Friday, April 29, 2011

4th Amend. Violations in Mich. re cell phones?

Allegations of practices by Mich. State Police which may violate the Fourth Amend. Allegedly, police are "searching" (scanning) the cell phones of persons during traffic stops. Stay tuned!

Taser Manuf. settles its first case.

For the first time in history, Taser International has settled a lawsuit out of court. They paid $2.8 million to a man who suffered brain damage. Taser has never lost a case in court. For better or for worse, this settlement will encourage more litigation over the Taser.

Mass. Rejects 2nd Amend. Challenge

Until the Supreme Court specifies a standard of review and clarifies other issues for Second Amendment challenges, lower courts will be pretty much in the dark in Second Amendment cases. This challenge did not succeed. The Court held that he should have applied for a Firearms Identification Card (FID) or license before challenging the law.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Latest update on concealed carry on Texas campuses

Still stalled one vote shy of coming up for full vote in TX Senate. As I wrote earlier, it's not looking good for Wentworth's bill. Stay tuned.

2nd Amend. Day Created in Okla.

Oklahoma is the first state to create a Second Amendment Day. We should always celebrate increasing our liberty in an age when many rights seem to be moving in the opposite direction. As one wag once said "civil liberties are so pre-9/11."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Latest on concealed carry on Texas college campuses

Doesn't look good. Session could end without a vote by the full Senate. Looks even grimmer in the House.

Execution drug shortage, states switching to other drugs

Another death penalty controversy.

Taser use cost county 1.9 million

Actually insurance will pick up 900 G's--the county ONLY has to pay a million for this officer's violation of department policy. One key piece of evidence was a video from a camera mounted on the Taser. The guiltiest officer remains with the dept. and was not disciplined. I guess he'll pick up the nickname "million dollar man." However, this incident and the lack of discipline are no laughing matter!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taser not cause of suspect's death

Too often, when a person who is Tasered dies, it is assumed that the Taser was the cause of death. Causation of death is not always a simple issue. Here a 40 year old who was Tasered was found to have died of a heart condition, not the Tasering.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Supreme Court rejects expedited review of Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take the Obamacare challenges for an expedited review. The cases will have to continue through the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Personally, I think an issue of this magnitude should be decided ASAP. How much money will be spent over the next year or two on a program that may be unconstitutional? Probably the earliest they could decide the case would be Summer 2012.

Pictures of Texas fires

As most of you already know, West Texas and Texas in general have been plagued by fires. Some of the best pictures are here. Marfa, Fort Davis and the Observatory are about 25-40 miles from Alpine, the home of SRSU. No fires got close to Alpine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Pro-Second Amendment Organization.

Check out this new Second Amendment rights organization. Don't know anything about it, but the more organizations we have watching out for civil liberties,the better off we all will be.

Next U.S. Supreme Court decision on 2nd Amend?

Those who would limit Second Amendment rights argue that the Amendment does not apply outside the home. I strenuously disagree. If the Supreme Court takes this case, (grants this petition for a writ of certiorari) they may decide this issue.

Second Amendment protects stun guns?

A Michigan court recently held that the Second Amendment protects stun guns. Given that the essence of the Second Amendment is a right to keep and bear arms for defensive purposes. This makes sense to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Faculty painting removed from exhibition

We often forget that art work is entitled to First Amendment protection. This College President seems to have forgotten and removed a painting critical of the Confederate past from a faculty art exhibition. Conservative censors at work this time? Authoritarianism is alive and well on both sides of the political spectrum

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Great report from FIRE on First Amendment rights on campus.

FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) is a leader in protecting due process and First Amendment rights on college and university campuses. Their annual report on Speech Codes is great reading for anyone who cares about this issue. There is a brief but good discussion of freedom of speech and higher education. Although there appears to be improvement, the lack of respect for the Supreme law of the land on public campuses is still appalling and disgraceful.

Monday, April 11, 2011

25th Anniversary of Fatal Firefight in Miami

Two FBI agents lost their lives protecting us on this date 25 years ago.

Civl War Anniversary--some thoughts

As we start the 150th anniversary of American’s greatest tragedy, some straight-talking quotes from a self-described southerner and historian. “Today, a new battle for history is being waged, with political conservatives casting the Civil War as a struggle against Big Government, with only tangential connections to slavery. These neo-Confederates contend that one can honor the South’s heritage without condoning its institutionalized racism. But as a historian and as a Southerner, I believe that is a losing cause. Without what our seventh vice president, John C. Calhoun, called the South’s “peculiar domestic institution,” there would have been no Civil War. There can be no revision of this inescapable reality. . . . At such a charged moment, we must remember our nation’s history fully, not selectively. If we truly want to be faithful stewards of the past, Americans need to recall what the war was about: slavery and the definition of human liberty. And the Civil War’s true legacy is not about Big Government or today’s political skirmishing—it’s about a nation’s obligation to live up to the best part of itself. Slavery was an evil, and it had to be defeated.”

Friday, April 08, 2011

A peek at the mentality against concealed carry on campus

Every once in a while, a little bit of insight into the concealed carry on campus issue comes to light. This blogger wrote that the "high prevalence of substance abuse and depression among college students, it makes little sense to encourage gun carrying by anyone other than duly-sworn public safety personnel." Further, "how comfortable would instructors be in handing out poor grades to students who may be packing heat." I didn't realize it took so little to turn college students into killers! I guess irrational fears and neuroticism are a good reason to limit the freedoms of others. I guess some people just don't trust college students. Assuming, arguendo, that there is data to support the assertions about substance abuse and depression, why should all college students be branded negatively? In a country that values equal protection and liberty, such assumptions are questionable. Don't people have a right to be judged as individuals rather than stereotyped? The writer also ignores the fact that in most, if not all states, one has to be 21 to get a license and will have to spend time and $ to get the license. Further, anyone with a criminal record cannot get a license. Fear is a potent propaganda weapon. It has been used against various groups in this country for years.

UTEP students for concealed carry on campus

It seems that most of the media coverage is about students who don't want concealed carry on their campus. Here's a group that does.

Testimonial re concealed carry on campus.

Testimonial from a college student in favor of concealed carry on campus. One case is not a basis for policy, but this is a side of the issue that has not been heard.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Concealed carry & on college campuses

One of the current controversies in Texas and other states is whether persons with state-issued licenses to carry concealed handguns should be permitted to carry on college campuses. IMHO, Such carrying by licensees, may violate the Second Amendment. Secondly, there is no empirical basis to fear a rise in crime. Finally, opposition to such carrying on campus is fueled by dislike of guns and gun owners or irrational fears. Fear is propaganda tactic frequently used by those opposed to the rights of others and has long been used in an attempt to suppress civil liberties. See this short article by commentator Stephen Chapman.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Repeal the Second Amendment?

Both Right- and Left-wing authoritarianism are alive and well in America. This writer wants to repeal the Second Amendment. Further, many of our rights hang by one vote in the Supreme Court. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."