenda; last time I checked, most of West Virginia’s national politicians, as well as many if not most of the state’s coal miners who are losing their jobs as a result of out-of-control environmentalism, are Democrats. And I don’t recall President Obama or the White House ever having any problems with what Jackson was saying or doing. The Politico pair also waited until the sixth paragraph of their report to mention Jackson’s admitted use of an accountability-avoiding email account in the name of “Richard Windsor” to conduct official business. Excerpts from their report follow the jump:

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December 30, 2012

Lone Gun-Grab Advocating Protester Gets Headline, Photo and Major Attention in Gun Show Coverage at Denver Station

So it’s come to this: While those who gather by the hundreds, thousands, and sometimes even by the hundreds of thousands in support of conservative causes or against liberal ones usually are either ignored, underestimated, or denigrated by the establishment press, one gun-grabbing advocate protesting at a local gun show gets sympathetic treatment in one-third to one-half of a two-minute segment at a local TV station, along with front-page rotation at its web site.

Readers who have followed the controversy over a New York newspaper’s decision to published the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in two Empire State counties will surely note the irony in how the CBS station in Denver which covered Saturday’s Tanner Gun Show at the Denver Merchandise Mart didn’t name the lone protester, only referring to her in their televised report as “Karen.” The woman is not named at all in the related text coverage, some of which follows the jump:

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While Its Prudent Midwestern Neighbors Get Negative Press, Nearly Insolvent Illinois Virtually Skates

During the past two years, Republican governors and lawmakers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan have been the targets of a great deal of negative attention from the establishment press, particularly on TV, as a result of taking necessary actions to get their states’ fiscal houses in order and to become more economically competitive. Meanwhile, the Midwest’s largest and Democrat-dominated state careens toward bankruptcy, and it’s barely news.

In early 2011, Illinois enacted massive personal and corporate income-tax increases of 67% and 46%, respectively. The tax hikes were advertised as required to address the state’s huge backlog of unpaid bills to vendors and other service providers, and to shore up its badly underfunded pension funds. Almost two years later, as two separate Associated Press reports this weekend demonstrate, the state still has a huge and possibly even larger stack of unpaid invoices, and its pension situation has worsened.

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (123012)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Coach Chuck Pagano Rejoins Colts

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Indianapolis:

Updated: December 24, 2012, 4:33 PM ET

Chuck Pagano was so eager to get back to work Monday, he was the first one to show up at team headquarters.

Long before meeting with his players, the Colts first-year coach drove quietly into the complex, walked into the office where the lights have remained on for nearly three months and began preparing for Sunday’s game against AFC South champion Houston like it was another at the day office.

Hardly. It was the biggest milestone yet in an incredibly emotional season in which Pagano has beaten leukemia and the Colts have been a most pleasant surprise in reaching the playoffs under interim coach Bruce Arians.

“I asked him if he would … take over the reins and what a masterful, masterful job you did, Bruce,” Pagano said with Arians nearby at the news conference. “You carried the torch and all you went out and did was win ballgames, you got our 10th win yesterday and you got us into the playoffs and you did it with dignity and you did it with class. I can’t thank you enough.”

Players, coaches and staff members had been anticipating this day from the moment they learned Pagano was taking an indefinite leave to fight cancer, Oct. 1.

So when the 52-year-old first-time head coach returned, the 24-hour rule was cast aside — giving the Colts (10-5) another 24 hours to celebrate something far more important than reaching the playoffs.

“I know Chuck is ready for this challenge,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said. “I know the time is right for him to grab the reins and get the head coaching cap on and begin the journey.

“The great thing about the National Football League is that so much attention gets paid to it, so many other things happen beside win and losses and the inspiration Chuck has shown to others and the time Chuck has spent connecting with others, it really is miraculous. It’s a fairytale story, it’s a Hollywood script, it’s all of those things.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 29, 2012

Rockland County, NY Paper Publishes Names, Addresses of Gun Permit Map-Publishing Journal News Employees

Turnabout is fair play.

A week ago, Gannett’s White Plains, New York-based Journal News published an interactive map containing ” the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties” (previous related posts are here, here, and here). Like so many others throughout the U.S. and even throughout the world, Dylan Skriloff, Editor-in-Chief at the Rockland County Times, which calls itself “Rockland’s Official Newspaper Since 1888,” did not take it well, nor should he have. In a Thursday editorial, he blasted the Journal News and chose to publish “the home addresses of Journal News editors, publishers and the Gannet CEO to make a point; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” (he also included phone numbers). Excerpts from his write-up follow the jump (bolds are mine):

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Right to Work: Is Ohio Next?

After Indiana and Michigan, Ohio must compete.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.

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It’s now been almost two weeks since what many thought was the legislative equivalent of pigs flying, hell freezing over, and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series all happened at the same time. That is when the Michigan became the 24th state in the union to enact a right to work law.

If it can happen in Michigan, it can happen anywhere — even in my home state of Ohio. But from all appearances, if the Buckeye State succeeds in going the right to work route, it won’t be because of anything the state’s governor or Republican establishment leadership does.

Contrary to what opponents say, right to work is only “anti-union” if you believe that the closed shop is some kind of neutral management-labor arrangement. It’s not. Unions claiming to represent their workers can assess whatever level of dues they wish, hire as many administrative and activist cronies as they wish, and spend their members’ dues pretty much as they wish. Much of the time, their “work” involves lavish outlays and activities which have little or no direct relationship to worker representation. A recent Heritage Foundation analysis of government reports showed that “less than a quarter (24.1 percent) of expenditures by Michigan’s 25 largest private sector (or public/private hybrid) union locals go towards actually representing workers.” Much of the other three-quarters goes to unjustifiable salaries for union bosses and their administrative help which often run well into six figures, expensive junkets they call “business meetings,” and of course, massive contributions in both money and boots on the ground to labor-sympathetic politicians. Yet it’s the unions who hypocritically complain that it’s workers in right to work states who won’t join up who are the “freeloaders.”

In a closed shop, workers who don’t like what their union is doing can’t resign from the union without losing their jobs. Withholding payment of dues isn’t an option either, at least not without an expensive, protracted fight, because employers almost invariably must deduct dues from workers’ paychecks under the union contract. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s 1988 Communications Workers of America vs. Beck ruling, workers can demand a return of “funds collected from them on activities unrelated to collective-bargaining activities.” But because the federal government and virtually no states have codified the Beck ruling into law, workers must attempt to collect individually, while resource-rich unions are free to drag out and otherwise resist such requests.

Contary to media reports which claim that the term is misleading — reports which are often prepared by journalists who are themselves union members — “right to work” perfectly describes what laws outlawing the closed shop accomplish. Employees can negotiate with prospective employers for their services without having to join whatever union may represent some of a location’s workers. That is, they now have the “right to work” anywhere their services are desired. In turn, employers have the right to hire workers who choose to join or not join a union, even if many of their workers are already represented by one.

Heaven knows that Michigan had to do something to reverse its past ten years of deterioration. In the first eight of those years under Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, the state lost almost 580,000 jobs and  saw its population shrink. While per-capita income in the rest of the U.S. went up by about 5 percent, Michigan’s barely budged. In October, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which peaked at an incredible 14.2 percent under Granholm, was still 9.1 percent and stagnating.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s initial moves after he took office in January 2011 were good. With the help of a Republican-controlled legislature, the self-described “tough nerd” got state spending under a semblance of control and signed significant tax reform legislation. In early 2012, he started going wobbly, but found renewed spine after it became clear over this past summer that the state’s unions were functioning “as an impediment rather than a partner in fixing Michigan.” Admitting that he had been naive, Snyder changed his previous opposition on right to work to keep Michigan from becoming ungovernable.

Ohio would seem to be the next domino to fall, but it won’t be easy. Even though neighboring Indiana and now Michigan have passed right to work this year, Republican Governor John Kasich, who has indeed improved the state’s fiscal condition as well as its job market during his first two years in office, seems to believe that he can continue on that improvement path without bringing on controversy. I don’t think so. One recent study found that unfortunately found “has the most oversized state and local governments in the country.” That has to change.

Kasich and Ohio’s Republican establishment appear to have learned the wrong lessons from the state’s November 2011 ballot initiatives. Yes, the governor’s attempt to reform public-sector unions known as “SB5″ lost badly, but that’s because in hindsight he and the legislature tried to do too many things at once. That gave many instinctively skeptical voters, most of whom I believe would have approved most of the law’s measures if considered individually, at least one reason to oppose the package.

The day they voted down SB5, those same voters approved the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment by an even larger majority than the one by which SB5 failed. That roughly 120-word amendment, a direct shot at ObamaCare, prohibits the enforcement of any state or federal laws which might otherwise require citizens to buy health insurance they don’t want. As I wrote elsewhere recently, it passed overwhelmingly because “it was easy to understand and is consistent with the freedom-loving instincts of most of the state’s residents.”

A right to work constitutional amendment which is on track to appear on Ohio’s ballot next November also fits that description. Unfortunately, Kasich is trying to make the simple seem complex, arguing in February that right to work is a “massive change” that would require “a couple years explaining to people what it even means and why it’s important to them.” Earlier this month, he claimed that right to work “is not crucial for Ohio.”

I beg to differ. The governor and the legislature need to get up off the mat and look out for their state’s long-term economic competitiveness. Failure to pass right to work soon will likely slow if not stop the progress seen in the Buckeye State during the past two years.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (122912)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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