Fighting Terror with Laughter

Jon Stewart isn’t the usual go-to for reasoned analysis of politically tinged events, primarily because his general bias makes him nearly incoherent sometimes. But he got the events in Paris right when he said “there is no sense to be made of this”:

It takes a lot for an apologist to acknowledge that, for some things, there simply is no apology. Things like not being able to take a joke to the point that 12 people had to die. Perhaps that assessment will offend some who see more to the fanaticism of the Islamist wing of Islam. But ultimately, that’s what the massacre of the 12 in Paris yesterday was all about. There is no satirizing the sacred and profane for these guys. But we’ve known that for a while. As Jeffrey Goldberg writing in The Atlantic notes:

Thomas Massie sets sights on inaptly-named “Gun Free School Zones”

Gun Free School Zone

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) has decided to take aim one of America’s biggest public policy failures: the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990.

The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 was introduced by then-Senator Joe Biden and signed into law by George H.W. Bush – hardly a conservative hero. The intent of the Act was to prevent individuals from possessing a firearm in a school zone. It was, as many of these bills are, sold to Congress as way to make our schools a safer place for our children.

If the intent of this Act really was to create a safe environment for America’s children, then it has failed, and failed miserably.

Individuals, not guns, are responsible for committing acts of violence. However, since the anti-gun crowd believes that bills like the GFSZA actually reduce violence, it is worth noting how much of a failure this policy has been over the past few years. The Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety has put together a convenient list showing just how ineffective the GFSZA has been.

According to Everytown chart, there have been at least 96 school shootings since Sandyhook.

This is unacceptable. America’s children should not be subject to dangerous environments in order to appease the anti-gun crowd. Thankfully, Congressman Massie wants to make sure our children are no longer subjected to these target-rich environments.

12 Dead: Freedom of Speech, Expression under assault from Islamic terrorists in Paris

Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical publication based in Paris, was firebombed in 2011. Six days later, they published the above cartoon. The caption reads “Love: Stronger than hate.” Earlier today, at least two gunmen opened fire on the publication’s office, killing at least 12 and wounding 11 others.

It’s difficult to understand this fact: The freedom of speech and expression we enjoy as Americans is not understood anywhere else in the world. Even among Western nations, there are numerous laws that curtail all manners of speech and expression.

In some nations, there is a “right to be forgotten,” which means the government can force online entities to delete unflattering information about you at your request, even if you were at one time a public figure. Wikipedia actually has a pretty substantial rundown on the various restrictions globally.

It’s important to understand this when framing the most recent terrorist attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, an irreverent and sometimes offensive weekly satirical publication. The office was firebombed in 2011 when it published an unflattering cartoon of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.

Was the cartoon offensive to Muslims? Sure. Was the subsequent attack warranted? Absolutely not.

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate the Thigh Gap

Urban Outfitters

In an article seemingly straight from Stanley Kurbick’s Dr. Strangelove, Mic.com celebrated the state censorship of one of Urban Outfitters’ photographs. Never mind nuclear weapons, rogue states, or “The Interview” — we have a more-pressing worry: underwear advertisements.

As the Cold War ended, we ceased to fear the missile gap, the bomber gap, the doomsday gap, and even the mineshaft gap. Today we fear the “Thigh Gap” — the distance between a model’s thighs. Fortunately, the United Kingdom, a stalwart Cold Warrior, has defended even the most sensitive and fragile among us from the perils of an Urban Outfitters underwear ad.

Sparked by the complaint of an anonymous do-gooder, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ordered Urban Outfitters to remove the photo above, concluding that it was irresponsible. Contesting the ruling, Urban Outiftters explained that the model was healthy and represented by one of the UK’s most successful agencies, and provided her agency profile and other photographs, all to no avail. The ASA considered, “the model was very thin, and noted, in particular, that there was a significant gap between the model’s thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width.” The Thigh Gap cometh.

President Obama’s first message to the new Republican majority tells you how the next two years will go

.

Upon receiving his second and final midterm electoral thumping last November, President Obama vowed to work with the new Congress and its Republican majorities in both House and Senate. On Sunday, Obama reiterated his pledge:

“I’m being absolutely sincere when I say I want to work with this new Congress to get things done,” Obama told reporters before leaving on his annual end-of-the-year holiday in Hawaii. “We’re going to disagree on some things, but there are going to be areas of agreement and we’ve got to be able to make that happen.”

But Tuesday, while the new Congress was being sworn in and voting for their caucus leadership, Obama sent his real message to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner: roughly, “GFY”:

“I can confirm that the president would not sign this [Keystone XL] bill,” Earnest said at a White House press briefing when asked about legislation set to advance in Congress this week that would greenlight the project.

It takes a lot of guts to project an image of bipartisanship, compromise, and utilitarian pragmatism and then threaten vetoes of bills that haven’t even been introduced. At least give them a day to put their names on the doors.

Among growing dissent, Boehner braces for re-election

Speaker Boehner

House leadership elections will be held later today, amid growing concern among conservatives for John Boehner’s leadership as Speaker. The hard truth for conservatives is that it looks like Boehner will eke out a victory over any would-be conservative challenger. In the 114th Congress (this one), the Republican caucus has swelled by more than a dozen Members, making victory from the right close to impossible.

In the 113th Congress, Boehner faced uncertainty when his safe Republican margin was almost totally diminished by a handful of defectors — conservatives like Raul Labrador, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash. The blog FiveThirtyEight revealed the Republican defection in 2013 was the largest act of defiance against an incoming Speaker since at least 1991, where records became available.

With the Republican caucus even larger, it would take 29 votes to stop John Boehner from becoming Speaker — and then the defectors would have to find a viable alternative. Names being floated now are Ted Yoho or Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Among UL readers, South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy has considerable support, but he has not indicated that he would break with party leadership.

Campaigning for Gun Control on the Grave of a Dead Mother

Mother fatally shot at Walmart

If you followed the news over the holiday season, you may have seen a story about the young mother who was fatally shot by her two-year-old son in a Walmart store in Idaho. And without fail, the anti-gun crowd exploited this tragedy to call for more gun safety measures. The term “gun safety” has been hijacked by the anti-gun movement in an attempt to make gun control more palatable to the American public. 

On Tuesday, December 30, 2014, Veronica Rutledge was shopping with her two-year-old son and four other children. Ms. Rutledge was licensed to carry a concealed handgun, and was doing so while she was shopping. At some point during the trip – perhaps at a time when she was looking away – the young boy managed to grab his mother’s gun. Tragically, the young boy fired a shot that struck his mother in the head and killed her instantly.

This story is sad all the way around. It is sad for the parents who lost their young, caring daughter; it is sad for the people who called Veronica their friend; and, most of all, it is sad for her young son, and the fact that he will have to live with this tragedy for the rest of his life.

Despite this being a horrific tragedy, it did not take long before the Brady Campaign issue a press release all but blaming Ms. Rutledge for being an irresponsible parent. No, they didn’t mention her by name, but they did take a swipe at any parent that believes a gun can create a safe environment for their children.

ALERT! Massie won’t vote for Boehner for Speaker

Massie wont' vote Boehner for Speaker

“For years I watched Washington from afar and suspected that something was broken.”

This is a sentiment we hear often from individuals who run for Congress. They see a broken system, and then run on a platform that promises to change the business-as-usual politics within the halls of Congress. More often than not, these same members fall in-line with with the leadership of their party and forget their real reasons for running.

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie likens this change in behavior as Members being attacked by zombies. Once they’re bitten with the “big government, go-along-to-get-along” bug, they’re lost forever.

Thankfully, not all members have chosen to blindly follow the leadership of their party. Some Members have decided to put party aside and vote based on their convictions. Massie is one such Congressman.

In a recent press release sent out today, Congressman Massie indicated that he would not be voting to re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House in the coming weeks.

This came just days after Massie tweeted a picture, likely a veiled jab at the Speaker:

Fulfilling Reagan’s Promise? Republicans set their sights on No Child Left Behind

Dept of Education

During Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, he campaigned in favor of abolishing the Department of Education, which had been established in 1979 by then-President Jimmy Carter. The New American published a pretty lengthy piece in 2012 about why Reagan couldn’t actually abolish the Department during his two terms in office.

But the idea didn’t die with the end of the Reagan Administration. The issue arose again in 1996 with Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. At a campaign stop in Georgia, Dole said, “We’re going to cut out the Department of Education.” According to a 2004 WND article, the Republican Platform in 1996 read:

Our formula is as simple as it is sweeping: The federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the workplace. That is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning.

 

We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-To-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfunded mandates, on the States. We further urge that federal attempts to impose outcome- or performance-based education on local schools be ended.

Readers here know what happened next. Dole lost. And federal influence over the education system expanded under Republican President George W. Bush under the auspices of “No Child Left Behind.” This legislation has raised conservatives’ ire since its passage.

2014: A Year In Review

 Year In Review

A new year has begun. A new slate upon which to write our hopes and dreams, a new opportunity to do better, to be better, to rise above past disappointments, and to build upon past successes. As we look to the future, however, wisdom dictates we study the past to gain enlightenment and clarity. Though seemingly impossible, our memories telling us they occurred long ago, each and every one of these stories occurred in just the last year…

We kicked off the year in January with overheated rhetoric and under-heated weather, first forced to suffer through another of Obama’s interminable State of the Union addresses, where he tried to one-up Joe Biden by plagiarizing himself (which makes sense, considering Obama thinks he is smarter than the rest of us, so who else would he quote?). This speech was pretty much a copy-and-paste montage of past speeches; whining that the rich need to pay more, we need to “invest” more in “renewable” energy, and how six years of his economic policies don’t have us where we want to be yet, but are showing promising gains…blah, blah, blah. Add to that more promises of more bailouts for people who took on bad loans, to be paid for higher taxes on people who paid for the first bailout, plus a renewed demand for a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, which seems pointless now that Obama has decided he is Emperor after all and will just make law by executive fiat, and refuse to enforce provisions he doesn’t like.

 


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