A Nation of Laws

The United States is a nation of laws, a lot of laws:

About 40,000 state laws taking effect at the start of the new year will change rules about getting abortions in New Hampshire, learning about gays and lesbians in California, getting jobs in Alabama and even driving golf carts in Georgia.

Several federal rules change with the new year, too, including a Social Security increase amounting to $450 a year for the average recipients and stiff fines up to $2,700 per offense for truckers and bus drivers caught using hand-held cellphones while driving.

40,000 new state laws taking effect this year? The “ignorance of the laws isn’t an excuse” excuse is no longer valid. Nobody can possibly hope to know 40,000 laws, and those are only the new ones on the books this year.

Obama is the Touch of Death for Companies

Sua Eccellenza Barack Obama, Capo del Governo, Duce del Fascismo e Fondatore dell’Impero has some very powerful abilities. He can just mention a company during his State of the Union address causing them to instantly go bankrupt:

Andrew Restuccia of The Hill is reporting that Ener1, a battery company that President Obama referenced in his State of The Union Speech on Tuesday as an example of successful energy investments, has just filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

That’s just two days after the speech.

I believe it’s obvious for all to see that Obama’s words are the touch of death for any company. First Solyndra and now Ener1, I wonder what that next company Obama will point to as a successful investment only to see it go into bankruptcy shortly afterwards. Does this power extent to government agencies? If so I have a list of government agencies for Obama to mention.

Jailbreaking to Become a Criminal Act Again

All legislation creates new crimes where none existed before. Some of these new crimes are absolutely moronic such as the ones created by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which made it illegal to circumvent copyright protection. A couple of years ago the Copyright Office made an exemption to the DMCA for jailbreaking devices but the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is warning us that the exemption is about to expire:

The Problem – Smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles are powerful computers with lots of untapped potential. Yet many of these devices are set up to run only software that’s been approved by the manufacturer. Modifying a device to run independent software – known as jailbreaking – is important to programmers, enthusiasts, and users. But jailbreaking creates legal uncertainty. Some device manufacturers claim that jailbreaking violates Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which carries stiff penalties.

The Solution – EFF is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to declare that jailbreaking does not violate the DMCA, and we need your help. In 2010, the Copyright Office said jailbreaking smartphones doesn’t violate the DMCA. This year, we’re asking them to renew that exemption (otherwise it will expire) and expand it to cover tablets. We’re also asking for a new exemption to allow jailbreaking of video game consoles.

Personally I don’t give a shit what Apple or any other company things; if I purchase a device it is mine and I will do with it as I damn well please. On the other hand it would be nice not having the threat of prison looming over my head because I decided to modify my device.

Starbucks Appreciation Day

In response to an anti-gunner protest of Starbucks scheduled for February 14th the gun community is declaring that day Starbucks Appreciation Day.

Starbucks has publicly declared that they will not ban guns on their premisses, instead relying on state laws. The threw the anti-gunners into a tizzy because they were trying to get Starbucks to ban the carry of firearms at their establishments.

We should be supporting companies who are willing to stand up for our rights. On February 14th stop by your local Starbucks, pick up some coffee, and make sure you let the employees working there know that you’re happy about Starbucks’s policy of supporting your right to bear arms. While the 10 or so anti-gunners boycott Starbucks we gun owners, who measure in the millions, can create a surge in profits.

Chalk Another One Up to Private Intervention

Those clamoring for more government oversight of the environment, food, drugs, and everything else seem to entirely miss the fact that the government is never actually good at overseeing anything. On the other hand private individuals are far more likely to actually investigate or even stumble upon violations of property rights. An amateur model airplane pilot recently stumbled across a meat packing plant dumping untold amounts of waste into a local river:

A tip from an anonymous amateur unmanned-aerial-vehicle pilot is what led Texas authorities to open a major criminal investigation into the waste practices of a Dallas meat packing plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency, The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and Texas Parks and Wildlife are investigating whether a Dallas meat packing plant was sending its wastewater to a local river after images from an amateur UAV pilot showed a river behind the plant “full of blood.” The Columbia Meat packing plant sits along a creek that runs into the Trinity River.

The contamination was noticed by the operator after reviewing images he’d taken of the Trinity River while flying a homemade UAV, according to Small Unmanned Aerial Systems News (sUAS), a Web site that tracks unmanned vehicle-related news.

You have to love how the news is now referring to model airplanes as unmanned aerial vehicles. Back to the point though you’ll notice that even though the government supposedly inspects meat packing plants they somehow managed to miss the massive amount of waster being dumped into the nearby river.

Of course the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going to investigate and likely fine the plant but I doubt those living along that river, people who had their property contaminated, will be compensated in any way. Hell we may find out that the meat packing plant was given one of those exemption from environmental laws that the EPA is so fond of handing out.

FBI Ramping Up Surveillance of Social Media

Do you use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter? If so you should know that the Stasi is watching your every post:

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has quietly released details of plans to continuously monitor the global output of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, offering a rare glimpse into an activity that the FBI and other government agencies are reluctant to discuss publicly. The plans show that the bureau believes it can use information pulled from social media sites to better respond to crises, and maybe even to foresee them.

The information comes from a document released on 19 January looking for companies who might want to build a monitoring system for the FBI. It spells out what the bureau wants from such a system and invites potential contractors to reply by 10 February.

The bureau’s wish list calls for the system to be able to automatically search “publicly available” material from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for keywords relating to terrorism, surveillance operations, online crime and other FBI missions. Agents would be alerted if the searches produce evidence of “breaking events, incidents, and emerging threats”.

Of course what information is “publicly available” to you and “publicly available” to the government are entirely different. It’s a well known fact that many, if not most, popular Internet sites share their information with the state. Be careful what you post online because there is no such thing as private data.

Making Everybody a Felon

I’ve spoken out against the restriction that disallows felons from owning firearms many times. My reasoning is simple, most felonies aren’t even violent crimes so why should simply being found guilty of a felony be criteria for losing a supposed right?

By prohibiting all felons from owning firearms the state has created an effective means of enacting backdoor gun control. If the state can’t get the laws it wants passed it can just turn everything into a felony and disarm the populace that way. Perhaps this is the thought process being used by New York as they try to make cheating on SATs a felony:

New York would make felonies out of cheating on the SAT college entrance test under a bill released Tuesday as part of a legislative investigation into a scandal in an affluent New York City suburb.

The measure proposed by Sen. Kenneth LaValle of Suffolk County would create new felonies of facilitation of education testing fraud and of scheming to defraud educational testing and create a misdemeanor of forgery of a test. The felonies would apply to a test taker who impersonates someone else for pay.

The police state is best able to control those who are criminals and if you make everybody a criminal, well, you get the picture.

Newt Gingrich Will Ensure We Win the War

I’m sure you’ve heard about Newt Gingrich’s promise to have colonies established on the moon by 2020 if he’s elected president:

Newt Gingrich is promising to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2020 if he’s elected president.

Many people are just writing this off as kooky but they don’t understand the need. Newt wants to ensure we have what is necessary to fight the moon Nazis:

Newt Gingrich is the only candidate that will protect you and me from the return of the Third Reich.

How About an Unbiased Third Party Review

Some time back an investigation was opened to determine if the Chevrolet Volt had a propensity to light ablaze after an automobile accident. The government delayed any warning from going out to consumers and have now reported that the Volt poses no risk:

Chevrolet’s electric-powered Volt has been cleared by US federal safety investigators, with the plug-in car deemed to present no more significant fire risk than its gasoline-powered counterparts, and leaving Chevvy with the unenviable task of re-marketing the vehicle. “No discernible defect trend exists” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said of the Volt, going on to highlight General Motors’ improvements to the structure of the car and the battery cooling systems. The investigation – perhaps uncomfortably public for GM – will educate new NHTSA guidelines on dealing with electric car safety.

Now that the government has given their money receiving cronies the all clear how about an investigation performed by a third-party that doesn’t have a conflict of interest? I’m sorry but I’m far more willing to trust a private entity like Consumer Reports (whom I don’t trust very much) than I am the federal government who has a stake in General Motors. Trusting the federal government to investigate the Volt is like asking Bernard Madoff to investigate investment fraud.