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Archive for January 22nd, 2013

Why isn’t there a Congressional Second Amendment Defense Caucus?

Picture 3With great fanfare today, Democratic North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan announced she will co-chair, with Republican Sen. John Thune, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus:

“North Carolina is among the best places to hunt and fish in the country and I’m honored to continue to protect our rich outdoor heritage as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus,” Hagan said in a statement.

“I grew up in a family of lifelong hunters, and some of my favorite activities are hiking and fishing with my family across our state,” Hagan wrote.

I pointed out in a post 10 days ago that Hagan had responded to a constituent on the subject of gun control with a weasel-worded statement that implied the Second Amendment was all about hunting rights. You can read here full statement here.

Also of interest in her constituent letter is this sentence (emphasis added by me):

As always, it is important that we not unnecessarily infringe on the legitimate Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners.

Does Hagan feel that the hunting and sporting aspects of gun ownership are the only “legitimate” ones? There is no indication in her constituent statement or in her comments today that she sees self-defense, home defense, defense against tyranny, or defense against the nation’s enemies as legitimate rights under the Second Amendment. Does she believe there are “necessary” infringements of Second Amendment rights? And if so, which would they be?

Conveniently, Hagan’s refusal to say that the Second Amendment applies to anything other than hunting leaves her free to justify banning AR-15s, or any other rifle or shotgun that gun-opponents think is an “assault weapon.” All she has to say, before voting for Obama’s gun-control measures is, “No one needs an assault weapon for hunting.”

The members of Congress participating in the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus are giving cover to Democrats in Red States, like Hagan, who likely would be on board with gun banning if their constituents thought more like those in New York. The caucus also gives aid and comfort to those on the left who peddle the notion that the Second Amendment is a hunter-protection clause.

My suggestion is that someone create the Congressional Second Amendment Defense Caucus. I would be curious to see how many liberals like Hagan join a group that unambiguously and unconditionally supports the constitutional right of Americans to own guns, for whatever lawful reason, and not just for hunting.

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Appeals Court Rules For Cary, Says Throw The Bums Out If You Don’t Like Sign Ordinance

A federal appeals court has ruled for the Town of Cary and against the late David Bowden over his “Screwed by the Town of Cary” sign, which he charged violated his right to free speech.

The Fourth Circuit court found that the town government did not violate the First Amendment by fining the late David Bowden for the message he had painted on his house in 2009. Three judges unanimously overturned a lower-court decision in Bowden’s favor.

“We acknowledge that the Town’s Sign Ordinance, and in particular its application to Bowden, has aggravated some Cary residents who believe it excessively restrictive,” wrote Judge Albert Diaz. “But their recourse here lies with the ballot, not the Constitution.”

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Memo To Phil Mickelson: Don’t Be Intimidated By The Left

Our society is now so entrenched with derision for the successful and wealthy that golfer Phil Mickelson felt compelled to apologize — that’s right, apologize —  for saying he might leave California because of the oppressive taxes. 

In a statement to Fox News late Monday, Mickelson apologized to anyone he may have “upset or insulted” with the comments that his high tax bracket was causing him to consider “drastic changes” in his life, including  possibly moving his family out of state and even retiring from the game of golf.

“Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public,” Mickelson said.

 

The fact he thinks he may have “upset or insulted” people because he doesn’t want to be soaked tells where this country is in 2013 — careening down the road toward European-style democracy, government dominance, crushing debt, and the belief that wealth should be confiscated and redistributed.

Memo to Phil: Stop apologizing and instead speak out proudly about your success and the fact that you have earned your money. Don’t be bullied by the Left, which believes government is entitled to take huge chunks of the fruits of your labor, your sweat, your tears, your commitment, your hard work.

Here is how Mickelson is about to be soaked:

“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate’s 62, 63 percent,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.”

And his first decision should be to rescind his apology.

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“Step in my shoes for a week. Please, I invite you.”

A struggling owner of  a Massachusetts small business is furious with Gov. Deval Patrick about his call for a tax hike. She offered a challenge to the Democratic governor.

Her message to the governor: “Step in my shoes for a week. Please, I invite you. Try to pay off a $900 heat bill with these rates. Try to fill your tank with gas. Go to the store with $20 and buy dinner.”

She and her husband, Rob, opened their Weymouth autobody shop, FCR Inc., 32 years ago. Everyone in the family, including their son and daughter, earns their livelihood working for the business.

“They need to start to learn how to cut a little bit. Pinch pennies — like we do,” she said about lawmakers.

Indeed. Thankfully, here in North Carolina, we now have a legislature and a governor that are committed to reining in the scope and cost of government so that public money is effectively used for appropriate and necessary public services. That is a far cry from where we are today.

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Who’s Watching The Spending?

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) writes in this opinion piece about his concern over the Obama administration’s failure to appoint Inspector Generals at State and Defense. IGs are the fiscal watchdogs and, as Coburn points out, provide an excellent return on investment to the taxpayers since they eyeball who’s spending public money on what.

President Obama’s failure to appoint an IG at the State Department for the entirety of his first term is especially egregious. During that time, the State Department’s budget has grown by more than 25 percent when adjusted for inflation. The vacancy at the Department of Defense has been for less time (one year), but the defense budget is much larger (about $600 billion) and is rife with waste.

Each year these posts remain unfilled is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. My office has identified nearly $70 billion in “nondefense” defense spending at the DOD, for everything from beef jerky research to studies on Twitter slang to symposiums on extraterrestrial theology that asked, “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” I believe a competent IG at the DOD could uncover enough waste to fund developing countries or entire departments like NASA, which has a budget of “only” $19 billion.

In North Carolina, the state Auditor’s office performs a similar function. Democrat Beth Wood seems to be handling her responsibilities well.

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Unleashing The Potential Of North Carolina’s Shale Gas Deposits

Carolina Journal Radio’s Mitch Kokai had the opportunity recently to talk with Dr. Vikram Rao, executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium and author of the book Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril. They discussed the potential for North Carolina’s shale gas deposits and the extraction process known as fracking.

 

Kokai: Before we started the interview, you mentioned that there’s been a lot of discussion on topics that are either off point or not cognizant of the actual facts of the situation. What’s one of the biggest myths about shale gas or fracking?

Rao: Probably one of the biggest myths is that fracking is responsible for flaming faucets, if you will. It’s well-known that there are natural gas incursions into freshwater from natural circumstances; this is well-known. So if somebody publishes something to the effect that there is a methane intrusion in freshwater, they have to show a baseline. Otherwise, it really isn’t proven because it might have been there in the first place.

So there are some very simple remedies to all of this. One remedy is that before you actually do any drilling, you do baseline testing of nearby water wells. And this is very straightforward.

Kokai: North Carolina is looking into this process, and I understand that you’re playing a role as this is moving forward. How has the state done so far in this early stage in addressing shale gas and the proper way to move forward with it? Are we on the right track in terms of how we’re addressing it? Are there some other things that we need to do?

Rao: This is a good point for me to point out that my remarks here are as an individual, not as a member of the [North Carolina] Mining and Energy Commission. So going back to your question, the legislature has given instructions, which I think are pretty comprehensive. While they have stated an intent to definitely have fracking — which by the way is not that big a deal, because every state in the union allows fracking, other than Vermont, which is a bit of a joke actually, because they don’t have any gas. This is like Texas outlawing maple tree sap production. So given the fact that fracking is permitted, [that] doesn’t really mean anything.

So I think that allowing fracking is perfectly fine. It does not necessarily mean that even it will happen. But at any rate, yes, the instruction that the legislature has given, I think is comprehensive and is intended to permit commerce while protecting the environment and the people.

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