Jefferson on Interpreting the Constitution

thomas_jefferson4“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
–Thomas Jefferson

New study says talking and driving not as dangerous as we thought | Digital Trends

According to a joint study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics, cell phone use while driving may not be responsible for causing more automotive accidents on the road.

“Using a cellphone while driving may be distracting, but it does not lead to higher crash risk in the setting we examined,” said Saurabh Bhargava, assistant professor of social and decision sciences at CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, in a press release. “While our findings may strike many as counterintuitive, our results are precise enough to statistically call into question the effects typically found in the academic literature.” [to read more click below]

Hold the phone! New study says talking and driving not as dangerous as we thought | Digital Trends.

‘Docs vs. Glocks’ showdown in Florida – Washington Times

In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, President Obama and other anti-gun advocates have called for changing Florida’s pro-Second Amendment laws. Their chances of getting the “stand your ground” statute overturned are slim, but the anti-gun groups are making significant progress in the Sunshine State in allowing activist doctors to push their agenda to disarm families.

Read more at 'Docs vs. Glocks' showdown in Florida – Washington Times.

Council Contemplates Borrowing from Lubbock’s Future

imageThe Lubbock City Council is comprised of people who are, individually, each likely to be a person of excellence in their own field. At a minimum, each has managed to win election to public office. Collectively, however, they aren’t very good. “Dysfunctional” is much clichéd but it is an appropriate description for this bunch. Seeing them try to work together is like watching a six-way tug o’ war with the seventh Councilman standing ready with a vacuous smile not knowing whether push, pull or pray.

Budget is arguably the Council’s most important responsibility. Ten months out of the year Lubbock City Council holds pep rallies. But for two months it is supposed to do the hard work of deciding how and how much money the City will spend.

The proposed budget projects General Fund revenues to be up $14.2 million, or 9.9%. The rate of inflation is less than half that, so you’d think that City Council could balance its budget with relative ease. And with increased revenues of $14.2 million we’d hope that LP&L ratepayers would get a break from Council robbing the city utility of the cost for street lights ($3 million). That leaves $11.2 to spare for raises and increased expenses.

But Council isn’t very good at its job. Not only does abandoning the money grab from LP&L appear out of the question, City Council is now considering borrowing from Lubbock’s future by taking away 1/2 cent property tax, $616,000, from the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA). Taking over 17% of the City’s investment in economic development instead of cutting other expenses is like cutting your retirement investment from the family budget instead of scaling back on eating out.

LEDA is run with less than one fourth the dollars that Amarillo spends on economic development. And, while competing for jobs with tax dollars is distasteful to this Republican with libertarian leanings, it is the world we live in. Cities competing for companies to relocate and expand in their jurisdiction is a natural consequence of the free market and a mobile society. When choosing between Lubbock and Midland for relocation of 35 jobs a nickel lower property tax is less likely impress a business owner or decision maker than a $5,000/job incentive offer.

LEDA has chosen to meet this challenge with incentives, a state-of-the-art business park, rail port and other creative marketing. Even though outspent more than 4:1 by Amarillo, it has been suprisingly successful and it is debt free.

However a reduction in funding by 17% could force LEDA to borrow to continue to develop the business park. Council knows this; or it should. And it knows taking money from LEDA isn’t cutting expenses, it is borrowing from our future.

We pause here to note that if the budget was so tight that $616,000 mattered that much then city leaders should have considered it before they spent $400,000 to capriciously fire City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld. An award winning budget officer might come in handy right about now.

The deal isn’t done. It’s not too late to tell your Council members to do their job. There is still time to do the work, get involved with the budget and cut expenses, even a half dozen city jobs if necessary, and balance the budget without borrowing from our future. 

Lubbock Economic Development Alliance

•Established 2004
•Members appointed by the Lubbock City Council
•Funded by 2.9¢ of the property tax amounting to approximately $3.5 million in 2012-2013
•Brought average of 587 jobs/year to Lubbock since 2004
•Average salary of jobs brought to Lubbock in FYE 2012-2013 is $42,103
•By comparison Amarillo, which funds economic development with 1/2¢ sales tax, spent $16 million in the last fiscal year.
•Sources: LEDA and Amarillo EDC websites

Sunday in the Sandstorm Scholar

Sunday’s Sandstorm Scholar looks at how the Lubbock City Council is considering debt over discipline to balance this year’s budget.

In the 2012 Council campaigns we heard a lot about debt. Mayor candidate Glen Robertson pledged to reduce the budget by 20% and proclaimed that the city’s $1 billion debt load is too high and must be reduced. Even now, every time a police patrol vehicle is added to the master lease Councilwoman Latrelle Bright Joy interrupts staff to inquire if they are aware that she does not like the master lease program, as if her displeasure is tantamount to a royal edict.

But talk is cheap. And Council seems about to prove just that by choosing debt over discipline in balancing the 2013-2014 budget.

The Liberty Amendments: Mark Levin

Conservative talk show host Mark Levin is the author of a new book, The Liberty Amendments. Abrasive, reactionary, always right and often correct, he offers a prescription for what ills the nation. A radical solution, to be sure, but so was the Bill of Rights.

We take this excerpt from the preface.

The nation has entered an age of post-constitutional soft tyranny. As French thinker and philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville explained presciently, “It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Excerpt From: Mark R. Levin. “The Liberty Amendments.” Thresholds Editions.