Local Choice Proposal for Partial Á La Carte Is Irreconcilable with the Ideals of Constitutional Government

I’m starting to get worried that the partial à la carte mandate in the decidedly Orwellian “Local Choice” proposal wasn’t merely an August reverie. The leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee, which floated the proposal to the press, have neither disavowed it nor introduced an alternative. Could the Committee actually be serious about a proposal that is so flatly irreconcilable with the ideals of constitutional government?

I hope not. The proposal is a blatant case of the government concealing an effort to pick winners and losers in the marketplace behind a masque of consumer protection. Its approach to problem solving goes like this:

  • Disputes between video programmers and video distributors sometimes result in blackouts that prevent consumers from watching certain channels.
  • The government should protect consumers from blackouts by mandating that programmers sell their channels on an à la carte basis.
  • Both cable and broadcast channels have been blacked out during disputes.
  • The Local Choice proposal would nevertheless apply the à la carte mandate only to broadcast channels.
  • Consumers would receive no protection from blackouts involving cable channels.

The proposal doesn’t explain why consumers don’t need to be protected from cable channel blackouts — like the one involving Dodgers baseball games in Los Angeles — because Senate Committees aren’t in the habit of admitting to industry favoritism.

This liberty-minded Republican took the Ice Bucket Challenge in honor of a constituent suffering from ALS

If you spend any time on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen videos of friends dumping ice water on themselves to raise awareness to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”).

The viral campaign — which has been promoted by celebrities — has been a resounding success, raising nearly $23 million for the ALS Association in the last three weeks. Politicians are also participating. Among them is Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), a libertarian-leaning conservative with a knack for social media.

Amash was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and he accepted on Tuesday, allowing each of his three children to dump icy cold water on top of his head. “I accept today in honor of Julia Bauer, who taught me about ALS through her visits to my office each year,” he said. “And she has faced the disease with a lot of courage. And this is in honor of her.”

Rand Paul is doing more than any other Republican to reach out to voters, and that could put him in the White House

Libertarianism is starting to become so popular in the media that it’s annoying. Mainstream outlets like the New York Times Magazine, Time, Washington Post, and Politico are trumpeting the rise of libertarians within the Republican Party and the country as a whole, as well as Rand Paul’s corresponding march toward a 2016 campaign.

This week the civil libertarian Vice joins the chorus with as friendly a profile as you can hope for from a leftist publication. Vice uses Senator Paul’s recent unexpected Time op-ed as a launching point to tout his mass appeal on a wide array of issues:

Here’s the absolutely brutal video Rick Perry released slamming the district attorney who indicted him

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is pulling no punches to explain why he vetoed $7.5 million of public funding for the Texas Public Integrity Unit, the watchdog agency led by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

Lehmberg, a Democrat, won an indictment against Perry on Friday claiming that he abused his power when he vetoed the funding to pressure her to resign from office. The state’s constitution, in Article IV, Section 14, provides the governor with a line-item veto, meaning that Perry can strike any appropriation he opposes.

Perry, in a veto message to the state legislature, acknowledged the “otherwise good work of the Public Integrity Unit’s employees,” but explained that he could no longer provide state support “at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of the unit has lost the public’s confidence.”

Lehmberg was arrested in April 2013 for driving under the influence. Her behavior after her arrest, needless to say, is unbecoming of a public official. And Perry’s PAC is going to great lengths to show you how bizarre the Travis County district attorney acted.

The two-minute video produced by RickPAC features clips from the traffic stop at which Lehmberg was arrested as well as footage from the jail. The clips show Lehmberg resisting jailers, sticking her tongue at them, and kicking the door to her holding cell. There is also footage of her in a restraint chair, a precaution that jailers took given her erratic behavior.

Militarized police supporters in Congress such as Nancy Pelosi get big bucks from defense contractors

The recent stories coming from Ferguson, Missouri have stirred the police militarization debate by putting the spotlight on the police’s use of “surplus” war gear to contain a mass of protestors in the suburbs of St. Louis.

The protests followed the killing of Michael Brown, and while most are peaceful, local police — and now the National Guard — have proceeded to use rubber bullets, tear gas and other aggressive methods such as curfews to fight locals and even journalists covering the events.

Without proper coverage, it’s nearly impossible to know what is truly going on in Ferguson, especially because the Federal Aviation Administration banned helicopters to fly below 3,000 feet over the region as soon as the unrest began. News crews often use helicopters to cover live events, but with the ban, law enforcement agents on the ground have a free pass to act according to their understanding of the situation.

No accountability.

One essential piece of this equation, however, is missing from the public debate; lawmakers who support the government’s program allowing the distribution of leftover war gear and weapons to local police departments are also the same lawmakers who receive a considerable amount of financial support from defense contractors.

Back on vacation: Obama leaves Washington to work on his golf game

As expected, President Barack Obama left Washington yesterday afternoon to return to his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, though the White House won’t say why exactly he came back to the nation’s capital, according to The Hill, except to say that some meetings were involved:

Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.

Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations.
[…]
Speculation for why Obama returned focused around the possibility of a secret foreign leader meeting or the roll out of a new administration initiative on immigration or corporate taxes.

But no such explanation materialized.

Watch this hilarious video of anti-gun leftists shooting firearms for the first time

This is the true story of five strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. The Real World…

Whoops. Sorry. Wrong story.

Anyway, via BuzzFeed comes this video of five Second Amendment-hating hipsters who visited the Los Angeles Gun Club to fire a gun for the first time. The quartet’s experience didn’t change their positions on gun control, but their reactions during target practice are absolutely adorable.

“You don’t realize that, in real life, when you shoot a gun, from just firing once, it took a lot out of me,” said Gaby, one of the participants. “I was like, I fired once, and I wanted to take a nap.” Another participant, Abe, told BuzzFeed that cocking a shotgun made him feel like a “badass.”

Gaffe-prone Hillary Clinton plans join Nancy Pelosi to raise money for House Democrats

Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will spend some time away from promoting her book, making hilarious gaffes, and earning $225,000 per speech to join House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC):

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide said the former secretary of State will join Pelosi in her home district this fall as part of Clinton’s midterm campaign tour. She’s also expected to headline fundraisers for the rest of the party’s major campaign committees, and will kick off her fall campaign schedule with an appearance at Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) annual steak fry next month.

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said Democrats are “thrilled and grateful” that Clinton plans to help the party as they fight to pick up seats in the House this fall.

“Secretary Clinton is an extraordinary force for our values and will relentlessly fight to jumpstart the middle class. We’re thrilled and grateful that she is lending her support to our shared goal of electing a Democratic House of Representatives that will put a stop to the endless cycle of dysfunction and shutdowns from this Republican Congress,” he said.

Watchdog group sues the “most transparent administration in history” for allowing the White House to obstruct document release

President Barack Obama’s White House has interfered with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests over the release of communications with a dozen federal agencies, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday by Cause of Action, a government watchdog organization.

Cause of Action has sued ten cabinet agencies — including the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Health and Human Services — the Internal Revenue Service, and the White House Office of Management and Budget for allowing the White House to influence the FOIA process and delay response to document requests.

“Accountable and transparent government does not involve instructing agencies to send politically sensitive records to the White House for review,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, in a press release announcing the lawsuit. “The bureaucracy has violated the law by stonewalling the public’s access to documents for political reasons.”

“Cause of Action’s own investigation reveals that the White House is actually demanding access from agencies to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and Congressional document requests, as well as the documents subject to those requests, in a manner that may obstruct congressional oversight and violate the spirit of FOIA,” he added.

It’s a full-blown scandal: Mary Landrieu comes under fire for two more taxpayer-funded trips that included campaign fundraisers

The last several days have been a big headache for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). She was caught using taxpayer dollars to charter a flight from New Orleans to a campaign fundraiser in Lake Charles. Then, a couple days later, a second taxpayer-funded flight to a campaign fundraiser was discovered.

While her campaign has played down the trips as an oversight and promised to reimburse the Senate for the improper trips out of campaign funds, Politico has discovered two more fundraising trips, these from 2012, that were paid for by her official Senate office:

On Aug. 23, 2012, Butler Aviation charged $6,787 for an in-state flight for Landrieu that included multiple stops. The flight was from New Orleans to Vidalia to Shreveport to Alexandria and back to New Orleans, according to official disbursement records Landrieu filed with the secretary of the Senate.

On Oct. 18, 2012, Butler Aviation charged $3,437 for a Landrieu flight from New Orleans to Opelousas to Patterson and back to New Orleans.

 


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