Is the Second Amendment the Greatest of All Amendments?

Is the Second Amendment the Greatest of All Amendments?

 

The title may be a bit misleading as the real premise here is the fact that the 2nd Amendment has trampled the 1st Amendment. Where and how you ask? In Utah.

I am not writing this to debate the merits of Anita Sarkeesian, who is a feminist that is challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. But that caught my attention was the fact she was going to give a speech at Utah State University until the police got an email telling them that if she gave her speech they would commit the largest mass murder ever seen.

When administrators told Sarkeesian that Utah law explicitly forbade them from having the campus police stop people with guns from attending her talk, Sarkeesian had little choice but to cancel.

Isn’t it a incomprehensibly idiotic Utah gun law that keeps police from barring gun-toters from attending events where a gun massacre has been threatened. As the state of Utah’s Department of Public Safety website makes clear, people (other than law enforcement) can’t carry firearms in courthouses, prisons, airports and “churches if posted.” But that completes the list of places where guns can’t be brought. Anyplace else, anyone can carry a firearm openly so long as a bullet is not in the firing chamber or, in a semi-automatic firearm, if the magazine is at least “one mechanical action” away from firing. Utah law expressly forbids public schools or universities from enforcing any rule pertaining to firearms.

She had no choice but to cancel her speaking engagement. This law now allows for people to “bully” their agenda but threatening harm with firearms until the other side submits. This is dumb.

The elevation of the Second Amendment into a super-right has now diminished others—including those that the founders quite deliberately put first.

Title IX- Gender Equity is Not Making Sense

Title IX- Gender Equity is Not Making Sense

 

Yes, we all know that the impetus of Title IX is that there needs to be the same number of sports for the men and women. That is fine and dandy but that is a poor business model.

 

If a college wants to have sport, then it should be self-sufficient or they shouldn’t have it. Forget the gender equity part of this.

 

The following represents spending and revenue as obtained by the Equity in Athletics for NCAA division I schools from 2003-2009. On average across all 135 universities only basketball and football make profit, and almost cover the loss in revenue from all other sports.

While greater than 80% of the schools have a team for baseball, basketball, track, football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball, the other sports are much more rare. Regardless, averages posted were taken only on teams that existed.

Investigating female vs male sports, there is a large discrepancy in spending and earnings, though much of this might be due to the large impact that college football has.

If you can’t pay for it on it own, then discontinue the sport. Doesn’t matter if it is mens or womens. Just cut it.

Crony Capitalism- How Did It Happen?

Crony Capitalism- How Did It Happen?

 

There is no doubt that crony Capitalism exists. There is little doubt that it is a detriment to our economy and that if left to live it will cripple the American economy. How did this happen?

  1. First, the government has become a more dominant player in the economy, greatly expanding the potential for special interest groups to exert their influence over the economy to their advantage. The government has become more important both through its taxation and spending policy as well as through its increased regulatory reach. As recently as the mid-1960s, total US federal and local government spending amounted to less than 25 percent of GDP. Over the past three years, that ratio has been in excess of 35 percent. This large increase in public spending has been dwarfed by the explosion in government regulation. Whereas in 1950 there were fewer than 20,000 pages of federal regulations, today there are in excess of 165,000 pages, and the economic cost of these rules runs into the hundreds of billion dollars.
  2. A second factor contributing to the rise of crony capitalism has been the rapid rate of increase in the cost of election campaigns, which has made politicians particularly dependent on fundraising and forced them into a permanent campaign mode. In 2000, the total cost of the presidential and congressional campaigns was a little more than $3 billion; by 2012 the total cost had more than doubled to almost $7 billion. By 2012, the estimated average cost of winning an election to the House of Representatives had increased to $1.5 million, while the average cost of a successful Senate race had increased to almost $9 million.
  3. A third factor in crony capitalism’s rise has been a marked increase in lobbying activity as a channel by which large vested interests and deep pockets can legally influence the legislative process to their favor. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, over the past 15 years the amount of money spent on lobbying has more than doubled to its present level of around $3.2 billion. Equally disturbing has been the acceleration of the revolving-door between Congress and K Street. Prior to 1973, barely 3 percent of former members of Congress took up employment on K Street upon leaving the Hill; today around 40 percent of former US representatives and 50 percent of former senators lobby after stepping down from the Hill.

The roots of crony capitalism are undoubtedly deep. Any real solution must reduce the size of government. The smaller the government and the less involved it is in the functioning of the economy, the less leverage there is for crony capitalism to undermine the proper functioning of the free market. In addition, basic electoral campaign finance reform should be undertaken to free elected officials from their dependence on fundraising. Finally, the lobbying system itself might be reformed to reduce the excessive influence lobbyists presently exercise over the legislative process.

If left unchecked, crony capitalism will continue to sap vitality out of the US economy and to undermine public support for the American model of capitalism. In an increasingly competitive global economy, that is something that America can ill afford. This adds urgency to the task of finding ways to combat cronyism if America’s special brand of capitalism, which has made it the most prosperous and free nation on earth, is to endure.

Elections Have Consequences

Elections Have Consequences

 

In a democracy, there’s no such thing as an election without consequences. We are not satisfied with today’s Democratic Party; we wish it was more populist and more progressive. But it is absurd to argue that little will change if Republicans take the Senate. A lot will change—and it will be for the worse. A Republican Senate, working with a Republican House, will be a wrecking crew.

GOP control of the House and Senate could be catastrophic for the environment, for workers, for women and for minorities.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, has already promised the Koch brothers that “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh-darn proposals…like raising the minimum wage…extending unemployment…the student loan package.” And it won’t just be progressive proposals that are stymied. Consider the judges who will never make it to the bench, including the highest, if Chuck Grassley, not Pat Leahy, is in charge of the Judiciary Committee. Consider the destabilizing political circus Republicans will create if Darrell Issa’s hyperpartisan investigations into fake scandals spread from the House to the Senate.

GOP control of key Senate committees will reorder the debate. What happens, for example, if Senator Pat Toomey, former president of the right-wing Club for Growth, takes over Sherrod Brown’s subcommittee overseeing financial institutions and consumer protection? What happens to nuclear negotiations with Iran if McConnell, Lindsey Graham and John McCain are deciding when to bring up a sanctions bill?

But a GOP takeover is not a threat just because of what Republicans will do. Progressives should also worry about the many areas of potential agreement between Obama and a GOP-controlled Senate. It is Harry Reid, for example, not Republicans, who is denying the president fast-track authority on corporate trade deals. Without Reid in the way, pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—which labor leaders describe as “NAFTA on steroids”—are likely to become the law of the land. Likewise, Obama and Republicans could agree to pursue lower corporate tax rates—as opposed to infrastructure investments and job creation—as their primary economic-development initiative. And let’s not forget that Obama has repeatedly floated Social Security cuts as a bargaining chip in negotiations with GOP leaders.

Perhaps the most worrying consequence of a GOP-controlled Senate will be the extension of the damaging austerity agenda. Think, for example, about the next debt-ceiling fight. Republicans have repeatedly used the debt ceiling to hold the economy hostage, but they have relented each time because they knew that they would be blamed for the consequences—not the president. But if Republicans take control of the Senate, that calculus will change. What happens when they send Obama a bill to prevent default on our debt at the eleventh hour, attached to a bill that ravages Social Security? The Republicans will be able to force the president to choose between impossible options.

They will also be able to advance the Keystone XL pipeline, ban abortions after twenty weeks, decimate an already-weak Dodd-Frank Act and shred the torn social safety net.

 

Remember to Vote.

NHL Standings Predictions for 2014-15

NHL Standings Predictions for 2014-15

Hockey starts tomorrow. Let’s get to it!

 

EAST

Metropolitan

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Columbus Blue Jackets

3. New York Rangers

4. Washington Capitals

5. Philadelphia Flyers

6. New York Islanders

7. New Jersey Devils

8. Carolina Hurricanes

Atlantic

1. Boston Bruins

2. Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Montreal Canadiens

4. Florida Panthers

5. Detroit Red Wings

6. Toronto Maple Leafs

7. Ottawa Senators

8. Buffalo Sabres

WEST

Pacific

1. Los Angeles Kings

2. Anaheim Ducks

3. San Jose Sharks

4. Vancouver Canucks

5. Arizona Coyotes

6. Edmonton Oilers

7. Calgary Flames

Central

1. Chicago Blackhawks

2. St. Louis Blues

3. Dallas Stars

4. Minnesota Wild

5. Colorado Avalanche

6. Nashville Predators

7. Winnipeg Jets

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