Tea party challenger to Cantor gaining traction

Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, has positioned himself to the right of Cantor, charging that the majority leader’s national profile and association with the GOP political class have hurt him. Brat also accuses Cantor of supporting amnesty for people who came to this country illegally — a charge Cantor denies — and criticizes the incumbent for allowing an increase in the debt ceiling and voting for a budget that didn’t defund the Affordable Care Act.

Vote them out. All of them.

Fri May 23 17:39:12 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Only government agents should have guns...

... so they can brandish them at other drivers. This particular government agent has earned entry into a special bonus round; not only is he a government agent, he is a government agent in charge of regulating firearms dealers.

Fri May 23 17:11:57 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

7 mass surveillance tools available to your local police department

Everything from wide-area surveillance mounted on aircraft, to facial and license plate recognition cameras, to streetlights equipped with cameras and microphones, to cell phone interception devices and data mining. And none of them involve getting warrants.

Fri May 23 16:55:44 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A noble problem

Baroness Williams of Crosby (LD): My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that one of the key findings of the United States climate change report is that the process of climate change is now much faster than we had expected it to be? The effects are predicted to fall within a matter of a decade or so, rather than 20 or 30 years from now. Given that, will she persuade her friendly Secretary of State for Education to ensure that children in school are made more aware of the absolute necessity of tackling climate change than they are at present?

In the United States, we do not have Baronesses who decide how the children will be indoctrinated. We are expected to think for ourselves.

Despite the best efforts of our government, some of us still remember how.

Fri May 23 16:44:19 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Kerry doesn't want to testify on Benghazi

Let's skip the lengthy negotiations and get straight to the point.

The State Department is doubling down on its opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry testifying on the deadly Benghazi attack, saying in a statement overnight that a congressional committee should find "a more appropriate witness."

It's obvious Kerry holds Congress in contempt. Congress should go straight to the end of the matter and make it mutual. If we step the pace up a bit, we can hold the whole cabinet in contempt before the midterms.

For an alternative scenario, how about we subpeona Hillary and Obama instead?

Fri May 23 16:42:56 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Russia blocks sales of rocket engines, threatens to shut down ISS program

A strong, confident American president would see this as a challenge to unleash America's private space entrepreneurs to do a space program better, cheaper, and faster than NASA or Russia can. Obama is not that man, but the pieces are in place, and all he has to do is say "Go."

I'm afraid he won't.

Fri May 23 16:39:12 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ars Technica follows up on the police raid over a parody twitter account

Lots of interesting and scary details for those interested in what can happen to you if you run a parody account of your local mayor on twitter.

In this case, Peoria police had complete details of Daniel's Twitter account usage along with cell phones and computers seized from his house. In addition, the police swore out a fourth warrant on April 17—two days after the raid—for Daniel's Gmail account. The warrant sought not just connection details but all content in the account, including "any image file, document files, text files, and other stored files." Police had broad latitude to search through anything they found. Between an e-mail account, a mobile phone, and a laptop computer, police can gain an almost complete window into someone's life. Do we want them to have this much power simply to crack down on misdemeanors?

I think not. We need to have some significant distinctions written into the law concerning how much information police can acquire in order to investigate things like this.

What does the mayor of Peoria have to say?

You just remind those eggheads that a Mayor in a town like Peoria can get things done. I know people, and people know me, and when I want a warrant, then by God I get a warrant.

That is not the rule of law.

Fri May 23 16:11:57 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

One person digs a hole, the next one fills it back in

Billions of dollars are being paid to Obamacare contractors to sit at a desk and do nothing:

The contractor is called Serco and local reporter discovered that, despite there not being any work to be done, the government contractor is still hiring.

"The company is still hiring," says a local reporter. "A current employee wonders why ... After providing proof of employment, this Serco employee agreed to speak through the phone with their voice altered. The employee says hundreds of employees spend much of the day staring at computer screens, with little or no work to do."

The problem with government make-work projects is that they don't actually produce anything. If they are paid for with printed money, they produce inflation, because there is no added economic value to go along with the added currency. If they are paid for with borrowed money, they actually make things worse, because interest must be paid in return for... nothing. If they are paid for with money collected from the private sector through taxes, there is an opportunity cost for what that money could have been spend on instead.

Fri May 23 15:55:44 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS spends $100 million on furniture, claims it cannot afford to serve taxpayers

They want a 7% increase over last year, an increase of $1.2 billion dollars in a single year:

The IRS has spent $96.5 million on office furniture under the Obama administration and is now claiming it has insufficient funding to adequately serve taxpayers.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified before the House two weeks ago about the IRS’ need for additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year. The IRS is currently seeking an increase of $1.2 billion—a 7 percent raise over its FY 2014 $11.29 billion budget. It would bring the agency’s FY 2015 budget to $12.48 billion.

They have also been spending a lot of money on paying bonuses. They should be spending that money on replying to Congressional oversight in a timely fashion.

Fri May 23 15:44:19 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Media Bias

So a week or two ago I was reading the paper in, well, paper format, something I rarely bother with. In my defense, I was away from home and had nothing else to read. On the editorial page, they were doing one of those double-feature stories; you know the kind, two writers take opposing positions on the same topic, one supposedly "right" and the other "left".

Today, the left wanted to increase the minimum wage. The right wanted to increase the earned income tax credit.

Apparently "Don't do a damned thing" didn't rate as a choice. Nor did "Don't take one more damned cent from my wallet", or "Keep your hands to yourself", not even "Get a job". No, the only two choices recognized as legitimate for the purpose of public debate consisted of the government giving the poor more money. The only choice was whether that money was given to the poor by the government directly in return for breathing, or whether the recipients were to be required to work for it in the form of minimum-effort, minimum-wage jobs.

Fri May 23 15:42:56 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Concealed carry rights expanded to legal aliens in Arkansas

If you are here legally, you are allowed to defend yourself:

The Second Amendment Foundation has won a significant victory on behalf of legal resident aliens in Arkansas, with a federal district court there declaring the state’s citizen-only concealed carry licensing law unconstitutional, and granting a permanent injunction against its enforcement on behalf of a man named Martin Pot (pronounced Pote), a citizen of the Netherlands.

Why does this case matter? It matters because the more small victories that say bearing arms as well as keeping them is a constitutional right, the harder it is for a later court to ignore them.

Fri May 23 15:39:12 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Boehner preemptively caves on contempt issue

Is he just incompetent, or is he working for the other side?

"I'm not sure we want to go down that path," Boehner said. "It's never been used," he said of the provision allowing Congress to arrest individuals and place them in the Capitol jail. The Senate has in fact used that power, but not in the last 80 years. "I'm not sure that it’s an appropriate way to go about this," Boehner said.

The contempt charge has been referred to the Justice Department, and Boehner said it is up to Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Lerner.

"Now will he do it? We don’t know, but the ball is in his court," Boehner said.

He won't, any more than he will allow himself to be prosecuted for the contempt of Congress Holder himself has earned.

Now what?

With no threat of prosecution from Holder, and no threat of the House acting to use its own authority, Lerner has no incentive to talk. So she won't.

Fri May 23 15:11:57 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

22 States filing amicus briefs in opposition to NY SAFE law

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

More states are expected to sign on as the case progresses. Such broad opposition from other state governments may make it difficult for New York to argue that it's restrictions are necessary or have a rational basis.

Fri May 23 14:55:44 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missing the point

Ars Technica continues to be weak on climate science. Their latest piece is an attempt to defend the tree ring record and the infamous "Mike's Nature trick" as a legitimate scientific technique. It's not a legitimate scientific technique because it deliberately hides adverse data. But they also go on to talk about how a new study has explained that arctic tree growth (and thus tree ring size) may also be affected by aerosol emissions.

But there is a problem.

Arctic trees make great climate recorders because their growth is limited by the cold temperatures, but light availability also appears to have been limiting over the past few decades in some places. (There’s no evidence for a similar divergence between growth and temperatures prior to that.) There will certainly be more research to follow up on this report, as it’s of great interest to the scientists who work with tree rings. But beyond explaining the recent divergence, this work also opens the door to an intriguing possibility: that tree rings could tell us something about changes in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface.

So, new science explains the tree ring divergence from the measured temperature record by saying that the tree rings used to measure temperature are also measuring atmospheric aerosol content. That may be true. But if so, you can't use those trees to measure temperature. The whole point of carefully selecting arctic tree rings was to choose trees whose growth was limited only by temperature. If those same trees are also measuring aerosols, they are not longer useful as thermometers, because you can't separate the two signals.

Fri May 23 14:44:19 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The trail leads to the White House

Many of the press accounts we read suggest there is no scandal here unless the targeting of Americans for their conservative political beliefs can be tied back to President Obama or the White House.

We beg to differ. Wouldn’t it be even more frightening if a federal agency as powerful as the IRS on its own decided to use its vast powers to squelch others on the basis of politics and ideology?

Let us not forget that many of the tax exempt organizations had their applications delayed for extended periods. The delays appear to have originated at the IRS Chief Counsel's office. Wilkins testified more than 80 times that he "did not recall" whether he was involved in any Tea-Party related targeting.

The IRS Chief Counsel is a Presidential appointee.

Fri May 23 14:42:56 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Should Lerner receive immunity?

National Review argues that she should. I'm not quite so ready to grant immunity. I would grant immunity in return for testimony. We know that negotiations have been conducted, and that no agreement has been reached. Typically, immunity grants are given following the presentation of a "proffer" -- that is, a description of what someone will testify to after being granted immunity, delivered in a way that it cannot be held against them.

Before Lerner can be granted immunity, we must know what she will say, because if she plans to testify that everything was her own idea her testimony becomes worthless.

Quite frankly, by refusing to testify to Congress while freely giving testimony to the Department of Justice when only the latter could prosecute her, she has demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that she is engaging in a political cover up. She will continue to engage in this cover up until she is credibly threatened with consequences worse than the current administration can apply.

Giving Lerner immunity from prosecution without a credible threat of legal consequences will simply result in her falling on the metaphorical sword to protect the President.

Fri May 23 14:39:12 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Abuse of Power

It seems that soliciting prostitutes in foreign countries is insufficiently abusive for the Secret Service. They have advanced to conducting surveillance operations on the enemies of their Director's personal assistant.


Fri May 23 14:11:57 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Democrats seek to restart funding for anti-gun research

Two Congressional Democrats are unveiling legislation this morning that would restart the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's gun violence research efforts... The new legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) in the House, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate, would give the CDC $10 million a year "for the purpose of conducting or supporting research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention."

To Democrats, "firearms safety or gun violence prevention" means preventing people from owning guns. The funding for the Center for Disease Control's anti-gun "research" was cut because it was producing horrible research that attempted to treat gun ownership as a "disease" that resulted in increased risk of death for people who were around guns.

Any sane person knows that a gun is an inanimate object, not a disease. Scientific techniques that doctors use to study diseases in humans don't work nearly as well when applied to inanimate objects. That's why Congress should not fund attempts by misguided scientists operating outside of their area of expertise to attack fundamental rights.

Fri May 23 13:55:44 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

You know what I think?

I think we should put the EPA in charge of developing an ipad application to control the world's climate. They can spend a few million on climate models and pretty graphics -- funded by firing everyone mentioned in this article -- then give the app to Obama. Obama can then spend the next two years playing the climate-enabled version of Civilization while the rest of the country gets back to work. If any legislation needs signing -- like, say, a declaration of war against Putin -- well, as Obama keeps saying, he has an autopen.

Fri May 23 13:44:19 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Go ahead, raise the minimum wage...

... just don't imagine you'll see any of it. You can be replaced, after all.

Fri May 23 13:42:56 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Gura files second writ of mandamus in DC Carry Case

The case is Palmer v District of Columbia, and the case has been pending in DC's lower courts since October of 2009 -- almost five years, an unusually long wait. The first judge who heard oral arguments retired without ruling; it has been 2 years since the second judge heard oral arguments and promised a decision "within a short period of time".

At present time, DC's law is the only law in the nation that prohibits carry of firearms by ordinary citizens for self-defense completely. Most jurisdictions are shall-issue and anyone with a clean record can carry by filling out a form and perhaps taking some training. The remaining states are may-issue, meaning the government can choose who gets to carry or not -- but at least some citizens can carry. Only DC bans carry completely.

Fri May 23 13:39:12 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A campaign finance witch hunt

Wisconsin’s sordid episode began, appropriately, with a sound of tyranny — fists pounding on the doors of private citizens in pre-dawn raids. While sheriff’s deputies used floodlights to illuminate the citizens’ homes, armed raiders seized documents, computers, cellphones and other devices.

All this for a witch hunt about campaign finance laws.

This is why we don't need campaign finance laws. All they do is allow government to restrict speech by anyone who isn't already a candidate, which has the effect of preventing support for anyone challenging an incumbent. Funny how that works out, isn't it?

Fri May 23 13:11:57 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS announces revisions to 501(c)4 rules likely

Last November, Treasury and the IRS proposed a new regulation governing political activity of section 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposal generated over 150,000 written comments — the most comments ever received by Treasury and IRS on a proposed tax regulation. Consistent with our standard rulemaking process, we intend to review those comments carefully, take into account public feedback, and consider any necessary changes. Consistent with what Commissioner Koskinen has previously stated, it is likely that we will make some changes to the proposed regulation in light of the comments we have received. Given the diversity of views expressed and the volume of substantive input, we have concluded that it would be more efficient and useful to hold a public hearing after we publish the revised proposed regulation. Treasury and the IRS remain committed to providing updated standards for tax-exemption that are fair, clear, and easier to administer.

Let's not celebrate victory yet. It sounds to me like they want to push this rule change to after the election.

Fri May 23 12:57:56 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Chipotle just wants to be left out of the debate

In a statement provided to Business Insider, they emphasized this in their first paragraph:

The issue of gun ownership or gun rights has become one of the most contentious debates in the country. Chipotle has never taken a position on this issue, as we focus instead on our mission to change the way people think about and eat fast food.

And closed with:

The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request. And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.

We always welcome the exchange of ideas and opinions: it is one of the many things that make our country such a special place. But this issue is not central to the operation of our business, and we do not feel that our restaurants should be used as a platform for either side of the debate.

It's not so much a victory for the Bossy Mommies as it is a politely worded request not to scare off their customers and leave them out of the political debate.

Which is fine.

I'll have to stop by the local Chipotle and see if they have posted the legally required 30.60 or 51% signage. As of 30 seconds ago, there are no hits for Chipotle on

Fri May 23 12:55:44 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ted Cruz for President

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party.

"Everybody's gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing," Mr. Paul said in an interview. "I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people."

Sorry, Rand. I'm a libertarian, but I believe in election integrity. I have linked on this blog to many examples of voter fraud taking place.

Fri May 23 12:44:19 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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