Archive for August, 2011

Child Porn Bill Cloaks Fed Data Grab

While the world’s attention was focused for weeks on whether the Congress would extend the debt ceiling, some in that body were busy finding new ways to control the internet. The vehicle they chose for this latest attack on internet privacy is cloaked in the camouflage often favored by congressional nannies – protecting the children.

The legislation is the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act,” and is being led by House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

The bill passed the Judiciary Committee July 28th on a 19 to 10 vote. Whether opposition to this privacy-invasive legislation, led by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), will be sufficient to prevent its being fast-tracked for a vote of the full House this month, is uncertain. Its mere title, of course, makes it difficult for members to oppose it.

The problem with the legislation is that it sweeps far more broadly than …

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Sagging Pants Turn Georgia Towns Into Fashion Police

Fashion fads have come and gone, causing dismay in each generation of parents. In the past, students had the hem of skirts measured from their knee, later students were sent home for short-shorts or inappropriate t-shirt slogans, yet none were ever considered “criminals.”

In the last few years, cities around the country have been dealing with the perceived “epidemic” of teens and young adults that wear their pants below the hips, low enough to show their underwear.

The trend has its roots in the prison system, but has spread into the so-called “hip-hop” culture and, as usual, impressionable kids have picked up on what their favorite artists are doing and are imitating it. Unfortunately, the reaction to this perceived problem is elected officials turning themselves into the fashion police by criminalizing dress.

The City of Hampton, a small town in South Metro Atlanta, recently received attention after passing a ban on “sagging pants.” The reason is behind …

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Debt-Ceiling Deal is Rotten Deal for Taxpayers

During a caucus meeting with his fellow Republicans on the proposed TARP bailout in September 2008, then-House Minority John Boehner explained the huge expenditure was a “crap sandwich”; but explained he was going to vote for it anyway.

The sort of panic and pressure that came with the vote on TARP often causes members of Congress to make votes they ultimately regret. And earlier this very week, the White House and congressional leaders from both parties cooked up another dish worthy of the label with which Boehner branded TARP.

This bipartisan debt deal is being hailed by supporters as bringing significant spending “cuts” to Washington’s massively bloated budget. Unfortunately for taxpayers, it does not do so. What congressional leaders have given the country is a budgetary sleight-of-hand that might very well land them behind bars if they were in the private sector; however, in Congress this is what passes for serious public policy.

The deal places caps on …

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Botched ATF Gun Operation Turned Tragic

The 2009 undercover operation, dubbed “Fast and Furious” conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), was so badly botched that both Congress and the Administration must take serious steps to insure such a tragedy never again occurs. Thus far, no one seems prepared to seriously address the problem.

The operation was not unlike other investigations conducted by ATF with the cooperation of FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) retailers, designed to stem the flow of weapons into Mexico. However, instead of immediately arresting suspected straw purchasers, ATF allowed them to walk across the border hoping they would lead agents to cartel kingpins.

This strategy so concerned a number of ATF agents, that they took the unusual step of raising objections within the agency. They were assured the firearms were being properly tracked; in fact, they weren’t. ATF allowed some 2,000 weapons to be sold during the operation, including more than 360 guns to …

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