Monday, August 8, 2011

Women's History Museum drama

Two things:
First, I don't care if this costs taxpayers money or not: this is a damn fine investment and way overdue.
Second, no matter if Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn get their panties in a twist, a women's history museum in this country that doesn't prominently include Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug isn't worth spit.

Well, that's another Hill job that I won't be getting.

House leadership announces the end of the Page program. Because that $5,000,000 a year can probably be better spent than encouraging the very few children who still believe in the institution of Congress.

Friday, August 5, 2011

This Week in Radical Gundamentalism, Pt. II

Looks like Mitt Romney hit the bullseye with his five-year plan to get the gun lobby to ignore his past positions and accept his candidacy. A number of conservative legal scholars and practitioners just signed a letter endorsing Mitt and forming a new advisory group for legal affairs. The big news has been that the effort is being directed by famous failed nominee and Nixon hatchet man Robert Bork. But buried a little deeper is that Alan Gura, the E.F. Hutton of the gun law set ("when Alan Gura talks, gun deregulation fans listen"), is also joining the cause.

Gura is best known for winning the District of Columbia v. Heller case, establishing that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to gun ownership, and his part in the Chicago gun control law case that led Heller's holding to be extended to every state. His support might go a long way toward soothing over some hurt feelings over past slights. I'd be interested in learning how Romney bagged Gura's support, in case any enterprising young reporters out there are looking for a story.

Marijuana Legalization Initiative Kept Off Ohio Ballot

The same thing happened to Ralph Nader in 2008: a shockingly high number of petitions were deemed invalid for a variety of reasons. I wonder if there's a higher than average signature rejection rate in Ohio:
COLUMBUS — An effort to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio was stopped in its tracks Wednesday when supporters failed to get enough valid signatures on petitions, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.
The proposal needed 1,000 signatures, but just 534 of the 2,134 turned in by supporters were deemed to be valid, according to a release to the media from DeWine’s office. That's about a 75% rejection rate for signatures. I've seen quite a few blog posts and tweets laughing about this as though the petitioners were just stoned slacktivists who didn't step up to the challenge. But getting over 200% of required signatures seems pretty on-the-ball to me. Something about this feels off.

This Week in Radical Gundamentalism

Whenever someone suggests good policy that will make lives better without in any way impacting our core Second Amendment freedoms, you can bet the NRA will get their asses in gear...

WASHINGTON -- The gun industry plans to file lawsuits on Wednesday challenging requirements that weapons dealers along the U.S. border with Mexico report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles, escalating the fight with the Obama administration.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last month ordered more than 8,000 gun dealers in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California to report such sales to try to stem the "iron river" of guns flowing to the violent Mexican drug cartels.

Dealers are required to report sales of two or more rifles to the same person at one time or during any five business days for semi-automatic weapons greater than .22 caliber and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine.

Does it ban multiple rifle sales? No. Does it require permanent records of all firearms ownership? No. All the rule says is that the purchase of more than one semi-automatic rifle over .22 caliber within a week will create a modicum of extra paperwork for dealers and a small chance of added scrutiny for buyers. And in this the NRA finds a grave threat to liberty.

Here's the important thing to keep in mind about this rule: it doesn't infringe the right to keep and bear arms in the slightest. You know how I know that? Because it doesn't affect anyone in any way until they've purchased a second firearm. Those who want to have a rifle for lawful purposes can still do so. Those who want multiple rifles for lawful purposes can still get them, either immediately with a little extra thoroughness from the government, or over a longer period and without the additional scrutiny.

Why bother challenging this rule at all? It makes good sense and doesn't risk gun owners' rights in any real way.

This video should become the next bunker scene from "Downfall"

Ask Lily a question that takes about 19-20 seconds, then let her give her opinion.

(This video is part of the Slow Clap for Congress Project, at

Yes, I have sinned.

I committed the cardinal sin of blogging: I left for an extended hiatus. I was studying for the Maryland Bar, which I took last week. Results come out in November. This seems needlessly cruel.

Anyhow, I'm back. Hi.

He asks unanimous consent to revise and extend.

Given that over 1,400 millionaires paid no income taxes last year, I wonder if Rick Warren wants to amend his earlier Tweet:

New tax data from the Internal Revenue service shows that in 2009, incomes fell, unemployment claims rose, and the U.S. economy shed nearly two million taxpayers.

And of the 235,413 taxpayers who earned $1 million or more in 2009, 1,470 of them paid no taxes.

Remember, Pastor Rick "The Poor Will Always Be Worth Less" Warren tweeted last month that "HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero. So they’re happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes.” As countless commenters immediately noted, everyone pays at least sales taxes, and plenty of wealthy Americans are calling for a return to a prudent tax policy. But now we have yet another way to show that Rick Warren knows not of what he tweets.