Increasingly, liberal groups — under the guise of “watchdog” or “ethics reform” organizations — are going after First Amendment protections; namely, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues attempted and failed to repeal a portion of the First Amendment in late summer that would allow Congress to heavily regulate protected political speech. The move was seen mostly as a campaign ploy in an attempt to hold the Senate and gained little traction in public discourse.
But liberals routinely explore other avenues when attempting to silence political opponents. One such effort is publishing donor lists of political enemies, which discourages some individuals from making contributions for fear of public retribution. Take, for instance, the firing of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich based on his financial support for California’s Proposition 8, which codified marriage in the Golden State as a union between one man and one woman.
As UL noted in August, political dissent equals hatred as it pertains to the Left. You see, it wasn’t a decade ago that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama shared Eich’s position on marriage. And though polls suggest a gradual trend in support for gay marriage, it has become politically uncouth to oppose it publicly.
In our perpetual battle against the state, it’s helpful to have durable metaphors to frame the contest in which we are engaged. I think Ebola offers us one such metaphor.
Scientists are undecided about whether viruses are living things. Viruses use the machinery of living things to replicate; they hijack our cells, but are they, themselves, alive? It’s a difficult call. Several things are certain. Viruses do not act purposefully. They have no will. They have no mind. They are dumb, inanimate, strands of RNA wrapped in protein.
This fact presents a problem when we want to talk about viruses. Words fail us. Someone might say “Ebola infects” or “Ebola hijacks” or “Ebola replicates.” But these words seem to ascribe agency to the virus. They could be interpreted to mean “Ebola is a living thing that does something.” But a virus is dead, not living. It is only a thing. It doesn’t DO anything itself. Instead, it gets living things to do things “for” it, primarily: to replicate the virus and spread it around.
It was going to be hard to top the staggering tone deafness of hopless Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ attack ad targeting Greg Abbott’s alleged crusade against the disabled (Hint: Abbott is disabled). But there is no bar too low for a candidate who will likely lose by 15 points.
And just like that, the bar has been lowered yet again. Today, Davis attacked Abbott for refusing to say whether he’d defend a ban against interracial marriage in court as the state’s attorney general. Oh yeah, he’s married to a Hispanic woman.
Greg Abbott won’t say whether he’d defend an interracial marriage ban—troubling but not surprising from someone who defends a “poll tax.”
— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) October 20, 2014
In the year 1729, famed Irish satirist Jonathan Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick,” or, as it is more commonly known, simply “A Modest Proposal.” In Swift’s Proposal, he describes in painful detail the plight of Ireland’s poor and beggar classes, and suggests Irish society can benefit by encouraging poor people to sell their children to the rich as a source of food. For the skeptical he provides suggestions for proper preparation of the proffered progeny, a veritable smorgasbord of appetizing ankle-biters. Notes Swift, ”A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.”
Sadly, in our day, it has become nearly impossible to write effective satire about the political left; not because they don’t offer plenty of material to work with, but because liberals too often miss the fact that it is satire and instead use it as a blueprint for public policy.
Conservative support for corn subsidies may sound like an oxymoron — unless you’re from the heartland. In that case, it could be all you know.
Iowa Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jodi Ernst says she is against government subsidies, but when it comes to corn, she says that she’ll make sure to cut those last.
Unfortunately, as with other types of corporate welfare, farm subsidies have historically proved nearly impossible to cut. The problem is that farming subsidies are popular, even if corporate welfare isn’t. But make no mistake — corn subsidies are corporate welfare, the antithesis of a free market.
If she supports free markets and cutting corporate welfare, Ms. Ernst could, at a minimum, offer a plan for ways to cut subsidies in the future without affecting current recipients, the same way that people are talking more and more about Medicare and Social Security. These programs, after all, are popular but pricey, and the federal government doesn’t make its own money.
Not all politicians are brave enough to have a real discussion about the unsustainability of government programs. If they are going to pay lip service to preserving popular government programs, then they ought to step up and prove to the people that they are willing to put all options on the table in order to figure things out.
A new documentary has been released about Edward Snowden, and word is it’s a fascinating look into the life of a man who has become a fugitive of his country for doing what he believed was right for his countrymen.
Laura Poitras’ “Citizenfour” (the handle Snowden used when he first began communicating with reporter Glenn Greenwald) is filmed in a Hong Kong hotel room around the time Snowden began communicating with Greenwald.
The pre-emptive mining of data has gone beyond suspicion of terrorist activity. As Snowden says: “We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind,” and a martial law for intercepting telecommunication is being created by stealth. This is despite the bland denials of every official up to and including President Obama, whose supercilious claim to have been investigating the issue before the Snowden revelations has been brutally exposed by this film.
What then are we to think when this same method of mining data is being hailed as one of the best defenses against another threat to the country: Ebola?
The hope is that by merging all the data in one place, analyzing it, and turning it into visually digestible graphs, BioIQ can make the data accessible to everyone who needs to work with it, regardless of their background.
Gas prices are below $3 again in 1/3 of U.S. states. Prices are down 30% from four months ago and set to lower 15-20 cents more per gallon, per MarketWatch.
The explosion of fracking in North Dakota and other parts of the United States has created an increase in supply, while the global recession (or slowed economic growth, depending how you look at it) has kept demand lower.
Oil companies aren’t happy about it, but individual consumer are. And they should be, for more reasons than their pocketbook.
One reason is job creation. More U.S. oil production means more U.S. jobs. Not just jobs with oil companies, either. Employees working for oil companies need places to eat, shop, and live. And more affordable transportation is also better for jobs. At some point, commutes will cost more than it’s worth to go to work.
Another reason is the environment. Oil is better for the environment than coal. Of course, there are other sources of energy that are better for the environment than oil, but when oil costs less, the positive economic result is seen by the environment as well. Historically, a better economy not only helps families living in poverty, it allows people to more disposable income and the ability to make choices that are better for the environment and even offset their environmental impact.
The third reason to cheer for low gas prices is that it is a result of increased U.S. oil production, because of which the U.S. is more energy-independent. It is probably good to be less reliant on unstable oil-rich countries such as Iran and Venezuela.
It may sound like a case out of the kangaroo courts of North Korea or Cuba, but chillingly, it comes from the very heart of our republic.
In 2007 a Washington, D.C. man, Antwuan Ball, was convicted of one count of selling $600 worth of cocaine and acquitted of several other charges alleging a conspiracy of drug distribution, murder, and racketeering. However, the district court used the charges of which he was acquitted to increase his sentence from a few years for the one drug deal to 19 years for the conspiracy. Six years later, in 2013, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sentence. And in a final act of injustice, the Supreme Court this week refused to hear the appeal, rendering permanent Ball’s sentence on charges for which he was acquitted.
The level of tyranny being tacitly endorsed here by 6 members of the highest court in the land is hard to exaggerate and to fathom. Judges should have a certain measure of discretion to level appropriate sentences after a conviction, but using charges for which the defendent was specifically acquitted for that purpose is against the entire spirit of due process and the Bill of Rights.
Comedy Central’s “South Park,” well-known for its provocative social and political commentary, took a swipe at the taxicab cartel during last night’s episode, titled “Handicar.”
Timmy, wheelchair-bound and raising money for summer camp, creates an app-based ride service, whereby he picks up customers in a red wagon hitched to his motorized wheelchair.
During an exchange between a cab driver and a passenger at the beginnig of the episode, South Park captures the essence of why so many people dislike traveling by taxi.
“Excuse me, I think someone puked back here,” the customer says.
The driver asks, “You don’t like puke?”
“Could you turn the radio down and the air conditioning up, please,” the customer replies.
“No air conditioning. Too expensive,” replies the driver as he slams on the brakes, causing the customer’s head to hit the protective barrier between the front and back seats.
“Not enough people taking cabs. I don’t know what’s wrong,” the driver exclaims at the end of the ride.
This is the mentality of the taxicab hegemony. There seems to be no recognition of the lack of good service and very little desire to improve that service. Additionally, in several cities in the U.S. and abroad, cab drivers are protesting the expansion of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft by snarling downtown traffic. How tone deaf.
Whenever government bureaucrats (and taxpayer-funded entities) tell you they’re not getting enough of your money, you should see what programs they’re funding before allowing politicians to cut them another check on your behalf. Take for instance the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whose Director — Dr. Francis Collins — told the Huffington Post last week they would already have a cure for Ebola if not for budget cuts over the past decade.
From the piece:
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”
“We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference,” he said.
Speaking from NIH’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, the typically upbeat Collins was somber when discussing efforts to control the Ebola epidemic. His days are now spent almost exclusively on the disease. But even after months of painstaking work, a breakthrough doesn’t seem on the immediate horizon.
Just great. If not for those budget-cutting politicians, we’d all be safe from Ebola right now, right?!