The Brennan Center for Justice recently published this history of the Second Amendment and the NRA. The Second Amendment was construed entirely differently in years past than it is now. The NRA was an entirely benign organization until a few decades ago. It’s amazing to see how something can evolve into its opposite, but that is par for the course for a symbolic species like human animals.
In the end, it was neither the NRA nor the Bush administration that pressed the Supreme Court to reverse its centuries-old approach, but a small group of libertarian lawyers who believed other gun advocates were too timid. They targeted a gun law passed by the local government in Washington, D.C., in 1976—perhaps the nation’s strictest—that barred individuals from keeping a loaded handgun at home without a trigger lock. They recruited an appealing plaintiff: Dick Heller, a security guard at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, who wanted to bring his work revolver home to his high-crime neighborhood. The NRA worried it lacked the five votes necessary to win. The organization tried to sideswipe the effort, filing what Heller’s lawyers called “sham litigation” to give courts an excuse to avoid a constitutional ruling. But the momentum that the NRA itself had set in motion proved unstoppable, and the big case made its way to the Supreme Court.
The argument presented in District of Columbia v. Heller showed just how far the gun rights crusade had come. Nearly all the questions focused on arcane matters of colonial history. Few dealt with preventing gun violence, social science findings or the effectiveness of today’s gun laws—the kinds of things judges might once have considered. On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to own a weapon “in common use” to protect “hearth and home.” Scalia wrote the opinion, which he later called the “vindication” of his judicial philosophy.
After the decision was announced, Heller stood on the steps of the court for a triumphant press conference. Held aloft behind him was a poster bearing that quote from Patrick Henry, unearthed by the scholars who had proven so important for the successful drive: “Let every man be armed.”
This Tumblr website has launched a Birther movement regarding Jesus. It’s actually a challenge.
Please provide ONE single person, along with their authentic writing, that can prove the simple living-human, historical existence of the claimed, christian New Testament jesus the christ of Nazareth, that meets both (A & B) of our 2 simple requirements listed below:
A.) A contemporary 1st century person that lived between the years of 1-36 CE, who was a first-hand eye-witness, who actually saw, met, spoke to, and knew jesus personally.
B.) Provide this person’s original and authentic: secular, non-christian, non-religious, unbiased, non-bible, non-gospel, and non-scripture writing, that is directly about jesus (with references/citations to prove that this person actually wrote the work in question), officially dated by science, between the years of 1-53 CE. Additional religious or christian writings that can’t be used: papyri, uncials, minuscules, lectionaries, didache, apocrypha, gnostic, catechism, and pseudepigrapha.
In case some folks are tempted to reach for some of the classic “proofs,” the site offers this scorecard:
The site also offers links to many other sites that challenge the existence (not merely the divinity) of Jesus, including:
Bible Scholar: Robert M Price – Extrabiblical evidence for Jesus ► 8:44
Debunking the Fraudulent christian Apologist List of Extra-biblical but non-contemporary, claimed “sources” used as jesus “evidence.” (Jewish, “Pagan,” Non-christian, “Secular”)
The jesus Birther Movement (jBM) Research Database Directory
Research Articles, Evidence and Videos that Prove a Historical jesus, NEVER Existed
66 Famous Historians and Writers From The 1st and 2nd Century, Who Never Mentioned Fictional jesus – The Screaming Silence of Real History
Hobby Lobby is suing to be exempted from certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case . . . The question at the heart of this is, should a company be forced to pay for things with which it has a moral objection? [More . . . ]
I recently had the privilege of touring the Ashley Power plant on the north side of the St. Louis Riverfront. Fascinating place. It was originally built in 1903 as a coal-burning plant to provide electricity to the 1904 World’s Fair, which was located six miles away in Forest Park. After the Fair, the plant was used for producing steam and electricity.
The plant manager pointed to the many coal burning boilers that can still be seen in the plant. He indicated that it would have been miserably hot in the plant, and that much of the labor was muscle power. The plant went through an oil burning phase, but now runs off of natural gas. That gas is pumped through a pipeline all the way from the Gulf Coast, running up along the Mississippi River. I small pipe runs off of the main gas pipe (on the Illinois side of the River), then runs under the river over to the St. Louis Plant.
This 12″ pipe enters the plant, where it feeds two gas turbines that only take up a tiny fraction of this huge plant. This huge space was originally needed when the plant was filled with hundreds of laborers burning coal. Much of the machinery seen in these photos was necessary in the old days, but has not been removed–it would not be cost efficient to remove it, and there’s plenty of space for the two gas turbines, each of which is less than 100 feet long.
Out of one side of the turbines, electricity is produced. Using a heat-exchanger, the other side of each turbine produces steam. Lots of it. Even today, the plant provides steam to more than 50 industrial customers, who use it for heat. Busch Stadium is on this list. The steam exits the plant through a pip that is about 3 feet in diameter, then travels through 17 miles of pipe through the city, providing this steam heat. The customers have “steam meters” and are charged for the amount of steam heat they use. The Plant Manager indicated that it is 15% more cost efficient to produce steam at a central location and distribute it than to produce it at the individual locations. Sometimes, the steam pipe network has leaks, and you can see these in the cold weather, when steam from underground rises above street level.
This huge building holds lots of old machinery, evoking memories of what it must have been once upon a time, including the time that it was the state of the art provider of electricity to the 1904 World’s Fair.
Enjoy the photos . . .
[Washington, D.C.] Satire: The nation’s capital was plunged into chaos this morning as President Barack Obama was taken into federal custody, along with major factions of both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as officials from the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other agencies. Under arrest along with President Obama are believed to be large […]