Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Soapbox: Alabama DHS Uses Common Sense, UN Small Arms Treaty Heads for Defeat & Environmental Movement may be Failing

If we want government to do less, we need to do more.
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The Soapbox: If we want government to do less, we need to do more.
Then & Now: History for Today
March 26

1845 - A patent was awarded for an adhesive medicated plaster (No. 3,965), predating the "Band-Aid." Drs. Horace Harrell and William H. Shecut developed a process in which rubber is dissolved in a solvent then spread on fabric. They later sold the idea to Dr. Thomas Allcock who marketed it as Allcock's Porous Plaster.

1953 - American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announced on a national radio show that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952 -- an epidemic year for polio -- there were 58,000 new cases reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as "infant paralysis" because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.

1979 - In a ceremony at the White House, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed an historic peace agreement, ending three decades of hostilities between Egypt and Israel and establishing diplomatic and commercial ties. Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize for Peace. Sadat's peace efforts were not so highly acclaimed in the Arab world -- Egypt was suspended from the Arab League, and on October 6, 1981, Muslim extremists assassinated Sadat in Cairo. Nevertheless, the peace process continued without Sadat, and in 1982 Egypt formally established diplomatic relations with Israel.

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Your Soapbox
Alabama DHS: You are the First Responder. Many have begun to notice a disturbing trend in the battle for the second amendment: government officials seem increasingly likely to insist that people are not the first responders and, worse, that they should not defend themselves, but should wait for the government’s “first responders” (Until the late 1970s, the American citizen was considered a first responder). The Alabama Department of Homeland Security is bucking these trends and restoring the American tradition of the empowered individual. In a new billboard ad campaign and a snazzy training video for citizens, the Alabama DHS informs its citizens that in the event of an active shooter, they must either run, hide, and/or fight — and then further elaborates on how they may do this. It’s refreshing to see some form of government advocating common sense instead of shunning it in fear of litigation.
Washington Bureaucrats, the Eyes of the Ranger are Upon You. Chuck Norris Targets the Assault on Religious Liberty, (Part 1). “It’s Holy Week, but what’s not so holy is the assault on religious liberty in the U.S.” That’s how action star Chuck Norris begins the first part of a two-part series that aims to reawaken the American people to threats posed to the First Amendment. Norris’ series discusses a wide range of issues, from seniors being banned from discussing the Bible privately in the commons of a senior living complex to substitute teachers being fired simply because they provided a Bible requested by a student. “What is so difficult about understanding the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment, in which governing authorities ‘shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof …’?” That’s the billion-dollar question.
California City Heads to Bankruptcy Court. Nobody Shocked or Awed. Stockton, California is on track to be the most populous city in the U.S. to have filed Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. It even prepared the paperwork for it yesterday. In 2005, the local economy was expanding and things were looking vibrant as  the city’s population grew by 20%. But when the housing bubble burst in 2008, the city “jumped the shark” and prices bottomed out with a 70% reduction in value. “Within two years, Stockton had accumulated nearly $1 billion in debt.” Stockton spokeswoman Connie Cochrane relented: “We spent like the good times would go on forever.” The harsh reality, alas, is that bills must eventually be paid.
Freedom: 2, Bluehats: 0. Senate Votes Down UN Small Arms Treaty – Twice. Bills were introduced by both a Republican and a Democrat in the Senate on Saturday aimed at upholding the Second Amendment and preventing the United States from signing the United Nations’ Small Arms Treaty. The first bill was introduced by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and the Second by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. The bipartisan nature of the opposition to the treat seems encouraging. But interestingly, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said he considered it “irresponsible to be considering major foreign policy decisions at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning.” It doesn’t say so, but one can imagine he was probably heckled for offering such a lame excuse for opposing relatively simple legislation. If he wasn’t, he probably should have been.
Senator has ties to Eco-Terrorist Group akin to “The Monkey Wrench Gang.” New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, who was a guest in the Oval Office yesterday to establish the Rio Grande del Norte as a National Monument, is now known to have kept radical compatriots in the past. Heinrich co-founded and served as a chairman on the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance with David Foreman, the founder of the “warrior society” Earth First!. Foreman’s name may sound familiar, since he previously “pled guilty to conspiring to sabotage a nuclear power plant.” How radical is he? In his book, Foreman supported the argument that “World War III has already begun, and that it is the war of industrial humans against the Earth. . . All of us are warriors on one side or another in this war.” He also claimed that “new tactics were needed. . . Politics in the streets. Civil disobedience. Media stunts.” The only shocking part of this story is that this shocks anyone at all.
ICE Union Head on Immigration Reform: “Zero Confidence Any Future Promises of Future Enforcement will be Filled.” The head of the agent Union for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), representing 7,000 ICE employees, has expressed concerns that the immigration reform bill being crafted by the Senate behind closed doors “will be rushed to passage without proper public consideration and proper input from the law enforcement community.” He says that the Washington bureaucrats at DHS and ICE do not accurately represent the agents and officers and, worse, they actually have “repeatedly undermined the ability of our officers to enforce and protect the public safety.” Washington Bureaucrats are undermining efficiency and safety? Who could have guessed?
Three Cheers for Authoritative Paternalism! Some Things to Consider Regarding The Nanny State and The (Attempted) Soda Ban. Sarah Conly recently wrote in the New York Times that the notion of leaving people to freely make their own choices that affect only them is actually an incorrect moral assumption. She claims that making the so-called “wrong” choice has nothing to with character, but of flawed cognitive processes. The argument is sly and predictably elitist, but libertarian Nick Gillespie responded by serving up a nice piece of Reason cake. “Conly is – consciously or not – smuggling in a highly tendentious sense of [the] role of government – it's supposed to ‘help us get where we want to go.’ That's as peculiar an interpretation of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’” Gillespie went on to argue that “the research cited to make a causal connection between soda and heftiness is softer than a push-cart knish.” If we stop with the hysterics and the over-intellectualized snobbery to rationally consider the situation, we’d have more freedom, fewer regulations, and hopefully less hysterics and over-intellectualized snobbery. Ah, to dream.
Top Activist Says Environmental Movement is Failing. M. Sanjayan, a prominent activist in the environmental movement, recently shared his belief that the environmental movement is failing on “virtually every measure.” Outlining  the need to bring people from rural communities and even more young people into the camp, Sanjayan said that the developed world “needed to invest in technology and tax carbon emissions to help address climate change. He added that people in developed countries needed to modify their behaviors as well.” Sanjayan went so far as to say that “In the developing world we need leaders to acknowledge that they are part of the problem.” It seems that that’s always the heart of the argument: those who have are the problem and they need to modify their behavior to redistribute it to those who have not. And here I thought we cared about the polar bears.

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Also in the News
Charlie Daniels: The Boy Scouts Are a Bright Spot in a Troubled Society.
Whole Foods’ John Mackey on Conscious Capitalism, and Life Beyond the Profit Motive.
It’s True, NYC Has a Rat Problem, and Now They’re Paying Them $500 to Drop the Dime on Gun Owners.
5 Strange Things Banned By Governments.
How Debt Ruins Systems.
“People Go Where The Money Is (And The Taxes Aren’t).”
“Esquire Is Screwed: Duped by Fake UBL Shooter.”
Reza Kahlili: Iran Confirms Secret Nuclear ‘Quds’ Site.

Something to Ponder
"There is no happiness for people at the expense of other people." - Anwar el-Sadat

*This information was submitted and compiled by Mercury One staffers and volunteers. If you see any problems or have any questions please email questions@mercuryone.org. If you have an idea or would like to contribute to the Soapbox, please email soapbox@mercuryone.org. 
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