Friday, June 28, 2013

Magpul's Final Act of Defiance

Happy Friday.

Back in March, when all the anti-gun hysteria was at a fever pitch, Colorado passed a law (PDF) banning the possession of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. The law does have a grandfather clause that allows anyone who has such magazines to keep them. However, no new magazines with more than a 15 round capacity will be allowed after July 1.

It also just so happens that one of the larger firearm accessories manufacturers in the country is based in Colorado. They're leaving. Way to create a business-friendly environment, Colorado.

Coming soon to a state other than Colorado.
Anyway, that's not my point. This new magazine ban is about to go into effect. Specifically, it goes into effect on July 1, 2013, so new magazines with more than a 15 round capacity are about to become unavailable to residents of Colorado. What is Magpul about to do (before they relocate to another state)?

Magpul plans to give away 1,500 30-round ammunition magazines in Colorado on Saturday, just a couple days before the ban goes into effect. The magazines will be given away at a “Freedom Festival” on a first-come first-served basis. The event will be held at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo., from 4-8 p.m., Magpul announced on its official Facebook page.

A number of gun control measures will go into effect July 1, including the magazine ban and expansive universal background checks. However, the law is not retroactive and allows gun owners to keep soon-to-be illegal high-capacity magazines if they were purchased legally before July 1. In other words, every gun owner who gets a free 30-round magazine from Magpul is covered.
I love it. Magpul is leaving, taking their jobs elsewhere, and on the way out, they're sticking a finger in the eye of all the Colorado ninnies who think banning magazines is going to accomplish anything productive.

I just have one question for the anti-gun folks in Colorado: Do you like apples?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let's Talk About Abortion

If you haven't noticed, Texas does things a little differently than other states. I referenced this in yesterday's humorous post. On a more serious note, Texas has also made the news recently with a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. This bill was opposed by Texas Democrats, and notably, by a Texas Senator named Wendy Davis, who sparked a #StandWithWendy following on Twitter last night with her filibuster of the bill.

I know that people on both sides are very passionate about abortion, and that many people are very uncomfortable discussing the issue at all. It's not something dusty and dry like economic theory. We're not talking about tariffs and international trade. It's an intensely personal and moral issue that goes to the core of our being.

So, having said all that, I'm going to tee it up for discussion here, and if nothing else, put my thoughts out there on the Texas Bill and a 20 week rule. This is the internet - strong opinions come with the territory.

First of all, this is a tough world and people have to make tough choices at times, but what we are talking about here - an abortion after 20 weeks - is terminating a viable infant. I think there is a certain reasonable ground in which abortions can be performed, but that time is not very long. For instance, one of the big questions that are put to pro-life folks is What about the case of a woman who becomes pregnant through rape? Let's talk about that:

First, I'm fine with exceptions. I don't fall into either camp of: (a) abortions for all women, all the time, right up until the baby is born or (b) no abortions, ever. This issue isn't one that lends itself to either one of those solutions. So let's talk about a common exception that gets brought up: rape.

In the case of a woman who become pregnant through rape, I don't think that she is going to wait twenty weeks to make a decision about whether or not she wants an abortion. Why on earth would she wait that long? My guess is that she would make the decision as soon as she realized that she was pregnant, not four months later. No fact is going to change between week 4 and week 20. Basically, I think it's such an odd hypothetical as to not really merit much consideration. It's just a little too hypothetical and out of touch with reality for me. If you're raped, and get pregnant: have an abortion before week 20. Why?

For me, when I think of a 20 week old, I naturally think of what my child was like at 20 weeks. He had developed a head, lungs, all of his limbs, he had developed his sex, and distinct chambers of his heart. He was moving around. That's what you have at 20 weeks. It's not theoretical - it's a child. At 20 weeks, he was my child.

To me, the best evidence of how awful late-term abortion is the fog of language that we use to describe it. It's almost entirely euphemisms that minimize the act. To specifically and accurately describe what actually happens in a late term abortion is to condemn it.

Women have rights to control their body. But again, you can't take everything to the extreme. For instance, my rights end when I punch you in the face. I can't do that. With abortion, it's the same principle. People who advocate for late-term abortion are advocating destroying a viable human being. If your response to that is that you value the rights of a mother more than the rights of a late-term infant, my guess is that you're not a parent.

Anyway, I'm probably going to make some people mad with this post, but that's not my intention. I'm just putting my thoughts out there to get people thinking. By the way, random fact: the hard-right country of France has a 12 week window for abortions. So Texas is proposing to give women an addition 8 weeks longer than France does.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Things You See in Texas

I went to San Antonio, TX a few weeks ago. This is the kind of stuff you see down there. For realz.

Enjoy your stay.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Portion of the VRA

SCOTUS has just declared part of the VRA unconstitutional. Full text of the opinion is here (PDF). Here's the meat of the decision (in my humble opinion):
The Fifteenth Amendment commands that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race or color, and it gives Congress the power to enforce that command. The Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future. See Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U. S. 495, 512 (2000) (“Consistent with the design of the Constitution, the [Fifteenth] Amendment is cast in fundamental terms, terms transcending the particular controversy which was the immediate impetus for its enactment.”). To serve that purpose, Congress—if it is to divide the States—must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions. It cannot rely simply on the past. We made that clear in Northwest Austin, and we make it clear again today.
Striking down an Act of Congress “is the gravest and most delicate duty that this Court is called on to perform.” Blodgett v. Holden, 275 U. S. 142, 148 (1927) (Holmes, J., concurring). We do not do so lightly. That is why, in 2009, we took care to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act when asked to do so, and instead resolved the case then before us on statutory grounds. But in issuing that decision, we expressed our broader concerns about the constitutionality of the Act. Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare §4(b) unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.
Just counting noses, Chief Justice Roberts, wrote this opinion, joined by Thomas, Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy. Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissent, which was joined by Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. So Kennedy is the swing vote yet again. History doesn't always repeat itself, but I'm told that it rhymes.

I think this means that until Congress updates the coverage formula, the preclearance requirement is void. Accordingly, if Congress wants to have a functioning VRA, they're going to have to update their numbers. Don't hold your breath for that to happen.

On a practical level, if you are a state that would be subject to the preclearance requirement of the VRA (like South Carolina) now would be the time to pass laws about voting - you don't have to ask permission from the Federal government. For instance, SC could have waited a little bit on the Voter ID law, and we wouldn't have had to deal with the feds poking their nose into it.

Global Warming In a Few Graphs

President Obama is going to give a speech today in which he will announce his intention to sidestep Congress and start enacting policies to combat global warming, oops I mean climate change. These policies will include limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Don't expect any specifics from the President though. He's just going to direct them to limit the carbon dioxide emissions.

Since our President is doing all this in an effort to combat global warming, oops I mean climate change, here are some graphs showing how the climate has been over the last few years. These aren't models with any assumptions - they're just factual graphs showing historical data. Check them all out, but here's my favorite graph:

The red line is the model that all this global warming hysteria is based on. That's what is being predicted. The green and blue lines reflect what is actually happening. Which would be nothing.

Which one of these is not like the other?

At some point the people who made the model need to look out the window and take note of what is actually going on around them in reality. I guess the environmentalists response to all this is: Shut up, they explained! The science is settled!

Monday, June 24, 2013

SC Supreme Court Race for Chief Justice

Chief Justice Jean Toal will have some competition for the top judicial post in South Carolina. The State newspaper is reporting that Associate Justice Costa Pleicones will toss his hat in the ring and run against Justice Toal.

I don't really have a dog in the race, since I'm just a humble little lawyer around these parts. I had heard that the Chief Justice was considering not running again, so I guess you can't believe everything you hear.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out, though.

EPA Sweeps Bogus Fracking Claims Under the Rug

In 2011, the EPA started making a big deal about a process called "fracking" which allowed gas and oil companies to extract more gas and oil from the ground than ever before. The claim was that fracking contaminated ground water, and should be immediately stopped.

Since 2011, the EPA has been unable to actually prove that claim's a bogus claim. So, you would think that the EPA would issue a report saying that they have studied the issues and that they've found no connection.

At the time, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead called the study "scientifically questionable," an opinion buttressed by the facts and the EPA's announcement on Thursday that it will not produce a final report or have outside experts review its claims of environmental harm. It told its story two years ago and is sticking to it. The story is bogus.
So instead of just admitting the facts and getting things cleared up, the EPA has decided to just end the investigation.

No final report, no peer-review, no nothing. The EPA is doing this because the report would directly and conclusively show that fracking has no effects on groundwater. And they can't have that kind of truth getting out there. They would have to admit being wrong. Our government can't admit facts.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Happy Hour: 22 Reasons to Drink More Whiskey

Happy Friday. As if you needed a reason...

George Will Utterly Destroys Obama

You know George Will, right? He's that brainy little guy with the bow tie who really likes baseball. He seems like a harmless, geeky kind of guy who wouldn't be very dangerous, right?

Actually no. In his latest piece, he opens up a Costco-sized can of Whoopass on President Obama.
Obama’s vanity is a wonder of the world that never loses its power to astonish, but really: Is everyone in his orbit too lost in raptures of admiration to warn him against delivering a speech soggy with banalities and bromides in a city that remembers John Kennedy’sIch bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall”? With German Chancellor Angela Merkel sitting nearby, Obama began his Berlin speech: “As I’ve said, Angela and I don’t exactly look like previous German and American leaders.” He has indeed said that, too, before, at least about himself. It was mildly amusing in Berlin in 2008, but hardly a Noel Coward-like witticism worth recycling.
Don't let the bow tie fool you, this man is armed and dangerous with his pen.

Dropping some knowledge on your ass

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stolen Valor: Cap'n Crunch

I don't know how many of you have been following the Cap'n Crunch story these days, but it's fairly controversial. Go read the whole thing, but here's what the US Navy has to say:
" 'You are correct that Cap'n Crunch appears to be wearing the rank of a U.S. Navy commander,' Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, a U.S. Navy spokeswoman, tells Foreign Policy. 'Oddly, our personnel records do not show a "Cap'n Crunch" who currently serves or has served in the Navy.' "
Apparently, he's wearing the rank of a commander (the stripes on his sleeves) but is claiming the rank of Captain. Next thing we find out, Count Chocula will actually be a Baron.

Who is this guy really? And why are his eyebrows on his hat?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Anti-Gun Woman Buys Gun - Gets No Training

Here's an interesting piece from an anti-gun woman who is conducting a weird sort of protest. She's open carrying a Glock around and is willfully ignorant of how to use it. I'm not really sure what her point is.
I told him I just bought a gun, had no clue how to use it. I asked him to make sure there were no bullets in the magazine or chamber. He took the magazine out and cleared the chamber. He assured me it was empty and showed me how to look. Then he told me how great the gun was and how he had one just like it. The cop thought I was an idiot and suggested I take a class. But up to that point I’d done nothing wrong, nothing illegal.
 Hey, there's no law against being stupid.

PROTIP from Permanent Press: If you don't even know how to check and see if your firearm is loaded or not - you should not be handling a gun, much less carrying it around with you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Gear: A Man's Pocketknife

In our modern, high-tech world of iPhones, you don't see too many guys carrying pocketknives anymore. One of my first pocket knives was the ol' Swiss Amy that carried me through many years of Cub and Boy Scouting, surviving trips to Scout camp and Philmont.

College at W&L often saw me without a knife, which was probably for the best from a public safety standpoint, but I did carry a cheap folding gerber knife during most of law school, which was most useful during a my 3L year for opening rejection letters to big law firms that I applied to. (Except for one large law firm that merely sent me a postcard with a rejection message that basically amounted to "LOL").

A few years ago, I upgraded from the folding Gerber to a folding Benchmade.

My current pocketknife
This knife goes most places with me (where I am allowed to carry it) and people are typically astounded when a situation calls for a knife (splicing some rope, peeling an apple, cutting a package open, etc.) and I produce a knife from my pocket as if by magic.

To me, a knife is an old, trusted friend that is always reliable and will be there when I need it. My knife isn't as pristine as the picture above, but (as with old books that you read over and over, or your favorite pants that have paint on them and a few rips) wear and tear is the evidence of love. It's still sharp, though.

Our grandfathers carried pocketknives and handkerchiefs almost everywhere, almost everyday. I know times are different, and your iPhone is now indispensable, but your iPhone can't open an oyster or slice a lime.

If you don't carry a pocketknife, I encourage you to try it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday News Roundup 6-14-13

Happy Friday.
  1. Howard's Rock has been vandalized. This is obviously an extremely juvenile act, and I hope whoever did this is caught and punished. It's fine to give opposing fans a good-natured taunt, but actually destroying property is stupid and cowardly. I put it in the same category as keying someone's car. It's not the act of a man.
  2. Mick Jagger is a Margaret Thatcher Fan. Not terribly surprising, given that it's widely known that he moved the Stones income out of Britain long ago to avoid the high taxes. He also works pretty damn hard. It's news only because most big celebrities are super-leftists.
  3. US Will Join Syrian War. I'm not sure about you, but arming the rebels who are linked with Al-Queda doesn't sound like a genius idea. The "No-Fly" zone is serious deal, and despite what anyone says, that's war. I'm not sure why we're doing this, as I don't see where our national interest is involved. Two groups who hate us are killing each other. I'm not really sure I even see a problem.
  4. South Carolina Moms Still Demanding Action on Guns. One of the interesting lines is that the piece claims there is a "gender gap" in gun regulation. Do women support stricter gun control than men? If so, why?
That's pretty much all I have. Enjoy your Father's Day weekend. This post brought to you by Father's Day, circa 1946.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guys: Upgrade Your Sandals to Boatshoes

With a little inspiration from The Shop Tart, I'm going to try and throw out some cool "guy stuff" in the world of clothing and equipment every once in awhile. Don't get your hopes up too much, as she sets a pretty high bar in the world of clothing and all things glamorous. I'm a simple man. But I'll give it a run anyway.

For my first installment, it's now June. That means summertime heat, and parties on boats and at the beach and lake. Even though most guys opt for sandals when they want to go casual, you can upgrade from the sandal to the boatshoe. There's nothing wrong with that old pair of Reefs that you have. However, sometimes you need to take it to the next level.

The boatshoe is a staple of the southern man's southern closet. You need at least one pair. First, the boatshoe has the advantage of actually being a shoe. People aren't going to actually see your feet, and some guys could probably benefit from not putting their feet on display. Also, being a shoe, you have a little added foot protection, which is kind of the point of footwear anyway. To that end, you can go with a classic Sperry Top-Sider, or you can upgrade to a Gold Cup A/O (that stands for "Authentic Original) Sperry, which brings a little swagger to your shoe.

All you single gentlemen listen up: If you roll up to your next outdoor/lake party in these, you're definitely going to get some "nice shoes" comments from the ladies. That's my tip for you.
Men's Gold Cup A/O Boat Shoe
Now, these Sperrys are $150.00, so we're talking about a pretty expensive casual shoe. But let's be honest here; this shoe is about a thousand time cooler than the Reefs that you have. Yes, even the ones with the bottle opener on the bottom. For you Clemson fans out there, this Sperry also comes in an orange version for you.

If you're not here for the southern men's clothing and gear, don't worry, the political commentary, guns, and sports aren't going away, this is just something new I'm adding to the mix.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Are You Born With a Tolerance for Spicy Food?

Interesting piece here. As a person who loves spicy food, I can definitely say that I've almost always had this predisposition. Even as a toddler, I liked A1 steak sauce on my baby food.

According to Bryant, Mexican parents give their children packets of sugar mixed with red chili powder, which they eat straight up, in order to build their spice tolerance. “We assume that continued exposure at a young age causes nerve endings to die off,” Bryant says.
I'm pretty sure that red chili powder is hotter than A1, but maybe it's not a bad idea to start Permanent Press, Jr. on some spicier food to get his tolerance up. We'll see what Mrs. Permanent Press has to say about that, though. Just a few weeks ago, he ate some salsa right out of a cup.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Win or Go Home (Battle of the Carolinas)

UPDATED: 6/10/13 AT 5:11PM 
As is becoming my tradition, I go to most of the regular season games for the Carolina Gamecock baseball team, and I end up taking my vacation the first week of June, which means I miss the Regional and Super-Regionals. Fortunately, college baseball is starting to get more airtime on ESPN, Satellite Radio, and other national media which means I don't have to miss the action.

If you're looking for dramatic, hard-fought baseball games, the NCAA Baseball Tournament a/k/a the College World Series is the place to go. Even the lead up games (the Regionals and Super-Regionals) are exciting. Case in point: Game 3 of the South Carolina vs. North Carolina. Both teams have great winning traditions, and both teams are in a position tonight where they win (and go to Omaha) or they lose - and go home.

You can catch the action tonight on ESPN 2 at 7:00PM. UPDATE: The game has now been postponed until Tuesday.

Monday, June 3, 2013

San Antonio Vacation

The loyal readers may have noticed that I haven't had a recent entry. That's because I've been traveling down to San Antonio, Texas for vacation. Coincidentally, San Antonio is where I was born. Specifically, at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Yeah, there's a Lone Star on my birth certificate, and I was raised in South Carolina. So that kind of explains me. Basically, I hate to be to be told what to do, but I don't give up on things - especially if it's a lost cause. Not a bad trait in a lawyer.

Anyway, I've been taking time seeing the Alamo in detail and enjoying the plethora of breweries in the San Antonio area. There is a huge contingent of German immigrants who brought beer with them, so I'm enjoying a nice selection of local Texas-German beer along with an (occasional) margarita.

If you didn't know, Col. William Travis (of the Alamo) was a South Carolina boy. Here's his famous letter from the 1836 siege:

Commandancy of the The Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836
To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World—
Fellow Citizens & compatriots—
     I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat.  Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.  If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.
William Barrett Travis.
Lt.  Col. comdt.
P. S.  The Lord is on our side — When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn — We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves. -Travis

I got to see David (Davy) Crockett's rifles, Bowie's knives, and Travis' swords. What an amazing place. One of the most interesting monuments was the monument given by the Japanese before WWII. It's an amazing epic poem that a Japanese history scholar put together to honor the the Alamo. When you think of the Japanese culture of how surrender is dishonorable and how they preferred death over surrender, the Alamo is a classic Japanese battle where the Alamo defenders chose to die against overwhelming odds.

Also, I got to see this flag:
This is the flag that began the Texas war of independence.