VDH: We too can lose our civilization…

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson (excerpt):

In my state, Californians for 40 years have hiked taxes; grown their government; vastly expanded entitlements; put farmland, timberland, and oil and gas lands off limits; and opened their borders to millions of illegal aliens. They apparently assumed that they had inherited so much wealth from prior generations and that their state was so naturally rich, that a continually better life was their natural birthright.

It wasn’t. Now, as in Greece, the veneer of civilization is proving pretty thin in California. Hospitals no longer have the money to offer sophisticated long-term medical care to the indigent. Cities no longer have the funds to self-insure themselves from the accustomed barrage of monthly lawsuits. When thieves rip copper wire out of street lights, the streets stay dark. Most state residents would rather go to the dentist these days than queue up and take a number at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Hospital emergency rooms neither have room nor act as if there’s much of an emergency.

Traffic flows no better on most of the state’s freeways than it did 40 years ago — and often much worse, given the crumbling infrastructure and increased traffic. Once-excellent K–12 public schools now score near the bottom in nationwide tests. The California state-university system keeps adding administrators to the point where they have almost matched the number of faculty, though half of the students who enter CSU need remedial reading and math. Despite millions of dollars in tutoring, half the students still don’t graduate. The taxpayer is blamed in constant harangues for not ponying up more money, rather than administrators being faulted for a lack of reform.

In 1960, there were far fewer government officials, far fewer prisons, far fewer laws, and far fewer lawyers — and yet the state was a far safer place than it is a half-century later. Technological progress — whether iPhones or Xboxes — can often accompany moral regress. There are not yet weeds in our cities, but those too may be coming.

The average Californian, like the average Greek, forgot that civilization is fragile. Its continuance requires respect for the law, tough-minded education, collective thrift, private investment, individual self-reliance, and common codes of behavior and civility — and exempts no one from those rules. Such knowledge and patterns of civilized behavior, slowly accrued over centuries, can be lost in a single generation.

A keen visitor to Athens — or Los Angeles — during the last decade not only could have seen that things were not quite right, but also could have concluded that they could not go on as they were. And so they are not.

Washington, please take heed.

De Silva: Your privacy is regards to US v Jones (Govt GPS case)

Tamara De Silva:

At first blush United States v. Jones is an important victory for the Fourth Amendment because it reaffirms the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Court held that the Government’s planting of a GPS device onto a Jeep constituted a “search.” Antoine Jones, a nightclub owner, was convicted in Washington DC of dealing drugs. Much of the evidence used to obtain his conviction (2,000 pages to be exact) was procured from a GPS that had been planted to the bumper of his wife’s car.

The decision is important principally because it re-affirms an enormously important principle articulated by Justice Harlan in Katz v. United States, which states that the Fourth Amendment protects people not places and as such a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.” It was thought before cases like Katz that the Fourth Amendment’s protections extended to places…homes, private residences, etc (arising from the idea of trespass).

Yet the opinion itself is far more interesting than the ruling of the case because the Court’s dicta (outside the ruling on the matter at hand) raises some profound issues. The first of these is that it addresses how a person’s reasonable privacy expectations need to be defined by the Legislature in light of how technology has affected our lives. There has been a shift in the balance of power between the governed and the State.

Read more HERE!

2004: Romney for permanent gun ban

Of course the so called “assault weapon ban” did not target guns used by criminals or actual assault weapons at all. They target self loading rifles popular with collectors, enthusiasts and sportsman while showing you a picture of a machine gun.

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20061214165906/http:/www.mass.gov/?pageID=pressreleases&agId=Agov2&prModName=gov2pressrelease&prFile=gov_pr_040701_assault_weapons_ban.xml

MITT ROMNEY 
GOVERNOR
KERRY HEALEY 
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 1, 2004

CONTACT:
Shawn Feddeman
Nicole St. Peter
(617) 725-4025

 

ROMNEY SIGNS OFF ON PERMANENT ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
Legislation also makes improvements to gun licensing system

In a move that will help keep the streets and neighborhoods of Massachusetts safe, Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law a permanent assault weapons ban that forever makes it harder for criminals to get their hands on these dangerous guns.

“Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” Romney said, at a bill signing ceremony with legislators, sportsmen’s groups and gun safety advocates.  “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense.  They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

Like the federal assault weapons ban, the state ban, put in place in 1998, was scheduled to expire in September.  The new law ensures these deadly weapons, including AK-47s, UZIs and Mac-10 rifles, are permanently prohibited in Massachusetts no matter what happens on the federal level.

“We are pleased to mark an important victory in the fight against crime,” said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey.  “The most important job of state government is ensuring public safety.  Governor Romney and I are determined to do whatever it takes to stop the flood of dangerous weapons into our cities and towns and to make Massachusetts safer for law-abiding citizens.”

The new law also makes a number of improvements to the current gun licensing system, including:

  • Extending the term of a firearm identification card and a license to carry firearms from four years to six years;
  • Granting a 90-day grace period for holders of firearm identification cards and licenses to carry who have applied for renewal; and
  • Creating a seven-member Firearm License Review Board to review firearm license applications that have been denied.

“This is truly a great day for Massachusetts’ sportsmen and women,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer.  “These reforms correct some serious mistakes that were made during the gun debate in 1998, when many of our state’s gun owners were stripped of their long-standing rights to own firearms.  I applaud Senate President Travaglini for allowing the Senate to undertake this necessary legislation.”

“I want to congratulate everyone that has worked so hard on this issue,” said Representative George Peterson.  “Because of their dedication, we are here today to sign into law this consensus piece of legislation.  This change will go a long way toward fixing the flaws created by the 1998 law.  Another key piece to this legislation addresses those citizens who have applied for renewals.  If the government does not process their renewal in a timely fashion, those citizens won’t be put at risk because of the 90 day grace period that is being adopted today.”

“Never before has there been such bi-partisan cooperation in the passage of gun safety legislation of this magnitude in this nation,” said John Rosenthal, co-founder and chair of Stop Handgun Violence.  “I applaud the leadership of the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker and entire Legislature for passage of this assault weapons ban renewal.  They have shown that Massachusetts can continue to lead the nation in protecting the public and law enforcement from military style assault weapons.”