Archive for July, 2011

How is that a nanny-state move

July 31, 2011

The whole San Antonio Housing Authority smoking ban, that is…

The (SA Housing Authority — ed.) ban makes perfect sense. The smoke’s toxicity seeps through walls and stealthily creeps through vents, making its way from unit to unit; that’s why many housing authorities have smoking bans. And landlords — in this case, the state — have the power to put the brakes on activities that erode valuable property it has a responsibility to upkeep. Over time, cigarette smoke stains walls and leaves a grimy film on every surface from the kitchen counter to the windowsills. The residents of these facilities really don’t need any more blight.

The ban makes sense. And yet, something creepy peeks through the haze of this smoky story.

Those affected are the poorest members of our community. There is the line of thinking that those who don’t own their homes don’t have the right to do as they wish where they hang their hat.

I really don’t see how the San Antonio Housing Authority’s decision to ban smoking in its units is a nanny-state move. If they want to maintain the value of the units, in fact, I’d say it’s a pretty smart move. And hel-lo! Those who don’t own their homes don’t have the right to do as they wish because — wait for it — it’s someone else’s property. We rent, and our landlord specified no pets in the lease, and you know what? Them’s the breaks. Why? Because it’s his property. He has the right to whatever stipulations within reason that he wishes to put on renting it. If we want to get a pet, hey, we’re gonna have to go somewhere else. But it’s just one of those things we accept and move on.

I do find Maria Anglin’s focus on the ban’s effect on the poor to be quite unnerving. One gets the idea that she’d be perfectly fine with tony apartment owners imposing smoking bans, because hey, it’s a thumb in the eye of those eeeevil rich folk. (For the record, I’d be fine with that smoking ban too, for the same reason I don’t see a problem with SAHA’s ban.) I don’t see why the poor should get special treatment here.

So what about all the folks who weren’t in ’80s glam bands?

July 30, 2011

Via Tamara comes this

Bret Michaels and Tommy Lee are now involved in a federal gun probe thanks to a picture they took on July 11th. Michaels and Lee had gone to a shooting range in North Carolina where they shot off some guns and posed for the picture with firearms. Unbeknownst to them, it is against North Carolina law for anyone “who has been convicted of a felony from purchasing, owning, or controlling a firearm.”

…Well, it wouldn’t have mattered at all if a nosy news station, WSOC-TV, hadn’t brought it to the attention of authorities. Ah, anything for a buck and anything for a story.

Well, considering the maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, that sounds like it could be a pretty big deal — a good story, in other words, which is sort of what the media should be about.

One of the commenters did ask a pretty good question, though I’m sure he didn’t ask it for the same reasons I would have asked it…

Did their felonies involve violent crimes?
I’d bet they probably didn’t, which only illustrates the absurdity of felon-in-possession laws. (I’d imagine they got busted for having a certain amount of drugs.) If they didn’t do anything violent, why should they be barred from owning guns?

But do you think they’d be asking the same questions if Tommy Lee & Bret Michaels weren’t famous rock stars? Yeah, me neither. They’d be baying, “Lock ’em up and melt the key!” After all, laws are only for the little people!

That’s a good point…

July 29, 2011

…accusations of insensitivity notwithstanding:

The attacks in Norway have recently opened a whole new front on gun debates. Not one person on that island where youths were gunned down was allowed by Norwegian law to carry a handgun to protect themselves or others — hence the high death rate. Had someone been carrying a concealed weapon, perhaps the deaths of many innocents could have been stopped.

There are those who say it’s unfair and borderline mean to criticize Norwegians for the outcome of the shootings, and considering their culture it might well be. But that shooting still holds valuable lessons. The fact remains that the shooter (whose name I can’t remember right offhand) still walked into a target-rich environment because of the Norwegian gun laws. And the outcome was exactly the same as it was at Virginia Tech in 2007, in the Luby’s in Killeen in 1993, and at Fort Hood in 2009. It should be noted that the Luby’s shooting was the catalyst for Texans finally getting their right to carry recognized, though it took getting rid of Governor Ann Richards for it to become reality finally. As far as I know that’s the only instance of a mass shooting resulting in more permissive gun laws, and it took place in one of the more pro-gun states, one with an entirely different culture than Norway’s. So I don’t see them loosening their gun laws anytime soon in response to this. And the point about their culture is a valid one, but I don’t see how that makes their gun laws any less wrong. Norwegians aren’t any less deserving of the right to self-defense than Texans, are they?

Yes, well, that doesn’t mean that much either.

July 28, 2011

A letter-writer in today’s Houston Chronicle:

(Amy Winehouse) more closely will be positioned alongside other members of the 27 club such as Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson, lead singer of Canned Heat, or Pete Hamm, lead singer of Badfinger. Even association with them might be a stretch. You can still hear the music of Canned Heat and Badfinger along with the big four on every classic rock station in the country.

Yeah, and? Why do they still play the likes of Canned Heat and Badfinger on classic rock radio? You know I’ve commented here before on how those oldies stations have played some songs into the ground, but on the other hand I have to wonder why some songs and/or artists got played at all. My folks are big fans of the late ’60s and ’70s classic rock. I remember a cd of Badfinger made its way into my mother’s collection, she played it one day, and I thought, “Is this all there is to that band? Yawn.” It’s not as if Pete Hamm was that memorable of a vocalist. (And yeah, I thought this long before I was introduced to certain ’80s heavy metal bands.) From what I’ve heard about Amy Winehouse the same can’t be said of her; in fact — again, from what I’ve heard about her — about the only reason she would go in that lower tier of musicians who died at 27 is the genre in which she chose to make her mark.

But now that I think about it, that whole “27 club” is a load of crap anyway. Why should certain artists be venerated more just because they died young? Even if Jimi Hendrix hadn’t died so young, he still would have been a talented musician who made invaluable contributions to the rock’n’roll canon.

Way to pin the blame there, Gunwalker Bill.

July 27, 2011

He really said this?

In a particularly heated moment, Newell said, “We didn’t sell firearms, sir,” when the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darryl (sic) Issa, R-Calif., questioned him on how guns got from firearms dealers to purchasers and then on to the cartels.

Wow, what a thoroughgoing asshole. They might not have directly sold firearms to Mexican drug cartels, but they certainly facilitated the purchases by telling the border FFLs to let them go through. (Really, if ATF agents told the FFLs to let the purchases go through, did they have any other choice?) Not only that, but now it’s being bandied about that some of those guns may have been purchased with taxpayer money. Given all that, it’s pretty sorry of Bill Newell to try to pin the blame for all this on the gun dealers. In a way his little slam only gives more credence to those who say Gunwalker was a scheme to gin up support for more gun control. I don’t know if you’d call it a Freudian slip, but it certainly looks like one.

So what about the small-timers…

July 26, 2011

…who grow it in their back yard?

As pointed out in the July 13 Wall Street Journal, legalizing marijuana could have a significant impact on the deficit for a number of reasons including:

We would stop spending huge sums trying to eliminate drug importation;

We would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol;

The cost of imprisoning people for victimless crimes would be eliminated;

We could produce marijuana in the U.S. instead of importing it.

The newly legal marijuana producers would pay taxes like other farmers.

Sure, you’d have people who would go to the package store or wherever weed would be sold and buy it, but I am sure you’d have more than a few who’d keep doing what they’re doing now — that is, growing their own. They just wouldn’t have to make such an effort to hide it. This would be different, though, if we still gave the government authority to bust those who grow it for personal use for not having the tax stamp. I once said elsewhere that I used to be all about legalizing and taxing weed, but somewhere along the line I changed my tune on the whole tax aspect of it. Why? Well, to be blunt, that power to tax confers upon the government license to keep shooting dogs (and innocent citizens) and burning babies. I suppose I could in theory support a tax on those who grow it to sell it, but somehow I get the feeling we’d get the requirement for a tax stamp for both commercial and personal growers. And it’d eventually get used just as cigarette taxes do, as behavior modification. And we’d be right back where we were, probably with the IRS in the mix with their guns. Would that be that much of an improvement?

One and the same?

July 25, 2011

From the letters to the editor in today’s Houston Chronicle:

Regarding Rick Casey’s “So many Latinos, so few elected” (Page B1, July 17), there is another, and more relevant, reason for the election of an Anglo over a Latino in Harris County Precinct 2. It is not race; it is political philosophy.

It strikes me that for at least some people, race and political philosophy are seen as one and the same. They are seen that way to the point, of course, that if you don’t agree with certain politicians, you’re considered racist — witness Dan Ramos and his hateful remarks towards several different kinds of people. It’s wrong that people see it that way, but the fact remains that a lot of them do.

Apropos of, well, you probably KNOW what…

July 24, 2011

…some bloggers certainly be whiny, thin-skinned little bitches when they get called out.

“Don’t put words in my mouth.”

Nobody had to put words in your mouth, homes. You did that all on your own.

She’s exactly right.

July 24, 2011

Suzanna Gratia Hupp, that is:

The woman who many consider to be the mother of the Texas Concealed Handgun Law says the state isn’t doing enough to allow its citizens to exercise their Second Amendment Rights, and now is the time to further liberalize the state’s gun laws, 1200 WOAI news reports.

Suzanna Hupp was with her parents in the Luby’s in Killeen in 1991 when a gunman opened fire….

She says the first thing the state needs to do is to eliminate the need to take a safety test and get a permit before a citizen who does not have a criminal record and has not been judged insane can carry a handgun.

“You don’t need a permit to carry or to exercise your right,” she said.  “That’s what we should be moving toward.”

Yep. Don’t get me wrong — it’s great that Texans at least have the option to carry. On the other hand, though, the costs of the permit are so high that they price a lot of people right out of that permit. And just as she says, we shouldn’t need a permit to exercise our right. To go back to the old analogy a lot of people use, if we had to get a pricey permit to start a newspaper or a blog, we’d all be raising hell about it and rightfully so. I know there are a lot of people who talk about Texas as if it were some sort of Wild West throwback, but in reality Texas’ laws are actually some of the more restrictive of the shall-issue states. I seem to recall there being certain Massachusetts laws that are less strict than Texas’ laws in regards to where you can carry.

Even if it wasn’t like that, though, Suzanna Hupp is still right. We deserve Constitutional carry as free citizens, and we should get it as soon as possible. It’s the only right thing to do.

Why you shouldn’t trust MSM pieces about guns…

July 23, 2011

…part only God knows what:

Full military potency, eh? So they put the happy switch on it? And American gun stores sell that select-fire AK?

And the .38 Super is “less powerful” than the .45? I’m sure that’s news to those folks who are loading those 115-grain bullets for just shy of 1400 feet per second.

Journalism FAIL, indeed.