Monday, May 31, 2010

Michigan considers law to license journalists

(Fox News) - A Michigan lawmaker wants to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”

Senator Bruce Patterson is introducing legislation that will regulate reporters much like the state does with hairdressers, auto mechanics and plumbers. Patterson, who also practices constitutional law, says that the general public is being overwhelmed by an increasing number of media outlets -- traditional, online and citizen generated -- and an even greater amount misinformation.

(Full story)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

We have too many laws, and too many cops willing to enforce them

I'm sure many, if not most, men and women who join the police force do so because they believe they are actually helping to make their neighborhoods safer. Unfortunately, too few police officers are willing to question the tasks they are expected to perform.

Consider what happened last year in Haverford Township, Pennsylvania. Seven neighborhood kids, in the spirit of traditional American entrepreneurship, set up a lemonade stand. But, alas, this is 21st-century America, and some people have a problem with that kind of freedom. A local resident was offended by the display of unbridled capitalism and summoned the cops, who promptly shut down the stand because the kids failed to get a permit. Talk about making lemons out of lemonade.

You see, in order to engage in the exchange of goods and services in the Land of the Free, permission must first be obtained from the state and the requisite extortion paid to the proper authorities. That's the kind of "law" cops are expected to enforce -- and they do so willingly. "I am," the cop will say, "just doing my job."

The punch line to the story is that when the cops actually bothered to research the law they were supposedly enforcing, they discovered that it was perfectly legal for those kids to sell lemonade without a permit. In Haverford Township, a permit is only required for those 16 years of age or older. What the kids experienced that day on their neighborhood street was just a taste of what they will have to deal with on a daily basis in a few short years. Enjoy your freedom while it lasts, kids.

We could examine incidents of police beatings, Tasings, botched drug raids, and countless other examples to see the erosion of freedom, but somehow the shutting down of a lemonade stand run by children drives home the point that government control reaches into every aspect of our lives. The fact is that we live in a country of too many laws, and when those charged with enforcing those law can't even keep them straight, you know we're in trouble.

Friday, May 28, 2010

NY court rules in favor of man killed by police

NEW YORK (AP) - The mother of a man killed by police a decade ago during a drug raid was awarded nearly $3 million on Thursday by a Bronx appeals court.

Malcolm Ferguson, 23, was shot in the head by a narcotics officer in 2000. Police said he was a drug suspect who struggled when they stopped him. Prosecutors called the shooting an accident and did not charge the officer.

(Full story)

Libertarian teen announces candidacy for mayor

(Shreveport Times) - A Shreveport teen and part-time preacher announced Thursday his plans to seek the office of mayor.

Parker Ward, who said he is an incoming senior at Huntington High School, will run as a Libertarian, he said during an event at Catfish Landing restaurant, 7601 Pines Road.

The 18-year-old hopes, if elected, to ensure that the city spends only as much as it brings in, to bring more businesses and jobs to Shreveport and to assure Shreveporters that local police will honor the Fourth Amendment — which guards citizens against unreasonable searches.

(Full story)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oakland police banned from amateur boxing events

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Trouble at an amateur boxing match has resulted in Oakland police being banned from future events.

The head of the International Association of Boxing says after a fracas at the Sacramento Radisson Friday night, Oakland police officers will be banned from fights sanctioned by the association until tape of the incident is reviewed.

(Full story)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baker County woman sues after Rolex goes missing at TSA checkpoint

(Florida Times-Union) - Imagine being ordered by airport security workers to put your very expensive watch on a scanning belt, over your objections. Then imagine going to retrieve it and it’s gone.

A Baker County woman says that experience at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia last year cost her a $24,000 Rolex her husband saved up to buy her on her 50th birthday.

(Full story)

Cameras no show in court

(Athens Banner-Herald) - Lawyer Regina Quick, defending two clients from charges that they were photographed running red lights, subpoenaed five traffic cameras at the West Broad Street-Alps Road intersection to testify that her clients did indeed barge through on red.

"I didn't observe them as they came in, so I don't believe they'll be appearing," Quick said.

(Full story)

New York Assembly looks at millionaire's tax

( - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is reportedly pitching a plan for an increased "millionaire's tax" aimed at 75-85 thousand New Yorkers making $1 million or more a year.

Political columnist Fred Dicker , who appeared on Wednesday's Good Day New York, says Silver secretly proposed a $1 billion tax hike on the highest income earners to Gov. Paterson.

(Full story)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pushy fliers may show up on TSA's radar

WASHINGTON (USA Today) - Airline passengers who get frustrated and kick a wall, throw a suitcase or make a pithy comment to a screener could find themselves in a little-known Homeland Security database.

The Transportation Security Administration says it is keeping records of people who make its screeners feel threatened as part of an effort to prevent workplace violence.

(Full story)

Rule change would make it easier to force unions on workers

(The Hill) - Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said Monday he wants to stop a federal rule change by the Obama administration that could make it easier for railway and airline employees to form unions.

The National Mediation Board issued its final rule Monday that changed how workers could unionize at companies covered by the Railway Labor Act. Originally, a majority of workers at a company covered by the law had to vote for a union while those not voting were counted as "no" votes.

Under the new rule made final on Monday, if a majority of workers who cast votes said they wanted to form a union, the company would be unionized.

(Full story)

Monday, May 24, 2010

U.S. plans naval exercises with South Korea

(AFP) - The US military on Monday said it will carry out anti-submarine and other naval exercises with South Korea in the "near future" after a North Korean sub sank a South Korean warship.

The announcement came after an international investigation last week concluded that a North Korean submarine fired a heavy torpedo at the Cheonan on March 26, sinking the South Korean vessel and killing 46 sailors.

(Full story)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No such thing as a "New World Order"

The conspiracy nuts have it all wrong. There is no "New World Order." According to President Obama, we are all part of a "New International Order."

Glad we got that straight.

Mainstream media lying about Rand Paul

MSNBC has even gone so far as to release a fraudulent transcript of Paul's interview with Rachel Maddow.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Congress urges more attention to high school concussions

WASHINGTON (AP) - Young people who suffer concussions are at greater risk of long-term physical and mental consequences, lawmakers were told Thursday at a hearing on head injuries to high school athletes.

Michelle Pelton, a former high school basketball and softball player from Swansea, Mass., related to the House Education and Labor Committee how her life had been affected by the five concussions she had sustained.

(Full story)

Mexico's Calderón tells Congress he needs U.S. help in fighting drug wars

(Washington Post) - Mexican President Felipe Calderón, speaking to a joint session of Congress Thursday, pleaded for more help in limiting the flow of weapons to Mexico, saying they were contributing to the devastating drug violence in his country.

In a speech punctuated by applause and standing ovations, Calderón thanked lawmakers for providing hundreds of millions of dollars to bolster his country's fight against drug gangs. He emphasized his government's resolve to confront the narco-traffickers, who have killed more than 20,000 people in Mexico in recent years.

(Full story)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

U.S. science body urges action on climate

WASHINGTON (NY Times) - In its most comprehensive study so far, the nation's leading scientific body declared on Wednesday that climate change is a reality and is driven mostly by human activity, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

The group, the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued three reports describing the case for a harmful human influence on the global climate as overwhelming and arguing for strong immediate action to limit emissions of climate-altering gases in the United States and around the world — including the creation of a carbon pricing system.

(Full story)

Groups spar over car black boxes as Congress mulls auto safety bill

(Washington Post) - A proposal to equip all new cars with "black boxes" to record crash data has emerged as a key point of dispute between the industry and safety groups as Congress weighs an expansive auto safety bill.

With both sides showing support for making black boxes mandatory, their appearance in all cars in the coming years seems increasingly likely. But automakers and safety advocates disagree over the extent of the data the devices should collect and over the extent they should be able to survive the worst of crashes.

(Full story)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Temporary" tax hikes being used to fill budget gaps

(USA Today) - Many states and cities coping with hard times are asking residents to open their wallets for the latest fashion in taxation — the temporary tax.

Governments are raising taxes for a specific period of time and promising the hikes will go away when good times return.

(Full story)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Supreme Court upholds federal government's commitment power

(The Volokh Conspiracy) - This morning the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States v. Comstock, a challenge to the federal government's authority to civilly commit a "sexually dangerous" federal prisoner beyond the time of his sentence. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the federal government lacked such authority within its enumerated powers. The Supreme Court disagreed, voting 7–2 to uphold the federal government's commitment power under the Necessary & Proper Clause.

(Full story)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

7-year-old girl killed in Detroit police raid

(CNN) - Police in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday expressed "profound sorrow" at the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in a police raid.

Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by police executing a search warrant as part of a homicide investigation, Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said in a statement.

(Full story)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New terror monitors: parking attendants

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Parking attendants and meter maids could be the nation's latest line of defense against terrorist attacks.

A new government program aims to train thousands of parking industry employees nationwide to watch for and report anything suspicious — abandoned cars, for example, or people hanging around garages, taking photographs or asking unusual questions.

(Full story)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Health care law's massive, hidden tax change

NEW YORK (CNN) - An all-but-overlooked provision of the health reform law is threatening to swamp U.S. businesses with a flood of new tax paperwork.

Section 9006 of the health care bill -- just a few lines buried in the 2,409-page document -- mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year.

(Full story)

Bomb scare briefly closes Union Square

NEW YORK (NY Times) - The police cleared a portion of the Union Square area late Thursday after a Consolidated Edison employee reported seeing two gasoline canisters in the back of an Oldsmobile Cutlass that was parked in front of the utility company’s headquarters, law enforcement officials said.

But the car, and the gas cans, belonged to a man who mows lawns for a living, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman. The authorities lifted the evacuation at 12:45 a.m. Friday, about two and a half hours after the report was called in.

(Full story)

Obama asks Congress to aid Israel defenses

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is asking Congress for $205 million to help Israel build a new rocket defense system.

Israel's "Iron Dome" system is meant to intercept rockets from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

(Full story)

Bill in Congress could limit direct wine shipments

LOWDEN, Wash. (AP) - Gordon and Sandee Schnell had a hard time until the state changed its rules in 2001 and allowed wineries to buy permits to ship directly to residents — one case of wine per person, per month.

But now Congress is considering legislation that could limit wineries' ability to sell and ship directly to consumers. The wholesale distributors who proposed the legislation say it will keep wine from minors, limit alcohol consumption and ensure states control sales.

(Full story)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Council on Foreign Relations propaganda video

According to this video, we're supposed to view the CFR as a "tremendously valuable resource," not just for those who make public policy, but also for us as individuals when we make personal decisions.

No thanks.

Congress seeks to punish U.S. goverment contractors for business with Iran

WASHINGTON (AHN) - A Senate committee discussed options during a hearing Wednesday for penalizing foreign companies that hold U.S. government contracts while still doing business with Iran.

The Senate hearing follows a Government Accountability Office report that found the U.S. government gave contracts worth nearly $880 million to seven foreign companies that dealt with Iran.

(Full story)

Obama administration files first defense of health care law in court

WASHINGTON (AP) - Critics who allege that Congress overstepped the U.S. Constitution by requiring Americans to carry health insurance are "flatly wrong," the Obama administration said Wednesday in its first court defense of the landmark health care law.

Congress acted well within its power to regulate interstate commerce and to provide for the general welfare, Justice Department lawyers argued in a 46-page brief filed in federal district court in Detroit. For the courts to overturn President Barack Obama's signature domestic legislation would amount to unwarranted interference with the policymaking authority of Congress, they added.

(Full story)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Full Fed audit amendment voted down in Senate

The following press release was sent out by Campaign for Liberty:
    Today, the U.S. Senate voted 62 to 37 against an amendment to allow greater transparency at the Federal Reserve.

    This amendment was introduced to counter a weaker amendment that would have required only a one time audit just of Fed emergency programs. The new amendment was similar to the original H.R. 1207 audit bill introduced by Congressman Ron Paul and added to the House financial reform package.

    "The Sanders Amendment is no substitute for a complete and thorough audit of the Fed," said John Tate, President of Campaign for Liberty. "With this vote, we now have a record of those who really want transparency and those who only pay lip-service to it while upholding the status quo."

    If the entire financial regulation bill makes it out of the Senate, it heads to the House, where House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank will choose which version to move forward on.

    "The Dodd bill itself is just another bad piece of legislation, which will benefit no one except the Fed and its friends at big banks," said Tate. "It institutionalizes bailouts for banks and subsidizes risky financial decisions."

    "Despite what happens with the financial regulation bill, we will continue pushing Congress for an up or down vote on H.R. 1207, which is the only full audit to allow true transparency in our financial system."

Click here to see how your senator voted.

The political circle of life


Monday, May 10, 2010

Change to Miranda interrogation laws may be coming, White House says

(NY Daily News) - The White House signaled Sunday it wants to work with Congress to change the way terrorists are interrogated, a hot-button issue made hotter by the attempted Times Square bombing.

"I think we have to look at the rules that we have and look at the situation that we now confront," Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News' "This Week."

(Full story)

Farmers decry plan to restrict sale of unpasteurized milk

( - Massachusetts is proposing a change in the state's standards and sanitation requirements for Grade A raw milk. The rule would bar out-of-town "buying clubs" from purchasing raw milk at dairy farms and then distributing it to others at home.

The measure is part of more than 300 proposed amendments, most of them formatting tweaks or changes to align the state's milk regulations with the national ones, according to Scott J. Soares, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

The proposal that is miffing raw milk consumers and farmers is not really a change at all, he said, but rather a clarification on what is already an illegal practice.

(Full story)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seattle cops stomp on innocent detainee

SEATTLE, Wash. (KIRO TV) - Internal affairs detectives have launched a review after seeing a racially charged videotape of two Seattle police officers stomping on an innocent detainee.

KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne received the footage from a freelance photographer.

(Full story, video)

Disarming of the military a preview of what's to come?

According to this document from a military source, U.S. soldiers will be forced to register all firearms, even those privately owned:
    Requests to store privately owned firearms in family quarters or off-post must be submitted in writing to the assigned unit commander. ... Unit commanders must approve requests in writing. Requests will be kept on file in the unit arms room until sale or transfer of the firearm is provided to the unit commander.
The proposal also calls on the military to "account for and inventory the privately owned arms and ammunition by conducting inventories when inventorying Government arms and ammunition."

It's easy for Washington to justify forcing this kind of gun-control policy on active members of the military. But I can't help but suspect that this is just a preview of what's in store for the rest of us.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Keeping Americans safe...from Canadian shoppers

Just another day in the life of those defending America against terrorists:

Three things should immediately jump out at you as you listen. First, those in the employment of the U.S. government are not required to give a reason for why they are detaining you. You are expected to comply with any and all orders given without question.

Second, this country must be under attack! Note that the border guard interrogating the Canadian citizen (at 6:00 into the recording) says that he personally sees at least three terrorists coming into the United States. Per day. From Canada.

Third, it is considered a criminal act to back away from a federal officer who is trying to manhandle you. Note what is said at the 8:52 mark: "As soon as you pulled away from my officers when they went to grab your arm, that's assault. ... You're going to jail." Makes sense to me.

You see, protecting us from Canadian shoppers is just one of the many dangerous duties performed by the brave men and women of our border patrol. I don't know about you, but I'll certainly sleep better tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Torture by Taser has become standard procedure

The Taser was originally introduced to local law enforcement officers as a less-lethal alternative to the firearm. The idea was to get cops to use it for situations in which they would otherwise shoot to kill. In other words, the Taser, like the gun, was to be a weapon of last resort.

Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), it has become standard procedure to use this device in virtually every situation, even when no threat is posed to anyone. The latest example is the take-down of a Philadelphia Phillies fan who ran out onto the field during a game:

What most people don't seem to understand is that the Taser is actually a reliably lethal torture device. And given that its use is considered to be entirely justified when someone is merely slow to comply with the wishes of a guy in a government-issued costume, you'd think more people would be just a little upset.

Denver poised to pay $40,000 police brutality lawsuit

DENVER, Col. (Justice News Flash) - A case of mistaken identity may cause the Denver City Council to settle a police brutality lawsuit for $40,000, after a man was beaten when he was mistaken for someone else who caused a disturbance at a LoDo nightclub. Eric Winfield was left with multiple injuries after police officers unnecessarily attacked him on the night of October 27, 2007, as reported by the Denver Post.

Winfield, 29, of Denver was at a downtown bar to watch the World Series game between Colorado Rockies and the Boston Red Sox, when he decided to go to his friend's apartment and his sister's downtown apartment after the game. Later on, when Winfield was leaving the downtown area, he followed a friend through a crowd outside Le Rouge. As Winfield was walking through the crowd, a bouncer pointed at him and shouted to police officers "That's him; he's the one." As a result, three Denver police officers began to beat him.

(Full story)

U.S. Marines boot recruits with Confederate tattoos

(WorldNetDaily) - A widely regarded Southern symbol of pride and states' rights is standing in the way of would-be Marines in their quest to serve their country – a Confederate battle flag.

Current Marine Corps tattoo policy states, "Tattoos/brands that are sexist (express nudity), racist, eccentric or offensive in nature, express an association with conduct or substances prohibited by the Marine Corps drug policy and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to include tattoos associated with illegal drugs, drug usage or paraphernalia, are prohibited. Tattoos/brands that depict vulgar or anti-American content, bring possible discredit to the Marine Corps, or associate the applicant/Marine with any extremist group or organization are prohibited."

(Full story)

New light shed on Kent State killings

(Washington Times) - Rumors of a sniper had circulated for at least a day before the fatal confrontation, the documents show. And a memorandum sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on May 19, 1970, referred to bullet holes found in a tree and a statue — evidence, the report stated, that "indicated that at least two shots had been fired at the National Guard."

Another interviewee told agents that a guardsman had spoken of "a confirmed report of a sniper."

It also turned out that the FBI had its own informant and agent-provocateur roaming the crowd, a part-time Kent State student named Terry Norman, who had a camera. Mr. Norman also was armed with a snub-nosed revolver that FBI ballistics tests, first declassified in 1977, concluded had indeed been discharged on that day.

(Full story)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Under financial overhaul, FTC could gain enforcement power over Internet

(Washington Post) - The Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation that would expand the agency's ability to create rules.

An emboldened FTC would stand in stark contrast to a besieged Federal Communications Commission, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines.

(Full story)

Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin

United Kingdom (Telegraph) - Dale McAlpine was charged with causing "harassment, alarm or distress" after a homosexual police community support officer (PCSO) overheard him reciting a number of "sins" referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same sex relationships.

The 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Wokington, Cumbria for years, said he did not mention homosexuality while delivering a sermon from the top of a stepladder, but admitted telling a passing shopper that he believed it went against the word of God.

(Full story)

States want to share patient prescriptions

LOS ANGELES (AP) - While a state online drug database went into effect last year to thwart addicts who bounce from doctor to doctor to feed a habit or make a small fortune peddling meds, there's now a push to extend it beyond state lines to snare so-called doctor shoppers and curb drug abuse.

Forty states have passed legislation to allow prescription drug monitoring programs, but only 34 are operating.

Under the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act signed by President Bush in 2005, more than $50 million has been appropriated to states for programs where doctors and other authorized users, such as police in some cases, can access patient records.

(Full story)

In a state's search for sales tax, Amazon raises privacy concerns

(NY Times) - North Carolina last month began an audit of online businesses, assuming that millions of dollars in sales taxes owed to the state had disappeared into the Internet.

"This is really an issue of fairness and equity for small businesses, the brick and mortar, corner store operations," said Kenneth R. Lay, the state's secretary of revenue. "These businesses are at a competitive disadvantage when they have to collect sales taxes that other businesses do not."

The response of one of those online businesses,, was succinct: back off. (Full story)

Diverse Obama picks changing face of federal judiciary

WASHINGTON (Baltimore Sun) - Lost in the gathering debate over President Barack Obama's next Supreme Court pick, a profound shift in the federal judiciary is taking place below the high court.

Working methodically, and drawing sporadic fire from left and right, Obama is gradually reshaping the U.S. courts.

Already, he's tipped the balance of two appellate circuits to Democratic-appointed majorities, with a third about to flip. He also is choosing a larger proportion of women and minorities for lifetime federal judgeships than other presidents.

(Full story)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"We know who you are"

Bill would require black boxes in all new cars

(Washington Post) - All new cars would have to be equipped with "black boxes" that record performance data and federal safety regulators would be granted the authority to order immediate recalls under newly proposed auto-safety legislation being considered by Congress.

The draft of a bill was released Thursday by one of the House committees investigating Toyota's massive recalls for unintended acceleration in its vehicles. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House commerce committee, and Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chair of the Senate commerce committee, have said they intend to collaborate on automobile safety legislation this year.

(Full story)

New Jersey imposes red decal on young drivers

( - As of May 1, all drivers under the age of 21 who possess a special learner's permit or a probationary license must display graduated driver license decals under the new Kyleigh’s Law.

The red, removable decals have to be placed on the top left corner of both front and back license plates whenever the driver with the permit or probationary license is behind the wheel. Failure to do so may result in a $100 fine.

(Full story)