Happy 4th of July.

(h/t via)

Congressman Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC):

My first thought, he seems rather touchy about supporting Obama, doesn’t he?

Of course there’s the official response:

“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”

Funny how politicians always “profoundly regret” getting caught being the vile little asshats they are. And that “poor response” borders on criminal assault. And people were worried about Tea Party violence. . .

(h/t)

So you’re going down the road, minding your own business and a cop pulls you over. He says you’re speeding, you say you were going five miles under the speed limit. He writes you a ticket anyway. You take it to court and discover that there’s no radar gun, no laser, just the cop’s word you were going 75 in a 60 zone. No evidence other than police testimony. They’d throw the case out, right?

Not in Ohio.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled a trained officer’s “visual estimation” of a vehicle going over the posted speed limit is enough to convict a motorist.

[...]

“A police officer’s unaided visual estimation of a vehicle’s speed is sufficient evidence to support a conviction for speeding in violation of [state law] without independent verification of the vehicle’s speed if the officer is trained, is certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy or a similar organization that develops and implements training programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve,” wrote the state justices.

In other words, if the cop writes you a ticket, as long as he took the right courses, you have no recourse at all. But it’s ok because we know that a cop would never pull anyone over just because of the way you look, the car you drive, or what your bumper stickers happen to say. Giving police the ability to issue arbitrary citations based on nothing but their own informed opinion, and allow that to be the sole basis of a conviction, I’m sure nothing bad can come of that.

Oh, by the way, fellow Ohioans, our supreme court is elected. And for the record the following justices are responsible for this decision. Think about that when they’re up for re-election: Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, O’Connor, Lanzinger, and Cupp.

Why should we worry abouy people saying things like this?

So I don’t—I, I—I’m worried about this, it’s why I have fantasized—don’t get me wrong—but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness.

Or this?

It would be good…if (Obama) could be dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.

Well, the reason is, sometimes the elite intellectual authoritarian fantasizing gets out of hand:

The EPA is hosting a contest called “Rulemaking Matters!” (Gotta love the gratuitous exclamation point.)

This video contest provided an opportunity for the public to explain federal rulemaking and motivate others to participate in the rulemaking process. Entrants created a short video, not exceeding 90 seconds in length, explaining why rules are important, why the average American should care about federal regulations, and how people can participate in the rulemaking process.

You know I think we should all care about this, but somehow I think my reasons for that differ slightly than the EPA’s. So what kind of entries are they getting?
Here’s a few (h/t Instapundit)

From Reason.tv:

And from The Heritage Foundation:

04.30.2010

It doesn’t. Intrusive Statism knows no boundaries, and its enablers are very adept at portraying any sort of fiddling with people’s lives as benign, even necessary to be a moral human being. The following reads as a joke. It is not. It is the result of well-meaning dipwads who have bought so solidly into the liberal/socialist worldview that he cannot see the implications of his own policy, that rights are not bestowed from the state. . . Combined with a dose of regulatory capture by corporations that want to line their pockets with public largesse. If you want to see why Eurpoean Regulatory Statism is collapsing, this is why:

The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers’ dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips.

Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, proposed a strategy that could cost European taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros a year, The Times of London reports.

“Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” Mr. Tajani told a group of ministers at The European Tourism Stakeholders Conference in Madrid on April 15. Mr. Tajani was appointed to his post by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

I’m sure the money will never, ever run out.

04.29.2010

We’ve been facing a encroaching State for over a century, but still, whenever a libertarian points out that the government is taking away people’s rights it is often met with a shrug, and sometimes active hostility.  “Stop talking like that, they haven’t taken anything away from us.”

Sad fact is that these people don’t see the loss of their liberty unless it somehow directly inconveniences them.  Take away freedom of speech, or of movement, or of property, they don’t care as long as it isn’t their speech, movement or property.  If it’s speech of hatemongers, movement of sex offenders, or the property of people inconveniently located at the site of the next Mega Mart, it doesn’t matter to them.   Sure you can argue the slippery slope, that once the door’s open there ain’t nothing stopping them from coming for their life, liberty, and property— but have you ever tried to convince these people of that? They tend to be so far in denial that you might as well be speaking in hieroglyphs.

Here’s an argument that should make their head hurt.

So, back in 1919, we ratified the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, introducing Prohibition and making alcohol illegal. In 1933, it was repealed by the 21st Amendment.

Now, if we had to go that far to make liquor illegal on the Federal level, where the hell did the Federal Government get the power to make marijuana illegal?

From here I was directed to the following press release which I guarantee should piss you off:

Clay Greene and his partner of 20 years, Harold Scull, lived in Sebastopol, California. As long-time partners, they had named each other beneficiaries of their respective estates and agents for medical decisions. As 2008 began, Scull was 88 years old and in deteriorating health. Greene, 11 years younger, was physically strong, but beginning to show signs of cognitive impairment. As Scull’s health declined, it became apparent that they would need assistance, but the men resisted outside help.

In April of 2008, Scull fell down the front steps of their home. Greene immediately called an ambulance and Scull was taken to the hospital. There, the men’s nightmare began. While Scull was hospitalized, Deputy Public Guardians went to the men’s home, took photographs, and commented on the desirability and quality of the furnishings, artwork, and collectibles that the men had collected over their lifetimes.

Ignoring Greene entirely, the County petitioned the Court for conservatorship of Scull’s estate. Outrageously referring to Greene only as a “roommate” and failing to disclose their true relationship, the County continued to treat Scull as if he had no family. The County sought immediate temporary authority to revoke Scull’s powers of attorney, to act without further notice, and to liquidate an investment account to pay for Scull’s care. Then, despite being granted only limited powers, and with undue haste, the County arranged for the sale of the men’s personal property, cleaned out their home, terminated their lease, confiscated their truck, and eventually disposed of all of the men’s worldly possessions, including family heirlooms, at a fraction of their value and without any proper inventory or determination of whose property was being sold.

Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Greene from their home and confined him to a nursing home against his will—a different placement from his partner. Greene was kept from seeing Scull during this time, and his telephone calls were limited. Three months after Scull was hospitalized, he died, without being able to see Greene again.

See, I told you it would piss you off.  But this should also scare the crap out of you because the implications go a fair bit deeper, and are more profound, than the obvious gay rights interpretation.  Because, consider the hypothetical alternate universe where the County wasn’t lying, and these two men were only “roommates.”  (Look again at the part I bolded.)  What if these were just a couple of old guys who outlived their families and made a mutual agreement to take care of each other if they got sick or incapacitated.  Yeah, that sounds far-fetched doesn’t it?  But somehow people’s intentions, even when legally documented, make no difference to the State.  You see, the State allways knows better than you do.

Which is why it shouldn’t be empowered to do crap like this in the first place.