Another Brick in the Wall


Celina Durgan reports at NRO that the Secular Coalition of America is asking folks to knit bricks to show their outrage over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. The knitwits at the SCA want to send hundreds yarn bricks to the Court to express concern for the “wall of separation” between church and state being breached.

Uh, huh.

If the knitwits had ever read Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists (the source of the phrase), they would know that he intended it to mean that the government should keep its nose out of the business of religion and not the other way around. I doubt that Jefferson would approve of a law or regulation that mandates that one must violate his conscience.

 

Central American Kids and Carroll County


There’s an old Army Reserve building here in Westminster that hasn’t been in use for around 20 years. It’s been under consideration as a place to house some of the flood of illegal immigrant kids from Central America. Politico has a story about our governor’s reaction that includes this:

But before they hung up, O’Malley told Muñoz not to send any of the children to the facility in Westminster, Md., that the White House was looking at. It’s a conservative part of the state, he warned. The children were at risk of getting harassed, or worse, he said.

Yes, Carroll County is probably the most conservative area in the state. After all, Alan Keyes and Michael Steele carried the county by huge margins when they ran for Senate. We didn’t vote for the white liberals who won. <sarc>So it’s obvious that we must be redneck haters.</sarc>

The actual reaction in the county has been mixed. Almost everyone thinks using the old armory is a bad idea. The building is not properly configured for that purpose, and the cost of modification could be quite high. However, as soon as the news of the possible use of the Army Reserve facility broke, local groups, such as churches, began looking for ways to provide services to the children while they might be here. We’re mostly conservatives around here, but that does not prevent us from caring for those in need.

I guess that makes us compassionate conservatives. Maybe we should put a gun rack in Mrs. Hoge’s Volvo.

Hubris and Nemesis


As time goes by, there will be more fallout from the Administration’s decision to issue a regulation requiring coverage for contraception under Obamacare. (And that was done by regulation. It’s not part of the Affordable Care Act.) That overreach in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was famously smacked down by the Supreme Court this week.

It looks like the next big religious freedom brouhaha will be over LGBT employment “rights” created by executive fiat. The Atlantic reports:

Last week, the administration announced it would issue an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a reform long sought by gay-rights groups. Such an order would essentially impose on contractors the provisions of the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed the Senate but hasn’t been taken up by the House.

But the text of the order has not yet been released, so it is not known whether it will include a religious exemption.

Not many people practice the idolatrous religion of the ancient Greeks, but after multiple losses in the Supreme Court, it’s almost as if Nemesis is spending a lot of time at the White House.

Presidential Micromanagement


There’s a bit over in The Corner about the President joking that he would issue an executive order requiring boys to play fair with the girls at recess. The scary part is that he might have the authority to do so under Title IX.

Folks who used to complain about Jimmy Carter being a micromanager should remember that some of us forecast Carter II as the best case scenario for the Obama Administration.

And In Other Court News


The Supreme Court delivered its 12th and 13th unanimous rebukes of former Constitutional Law professor Barack Obama’s administration.

One decision explains the meaning of the recess appointment clause of Article II, Section 2 to Prof. Obama.

The other explained that the First Amendments protections of free speech and free assembly trump laws such as the Massachusetts statute which banned peaceful protests around abortion clinics. The Administration agued in support of the law.

#TheCountry’sInTheBestOfHands

An “Assault Weapon” in New Jersey?


The New Jersey legislature has passed a bill that would classify any semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine that hold more than 10 rounds as an “assault weapon.” That would include such evil firearms as my old .22, a Remington Nylon 66.1959_remington_nylon_66My brother’s little .22 pump action rifle would be covered too if it were a semiauto. But it’s OK because he has to rack the slide between shots.Rossi62<sarc>I’m sure New Jersey will be much safer if Gov. Christie signs the bill.</sarc>

Plus Ça Change …


It turns out that the data used to support the conclusions in French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been fudged. This undermines the credibility of yet another bit of “research” that bolstered a progressive political meme, increasing economic inequality.

I’m reminded of Michael Bellesiles’s Arming America.

plus c’est la même chose.

A Very Stupid “Smart Gun”


A German company called Armatix is trying to peddle a very stupidly designed “smart gun.” It’s a small .22 caliber pistol of the sort that might be useful for plinking at tin cans but is underpowered for any serious self-defense application. Strike one.

iP1The gun uses RFID technology to enable operation. The user must have a companion wrist watch, and the watch must be within 10 inches of the pistol in order for it to be fired.

As soon as the gun loses radio contact with the watch – e.g. if it is knocked out of the shooter’s hand or in case of loss, theft, etc. – it automatically deactivates itself.

Since most of us wear our watches on the left wrist, the pistol would have to be fired from the left hand (as shown in the Armatix picture above) or using a two-handed grip. While that wouldn’t be a problem for me, I’m ambidextrous, it’s could be a real issue for the roughly 90% of shooters who are right-handed and might not have both hands free in a self-defense situation. Strike two.

Using RFID means that the gun could be subject to jamming—and I don’t mean failure to feed the next round. Strike three.

I’ll believe that “smart guns” are a good idea when the security details of the politicians who want to force them on the public are carrying them—and no conventional firearms for backup.

Undue Burden Analysis


I’m on record as supporting a ban on high-capacity magazines. No one has any legitimate need for a copy of Mother Jones or Time with more than ten pages. Sebastian has an excellent piece over at Shall Not Be Questioned on how a related, but broader, proposed common sense regulation on reading materials might survive judicial scrutiny.

One might argue there’s no governmental interest, but suppose it’s saving trees? You can have as many e-books as you want, but you’re strictly limited in paper books. The surplus books can be recycled and put back in to supply existing paper needs.

Read the whole thing.

“For Sale To Civilians”


The Jersey Journal and the WSJ report that Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop wants to “shape the dialog” about “gun safety” by requiring companies who want to sell guns and ammunition to the Jersey City PD to state whether they offer “assault weapons” “for sale to civilians.” Of course, they do. They wouldn’t be offering them for sale to the Jersey City Police Department unless they did.

Perhaps the mayor should reacquaint himself with the Constitution. Article I, Section 10 states:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, … keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace …

Jersey City, as a subdivision of New Jersey, has not been granted the authority by Congress to raise and keep its own army. The cops in Jersey City are civilians.

The mayor’s question would be more properly framed as asking if the companies offer semi-automatic rifles for sale to citizens. Citizens. Those pesky people who think that public officials, elected and appointed, work for them rather that rule over them.

Rule 5


Saul Alinsky’s Rule 5 from Rules for Radicals states that “ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Over at Townhall, Kurt Schlicter has a essay that deals with the use of ridicule as a response to the emerging “Check Your Privilege” meme lurking on certain college campuses (H/T, Stacy McCain, famous author of another Rule 5).

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE—And then read this about what’s going on at Harvard. I’m not making this up, you know.

Common Core and the Holocaust


There’s a pencil sketch of a young Army captain hanging among the family pictures in the hall in my house. It’s dated “Dachau ’45.” The artist was a Jewish prisoner. My father was involved in the liberation of Dachau and contributed to the official report on the camp as a military intelligence officer. My father didn’t speak much about that experience, but his letters home from that time painted a picture of inhuman horror.

The Gentle Reader should therefore understand my lack of patience with holocaust deniers and should understand my utter disgust at the recent stories of trying to teach “critical thinking” by arguing that the holocaust was a hoax.

Intended Unintended Consequences


People are often surprised by the unintended consequences of their actions. For example, it was forest management policy to aggressively put out wildfires for many years. That resulted in forests full of quick-burning fuel in the understory—and spectacular, devastating forest fires.

The government’s attempts to manage the economy have been no better. The more it has fiddled, the worse things have become. Now, the Brookings Institution is reporting an across the board decline in business dynamism around the country.

The Blue State Model suggests responding with more government intrusion into the economy. States such as Maryland are doing things such as raising their minimum wage above the national level. The unintended consequence will likely be that marginally skilled workers will be priced out of the legal job market to become more of a drag on a state budget starved because of reduced economic growth.

DaTechGuy suggests that the conservatives in the Blue States should call the Left’s bluff and let them pass such ill-conceived laws. He suggests that the result would be to drive economic and population growth to the Red State, increasing their clout at the national level. It’s a strategy not unlike letting a drunk keep going till he hits bottom.

Hmmmmm.

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.