a pop quiz on campus health insurance.

You attend a Catholic university.

Your university offers a health plan that covers everything but contraceptives and abortions.

The current administration pushes legislation through Congress that requires all health plans to cover contraceptives.

Your school decides that rather than making their health plan compliant with the law, they’ll drop it altogether.

Has the legislation in question improved your access to health care, or hurt it?

(Disclaimer: I am not a Catholic—or a Christian of any flavor—and I have my problems with the Church’s hostility to contraceptives. But I knew that stance ahead of time, and that’s one of the reasons why I chose not to attend a Catholic university.)

(Via Popehat.)

legal thievery in blue.

This is a classic asset forfeiture abuse case:

  • Waitress, known to be in a financial bind, is tipped $12,000 via cash in take-out box given to her by a stranger.
  • Waitress takes the cash to police.
  • Cops confiscate it because their drug dog conveniently alerted to pot smell on the box, therefore the cash is seized under  asset forfeiture provisions.
  • Waitress goes public; cops offer her $1,000 “reward”. Waitress turns down the reward and sues.
  • Eventually, PD recognizes the massive PR blunder and unwelcome attention and decides to return the money to her.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the box never smelled of pot, and that if a drug dog ever came close to it, it was prompted by the handler to alert. The fact that they offered her a thousand bucks to shut her up just reinforces that opinion—“finder’s rewards” for asset forfeiture drug money are unprecedented. They saw $12,000 in a box, and decided that OF COURSE it had to be drug money, and don’t we need a new light bar for unit 244?

How’s that War on Drugs coming, America? This kind of stuff happens too often to report. It has turned otherwise law-abiding people—the ones you want on your side, Thin Blue Line—into distrustful adversaries, and cops into something regarded not unlike an occupying army by a lot of people. (What kind of lesson have you taught that waitress and her family, and what kind of attitude will they have toward the police for the rest of their lives? Do you think they’ll ever report anything to you again?)

Asset forfeiture is evil. It was intended to strip assets from drug kingpins, but like RICO, it has been expanded to fit the needs and desires of the state, and now it’s the default position of LE that if you carry more than an average amount of cash on you, it must be drug-related. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that giving the cops a financial incentive to seize property is a very bad idea.

Sadly, nothing’s going to change any time soon, because a.) the War on Drugs is great business for the State at all levels, and because b.) if you oppose that kind of nonsense, you’re clearly a pot-smoking libertarian who’s fine with people driving down the road snorting lines of coke off the dashboard.

And in the meantime, drugs are cheaper and more readily available than ever, our cops dress and arm like the 1st Marines about to invade Iran, and public trust in law enforcement is down the shitter. Getting the government to declare a war on something is a perfect recipe to have that something in abundance a few years later, and yet another edge of the Constitution lit on fire as the new Something Enforcement Agency employs 100,000 and sucks down a few billion in cash every year to keep the racket going.

But hey—legalizing pot would send the wrong message.

they should have stopped at “congress shall not.”

I think that public office should require a civics test, particularly testing the candidates’ literacy regarding the Constitution. I f you can’t pass a college-level forty-question test about the document that makes up your job description, you don’t get to be in Congress.

That would cut down on the number of times I want to punch my TV because some candidate, Congresscritter, or other Public Servant™ states that “the Constitution gives/doesn’t give  people the right to do XYZ.”

Technically speaking, that’s a correct statement. The Constitution doesn’t give any rights to anyone. The Constitution doesn’t address citizen rights at all because the Constitution isn’t a List Of Things Allowed To Citizens. It’s a List Of Things Allowed To Government. It lists all the things we let our government do on our behalf, and it lists the exact ways in which the government may do so.

The Bill of Rights, being a list of amendments to the Constitution, does address individual rights, but not in the way a lot of people erroneously presume. If the Constitution is a List of Things Allowed to Government, the Bill of Rights is a List of Things The Government May Definitely Not Fuck With, Ever. It doesn’t “give” those rights, it just enumerates them, and it restricts the government, not individual citizens.

That’s how we roll in this country, at least in theory. We don’t need government permission to do stuff—the government needs permission from us to do stuff. And if it’s not listed in the Constitution, that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to do it, but that the government doesn’t have the delegated power to do it. Of course, the employer/employee relationship has gotten a bit muddled in the last few decades, hasn’t it? These days, it’s a sign of dangerous extremism when you suggest that our government has only limited powers, and that there’s some sort of document about that somewhere.

spirit of america, indeed.*

This article is about the brother of a friend of ours. He went to take the T in Boston, the MBTA cops wanted to search his bag, and he refused the search. They arrested him, and a sympathetic judge dismissed the charges.

The really depressing part of that article is the comments section, which right now leans 90% toward chastising the man for not bending over and taking it like a patriot. “My safety is worth more than your inconvenience!” “Like it or not, we’re at war, and that’s the way things are now!” “If you don’t like it, walk!” “If you don’t like it, leave the country!”

You know liberty is a long way down the shitter when the subjects not just tolerate having to answer to people in uniforms just to get to work, but actively demand that kind of treatment—and heap scorn on those who don’t.

*”Spirit of America” is the license plate motto of Massachusetts. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t refer to clicking your heels and kow-towing to anyone with a badge and a uniform who demands to seepapers, please.’

one set of laws for the peons, another for the king’s men.

In my time as a gun store clerk, I would have gotten a ten-year sentence in Club Fed for knowingly letting a gun walk out of the door in the hands of a felon.

The ATF clowns in charge of “Operation Fast and Furious” let thousands of guns walk out of the door in the hands of known felons…and what’s their punishment?

They get reassigned…to a different division. Not only do they not have to eat expired hot dogs or take care not to drop the soap in the shower, they get to keep their government salaries and bennies. The same people who would jack Joe Citizen up and send him to jail for a few years for having the wrong piece of metal on the muzzle of his rifle do not have to suffer any serious consequences for letting felons walk off with weapons that were then used to kill a bunch of people.

Some animals are indeed more equal than others.

the latest TSA stumblefuckery.

Now we’re frisking the adult diapers of 95-year-old women in the name of safety.

Feel safer yet, America?

Tam says it best (as always):

Seriously, have we reached a point where we, as a nation, are so pants-pissingly scared of a bunch of self-immolating neolithic goatherds that we are willing to inflict any indignity on any citizen at any time rather than expose ourselves to the slightest bit of risk?

Some people say that this is the new Normal. It isn’t. This is the new baseline. With the TSA expanding this sort of nonsense from airports to train stations and even highway traffic, expect this kind of thing to become so common as to be unremarkable. If this kind of thing doesn’t result in a public outcry, a Congressional investigation, a few firings and high-level resignations, some tarring & feathering, or just a good old-fashioned ass-kicking, those people know that there’s nothing the American public won’t tolerate to be kept safe from the Boogeyman of the Decade.

And remember: these people are virtually unfireable, and impossible to sue. The old lady who got her Depends tossed by some blue-gloved airport crossing guard with a badge can sue the TSA at best…and if she wins the lawsuit, we all get to pony up the settlement.

This kind of nonsense is unworthy of a free society. But then again we’re not free anymore. Not only are we letting them wrap the chain around us tighter every year, we help them forge the links, and complain when they make the chain too loose. Children afraid of the dark, no more, asking for Daddy Government to get rid of the monsters under the bed.

For shame.