LLR Pages

Saturday, May 3, 2008

No Toy Guns For You

A number of state legislatures have bills pending on the docket -- bills that would, if passed, make it illegal for anyone to wave a "fake firearm" -- a state-created euphemism for toy guns -- in a public place "in a threatening manner." Apparently 15 states now have proposals that, if signed into law, would crack down on toy guns that the statist law enforcement communities claim would be used in violent crime sprees and be threatening to public safety.

According to the Associated Press:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Concerns that realistic-looking toy weapons are confusing police and threatening safety have led 15 states to try going beyond gun control and cracking down on fake firearms.

Officer Micheal Hoover knows a fair amount about guns as a sniper instructor for a Tennessee SWAT team. He recalls the night two years ago when a car pulled up beside him on a highway and the passenger waved what looked like an Uzi.

'It scared me,' he said. 'If anyone is in their right mind, I don't see how it wouldn't.'

Hoover was off duty and called for police help. A 20-year-old man was charged with aggravated assault after police found a black plastic Uzi submachine gun under the car's passenger seat, but he was acquitted because jurors felt the officer should have been able to tell it was only a toy.

Lawmakers across the country are coming to a different conclusion, deciding that it is so hard to differentiate the toys from the fakes that public safety demands they take action.

Oh, it gets better. Read this next part:

Among those 15 states, seven bills limiting fake guns are pending this year and 21 have been enacted since 1990, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states have enacted or are considering multiple measures. They range from prohibiting imitation firearms in vehicles to banning the toys from convenience stores.

Tennessee legislators are using a different tactic. This is what the AP notes about what they have in mind:

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a proposal by state Rep. John Deberry to make it a misdemeanor to intentionally display or expose 'an imitation firearm in a public place in a threatening manner.' Exceptions include justifiable self defense, lawful hunting, and displays such as a museum collection.

Remember the last part of that first statement in the above-quoted paragraph:

'[A]n imitation firearm in a public place in a threatening manner.'

What do the collectivists mean by "a threatening manner"? How do they define "threatening manner"? That's a pretty vague description. Does "threatening manner" mean that the toy gun will fire plastic bullets that will melt the alleged victim in such a way that's reminiscent of the Wicked Witch of the East in The Wizard of Oz? Really, what do they mean by this?

This is nothing more than gun control at the state levels. Do these cretins really believe that toy guns can ACTUALLY harm individuals, even be used in crimes like murder? Will the plastic pelts from the guns send a so-called victim to the ER because of multiple plastic gunshot wounds?

What's next? Do they ban plastic knives? How about plastic hammers? Oh yes, plastic toy knives will be hazardous to your health.

Microsoft to Withdraw Yahoo Bid

Microsoft is yanking its $33-a-share bid on Yahoo, saying that it will buy out the company "on its own terms."

An excerpt from a New York Times piece pretty much sums up the situation:

Microsoft insists that it would acquire Yahoo only on its own terms. Now it said that it will withdraw its offer, after the Internet giant rebuffed a sweetened $33-a-share bid.

But is Microsoft really going to walk away from the biggest deal of the software giant’s 33-year history?

The company has never denied that it would take a hard line in its negotiations with its target. In fact, Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, has regularly talked tough — and may now be adopting perhaps the toughest tactic of all.

The possibility of walking away was always present. Even in February, Christopher P. Liddell, Microsoft’s chief financial officer and an architect of its Yahoo offer, has told The Times that he’s willing to play hardball. 'You have to be disciplined and ruthless,' he said. 'You have to be willing to walk away.'

More recently, Mr. Ballmer reiterated that dropping its bid was a possible strategy.

In recent weeks, many had expected Microsoft to escalate the fight by beginning a proxy fight. Mr. Ballmer has never shied away from brandishing that club, coupled with a tender offer.

But in a recent town hall with Microsoft employees, Mr. Ballmer seemed to suggest that a proxy fight was a relatively unpalatable option. 'There’s a lot of downsides and some upsides associated with that,' he said.

Mr. Ballmer’s letter to Jerry Yang of Yahoo suggests that he didn’t have the appetite for that kind of fight. He acknowledged that the Internet company would fight hard against such a move, and might take steps like linking up with Google.

The letter, to which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer alluded, says the following in its entirety:

May 3, 2008

Mr. Jerry Yang
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Jerry:

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!’s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo! has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62 percent premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33.00 per share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5 billion of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70 percent compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5 billion or more, or at least another $4 per share above our $33.00 offer.

Also, after giving this week’s conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo! undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

* First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system. This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them. This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.

* Given this, it would impair Yahoo’s ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.

* In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit. Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.

* This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo. In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.

* It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google’s search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo!.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,
Steven A. Ballmer

It appears to Yahoo that it got the short end of the stick.

In Microsoft's defense (and I'm not a fan of Microsoft), I think Yahoo should have taken up Microsoft's offer, if for no other reason. On the other hand, perhaps it would have been nice if Google put up a bigger bid for Yahoo and made it more of a better system than Microsoft could have handled.

The corporate world just keeps on getting more interesting as time goes on.

The Socialistic Scheme Against 'Global Warming' Is Fought At The Local Level

Apparently communities at the local level, in an exercise in futility, are organizing to fight the horrible bane we call "Global Warming" simply by "reducing greenhouse gases."

Read an excerpt from the Washington Post piece on this crud:

SEATTLE -- King County Executive Ron Sims has a simple test for every new public works project, building plan or government land purchase: Will it increase the region's total greenhouse-gas emissions, or reduce them?

'We are totally committed to reducing emissions, but it requires rethinking the way we do our activities,' Sims explained. 'People are saying, "But we've always done it this way." We're saying, "That way doesn't work in an age of global warming." '

Officials in King County and other places are rethinking the way their communities grow and operate, all with an eye toward reducing their overall carbon footprint. After decades of policies that encouraged people to move out to the suburbs in pursuit of larger homes and bigger back yards, some policymakers are now pushing aggressively to increase urban density and discourage the use of private cars.

In Massachusetts, the state demands that developers calculate and disclose the climate impact of their projects. In California, Attorney General Edmund G. 'Jerry' Brown Jr. has sued communities and power companies for failing to offset the greenhouse gases generated by their expansion plans. And Washington, D.C., officials are installing a new trolley line and bike rental kiosks in an effort to cut back on car trips within the city.

We have to thank the collectivistic clods from Greenpeace and Earth Liberation Front and socialist celebrities like Bill Maher who have successfully pulled off the Global Warming Chicken Little hysteria over this non-issue. It's not a surprise that more than 70 percent of the American people have been brainwashed by the establishment, the Left, and the envirowhackos within the Left to support these whacked "anti-Global Warming" policies.

Ron Paul: Obama Will Be President

Ron Paul predicts that Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama of Illinois will be our next president coming January 2009.

Here's an excerpt of the L.A. Times blog on his prediction:

Rep. Ron Paul, the House member from Texas who technically remains in the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination against Sen. John McCain, predicts that Democratic Sen. Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States.

According to the campus newspaper of Maryland's Goucher College, the 72-year-old Paul made the surprising statement during campaign remarks Thursday at a school presidential forum.

The newspaper report said the auditorium was overflowing with students and parents, who interrupted the congressman with applause nearly two dozen times during his speech.

Paul was very successful in political fundraising during the past year, amassing more than $34 million, more than twice the amount collected by more prominent candidates such as ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The Praiseworthy Resignation of LP Executive Director Shane Cory

Libertarian Party Executive Director Shane Cory announced his resignation from his post with the national LP staff this week. (The announcement can also be found from the LP's website as well.)

Here's the transcript of his resignation in its entirety:

Washington, D.C. - Executive Director Shane Cory has stepped down this week from his staff position with the Libertarian Party.

'I have come to appreciate his talent and professional performance,' says Libertarian Party Chairman William Redpath, expressing his thanks for Cory's outstanding service to the LP. 'Also, as a personal friend. I wish him well and future success.'

'Shane was very productive and an excellent financial manager,' says Libertarian National Committee member Vice Admiral Michael Colley, USN [Ret.]. 'He got the Party back on the right page financially and did very well representing the Party in the nation's capital. He did well for us, and it's unfortunately been his personal decision to do something else with his energy.'

'It was a pleasure working with Shane during his time with the Libertarian Party,' says National Media Coordinator Andrew Davis. 'He was an asset to the libertarian movement as a whole, and we know he will continue fighting for freedom in this nation with whatever he does next.'

The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

It's interesting to note that the members of the Libertarian National Committee who commented on Corey's resignation refused to acknowledge the primary reason for Corey's departure from the national LP headquarters: his recent LP press release which implicitly attacked the Party's top presidential contender Mary Ruwart for her not-so-secret libertarian position on child pornography taken from her book Short Answers to the Tough Questions. The brouhaha, as many of the readers here very well know, was started when LP presidential candidate George Phillies, in response to several posts started by a troll on the Third Party Watch blog (who may have either been a Bob Barr supporter or a Wayne Allyn Root crony), posted Mary's question-and-answer position on child pornography. The troll, who's gone by the name Ruwarchy, has even attacked Mary for her position, and then a series of endless vitriolic exchanges between Ruwart's supporters, a certain segment of LP members disgusted with Mary's old answer on the issue, and Wayne and Barr supporters continued unabated.

Of course, this nonsense resulted in Mary, along with Bruce Cohen, David F. Nolan (the Party's founder), George Phillies, and R. Lee Wrights (Mary's campaign manager), appearing on Steve Kubby's radio show on Blog Talk Radio to discuss the matter once and for all. In a nutshell, David Nolan called LP Chairman Bill Redpath a coward and said that, if Redpath "had any cajones, he would fire Shane."

Sadly, Christine Smith, another LP presidential hopeful, endorsed Corey's press release with the following letter:

Dear Shane & Andrew,

I appreciated your press release 'Libertarians call for increased communication to combat child pornography.'

Your press release was powerful in that it illustrates how libertarians can lead government (and society) into a more libertarian direction by using such controversial issues to express a better approach. You correctly balanced your statement condoning the need for greater communication between law enforcement agencies while simultaneously focusing upon protection of privacy rights. Further, you elucidated a clear libertarian perspective contrasting victim-less crimes (and the enormous resources wasted on them) versus real crimes such as those in which the the individual rights of the life and liberty of , in this case, children, are at stake.

Thank you for having the courage to express a libertarian perspective on such a matter and for defending the integrity of the LP on this issue. The last thing our party needs is to become associated with an anarchist viewpoint when it comes to the safety of children.

Shane & Andrew, you did an excellent job, as our Executive Director & our Media Coordinator, sharing a libertarian approach to a most difficult and tragic matter in our nation.

Christine Smith

As much I had originally liked Christine Smith (although I wasn't a fan of her candidacy), I was immediately disgusted with her endorsement of Corey's press release, which has been overwhelmingly condemned by many stalwarts in the Party. As far as I'm concerned, Smith isn't worthy of my support, just for her unprincipled support of the Party's unlibertarian support for federal enforcement of laws criminalizing child pornography. Because of that, she will not receive the delegates' support or even my support on that matter.

As I noted above, it's obvious that Corey resigned for one reason, and one reason only: he, along with the Root and Barr cronies, wanted to smear Ruwart in a concerted effort to ensure that either Root or Barr secure the LP presidential nomination. As a result, the tide turned against him, forcing him to resign in disgrace.