Willow Grove JSB (Formerly Naval Air Station) Closes

A local aviation related story is that one of our historic military landmarks for the area has closed:

Seven military aircraft powered up their engines and taxied slowly along the runway, as if hesitant to leave the ground.

Yet one by one, the hulking C-130 turboprop, the nimble A-10 Thunderbolt, and an assortment of other helicopters and jet fighters took off – hurtling down the 8,000-foot stretch of pavement for what would ultimately be a one-way trip.

“Willow Grove, thanks for the 68 years of dedicated service,” a radio trafficker’s voice squawked as the last plane disappeared into a gray afternoon sky.

Then, the runway lights went dark.

Given that the entire history of modern aviation is only about a century old, Willow Grove has been around for most of it. I went to air shows there as a kid, and more recently, back when they were doing that. The Pentagon has wanted to close it for a while, but local Congress Critters always lobbied to keep it open. What will happen to the base is uncertain, but there’s been talk of using it as an alternate airport to take pressure off of Philadelphia International Airport, which is the 11th busiest airport in the world.

On FAA Budgeting Matters

This is one of those times I’ll wander away from guns and into my sort of side-interest in aviation. Someone e-mails Instapundit in regards to an FAA bill:

There is also an automatic assumption that “privatizing” air traffic will somehow always be more cost effective than what we are already doing. It’s an article of faith, much like Socialists/Communists always seem to think that their system will work (despite a century of mass graves, economic failure, and oppression) if only the right people were running things. The world already has a wide variety of air traffic control systems in use. There are public, private, and public/private air traffic systems all around the world. The US system has the lowest cost per operation in the developed world. We also have the safest system, while running more traffic than the rest of the world combined. Rather than automatically demonizing people that are trying to improve what is already the safest, busiest, and most cost-effective air traffic system in the world, I’d ask your readers to find the working business model out there in the world that will out-perform what we are doing now. Not just an automatic assumption that a private enterprise just has to be more efficient, but a system in use somewhere else. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I am from Missouri on this. Show me. Or should we just assume that it will be more efficient if the right people are running it?

Glenn notes that Canada has a private ATC system, and I believe Eurocontrol is a private consortium as well. I’m not well familiar with how these systems operate, but I suspect there’s still a very high degree of public control.

One fear I would have of privatized air traffic control would be that the large scheduled carriers would dominate any consortium. Those large carriers would have no incentive to allow general aviation or even smaller scheduled or non-scheduled carriers to use their system at anything close to a reasonable price. A completely private system would essentially be handing a public resource, namely the skies, over to private interests who have bad incentives to monopolize the resource as much as possible.

Typically when we do things like this, such as for rights-of-ways for wires and pipes, we regulate them as public utilities. This kind of regulated market is not really a free market in any recognizable sense, and given that, it’s hard to see the case for privatization from a free market perspective.

More on Delaware Issues

Some follow up on the post yesterday about some gun related bills getting a hearing in Delaware comes to us from the President of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, John J. Thompson:

As the president of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association please let me assure you that [HB 46] is anything  but harmless.  The  police have allowed the problem to occur.  They make no effort whatsoever to notify the firearm owner that the firearm may be retrieved.  When they have possession of other  types of personal property the police contact the owner so as to return the items.  Current law already provides a procedure for the disposition of abandoned property.  The police refuse to use it.

Please do not be confused by the use of the term disposal.  The Governor published a set of frequently asked questions and is his answer to one he made it clear that the sale of abandoned firearms was not an option because public safety forbids putting guns back on the street.  At today’s hearing the Governor’s spokesperson, only after being cornered, admitted that all firearms would be destroyed.   The sentiments expressed is his answer could easily be applied to all firearms because he made it clear that guns in the the hands of law abiding citizens present a threat to public safety.  Remember this is the same Governor that believes that residents of public housing are second class citizens and are not capable of having firearms in their homes.

That changes my view on HB 46. I wasn’t very aware how authorities in Delaware were currently treating the issue, but needless to say a bill that forces police to destroy guns that could otherwise be sold to the law abiding is unacceptable. A bill that allows police to destroy the guns after failing to make a good faith effort to return them is unconscionable.

I recant my previous statement based on what this means in actual practice and suggest folks oppose HB 46.

Being un-PC

I’m not always the biggest fan of Congressman Don Young. But when I read his comments about why he is publicly declining an award from HSUS, I *heart* him.

Alaskan Congressman Don Young refused an award this evening from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund that would have honored his work for animals in 2010. While capitalizing on the good work of local humane societies that shelter, spay, and neuter animals, the HSUS does not own, operate, or directly control a single animal shelter in our country, despite a budget of well over $100 million.

“HSUS are hypocrites, plain and simple, and I will not join them by accepting this award,” said Rep. Young. “Local animal shelters and humane societies do excellent work by caring for neglected and homeless animals, and through their spaying and neutering programs. This organization, however, has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. Instead they prey on the emotions of big-hearted Americans. They flash images of abused animals on our television screens to raise money that will eventually go to pay their salaries and pensions, not to helping better the lives of these animals. They run anti-hunting and anti-trapping campaigns and are of the same cloth as PETA and other extremist organizations. I can only guess that I was to receive this award due to my support of the Wildlife Without Borders program, which develops wildlife management and conservation efforts to maintain global species diversity. That program is true conservation; what this group wants is preservation. To accept this award would be supporting their manipulative ways and misguided agenda, and I want no part of that.”

Because HSUS is so good at what they do – lying & misleading Americans into believing that they are giving to help their local shelters – it’s really tough for a politician to take a stand against them. It’s times like this that I remember Ronald Reagan’s attitude on political agreement.

Possible Problems in Attorney General Race

Several of the candidates mentioned in this article would be a disaster for us. Dan McCaffery has the backing of Bob Brady, meaning he’s cozy with the Philadelphia political machine who are no friends of ours. Lynne Abraham was not friendly to gun rights during her tenure as District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia, and Patrick Murphy’s gun control credentials have been well documented here.

The only unknown is Kathleen Granhan Kane, who was a prosecutor in Clarks Summit, near Scranton. I have no idea what her position is on Second Amendment issues. Considering how high profile the Attorney General is, and the amount of policy under that office’s control, it’s important that we keep that in pro-2A hands. So far the Democratic contenders do not impress me. We’re fortunate that since the Attorney General has been subject to popular election (by the Attorney General Act in 1980) that office has never been held by a Democrat. But we should not take anything for granted. The office is too important.

If World War II Were Fought Today

I’ve been a regular reader of Belmont Club since the early part of the last decade. I am amused by a comment of his, that I thought I’d share it here:

It’s a good thing we’re smarter now than back in the old days. If World War 2 were being fought today, I’d fully expect to see the following headlines:

“Obama plans surprise attack on Normandy Beach. Officials say deception plan will fool Nazis into defending Calais”

“White House sources say the President has signed a secret finding declaring regime change in the Empire of Japan necessary to protect Malayan civilians.”

“OSS agents discuss French cuisine, postwar cookbook authoring plans.”

“Pentagon officials refused to confirm or deny that the super-secret B-29 bomber is carrying an Atomic Bomb. They say that while it remains a national objective to defeat the Empire of Japan, their primary objective remains the protection of Malayan civilians.”

“Good morning Mr. and Mrs. America and all the s**t at sea.”


In reference to the post here.


Reasonable Redistricting

It looks like the GOP might not get greedy in the redistricting process for Pennsylvania. That’s a good thing. When they tried it 10 years ago, the Democrat who was supposed to lose his seat in a “safe” GOP district with an incumbent managed to hang on. And he’s still there. That’s a lesson the party folks needed to learn since the GOP has control of the House, Senate, and Governor’s office.

Politico reports that they believe the redistricting process will rework PA-4 & PA-12 – Jason Altmire & Mark Critz (used to be John Murtha’s district). On the gun issue, it’s a not really a loss. Both are good on the gun votes. On one hand, we lose one pro-gun Democrat in the process, but we would likely lose one anyway if they tried to merge any of the seats with the anti-gun Rep. Mike Doyle in PA-14. It also makes the most sense since that is the corner of the state that is actually losing population – not “not gaining as rapidly” as is the case in most lose-a-seat scenarios, but actually losing.

They are also talking about creating a very long district for PA-17 to include Scranton. It would tighten up the Democratic seat, but give a chance to make Lou Barletta in PA-11 a little more safe. The downside for gun owners is that it sets up a potential primary challenge to pro-gun Democrat Tim Holden by an extremely anti-gun Scranton mayor.

Here in our little corner of the world, they don’t seem to want to pit two Philly Dems against each other. It makes sense given the population numbers. It does appear, according to Politico, that they will dump the heavily Democratic neighborhoods from our district, as well as PA-7 and PA-6 – Pat Meehan & Jim Gerlach. That would be very handy, indeed.

And for any Iowans, get ready for your big day tomorrow!

Saying Thanks

Someone e-mailed me asking to pass this along to everyone. Dave Hardy has it here, so I’ll reprint his post:

Harold Volkmer, the very pro-gun former Missouri Congressman, played a key role in the evolution of the gun rights movement. His biggest feat came in pushing the Firearm Owners Protection Act thru the House, at time when the leadership (including Peter Rodino, chairman of House Judiciary Committee, who announced “the bill is dead on arrival in the House”) was in solid opposition. He won a discharge petition (almost impossible under the rules at the time), got it to the floor, led the fight that defeated a rival and much weaker bill and essentially led the revolt that beat his own party’s leadership.

The Congressman’s 80th birthday is April 4. He just survived a serious bout with pneumonia, weeks in the hospital, and will be returning to Missouri tomorrow to finish recuperation. His friends and family want to see that he gets a blizzard of birthday best wishes. His address will be:

Congressman Harold Volkmer
Beth-Haven Nursing Home
2500 Pleasant St.
Hannibal, Missouri 63401

Given what he’s done for us all, I think it’s the least we could do.