District of Columbia

Legalize Marijuana, Don’t Socialize It

The campaign to end the War on Drugs has gained momentum in recent years with state ballot initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, and a similar referendum coming to Washington, DC on this year’s general election ballot. Along with the push to reform sentencing laws, even retroactively, for nonviolent drug offenses, it appears that huge strides are being made in allowing free citizens the right to enjoy relatively harmless substances as they choose. But as with any government effort, the reality is far from the idealized campaign promise.

In Washington state, which decriminalized small amounts of marijuana possession and consumption on the 2012 ballot, state-sanctioned retail sales just began in July. However, as this is still deep blue Washington we’re talking about, there is far from a free market for the stuff. The state has a strict licensing program that only allows certain retailers to sell marijuana legally, from only certain licensed producers, resulting in only one place to buy in all of Seattle on opening day. This isn’t exactly Starbucks for weed.

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


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.”


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.

A small victory for the Second Amendment in Washington: D.C. Council votes approve concealed carry

District of Columbia

Gun owners who live in the District of Columbia may soon be carry a firearm for self-defense, provided. The he D.C. Council voted on Tuesday to allow concealed carry of firearms in the city, provided the applicant meets some stringent requirements:

Members of the D.C. Council begrudgingly, but unanimously, voted for a bill that would allow individuals to carry the firearms if they meet a number of requirements.

“I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying guns,” said council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat and a former four-term mayor. “I think the public ought to understand that all of us here are doing something we really don’t want to do.”
Under the new legislation, the city’s police chief would determine who has a valid reason for carrying a concealed weapon. The open brandishing of firearms will continue to be illegal.

Other requirements to qualify for a concealed carry permit include registration of the gun with the police department, 16 hours of safety training and two hours of range training, as well as a determination that the person has not suffered from a mental illness or condition that puts them at risk of being a danger to others.

Mary Landrieu finds herself in another scandal: Louisiana Democrat claims Washington as her home on federal filings

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is under fire yet again. The Louisiana Democrat has been caught up in a scandal involving her use of taxpayer-funded charter flights around the state she represents that also included stops at campaign fundraisers. But she’s now facing accusations that she doesn’t actually live in Louisiana, according to the Washington Post:

In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.

Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records.

On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street.

They there go again: D.C. gun grabbers are trying to prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves after court ruling

In case you haven’t heard, on Saturday, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public, one of its most onerous gun control laws.

Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. ruled that the law was unconstitutional, based on the precedent set in the landmark Supreme Court rulings in Heller and McDonald, and that the District couldn’t deny law-abiding citizens the right to carry. D.C. police responded by granting full reciprocity to permits from other states, at least temporarily.

But the District is fighting back. They want the Imperial City to be a mostly Second Amendment-free zone. Lawyers for the District are seeking a stay of the Scullin’s ruling while they work on an appeal:

The city’s motion suggests that the judge’s order could make it more difficult for law enforcement to guard against a variety of threats, including presidential assassinations.

“The public interest is not served by rushed legislation on a foundational public-safety issue or by allowing any and all ‘dangerous or deadly’ concealable weapons to be carried in public, without reasonable restrictions being imposed, during the pendency of any appeal and/or new legislation,” the D.C. motion (posted here) states.

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?

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