Philadelphia police steal citizens’ guns

Two stories from the so-called “city of brotherly love”:

First, a woman whose son was murdered decided she needed to protect herself. She legally obtained a concealed carry permit and purchased a gun, only to have the police come to her home, arrest her, and confiscate it. Key quote:

“I thought they were coming to my door to tell me they had my son’s murderer,” [the woman] said. “But they were coming to take me and my gun, and now I’m defenseless.”

In the second story, it appears that Philadelphia police are making a policy to arrest security guards and confiscate their guns, even though the guns were lawfully obtained and legally permitted. At least nine different security guards have experienced this form of Philadelphia thuggery. Key quote from Lieutenant Fran Healy, special adviser to the police commissioner:

“Officers’ safety comes first, and not infringing on people’s rights comes second.”

By the way, Philadelphia is the same city that now wants to charge a $300 business license for anyone writing a blog, regardless of whether they are running a business or hobby, and thus effectively stifling free speech.

A question for the baby boomers

If you are a baby boomer who grew up in the 1960s, such as myself, there are some very safe assumptions that anyone can make about your history and political views, both during the 1960s and the decades that followed.

For example, in the 1960s you were almost certainly against the Vietnam War. You were also likely to oppose President Lyndon Johnson and his Vice-President Hubert Humphrey. You cheered Eugene McCarthy’s anti-war campaign for President, and you probably also despised President Nixon and passionately wished that George McGovern had won the 1972 Presidential campaign.

Almost certainly you participated in some anti-war protests somewhere during the 1960s. Some of you were in Chicago for the protests during the Democratic National Convention in 1968, while others were likely to have participated in the numerous university sit-ins that were rampant throughout the country in the late 1960s.

Sadly, many of you at that time would have probably considered the police “pigs” and the military “evil” (even if those insults seem totally unfair, disgusting, and almost unforgivable to you now).

On a personal level, you probably experimented with drugs, had fun with rock ‘n roll, and even more fun with sex. Many of you also probably participated in the hippie culture at events like Woodstock and places like San Francisco and the Lower Eastside of Manhattan.

Above all, you abhorred authority. You were raised to be very independent-minded and » Read more

Danish cartoonist honored

Profile in courage: Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was given an award in Germany yesterday at a freedom of the press conference. Key quote:

“It does not matter if we think his cartoons are tasteful or not, if we think they are necessary and helping or not,” [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel said at the ceremony in the city of Potsdam. The question, she said, was, “Is he allowed to do this? Yes, he is.”

Westergaard’s drawing is below. Though it might offend some, the drawing of a cartoon is never justification for violence. That so many Muslims seem to think their religion justifies such violence, however, tells us a great deal about the nature of that religion.

Mohammad

Campus administrator shuts down conservative group

Freedom of speech alert: Despite having gotten permission to be there, campus officials ejected students and members of the Young American’s for Freedom from the Palm Beach State College campus during club rush, apparantly because the officials disagreed with the students’ literature. Key quote:

On the day of club rush, officials approached the group and after seeing information about the organization and its ideals criticizing Barack Obama’s economic policy, Ms. Ford-Morris was visibly disturbed by the material presented, published by the Heritage Foundation, criticizing President Obama’s administration. College officials then called the campus police to assure the group left campus. Ms. Ford-Morris denied having ever talked to Ms. Beattie about giving permission to the organization to be a part of PBSC club rush.

Update: The name for Young American’s for Freedom has been corrected. Thank you, readers!

Last refuge of a liberal

The last refuge of a liberal. Key quote:

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.

Laser tag replaces air pistol in 2012 Olympic games

The summer Olympics has decided to replace the use of air pistols in the 2012 Olympics with laser guns. Air pistols shoot actual pellets, and using lasers instead will, according to the powers that be, “reduce the cost of shooting by two thirds in the sport and the improved safety of the event could mean new venues are used.” Of course, no one can cite any actual accidents from the use of air pistols, so this decision is essentially political correctness gone wild.

Update: Several shooting friends have emailed me to note that this change only applies to the Pentathlon, not to the air pistol events. Mea culpa.

TSA humilates passenger

Why I drive rather than fly, as much as possible: TSA guards rummage through woman’s purse, inspect her receipts, commandeer her checkbook, and call her husband. Key quote:

“I understand that TSA is tasked with strengthening national security but [it] surely does not need to know what I purchased at Kohl’s or Wal-Mart.”

Obama’s traffic jam

The charade in Los Angeles on Monday when President Obama arrived for a fundraiser and shut down traffic during rush hour — causing a storm of angry protest — is another very obvious illustration of the great disconnect between today’s ruling class and the general public.

It’s not just that Obama seemed oblivious to the traffic chaos he created. It is that he, as well as most politicians today (from both parties), truly expect large areas of a city to be closed down for their convenience, and don’t seem to give a damn that by doing so they make life miserable for everyone else.

To paraphrase what Glenn Reynolds likes to say, traffic jams are for “the little people.”

Obama’s actions here are far from new and have actually been deeply institutionalized since the 1960s, following Kennedy’s assassination. Originally designed to protect a president from attack, the shutting down of highways quickly became a tool to make the president’s life as easy as possible while demonstrating to all his lordly superiority.

For example, I personally experienced this kingly arrogance back in 1979. I needed to get from my house in Astoria, Queens, to LaGuardia Airport, normally a very short 10 minute drive. But as I pulled into the ramp for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway I found myself being waved to a stop by a policeman. The expressway was being closed so that President Jimmy Carter could use it. I, along with hundreds of others, was forced to sit there for thirty minutes, waiting for his entourage of approximately thirty limousines finally go by. To say that this infuriated me is to put it mildly.

Nor do I think this behavior is reserved to Democrats. I am sure that my readers could easily cite similar events during past Republican administrations.

Nor is it limited to American political leaders. The ruling class of the defunct Soviet Union made it offical policy. There, those in power built many urban roadways with special lanes reserved exclusively for communist party officials. Moreover, when they used those lanes the street lights could be commandeered, turning them all green so that anyone on a cross street had to wait.

In the U.S. we have not yet come that far. Yet, that presidents feel it their right to shut down entire transportation systems for their mere convenience suggests that sadly we don’t have that far to travel.

Unless of course the public, which still has the vote, does something about it.

Beck told he can’t pray at Kennedy Center

Freedom of speech alert: Before they backed down, Glen Beck was told by attorneys at the Kennedy Center that he was forbidden to pray during an event he was hosting there. To quote Beck:

GLENN BECK: They have told people on the steps of the Supreme Court that they cannot pray there. They have told students on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial they can’t sing the National Anthem there. And last week I was told by the Kennedy Center that we could not pray there. We were told by the Kennedy Center in no uncertain terms that we could hold our event there, sure we had a contract. But they weren’t told that we were going to have an opening prayer. The program is has the word divine in it, our divine destiny. We couldn’t pray at the Kennedy Center. So my attorneys came to me and said, Glenn, are you willing to compromise on it? And I said, I sure am. You tell them that not only will I do an opening prayer, I’ll do a closing prayer, and the entire program may be a prayer. In fact, take this down. It is a night of prayer. You’ll see if you are lucky enough to get a ticket to the Kennedy Center, and they are not for sale. You will see in the program how I described it. I described it that way. So they could print that in their program at the Kennedy Center which they insisted on having after they told us we couldn’t pray. I said, let me dictate this one. Friday night I was supposed to have a meeting today at 1:00 with their attorneys and I had already talked to my attorneys. Zero compromise. We asked them, where is that in your I didn’t see that in your rules and regulations. “It’s not written down.” No prayer at a federally funded building.

Friday night I think they got a hold of Common Sense. They alerted me Friday night that they will allow prayer to happen on the stage of the Kennedy Center. I told them, thank you so much for your graciousness. I appreciate the scrap from the table. America, our religion and our faith is under attack and whether people care to realize it or not, it is.

Ray Bradbury tells it like it is

In this Los Angeles Times profile just before his 90th birthday on August 22, Ray Bradbury tells it like it is. Some key quotes:

We should never have left [the Moon]. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.

I think our country is in need of a revolution. There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.

We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.

Why SpaceX is winning the race

An unidentified administrator of the University of Michigan space engineering program has some interesting thoughts on why SpaceX has been so successful. Key quote:

I recently performed an analysis of the very best students in my space engineering programs over the past decade, based on their scholarly, leadership and entrepreneurial performance at Michigan. To my amazement, I found that of my top 10 students, five work at SpaceX. No other company or lab has attracted more than two of these top students.

I also noticed that SpaceX recruited only two of them directly from the university. The others were drawn to the company after some years of experience elsewhere—joining SpaceX despite lower salaries and longer work hours. Why do they leave successful jobs in big companies to join a risky space startup? A former student told me, “This is a place where I am the limiting factor, not my work environment.” At SpaceX, he considers himself to be in an entrepreneurial environment in which great young people collaborate to do amazing things. He never felt like this in his previous job with an aerospace company.

Reporter arrested for discussing politics

Freedom of speech alert. In this post, I noted that though it seemed as if the arrest of four protesters on the University of Texas campus during a visit by President Obama seemed a violation of their rights, there wasn’t enough information in the reports to know for sure. We now have more information. Read this report also. And watch this video of the arrest of one protester, while wearing a press badge, and tell me if this isn’t an abuse of power.

Rebuilding the American space program — the right way

In reading my post, Both for and against the Obama plan, reader Trent Waddington emailed me to say that this “is so fatalistic that it seems you don’t think it is worthwhile even spending a few minutes explaining why the policy is good. It’s easy to dismiss something a politician says as the stopped clock that is right twice a day. It’s harder to set aside your skepticism and explain why something is good policy.”

Trent is absolutely correct. What I wrote was very depressing and fatalistic. However, I think it very important to be coldly honest about things, no matter how bad they look. Once you’ve done that, you then have the right information necessary for fixing the situation.

My problem with most of the debate about the future space policy of the United States, — as well as innumerable other modern issues faced by our government — is that people don’t seem to want to face up to the reality of the problem. In the case of space and Obama, I doubt any advice, gentle or otherwise, is going to move him into putting forth a plan for NASA that has any realistic chance of getting passed by Congress. As I noted in a different post, he doesn’t play the game. He acts like the worst sort of autocrat, convinced that if he simply says what he wants to do, everyone must agree.

The reason the good part of his plan (commercial space) is not passing Congress is not because people think it is a bad idea. It is being rejected because » Read more

Texas responds to EPA’s effort to regulate CO2

In a letter response to the EPA’s effort to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, Texas has essentially told the EPA to go to hell. Three key quotes from the letter:

In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrialized development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently enacated greenhouse gas regulations — regulations that are plainly contrary to United State law. ….. To encourage acquiesence with your unsupported findings you threaten to usurp state enforcment authority and to federalize the permitting program of any state that fails to pledge their fealty to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [emphasis mine]

The State of Texas does not believe the EPA’s “suggested” approach comports with the rule of law.

Texas will not facilitate EPA’s apparent attempt to thwart these established procedures and ignore the law.

Elites vs everyone else

War between the elites of our society and everyone else. Key quote:

If this election has a theme, it’s going to be the rejection of the elites and a return to a form of populism with a long streak in American history — the demand of citizens to their government to get the hell out of their lives.

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