Saturday, March 30, 2013

Karma's a Bitch

Sometimes, events occur that make me rethink (for awhile) my growing cynicism about the fairness of life.  Or maybe it's just that I'm a miserable SOB at heart, but the news out of New Jersey this week concerning Powerball winner Pedro Quezada?  Maybe it really is true that, sooner or later, you get what you deserve.

Pedro won the latest Powerball drawing, winning an estimated $152 million (after taxes).  The usual investigation into his life (nosiness) that happens to all major lottery winners revealed that he was a deadbeat dad, owing more than $29,000 in back child support payments dating to 2009 and that there was an active warrant out for his failure to pay.  NJ officials say that they will hold the warrant in abeyance pending his scheduled court appearance next week.

Ordinarily, I'd be a little pissy about someone who had demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to accept the responsibility of providing for his child and intentionally failing to provide such support when so ordered by the court for a number of years (all while purchasing lotto tickets every day at the same location) winning such an amount of money.  But in this case, it may have been a case of the dark cloud's silver lining finally showing up for this child and his/her mother.  There is no doubt that there will be legal action taken to remedy not only the arrears, but to secure a suitable trust fund for the child (and, presumably, the mother). 

I'm quite sure that lawyers have already been contacting the woman, offering her their services.  I can't imagine any of them relying on Mr. Quezada's good will to provide for the child in the future any better than he has in the past.  In fact, it has also been revealed that there are 4 other children (one now an adult) who also have valid claims to a share of the windfall, due to his failure provide support in the past.  One would assume that lawyers are contacting them, as well.

Mr. Quezada has said that he plans to be "generous" with his winnings, both to friends and family here and back in his native Dominican Republic.  If I were any one of his children, their mothers, or their lawyers, I'd take great steps to ensure that provisions for the care of his children were taken care of, with trust funds set up or money put in escrow for their future (completely free of ties to or influence by Mr. Quezada) before any money was sent out of the country.  For that matter, I'd at least try to set it up where the money went directly to his heirs' accounts (in amounts decided by Family Court) before he even gets his first check.  He's already proven he can't be trusted to do the right thing on his own.

Mr. Quezada has indeed been blessed with what some may say in light of his behavior to have been outsized good fortune.  However, given that he is facing significant financial penalties for failing to provide court ordered support for his children (the amounts he owes in arrears will not be affected by his winnings, but look for future payments to be adjusted upwards.  Greatly.),  and that the future of these children may have just gotten a little bit more secure, a little bit better than it was before, I find that I can accept his good fortune to the extent that it provides for children who had no say in their circumstances and frees the general taxpaying public from the obligation.

In a world populated by responsible adults, held accountable for their obligations, a man such as Mr. Quezada would have to repay--with interest--all monies expended by the state(s) for the care of his children (ANFC, Food Stamps, Welfare cash benefits, Section 8 housing subsidies, schooling, free school lunches, Medicaid, etc.).  I don't know whether or not New Jersey law provides for such a "claw back", but it seems to me no more than just.  Or, to use a term favored by the advocacy groups on the left: It's about time Mr. Quezada paid his "fair share".  Especially in light of the fact that he has just become so emphatically a member of the hated 1%.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is it Time to Panic?

Whether or not you own guns, this one should give you chills.  A father posted a picture on Facebook of his son proudly holding a .22 rifle.  The kid's got a happy smile (the gun looks like dad's AR15) and it's obvious that he's been taught gun safety (he's holding it properly, with his finger outside the trigger guard).  The problem?  This family lives in New Jersey,  a state well known for it's strict gun regulations and anti-gun sentiment.

New Jersey also, apparently, has a number of busybodies.  One of whom called the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services to make a report of a juvenile with a gun (anonymously, of course).  This resulted in a DYFS agent, accompanied by 4 armed NJ State Police Officers (wearing bullet proof vests) showing up at his home demanding entry and demanding that he open his safe so that they could "inspect" his guns and insure they were properly registered.  (NJ doesn't require registration of firearms.)  All of this, without a warrant!  The DYFS agent threatened to "take his kids" if he didn't comply with her illegal demands for access.  When he & his lawyer (he had him on speaker phone) asked that she identify herself and show her credentials, she refused.  When the father tried to take her picture for identification, she "quickly turned and ran away".  Read the full story here.

Whether you own guns or not.  Even if you think no one "needs" a gun (see the next story).  This blatant violation of Constitutional protections by a government agency is a threat.  Even if it was just the over-reaction of a certain DYFS official who has a personal dislike for guns and gun owners, the fact that she felt justified in demanding the right to search a private citizen's home and to issue threats against his family when refused, indicates a culture of arrogant dismissal of private rights that should be impossible.  Today it's guns.  Tomorrow, maybe it'll be something you enjoy.  Action movies, perhaps?  So-called "violent" video games?  I'm sure I could find someone to verify that children shouldn't be exposed to such influences and that they should all be banned "for the protection of children and the public".  Progressives and Statists never stop.  Everyone will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of at least one issue.

I know it seems like I'm pounding away on the gun rights argument an awful lot, but think for a minute.  In the absence of the 2nd Amendment's protection of the right to keep and bear arms, what secures the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights, ultimately?  The 2nd Amendment, along with it's potential threat to would-be dictators, is the keystone supporting America's free society.  If it goes, eventually it all goes.


A man in Ponca City, Oklahoma shot an intruder who broke into his home at 4:30 in the morning.  The man did what Bloomburg and all of the other anti-gun rights activists say we should do.  He called 911.  He was on the phone with the operator for roughly 5 minutes waiting for the police to arrive.  He told them they'd better hurry, because he was prepared to defend himself if they succeeded in gaining entrance. [Note to Joe Biden: He didn't just take a shotgun and "shoot through the door".]

It was only after the perpetrator succeeded in breaking in his front door, and the police still hadn't arrived on the scene, that the homeowner defended himself, shooting the criminal several times. "I just put three rounds in his ass."  He told the dispatcher.  The perp was taken by ambulance to a hospital, then airlifted to Tulsa for treatment.  This is an example of "When seconds count, the police are just minutes away".

Here's the most disturbing part of the story:  The police are investigating the incident and say that after their investigation they will turn over their results to the DA.  WTF?!  This is a clear-cut case of self-defense, as the recording of the 911 call makes clear.  There should be no question of potentially charging the homeowner with anything.  Perhaps this is simply the mandated procedure following a shooting and the homeowner has nothing to worry about.  Given the current climate in government, I wouldn't take anything for granted.  Even in a western state with a rich tradition of gun ownership.


How much do you trust your institutions?  Your government? Your banks?  If you've been paying attention this past week you've heard about the events in the island nation of Cyprus. 

As part of a bailout deal, the IMF and other European partners required the nation's leaders to confiscate part of it's citizens' deposits held in the banks.  The Cyprian government agreed.  The news was quietly leaked late last week in a massive document dump.  The details got little or no reporting from the regular media until some regular citizens--after reading through the information and finding out what was going to happen to them--took to Twitter and social media to sound the alarm.  The reported agreement is to seize 6.75% of depositors' assets up to 100,000 Euros and 10% of amounts over that.  This isn't a tax.  This isn't a new government fee that was debated and voted on by the representatives of the people.  It's outright confiscation of private property.  In essence, the entities providing the bailout are demanding that the government confiscate the people's wealth be used to bailout the banks that mismanaged, and then lost, the people's money in the first place!

Of course, when people found out what was being planned they rushed to the banks to withdraw at least some of their money.  The government responded by ordering the banks closed, saying they "feared a run on banks" as a result of their decision.  ATM's wouldn't work.  If they didn't have money on hand, the people were screwed, unless they had a credit card (debit cards wouldn't work) or could convince someone to accept a cheque.  The government and the banks promised that this was just a temporary measure and that the banks would re-open in a few days.  They were supposed to open Thursday.  Now they are saying it may be sometime next week before the banks re-open.  How long do you think you would last if you woke up tomorrow morning to find that your ATM card didn't work and that your bank was closed and that electronic transfers were frozen? 

Think there's no way it could happen here?  The amounts we're talking about in the Cyprus deal are relatively small, about $20 Billion US.  The Federal Reserve Chairman, (Batshit) Ben Bernanke has just announced an expansion of the Fed's bond buying program.  Now, instead of promising to buy $40B of bonds, mortgage assets, and other securities, he says they are going to be purchasing $85B.  That's more than 4 times the amount that's causing the crisis in Cyprus.  Per month!  More than $1 TRILLION in additional printing and spending per year, effectively doubling down on the deficit.

We're now nearly $17 Trillion in debt.  Where is this money going to come from?  Literally all the money in the world isn't enough to pay that off.  But there IS a potential "solution" that has been talked about very quietly in the halls of Congress for years: the partial nationalization of privately held retirement accounts.  The Ghilarducci plan is for the Federal government, in the name of "protecting the consumer from the vagaries and risks of the stock marked" to assume at least partial management of private investment accounts by requiring that a certain percentage of deposits be held in government bonds.  In return, the government would guarantee a rate of return as a hedge against possible future losses. In effect, creating a second mandatory Social Security program (we've seen how well they've managed the first one).

Americans have, collectively, several trillion dollars sitting in personal retirement accounts such as IRA's, ROTH's, 401k plans, pensions, federal and state government employee retirement accounts, etc.  Imagine a certain cash-strapped administration looking at all that money.  It's just sitting there!  It's not being put to good use.  In light of what just happened without warning in Cyprus, do you really think that our government hasn't considered a similar proposal?  It's entirely likely that governments around the world are looking at the events in Cyprus as a test case.  The proverbial "canary in the coal mine".  If the government is able to make this go down without widespread violence and revolt, look for it to spread.  After all, what easier way to make sure that "the rich" pay their "fair share" than to just go into their bank accounts and take it?

I'm not telling you to run to the bank, take out all your money and stuff it in the mattress or bury it in the back yard but maybe, just maybe, it might be a good idea to take out a little bit?  Maybe stash away enough to carry you over for a few weeks or a month or so?  Couldn't hurt, could it?  I mean, are you really going to lose that much in interest?  Not at less than 0.5% you aren't.  If you are relying on FDIC insurance to protect you, just remember, the FDIC is ultimately run by the same people who may have designs on your money.

Is it time for "gold & guns"?  I can't say.  But a word to the wise.............

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another Signpost.....

....marking the further depletion of the "can do" attitude? The end of the tradition of self-reliance among the citizens of America and my native state of Vermont?  Or is it simply that we're finally, inexorably being drawn down the "Path of Good Intentions"?

The impetus of this week's post was a Letter to the Editor submitted by a young woman to my local paper.  I have included her letter at the end of this post, but I am withholding her name.  Although she is ignorant of the fact, she's embarrassed herself enough already without me adding to it.

The woman in question is a participant in one of our local welfare/public assistance programs and a member of  Put People First, a proudly communist/socialist organization affiliated with the Vermont Workers' Center.  Their mission is to promote "social and economic justice" by demanding that the State and municipal budgets put the "people's needs" in a position of priority over all other considerations.  Their demands include: 

Vermont's budget must put people first.....spending and revenue policies must meet every Vermonter's fundamental needs, including healthcare, housing, food, education, good jobs and a healthy environment. These are our basic human rights and public goods that our government must guarantee for all Vermonters.

Vermont's budget must make providing public services for those who need them its highest priority.

Vermont should raise revenue from those who can afford it, to meet the needs of our communities.

In short, they demand that everyone have the same as everyone else, independent of effort extended or contribution to society.  Their list of demands, if enacted, would inevitably lead to the de facto slavery of the productive to the parasite.  Take the "basic human rights" that "government must guarantee to all":  healthcare, housing, food, education, "good jobs" & "healthy environment".

Healthcare:  No matter what you do, you have a "right" to unlimited use of all healthcare resources, regardless of cost.  You can be grossly obese, smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day, be an alcoholic/drug addict on dialysis and refuse to follow doctors' orders or take any responsibility for improving your condition, and any talk of even considering asking you to pay for a small percentage of your care is deemed to be cold-hearted and even discriminatory.  If you are so "fortunate" as to enjoy good health because of your healthy habits of moderation of caloric intake, regular exercise, abstaining from drugs and overindulgence in alcohol and regular doctors' visits/checkups,  it is your sacred duty to allow your insurance and healthcare costs to rise in order to subsidize the former.

Housing:  You have a "right" to "adequate" housing, provided by the taxpayer.  This is going to hurt some feelings but, have you ever taken the time to look at the conditions in so-called "public housing"?  These places are almost uniformly easy to identify:  trash and (often broken) toys litter the yard, along with vehicles in various states of disrepair.  The interiors are usually not kept up.  The people who occupy these places don't do much to keep up any maintenance.  "It's not my place" and "I (the state) pay my rent, it's the landlord's job (to pick up after me and my kids)", along with the common "The SOB that owns this building makes enough money.  Why should I do anything for him/her?"  Being poor is no excuse for living in such conditions.  It takes little or no money to have a little pride in your home and to pick up after yourself, but it does take a modicum of self-respect and respect for your neighbors.  The housing provided would be far more than "adequate" if the people living in State-subsidized housing simply stopped tearing shit up.

Food & Education:  They already have these, but as always seems to be the case, it's never enough.  Apparently, these advocate groups won't be happy until every welfare recipient is issued a State-sponsored credit card with an unlimited line of credit and are allowed to use it for anything they wish.  Oh, wait....  There I go again, being unreasonable and attempting to bring some commonsense limitation to the taxpayer-funded largess given out.  As for education, we already spend more, on a per-student basis, than nearly any other country in the world, yet the results are not in proportion to the money spent.  Perhaps, if we spent more time teaching and less time indoctrinating in progressive theology......nah, that's crazy talk.

Finally, "Good Jobs & Healthy Environment":  These people are also advocates of the so-called "living wage" as a replacement for the current minimum wage law.  The latest number they've come up with is $17-20/hr.  They say this is the minimum amount needed to provide an adequate standard of living for a family.  Forgetting, for a moment, the fact that the minimum wage was never intended to be able to support a family and the fact that if you raise the cost of labor, all you are going to do is raise the costs of goods and services proportionally, resulting in the "poor" being even worse off, where are the resources supposed to come from to fund this?  Private business is not going to be able to afford these rates and will either 1)reduce staff and add to their existing duties or 2)go out of business altogether, resulting in an increase in unemployment and even greater strains on publicly funded services (the "safety net").  Is this group going to demand that the State provide subsidies to businesses to enable the payment of this "living wage"?  Again, we get back to the producers being forced to subsidize the parasites.  (If you are one of the recipients of public assistance I'm sure you're offended by that term.  Tough.  If the benefits you are receiving exceed whatever small amount you contribute to society through the incidental taxes you pay, you are a net drain on society. i.e., parasite)  And the "Healthy Environment" angle.  If the environmentalists had their way, there would be no industry in Vermont.  To hear them talk about it, all businesses are raping the earth for monetary gain and should be fined out of existence (see: Vermont Yankee).  Obama's "Green Jobs" have proven to be a chimera, but the true believers will never let go of the agenda.  Again, if the environmentalists are successful in driving out industry, where will all the "good jobs" come from?  Will the government guarantee these goals by the institution of another State-funded jobs program?  Seriously, do these people never stop to realize that enough parasites can/will kill any host, no matter how strong?

If you go by the letter submitted to my local paper (and this person is by no means unique in her opinion), apparently not:

"I am a single mother of two boys, and have twins on the way. My children and I live in [withheld]. I am currently a Reach Up participant and a member of Put People First. I would like to help make a better world for my children! We are the people, and what we need to do is Put People First.
The budget that the governor has proposed does not put people first at all. The proposed Reach Up cuts would break my family and tear us apart. My twins are due June 15th. That means that if these cuts go through, I would lose my Reach Up grant when they are less than six months old. How will I buy diapers? How will I pay my light bill or phone bill?
Right now, Reach Up is absolutely necessary for me to support my family. Even if I find a job- which is not easy, I don't have a car to be able to get there. My being on Reach Up is not an individual problem- it is part of a system that keeps people in poverty.
As a member of Put People First, I have helped push for the law that we got passed last year that says that the purpose of the budget is to "address the needs of the people of Vermont in a way that advances human dignity and equity." With these cuts, the well-being of my children is at stake. Cutting Reach Up goes against the idea of advancing dignity and equity and doesn't recognize our human rights.
I am asking you to Put People First-- to me that means reversing any proposed cuts to Reach Up immediately. But it also means changing the budget process-- We are the people, and we need to be heard. We need to pass a People's Budget law."

The arrogant ignorance contained in this short post is staggering to me.  Let's break it down:  "Single mother of two boys and twins on the way"?  Sorry sweetheart, but what made you decide that it was a  good idea to have more children when you aren't able to provide for the two you already have?  I am under no obligation to bear the consequences for your poor choices.  Neither is anyone else. The responsibility belongs to you and the babes' father.  For you to demand the right to do as you wish and when things go wrong to demand that someone be held responsible, shows the arrogant selfishness of a spoiled child.  I don't cater to spoiled children.

"How will I buy diapers?  How will I pay my light or phone bill?"  Again, where is it written that your bills are my responsibility?  I guess you will have to make the same hard decisions that the rest of us make.  Maybe you'll have to give up the smartphone and downgrade to a basic phone and minimal minutes?  If you can't afford diapers (and the kids come first, your wants don't even make the list) then you have to sacrifice something else.  Just the same as I do.  Just the same as your neighbor does.

"Even if I find a job, I don't have a car."  So now you're saying the government (taxpayers) are responsible for getting you a car?  We have public transportation, take the van.  The government provides for daycare and the van runs to enough places that that is no excuse.

The author states that she is a victim of "....a system that keeps people in poverty."  There is no "system" that keeps you in poverty.  If you are a victim, it's of your own poor choices.  Choices like having kids you can't provide for, and getting pregnant when you are unmarried and having even more children you can't provide for.

Grow up, little girl.  If you can't provide for your new children, perhaps you should do the moral thing and consider putting the well being of your children ahead of your own selfish desires.  Consider putting your twins up for adoption to a loving, stable two-parent home where they will be given the opportunities to succeed that you can never provide.  You already have two boys you can't provide for.  Bringing two additional children into a life of poverty, with only the example of a "mother" with a rotating stream of boyfriends; boyfriends who, statistics show, potentially pose a threat of abuse; a "mother" who would rather beg for handouts and demand that the State intervene to confiscate even more from the people who earn their way in order to provide greater handouts for her and those like her, is little short of child abuse.

I agree with Don Watkins and Yaron Brook in "Free Market Revolution".  We can't get there in one step, too many people have structured their lives based on the expectation that certain assurances of government will be followed through on, but if we don't start now to at least stem the tide and work through the re-instilling of traditional values in our children and the re-teaching of the skill of critical thinking in our schools and universities to bring back the ideals this country was founded on, America as founded is lost.  And the Great American Experiment of free market capitalism will be deemed (unfairly) a failure never to rise again.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

He Stood

"I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA.  I will speak until I can no longer speak."

With those words, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) revived an almost extinct Senate tradition of opposition:  an honest-to-goodness filibuster.  In recent times, Senate procedures had become such that all one needed to do was declare a filibuster and it was so noted.  It was more of a technical, procedural process.  If you declared a filibuster and the opposition couldn't muster the necessary votes to cut you off, the legislation was held up.  Senators were not required to actually stand and defend their opposition at length.  Rand Paul stood.

Although Sen. Paul opposed the confirmation of Mr. Brennan, his filibuster was less about direct opposition to his confirmation as CIA Director (Sen. Paul admitted that his filibuster was little more than a "blip" on the way to confirmation) and more about forcing on the Obama administration acknowledgment of a Constitutional limit on Executive authority.  Specifically, the limits on the potential use of armed drones on unarmed American citizens not actively engaged in combat or terrorist activity within the United States.

The impetus for the Senator's historic stemwinder was the response he got from Attorney General Eric Holder to a letter requesting clarification on the administration's criteria for the potential use of drones on American citizens domestically.  In his response, AG Holder avoided giving a direct answer, saying that while he "supposed" such an act "could be" considered "in an extreme circumstance", neither he nor the President "had any intentions" of doing so.  Saying you don't intend to do something is a far cry from declaring that you will not and that, furthermore, no one in your position is Constitutionally allowed to do so.  Or, as Sen. Paul so eloquently put it:

"The oath of office of the President says that he will, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. He raises his hand, his right hand, puts his left hand on the bible, and he says, 'I will.' The President doesn't say, 'I intend to if it's convenient.' 'I intend to, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.'"

When directly asked his opinion on the administration's drone program during his confirmation hearings, Mr. Brennan asserted that there were essentially no limitations on the government's use of the drone strike program insofar as  geography was concerned.  No limitation on where such attacks to could be enacted.  When asked directly by the Senator from Oregon, " ...if there's no limitation to whom you can kill and where you can kill and there's no due process upon whom you will kill, does that mean you will do it in America?"  Mr. Brennan's answer was truly Orwellian:  "I plan to optimize secrecy and optimize transparency."

Huh?  It was comments like these, and stonewalling from the Executive branch, that drove Mr. Paul's actions.  In the end, after nearly 13 hours of beating the administration about the head and shoulders with Constitutional questions of legality and transparency, a letter was finally received by Mr. Paul from AG Holder that clearly stated, finally, that the President did not have the authority to use drones to assassinate American citizen non-combatants.  Here's the AG's one-paragraph response:

"It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question:  'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?'  The answer to that question is no."

Wow.  Talk about petulant.   You can almost hear the whiney sneer in Holder's voice.  It wasn't an "additional question".  It was a restatement of the same question that had been asked repeatedly, without a clear answer, for over a month.

 Sen. Paul said that he is satisfied with the White House’s response.  “I’m disappointed it took a month and a half and a root canal to get it,” he added, “but we did get the answer.”

So, Rand Paul got what he wanted.  However, he may have also given the rest of the country an unanticipated gift:  a renewed interest in the workings of government and in our Constitutionally guaranteed protections.  Sen. Paul's filibuster was the focus of social media.  Not just during the event, but for days ongoing.  The "Twitterverse" exploded, with the hashtag #StandWithRand trending #1, not just in the US, but worldwide.  It wasn't just a fad, people were actually paying attention to the topic.  When Sen. Johnson tried to insert arguments about taxes into the filibuster, there were calls from Twitter users to "give him the hook", but when Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin rose to debate Sen. Paul on policy points, the result was largely positive.  A good sign that Americans really do value substantive debate on issues, as opposed to hyperbolic rhetoric.

He also seems to have woken up fellow legislators (Senators and Congressmen) to the importance of standing up for the Constitutional protections of Americans.  Mr. Paul's actions also drew support from a wide, and ridiculously diverse, group.  He was endorsed by the Tea Party, of course, and by conservative groups in general.  He also garnered approval from groups usually associated with opposition to anything remotely Conservative:  Code Pink, the ACLU, liberal comedian Jon Stewart, and even extreme leftist activist and former "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones all spoke out in support of what he was doing and saying.  Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel to the ACLU called Sen. Paul's filibuster "... a courageous and historic effort."

While Sen. Paul was supported in his effort from the start by the newly elected "Tea Party" supported freshmen Senators, some of the "old guard" (those not dining with the President at the time) did finally deign to join in, after it became clear the huge amount of positive response that was being generated.  Better late than never, I guess.

Curiously, given the howls from the left over alleged infringements on civil liberties whenever a Republican occupies the Oval Office, only a single Democrat Senator stood with Sen. Paul: Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.  The other Democrat Senators, to their shame, simply squirmed uncomfortably in their seats.  Don't misunderstand, Sens. Paul and Wyden do not share the same ideology.  However, the Honorable Mr. Wyden in this instance showed true statesmanship in being willing to stand on common ground with his political rival.

One thing happened during the filibuster that is quite rare.  In fact, I haven't found an instance of when it has ever happened.  During the course of Sen. Paul's oration, members of the House of Representatives began to arrive in the Senate chamber, standing in the back of the room to hear and support what Mr. Paul was doing.  The list included (forgive me if I leave anyone out):   Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.),  Thomas Massie (R-Ky),  Justin Amash (Mich.), Ron DeSantis (Fla.), Doug LaMalfa (Calif.), Garland “Andy” Barr (Ky.), Trey Radel (Fla.), Michael Burgess (Tex.), Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Raul R. Labrador (Idaho), Keith Rothfus (Pa.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Bill Huizenga (Mich.), Richard Hudson (N.C.) and David Schweikert (Ariz.).

Supporting Senators also included: Republican Sens.Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) , Jerry Moran (R-Kan.),  John Barrasso (Wyo.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), John Cornyn (Tex.), John Thune (S.D.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.). And Sens. Cruz, Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) used the opportunity to make their first speaking appearances on the Senate floor.

Along about 6:30p.m. something fantastic happened.  I'll let Sen. Paul' explain:  "Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who has been recovering from a stroke, came to the floor to give me something. I was not allowed to drink anything but water or eat anything but the candy left in our Senate desks. But he brought me an apple and a thermos full of tea — the same sustenance Jimmy Stewart brought to the Senate floor in the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” That was a moment I will never forget."

Rand Paul stood, but he did not stand alone.

Senator Paul's performance was a true example of statesmanship and an inspiration for all of us, left & right, to stand on principle.  If your Senator or Representative was among those who stood in support of Rand Paul, support them.  Call, write, email, do whatever you can do to let them know you appreciate their standing in support of Rand Paul and, by extension, your rights as an American citizen.  If your Senator isn't on the list, ask them why not?  Ask them what was so controversial about standing up for Constitutional protections of our rights as citizens.

Sen. Paul says, "My filibuster was just the beginning".  Here's hoping it's just the beginning of the reclamation of the founding spirit of the United States of America, and a return to individual rights, liberty and truly representative governance.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quick Hits

Instead of a long rant, I'm just going to hit a few of the high- (low)lights this week.  To begin:

There's the story of a brave high school student from Cypress Lake High School in Fort Meyers, FL.  The 16 year old student saved another from certain grave injury and potentially saved his life by helping to wrestle a loaded handgun away from another student on the bus.  The other student, a member of the football team, had threatened that he was going to shoot the student, a teammate, because he had been arguing with a friend.  What was the reward for this brave student for getting involved and potentially saving a life?  An immediate suspension!  What kind of a world is it that punishes it's heroes?  Here.

Under the heading of "A Special Kind of Stupid", a civilian shopper at a Wal-Mart in Orange City, FL took out his handgun and shot at an occupied vehicle.  The vehicle was being driven by a suspected shoplifter who knocked a woman to the ground in his haste to leave the scene.  The wannabe "hero" as been charged with aggravated assault.  His excuse?  He "wanted to mark the vehicle so police could identify it." Nice going, dumbass.  I guess it never occurred to you that, aside from being incredibly stupid and unsafe to discharge your weapon at an occupied vehicle in the middle of a crowded parking lot, this would be an incident tailor-made for the anti gun zealots to point to as a reason to restrict gun ownership.  In this case, I agree.  This idiot should go to jail and never be allowed to own guns.  He's amply proven that he has neither the temperament nor the judgement necessary to safely be allowed to bear arms. Here.

As part of the ongoing circus that is sequestration, Rep. Maxine Waters (D, California) made these remarks:  “If sequestration takes place, that’s going to be a great setback. We don’t need to be having something like sequestration that’s going to cause these job losses — over 170 million jobs that could be lost."  Umm, no.  To begin, there are only approximately 134 million people currently working in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  For her remarks to be valid, everyone in the U.S. would have to be fired. Then, I guess we'd have to import another 40 million illegal aliens and fire them, too.  Keep in mind, this is the same Congressperson who had told oil company executives a few years ago that she was "all about" having the government take over and running their businesses.  I don't know what's more troubling, the obvious ignorance (borderline stupidity) of this woman or the obvious ignorance (borderline stupidity) of the people who have kept voting her into office all these years. Here.

School bullies child:  At a south Philadelphia elementary school, little Melody Valentin was subjected to extreme abuse and embarrassment in front of her entire class.  Her "crime"?  Another student saw her throwing away a paper "gun" that her grandfather had made for her the day before.  She discovered that she still had it in her pocket and was throwing it away.  She wasn't playing "cops & robbers".  She wasn't "threatening" other students.  This particular "teacher" didn't care.  He pulled the girl in front of the entire class and berated her at length, calling her a "murderer" and telling this child that he should "call the police" to have her arrested.  The girl was also physically searched while the class looked on!  Her classmates have also kept up the harassment, calling her a murderer and a bad person.  The abuse has been so bad, the child's mother has been keeping her out of that class and is planning to move her daughter to a different school.  The school has a "zero tolerance policy".  Really?  I have a "zero tolerance policy" for child abuse and idiocy such as this.  This so-called "teacher" should lose his job and the school district and administrators who stood by and allowed this to happen should be sued.  There is no doubt that this will affect this poor child for years to come. Video.

And finally, to end on an up note, there's this.  Maybe little Melody could get in touch with 13yr old Katelyn Francis.  I'm quite sure this young lady has no trouble with bullies:


This in incredible shooting for most anyone, much less a young girl.  I'm pretty sure that dad won't have any worries about boys taking advantage of his little girl.