Even police inspections of homes?

 

This antique-shop sign has nothing to do with the current Oregon legislature, where firearms bills are still pending.

This antique-shop sign has nothing to do with the current Oregon legislature, where firearms bills are still pending.

Even though the word from Salem was that supporters of gun bans were backing off a little, it's worth taking a look at one bill and who proposed it. This is House Bill 3200, which would ban some common rifles and pistols, calling them assault weapons. It is an extraordinary piece of legislation, even calling for police inspection of gun owners' homes.

The bill applies to semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines if they have certain features, such as a shroud on the barrel or a thumb hole in the stock. It also targets pistols with magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Owners of such firearms would have to turn them in to the police or sell them to a licensed dealer. They would be allowed to keep one, for a fee, if they register it with the state police. The bill provides for the police to make house inspections to make sure the requirements for secure storage are met. And for a violation, the maximum penalty would be 10 years in prison and a quarter-million-dollar fine.

The sponsors and cosigners of this proposed gun grab are 15 Democrats, eight in the House and seven in the Senate. These 15 Democrats, led by Greenlick in the House and Burdick in the Senate, are willing to send the police to your house to enforce a breach of your constitutional rights. And if anybody stands up for his rights by refusing to comply, it's off to prison for up to 10 years. Look up the bill, HB 3200, and remember the sponsors' names. Their eagerness to confiscate possessions and limit our freedom is frightening indeed. (hh)

Wrong move: Postal Service sues

Mail users may not believe it, but the Postal Service's studies showed it benefited from sponsoring Lance Armstrong and his cycling team.

Mail users may not believe it, but the Postal Service's studies showed it benefited from sponsoring Lance Armstrong and his cycling team.

Mail users may not believe it, but the Postal Service's studies showed it benefited from sponsoring Lance Armstrong and his cycling team.

The U.S. Justice Department has announced it is joining a lawsuit against Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who won the Tour de France seven times but was stripped of the titles because he used banned substances to boost his performance. The lawsuit, originally filed by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis under the whistleblower law, charges that Amstrong and his team defrauded the Postal Service by their illicit conduct. The post office sponsored the team from 1996 through 2004. But taxpayers and users of the mail -- meaning all of us -- have a few questions.

Why did the U.S. mail service sponsor a cycling team in the first place, a team that raced mainly in Europe? Why did it pay Armstrong and the team $30 million, as the Justice Department said it did? Evidently it figured the advertising value -- when Armstrong's exploits were covered in U.S. media -- was worth the expense. In fact, the Washington Post reports that studies done for the Postal Service claimed that the service gained at least $139 million in so-called "brand exposure" over four years. Why the post office needs brand exposure is another question. But its own studies evidently show that it got more than it paid for by sponsoring the team.

This suit should be thrown out. Nobody forced Landis to join the doping, and the post office itself was not damaged, either then or now. What cycling needs is a "truth and reconciliation" process to make up for many years of lies. Suits like this don't help. They cause everybody to lawyer up instead of coming clean. (hh)

Obama and the ‘first responders’

The White House posted this photo on its  website.

The White House posted this photo on its website.

Firefighters and police lined up behind President Obama on Feb. 19, when he made a speech at the White House blaming House Republicans for not preventing automatic budget cuts he and Congress had agreed to before.  "Emergency responders like the ones who are here today," the president said, "their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded." He cited other calamities too: less border protection, letting criminals go instead of prosecuting them, teachers being laid off, and parents unable to find day care. It's hard to see how all that can result from a slowing in the overall increase of federal spending. But just how is the federal budget linked to local fire departments?

Here's how. Last August, the Albany Fire Department reported it had received approval of a $1.2 million federal grant in order to hire six firefighters for two years. It planned to fill three jobs left vacant because of local budget constraints and hire three more.

You may recall that the government now has to borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Remember, too, that the federal debt, more than $16 trillion, will keep growing because the national government -- under many presidents and congresses -- has promised far more than it can deliver. And one small part of this mistake is filling out the routine payroll of towns like Albany all over the U.S.

Obama lined up those uniforms as props to support more spending. They also were a symbol of a federal budget policy that Obama has made worse. (hh)

The gun issue: DeFazio responds

An inquiry with Peter DeFazio brought this detailed reply.

An inquiry with Peter DeFazio brought this detailed reply.

Our two mid-valley congressmen responded very differently on an issue of current concern. I asked Reps. Kurt Schrader in the 5th District and Peter DeFazio of the 4th what they thought of the current gun control proposals.

I sent each one an email via the contact addresses provided on their congressional websites. Schrader's office replied, by email, with a form letter that thanked me for contacting him and ignored the question. DeFazio mailed a three-page letter, an actual letter that he personally signed. I gather from comments on the Internet that others who asked about this got the same letter.

In the letter, DeFazio reviewed his history of supporting Second Amendment rights, and he summarized the circumstances of recent shootings and President Obama's proposals in response. DeFazio also said he would again propose a tax credit so people can afford to buy safes to make it harder for mentally ill relatives to take their guns. And he supported the idea of armed security officers at schools.

He didn't say how he would vote on various other proposals, but he noted he had publicly favored a background-check ballot measure before Oregon voters approved one in 2000. He seemed to doubt that the House would consider bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but he said it might consider enhanced reporting of mental health cases and background checks, but in any case the House would wait for the Senate to act first. All in all, DeFazio gave as thorough a response as you can expect a congressman to give. (hh)

Time to adjust the speed limit

On Interstate 5 south of Albany. (Taking a snapshot is not yet as unlawful as using a cell phone while driving, is it?)

On Interstate 5 south of Albany. (Taking a snapshot is not yet as unlawful as using a cell phone while driving, is it?)

Several years ago the legislature authorized ODOT to raise the speed limit on interstate highways to 70 miles an hour if the agency determined the higher speed would be safe enough. Perhaps unsurprisingly, ODOT found that no, 70 mph would not be safe anywhere on I-5, even on the 30 miles or so that run straight as a ruler between Albany and Eugene.

Amazingly, 70 mph is a perfectly safe speed limit on I-5 all through California. Is it just that California motorists are better drivers than Oregonians? Probably not. In any case, it might be time to remind the Oregon Transportation Commission of its authority to raise the speed limit on the freeway just a bit.

Actually, most of the time, freeway traffic moves along at about 70 anyway, even with Oregon's lower limit, and the State Police don't seem to mind. So, another kind of change in the speed regulations might be even more helpful. That would be to equalize the limit for cars and trucks.

Trucks now are supposed to go 55, and when they do, they cause occasional backups, especially when one sticks to the limit and causes other trucks to pass it at 60.

If all vehicles could legally travel at roughly the same speed, traffic would flow more smoothly. Also, the potential for accidents would be lower because there would be less changing of lanes. And above all, the capacity of the freeway, especially the two-lane stretch from Salem to Albany and Eugene, would be greatly enhanced. (hh)

From LaMont Matthews: Good ideas. Actually a lot of California is 75 mph.
The one piece I disagree with is increasing truck limits to the same as cars. That is the case in Arizona and I have found it makes it more difficult to drive strategically and plan the passes. Plus it can be scary to have an 18-wheeler bearing down on you at 75.

Website serviced by Santiam Communications | Call 541-223-7444
Webutation