Leave Us Alone!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Is This Still America?

Here's an infuriating story from the Boston Globe:
Cape Air pilot Robert Gray said he feels like he's living a nightmare. Two months after he sued the federal government for refusing to let him take flight training courses so he could fly larger planes, he said yesterday, his situation has only worsened.

When Gray showed up for work a couple of weeks ago, he said Cape Air told him the government had placed him on its no-fly list, making it impossible for him to do his job. Gray, a Belfast native and British citizen, said the government still won't tell him why it thinks he's a threat.

(entire article here, link via Wolfesblog)

The Globe goes on to quote Mr. Gray:
"Ever since I came here I've loved this country for what it stands for, and this goes against everything that I've ever learned about this country and how it treats people," he said.''This is the kind of nightmarish situation you think happened in Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, but not in America."
As Claire Wolfe states at Wolfesblog, "...that Congress or the courts tolerate such Kafkaesque horrors for even one second is the thing that really tells you you're not in Freedomland any more."

Featured Sites

Three more sites have added links to Leave Us Alone!: The Gun-Toting Liberal, Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left, and The Balance of Power.

The Gun-Toting Liberal has the most detailed platform I've ever seen from a blogger. The Gun-Toting Liberal currently has a wide variety of guest bloggers filling in for him for the next few weeks.

Thomas L. Knapp of Kn@ppster has founded the Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left, and has accepted my membership application. As Mr. Knapp explains, "I don't plan to impose much in the way of ideological requirements on applicants for webring membership. If you consider yourself a libertarian, and consider yourself on the left end of the political spectrum, then add your site."

The Balance of Power features the opinions of bloggers from all sides of the political spectrum, including the aforementioned Gun-Toting Liberal.

Want to add your site to the featured site list? Just add a link to Leave Us Alone, then let me know about it by posting a comment here or sending me an e-mail at jasonsonenshein (at) aol (dot) com. The featured site list is open to the next 12 sites that link to Leave Us Alone!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Tomorrow, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here are some sites with more information on how to annoy your co-workers:

The Original Talk Like a Pirate Day Site

Talk Like a Pirate Day U.K. Headquarters

Evil Stevie's Pirate Game

Say It ain't so, Bob!

My source for Adams County news tells me that former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen (R-Hillsboro Arlington, Virginia Anderson Twp.) spent most of the day yesterday at the Old Timers Day Festival in Peebles. This wouldn't make sense if Rep. McEwen were running statewide, but it would make sense if he intends to challenge U.S. Rep. Jean "Tracy Flick" Schmidt (R-Miami Twp.) in next year's primary. A race between "Bouncin' Bob" and "Tracy Flick" would be fun to watch, mainly because one of those two would have to lose. But we need a true conservative to challenge Senator DeWine and clear a path for a Democrat to take the seat.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Run, Bob, Run!

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that John Hritz won't challenge Senator Mike DeWine in next year's Republican primary for U.S. Senate, but will instead opt to challenge Treasurer Jennette Bradley (R-Columbus). (link via DeFeat DeWine) However, Senator DeWine may still face a primary challenger from the conservative wing of his party. The Enquirer reports that former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen (R-Hillsboro Arlington, Virginia Anderson Twp.) is considering running. (link via DeFeat DeWine).

Rep. McEwen is another Republican who would be fun to run against. He was damaged by the House check-bouncing scandal of the early 1990's and lost his 6th District congressional seat in 1992. In 1993, when 2nd District Congressman Willis Gradison (R-Cincinnati) retired, Congressman McEwen carpetbagged into the 2nd District, but lost in the Republican primary to Rob Portman (R-Terrace Park). Mr. McEwen lived in Virginia for the next 12 years, where he worked as a lobbyist. When Congressman Portman announced his resignation earlier this year, Mr. McEwen hastily bought a condominium in Anderson Township and ran again, but lost in the Republican Primary to former State Rep. Jean "Tracy Flick" Schmidt (R-Miami Twp.) Senator DeWine would be tough, but not impossible, for a Democrat to beat in a general election next year. However, if the Republicans nominate a check-bouncing, carpetbagging has-been, the Democrats stand a good chance of picking up the seat.

The Democrats need a candidate. The Vindicator reports that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) has declined to run for the Senate next year. (link via DeFeat DeWine) The Cincinnati Post reports that Major Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill) might run, while Bill Callahan of Callahan's Cleveland Diary and Councilman Frank Szollosi of Szollosi Toledo tout U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur as a potential candidate. Both Major Hackett and Rep. Kaptur have the potential to be formidable statewide candidates.

Earlier this summer, Major Hackett ran an extremely impressive race for Congress, carrying 48% of the vote in a district that usually goes for Republicans by at least 2 to 1. I've seen Major Hackett on television a few times, and I was very impressed with his charisma. Additionally, as this map from Grow Ohio shows, Major Hackett received contributions from all over the country in his recent congressional race. Finally, as I've mentioned before, I really like Major Hackett's economically moderate and socially libertarian views, especially his opposition to gun control. Major Hackett's pro-Second Amendment views work in his favor because pro-gun voters often are single-issue voters. Against Senator DeWine, Major Hackett would have an advantage with pro-gun voters as a result of his support for gun rights and the senator's opposition to a bill that would shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits. We Democrats could do a lot worse than to nominate an affable, moderate, gun-toting war veteran with a nationwide fundraising base.

Rep. Kaptur is extremely popular in her Toledo-based district,which she has represented for nearly 24 years. She gained some national attention in the early 1990's when she was one of the leaders in the fight against NAFTA. While I don't always agree with Rep. Kaptur's views on international trade, they could resonate in a state that has been slow to recover from the most recent recession. I'd be surprised if Rep. Kaptur leaves a safe congressional seat for an uncertain statewide bid, but if she does, she could be formidable.

Against Senator DeWine, either Major Hackett or Rep. Kaptur would be an underdog, but I wouldn't count either of them out. Against Rep. McEwen, I think either of them would be a clear favorite to pick up the seat. Run, Bob, run!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Senate Bill 9 Update

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Ohio House of Representatives has sent Senate Bill 9, the so-called Ohio "Patriot" Act back to committee.

At Szollosi Toledo, Councilman Frank Szollosi (D-Toledo) speaks out against Senate Bill 9, pointing to this anti-S.B. 9 editorial in The Blade.

If you have not yet asked your state representative to vote against Senate Bill 9, there's still time. You can find your state representative here. The ACLU of Ohio has more information, including a sample letter, talking points, and the most recent version of the bill.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Act Now to Fix the USA "Patriot" Act

A conference committee will meet soon to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the renewal of the USA "Patriot" Act. U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) is on the conference committee. The Senate version, which would incorporate checks and balances into Sections 213 and 215 of the act, is much better than the House version, which would expand government powers and make the act permanent.

Please contact Senator DeWine as soon as possible with the following message:

“As your constituent, I urge you to support Senator Specter’s USA PATRIOT Act renewal bill to restore important checks and balances and resist any attempts to authorize unchecked administrative searches.”
(from the ACLU of Ohio)

Contact information for Senator DeWine can be found through his website. The ACLU of Ohio has more information about the "Patriot" Act renewal, including a sample letter.

For those of you who don't live in Ohio, the following senators are also on the conference committee:
Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Senator John Kyl (R- Arizona)
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
Senator Pat Roberts (R- Kansas)
Sneator Pat Leahy(D-Vermont)
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia)
Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan)

If your senator is on the list, please contact him as soon as possible with the same message.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

"Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

Just last weekend, I got into an argument with a friend about gun control. My friend agreed with me that governments shouldn't ban guns, but couldn't understand my opposition to registration of firearms. I said that my problem with gun registration is that it would let the government know exactly who owns guns, and which guns they own. This would make a gun ban easier to implement. My friend said that my concerns were ridiculous; no government in America would ever try to implement an outright ban on private firearms.

Well, the City of New Orleans just did. As the New York Times reported on Friday,

Mr. [P. Edwin] Compass [III], the police superintendent, said that after a week of near anarchy in the city, no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

Gun registration would be a valuable tool for tyrants like Mr. Compass.

At Reason, Dave Kopel explains why the New Orleans gun ban is illegal under Louisiana law:
Louisiana statutory law does allow some restrictions on firearms during extraordinary conditions. One statute says that after the Governor proclaims a state of emergency (as Governor Blanco has done), "the chief law enforcement officer of the political subdivision affected by the proclamation may...promulgate orders...regulating and controlling the possession, storage, display, sale, transport and use of firearms, other dangerous weapons and ammunition." But the statute does not, and could not, supersede the Louisiana Constitution, which declares that "The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person."

(entire article here, link via Hit and Run)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

We're from the Government and We're Here to Help.

These sickening accounts from New Orleans of voluntary mutual aid being thwarted by police thuggery are almost enough to turn me into an anarchist.

From the Associated Press:

In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming "tribes" and dividing up the labor. As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property. In a bar, a bartender put near-perfect stitches into the torn ear of a robbery victim.

While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods - humanity.

Or at least until the cops came and screwed things up. The article goes on to state:

Police came through commandeering drivable vehicles and siphoning gas. Officials took over a hotel and ejected the guests.

An officer pumped his shotgun at a group trying to return to their hotel on Chartres Street.

"This is our block," he said, pointing the gun down a side street. "Go that way."

(entire article here, link via Wolfesblog)

Here are a couple of excerpts from a firsthand account of survivors Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky:

On Day 2, there were approximately 500 of us left in the hotels in the French Quarter. We were a mix of foreign tourists, conference attendees like ourselves, and locals who had checked into hotels for safety and shelter from Katrina. Some of us had cell phone contact with family and friends outside of New Orleans. We were repeatedly told that all sorts of resources including the National Guard and scores of buses were pouring in to the City. The buses and the other resources must have been invisible because none of us had seen them.

We decided we had to save ourselves. So we pooled our money and came up with $25,000 to have ten buses come and take us out of the City. Those who did not have the requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who did have extra money. We waited for 48 hours for the buses, spending the last 12 hours standing outside, sharing the limited water, food, and clothes we had.

We created a priority boarding area for the sick, elderly and new born babies. We waited late into the night for the "imminent" arrival of the buses. The buses never arrived. We later learned that the minute the arrived to the City limits, they were commandeered by the military.

Later on:

Flush with the necessities, we offered food and water to passing families and individuals. Many decided to stay and join us. Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

From a woman with a battery powered radio we learned that the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on their way into the City. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway? The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. "Taking care of us" had an ominous tone to it.

Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct.

Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway". A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of "victims" they saw "mob" or "riot". We felt safety in numbers. Our "we must stay together" was impossible because the agencies would force us into small atomized groups.

(entire article here, link via Freeman, Libertarian Critter)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Relief

At Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds has a long list of agencies that are providing help to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you haven't already done so, please pick one or two of them and give what you can.