Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

CA legislation news - the good and the bad

So we saw before that the CA legislature had passed a few new bills through their originating house and they were headed across the capitol for votes in the other house. I also treated you, dear readers, and the Letters Editor at the OC Register to my opinion of a couple of them.

First the good news: it looks like Sen. Joe Dunn has decided to table his "I'd like to make the manufacture and sale of ammunition in CA impossible so let's make it prohibitively expensive by adding useless costs" bullet serialization bill SB 357 for the year, although purportedly it's just for "fine-tuning" so he can bring it back next year, already having passed the Senate. John Gittelsohn of the Register has an interesting take on from beloved Santa Ana Democrat - Dunn says he's tabling it because he doesn't want individual police officers who pay for practice ammunition out of their own pockets to have to deal with increased prices. Everybody get that? He's admitting that his legislation would skyrocket the price of ammunition in this state, but it's ok for Jane Average to have to put up with a massive price hike, as long as cops don't have to (according to Dunn, because their departments don't pay for it - anybody smell a call for more government spending?), 'cause well, that'd be just wrong. Nice double standard, thanks Joe. And people actually say the costs incurred by businesses as a result of government legislation aren't passed along to consumers? Here's a Democratic state senator who's admitting that they are indeed passed along, but he doesn't care.

Another piece of (kinda) good news, AB 352, which would require that any handgun made or sold in CA would have to "microstamp" the model and serial number of the handgun on each bullet, as it fires (HA!), has been put in the inactive file at the state senate, where it will stay unless a senator takes the initiative to schedule it for a vote (which hasn't happened since it passed out of committee a couple weeks ago). If it stays in the inactive file, author Assemblyman Paul Koretz will likely turn it into a two-year bill, putting it in the same state as SB 357 and trying to get it passed by the state senate next year.

And for the bad news, AB 996, which puts additional pointless regulation on how gun shops store ammunition (does anyone think gun shops are the safest place for criminals to break into looking for stuff to steal?), passed out of the state senate last week, and is headed back to the assembly for a concurrence vote on the amendments made by the senate. Let's hope that the assembly vote is against it, like it was back in May before a second vote passed it. Today is the first day the assembly can consider the concurrence vote, so stay tuned.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Gas too expensive?

If you're caught up in lamenting how expensive gas is these days, you'd do well to remember two things: 1) that in real, inflation-adjusted terms, gas prices are in fact not at historic levels; and 2) that there are plenty of other things that are way more expensive per gallon than gas, making gas seem pretty cheap in comparison. The free market is at work here folks - supply and demand is a law just as surely as gravity is, and it's as true in tickets to sporting events as it is with gas: as long as we keep buying whatever it is they're selling at the price they're asking, they'll keep selling at that price or more.

Lots of goings-on

AKA, the one big catch-up blog post! Here I'll comment on a bunch of things I've been meaning to but haven't had the time to make happen.

First, the Kelo Kicker: As if it's not bad enough that the residents of New London have to surrender their homes to the city and to Pfizer, but now the city is suing the residents for five years of back rent. Seems they've been living on city property, lo these past five years since the city first declared its use of eminent domain and seized the land and buildings. Some of the rent being charged - anywhere from $57K to over $300K over that 5-year span - would be considered astronomical by any rational human being. But let's face it, city council members can hardly be said to have it all together upstairs, especially when they're blinded by the prospect of vastly increased tax revenue. And oh - did I mention that the city is pushing for the "just compensation" part of the Fifth Amendment to be based on what the market values of the property were in 2000? Heh.

Citizens of Kalifornia, your senior Senator and representative of you and your interests to the federal government! I give you, Senator Dianne Feinstein:
"Senator Daschle, the Internet is full of pornography and pedophilia, and until that's clean [sic] up, I don't think the Senate should be on the Internet."
Wow. Just... wow.

Next up, an excellent column in the OC Register from Costa Mesa's mayor, who's also an Orange County Sheriff's Deputy (and therefore a member of the public employee union AOCDS). Finally we see someone stating exactly what Proposition 75, the Paycheck Protection initiative, will do: restore the free speech of each individual member of public employee unions - who are paid out of our taxes - by not forcing them to contribute to political causes with which they disagree.

Finally, via The Heritage Foundation, the US has responded to a UN proposal that would give the UN a whole heck of a lot more power over the private industry that is and runs the Internet - the US basically told the UN, "Hands off the Internet". While that is indeed an admirable response and a principled position, it just makes me wonder where these free market, free Internet, property rights stalwarts were when they and their compatriots over at National Review Online were giving the Republican party line rah-rah to CAFTA, several provisions of which forced the implementation in Central and South American countries of DMCA-style regulations. And of course as any free enterprise advocate knows, the essential result of the DMCA was to stifle legal technological innovation by one industry - equipment manufacturers - in order to protect the profit margins of another industry - music labels and movie studios. Free trade - it seems so simple, doesn't it? Speaking of CAFTA - one thing I never understood was why national governments need to pass laws and treaties about free trade. Wouldn't it serve free trade better just to get governments out of the way entirely?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another reason I voted for McClintock

Via California Campaigns:

The rumor is that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may be close to naming moderate (at best) federal district judge Morrison England to the California Supreme Court. England - definitely NOT a conservative - was essentially a Barbara Boxer pick for the federal bench in 2002, when the President's Calif. guy Gerald Parsky was allowing Sen. Boxer to exercise an absolute veto over California judicial nominations. The blow-with-the-wind England sailed through the Senate without opposition in 2002. (The President's more recent picks have been much better).

If this is true - it is a sad choice to fill the seat vacated by the brilliant conservative/libertarian judge Janice Rogers Brown, who was recently appointed by the President to the United States Court of Appeal in Washington, DC..

One of England's recent rulings was to block a move by the Bush Administration to open up some back-country timber tracts for logging - a move that would have helped prevent large fires in the Sierra. England sided with the Sierra Club in blocking the logging operation.
There have been way too many chances for us Tom McClintock voters to shake our heads in abject disgust over the Governator, his policies, his methods, and his lack of backbone. Now we have squishy judicial appointments to add to the list.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The deterrent effect of concealed carry

There was a story on this morning's KTLA news (nothing online yet) about a pair of armed robbers whose modus operandi is to hit restaurants at night, cleaning out cash registers and customers alike - apparently they hit two places last night alone in the Northridge area, and police suspect they've been doing this for quite some time. With the current controversy between the NRA and ConocoPhillips regarding an Oklahoma law that requires companies to allow their employees to keep firearms in their cars parked in company parking lots - a spirited exchange regarding which can be read here - this story spurred some thought. While the conflict created between the private property rights of a property owner and the self-defense rights of an individual is certainly an interesting dilemma for those of a libertarian bent, I think an important facet of the discussion is being ignored completely - the deterrent effect of a liberal* firearm policy.

Some companies may want to ban their employees from bringing guns (or licensed employees from carrying concealed) onto their property; some states may want to prohibit such bans; some companies and/or states can't be bothered enough to care. But what about those businesses that would welcome the presence of CCW permit holders, thinking that would make for a little bit of extra protection for their employees and customers from criminals and current or former employees who feel like "going postal"? We probably haven't heard much about them because even in California there hasn't (thankfully) been an effort on the part of the state to force all private businesses to ban firearms or concealed carry. And along the same lines of the danger that's posed by a neighborhood (e.g., one near a school) who proudly (and foolishly) posts "Gun-Free Zone" signs, think about the potential value to such a business of posting its firearm policy for all to see. Out of two otherwise identical restaurants next door to each other, do you think this pair of criminals would pull their masks on and charge into the one with a sign welcoming CCW permit holders or the one without the sign? Of course I'm not asserting that all one needs is to post the sign and they'd never get robbed - one can never be too certain of the intelligence of your average criminal, and you'd certainly need to back up your stated policy with the public. But it's kind of like the Club - it's not enough to stop a determined car thief, but it's almost always enough to make the thief pick another car.

I think I smell another column submission to the Register - this one might be pretty different from what they normally see.

* And of course here I mean "liberal" in the classical sense, not in the modern political sense.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Prop. 77 takes another blow

According to the OC Register:

A state appeals court on Tuesday refused to put Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's redistricting initiative back on November's special-election ballot, saying supporters' use of two versions to qualify the measure was a 'clear violation' of the constitution.
The deadline that the secretary of state sets for a final ruling is the 15th, only five days away, which may not give supporters enough time to appeal this ruling to the state supreme court - though there are about a million Californians, myself included, who want this initiative on the ballot.

I don't have anything particularly pithy to say about this - I've found myself in the same situation with a lot of the recent stories I've read about that in the recent past I might have energetically blogged about: CAFTA, the transportation bill, teachers' unions, etc. I'm just finding myself lately very jaded about the battle for liberty and limited government, feeling like it's a hopeless struggle that I'd be better off just leaving alone so I can concentrate on other, more personal and important things like my family and my career. I try to remind myself why I got started, that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance", back in the 2003 CA recall election, and the words of John Adams, quoted by Tom McClintock, that wound me up to start contributing in some small way to the battle myself, but I always seem to find something more important to do, like spending time with my son Riley, or more pressing, like my career-advancing schoolwork.

Luckily (?) I don't have tens or hundreds of readers to disappoint by my lack of blogging, but hey, maybe I'll get back to it more steadily one of these days. I just don't have the energy for it at the moment. Thanks for stopping by, and if you really like what you see below feel free to drop me an email (jason (at) trippet (dot) net) letting me know that you'd like to see more.

UPDATE: In case you weren't aware, the California Supreme Court has put Prop. 77 back on the ballot. Its poll numbers have been very strong so far, but it will face some very stiff opposition from incumbent legislators of both parties and the usual suspects who have said incumbents in their pockets.