District of Columbia

Buzzfeed calls out the NRA for…not commenting on Navy Yard shooting?

BuzzFeed

In the wake of a terrible tragedy, there are almost universal requests for calm, peace, and a moratorium on politics. We have now reached the stage in the evolution of the Onion Nation where not commenting on a tragedy is worth criticizing.

Within hours of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard this morning, in which at least 12 have lost their lives, the objective journalists of Buzzfeed compiled a list of NRA tweets around the time of recent mass shootings, showing that the gun rights organization stops tweeting for a day or more when such an event occurs. The irony is astounding. If the NRA makes a statement about a shooting event, they are accused of politicizing it, standing on the graves of the victims, or worse. And now if they don’t make a statement, that’s also worth calling out?

Sure, Buzzfeed will just claim they found it interesting and weren’t criticizing. But savvy social media producers that they are should know better. Gun rights opponents will take their post and do the dirty work for them, calling the NRA cowards for staying silent in the face of such horror that they will inevitably be accused of causing.

The great Charles Cooke of National Review summed up the stupendous hypocrisy well on Twitter:

Stupidity Abounds (and is apparently contagious)

Post image for Stupidity Abounds (and is Apparently Contagious)

Back when I first heard about the proposed New York soda ban, I couldn’t believe anyone would suggest something that ridiculous. Seriously? A city putting limits to sizes on sugary drinks? They couldn’t be serious.

But they were serious. Then it was approved by New York’s Board of Health. Seriously. You can’t buy a 20-ounce Coke in New York City.

Now people in Washington D.C. are trying to get the soda ban in place there, as well. Apparently stupidity is contagious.

The issue came up at a debate for council seat candidates. Two current council members said they would support a ban like New York put in place. That got councilwoman Mary Cheh giddy with excitement. It was Cheh who tried unsuccessfully to put a larger tax on sugary drinks, so the thought that she could control what you drink in Washington – or at least how much of it you drink – is music to her ears.

And Cheh even knows that her position on this issue is going to bring criticism from, you know, people who have a brain. She said, “I know ‘nanny state’ and all that, but it’s appropriate for government to intervene at times to make sure that the choices that are presented are healthy for us.”

No.

Her statement isn’t even kind of correct. It’s not ever appropriate for government to intervene to save you from yourself.

Occupy DC: Collective Housing and Dumpster Diving

After waking up this morning, I saw on Twitter that Occupy DC was commemorating its one year anniversary by marching down K Street and protesting big banks, such as Bank of America and others. After knocking out some work, I decided to head over to Freedom Plaza, just a couple of blocks over from the White House, to see what was going on.

After observing for a few minutes, seeing next to nothing. A group of maybe 15 activists were discussing techniques to throw off police during a group protest. It was mildly entertaining, but also pointless.

As I was about to leave, a small group of activists sat down to discuss the finer points of anarchist activism, such as “collective housing” and dumpster diving. The sound isn’t that great in the video, but you can hear some of the points being made by protesters, such as their aversion to private property. This woman leading the talk explains, “Collective housing is a very important environment to survive, organize, and support each other. This is why we’re not pro-private property, because we think we need to share. If we don’t share, it means nothing”:

Obama Offers No Hope for Minority Children

In 2009, Democrats quietly issued the death certificate for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program by slashing its budget on the way to phasing it out altogether. It is unheard of for Democrats to be so enthusiastic about cutting funding for anything other than the military, so this must have been a drastic case indeed to convince them that the program needed to go. So what was it that led to the decision to end the program? Was it because it was too expensive? Not by a long shot, and besides, when was the last time you’ve heard a Democrat argue for ending a program just because it costs too much? Was it because of underperformance? No, it actually performed quite well. If you guessed it was because Obama and the Democrats fell prostrate to their masters in the teachers unions, now you are making some progress.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was founded in 2004 and became wildly successful. The program provided $7500 scholarships to students so that they could attend private schools. For students of the D.C. Public School system, which is at the very top of the national list of worst-performing public schools, and in one of the most violent districts in the nation, this was a lifeline out of poverty, and a path to a brighter future. The scholarships allowed students, nearly all from low-income families, and the vast majority of them being minority children, to escape the prison system for children known as the D.C. Public Schools. The fact that minority children could take these scholarships and go to private schools was quite a bargain, considering that the public school system in D.C. was spending $18,000 per child per year, and still managing to turn out some the worst academically achieving children in the country. To give you an idea of how bad it was in the DCPSS, only 14% of 8th-graders attain proficiency at reading on their grade level.

Thomas Massie went after D.C.’s absolutely terrible gun control laws, and anti-Second Amendment Democrats are losing their minds

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) really isn’t happy with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). Since the passage of an amendment last week to block enforcement of the District of Columbia’s terrible gun control laws, Norton’s office has sent out a barrage of press releases aimed at the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican.

It all started last Tuesday, July 15, when Massie tried to offer the amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which would fund the Treasury Department and related agencies for the next year.

The amendment was ruled out of order by the chair, a Republican. That prompted Norton’s office to send out a press release gloating about the procedural setback (“Rep. Massie Humiliated on the House Floor, Norton Claims Victory for D.C.’s Gun Safety Laws,” 7/15).

Huzzah! Or something.

Well, Norton’s “victory” was short-lived. Massie offered the amendment again the following day. “Criminals by definition don’t care about laws. They will get guns any way they can,” said Massie. “Strict gun control laws do nothing but prevent good people from being able to protect themselves and their families in the event of a robbery, home invasion, or other crime. Studies indicate that murder rates rise following bans on firearms.”

He’s right. What’s more, Congress has constitutional authority over the District and, he declared, that it was time for his colleagues “to step in and stop the DC government’s harassment and punishment of law-abiding citizens who simply want to defend themselves.”

Michelle Obama lectures Americans on education in inner cities, sends her kids to private school

Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama made some comments about race recently. These comments coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that effectively ended school segregation. The decision is, today, almost universally applauded as the right move. It’s a rare moment of real bipartisanship.

Mrs. Obama, however, did as most people do when talking and didn’t realize there was a point when she should have stopped talking:

“[O]ur laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but nothing in the Constitution says we have to eat together in the lunchroom, or live together in the same neighborhoods,” she said. “There’s no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny.”

To address these limitations in the law, Obama asked students to take steps to “drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you” in the fight against racism.

“Maybe that starts simply in your own family, when grandpa tells that off-colored joke at Thanksgiving, or you’ve got an aunt [that] talks about ‘those people,’” she said. “Well, you can politely inform them that they’re talking about your friends.

“Or maybe it’s when you go off to college and you decide to join a sorority or fraternity, and you ask the question, how can we get more diversity in our next pledge class?” she added. “Or maybe it’s years from now, when you’re on the job and you’re the one who asks, do we really have all the voices and viewpoints we need at this table?

Today in Liberty: Out-of-pocket costs could double under Obamacare, VA scandal exposes dangers of single-payer

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” — President Herbert Hoover

— There shall be higher out-of-pocket costs: The pharmaceutical lobby is warning that Americans who’ve purchased health plans on the Obamacare exchanges could face big cost increases next year. ”The report for [PhRMA] was conducted by actuarial firm Milliman, which found that people on the Silver Plan, the most popular Obamacare plan, would likely pay 130 percent more for out-of-pocket prescription drugs compared to people on similar employer-sponsored plans,” The Hill notes. The study didn’t account for subsidies, which could help qualifying Americans lower their costs. That being said, John Castellani, CEO of PhRMA, gives us this gem of a quote: “Americans participating in the Exchanges were promised coverage comparable to employer plans and yet the reality is that many new plans are failing to provide an appropriate level of access to quality, affordable health care.” Thanks, Obamacare!

House Democrat: Our $174,000 annual salary isn’t enough

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) says the $174,000 annual salary members of Congress receive isn’t enough to live on in Washington, D.C. In fact, the appropropriator believes that he and his colleagues should get an additional stipend for each day they’re in session.

“I think that the American people should know that members of Congress are underpaid,” Moran told Roll Call last week. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

“A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently when they’re at their job in Washington,” he said. “Some of them and others have small little apartment units, and they’re not able to spend the time they should with their families.”

Look, regardless of how one feels about Congress, its members do serve an important role in our government. That’s true. But the notion that they don’t make enough money to “live decently” in Washington falls flat.

Though there are many members who are independently wealthy and can afford to live in luxury in Washington, others have modest lives or live paycheck to paycheck.

D.C. insurance commissioner fired after questioning Obamacare fix

Barack Obama

Shortly after President Barack Obama announced his “administrative fix” for Obamacare, many state insurance commissioners rejected the proposal, noting that insurers had spent three-plus years working to comply with the law and could not so easily reverse course.

Among the insurance commissioners who criticized the fix was William White, insurance commissioner for the District of Columbia. He said in a statement on Thursday that the fix “undercuts the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s D.C. Health Link, by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate.”

On Friday, a day after making those comments, White was fired without explanation by his immediate supervisor, according to the Washington Post:

White was called into a meeting Friday afternoon with one of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s (D) top deputies and told that the mayor “wants to go in a different direction,” White told The Washington Post on Saturday.

House Democrats kill spending bills to keep open national parks, Veterans Affairs

Tuesday, the first day of the government shutdown, started out with Senate rejecting a proposal from the House of Representatives to enter into a conference committee to discuss differences between the two chambers on the Continuing Resolution (CR).

House-appointed conferees held a photo op in which they sat at the table across from empty chairs where their Senate counterparts would be sitting if they had agreed to negotiate. “We sit ready to negotiate with the Senate. #FairnessForAll,” tweeted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), attaching the photo below.

 Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- (@GOPLeader)

House Republicans decided on another round of action to work through disagreements on ObamaCare by bringing up stop-gap spending measures that would end the disruption of certain parts of the federal government.

The House went into session early yesterday evening, planning to take up three separate spending measures to fund the National Park Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the District of Columbia, which is under the purview of Congress.

House Democrats chided Republicans for not passing a so-called “clean” CR before the government shutdown and overwhelmingly opposed the measures, leading to their defeat.

 


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