US House delays vote on RyanCare as some GOP reps turn out to be vertebrates after all

Source: CNN

"The House hopes to vote on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare Friday morning, following a day of drama and multiple high-level, tension-filled meetings, a White House official said. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have been lobbying members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and also moderate Republicans in an attempt to reach the 216 votes they need to pass the bill.
Republicans can't lose more than 21 of their caucus and still pass the bill …. Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said there are '30 to 40' votes against the bill at this point. 'We have not gotten enough of our members to get to yes at this point,' Meadows said Thursday afternoon. Meadows called the long-standing plan to vote on Thursday — the seven-year anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act — an 'artificial deadline.'" (03/23/17)

Christians started the wedding wars

Source: Reason
by Stephanie Slade

"The idea that the Constitution protects only what happens between a person's ears isn't novel. It has roots in a series of laws, and the Supreme Court decisions that upheld them, from 1862 through 1890. The goal at the time was to rein in a new and dangerous-seeming religious movement called Mormonism by criminalizing its most eccentric practice: polygamy. But by claiming the right to regulate the behavior of people of faith, mainstream believers set the stage for the modern political left to step in and regulate them — and to have 150 years' worth of precedents on their side when they did it." (for publication 04/17)

Fresh WikiLeaks dump shows CIA was hacking iPhones a year after launch

Source: Forbes

"A new Wikileaks release called DarkMatter was released today, affirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has long targeted Apple Macs, creating malware designed to evade the tech giant's security mechanisms. The leak also revealed the CIA had been targeting the iPhone since 2008, a year after the landmark device was released. That slice of info was included in a small dump of information Wednesday, that included manuals for a handful of implants and rootkits — malware that can hide at the lowest level of Apple systems, the kernel and the firmware of the device. … As of this week, after some delay, Wikileaks was in touch with Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies about the leaks, the aim being to help them release patches. But as reported by Vice Motherboard, Wikileaks issued a list of demands before handing over information, such as a promise to fix the bugs within 90 days." (03/23/17)

Is a national government necessary for national defense?

Source: Independent Institute
by Robert Higgs

"Gordon Tullock used to taunt anarchists by asserting that if the USA abolished its government, people would not have to worry about the Russians taking over the country because 'the Mexicans would get here first.' This little story actually incorporates a common objection to anarchy — namely, the idea that because, if a country abolished its government, other countries would not necessarily follow suit, the governments of those other countries would be free to, and would, simply take over the country that, lacking a government, also lacked an effective means of defending itself against takeover by a foreign power." (03/23/17)

Belgium: Police thwart car attack day after terror strikes London

Source: CBS News

"Belgian authorities have raised security in the port of Antwerp after a car with French license plates drove at high speed through a busy shopping street, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the way. The federal prosecutor's office said the car was intercepted late Thursday morning at the port docks and a Frenchman living in France was arrested. Authorities then raised security in the center of town, in places where people normally gather. In the car, authorities said they found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid." (03/23/17)

Good manners vs. political correctness

Source: EconLog
by Bryan Caplan

"My first face-to-face encounter with political correctness came in 1989. All undergrads in my dorm at UC Berkeley were strongly urged to attend the all-important DARE meeting. Not DARE as in 'Drug Abuse Resistance Education' but DARE as in 'Diversity Awareness through Resources and Education.' I had disdain for this simple-minded leftist propaganda then, and the recent return of political correctness seems even worse. These days, however, I'm also often appalled by the opponents of political correctness. I'm appalled by their innumeracy. In a vast world, daily 'newsworthy' outrages show next to nothing about the severity of a problem. I'm appalled by their self-pity. Political correctness is annoying, but the world is packed with far more serious ills. Most of all, though, I'm appalled by their antinomianism, better known as 'trolling.' Loudly saying disgusting things you probably don't even believe in order to enrage 'Social Justice Warriors' further impedes the search for truth — and makes your targets look decent by comparison. Against both political correctness and the trolling it inspires, I propose an old-fashioned remedy: good manners." (03/23/17)

US Senate votes to block FCC meddling in ISP/customer relations

Source: The Hill

"The Senate passed a resolution Thursday in a 50-48 party line vote that would dismantle a set of internet privacy [sic] rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year. The rules, which the FCC passed in a party-line vote in October, require internet service providers such as AT&T and Verizon to obtain customers' permission before using their personal information for advertising purposes. If passed by the House and signed by President Trump, the bill would use an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to eliminate the rules before they go into effect." (03/23/17)

Questions for Judge Gorsuch

by Andrew P Napolitano

"In the Gorsuch hearings this week, the nominee has argued that should he commit to certain positions on issues, it would not be fair to litigants who might come before him as a circuit judge if his nomination were not to be confirmed or before him in the Supreme Court if it were, as those litigants would have a proper belief that he prejudged their cases. 'It would be grossly improper,' he argued, for him to commit in advance to how he'd vote on any issue. He's correct. So, what questions could both Democrats and Republicans put to him and what questions could he answer that would inform their judgment and illuminate his thinking without committing his judgment?" (03/23/17)

FCC clears path for carriers to block more robocalls

Source: Network World

"The FCC this morning voted 3-0 to give carriers new regulatory cover to combat annoying and oftentimes fraudulent robocalls. The decision backs an ongoing effort begun last year with the establishment of a special government/industry task force. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called today's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 'an important first step in ending the scourge of robocalls.' Specifically, the new rules would assure carriers that they are allowed to block calls originating from unassigned numbers and other obvious attempts at fraud such as numbers using 411 or 911 as an area code." (03/23/17)

The Bill of Rights at the border: The First Amendment and the right to anonymous speech

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Stephanie Lacambra

"The U.S. border has been thrown into the spotlight these last few months, with border agents detaining travelers for hours, demanding travelers unlock devices, and even demanding passwords and social media handles as a prerequisite for certain travelers entering the country. As the U.S. government issues a dizzying array of new rules and regulations, people in the U.S. and abroad are asking: are there meaningful constitutional limits on the ability of border agents to seize and search the data on your electronic devices and in the cloud? The answer is: Yes. As we'll explain in a series of posts on the Bill of Rights at the border and discuss in detail in our border search guide, border agents and their activities are not exempt from constitutional scrutiny." (03/22/17)