We missed the fiscal cliff (for now), so have a heaping helping of pork to celebrate!

January 2, 2013

So, a bill meant to address our growing fiscal crisis (hah!) is also loaded with hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in pork. You know, those special allocations, set-asides, and tax cuts that constitute taxpayer-funded welfare for some or another group that congressmen and senators are trying to buy votes and donations from.

The Washington Free Beacon has an “interesting” video on the topic:

pork interview CNN

And they wonder why the public increasingly holds Congress in contempt.

Okay, I know some of these measures may have a rational justification, but there’s just way too many that are nothing more than payoffs to favored constituents. It’s corrupt and corrupting, and it has to stop.

I think the Confederate constitution had a clause limiting any piece of legislation to one topic, so this kind of thing couldn’t happen. (Pork is an old bad habit of this Republic.) I think something similar might be a good idea for the U.S. Constitution, too.

RELATED: On the topic of the fiscal cliff deal, my blog buddy ST has a great piece on how to look at the fiscal cliff deal and one on pork in the Hurricane Sandy relief package.  Back to the fiscal cliff, Peter Wehner argues that a bad deal beats a calamitous outcome.

Gun control: armed defenders save lives

January 2, 2013

I’d heard about this story soon after it happened, but was reminded of it by Howard Nemerov’s article today at PJM.  An angry ex-boyfriend gets upset with his ex-girlfriend over their break up, so, logically, he decides to shoot up his workplace.

Fortunately, someone in the area also had a gun:

Jesus Manuel Garcia, 19, an employee at a China Garden restaurant next to the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater, apparently became upset Sunday night after his girlfriend broke up with him.

He lashed out by sending her a message saying he planned to go to the restaurant and “shoot somebody,” said Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Pollard.

Pollard said the woman called to warn restaurant employees, but by the time she saw his message, Garcia was already outside the China Garden firing a Glock 23 at the front door about 9:25 p.m.

Garcia went inside, chased people out the back door, and followed one employee as he ran toward the theater, apparently because he was the easiest target, Pollard said.

“He was chasing him, shooting in the air and at other cars,” Pollard said.

He said that when a San Antonio police officer heard the gunshots and pulled into the theater’s parking lot, Garcia shot out his patrol car’s windshield.

Garcia then pursued the employee into the theater, firing more shots when he reached the lobby, Pollard said.

One of the shots struck a patron in the back, but the bullet did not strike any vital organs and the man was released from San Antonio Military Medical Center later Sunday night.

Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Castellano, who was working off-duty as a security guard at the Mayan Palace, chased the gunman toward the back of the theater. The 13-year department veteran cornered him after he ran into a men’s restroom, shooting him several times and taking his gun, Pollard said.

Now, an opponent of individual gun rights under the second amendment (and thus going against a top liberal constitutional scholar) will point out with some justice that Sgt. Castellano, while undoubtedly heroic and deserving of the medal of valor she received, was nonetheless a highly trained, experienced police officer, not an armed civilian. But to argue that shows we don’t need armed civilians would be to miss the key lesson of the incident:

“When seconds count, help via 911 is minutes away.”

The police officer (1) who had his windshield shot out only happened to be in the area by chance, as part of his patrol.  He apparently was not part of the take-down in the theater, where people were being shot. Sergeant Castellano was there only because she was working a second job as an armed security guard. That showed wisdom on management’s part. But, had that not been true, had the people running for their lives in the restaurant and theater been forced to rely on urgent calls to 911 —when time is not on your side— well, we can all imagine what might have been the result.

To me, this incident again shows the value of having armed defenders on the spot. The police can’t always (or even often) be there, but a trained, armed civilian can also be effective by distracting for the criminal and buying time for others to escape. (And here’s some more about that armed civilian at the Clackamas mall)

Time and again, armed, law-abiding civilians have prevented or limited potentially horrific mass shootings. To deny this and pretend that gun-free zones make us safer is delusional.

(1) The article doesn’t mention what became of the officer. I hope he or she is okay.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

January 2, 2013

And another canon of faith in the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming goes bust.

Watts Up With That?

WUWT readers may recall seeing stories like these in the past. Warming wailers like Bill McKibben, who unthinkingly regurgitated this bogus Jellyfish news in op-eds like this one, take note.

A new new peer reviewed study shows that once again, these wild claims are falsely attributed to “global warming”. Instead, these temporary blooms are part of a natural cyclic global oscillation. Further, the researches find no trend saying

“…there is no robust evidence for a global increase in jellyfish.”

The stories, like the one above, are products of nothing more than increased awareness due to more eyes on the sea. We see the same sort of reporting bias effect in tornadoes, now that we have storm chasers and Doppler radar.

Here’s the Press release and PNAS paper: 

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