Author Archives: Jason Pye

Civil unions granted in New Hampshire

The Governor of New Hampshire has signed a bill granting civil unions to gay and lesbian couples into law:

Gay couples in New Hampshire will able to join in civil unions starting next year under a bill Gov. John Lynch signed into law Thursday.

“We in New Hampshire have had a long and proud tradition taking the lead and opposing discrimination,” Lynch said. “Today that tradition continues.”

Couples entering civil unions will have the same rights, responsibilities and obligations as married couples. Same-sex unions from other states also would be recognized if they were legal in the state where they were performed.

Several Northeastern states already offer civil unions.

Massachusetts alone among the U.S. states allows gay marriage. Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Maine, as well as California and Washington allow either civil unions or domestic partnerships, and Oregon will join the list with New Hampshire in January. Hawaii extends certain spousal rights to same-sex couples and cohabiting heterosexual pairs.

I prefer to refer to it as extending equal protection under the law or recognizing the individual’s right to contract (a negative liberty). Really government should not take preference towards any group, whether they are married or gay, black or white. It is a matter of individual liberty.

Many people, specifically the younger generation, are becoming more socially tolerant on matters like this. The harm principle argument is becoming relevant again, to some extent at least. A crusade against gays is not a national platform to win elections. It is at best a temporary, meaningless political issue to cater to Pat Robertson and James Dobson as a mean to drive…dare I say it…”Christianists” (those who have turned their religious beliefs into a political philosophy) to the polls.

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Paul counters Dondero

Ron Paul on Eric Dondero:

Reason: Your former staffer Eric Dondero is challenging you for your House seat in 2008.

Paul: He’s a disgruntled former employee who was fired.

Reason: But he says he’s running because of your debate performance. So is this presidential campaign weakening your standing in your district?

Paul: Well, if it affects my standing in my district then I wouldn’t be a very good candidate for the presidency. If these views are popular, and I think they’re popular enough, then they should be popular in my home district. They’ve been hearing me saying this for a lot of years and I keep getting re-elected rather easily. I think politicians are always concerned about how they’re doing in their district, but right now, if Eric Dondero is the only thing I have to worry about, then I don’t have a lot to worry about.

Reason: What Dondero’s said is that “there are essentially two Ron Pauls. There’s the national liberal media (and libertarian blogosphere) Ron Paul. And then there’s the South Texas good hometown doctor, red, white, and blue Ron Paul.” And he’s said you talk a good game about supporting veterans but they don’t know your positions.

Paul: All one would have to do is go to the veterans part of my website. I win so many awards; we have so many people who call us from around the country because of the work we do for veterans. My biggest beef is that the veterans get shortchanged because of our war spending, and we end up with Walter Reed problems. So that statement makes zero sense.

H/T: Reason: Hit & Run

This is supposed to be good news?

Well…Social Security is set to go bankrupt one year later than estimated:

The trust fund for Social Security will be exhausted in 2041 and the Medicare trust fund in 2019, the trustees of the two programs said Monday. Both dates were one year later than previously estimated.

In their annual report on the financial health of the government’s two biggest benefit programs, the trustees said that slight reductions in projected benefits and slightly higher tax collections had extended the dates that the trust funds are projected to be depleted.

However, the trustees said both programs continue to face serious financial problems with the pending retirement of 78 million baby boomers. The report for the first timed triggered a Medicare funding warning that will require
President Bush to submit to Congress next year proposals for trimming Medicare costs.

And what was the title of the AP article? Social Security, Medicare: Good news. I am not joking. Social Security and Medicare are going to last one year longer than previously estimated and that is some how “good news.” Meanwhile, you are throwing your money down the drain. It’s gone…you’ll never see it again.

H/T: National Taxpayers Union

Sick pricks to protest VT funerals

This pisses me off beyond belief:

“WBC will preach at the funerals of the Virginia Tech students killed on campus during a shooting rampage April 16, 2007. You describe this as monumental horror, but you know nothing of horror — yet. “They shall also gird themselves with sackloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads” (Eze. 7:18).

Why did this happen, you ask? It’s simple. Your military chose to shoot at the servants of God today, and all they got for their effort was terror. Then, the LORD your God sent a crazed madman to shoot at your children. Was God asleep while this took place? Was He on vacation? Of course not. He willed this to happen to punish you for assailing His servants.

I fully recognize our protected rights under the Constitution, but…damn.

Other than these assholes, I’d say that we are all Hokies today.

Is this a function of government?

Throw this one in the What the #$%*? file, it seems that Michigan House Democrats have passed an earmark that would provide every school aged child with an iPod:

Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.

No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to “invest” in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.

“Tell mommy and daddy to vote Democrat, Johnny. We bought you an iPod.”

NTU has more:

They want taxpayers to pay for an iPod for every school child in the state. Did you hear a record-scratching noise when you read that? Did your jaw drop to the floor? Did you explode with vulgar swear words? If you didn’t, let me repeat that one more time, this time I’ll yell it…

THEY WANT TAXPAYERS TO PAY FOR AN IPOD FOR EVERY SCHOOL CHILD IN THE STATE!!!

Michigan, a state that already spends more than $10,000 per pupil to educate its children, wants to fund the extravagance of an iPod as well. Because, you know, it would improve their, uhh, education…or something. Knowing government inefficiency, they’d probably spend an average of $1,000 a piece and only half the kids would get them.

RE: Porking Iraq

I received an e-mail from the Washington office of Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) about my post on the pork filled Iraq supplemental bill. This was originally written for the New York Times, but they have asked me to post it here:

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to a recent op-ed challenging my motives in voting in favor of the recent spending bill for Iraq (“Pork Goes to War,” 3/30/2007).

While I voted against authorizing the war and against the first two spending bills for Iraq, I voted for the following five bills that included funding for Iraq after it became clear that despite my best efforts our troops were not coming home right away and they had been sent into combat by the Bush administration without adequate protective equipment. Therefore, my recent vote in favor of the bill was not inconsistent with my prior voting record.

It is a mistake is to attribute my vote in favor of the most recent Iraq spending bill to the inclusion of $400 million in funding that benefits 615 counties and 4,400 schools in 39 states. While it is true that I asked for that funding to be included because without it counties in my district would be forced to slash sheriff patrols, health care and other vital services, my vote in favor of the bill was never dependent on that funding. However, I argued that having large rural counties with no law enforcement would constitute an emergency and I’m grateful the Democratic leadership agreed.

Put simply, I voted in favor of the bill because it will end the war. Under the bill, our troops would have to be brought home from Iraq beginning no later than March 2008. The withdrawal would have to be completed by the end of August 2008.

Any suggestion that I had another motive for supporting the bill is flat out wrong.

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio
4th District, Oregon

Excuses, excuses…

[UPDATE] I wanted to add that DeFazio is a member of the Progressive Caucus, the very group that these buyouts targeted.

Porking Iraq

Thomas Schatz, from the Citizens for Government Waste, penned an editorial in the New York Times over the pork in the emergency Iraq appropriations bill:

Behind all their lofty rhetoric about the Iraq war and bringing home the troops, members of the House and Senate were busy tacking on $20 billion and $18.5 billion respectively in unrelated spending to President Bush’s $103 billion request. (He intends to veto the bill.)

Despite their campaign talk about earmark reform last fall, the new Democratic leadership shamelessly used pork to buy votes — before the vote, Representatives Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Peter DeFazio of Oregon acknowledged that add-ons for their districts would influence their decisions.

The heavyweights also led by example: the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, added $20 million to eradicate Mormon crickets, and David Obey of Wisconsin, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, came away with $283 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract Program.

Schatz also includeds a handy PDF of all the different pork projects included in both versions of the appropriations bill.

My favorites from the list are…
– $2 million for the Ugandan peace process (Senate)
– $5 million for breeding, rearing and transporting of live fish (House)
– $13 million for Ewe lamb replacement and pretension (Senate)
– $20 million for Mormon cricket eradication in Nevada (Senate)
– $24 million for Sugar beat production in Minnesota (Senate)
– $25 million for Spinach growers in California (House)
– $74 million for Peanut storage here in Georgia (House)
– $100 million for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions (Senate)
– $214 million for Kosovo assistance (Senate)
– $283 million Milk Income Loss Contract program (House)

This is how our tax dollars are spent by Congress. But God bless Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), who tried to get some of these wasteful earmarks stripped from the budget. Coburn sponsored a variety of amendments to get the pork stripped out. DeMint took to the floor of the Senate and urged fiscal responsibility.

Then there is George W. Bush. He has complained that the bill has too much pork, which it does…there is no denying that, but do not stand there at a press conference and complain about it after the spending spree Republicans had during your administration.

“Collective Property” in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez is killing his country…his latest socialist move is to create “collective property”:

Vowing to undermine capitalism’s continued influence in Venezuela during his television and radio program “Hello President,” Chavez said state-financed cooperatives would operate under a new concept in which workers would share profits.

“It’s property that belongs to everyone and it’s going to benefit everyone,” said Chavez, a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro whom opponents accuse of leading Venezuela toward Cuba-style communism.

Chavez — a leftist former paratrooper popularly known as “El Comandante” — said his government fully respects private property, but pledged to replace capitalist ideals with socialist principles on cooperatives such as cattle ranches and farms.

It’s just another step toward the elimination of private property under the Chavez regime.

Defaming gun owners

“This year will go down in history. For the first time a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our police will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future.” – Adolf Hitler, who instituted the first German gun laws just before Kristallnacht.

I’m not the biggest fan of Michelle Malkin, but she has a column in the Washington Times about the prejudice against gun owners:

Two weeks ago, the Roanoke (Va.) Times published an online database of registered concealed handgun permit holders in the paper’s community under the sanctimonious guise of “Sunshine Week.” The database included both the names and street addresses of some 135,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed weapons. Columnist Christian Trejbal patted himself on the back for making it easy to snoop on the neighbors: “I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters already: It’s nobody’s business but mine if I want to pack heat. Au contraire. Because the government handles the permitting, it is everyone’s business.”

The Roanoke Times showed reckless disregard for the safety of the license holders and reckless disregard for accuracy. In his column, Mr. Trejbal admitted he knew some of the information he had obtained was inaccurate — but published it anyway: “As a Sunshine Week gift, The Roanoke Times has placed the entire database, mistakes and all [emphasis added], online at www.roanoke.com/gunpermits. You can search to find out if neighbors, carpool partners, elected officials or anyone else has permission to carry a gun.”

After an uproar among gun-owners, including domestic violence victims licensed to carry, the Times finally decided to yank the database. Mr. Trejbal seems not to feel much remorse: “Did we make it easier [to obtain the information]? Yes. But it’s still a public record.” Let’s review: He published a list he knew contained inaccuracies. His paper admits the decision endangered gun owners. He compiled a convenient shopping list for criminals — and smacked law-abiding gun owners in the face with his comparison of their choice to exercise their rights with sex offenders.

Law abiding gun owners compared get compared to sexual predators. These are law abiding citizens exercising their right. I don’t understand how people can conveniently overlook or ignore the Second Amendment as an individual civil liberty protected by the Constitution.

Injunction issued against COPA

The Child Online Protection Act has been struck down by U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed:

Sexual health sites, the online magazine Salon.com and other Web sites backed by the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on grounds it would have a chilling effect on speech. Joan Walsh, Salon.com’s editor in chief, said the law could have allowed any of the 93 U.S. attorneys to prosecute the site over photos of naked prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

“The burden would have been on us to prove that they weren’t” harmful to minors, Walsh said Thursday.

In his ruling, Reed warned that “perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection.”

Well, the law wasn’t enforced as it was, but the judge is absolutely right in his opinion.

H/T: Reason: Hit & Run

Romney cutting ties

Rocky Anderson, the mayor Salt Lake City, called for Bush’s impeachment recently. Anderson doesn’t hide his political beliefs, a quick look at his endorsements in the last election will tell you where he is on the political spectrum, specifically the endorsement from the Democratic Progressive Caucus.

Mitt Romney apparently has a friendship with Anderson, who endorsed Romney during his run for Governor in 2003:

“People often say I’m a Massachusetts-type Democrat. To me, that’s a compliment,” Anderson said in the spot, which ran in heavily Democratic Massachusetts. Anderson then urged viewers to “take it from this liberal Democrat: If you want an amazing leader, vote for Mitt Romney.”

In 2003, after he became governor, Romney returned the favor, making a television ad in support of Anderson’s campaign for a second mayoral term.

Romney now says his backing of the Anderson was limited to his dealings with him in putting on the Olympics and that he never endorsed Anderson’s social views.

I just find this funny. Romney is having so many problems trying to prove that he is “the conservative” in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, but his past statements and actions constantly come back to haunt him.

Hotline has the video of Romney’s endorsement of Anderson.

Commendation for a friend

My State Representative, Steve Davis, was the only legislator to vote against Georgia’s bloated budget:

We had the 2007 Amended budget that I was the stand alone vote against. I voted against the budget for the first time for numerous reasons but I will start with the fact that the amended budget increased by $700 million to $19.3 Billion just over the break. Furthermore, the 2008 Budget which we will probably vote on next week that will increase the budget by another $900 million to $20.2 billion. These amounts do not include the bond issues of another $1 billion of our taxpayer dollars!

[…]

I have written about the fall of the National Republicans because they lost their way. They forgot why people are voting Republican. They vote Republican because they believe in less government, less taxes, traditional family values, common sense and morals. I am getting a little worked up but I ran for office on the above mentioned positions and I meant it. As I have found that many other legislators did not. This is shame because I believe we could move this state in a direction if we just had the heart to do the right thing.

Herman Cain once said that Democrats are better at pretending to be Republicans during campaigns than Republicans are at actually being Republicans while ruling.

We better take a hard look in the mirror and do some soul searching or we will become the big government politicians that we have grown to loath.

Steve and I disagree on most social issues, but he has done a damn fine job voting his convictions on fiscal issues. He’ll likely be chastized for this vote, but I just don’t think that is right.

No-knock raid legislation clears hurdle

The legislation to tighten no-knock raid requirements here in Georgia has passed through committee:

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved changes that require police officers to meet a stiffer standard to get the special warrants, which are intended to prevent suspects from getting rid of evidence and to protect officers from potentially violent suspects.

Critics say the warrants are sometimes abused by police, who currently must prove to a judge that there’s “reasonable suspicion” before granted the power to enter a home without knocking first.

The measure would require them to prove a “probable cause,” a standard that’s one step higher in Georgia criminal law.

“Every citizen ought to be safe and secure in their own home,” said state Sen. Vincent Fort, the Atlanta Democrat who wrote the bill. “There’s no higher right.”

[…]

“It’s an officer’s safety issue and a safety issue for other occupants that may be in a dwelling,” said Terry Norris, the group’s director. “I just don’t feel like — and the sheriffs don’t feel like — there’s a need for the legislation.”

The arguments failed to sway members of the Republican-controlled committee, which described it as a property rights issue.

“No-knock warrants are about as great an abrogation of the privacy of the home as you can get,” said Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland. “We need for people to be protected in their homes.”

“We need for people to be protected in their homes.”

I could not agree more with Senator Harp’s comments.

The bill still has to clear the Senate Rules Committee before it can be taken up by the full Senate.

Budget surplus by 2012?

Are Democrats going to create a budget surplus in four years?:

Senate Democrats unveiled a spending blueprint yesterday that envisions a massive expansion of the nation’s health-insurance program for children, as well as billions of additional dollars for other domestic priorities such as public education, veterans’ health care and local police.

Despite the additional spending, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said the proposal would virtually erase the federal deficit within four years without raising taxes and produce a surplus of $132 billion by 2012.

Under that scenario, Conrad said, Congress could extend President Bush’s signature tax cuts past their 2010 expiration date and halt the expansion of the alternative minimum tax, but only if sufficient revenue is raised elsewhere to cover the cost of about $800 billion over five years.

Keeping the evil “tax cuts for the rich” while increasing spending for welfare and social programs.

I’m calling “bullshit” on this one.

Paul to declare candidacy

Ron Paul will announce his candidacy for President on Monday:

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a strict constitutionalist and fierce anti-war critic, will formally declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination Monday when he appears as a guest on a C-SPAN call-in program.

Paul, R-Texas, created a presidential exploratory committee in January, allowing him to begin collecting money on behalf of his bid. Kent Snyder, the chairman of that committee, said Saturday that Paul would make his candidacy official on Monday.

Conservative diva steps in it (again) at CPAC

Yet another reason why I despise Ann Coulter:

Ann Coulter almost made it through her CPAC speech without looking like a complete buffoon. . . . Near the end of her speech she said she wouldn’t talk about John Edwards because ” you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’”

Note to conservatives…start looking for other people to front your movement.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

My good friend, Joe Magyer (who has been live blogging CPAC for the Libertarian Party this week), has more on the Coulter speech:

It was time for the Ann. Talk about a religious following. Her reception was something like I would envision Jeff Foxworthy’s at a NASCAR race. She did not waste any time firing away by taking some shots at Al Gore and his recent issues with energy credibility. Moving past Gore, Coulter took aim at Barack Obama, or as Coulter said “B. Hussein Obama.” Coulter described our first black President as being Bill Clinton, then proceeded to say that whereas Obama would be our first half white / half black President, Clinton was the first who was half white / half trash. Then came the clincher that sent bloggers sprawling for their laptops…

You know what, I just can’t put this in print on our website. It was disgusting and classless. If this were any blog but the LP’s I would run it in a heart beat as it was a public statement by a public figure, but if you want to hear about it you’ll have to visit another site. Suffice to say, it was a major turnoff.

[…]

Sometimes being a Libertarian can be an uphill, gut wrenching experience, but at this moment I am most proud to be the lone person at Bloggers’ Corner who doesn’t have this woman stump for their candidates.

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