NM “Assault Weapons” bill gets a hearing Thursday

The “assault weapons” bill, New Mexico House Bill 402, will be heard by the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee at 1:30 PM Thursday, per the house committee schedule. Tonight I finished penning my note to my representative, who sits on that committee. It reads (in principle) as follows:

I don’t write letters like this every day. Today, though, I write to you with urgency regarding a bill that will come in front of you Thursday as a member of the Consumer & Public Affairs Committee, and may ultimately come before you on the house floor, namely House Bill 402 as submitted by Representative Easley.

That bill, focused on criminalization of future purchase, and on possession and safety issues related to “assault weapons”, flies in the face of our inalienable rights as specified in Amendment II, United States Constitution (and reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller), and in our own State Constitution, Article II, Section 6, which states

“No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”

Those words were written in 1910, and ratified in time for statehood two years later. The concept of “security and defense” entrenched in that section of Article II was tested six years later when the town of Columbus was attacked by Pancho Villa’s Division of the North. The town, while a home to the 13th Cavalry, was strongly defended by its armed citizenry, who used their own guns to defend their lives and their property.

While the risk of cross-border incursion or foreign invasion is lower today, the continued need to protect one’s home, life, and the lives of one’s family are paramount. You have long been a proponent of maintaining an armed vigilance as one element of a balanced response to violence: you’ve worked for possession rights for officers of the court (as you’ve sponsored in various forms since 2003) together with domestic violence bills (such as HB 249, 2006) as well as numerous expenditures to enhance the Albuquerque Police Department.

For the maintenance of security and defense as laid out in Article II, Section 6 of the New Mexico Constitution, in line with the rights laid out in the second amendment, I urge your strong opposition to Rep. Easley’s bill, and for the encouragement of fellow Republicans and liberty-minded Democrats in defeating this bill.

With warmest regards,

Kevin in ABQ


NOW is the time to act.
NOW is the time to make your voice heard.

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Lapdogs and Kept Men

Both Brian Cates and Ace (who provided a link to Jerry Bowyer at Forbes) had columns of value today, all with some common themes that show the greased pole we face when competing in the arena of ideas.

Jerry Bowyer lays out the concept of “kept conservatives”:

The kept conservative’s announced job is to represent the conservative point of view, but their real job is to give the illusion of balance without really challenging any of the core tenets of liberalism. They spend lots of time ‘reinventing’ the Republican Party, and the new invention is always the same: more liberal. They live among liberals, their friends are liberals, and, of course, they are paid by liberals.

Do, in fact, read it all. Ace cites Mika Brzezinski’s pet rock, Joe Scarborough, as a perfect example of same, to which I added some humor in the comments:

Just remember: As soon as Joe announces for the Presidency

(chorus of laughter)

Ahem.

(silence)

As I was saying, as soon as Joe announces for the Presidency he’ll be declared the ‘maverick’ candidate, and if he should happen to get the nomination

(more laughter)

Yes, yes, get it out of your systems.

(more laughter, petering out in time)

Yes, now should he get the nomination, he’ll be described as he was all along – as a reactionary conservative.

To me, this is the flowchart path of the kept conservative in Washington (and, to the extent necessary, those outside the beltway – e.g., Chris Christie). As long as they stay in place, they’re beloved; once they express traditional orthodoxy (or leave the KeptCon reservation), all bets are off. A case study is Sen. John McCain.

Long loved as the ultimate “maverick”, as soon as he secured the 2008 GOP nomination we began to hear (unfounded) whispers on his private life, photos showing him as bloodthirsty, and more. Once the election was over, and McCain was no longer a threat, he could return to KeptCon status. but ask a few tough questions of DefSec nominee Chuck Hagel? Chris Matthews goes and suggests McCain might be having a “flashback” to his POW days.

To me, the picture of the last two general elections, and of the ways in which the left and the media (but I repeat myself) have taken centrists and made them Birchers tells me we’re as well off to nominate a Conservative and get it over with.

For true conservatives, those Jerry Bowyer describes as “St. Thomas More Conservatives”, the evolution path is simpler. Some pseudocode:

If type.conservative = StThomasMore then Reaction.Media = vapors and investigation

Ask Sarah Palin. Ask Rick Perry. And not all of these are inflicted by the media, either; some are self-inflicted, with the blood drawing the sharks. And while the opinions of the KeptCon are left for those of us on the right to reveal, it is done knowing that the effort, while useful, will lead to

Reaction.Media = Republican infighting and disunity

while the media keeps its powder dry for any signs of St. Thomas More Conservatives.

Brian, in a similar vein, hammers on the questions an engaged media would be asking if only the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave were a Republican (rather than Lapdog Media, I prefer the term “Tiger Beat Media”, as it gives more an appearance of the form of their trade they’re attempting to ply). And these two problems go hand in hand. For one has to have a desire to investigate to do investigative journalism. And one must be challenged with facts and the potential of shaming for ignoring a story if they refuse to do so. When the press assumes a unity viewpoint regarding power, as they have with this President, they in turn have vacated their independence, and are but organs of the state itself.

It’s late. That’s enough for now.

An Open Letter to Ron Burkle

Ron –

A few years back, you served as a knight on a white horse, riding to the reduce of my beloved Penguins. Outside of a couple of ugly labor issues since, your stake has shown to be worthwhile. The Penguins found a way to return to competitiveness, and your work with the City of Pittsburgh and with your co-owner got a new arena, a gorgeous palace for fans to watch Sid, Geno, Marc Andre, and all the rest. You not only saved hockey in the City of Pittsburgh, you’ve become part of a true renaissance of the sport there, from the school level (three of the gold medal winning world junior champions team are local boys), college (with RMU and Penn State both playing), to your own team.

And now, you’re being asked by another city to be their savior.

This time, it’s Sacramento, California, and the future of the city’s NBA franchise, the Kings. As someone who grew up in Pittsburgh, and who lives in Albuquerque, I think I can bring unique perspective.

Back in the mid 1990s, Pittsburgh was in position to lose its historic marquee franchise, the Pirates. And Sacramento came to the rescue, in the form of Kevin McClatchy. He bought the team, and worked through a land mine of local issues to get a new ballpark, PNC Park, built. It is a gem. The team may struggle on the field, and ownership has changed, but the fans’ faith was reaffirmed through the actions of Mr. McClatchy in support of the City of Pittsburgh.

Now Sacramento, a city similar in size to Pittsburgh, faces a similar struggle with its lone pro sports team. The principal owners are the children of George Maloof Sr., who made his name and his money with a Coors beer distributorship here in Albuquerque (it was a good investment – we drink a boatload of beer here). Dad did well enough to own a chunk of the Houston Rockets in the late ’70s, which was sold after he passed in 1982. But by this point, the bug of owning something, some part, of an NBA franchise was in the family.

The Maloof kids grew up here. Some of them went to school here. But for the most part, the kids are better known for what they own – the Palms Casino in Las Vegas – and where they’re seen – The Real Housewives of Orange County, for one. They also own the majority share in the Kings.

Now, to say that the kids have over the last decade become…overextended is not an exaggeration. When you sell off the cornerstone of the family business, the beer distributorship, a veritable cash cow, because your other bills are so high…well, lets just say there’s a problem.

Some of that problem is the casino. Some of it is the Kings. Last year, the family readied a move of the franchise to Anaheim. You had apparently enquired about whether the team was for sale. “Stop calling”, the brothers said. But Sacramento fought back. They started real, honest to goodness grassroots efforts to keep the team, to build a new arena – sorely needed – and in the end an agreement was (apparently) reached. The mayor, Kevin Johnson, stood at center court with two of the brothers, arms raised high. A new arena was agreed to. Things would work out after all.

And then reality hit.

The team was for sale. And Seattle (more specifically, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen), which had lost their Sonics to Oklahoma City last decade, came in with a monstrous bid. Sacramento, knowing this was coming (as the Maloof cash flow issues weren’t improving), began an effort to counter-bid. Several local businessmen have placed a stake forward, but it covers only a small fraction of the amount offered by Ballmer and Hansen.

So now, a single sport town turns its eyes to you, Ron. It is a devoted fan base. I know, I follow things there a bit, with friends who are there. it’s a fan base that, through lean years and good, sold out the arena formerly known as Arco, when other teams – the Sonics included – didn’t. They want to know if you’ll be there for them the way you were with Mario, in Pittsburgh. The same batches of plans for a new downtown arena, to serve as a cornerstone for revitalizing the city’s core, are in place.

They just need you, Ron.

I for one hope you’ll be there. I hope you can return the favor that Kevin McClatchy did for the City of Pittsburgh years back.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Kevin in ABQ

Random points

As I’m lacking a continuous long-form thought stream, I wanted to get a few random thoughts written down:

We are now past the halfway point of President Obama’s tenure in the Executive Office. We made it through the last four years; we can make it through the next four, with each others’ help and prayers.

From reading reports on the inauguration (sorry, I was working) it sounds as if the crowds were smaller. But just as petty as four years ago. You remember, don’t you? Back then, they booed and chanted “na na na na, hey good bye” to President Bush; today, they booed Paul Ryan. A movement chock full of people better suited to throwing snowballs at Santa Claus at Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia.

The Obama campaign apparatus – now reclassified as a not-for-profit – is appropriately designated. As it really represents a religious movement. Nonetheless this organization may be used to mobilize voters for issues, it appears unlikely to be put at the beck and call of another’s campaign. This same hubris cost Democrats in 2000, and Republicans (to a lesser extent) in 2008.

My life, in aggregate, is good: my wife and kids are healthy. My Penguins are 2-0 to start the year. I’ll need whatever distractions I can get. But I also need to get involved. Now.

I finally discussed the new shotgun with the wife tonight (I’m looking at taking up sporting clays). With little kids around, she’s been hesitant in the past. I think I made a good case for a safe plan that will provide appropriate safeguards, while enabling the kids to learn and respect the tool, as they would any other that could injure them. Which is to their advantage in the long run. Fearing a gun, or any other weapon, isn’t the concern: avoiding their misuse, or deterring someone with another weapon and malicious intent, is.