Shared posts

25 May 13:29


by Kate


That's right Graham, we unfunded bloggers and the few surviving skeptical scientists not evicted and blackballed from our universities (yet) have tricked 20% of the population because no one has put forward the climate change arguments except for: The Climate Commission, CSIRO, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Royal Dutch Shell, GE, Panasonic, The ABC, The BBC, The Guardian, Fairfax, The Australian government, most universities, The EU, The UN, The World Bank, and the IMF.

With a budget of nothing we're winning. Why? We have nature on our side.* The world isn't warming, the models can't predict the real climate, and half the population have wised up to the propaganda. The main arguments of those who would control CO2 are not scientific, but insults and bluster, shutting up and disqualifying critics rather than answering politely, and producing the evidence. The University of Queensland offers a whole course in namecalling to train people to "engage" deniers. But the public know that the endless drought ended, the dams filled, the predictions were wrong and that "denier" is not science. Namecalling isn't working anymore (so keep it coming Graham, it helps the skeptics :-) ).

24 May 21:00

Self-Driving Cars Are Coming Fast, So Why Should We Spend a Dime Rebuilding Amtrak?

by Jim Epstein

A ninteenth-century technology“It’s like they’re designing the pony express in the world of the telegraph,” Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Dist. 22) told Fortune, explaining his opposition to a plan to build a light rail system in Pinellas County. "I absolutely believe that technology is going to transform mass transit in a way that very few people can see...It'll definitely be within 15 or 20 years, which is right when the light rail system…would be coming online."

Brandes' logic applies to all sorts of rail infrastructure schemes; the $68-billion high-speed rail line planned between San Francisco and Los Angeles comes to mind. But the advent of driverless cars is also a reason to oppose the recent push to rebuild Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

Congressional Democrats want to give Amtrak $2 billion this year, and the beleaguered rail company says it needs a whopping $151 billion to bring high-speed rail to the Northeast Corridor by 2040.

I doubt there will be many train riders in 2040. American travelers generally prefer cars because they offer point-to-point mobility, but trains have two advantages over passenger vehicles today: They don't get stuck in traffic, and riders can do other things during the trip.

Autonomous vehicles will eliminate those advantages. In "The Moral Case for Self-Driving Cars" from Reason's August/September 2014 issue, Science Correspondent Ron Bailey explained how autonomous vehicles can solve the traffic problem:

Roadway engineers estimate that typical highways now accommodate a maximum throughput of 2,200 human-driven vehicles per lane per hour, utilizing only about 5 percent of roadway capacity. Because self-driving cars would be safer and could thus drive closer and faster, switching to mostly self-driving cars would dramatically increase roadway throughput. One estimate by the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research in November 2013 predicts that a 50 percent autonomous road fleet would boost highway capacity by 22 percent; an 80 percent robot fleet will goose capacity 50 percent, and a fully automated highway would see its throughput zoom by 80 percent.

But don't we need to keep building out rail infrastructure in the short term, before driverless cars are ubiquitous? No, thanks to a 20th century technology known as a bus. Motorcoach travel is the fast growing form of intercity transit because it's cheap, convenient, and like the train, allows travelers to sleep, work, or play during the ride. And the bus industry receives no taxpayer subsidies.

Watch the 2013 Reason TV documentary I made with Naomi Brockwell, which looks at the glorious rebirth of the bus industry and why the government may ruin it again:

24 May 13:33

Rights, Duties, Commerce, and SSM: Lords of the Ring Edition

by Mike Munger

UPDATE:  This was edited after Alexander R. Cohen (rightly) offered critiques on two points:  the nature of anti-discrimination law and the unjustified ad hominem nature of some of the claims…Significant changes are marked in green text and cross-outs…

I have tried in the past to parse the problem of implied contracts and “open for business,” and the rights and duties of a business.

My friend David Henderson has expressed a different view, which is fair enough.  He’s wrong about other things, too, I’m sure.  But there is a difference that rests in anti-discrimination law, an asymmetry, that separates rights of consumers and rights of businesses.  These might be “wrong,” in some larger sense, but they provide the context in which the discussion should take place.

Still, there is a new “case” which brings some issues sharply into focus, while obscuring others.

Here are the facts, as far as I can tell.  One version.  And another version.  Just reading the two accounts tells you that something deep is going on.  It doesn’t sound like they are even describing the same incident.

A couple (they happen to be lesbian women, if it matters) went to a jeweler.  The reason they went to that jeweler, and not some other, was that the business came highly recommended for good service and good prices.  And that was exactly the experience of the couple:  they were happy with the service, and agreed on a custom design that they liked.  They paid for the rings.  And this was a custom ring, so the transaction is not reversible. Unless, it appears, the jeweler expressed a view (in a sign) that the couple disagreed with.

At this point, the couple asserted a particular right:  They demanded to be allowed to return the ring for the full price  Saying that the customer is “allowed” to return the ring, of course, means that the producer is OBLIGED to accept the ring, and return the purchase price, even though it was a custom ring and can’t be sold to someone else at anything close to the same price.

There is no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the ring, no flaws in manufacture, etc., and the customer service received by the couple was impeccable, polite, helpful, and professional.

What the couple is asserting is a right to refuse to do business, after the fact, after the transaction is completed and materials are committed to the manufacture, with a business because they (the couple) happen to dislike the beliefs of the owner of the business.

Now, remember, the earlier (pizza) kerfuffle was about the right of a business to decline–before the fact and in a transaction that involved custom negotiations, with no implied contract–to do business with someone.  The SSM activists asserted that the business had no such right, and was obliged to do business, regardless of the seller’s beliefs.

I disagreed; businesses have freedom of association just like everyone else.  But notice the bizarre hypocrisy of the SSM activists extremists (it would be wrong to say that the actions of a few are representative of the larger SSM / LGBT movement; my bad in the earlier version) here:  they are asserting that beliefs are in fact grounds for refusing to do business, even after a voluntary transaction has been completed.  The difference?  In this case, the SSM activists happen to agree with the beliefs.

The legal theory being advanced by extremists is rather disturbing:   if a bunch of violent vigilantes agree with you, you have the rights those threats protect.  But if they disagree, they will threaten to burn your business.  In both cases, someone who expressed disagreement (one hypothetical, one irrelevant because after-the-fact) was threatened just because of those beliefs.  This video is a bit over the top, but it makes a pretty good point.

If you believe that people have the right to display rainbow or pro-SSM posters (and those would be my own view, if it matters; I’m a rainbow kind of guy), then you have to think that people have the right to display anti-SSM posters.  Believing that marriage is one man, one woman is not inherently homophobic.  I happen to think the anti-SSM view is incorrect, but I cannot use the force of the state, or the vile threats of brigands and fringe groups, to force others to act as if they share my beliefs.

Or, to put it another way:  The problem with the Indiana pizza shop was that an employee was asked a hypothetical question:  “Would you cater a gay wedding?”  When the employee answered “no,” there were threats and the insistence that the company had no such right, to withhold service.

In the case of the ring-maker, the seller kept quiet and actually performed the service being requested, and did it so well that the couple recommended the service to others.  But the business is now in trouble for doing precisely what the pizza shop was blamed for failing to do:  shut up and provide the service.  This is exaggerated, and I don’t endorse all of its claims, but the argument (and the comparison to Nazis, which is obligatory) is on point.

Another commentator has this version of a Monty Python sketch:

Customer: We are a lesbian couple who would like you to make us a wedding ring.

Business owner: Okay. I do not support gay marriage, but I will serve you as anybody else. This, I understand, is how it works.

Customer: You can’t deny me service simply because you hold different views from mine.

Business owner: Indeed. I have no intention of doing so. Society is better off when our differences remain private.

Customer: Okay, let’s do business.

Business owner: Great.

Customer: Your private views are disgusting. You can’t make me do business with you. Give me my money back or I’ll unleash the kraken.

Since there is a problem with (a) refusing to provide the service AND a problem with (b) providing the service, politely, and professionally and to the satisfaction of the customer, the only conclusion is that we are criminalizing beliefs and private actions.  Which is supposed to be the defense of SSM in the first place:  people can do what they want in their private lives.  The right of gay folks to marry is a right of association, which I defend.  The same right, the very same right, gives people who disagree with SSM the right to refuse to participate in business transactions, or to express contrary views, without legal sancton or extra-legal vigilante threats.


23 May 22:00

The Ethics of Climate Change

by Anthony Watts
Calls for massive reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions ignore the impacts on the poor. Guest essay by Bob Lyman People who believe in the theory of catastrophic human-induced global warming claim that they want to “save the planet” and that this is the moral thing to do. They insist, however, that saving the planet…
24 May 12:43

Comparing 1975 National Academy Of Sciences To 2015 GISS

by stevengoddard
In 1975, the National Academy Of Sciences published this graph, showing about 1°C warming in the Northern Hemisphere from 1885 to 1940, and that all 1900 to 1940 warming was lost by 1970. GISS has since reduced the 1885 to … Continue reading →
24 May 05:49

Why It’s So Hard to Convince Warmists

by Guest Blogger
Social science provides a lot of useful insight as to why logic and data rarely convince warmists. Guest essay by Matt Manos Many of the posters and readers at WUWT have expressed frustration at convincing warmists. Using facts and logic seem to fall on deaf ears. There are some interesting social sciences theories on why…
24 May 03:18

April data after improved procedures: Chilling news for Mr Gore

by admin

The benchmark global temperature data from the researchers at UAH-Huntsville have been adjusted to compensate for drifting in the positions of the satellites that take the readings and other improvements in the measurements and calculations. The improvements in the data series must be disconcerting for warming alarmists such as Mr Gore and the IPCC: dangerous warming and a “turning point” are nowhere to be seen. We hope they are relieved that there is (even less) reason to believe the Earth is in danger and that governments will realise the folly of policies to reduce carbon dioxide levels.

Our chart of The Bet to April 2015 is shown to the right of the page, as usual, using UAH’s revised series. The picture is clear, but for this who prefer numbers, here is a very small one: 0.000000000005. That number (which is roughly equal to 1-divided-by 214 billion) is the probability that temperatures would have equaled-or-exceeded Mr Gore and the IPCC’s 0.03°C per annum warming projection as few or fewer times as the 13-out-of-88 months of The Bet so far that they have done so… if their projection were unbiased.

For more information on the UAH data revisions, see the description by Spencer, Christy and Braswell, here.

23 May 09:44

05/22/15 PHD comic: 'The Doctoral Dilemma'

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "The Doctoral Dilemma" - originally published 5/22/2015

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

23 May 08:46

Alabama Senate Passes Bill to Effectively Nullify All Sides on Marriage

by Shane Trejo

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (May 23, 2015) – This week, the Alabama state Senate passed a bill that would end the practice of licensing marriages in the state, effectively nullifying both major sides of the contentious national debate over government-sanctioned marriage.

Introduced by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette), Senate Bill 377 (SB377) would end state issued marriage licenses, while providing marriage contracts as an alternative. It passed through the Alabama state Senate by a 22-3 margin on May 19.

“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” Sen. Albritton said about his bill in April. “Go back long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.”

The bill would replace all references to marriages “licenses” in state law with “contracts.” The legislation would not invalidate any marriage licenses issued prior to the bill being passed.

The contract shall be filed in the office of the judge of probate in each county and shall constitute a legal record of the marriage. A copy of the contract shall be transmitted to the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Public Health and made a part of its record…

Effective July 1, 2015, any requirement to obtain a marriage license issued by the judge of probate is abolished and repealed.


SB377 would accomplish two things.

First, it would render void the edicts of federal judges that have overturned state laws defining marriage. The founding generation never envisioned unelected judges issuing ex cathedra pronouncements regarding the definition of social institutions like marriage and the Constitution delegates the federal judiciary no authority to meddle in the issue. Marriage is a realm clearly left to the state and the people..

Second, the bill would get the state government out of defining marriage entirely as well, ending the squabble between factions that seek to harness the power of the state, thereby taking the burden off government officials who may be torn between what is legally required of them and their religious convictions.

The intent or motives behind this bill are a moot point. By removing the state from the equation, no one can force another to accept their marriage, nor can they force another to reject that person’s own beliefs regarding an institution older than government.

“Licenses are used as a way to stop people from doing things,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “My personal relationship should not be subject to government permission.”


As a 2007 New York Times op/ed points out, for centuries marriage was a private affair.

“For most of Western history, they didn’t, because marriage was a private contract between two families. The parents’ agreement to the match, not the approval of church or state, was what confirmed its validity. For 16 centuries, Christianity also defined the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s wishes. If two people claimed they had exchanged marital vows — even out alone by the haystack — the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married.

In fact, the use of state marriage licenses for many years was a way of preventing people from entering into interracial marriages. Later, the NYT story recounts, the licenses became necessary in order to subsidize the welfare state.

“The Social Security Act provided survivors’ benefits with proof of marriage. Employers used marital status to determine whether they would provide health insurance or pension benefits to employees’ dependents. Courts and hospitals required a marriage license before granting couples the privilege of inheriting from each other or receiving medical information.”

Something that is rarely considered by those seeking to control the state’s definition of marriage is that a marriage license means a citizen requires the permission of their government before they can get married. A person cannot drive a vehicle, aside from limited circumstances, without a license. A person cannot practice law without a license, nor can they engage in medical care.

Put another way, marriage is not a right, or a religious institution, but a privilege the state grants us if we meet the conditions put upon us.

Consider this: In the same way a driver can lose their license if they break certain traffic laws, a man or woman, theoretically, could one day find their marriage license revoked for breaking certain “marriage” rules, whether it pertains to child rearing, or their religious and political convictions.

Christopher Wesley, an associated scholar at the Mises Institute, wrote that “marriage is most endangered when it rests in the coercive hands of the State.”


SB377 would still allow for a formal marriage to be contracted in front of at least two adults, by an Alabama judge or retired judge, or an ordained minister, with limited exceptions. Alternatively, applicants could simply file an affidavit of common law marriage with the court clerk signed by both parties.

Though the bill does not define marriage specifically, the certificate only allows for two parties and forbids them from marrying if they are already married.

SB377 now moves to the state House, where it must pass through the House Judiciary Committee before it can receive a vote on the House floor.

TJ Martinell contributed to this report

22 May 00:56

Why Not $15 Per Hour Today?

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)


The only economic case for raising the minimum wage that is even potentially theoretically sound is the case built upon the belief that employers of low-skilled workers possess monopsony power in the market for low-skilled workers.  (As argued here before, monopsony power is a necessary condition for a higher minimum wage not to reduce the employment prospects of low-skilled workers; it is not a sufficient condition.)

So what are we to make of the City of Los Angeles’s move to raise the hourly minimum wage there to $15 by 2020?  Why wait until 2020?  Why not immediately or, say, on June 1st 2015?

If this minimum-wage hike is truly justified by employer monopsony power, there’s no reason for any delay in hiking the wage.  If employers of low-skilled Angelenos truly have monopsony power of the sort that the best pro-minimum-wage economists assert is prevalent enough in reality to justify government-imposd minimum wages – and if government-imposed minimum wages really are ‘scientific’ responses to the prevalence of such monopsony power – then raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles from its current rate of $9 per hour all the way up to its ‘desired’ rate of $15 per hour should be done immediately.  Why the gradualism?  Why wait five years to raise the wage to its appropriate height?  The monopsony power that justifies raising the minimum wage, if it is real, exists today in full.  And if $15 per hour is the ‘right’ minimum wage to offset the baneful consequences of employers’ monopsony power, then economic theory is clear that there is nothing to be gained, and only gains for low-skilled workers to be foregone, by any delay in raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Most readers of this blog know – not because they read this blog, but because they exercise economically informed common sense (of the sort, sadly, that is schooled out of too many non-GMU-type academic economists!) – that employers of low-skilled workers (especially those in large cities such as L.A.) have no monopsony power to speak of.  Employers certainly don’t have monopsony power in such magnitudes and so generally as to justify a government-imposed minimum wage.  So it’s unsurprising to me and, I’m sure, to most of this blog’s readership that L.A.’s massive minimum-wage hike is phased in over five years.  This phasing-in not only mutes and, hence, helps to hide, the ill-effects of the minimum wage; more significantly, this phasing-in is solid evidence that minimum-wage hikes are in fact not scientific responses by government to the prevalence of employer monopsony power.

It’s high time that tweedy academic economists stop lending their professional and scientific creds to politicians seeking only cheap applause and valuable votes from the economically uninformed masses (who too readily cheer policies with lovely titles) and kudos and campaign contributions from labor unions and other rent-seekers (who gain financially from government policies that price many of the lowest-skilled and most vulnerable workers out of jobs).

20 May 12:35

Great Piece: “If I’m Arrested Today” (For Being a Rational Parent in a Hysterical World)

by lskenazy


This piece about why we need to be able to make rational, caring decisions for our kids without worrying about being second-guessed by passersby or the authorities sums up the issue just perfectly. It’s from the blog Catholic All Year. It begins with the author, Kendra, discussing an article  by Kim Brooks in Salon that detailed the cases of some moms arrested for letting their kids wait briefly in the car. Then she writes:

…I’m still not going to make what I believe are bad parenting decisions because of bad laws and bad samaritans. I won’t be bullied. But it is deeply, deeply scary. And it could absolutely happen to me.

We live in a world where people are so disconnected from the facts that they honestly believe that a nine year old child walking to the park will probably get kidnapped by a stranger and that a two year old asleep in a car will immediately die if his mother walks more than five feet away. Maybe it’s ten feet. But he will die. For sure.

I understand that these laws and policies have been made in response to very real tragedies. But arresting reasonable parents who have made reasonable parenting decisions appropriate to their particular circumstances isn’t going to save all children from accidental death.

My child could be killed because I left him home. Or he could be killed because I brought him with me in the car. My child could be killed because I left him inside the car. Or he could be killed walking across the parking lot at my side. There is not a law that can guarantee that my child will be safe. It is unsettling, but true. And no one is better suited to make decisions for the safety of a child in a particular situation than his parent.

These laws and the people who enforce them are deeply misguided, and the way they undermine a parent’s ability to make decisions for her own child should concern everyone.

Love, rationality and a demand that society not interpret every parental action using worst-first thinking? Music to our ears. – L


Call my lawyer!

Call my lawyer!


21 May 01:25

Bryan Caplan on why minimum wage advocates want a gradual phase-in: it hides the negative employment effects

by Mark Perry

In an EconLog blog post from December 2013 (“Phase-In: A Demagogic Theory of the Minimum Wage“), GMU economist Bryan Caplan makes some excellent points about the typical legislative process of phasing-in gradual increases in the minimum wage to something like $15 per hour over several years or more like in Seattle vs. just increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour immediately. Here’s Bryan (with some numbers and dates adjusted to reflect current conditions):

Increases in the minimum wage are usually “phased-in.” Why not just immediately impose the minimum wage you actually want?

There is a major difference between employers’ response to sharp-and-sudden versus slow-and-gradual minimum wage hikes: visibility. If the minimum wage unexpectedly jumped to $15 today, the effect on employment, though relatively small, would be blatant. Employers would wake up with a bunch of unprofitable workers on their hands. Over the next month or two, we would blame virtually all low-skilled lay-offs on the minimum wage hike – and we’d probably be right to do so.

If everyone knew the minimum wage was going to be $15 in 2017, however, even a large effect on employment could be virtually invisible. Employers wouldn’t need to lay any workers off.  They could get to their new optimum via reduced hiring and attrition.  When the law finally kicked in, you might find zero extra layoffs, because employers saw the writing on the wall and quietly downsize their workforce in advance.

If you sincerely cared about workers’ well-being, of course, it wouldn’t make any difference whether the negative side effects of the minimum wage were blatant or subtle. You’d certainly prefer small but blatant job losses to large but subtle job losses. But what if you’re a ruthless demagogue, pandering to the public’s economic illiteracy in a quest for power?  Then you have a clear reason to prefer the subtle to the blatant. If you raise the minimum wage to $15 today and low-skilled unemployment doubles overnight, even the benighted masses might connect the dots. A gradual phase-in is a great insurance policy against a public relations disaster. As long as the minimum wage takes years to kick in, any half-competent demagogue can find dozens of appealing scapegoats for unemployment of low-skilled workers.

The fact that activists’ proposals include phase-in provisions therefore suggests that for all their bluster, they know that negative effects on employment are a serious possibility. If they really cared about low-skilled workers, they’d struggle to figure out the magnitude of the effect. Instead, they cleverly make the disemployment effect of the minimum wage too gradual to detect.

MP: Bryan makes a great point and helps explain why all recent minimum wage hikes to $15 per hour are being phased-in gradually over several years and not raised immediately: Seattle’s $15 per hour minimum wage won’t take effect until 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2021 depending on the size and type of employer, Los Angeles’s $15 per hour minimum wage won’t take full effect until 2020, and San Francisco’s $15 per hour minimum wage won’t be in effect until 2017.

The post Bryan Caplan on why minimum wage advocates want a gradual phase-in: it hides the negative employment effects appeared first on AEI.

20 May 08:10

The Global Warming Two Degree Tipping Point

by stevengoddard
Temperature data tampering at NCDC and NASA is about to pass the two degree mark, which means a tipping point of fraud which the agencies won’t be able to recover from. Almost half of their temperatures are now fake. They can … Continue reading →
20 May 11:05

Don’t Be A Tin Foil Hat Person

by stevengoddard
Just because NASA has massively altered their data to make the Earth appear to be warming and match the political agenda of Barack Obama – is no reason to believe they are committing the biggest scientific fraud in history. Please also … Continue reading →
20 May 11:07

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux

h/t Jts5665

(Don Boudreaux)


… is from page 127 of volume III (“The Political Order of a Free People,” 1979) of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty:

Current methods of taxation have been shaped largely by the endeavor to raise funds in such a manner as to cause the least resistance or resentment on the part of the majority who had to approve the expenditure.  They certainly were not designed to assure responsible decisions on expenditure, but on the contrary to produce the feeling that somebody else would pay for it….  The theory and practice of public finance has been shaped almost entirely by the endeavor to disguise as far as possible the burden imposed, and to make those who will ultimately have to bear it as little aware of it as possible.  It is probable that the whole complexity of the tax structure we have built up is largely the result of the efforts to persuade citizens to give the government more than they would knowingly consent to do so.

20 May 03:06

Michelle Malkin Shares the Stories of ‘Tinkerpreneurs’ Who Changed America

by Erica Ritz

Michelle Malkin appeared on The Glenn Beck Program Tuesday to share the stories of the “tinkerpreneurs” who changed America and the world with their inventions, whether it was as small as a bottle cap or as vast as the work of scientist Nikola Tesla.

“Restoring the reputation of ethical capitalism in this country is so important,” Malkin said. “You see so many of these big-government cronies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce types who are so willing to jump into bed with the AFL-CIO and Barack Obama. … Well there was a time — and of course our kids don’t learn this nearly enough — when there were people of character, men of great character like George Westinghouse who understood the value of protecting individual and intellectual property rights.”

But Malkin said entrepreneurs are increasingly struggling because of countless laws, regulations and mandates being sent down from the federal government.

Michelle Malkin appears on The Glenn Beck Program May 19, 2015. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Michelle Malkin appears on The Glenn Beck Program May 19, 2015. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

“The first chapter is about Anthony Maglica, the 84-year-old spry entrepreneur who came here from a tiny little island off of Croatia … with nothing during the Depression, but the hunger to make something of himself,” she said.

Malkin said Maglica drove across the country, at times pushing his car through the Rocky Mountains, before settling in California and coming up with the design for the Maglite flashlight. He never stopped innovating and currently holds roughly 200 patents, Malkin said.

Before the ban of incandescent light bulbs, Malkin said Maglica was working on a product to revolutionize the technology and planned to hire hundreds to produce his creation. Now the entire project has been forced to a halt.

“He told me he will never give up, not until the day he is no longer on this earth, to try to improve his products and bring people things that they want and need,” she remarked. “That’s what the American dream is about. It’s not something that’s decreed in Washington, D.C. And it’s these kind of people that make America a great place. He hasn’t given up hope, so neither will I.”

But Malkin still had harsh words for those who she believes are putting inventors at greater risk.

“In 2011, Obama radically transformed and upended the idea that the inventor should be the one who’s rewarded, rather than the one who’s first to file,” Malkin remarked. “Obama and the Congress rammed it through with very little debate in the mainstream public because it really is one of those arcane things, and ‘globalized and harmonized’ American patent law with the rest of the world.”

“In other words,” she remarked, “[we abandoned] those first constitutional principles that our founders knew guaranteed success.”

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20 May 09:59

Enforced uniformity in the name of diversity...

by Brian

You will all think alike or we will make you in the name of progressive diversity.

20 May 05:00

Government strips us of privacy while demanding its own

And the media is as compliant as sheep,
19 May 22:10

Evidence on the Powers the Constitution Leaves Exclusively to the States

by Rob Natelson

The Constitution enumerates the powers of the federal government. But has anyone listed the exclusive powers of states—the realm the federal government may not invade without violating the Constitution?

When discussing state authority, the Founders usually pointed out only that the federal government’s powers were, as Madison said, “few and defined,” and that the states and people retained everything else. But that presents a problem for modern readers, who often aren’t familiar with 18th century language.

For example, if a reader doesn’t know that the word “commerce” in 18th century constitutional discourse usually was defined as “mercantile trade and certain closely related activities,” he might think it means “business” as in the phrase “Chamber of Commerce.” The modern reader might therefore conclude that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause grants to Congress general authority to regulate business.

Fortunately, during the ratification debates some advocates of the Constitution did clarify the document by listing for the public certain designated activities that would remain outside the federal sphere. One reason the Constitution was ratified was that the general public relied on these representations.

In 2003, I collected many of them in an article entitled The Enumerated Powers of States.

As is typical in academia, few law journals were interested in publishing an article that explained the original meaning of the Constitution and how it limited federal authority. Nevertheless, the Nevada Law Journal, then a relatively new publication, did agree to publish it. This proved to be a very good move for the Nevada Law Journal: In the ensuing years, The Enumerated Powers of States has become one of my most cited scholarly articles.

The Enumerated Powers of States listed area after area that the Constitution’s advocates represented as outside of federal control:

* training the militia and appointing its officers;
* control over local government;
* regulating real estate;
* regulating personal property outside of commerce;
* the law of family and domestic affairs;
* most criminal law;
* civil justice between citizens of the same state;
* religion;
* education;
* social services;
* agriculture; and
* control of most business enterprises.

Since 2003, I have found several sources confirming this list. One example is a enumeration that appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette on Dec. 26, 1787, which is reprinted in Volume 2 of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution at p.650.

The very recent publication of the Maryland volumes in the Documentary History has turned up other examples. Thus, a 1787 article by a writer using the name “Aratus” represented that only state courts would adjudicate “Cases of property and right within the state, and between citizens thereof, and criminal cases, wherein the United States are not concerned.” (Vol. 11, p. 41). Another author—”Uncus”—wrote a few days later as follows:

“Congress will have no direction of religion or the clergy,—with the universities, academies, schools, or any part of education. They will have no direction with the state judicial courts, or assemblies—with their pleadings, or manner of proceeding. Beyond the ten miles square [ie., Washington, D.C.], few are the civil officers which they can appoint.” (Vol. 11, p.66.)

One of the two new Maryland volumes contains a draft speech by Charles Carroll of Carrollton to be delivered in 1788. Although the speech was not delivered, it is evidence of the educated understanding of the time—especially because Carroll had served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and therefore helped write the document. The Carroll speech specifically affirmed that wills and property conveyances were within the jurisdiction only of state courts, not federal courts (vol. 12, p. 844).

The new Maryland volumes also reproduce another undelivered speech. This one may have had public impact, because it was published well before all the states had ratified. Although it was anonymous, it was almost certainly the finished version of Carroll’s address.

This speech emphasized that Congress would be powerless to regulate inheritances, alter the laws of wills, or establish a national church. (Vol. 12, p. 881). It went on to say that each state will have exclusive control over

“the whole regulations of property, the regulations of the penal law, the promotion of useful arts [i.e., technology], the internal government of its own people.”

Today, of course, the federal government has intruded into almost all the areas that the Founders represented as outside its sphere. In other words, the modern federal government is a creature very different from the one ordained by the Constitution that “We The People” ratified.

19 May 10:00

No Good Deed

by Charles Oliver

h/t Jts5665

Two years ago, some parents donated an equipment shed/clubhouse for the baseball team at Nevada's Arbor View High School. Now, school district officials say the shed has to be torn down because providing a shed for the boys baseball team and not the girls softball team violated Title IX. The parents aren't happy with that decision. They are even less happy that the school system asked only one company to tear down the shed and that company is charging $21,000, a fee the parents will have to pay.

19 May 16:08

Is Dianne Feinstein Responsible for the Amtrak Crash that Killed Eight? No, But Government Safety Mandates Can Have Tragic and Unintended Consequences.

by Jim Epstein

h/t Jts5665

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) |||When news broke that the likely cause of last week's Amtrak crash was that the engineer was doing 106 on a 50-mph curve, liberal pundits were left scrounging for a ways to use this tragedy to make a case for spending more federal tax dollars on passenger rail. The narrative that needed to be retrofitted to the facts was that Republican lawmakers had blood on their hands for blocking efforts to give Amtrak the vital money it needed to safely run its trains.

And so they discovered Positive Train Control (PTC), a technology that up until last week only rail geeks had heard about. (What news editor would let a phrase like that slip past the red pen?) PTC is a system that uses radio signals and GPS to prevent trains from speeding, and in 2008, a federal law mandated that all passenger rail systems install it by the end of 2015. Though overall federal (and state) subsidies to Amtrak have climbed every year since, Congress didn’t directly providing funds for PTC's implementation.

PTC would have prevented last week's crash, but Amtrak didn't have it installed yet on the track where last week's crash occurred.

"Republican Cuts Kill…Again," was the headline of a shamelessly misleading and inaccurate video posted by the Agenda Project Action Fund, a liberal policy group. "Currently Available Technology May Have Prevented Fatal Amtrak Crash. But Congress Never Funded It," was the title of a Think Progress post by Josh Israel.

What these big government opportunists chose to ignore is that PTC never made sense in the first place. That's because it's wildly expensive without much benefit, as Baruch Feigenbaum, a transportation policy analyst with the Reason Foundation, noted in a recent blog post:

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) places the cost at more than $13 billion to install and maintain a nationwide class I PTC system. Consulting firm Oliver Wyden estimated that PTC has a 20 year benefit between $0-$400 million. Even if all $400 million in benefits are realized, the cost/benefit ratio range is $1 in benefits for every $20 spent on the system.

PTC also involves use of the spectrum, so installing it means coordinating with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is exactly the sort of complex management challenge a dysfunctional organization like Amtrak isn't up to.

But there's another safety technology that could have prevented last week's crash, which does make a lot of sense. As Feigenbaum writes:

The most obvious solution would be to expand Amtrak’s existing automatic train control system that regulates speed. Automatic train control systems can be programmed to send information to a train about the speed limit for a section of track...If the technology was installed on the northbound track [where last week's accident occurred], the train likely would have gone around the curve at 80 miles per hour and not come off the track.

The 2008 mandate for PTC got pushed through Congress only because of a 2008 train crash in California:

Even before the final safety report [for that accident] was released, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) began pushing to mandate automated safety equipment for all large railway systems…Swept up in the emotion, Congress in 2008 failed to seriously consider any solution except PTC. The PTC bill passed October 16, 2008 with limited debate only a month after the crash.

After last week's crash, Amtrak quickly went with the cheaper and more logical soultion, and installed an Automatic Train Control (ATC) system on the stretch of track where the accident occurred in one weekend.

While it's true that PTC works better than ATC at preventing crashes, in a world of scarcity and tradeoffs, the most expensive and complicated system is often the worse choice. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marc Scribner notes in a sharp piece on the lessons of last week's crash, all that extra money for PTC would have been better spent on improving grade crossings, where on average about 270 people are killed each year. Train derailments, by contrast, are incredibly rare.

So is it possible that if Dianne Feinstein and other lawmakers hadn't pushed the PTC mandate, Amtrak would have gone ahead and installed ATC throughout the Northeast Corridor, and then eight people wouldn't have died last week? If they hadn't mandated PTC, would that extra money have gone to saving lives at grade crossings?

Who knows, but I think counterfactuals of this sort are shallow and unproductive. The only thing we know for sure is that when government officials try and make the world a safer place by fiat it can lead to unintended consequences that get people killed.

I wrote about Amtrak for The Daily Beast back in 2013: "Amtrak Is a Tax-Sucking Behemoth That Deserves to Die."

18 May 02:28

The only way AFL-CIO can report 400-to-1 ‘CEO-to-worker pay’ ratio is to ignore CEOs of medium, small companies

by Mark Perry

As I reported recently on CD, there are a number of statistical problems with the methodology used by the AFL-CIO to calculate its annual “CEO-to-worker pay” ratio, which was 373-to-1 in 2014, up from 331-to-1 in 2013. Obviously, as a federation of 56 trade unions representing 12.5 million active and retired union workers, the AFL-CIO has an incentive to report the highest possible “CEO-to-worker pay” ratio. How to do that? Very easy: a) report the very highest possible estimate of CEO pay available and b) report the very lowest possible estimate of worker pay.

1. Lowest Worker Pay. Even though the AFL-CIO represents union members, it uses average worker pay for all workers, not just union members.  For example, to get a 331-to-1 CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 2013, it compared the total compensation of 350 of the highest paid CEOs in the S&P 500 ($11.7 million) to average annual worker pay of $35,239. To calculate that average worker pay, the AFL-CIO used the average hourly wage of $20.14 in 2013 for production and nonsupervisory workers and the average workweek of 33.7 hours for those workers: $20.14 per hour x 33.7 hours per week x 52 weeks = $35,239 annual worker pay. And as I reported here, the AFL-CIO is actually reporting the annual cash wages for part-time workers, not full-time workers (less than 35 hours per week is part-time according to the BLS).

If the AFL-CIO has used the average annual pay for all full-time private workers of $44,617 in 2013, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio would have decreased by about 21% from 331-to-1 to 262-to-1, and if it had used the average annual union pay of $49,400, the ratio would have fallen further to 237-to-1, a decrease of 28.4%.

2. Highest CEO Pay. As I also pointed out in my previous post, the AFL-CIO compares total CEO compensation (base pay plus bonuses, profit-sharing, stock or option awards, etc.) to the average cash wages of workers, and not total worker compensation (including fringe benefits, profit-sharing, retirement/pension, etc.). That comparison of CEO compensation to worker cash pay is another method used by the AFL-CIO to report the highest possible CEO-to-worker pay ratio. Another tactic used by the AFL-CIO is to use only a very small sub-set of only the very highest paid CEOs.

For example, in 2013 the AFL-CIO included only 350 of the highest paid CEOs among the S&P 500 companies, and it reported the average CEO compensation, not the median CEO compensation – another tactic used to report the highest possible CEO pay number. As the chart above shows, the median CEO compensation for all S&P 500 companies in 2013 was $10.1 million (according to Equilar’s “2014 CEO Pay Strategies Report“), which was $1.6 million (and 13.7%) lower than the AFL-CIO’s reported $11.7 million CEO average compensation. Using the median compensation for all S&P 500 CEOs reduces the AFL-CIO’s ratio by more than 13% from 331-to-1 to 287-to-1.

Further, to report the highest possible CEO pay, the ALF-CIO considers only the CEOs of large-cap S&P 500 companies, which are America’s 500 largest, well-established companies with market capitalizations above $5.3 billion. Ignored by the AFL-CIO are the CEOs of America’s S&P 400 Mid-Cap companies (market capitalization of $1.5 billion to $5.9 billion) and 600 S&P Small-Cap companies (market capitalization of $400 million to $1.8 billion). The chart above shows the median CEO salaries and the CEO-to-worker pay ratios for those two groups: $4.9 million median salary and CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 139.5-to-1 (99.4-to-1 for union workers) for the S&P MidCap 400 companies and $2.7 median salary and ratio of 76.7-to-1 for the S&P SmallCap 600 companies (54.7-to-1 for union workers).

For all 1,500 companies in the S&P 1500 (includes the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P 600 Small Cap indexes) the median CEO salary in 2013 was $4.96 million, and the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 140-to-1, less than half of the AFL-CIO’s reported ratio of 331-to-1. For the AFL-CIO’s membership, the CEO-to-union worker pay ratio for the S&P 1500 would be only about 100-to-1.

Bottom Line: As the chart above shows, the CEOs of America’s largest companies in the S&P 500 get paid about twice as much on average ($10.1 million) as the CEOs of mid-size companies ($4.91 million), the CEOs of mid-size companies get paid about twice as much as CEOs of small-cap companies ($2.7 million). By only considering a sample of large-cap S&P 500 companies (and not all 500 companies), while ignoring the CEOs of mid-size and small-cap companies, the AFL-CIO can greatly exaggerate its annual CEO-to-worker pay ratio. As I’ve reported previously, if the AFL-CIO considered the average pay of all 21,550 chief executives running companies in America ($216,100 in 2014), the CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 2014 would be 6-to-1 (and 4.3-to-1 for union workers). The only way the AFL-CIO can get an inflated CEO-to-worker pay ratio of almost 400-to-1 (for 2014) is to engage in questionable methodology that compares the average (not the median) total compensation of a tiny group of the country’s very highest-paid CEOs who head America’s largest companies to the cash wages of about 100 million mostly part-time workers. While that shady methodology does generate a lot of sensationalized media attention, it also creates a pretty high “statistical misrepresentation-to-truth ratio.

The post The only way AFL-CIO can report 400-to-1 ‘CEO-to-worker pay’ ratio is to ignore CEOs of medium, small companies appeared first on AEI.

18 May 14:07

Time to get Old Hickory off the $20 bill

by NetRight Daily

By Robert Romano

andrew jacksonAndrew Jackson would be the first to say to take him off the $20 bill.

Right on it, the bill says, “Federal Reserve Note,” an institution he would have despised.

As President, when the renewal of the Second Bank of the United States’ charter passed Congress, Jackson vetoed it. Jackson spent his political career making certain there would not be a central bank in this country. He even paid off the national debt.

The Jacksonians went on to become the modern Democrat Party. Those in favor of the national bank became the Whigs.

Why was Jackson so adamantly opposed to a central bank? Besides being unconstitutional in his eyes, Jackson was deeply suspicious of foreign ownership of the bank. That it would influence and subvert U.S. policy.

In 1822, foreigners held $3.1 million or 9.1 percent of the bank’s $35 million capital, according to a report of its board of directors. In 1830, according to a House report on the bank’s history prepared by Rep. George McDuffie that figure had risen to $7 million, or 20 percent of the stock. By 1832, it increased to $8.4 million, or 24 percent of the stock, “mostly of Great Britain,” Jackson noted in his veto of the bank’s recharter.

Even though foreigners were prohibited from serving on the bank’s board of directors, Jackson nonetheless keyed in on it as a threat to American sovereignty and independence.

“Should the stock of the bank principally pass into the hands of the subjects of a foreign country, and we should unfortunately become involved in a war with that country, what would be our condition?” Jackson asked, referring to the financial ruin that followed the War of 1812.

With the nation nearly bankrupted, that conflict had revealed very well what might happen when a nation finds itself at war with its creditors.

As far as foreign influence is concerned, consider, both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were opponents of the national debt earlier in their careers.

Yet, their administrations accumulated vast sums of debt to foreign countries. These experiences had changed their views and thus public policy on the national debt and central banking.

President James Madison had never supported the First Bank of the United States’ charter in 1791 as a member of the House of Representatives, along with Thomas Jefferson, who both had opposed the bank on constitutional grounds. In 1811, Madison had his vice president, George Clinton, cast the deciding vote against that bank’s renewal.

Within a year, the U.S. was again at war with Great Britain, a conflict that put the nation deeply into debt. Madison, who had famously opposed the creation of the national debt, when in power saw it rise from $45 million in 1812 to $127 million by 1816 to pay for his war.

Per the McDuffie House report, within three years “the circulating medium became so disordered, the public finances so deranged, and the public credit so impaired, that the enlightened patriot, [Alexander] Dallas, who then presided over the Treasury Department, with the sanction of Mr. Madison, and, as it is believed, every member of the cabinet, recommended to Congress the establishment of a National Bank.”

So, when Madison could not lock up loans for his war — even after its conclusion — he yielded and created another central bank in 1816.

Jackson was right, foreign “investment” in our debt and our central bank is actually influence, and can turn into subversion. Madison had been transformed, and so had the implied Constitution of the federal government. The Second Bank was ordered.

16 years later, Jackson would undo it. And it would not be for another 81 years that the Federal Reserve would be created. That was Jackson’s lasting legacy.

So, whatever. Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Who cares?

If anything, the $20 bill dishonors Jackson’s true heritage as a staunch opponent of central banking and fiat currency.

So, let’s give Old Hickory his due, and get him off the $20 bill.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

The post Time to get Old Hickory off the $20 bill appeared first on NetRight Daily.

17 May 01:35

The Trayvon Martin Case, Update 45: George Zimmerman “Involved”

by Mike McDaniel
credit: abcnews

credit: abcnews

As regular readers know, I have been concerned that someone would try to gain what such lunatics would surely see as eternal notoriety by killing George Zimmerman. Many have threatened, but one has now made an attempt: 

George Zimmerman was involved in a shooting Monday [05-11-15] in Lake Mary, Florida.

Notice the choice of words: “Zimmerman was involved.” JFK, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were also “involved” in shootings. No, I am not comparing George Zimmerman to those three historic figures, merely making the point that media sources–in this case Fox News–reflexively treat Zimmerman as a criminal, even failing to identify him as a victim when he clearly is a victim of a crime. It is as ridiculous to use “involved” in this case as it would have been with JFK, Lincoln or Reagan. It’s difficult for the media to give up a good, if utterly false, narrative, and even a generally reliable network like Fox is not immune from the social justice virus.

credit: legal insurrection

credit: legal insurrection

According to WESH, the shooting involved two men and Zimmerman suffered a minor gunshot wound and was taken to a local hospital. ‘The injuries are not serious,’ Lake Mary Deputy Police Chief Colin Morgan said.

Zimmerman was not hit by the bullet, but by glass fragments. He was not seriously injured.

Attorney Don West

Attorney Don West

I don’t know exactly what precipitated it, but another motorist pulled up alongside him and fired a shot at him,’ Zimmerman’s attorney Don West said. ‘I believe that the window of the vehicle was broken.  As I understand it he was shot through the passenger window and the bullet narrowly missed his head and lodged in the roof.

Front passenger door window of Zimmerman's vehicle.

Front passenger door window of Zimmerman’s vehicle.

As this photo of Zimmerman’s vehicle indicates, that is precisely what happened. The round was a .357 magnum. Again, notice that even Fox can’t resist depicting Zimmerman as a bad guy, even as a reasonable reading of their text proves otherwise. Other media sources have done far, far worse.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law. Those include two incidents involving allegations of assault by girlfriends, and his wife claiming he smashed her iPad. Charges were either dropped or not pursued because of a lack of evidence in those cases.

We’ve all been accused of a wide variety of things, but people don’t normally bring up accusations that amounted to nothing. Not so with George Zimmerman, because George Zimmerman!   The case developed rapidly. Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection summarized an Orlando Sentinel story. Readers will remember that the Sentinel was one of the primary media outlets maintaining the preferred narrative against Zimmerman, and deeply disappointed upon his acquittal.

Additional facts now being reported by the Orlando Sentinel include: Police recovered two handguns from Apperson’s car, including a Glock 22 (in .40S&W, of course) and a .357 Magnum revolver with one spent case in the cylinder. The police spokeswoman indicated that Apperson had licenses for both guns, a fact which seems odd given Apperson’s prior arrests and sometimes convictions on charges ranging from drug possession to reckless driving to DUI to violation of probation. Police also recovered a handgun from Zimmerman (also a Glock model unspecified), which Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West indicates is habitually carried because of the great number of death threats made against Zimmerman.  Zimmerman is licensed to concealed carry a pistol in the State of Florida. Attorney West states that Zimmerman did not wave or shoot his gun during any portion of Monday’s encounter with Apperson. West also states that Apperson’s bullet went through Zimmerman’s closed passenger-side window, barely missed Zimmerman’s head, and was lodged in the driver’s side door frame above the window. West also claims that it was Apperson who was the aggressor: He initiated the event by following George. George was on Lake Mary Boulevard and on his way to a doctor’s appointment. Police have confirmed that Zimmerman did not fire his gun.

Some media stories have suggested that Apperson fired in self-defense in response to Zimmerman brandishing a gun, however, a cursory examination of Zimmerman’s vehicle windows makes that very unlikely indeed. They are darkly tinted, obviously to help Zimmerman maintain a low profile. It would be virtually impossible for anyone to see Zimmerman holding a gun, and even less likely they could clearly identify whatever he might be holding as a gun. Any suggestion that Zimmerman threatened Apperson also must require the ability for Apperson to hear the threat. If Zimmerman’s window was rolled up–and it obviously was–that’s quite an auditory stretch. It was probably the recoil and long, heavy trigger of the .357 that saved Zimmerman’s life, jerking the round off target upward, which is common with heavily recoiling handguns. 2892815F00000578-3077175-image-a-1_1431445830593

Apperson’s attorney, Mark NeJame, said yesterday that his client shot at Zimmerman in self-defense, but declined to elaborate. The Orlando Sentinel reports today that NeJame was unavailable to them for comment. Last September Apperson called Lake Mary police to claim that Zimmerman threatened to shoot him while both were driving on the same Lake Mary Boulevard that was the venue for yesterday’s conflict between the two men.  Two days later Apperson again called the police to report that Zimmerman appeared to be following him. Despite these calls to police, in neither case did Apperson elect to press charges. Huh. No one has been arrested or charged with a crime in Monday’s shooting.

As the case developed, there was considerable evidence that Apperson was, to put it kindly, unhinged. As is so often the case, the British media did the kind of investigative work the American media is unable, or more likely, unwilling, to do:

The Florida man who shot at George Zimmerman once threatened to kill a trespasser with his .357 Magnum, Mail Online can reveal. Matthew Apperson, who is under investigation for the apparent road rage shooting, was also the subject of a police call just 24 hours before he fired a single shot into the former neighborhood watch volunteer’s car. Police were called by his next-door neighbor who told officers he was acting ‘strange’ and she was concerned for her safety. She had found a squirrel apparently shot by a BB gun and thought it was ‘a sign’, the police report showed. Other neighbors said Apperson had appeared ‘irrational and unstable’ in the days before the incident in Lake Mary, Florida. One said: ‘He was very odd and in the days before all this happened, not stable. When I saw what happened I was not surprised. ‘He always told us that he carried guns around with him. Where we live is a very safe area, so it did seem so strange.

But George Zimmerman?! George Zimmerman! What about George Zimmerman?! Ignore the man behind the curtain–George Zimmerman!

A 911 call made immediately after the shooting and released by police revealed that Apperson told a bystander he knew he had shot at Zimmerman. [skip] Daily Mail Online has discovered Apperson is no stranger to the police, having been arrested at least six times. His threat to kill was detailed in a 2013 police report by his local police department. During a telephone call with a telephone canvasser from the University of Florida, Apperson suddenly said: ‘I have a .357 Magnum and I am going to kill a trespasser.’ The caller was so concerned he called police in Winter Springs who attended the home where Apperson lives with his wife Liza. Apperson explained that during the call he had spotted a person he ‘had problems with in the past’ in his backyard. The 36-year-old apologized for the wrong choice of words and no further action was taken. During one of his arrests for driving under the influence he admitted he had been smoking marijuana and had taken three Xanax tablets and a painkiller due to pain in his knee. Apperson, who has claimed he shot Zimmerman in self-defense, has gone into hiding since the incident on Monday afternoon.

Pot and psychoactive drugs!? But, but, but…George Zimmerman!

Lawyer Mark Nejame, who is representing Apperson said he fired the shot in self defense. Apperson claimed he shot at Zimmerman’s car because he saw him wave a gun behind the tinted black windows of his Honda Ridgeline SUV. Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West maintains he did not wave his gun and he was the victim of an unprovoked attack with the bullet shattering a passenger window and narrowly missing his head. The shooting follows two previous incidents involving the pair. Last September Apperson claimed he was threatened by Zimmerman after he pulled alongside him in his car and days later he called police fearing he was being stalked by him. No charges were brought in either incident.

See? George Zimmerman!

While Zimmerman’s brushes with the law are documented Daily Mail Online can reveal Apperson is also well known to police in several Florida police districts. He has been arrested six times and police called to his condo in Winter Springs on more than half a dozen occasions. The most recent took place on Sunday afternoon when his neighbor Sharee Rivera felt so threatened she felt compelled to call the police. The official report written by officer Brad Dula details the neighbor dispute. It says: ‘Upon my arrival, I met with Sharee Rivera who told me the following. ‘Sharee has always had trouble with her neighbor Matt Apperson. She advised that he says and does strange things and has yelled at her in the past. ‘On this date she observed a dead squirrel in backyard that had an apparent BB gun wound to its neck. She advised that Matt hates the fact that she often feeds the squirrels and birds in the rear of the building and she believes that this is a sign. ‘Matt has sold his house and is moving out in two weeks. I advised Sharee that I would document the incident in case anything happens during the next two weeks.’ Less than 24 hours after the report was filed Apperson was involved in the shooting.


Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West has said he will not be making any further comment until a decision is taken by the State Attorney’s office to see if either man will be charged.

Don West is a highly competent and honorable lawyer. Notice his restraint. Apperson, however, was not nearly so restrained. 289281DA00000578-3077175-image-a-46_1431397024200

Apperson was accompanied by his wife of 11 years Liza and mother Janet White for a press conference outside Lake Mary Police station on Monday. He did not speak, but earlier had blown smoke into a TV news reporter’s face when he attempted to ask him questions.

While most rational Americans have little use for reporters, that’s a bit over the top for someone potentially facing decades in prison. One might even imagine it to be evidence of loss of contact with reality. Who, in Apperson’s position, would not want to appear the aggrieved, humble innocent? Of course, rational people wouldn’t find themselves in Apperson’s position…

Apperson’s run-ins with the police date back to 1998 and mostly involve driving offences. In 2012 he was involved in an altercation at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Winter Springs when he was told his medication was not available. According to the store manager Apperson was told his narcotic medication was out of stock and reacted angrily and confronting him. A police report of the January 2012 incident said: ‘Matthew came down the aisle he was on and began to harass him. ‘Matthew was extremely close to Jason and very angry. Jason stated he thought Matthew was going to continue to cause a disturbance but he just made a few statements such as ‘You’re going to be having a very bad new year.’ ‘Jason stated the threat were not on any direct action he was going to take against him.’ No action was taken against Apperson with the store manager being told by police he should call if he ever returned. Other neighbors in Winter Spring have complained about Apperson and the lack of control over his pit bull mix dog. Several told police that he allowed the dog off its leash and it had chased people. His wife once called police after an argument with her husband telling police he became angry because he was watching a film. Nothing came of the call out as Liza told police she did not want to cooperate further.

Do you get the sense, gentle readers, that Apperson is the prototypical neighborhood nutcase, the guy everyone keeps an eye on because they just know that one of these days, he’s going to do something really dangerous and stupid? Here’s dangerous and stupid, as told by a friend of Zimmerman’s:

George rarely comes back to where he used to live, he knows it is too dangerous. He was only in town to see his mother who still lives in the area.’ The friend also said Zimmerman has given a different version of events concerning the first confrontation with Apperson last September. ‘George was driving along when Apperson began making gestures with his hand. Apperson said to him ‘Why did you kill him?’, in a reference to Martin ‘When he next called police and said George was stalking him he was visiting his doctor who is in the same place where Apperson lives. George said Apperson blocked his car in and called police.’ Social media was filled with comments about the shooting, most of it negative towards Zimmerman. Many Twitter uses lamented that Apperson had not been a better aim with his shot. One user declared there would have been a national holiday if Zimmerman had died.

Yes, because George Zimmerman! The first phase of the investigation soon ran its course and resulted in an arrest. No, not George Zimmerman! From local station Bay News 9: 

Matthew Apperson, the man accused of shooting at George Zimmerman Monday, has been arrested. Lake Mary police arrested Apperson Friday on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and one count of firing a deadly missile into a vehicle. In the arrest report, officers said Apperson appeared to be fixated with Zimmerman. The arrest report stated that Apperson told the cops that Zimmerman pulled a gun at him while he was driving and said ‘I’m going to kill you.’ But Zimmerman told Lake Mary police he never threatened Apperson, and police believed him.

Yes, no doubt because the physical evidence, including the angle of the bullet, and the darkly tinted windows of Zimmerman’s vehicle fully support Zimmerman.

In fact, Zimmerman told police Apperson threatened him, yelling, ‘You owe me your life. The only reason I didn’t press charges on you is because I wanted to kill you myself.

Which Apperson proved by trying to kill Zimmerman.   Apperson surrended to police, was booked and released on bond. His attorney, following Don West’s example, is declining to comment on the case further. Considering his client is probably as guilty as they come, this is probably a wise tactic, particularly if he is hoping to work out a favorable plea bargain. Expect just that outcome, unless Apperson demands his day in court against his attorney’s advice. Andrew Branca provides additional information. From the Lake Mary Police Press Release: Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.30.01 PM

After conducting numerous interviews throughout the week, detectives determined that Mr. Apperson did intentionally fire his weapon into the vehicle occupied by George Zimmerman without provocation. Consequently: Mr. Apperson was charged with one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, one count of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, and one count of Firing a Deadly Missile into an Occupied Conveyance.

Branca continues:

Under Florida’s “10-20-Life” statute, each of those counts carries not only its own sentence, but an additional consecutive sentence of 20 years—so even absent the underlying sentences, Apperson could be facing 60 years prison time on the ‘10-20-Life’ aspects alone.  Given his age, this would essentially amount to a life sentence. So, once again, some loon attempts to accuse Zimmerman of an act of unwarranted violence, and once again the accusation fall so far short of credibility that the alleged offense is not even pursued by the authorities. This time—perhaps because Apperson is a male? Or maybe just because he tried to put a bullet into Zimmerman’s noggin’?—the accuser faces existential levels of imprisonment.

Final Thoughts:   All of this is, of course, most distressing for the media. As I’ve often noted, George Zimmerman, like the rest of us, is no saint. However, he is certainly no devil either. But for a few bad choices in love and other activities, he has maintained a remarkably low profile, and in this case, had the bad luck to cross paths with the kind of unbalanced menace any rational person fears. Zimmerman is fortunate Apperson was as poor a marksman as he is a rational human being.

The police believed Zimmerman? Imagine that. They probably believed him, and charged Apperson with three significant felonies, because Apperson is a known bad actor, Zimmerman’s statements, as in the Trayvon Martin case, were supported by all other available evidence, and everything Zimmerman said, probably including having a doctor appointment in the area, panned out. Apperson’s version of events didn’t. Helpful, no doubt, was the evidence that Zimmerman didn’t fire a shot, including no holes in Apperson’s vehicle or Apperson.

As Andrew Branca noted, the charges against Apperson, and the potential sentences, are severe indeed. This is why I suggest it is highly likely his attorney will do everything he can to get a plea bargain. That is the most likely outcome in this kind of case, however, people like Apperson might demand a trial to go out in a blaze of warped glory, as Apperson no doubt sees himself as the righteous victim.

I’ll continue to report on this case as developments warrant.

Filed under: The Trayvon Martin Case Tagged: Apperson, George Zimmerman, Matt Apperson, Matthew Apperson, Zimmerman
16 May 18:25

Harvard Gets Slammed With Accusation of Racial Discrimination — Against Asians

by Zach Noble

Is one of the nation’s most prestigious universities effectively discriminating against students of Asian descent?

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday night that a coalition of 64 organizations has filed a complaint against Harvard University, alleging that the university holds Asian applicants to a higher standard than applicants of other races.

Harvard’s “holistic” admissions process — in which unquantifiable factors are heavily weighted alongside quantifiable figures such as GPAs and SAT scores — could play a role in keeping Asian representation down.

Image via Niklas Tenhaef/flickr

Image via Niklas Tenhaef/flickr

“Many studies have indicated that Harvard University has been engaged in systemic and continuous discrimination against Asian-Americans during its very subjective ‘Holistic’ college admissions process,” the complaint alleges.

To equal the chance of admission to other races, Asian applicants need SAT scores that are:

  • 140 points higher than white applicants,
  • 270 points higher than Hispanic applicants and
  • 450 points higher than African-American students, according to research cited in the complaint.

The SAT is a 2400-point test on which Asians have long outscored other U.S. ethnic groups.

Students of Asian descent currently make up roughly 21 percent of Harvard’s student body, but the complaint notes that schools that use a “race-neutral” admissions process, like the California Institute of Technology, can see the Asian proportion of their student bodies rise close to 40 percent.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, requests a federal investigation and demands that Harvard “immediately cease and desist from using stereotypes, racial biases and other discriminatory means in evaluating Asian-American applicants.”

The complaint comes just a day after a different coalition of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups issued a statement in support of affirmative action.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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16 May 15:35

Hundreds of Employees Quit When Their CEO Forced This ‘Social Experiment’ on Them — and That’s Basically What He Wanted

by Zach Noble

Tony Hsieh had a revolutionary plan for his company — and it involved encouraging people to quit if they weren’t ready for it.

“This is a long email,” the Zappos CEO wrote in a March 24 message to his employees, Business Insider’s Richard Feloni reported. “Please take 30 minutes to read through the email in its entirety.”

The gist: If you’re not ready to manage yourselves in a Holacracy, Hsieh will pay you to leave.

By May, 210 Zappos employees — 14 percent of the workforce — had jumped ship.

Tony Hsieh rocked the #StripatNight in the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in Las Vegas on Sunday, November 16th  benefitting the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. As part of the Rock 'n' Roll Running Weekend, more than 35k runners rocked the strip at night on Saturday for the inaugural 5k and on Sunday for the half marathon and marathon. Runners were treated to musical performances by Chromeo at the 5k finish line and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the marathon & half marathon start line festival. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon)

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in Las Vegas on Sunday, November 16, 2014. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon)

“Having one foot in one world while having the other foot in the other world has slowed down our transformation towards self-management and self-organization,” Hsieh wrote in his March email, offering a three-month severance package to any employee who decided to leave by April 30.

Encouraging quick decisions on whether to stay with or leave the company is a core part of Hsieh’s management style.

Feloni noted Zappos has long offered an extra $2,000 to employees who decide to quit within their first month working at the company.

But what is the Holacracy that prompted so many employees to quit?

Management mentor Brian Robertson introduced Hsieh to the concept at a conference in 2012, Feloni noted.

At its core, a Holacracy is a breakdown of traditional management structures.

Instead of reporting to a boss, employees function more like organs in a body, each doing their well-defined jobs without reporting to a central authority and frequently collaborating with coworkers to solve problems.

The majority of Zappos’ employees seem to be on board with the radical plan — they didn’t quit, after all — and the Las Vegas-based Zappos projects operating profits of nearly $100 million this year, nearly double 2014′s profits.

But on company review websites such as Glassdoor, even positive reviews contain grumblings about the “bothe[r]some social experiments” management keeps trying out.

Read more about the Zappos management experiment at Business Insider here.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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27 Apr 18:59

Is Giving Money Directly to the Poor a Good Idea?

by ReasonTV

"No one person has the same goal or aspiration," says Paul Niehaus, President and Co-founder of GiveDirectly, "And what you get when you give people money and let them use it is this real rich human experience where everyone does something a bit different."

GiveDirectly is changing the way people think about charity. The non-profit was founded in 2008 and is designed to help people living in extreme povery through cash transfers via mobile phones. The recipients use their mobile phones to receive the money, which they are allowed to spend as they wish. This philosophy varies greatly from traditional third party charities which largely decide how a recipient should spend the money.

"Something important happened in development around 2000, which is we decided to scientific experimental testing," explains Niehaus. "When you start doing science, when you put two things head-to-head and ask 'what's the impact?' there are surprises. Cash transfer, which is literally just giving money to poor people, has turned out to be one of those really big positive surprises."

About 8 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler and Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Jim Epstein and Brett Crudgington.

Visit for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to get automatic notifications when new material goes live. material goes live.
16 May 15:49

Nullification Made Easy

by Publius Huldah

What did our Framers really say we must do when the federal government usurps power?

They never said, “When the federal government ignores the Constitution, amend the Constitution.”

They never said, “File a lawsuit and let federal judges decide.”

Instead, they advised two manly remedies. We’ll look at one of them – nullification – in this paper. 1

First, let’s look at the Constitution we have.


With our federal Constitution, we created a federal government. It is:

  • A federation of sovereign States united under a national government ONLY for those limited purposes itemized in the Constitution;
  • With all other powers reserved by the States or the People.

We listed every power we delegated to the federal government: Most of the powers delegated over the Country at large are listed at Article I, §8, clauses 1-16.

All our Constitution authorizes the federal government to do over the Country at large falls into four categories:

  • Military defense, international commerce & relations;
  • Immigration & naturalization;
  • Domestically, create a uniform commercial system: weights & measures, patents & copyrights, money based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & some road building; and
  • With some of the amendments, secure certain civil rights.

That’s basically it! All other powers are reserved by the States or the People. Depending on how you count, Congress only has 18-21 powers over the Country at Large. 2

It is only with respect to the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution that the federal government has lawful authority.

  • If it’s on the list, Congress may make laws about it.
  • But if it’s not on the list, Congress usurps power & acts unlawfully when it interferes.

Is “education” on the list of delegated powers? Raising children? Health Care? Environmental regulation? Is most of what they do on the list? Since these are not delegated powers listed in our Constitution, the federal government usurps power and acts unlawfully when it meddles.

So then, what do we do when the federal government usurps powers not on the list?


Our Framers said the federal government is our “creature” and must obey our Will as enshrined in our Constitution. And when it doesn’t, we must defend the Constitution by invoking our natural right of self-defense: 

Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist No. 28 (last 5 paras): [I’m condensing]

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted … [by] … State governments [which] will … afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority…” [emphasis mine]

Hamilton says in Federalist No. 33 (5th para):

“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” [emphasis mine]

Thomas Jefferson said in his draft of The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, 8th Resolution:

“…where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact … to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them…” [emphasis mine]

James Madison commented on this in his Notes on Nullification (1834):

“… the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression…” [emphasis mine]

Note that Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison said nullification is a natural right – it is NOT a “constitutional right”. Rights don’t come from the Constitution – they come from God. 4

Here is Madison’s “Report of 1799-1800 on the Virginia Resolutions”. He said under his discussion of the 3rd Resolution [I’m condensing]:

  • The States, in their sovereign capacity, are the parties to the constitutional compact; and are thus the final authority on whether the federal government has violated the Constitution. There can be no tribunal above the authority of the States to decide whether the compact made by them has been violated by the federal government. (p 192)
  • That if, when the federal government usurps power, the States don’t stop the usurpation, and thereby preserve the Constitution; there would be no relief from usurped power. This would subvert the Rights of the People as well as betray the fundamental principle of our Founding. (p195)
  • That the Judicial Branch is as likely to usurp as are the other two Branches. Thus, the Sovereign States have as much right to judge the usurpations of the Judicial Branch as they do the Legislative and Executive Branches. (p196)
  • That all 3 Branches of the federal government obtain their delegated powers from the Constitution; and they may not annul the authority of the States. And if the Judicial Branch connives with other Branches in usurping powers, our Constitution will be destroyed. (p196)
  • So the Judicial Branch does not have final say as to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact. Otherwise, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of the judicial branch with the other branches in usurping powers, would subvert the Constitution forever. (p196)

In Federalist No. 46, Madison says, respecting unconstitutional acts of the federal government:

  • the People can refuse to cooperate with federal officers [7th para];
  • State officials can oppose the feds [7th para];
  • State Legislatures can invent legislative devices to impede & obstruct the federal government [7th para];
  • States can cooperate in concerted plans of resistance [8th para];
  • States can easily defeat the federal government’s schemes of usurpation [10th para]; and as the last resort,
  • States must defend themselves from the federal government – that’s why the People are armed.

So Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison tell us: When the federal government asks or directs States to do things which aren’t on the list, the proper response is, “No!”


The Declaration of Independence says at the 7th para that the colonials “opposed with manly firmness” the King’s “invasions on the rights of the people”.

We need today that same manly opposition to tyranny. And we are starting to see some: The Tenth Amendment Center says over 200 bills have been filed this year in State Legislatures to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government. E.g.:

  • To allow terminally ill people access to experimental drugs & medical treatments despite FDA rules – drugs & medical treatments are not on the list! And the 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping powers in this area.
  • Deny resources and assistance to the National Security Agency – spying on us is not on the list! And the 4th Amendment didn’t stop them from spying on us!
  • Nullify federal bans on growing hemp & marijuana. Agriculture and drugs are not on the list! And the 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping powers in this area.

An Indiana Legislator filed a bill to nullify all federal EPA Regulations – environmental protection is not on the list! And the 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping power over the environment.

Disarming the American People: If Congress by law, or the President by executive order, or the BATF by rule, or the supreme Court by opinion, or the federal government by UN Treaty, orders The People to turn in our arms, We must refuse to comply. The Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to disarm us. Gun control is not on the list! And the 2nd Amendment didn’t stop them from regulating ammunition, firearms, and firearms dealers.

Accordingly, States should pass laws directing their firearms and ammo dealers to ignore all federal dictates which pretend to restrict arms, firearms, ammo, and sales of same. The Law should also provide that the State Attorney General will defend any Citizen of the State from unlawful acts committed against him by agents of the federal government attempting to enforce unconstitutional federal dictates within the borders of the State.

Prayer in the Public Schools: When, in 1962, the US supreme Court began its war against Christianity by banning prayers in the public schools, State legislatures should have passed laws directing their public schools to ignore the unconstitutional opinion of the supreme Court. “Religion”, “prayers”, and “public schools” are not on the list of delegated powers. And the 1st Amendment didn’t stop them from “prohibiting the free exercise of religion”.


As noted above, Madison says in Federalist No. 46 that the People can refuse to cooperate with federal officers.

Rosa Parks & Martin Luther King showed us spine 50 years ago when they nullified the State & local Jim Crow laws by refusing to obey those unconstitutional laws.

Recently in Connecticut, Citizens refused to obey an unconstitutional State law which pretends to require them to register their firearms. Art. I, §15, CT Constitution says:

“Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

If you are a “Citizen”, you have the right to bear arms – that’s all you need in Connecticut. So the Connecticut Statute making it a felony to possess guns which are not registered is unconstitutional as in violation of Art. I, § 15 of the State Constitution.

And The People – as the creators of the State government – are the ones to ultimately decide!

All nullification requires is a spine. And Rosa Parks & MLK showed us what spine looks like: You say, “No more!”


Those who chant this objection seem to have in mind the “nullification crisis of 1832”. Let’s debunk it:

The southern States were agricultural. They bought manufactured goods from England. England bought southern cotton. Infant industries in the North East were producing some of the same manufactured goods as England; but because they were more expensive than the imports, they couldn’t compete.

So in 1828, Congress imposed a high tariff on the imports. The Southern States called this the “tariff of abominations”, because it made the English goods too expensive to buy; and when the Southern States stopped buying English goods, England stopped buying Southern cotton. This devastated the Southern economy.

Note that Congress has specific authority to impose tariffs on imports: Art. I, § 8, cl. 1. So the Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional.

The nullification crisis of 1832 was brought on because S. Carolina wanted to “nullify” the Tariff Act of 1828 – a constitutional law! South Carolina developed a bizarre theory that

  • A State has a “constitutional right” to nullify any federal law; and
  • The nullification is presumed valid unless ¾ of the States say it isn’t valid.

In James Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834), he discussed and debunked S. Carolina’s theory. He said:

  • The federal government has delegated authority to impose tariffs;
  • The Constitution requires that tariffs be uniform throughout the United States;
  • States can’t nullify tariffs authorized by the Constitution;
  • ¼ of the States don’t have the right to dictate to ¾ of the States on matters within the powers delegated to the federal government; and
  • Nullification is not a constitutional right.

Near the end of his Notes, Madison quoted Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement:

“…but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact …to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits …” [emphasis mine]

Madison then says:

“Thus the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression.” [emphasis mine]

Do you see? Madison’s points are:

  • States may not properly nullify constitutional acts of the federal government; and
  • When an act of the federal government is unconstitutional, nullification is a NATURAL RIGHT – not a “constitutional right”. 5


Your Duty is to read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution and learn The List of Enumerated Powers. You were supposed to enforce the Constitution with your votes. But instead of supporting only candidates who knew and obeyed our Constitution, you abdicated your Responsibility and voted for candidates who told you what you wanted to hear.

For the Sake of your Country and Posterity, you must also renounce cowardice and appeasement as the response to evil.

If you fail us, hell on Earth is just around the corner.


1 The other Remedy is to elect faithful representatives. At the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 20, 1788 at [223], James Madison said our Constitution depends on the people having the “virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom” to office. In Federalist No. 44 [12th para from end], he says when Congress usurps powers, and the executive and judiciary departments go along with it,

“…a remedy must be obtained from the people who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers…” [emphasis mine]

But we keep electing ignorant phonies who know nothing about our Constitution. Why do we do this?

2 THIS Chart lists the enumerated powers over the Country at Large and illustrates how Principles in our Declaration of Independence were implemented in our Constitution.

3 Stop quibbling over terminology. As a People, we have lost the ability to think conceptually. When some don’t see the word, “nullification”, in a writing, they insist the writer didn’t support it. But the concept is refusal to submit to unconstitutional laws. You can call it “non-violent civil disobedience”, “that original right of self-defense”, “resistance”, “refusal to obey”, “impeding & obstructing”, “nullification”, “interposition”, or something else. I use “nullification” because the term has a distinctive meaning and was used by our beloved Thomas Jefferson. You may call broccoli “broccoli”, a “green vegetable”, a “cruciferous vegetable”, a “super food”, or “little trees”. But “broccoli” is the most precise and distinctive term. Do you see?

4 So when Michael Farris, and others who tell us a convention is the only way out, disparage nullification as an “extra-constitutional doctrine”, the proper response is: Nullification is NOT a “constitutional right or remedy” – it is that NATURAL RIGHT of self-defense which pre-dates and pre-exists the Constitution. Farris has repudiated our Founding Principles that Rights come from the Creator God, and that the purpose of government is to secure the Rights GOD gave us (Declaration of Independence, 2nd para). In Farris’ brave new world, “rights” come from the Constitution – where they are subject to the will of human governments. See, e.g., his so-called “parental rights” amendment HERE. “Child raising” is not now on the list of delegated powers – but §3 of Farris’ “parental rights” amendment would delegate power over children to the federal government. Read it.

5 Rights don’t come from the Constitution! They come from GOD! PH

16 May 16:12

One of Taylor Swift’s ‘Biggest Fans’ Is a Grown Man. Watch the Video and You’ll Understand Why People Want Swift to Meet Him.

by Zach Noble

Ronnie Brower was going to die.

In 2013, Brower weighed nearly 700 pounds, and his doctor told him he wouldn’t live to 35 if he didn’t make radical changes.

So he did, quitting drinking and spending the next two years hitting the gym. He’s now down to 250 pounds.

Image via YouTube

Image via YouTube

This is where Taylor Swift comes in.

On Tuesday, one of Brower’s former high school teachers, Joe Bufano, posted a video on YouTube chronicling Brower’s weight loss and posing a serious question to the pop star Swift: Could she help make her June 3 concert special for Brower, one of her “biggest fans”?

See the video below:

Brower often worked out to Swift’s music, Bufano said, and he wants to reward his friend for years of hard work with a memorable concert.

The video has gone explosively viral.

It has more than half a million views on YouTube, and has been shared on such sites as Reddit, MSN and

On Twitter, fans have started flooding Swift with the hashtag “#ronnieweightloss” begging her to watch the video and spend some time with Brower.

The pop star may well oblige — it was just last month that she called a 12-year-old who was battling cancer to offer her support.

As of Saturday morning, Swift had posted on Twitter but did not appear to have responded to any #ronnieweightloss tweets.

Regardless, Bufano said he’s glad his friend’s story is being shared.

“This is not your everyday weight loss story,” Bufano told “To accomplish what he did …. it was amazing. Remarkable. And he’s never stopped.”

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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16 May 14:05

The Sound Of Settled Science

by Kate

All the buzz...

For years environmentalists have been raising alarms about the "bee-pocalypse"-a supposed catastrophic decline in honeybee populations-and calling for an immediate ban of a new class of state-of-the-art "systemic" pesticides called neonicotinoids ("neonics" for short) which they blamed for the die-offs.

The media were all over the story, endlessly replaying the environmentalist meme that without bees to pollinate our crops, "one-third of every bite of food we eat" would disappear. Banning neonics and saving bees was tantamount to saving the world from starvation.