Tuesday Morning News Roundup 11-27-2012

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Most Americans are burned out on Presidential politics for now, but media are floating the idea of yet another Bush vying for the White House in 2016.
  • If Virginia is an indicator, crime rates throughout the Nation should begin to drop as gun sales throughout the country hit record highs.
  • President Barack Obama keeps saying the war in Afghanistan will come to an end in 2014. Tell that to the 10,000 troops that will remain in the country well past that date.
  • Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking the most state secrets in U.S. history, will speak publically this week for the first time since the Federal government locked him up in 2010.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

White House Says GOP Will Ruin Christmas

A new report from the White House says that members of the GOP in Congress will play the part of the Grinch for the Nation’s retailers this Christmas unless the lawmakers get on board with President Barack Obama’s fiscal plan.

A White House report released yesterday reads:

The National Retail Federation is forecasting that holiday sales will grow 4.1 percent this year … [but] if Congress does not act on the President’s plan to extend tax cuts for the middle-class, it will be risking one of the key contributors to growth and jobs in our economy at the most important time of the year for retail stores.

The holiday season is no time to threaten middle-class pocketbooks.

The report, titled “The Middle-Class Tax Cuts’ Impact On Consumer Spending & Retailers,” is aimed at increasing pressure on Congressional Republicans to back off of promises not to raise taxes on Americans in higher income brackets.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Monday that four noteworthy Republican lawmakers had broken with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist in recent days. Senators Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Representative Peter King (N.Y.) all said they will not be bound by Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge as Congress moves toward the looming fiscal cliff battle.

Alabama Legislator Wants Guns In The Workplace

An Alabama legislator is pushing previously proposed legislation that would make it legal for employees to carry and store handguns at work for protection.

State Senator Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) said his bill will increase the safety of Alabamians working at private businesses as well as when they’re traveling to and from work.

The bill, which has failed in the past despite support from the National Rifle Association, aims to prevent employers from barring their employees from transporting and storing guns during work hours on company property. It would also mandate that those who opt to bring a firearm to work keep it locked away and out of sight. The bill doesn’t provide for guns to be allowed on school campuses or anywhere else where they are already prohibited by Federal law.

According to The Montgomery Advertiser, the Business Council of Alabama has opposed the measure.

The group’s president, Bill Canary, said in an interview: “At a time when the business community in all sectors should be focused on creating jobs, we instead are dealing with this unnecessary legislation which erodes the constitutional property rights of businesses. Alabama businesses are already struggling with burdensome regulations that impact productivity and increase costs.”

Some supporters of the measure, however, have pointed out dismal crime statistics in Birmingham (the State’s largest city) as an example of why the bill could benefit Alabamians. In 2011, there were 54 murders, 182 cases of rape, 1,011 robberies and 1,916 aggravated assaults recorded in the city, earning it No. 7 among the Nation’s top 25 most dangerous cities. About 15 violent crimes took place per 1,000 Birmingham residents that year.

Utah Man Who Shot SWAT Agent Can’t Claim Home Defense

A Utah man who alleges he killed a police officer serving a “knock and announce” warrant because he thought armed assailants had kicked in his door to rob him will likely not be able to use a “defense of habitation,” legal experts say.

Mathew David Stewart is on trial for a gun battle that erupted in his home during a SWAT raid conducted by a local police “strike force.” According to reports from The Salt Lake Tribune, the raid resulted after Stewart’s ex-girlfriend called a local “tip-a-cop” hotline to report that the man had a marijuana-growing operation in his basement. It is reported that she “could not recall” whether she also told the officer that Stewart was against government intrusion and “if the police ever came to his house he would go out shooting.”

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

Agents testified that they went to Stewart’s home at around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 4 and announced themselves before breaking through the door and entering. The agents testified they were all wearing some sort of police identifier, whether it was a jacket with the word “police” written in bold, a bulletproof vest with “police” printed on it, or a fleece vest with police insignia embroidered on the chest.

Stewart told the paper, however, that he believed he was the victim of a home invasion. “When you’re convinced that you are getting robbed and most likely killed by a group of armed men, your instincts kick in,” he said.

His defense attorneys have also questioned whether the agents properly identified themselves as police and were easily recognizable as agents of the State because many of them wear long hair and beards.

Stewart allegedly told an investigator that he had armed himself when he heard someone enter his home. He allegedly said he pointed his gun around the corner of his bedroom hallway, at which point he was met with gunfire. The man alleges that he then fired the weapon.

The SWAT team members, however, allege that Stewart fired first. He remains charged with aggravated murder, seven first-degree felony counts of attempted aggravated murder and one second-degree felony count related to alleged marijuana cultivation stemming from the reported finding of 16 plants and a bag of marijuana in his basement.

Read more about the case here and here.

Monday Morning News Roundup 11-26-2012

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Cyberspying is becoming the modus operandi for America’s vast law enforcement apparatus, but it isn’t as high tech a process as one might think. The FBI has taken to trolling Twitter for tips about insider trading and securities fraud.
  • The Supreme Court has cleared the way for challenges to President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare plan in the case of Liberty University v. Geithner. The suit challenges the individual and employer mandates to have insurance coverage.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Slate Writer Takes Lefty Critics Of Rubio Creationist Remarks To Task

In a recent column, the left-leaning Slate pointed out the hypocrisy of liberal attacks against Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio for his assertion in a magazine interview that he really wasn’t sure how old the planet was.

The article reads:

By now you’ve heard the outrageous quote from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on his doubts about the origins of planet Earth. When asked to give its age, he replied: “I’m not a scientist, man. … Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

He’s not a scientist—no, indeed—and his comments have brought on a slew of finger wags and face-palms from the godless left. The answer was “so confused and error-riddled,” wrote Phil Plait in Slate, “it’s difficult to know where to start.” We all should understand the age of Earth is not a matter of opinion, but a scientific fact: Our planet formed 4.54 billion years ago. If Rubio suggested otherwise, it’s because he’s uninformed or stupid.

But unlike many of Rubio’s other attackers from the left, the author of the article, Slate’s Daniel Engber, points out another scientifically and religiously willfully ignorant commenter on the subject of Earth’s origins.

Here’s how President Barack Obama answered a question about whether he believed God created the world in six days at a 2008 speaking engagement:

I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

And here’s Rubio’s answer from the December 2012 edition of GQ regarding how old he believes the Earth to be:

I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

With looming financial calamity, global war only a button away at any given time and a near constant assault by the Federal government against American civil liberties, should the populace really care at all about how either of these guys believe we got here in the first place?

Hat Tip: Slate

Scientific Researchers Decry Sequestration

Science Works For U.S., an advocacy group supporting university researchers across the Nation, believes that the looming budget sequester could have a devastating impact on American scientific research.

The sequestration cuts that are scheduled to take effect in January would slice the Federal government’s research budget — which makes up only about 2 percent of the budget as a whole — by $12 billion in 2013 and $60 billion through 2016.

The group argues that allowing automatic and across-the-board spending cuts to American scientific research is going to lead to the Nation falling behind other global competitors in areas like technology, health and agriculture.

“There is a great deal at stake here,” said Steven J. Fluharty, senior vice provost for research at the University of Pennsylvania. “In the near term, we’re talking about job loss. We’re talking about dramatically reducing the rate of discovery and innovation in this country, which has traditionally been the lifeblood of our economy. In the longer term, there is no doubt that we will impact on the very discoveries that will improve our ability to both treat and ultimately to prevent diseases.”

According to Science Works for U.S., Federal funding for research is now at the lowest level (in real dollars) in the past decade and further cuts will hurt research without creating a real deficit solution.

Bozo Cop Booted For Ticketing Tinkling Toddler

When it comes to bureaucratic insanity versus common sense in modern America, it seems that bureaucratic insanity usually wins. But in the case of a cop who recently wrote a $2,500 ticket to the mother of a 3-year-old who was urinating outdoors, it looks like common sense has prevailed.

Officer Ken Qualls of Piedmont, Okla., wrote Ashley Warden a $2,500 ticket for public urination when he spotted her 3-year-old son Dillan put his still-developing potty training skills to use by unzipping and beginning to relive himself in his front yard on Nov. 6.

According to NewsOK, the resulting public backlash stemming from the officer’s lack of discretion in ticketing the youngster’s mother has prompted the local city council to relieve Qualls of his duty. Piedmont City Council members reported receiving emails about the ticket from as far away as Canada, England and Australia.

Local Police Chief Alex Oblein told NewsOK that the ticket was written to the mother initially for public urination, but that the complaint was later amended to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He agreed that the citation was inappropriate for the situation.

Qualls is expected to appeal the city’s decision.

Google Warns Of U.N. Internet Takeover

Internet behemoth Google is warning its users that an upcoming United Nations conference concerning the Web poses significant threats to a “free and open Internet.”

Government representatives from U.N. member nations are set to meet in December to create a new information and communications treaty which, Google says, could be used to implement global government controls over the Internet.

From the Google “Take Action” website:

There is a growing backlash on Internet freedom. Forty-two countries filter and censor content. In just the last two years, governments have enacted 19 new laws threatening online free expression.

Some of these governments are trying to use a closed-door meeting in December to regulate the Internet.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is bringing together regulators from around the world to re-negotiate a decades-old communications treaty.

Proposed changes to the treaty could increase censorship and threaten innovation.

Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even allow them to cut off Internet access.

Other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information — particularly in emerging markets.

The Internet company argues that a closed-door U.N. conference is the inappropriate place to rework a treaty that would affect virtually all Internet users. Furthermore, the company says that the billions of people throughout the world who use the Internet daily and the experts who build and maintain it must have a larger voice than a handful of government bureaucrats.

You can sign a petition disavowing the U.N. meeting here.

Judge: Businesses Must Obey Obama Mandates

A Federal judge rejected San Francisco-based Hobby Lobby’s request to block part of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare plan that would require the arts and crafts chain to provide insurance coverage for morning-after and week-after birth control pills to employees.

A 28-page ruling handed down in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., vs. Sebelius by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton rejects claims from Hobby Lobby and its sister company Mardel Inc. that the healthcare mandate violates the owners’ 1st Amendment rights as well as rights guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,” the ruling said.

Hobby Lobby CEO and founder David Green says that his family’s religious beliefs are being persecuted by the government mandate.

“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” he said. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”

The companies’ legal representatives, however, say they are confident that they will win an appeal in the case.

“Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs,” Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement.