The Rule of Lawless


That’s the title of an excellent short essay by Kevin Williamson over at NRO.

The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view.

Read the whole thing.

When you’re finished, take a look at this by George Will. His post deals with a fundamental disconnect between Conservatives and Progressives as described in a new book by Timothy Sandefur.

Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.

Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy.

Read all of this one too.

Justice Stevens and the Second Amendment


A few days ago, retired Justice John Paul Stevens published an op-ed over at WaPo promoting his new book coming out later this month. The hook for his piece was an explanation of how to fix the Second Amendment so that it will mean what he wishes it meant. I’ve been puzzling over how to comment on his essay, but a couple of other bloggers have beat me to the punch.

Clayton E. Cramer demolishes Stevens’s shoddy scholarship in a piece over at PJ Media.

Da Tech Guy points out that Stevens does conservatives a favor by reminding everyone that the Constitution means what it says and not what liberals wish it says.

Read ‘em both.

The Constitution State?


At least that’s what Connecticut was called when I was in school a half-century ago. Times change, I guess. This is from a press release from Connecticut Against Gun Violence.

A coalition of state Gun Rights Prevention Groups will be holding a press conference on Thursday, April 3, at 10:00 am at the State Capitol, 3rd Floor, Old Judiciary Room.

(H/T, Say Uncle) Kinda makes me wonder what other parts of the Bill of Rights these folks might view as expendable.

In Re Case No. 5T00087071


This morning I met with an Assistant State’s Attorney from the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office. The subject of our meeting was the disposition of the charge of failure to obey a peace order against Bill Schmalfeldt.

My meeting had certain similarities and certain differences compared to the meetings concerning Bill Schmalfeldt that Aaron Walker and Lee Stranahan had with that office.

The principal difference was that the prosecutor was polite and respectful of me. His conduct was at all times professional.

The principal similarity was that the decision to drop the charge had been irrevocably taken before the meeting. This is troubling because the purpose of the meeting was to provide evidence not contained in the charging document so that a proper decision could be made. Evidence apparently was to have no bearing on the disposition of the case.

I am disappointed.

 

Trust?


Gallup reports that the people of Illinois have less trust in their state government than the people of any other state. Gallup’s polling found seven states where the government was trusted by less than half the people.

Maryland is one of them.

The population size-trust relationship may help explain the finding that trust in state government tends to be higher in Republican-leaning states than Democratic-leaning ones, since larger states tend to be Democratic and smaller states Republican. Using Gallup’s 2013 data on state party affiliation, average trust in state government is 67% in solidly Republican or Republican-leaning states, 58% in competitive states, and 53% in solidly Democratic or Democratic-leaning states.

Read the whole thing.

In Re THEMIS


THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms)  is a mission to investigate what causes auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere. The program is run by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and not by the agency just up the road that forgot to buy both vowels.

I have never had any connection to the program.

UPDATE—I found this attempted comment while taking my morning coffee break.TK201404041329ZOf course, the IP address doesn’t belong to Amazon.IPlookup20140404Not only that, it’s not actively assigned.NoMatch

Hi, Neal!

UPDATE—Ooooo! Struck a nerve, have we? This comment just came in attributed to my late mother.TK2014041542ZCan you say “desperation”?

An Interesting Correlation


Matthew Lillefielt has a piece over at The Examiner about some of the lobbying done by law enforcement officials during the current session of the Maryland Legislature. He notes that those lobbying against loosening the state’s marijuana laws seem to be from the counties that voted for Mitt Romney, while those favoring liberalization are from … well … liberal counties that voted for Barack Obama.

Of course, correlation doesn’t prove causation, but does Lillefielt mean to say that the parts of our state where people are more likely to be clean and sober are the places that vote Republican?

NOTE—I live in one of those few red counties, but I support decriminalizing marijuana in order to make it less of a moneymaker for criminals. While I think dope should be a legal substance, I view it as a potentially destructive one similar to alcohol. I would like to know how marijuana DUI would be handled before I would be ready to change the law though.

Frankenfish!!!!111!!


Hank Campbell has a post at Science 2.0 about an effort in Washington state to require labeling of genetically modified fish. He points out that the anti-GMO crowd is really the left’s counterpoise to the right’s anti-science creationists.

When conservatives want to put a label on science textbooks because they might contain evolution, they are rightfully mocked for being anti-science. But when progressives want to put a label on food because it might contain GMOs, they are applauded as consumer activists. And science media criticizes the former, but enables the latter, by giving credence to claims it is instead about “not trusting corporations.”

Read the whole thing, and then go read this post by Michael Schulson about Whole Foods. The left does trust some corporations.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?


That’s Latin for “Who watches the watchmen?” It’s a phase from the work of the Roman poet Juvenal, and it fits the growing trend of citizens using their cell phones and other devices to record their interactions with the government, especially with the police. Joe McClean has a piece over at The Daily Beast called Stand Your Ground With Your Smartphone.

So as they spy on us, we have a civic duty to return the favor …

Read the whole thing.

Sometimes Rules Cut Both Ways


The IRS is proposing to rewrite the rules for 501(c)4 “social welfare” not-for-profit organizations in ways that would drastically reduce their political activities. The general buzz is that this is being done at the behest of Democrats in the Senate who worry about organizations such as Americans for Prosperity. Eliana Johnson has a report over at NRO over the Left’s reaction to the proposed rules.

The proposed regulations have a host of left-leaning groups worried that the 501(c)(4) rules could serve as a template for regulations governing 501(c)(5) nonprofits (unions) and 501(c)(6) groups (trade associations), and they are speaking out.

Also, leftwing 501(c)4 outfits are waking up to the threat to their activities. Being able to help deliver votes engage in voter registration is often a key part of the business model of such organizations.