Saturday, 24 August 2013

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY Ken Berwitz


Today's quote comes to us from one Cam Edwards, NRA member and host of the "Cam And Company" radio show.

Here is his take on gun control laws, as they relate to keeping the streets safe from gun violence:

"If gun control worked, Chicago would be Mayberry right now. And Weld County and El Paso County would be Thunderdome. You guys wouldn't have [Weld County] Sheriff [John] Cooke, you would have Tina Turner and Mel Gibson running around! It would be horrible! But that's not real life! Real life is gun control not working in Chicago. Real life is gun control failing in Camden, New Jersey, and Oakland, California, and a lot of other communities in this country . . ." 

Is he right (yes, extreme right.  I'll take that one before his detractors do).  But does he have a point?  Well, one look at the statistics in these cities will tell you.

Personally, I am a strong proponent of strict gun control laws - certainly way more strict than anything Mr. Edwards or the NRA would be happy with.  

But, as I have stated many times in this blog, there are two issues related to gun control.  One is the reasonable limitations on how guns and ammunition are legally obtained.  And the other - almost completely unrelated to the first - is how to prevent people who obtain and use guns illegally from doing so.  

And what possible deterrence do existing, or additional, gun control laws provide among people who ignore gun control laws?  Obviously, none at all.  Not in Chicago.  Or Trenton.  Or Oakland.  Or anywhere else.

Look, I am certain that, when it comes to gun control laws, Mr. Edwards and I disagree on a lot.  But that line about Chicago and Mayberry?  It's too good to go unrewarded.

Congratulations, Cam Edwards.  Quote Of The Day honors are yours.  


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND GAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Ken Berwitz

Do professional photographers have the right to refuse to take pictures at a gay wedding, based on their religious beliefs?

At first blush, you'd assume the answer was yes.  As long we're talking about private photographers who does not receive federal funding, they should be able to work at the events of their choosing, right?

Well, not in New Mexico.  At least not yet.

Excerpted from Jacob Gershman's article for the Wall Street Journal:Michael Peabody's article at a site called religiousliberty.tv:

New Mexico's highest court ruled Thursday that the owners of an Albuquerque wedding photography company violated state law when they turned away a lesbian couple who wanted to hire them to take pictures of their ceremony.

Upholding a lower-court ruling, the New Mexico Supreme Court held that the company's refusal was an act of discrimination. They rejected the argument of the devout Christian owners of Elane Photography who claimed they had a free speech and religious right not to shoot the ceremony.

The decision comes at a time of turbulent debate over gay marriage in New Mexico, where a county clerk gained national attention this week by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples against the advice of the attorney general (though he's not challenging it). As Law Blog noted earlier, gay marriage hasn't been legalized New Mexico, though there's a dispute over whether state law prohibits it.

Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jonathan, the owners of the company, argued that shooting the ceremony would have conflicted with their fundamental religious tenets and given the impression that they were supportive of gay marriage.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the photographers, said the decision amounted to government-enforced coercion. "This decision is a blow to our client and every American's right to live free," stated the group's senior counsel, Jordan Lorence.

In a concurring opinion Thursday, Justice Richard C. Bosson said the case "provokes reflection on what this nation is all about." The company's refusal, "no matter how religiously inspired, was an affront to the legal rights of that couple," he wrote.

"All of which, I assume, is little comfort to the Huguenins, who now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives," Justice Bosson wrote. "Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views."

Interesting.  And either uplifting or scary as hell, depending on your point of view.

This ruling stems from a 2006 incident, in which Elane Photography was asked to work a "commitment ceremony" between two lesbians (who, ironically, were not then, and are not now, legally allowed to marry in New Mexico). 

The owners refused on religious grounds, and the refused party - Vanessa Willock, who happens to be an Equal Employment Opportunity representative with the University of New Mexico did two things:  she found another photographer (which means she got her event photographed without Elane Photography) and she sued - successfully, so far.

I say "so far", because there is an excellent chance that this is going to wind up in the United States Supreme Court.  And, if/when it does, we will find out whether our country is at the point where people's religious beliefs cannot be taken into account if a gay couple wants pictures taken of them.

Now that's a ruling I will be interested to hear.

free` Ken wrote; "... we will find out whether our country is at the point where people's religious beliefs cannot be taken into account if a gay couple wants pictures taken of them." --------------- I think you should add to that, "Unless they are Muslim". (08/24/13)


BUT..BUT...WHY DIDN'T HE JUST WAIT FOR OBAMACARE? Ken Berwitz


Do you stay up nights wondering how to pay your insurance premiums? 

Well, worry no more.  Here, via Rick Bella's article at oregonlive.com, is one man's solution to the high cost of health care: 

A homeless man allegedly held up a Clackamas-area bank Friday, demanded $1, then sat down and waited for police to arrive.

Timothy Dean Alsip, 50, was arrested without incident by Clackamas County sheriff's deputies. He was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on suspicion of second-degree robbery with bail set at $250,000.

"He handed over a note saying 'This is a hold up. Give me a dollar,'" Nikolai said. After receiving $1, he "had a seat in the lobby."

Nikolai said deputies determined that Alsip sought to be arrested so he could get medical care.  

Well, you have to hand it to Timothy; his idea seems pretty sound.  Not only will this get him free health care for some number of years, but food, clothing and shelter too, not to mention training in one or another menial trade - all paid for in full by the taxpayer.  On the down side, relieving himself and showering may be a little less than private, but, being homeless, I have a feeling old Timmy is used to that already.

Of course he could have waited for ObamaCare to kick in.  But since the President has determined that it is likely to cause a severe, even terminal condition called "losethemidtermelectionsitis", he won't have a shot at getting the free ride for more than a year.  So, astute consumer that he is, Timmy has taken the best currently available option.

Is this a great country, or what?


"TRAYVON'S LAW"

Ken Berwitz

Let me start with the following excerpt from Tony Lee's blog at breitbart.com, regarding the NAACP's push for what it is calling "Trayvon's Law":

Ben Jealous, the president of the NAACP, said on Saturday that "Trayvon's law" should be enacted across the United States in a speech at the "Realize the Dream March and Rally" in Washington.  

"Let us say, 'Yes we will pass Trayvon's law from coast to coast,'" Jealous said at the event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. 

The NAACP recently released principles for what it would like to see in so-called Trayvon's Laws at the state and local levels:

Ending racial profiling;
Repealing stand your ground type laws;
Creating law enforcement accountability through effective police oversight;
Improving training and best practices for community watch groups; and
Mandating law enforcement data collection on homicide cases involving people of color.

As a matter of personal disclosure, I was a member of the NAACP for years...until it turned into the racist, ridiculous, pathetic shadow of its former self which is so clearly personified by what you have just read.

Black crime, especially among young Black males, is absolutely rampant.  Black gangs have taken over entire neighborhoods, in some instances literally runing them.  Black males under the age of 30 account for 3 -  4% of the population, but 35% of the murders.  And, although Black on White violent crime is dramatically more prevalent than White on Black, Black on Black crime is a scourge that takes an average of 15 lives each and every day.

So what does the NAACP go to the wall for?  An individual instance in which a man of mixed race shot a young Black male, while the young Black male was beating his head into a concrete sidewalk. 

And what is the NAACP demanding as "Trayvon's Laws"? 

-An end to racial profiling - which did not take place with Trayvon Martin;

-The repeal of "stand your ground" laws - which were not used by George Zimmerman's defense team, but which have been used successfully by Blacks as well as Whites in Florida;

-Keeping a more watchful eye on law enforcement - certainly a reasonable idea, but unrelated to the shooting itself, only to the department's subsequent decision that there was insufficient evidence of a crime - which was exactly what the jury found;

-Improving training and practices for watch groups - also a reasonable idea;

-Mandating law enforcement data collection on homicides involving Black people - which we already have with FBI statistics. 

That's it.  That's the extent of it.  But do you notice anything missing?

For example, do you notice any demands by the NAACP that significant action be taken to address the monumentally high violent crime rate among young Black males, which results in a monumentally high rate not only of young Black murderers, but young Black murder victims as well?  Me neither.

Evidently it is much more comfortable - and, donations-wise, much more profitable - for the NAACP to cherry-pick this one incident, involving a shooter who a) was of mixed racal heritage and b) had zero history of racism, than it is to address the thousands and thousands of Black on Black murders which occur each year.

Hey, who cares about those suckers, when there is so much $$$$ to be made off the corpse of Trayvon Martin?

free' Nice, a law that celebrates a self described gangsta and who is also a racist. Just F'n great. Our country is so on the decline, how much lower can we go!!! (08/24/13)


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