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Do You Support a Constitutional Convention?

Early in the 20th Century, the Progressives ran through a slew of Constitutional Amendments, including authorizing an income tax, direct election of Senators, Prohibition, and Women’s Suffrage. Many conservatives are calling for a Constitutional Convention of the States, where Amendments would be directly proposed. We discussed this a few weeks ago in regards to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s proposals. Such a convention could provide an opportunity to clarify the rights protected by the Second Amendment, and make it clear to the courts the right is to be taken seriously. Now Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame has an article in USA Today talking about the idea of a new Constitutional Convention.

As I said, I have my doubts about Abbott’s proposals. I find many of them self-serving from a politician’s point of view. For instance, we shouldn’t make it harder for judges to strike down unconstitutional laws, which Abbott’s proposals would do.

Like Prof. Reynolds, I’m not quite ready to endorse the idea of another convention, but it’s starting to sound like it’s not such a bad idea. When you consider that any proposed amendments would still need to be ratified by 3/4 of the states, it doesn’t sound quite as dangerous as it could be if we just had to eat whatever came out of the sausage grinder.

What do you think? Should we emulate the progressives inaugurate our young century with a flurry of constitutional amendments?

One Mention of Guns in State of the Union

After an enthusiastic day of promoting this #EmptyChair hash tag, President Obama makes one mention of “gun violence” in the State of the Union, and never even bothers to mention or explain the empty chair symbolism. If anyone was playing along with the drinking game, you could have gone all the way to double shots of Everclear for your “drink” and still only gotten a minor buzz. I was surprised.

I was surprised by how much of the SOTU was about him. He needed a third arm for all the time he spent patting himself on the back. I don’t know if the gun control folks ever feel like chumps, but if you don’t, you should, because you are. He doesn’t care about your cause. He doesn’t care about your loss. This is all about him, and you’ve been played.

 

State of the Union Drinking Game

By the time we get to a President’s last SOTU before Congress, it pretty much doesn’t matter the party, I’m generally sick of seeing their faces and listening to their crap. Both Obama and Bush were tiresome. If we have President Trump at least I’ll tune in to see what crazy shit he has to say. I don’t know whether Trump would make a good president, but he is at least entertaining. But I figure we could do a little drinking game. I’ll be playing along on Twitter if anyone wants to follow along, and since I don’t have anywhere to go, and have a heroic liver.

Take one drink if he says:

  • Common sense in a gun context
  • Gun violence
  • Gun safety
  • Gun lobby

Take two drinks if:

  • Points out a victim of gun violence in the audience. Yes, if he says any of the other one drink items, this is additive.
  • Mentions anything about believing in or respecting the Second Amendment.
  • Mentions how this doesn’t happen in other countries.
  • Mentions how much gun owners support his measures.

Take three drinks if:

  • Scolds Congress for a lack of action on gun violence.
  • Starts crying.
  • Makes any reference to the NRA by name.

Chug the bottle if he:

  • Pulls out his own roscoe and starts waving it around at Congress threatening them if they don’t do something about gun violence.

Good luck! And remember kids, drink responsibility and don’t drink and drive. Which probably means you shouldn’t play this game. I’m not sure there is any responsible way to play this, and if he does pull a rod, I certainly won’t be held responsible!

Harrisburg & The Great American Outdoor Show’s Showdown

Merriam-Webster defines extortion as “the act or practice of extorting especially money or other property; especially: the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice.”

The mayor of Harrisburg who has made clear that he hates NRA and its members went to the press whining that NRA isn’t engaging in pay-for-play for hosting the Great American Outdoor Show in his town.

As part of the deal with the county to host the show, NRA did agree to support regional grants in accordance with the typical rules of the NRA Foundation’s policies and by-laws. Just like your local Friends of NRA banquet gives at least 50% of the money to regional grant requests, the Great American Outdoor Show program is following the same model.

Harrisburg’s mayor is fuming that NRA is holding true to the agreement and his city isn’t the automatic, pre-determined grant winner every year. Apparently, NRA did make the offer to fund a smaller grant this year, but the Mayor threw a hissy fit when he learned they wouldn’t agree to make that a set fund for him annually in direct violation of the NRA Foundation’s by-laws. So, he seems to have rejected their grant offer.

The city officials are fuming since they thought the cash would pad their budgets each year, and now they learn that other worthy area entities in need will benefit. This will not stand for Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Police Chief Thomas Carter who believed they would be the exclusive beneficiaries of the grant request process. As it is, NRA already pays somewhere around $200,000 in amusement taxes to the city and school district. Plus, the city gets the tax revenue from the millions brought in by vendors, hotels, eateries, and other sales associated with the event. But that’s not good enough.

So, when the Mayor and Police Chief were angered to learn that the rules and by-laws wouldn’t be bent to hand the cash to them, they demanded a bigger payoff in other forms. They wanted to increase the rate that NRA would have to pay for off-duty police officers to assist with the event. Since the rate was apparently agreed to be on the low side, NRA offered to pay more, working up to a 33% increase over the next three years. This was not acceptable to the City, and the mayor demanded an immediate 67% increase. Since the rate the Mayor wanted apparently wasn’t remotely market rate compared to even larger cities, NRA has now turned to the county and departments from other cities who will likely gladly take the money. Harrisburg now loses $10,000 in fees associated with that deal.

However, that wouldn’t stop officers from taking vacation time to work the NRA show, something that has apparently been done with the support of the department for nearly 30 years. Since Harrisburg has now declared war on the Great American Outdoor Show, the Police Chief is banning his officers from taking vacation during that period so they can’t earn extra money from the huge event. He’s also going to mandate overtime to more patrolling to try and keep them away.

While the behavior may not meet a legal criminal definition of extortion, it sure does seem to me like the quotes in the article by the mayor and police chief fit the spirit of the dictionary definition of the term.

Other people’s political capital

From an LA Times piece, we get the following quote on why President Obama is looking into unilateral executive action on gun control:

“If this succeeds, it will save lives. If it fails legally, the cost is only political,” [Senator Christopher] Murphy [D-Conn] said. “When you’re talking about weighing lives saved versus political capital lost, it’s a no-brainer.”

What Senator Murphy says about political capital is true – the cost of this effort will be counted in political capital. What he’s not saying is that it’s not the President’s political capital that will pay; it’s the political capital of the Democratic party. The President has spent a lot of political capital over the past 7 years, but very little of it has been his own. It’s been the capital of the Democratic party. And by gambling with the Democratic political capital, he’s been able to force the Republicans to match, raise, or fold. If he wins, he gets the credit (and the capital). If he loses, well, it’s all someone else’s fault. Which is a neat trick. I’m still a little surprised that the congressional Dems are willing to let him draw on their capital to put his name on successes, but leave Congress the failures. The last few years, sticking Congress with the failures means sticking the Republicans with it, admittedly, but still.

This is another one of his Heads I win, tails You lose gambits. He’s going to try, and if it doesn’t work, then it’s the work of The Enemy, who wants Dead Babies.Which makes sense for his future aspirations (global talking head), but is yet another drip of corrosive in the mechanism of politics. Après moi le déluge, indeed.

Former NRA-A-Rated Ohio Governor Flips on Guns

Ted Strickland got high marks from NRA during his tenure as Governor, but now that he’s running in a Dem primary he’s changed his views to back gun control.

“Ted’s views about gun violence and gun safety have been deeply influenced as a result of the multiple horrific incidents of gun violence that our country has suffered, and particularly after the Sandy Hook tragedy (in Connecticut).

“Just like many Americans, after Sandy Hook, he called for a reassessment of laws in order to help keep Ohioans and all Americans safer,” Bergstein said.

Yeah, I’m sure running in a Dem primary where Bloomberg money can be had has nothing at all to do with his election year conversion of the issue. Remember folks, politicians are rank opportunists. Don’t believe a Republican’s support on this issue is any less shallow. Politicians pursue what they feel is in their best interests, and like it or not, Bloomberg and Obama have convinced Dems that supporting gun control is in their best interests. Remember these wise words from Milton Friedman:

I’m here with some bread …

… just waiting for the circus to start. Open thread on the GOP debate.

Sad But True

As much as I hate to mark Pearl Harbor day with such irreverence, sadly, this is what we’ve come to as a country:

Obama7th

Gun Stocks Rally After Obama Gun Control Speech

President Obama went on the air last night to reassure the nation he totally had this ISIS thing under control, and also to lecture us once again on gun control.

Lo and behold, gun stocks rally. Just when you wonder whether Obama’s talent for selling guns and NRA memberships can’t possibly hit new highs, it does hit new highs.

Pat Toomey Goes for More Gun Control

CeaseFire PA is bragging that Sen. Pat Toomey called them with promises of pushing more gun control as he goes into his final year of this term.

As you may recall, the gun control legislation that Pat Toomey actually authored is not at all what Pat Toomey tells voters he’s backing. Toomey’s numbers were already anemic at best. I don’t see how telling American gun owners that they need to give up their gun rights in light of a terrorist shooting is good politics.

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