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Virginia drivers refusing to swap Confederate plates

(WAVY-TV) It is now illegal to drive with Virginia license plates featuring the Confederate flag, but some plan to defy the change in the Commonwealth.

Kevin Collier of Suffolk is a commander of the Stonewall Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He received a letter last month telling him he had until October 4 to swap out his Confederate flag license plate with a new one without the flag, provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Governor Terry McAuliffe called for the change this summer after a man pictured posing with the flag was accused of killing 9 African-Americans in a South Carolina church. Collier has missed the deadline to change plates and said he doesn’t plan to.

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Government Power Was His Mortal Enemy

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.


 “Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it,” wrote novelist N.D. Wilson. “The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.”

In the last six of his 49 years of life, brought to an untimely end by tuberculosis, the classical liberal Frenchman Frédéric Bastiat produced an astonishing volume of books and essays in defense of free markets and free people. He towered over the smug intellectuals and politicians of his native France, most of whom were mentally mired in the country’s ancient traditions of statist central planning of the economy.

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws,” he reasoned. “On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

Bastiat also gave us perhaps the world’s most succinct description of the redistributive apparatus of government: “The State is the great fiction through which everyone lives at the expense of everyone else.

The world in the 21st century is beset with economic fallacies that are, for the most part, modern versions of those that Bastiat demolished 16 decades ago.

If a posthumous Nobel Prize were to be awarded to just one person for crystal-clear writing and masterful storytelling in economics, no one would be more deserving of it than Bastiat. Here is the great pity of his short time on this earth: while he lived and ever since, his own country never possessed the collec…

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ISIS attacking U.S. energy grid

(CNN/Money) U.S. law enforcement officials revealed the hack attempts on Wednesday at a conference of American energy firms who were meeting about national security concerns.

“ISIL is beginning to perpetrate cyberattacks,” Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the Department of Homeland Security, told company executives.

Investigators would not reveal any details to CNNMoney — or cite evidence of specific incidents.

Sooner or later, someone — or something — is going to do serious damage to America’s electrical grid system. Are you prepared? Read “A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe” (Autographed)(Hardcover).

But they did say the attacks by the Islamic State have been unsuccessful. Terrorists are not currently using the most sophisticated hacking tools to break into computer systems and turn off or blow up machines.

“Strong intent. Thankfully, low capability,” said John Riggi, a section chief at the FBI’s cyber division. “But the concern is that they’ll buy that capability.”

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Which Is More Valuable: Deodorant or Apple’s New iPhone 6s?

Many college students are eager to upgrade to Apple’s new iPhone 6s — or so my daughter tells me. But she’s not. The battery life of her $100 Android phone is at least 48 hours on one charge; her friends can’t get through the day without charging their iPhones. She’s okay with her smaller screen and its lower resolution; battery life is her value driver.

“What presidential candidate are your iPhone-using friends supporting?” I asked her.

“Bernie Sanders,” she reported, “They’re huge fans.”

Her response surprised me. It was Sanders who said, “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.” If Sanders thinks consumer choice is unimportant as long as we face unresolved social problems, why would his supporters feel compelled to spend their money on an upgrade to the latest marginally improved iPhone when they could be donating that money, or the time they spend earning that disposable income, to charity?

Do they experience any cognitive dissonance between their enthusiasm for Sanders and their urgency to buy the latest iPhone? Perhaps they believe they are victims of our culture’s “crass consumerism” — and that they themselves need greater guidance from above.

Or maybe they believe that if a socialist planner came to power, only those things that they think are wasteful will be eliminated. But how likely is that? Clearly those who delight in the latest iPhone are free to do so only if others are free to delight in the newest brand of deodorant.

I thought about how consumer choice and “waste” play out in my own life. Every fall, I drive 70 miles round trip to buy freshly picked apples from an orchard. Am I wasting gas and money? The apples in the supermarket might look the same as those I buy at the orchard, but my tongue tel…

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Fire chief fired for views on homosexuality has day in court

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran

The city of Atlanta is asking a federal judge to toss out of court a wrongful discharge suit filed by former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired by the mayor in January after he wrote a men’s devotional book for a Baptist church group that was critical of homosexuality.

A hearing was held Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, and a decision is expected within 30 days.

Cochran wrote the book on his own time and says he was fired solely because of the religious views he expressed in the book with regard to homosexuality, which he included along with bestiality and other sexual activity as against God’s natural order.

The book, titled “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” included a section on sexuality in which Cochran described all sex outside of traditional holy matrimony as displeasing to God.

Cochran claims his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion were violated by the city and Mayor Muhammad Kasim Reed.

Cochran wrote in his book the following passage:

“When men are unrestrained in their quest for sex outside of God’s purpose they will never be fulfilled. Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

That ran counter to the beliefs of Mayor Muhammad Kasim Reed and was enough to get him suspended, then fired.

The city now claims the reason Cochran was fired was because he didn’t get written permission to write the self-published book.

“One of the most alarming things is that we did not know about the book when it was published,” city spokeswoman Anne Torres told WSB-TV.

But Cochran’s lawyers said that’s simply not true. They say Cochran handed an early copy of his book to Reed in January 2014, a year before he was fired.

“This wasn’t a surprise,” said Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Cochran in his legal battle with the city. “This is the thought police.”

Christian churches and groups rallied around Cochran, a deacon at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta. Thousands signed a petition seeking his reinstatement.

Muhammad Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta.

Muhammad Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta.

“A religious test can’t be used to fire a public servant, but that’s just what the city of Atlanta did to Chief Cochran in this case,” Theriot said. “This places every city employee in jeopardy who may hold to a belief that city officials just don’t like. Tolerance must apply to people of all different viewpoints not just to those who agree with the beliefs that government favors.”

Cochran said he would never hide his faith, nor would he ever mistreat any person based on their sexual orientation. He was, in fact, cleared in an investigation of mistreating any of his fellow city employees.

“In the United States of America, Americans should not have to choose between keeping your job and living out your faith,” Cochran told The Daily Signal in July. “And that’s the position the city of Atlanta actually has taken—that I have to have a choice to live out my faith or to keep my job.”

“Everything I wrote in the book is based on scriptures, not my opinions,” he told USA Today after he was terminated.

“LGBT citizens deserve the right to express their belief regarding sexual orientation and deserve to be respected for their position without hate and discrimination, but Christians also have the right to express their beliefs as well,” said Cochran.

Alex Wan, Atlanta's only openly homosexual city council member.

Alex Wan, Atlanta’s only openly homosexual city council member.

City Councilman Alex Wan, the city’s openly homosexual council member, supported Reed’s decision to terminate Cochran, a decision that was widely cheered by the city’s LGBT community.

“I respect each individual’s right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions but when you’re a city employee and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door,” Wan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Growing up poor

Cochran grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana.

“My father left my mother and my mother never remarried. We were already poor when he was there but after he left we couldn’t afford to live in the projects anymore,” he recalls. “I remember times when our water was turned off and we had to keep pots and jugs in the house filled with water because my mother knew in a few days that we would have no water.”

But he never lost hope, he said, that things would turn around.

“For all my childhood I thought about two things growing up, not wanting to be poor and I wanted to be a firefighter,” he said.

He became not only that, but the nation’s top firefighter when President Obama tapped him to become the U.S. Fire Administrator.

“Now those principles that I was taught as a kid — faith in God, education, respect authority and treat other people like you want to be treated — really fed my career success and my life success,” Cochran said.

A couple of years later Atlanta’s mayor came calling. Reed “begged” Cochran to return to his old post. He did and was named fire chief of the year in 2012.

Not politically correct?

But all that hard word and good will disappeared when Reed started receiving complaints from those in the city who were offended by the fire chief’s religious views.

The mayor released the following statement after firing Cochran:

“The material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all citizens – regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race and religious beliefs.”

Before firing the chief in January, Reed had initially suspended him in November 2014. Reed also said he made the decision to ax the award-winning chief not for his religious beliefs but for his “judgment.”

But the city can’t have it both ways, says ADF’s Jeremy Tedesco.

“The reality is that when the mayor suspended him without pay for 30 days he came out and said that he profoundly disagreed with, and was deeply disturbed, by what Chief Cochran wrote in his book,” said Tedesco. “And that was the reason given for the initial suspension. Now, sure, the city has said a lot of different things since then. Those are what we call pretexts in the law. Pretexts are things that you say to try to cover up the wrong things that you did, and that’s what the city is doing here.”

A chilling effect on religious liberty

Cochran’s battle, if he loses, will have a chilling effect on religious freedom in America, Tedesco said.

“Every American should be concerned about a government that thinks it can fire you because of what you believe, which is exactly what happened to Chief Cochran,” he said. “If it can happen to him, a distinguished firefighter who obtained the highest position in fire service in the United States, it can happen to anybody.”

Despite being completely exonerated of doing anything wrong on his job and how he treats people, the city fired him anyway, Tedesco said. “And that really goes to show, they fired him for one thing, and that is, he held the wrong beliefs, according to the city.”

Cochran said he still wants his job back. In fact, he’s had difficulty finding another job because of all the disparaging comments that Reed has made about him.

“To actually lose my childhood dream-come-true profession where all of my expectations have been greatly exceeded, over my faith, the very faith that caused me to get my job, ultimately has cost me my job.”

“All Americans are guaranteed the freedom of actually believing and thinking in such a way that does not cost them the consequences that I’ve experienced in this termination.”

ADF attorneys said they hope the civil rights lawsuit will vindicate Cochran’s and send a message to the government that you “can’t fire someone for their religious beliefs and thoughts.”

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The Creative Destruction of Nudity in Playboy Magazine

Playboy has finally found a new way to shock and titillate America.

The magazine has announced that it will no longer feature full nudity. Instead, it will be moving toward a partially clad, cheesecake pin-up style.

The desire for pictures of fresh-faced girls next door — filled by Playboy in ersatz and airbrushed fashion — is, presumably, easily filled by the actual girls next door on Snapchat and Tinder.

When I heard the news, I immediately wondered what the great economist Joseph Schumpeter would have made of it. Schumpeter, who famously sought to become the world’s greatest economist, lover, and horseman — and admitted to failure only when it came to horses — would surely have followed the news from Playboy with interest.

But Schumpeter’s interest would have been as professional as it was prurient. As Michael Miller reports in the Washington Post,

By routinizing provocative images of naked women, Playboy inevitably created a market for its own rivals. In the 1970s, the magazine went head to head with newcomer Penthouse, whose more graphic female nudity pushed Playboy to become more extreme as well…. Playboy eventually toned down its photos in an attempt to re-establish its “girl next door” reputation, but the company would face even stiffer competition with the rise of the Internet. Suddenly, graphic porn wasn’t just available online. It was free. Playboy’s circulation, which had peaked at 5.6 million in 1975, plummeted to its present tally of 800,000.

The disappearance of full nudity from Playboy magazine is, in other words, a perfect example of Schumpeter’s concept of creative destruction. Schumpeter wrote that the “essential fact about capitalism” is creat…

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Top U.S. evangelist back from brink of death

Jack and Rexella Van Impe

Jack and Rexella Van Impe

He’s been in active ministry for 68 years, longer than most of his peers have been alive.

He rivals Billy Graham in his longevity and, in his knowledge of Scripture, he may be in a league of his own.

But he almost died in a hospital bed back in April, only to return six months later on Oct. 3 to share his back-from-the-brink story.

He is Jack Van Impe, the man many refer to by his nickname, “The Walking Bible,” for the way he quotes dozens of scriptures at dizzying speed over the course of a half-hour broadcast.

The 84-year-old televangelist returned to his show Oct. 3 with a message about the dangers of an emerging combination of Islam and Christianity, called “Chrislam” and how it’s being promoted in a nationwide billboard campaign by a wealthy Muslim group.

But before he got into that message, he shared about his brush with death.

“I was on my deathbed. Doctors only gave me a 20 percent chance of living, 80 percent chance of dying,” Van Impe said.

On April 10, a week after open-heart surgery, the doctors called his wife, Rexella, who is the co-host of his long-running show, “Jack Van Impe Presents.” They told her she needed to come to the hospital, soon. Her husband was passing in and out of consciousness and it might be time for a final goodbye.

“After 60 to 70 days, because I’d lost all comprehension, I didn’t know who I was, where I was, I was going to resign from the ministry because I’d even lost my speech,” Van Impe explained to his audience. “I have been through the hardest 115 days of my life, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve suffered so much.”

He said he had a great team of doctors, including one who was a Muslim.

They did the surgery on April 4 and on April 10 they called Rexella saying they thought he would pass away.

“They called Rexella and said, he’s in bad shape. They said ‘It’s 5:30 in the morning, do you want to see your hubby again, get here right away Rexella.’ I just thank God for my wife. Doctor Levin said this woman came in every day for 42 days and sat there for five hours and held your hand. You wouldn’t be alive young man… if it hadn’t been for her love.’ Rexella I love you so much.”

He broke down in tears on the set. Then he did what he has always done. He started quoting Scripture.

It was vintage Jack Van Impe, reciting Bible verses in rapid-fire sequence followed by citations of chapter and verse. His keen memory, like his speech, had returned. He was pumping his fists like a street preacher and stretching out the pronunciation of key words as if they were lyrics on a song sheet.

Watch clip of Jack Van Impe describing his ordeal of nearly dying from heart ailment:

“Then you sat there another 35 days when I lost my speech,” he told his wife. “And you sat there and it just warmed my heart. And the Bible says in Ephesians 5:25, ‘husbands love your wife even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.’ And I love you that much. I love you that much.

“Dr. Levin said, ‘we know that God had a part in this but, oh, Rexella kept you alive.'”

Rexella Van Impe said her husband, whom she met at a Billy Graham crusade where she served as organist in the early 1950s, received around 10,000 get-well cards during his absence from the show, which she continued to produce weekly with help from guest host Carl Baugh.

Those fans and well-wishers have been building since Van Impe was ordained in 1947.

Over the years Van Impe, the son of a hard-drinking nightclub musician turned Christian missionary, has never shied from, as he says, “speaking the truth.”

His commitment to speaking out against what he sees as the lies and deceptions of false teachers and false religions have sometimes landed him in conflicts.

In June of 2011, Trinity Broadcasting Network refused to air an episode of “Jack Van Impe Presents” that criticized Robert Schuller and Rick Warren for promoting “Chrislam,” a movement that seeks to downplay the doctrinal differences between Christianity and Islam. Van Impe responded by pulling his show from TBN.

Exposing Islam’s new billboard campaign

The truth about Islam is a topic he continues to hammer today from his studio in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It is not a religion of peace, he says, despite what American Muslims or their apologists in Washington say.

Jack Van Impe returned to his Michigan studio Oct. 3 for the first time in six months.

Jack Van Impe returned to his Michigan studio Oct. 3 for the first time in six months.

In his second broadcast back from the extended sick leave, Van Impe blew the lid off the massive deception he says lies behind a billboard campaign by the Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front group that wants to erect 100 billboards across the U.S. promoting Islam.

Some of the billboards have already started appearing in Texas, Georgia, Iowa, California and other states.

“Find Jesus in the Quran,” blasts one of the signs near Dallas.

“Muhammad: A Mercy to Mankind,” flashes another.

“Same family, same message: Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohamed, peace be upon them all,” screams yet another.

And, till another billboard says, “Muhammad Believed In: Peace, Social Justice, Women’s Rights.”

One of the many billboards being placed around the U.S. by the Islamic Circle of North America, a group supported and funded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

One of the many billboards being placed around the U.S. by the Islamic Circle of North America, a group supported and funded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

At the bottom of all the billboard messages is inscribed “Why Islam?” followed by a toll-free number and a website, WhyIslam.org, where people can get their questions about Islam answered by Muslims.

‘396 lies about our Jesus’

The idea is to promote the teaching that there is a spiritual kinship between Muslims, Jews and Christians, Van Impe said.

This idea is quickly laid to rest by the Quran, however, which Van Impe cited, in Sura 9:1-6 as saying “Unbelievers, (Jews and Christians) I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship. You have your own religion and I have mine.”

Van Impe, looking thinner and a bit pale, lacked none of his usual energy on set in the Oct. 10 show. He said he has documented 396 lies about Jesus in the Quran.

“I have plenty to say because since they put out these billboards I’ve been searching my New Testament, I’ve been searching the Quran, and they have 396 lies and errors about our Jesus and their Jesus. They are not the same. And that’s why Moses, who they’re claiming is one of their followers, said in the first commandment ‘thou shall have no other gods before me,’ and that includes Jesus, who is our God, Romans 9, verse 5.”

And what are some of these errors embedded in Islamic teaching?

“Number one, that the Jesus of the Quran and the one of the Christian Bible are identical. A lie. A fabrication. A deceit. Why? In Sura, chapters 4,5,6,9, 17, 19, 23, 88, eight times, if you believe Christ is the Son of God you will burn in hell forever. Now is that what your Bible, (whether) Protestant, Christian, Catholic, teaches? Absolutely not,” Van Impe said.

‘You are an antichrist!”

“Ours says that in 1 John 2:22 if you deny Christ is the Son of God then you are an antichrist! And that’s you guys that twist and lie to the public,” he continued. “There has never been such deception as these billboards you’re going to set up. By the way, Jesus, 51 times, is called the Son of God. No doubt about it (in the Bible).”

He then recited a litany of Bible chapters and verse describing Jesus Christ as God’s Son, including Jesus’ words that “no man can come to the Father except by me.” And “there is no name under heaven by which you must be saved.”

“I’ve found 396 times where your billboards are wrong. It’s deceit. And, I’ve never known of a religious group that has so minimized and disgraced the true Jesus.”

Defending Ben Carson

Jack and Rexella then defended Dr. Ben Carson for telling the truth about Islam and it’s incompatibility with any elected official sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

“Ladies and gentlemen when the Muslims get into office they don’t care what the laws of the land are, whether it’s Germany, Canada, England, the USA, when they can work it in they switch it over to Shariah law,” he said. “And what is Shariah law? Four main points that must be carried out when they rule. Number one, you kill your daughters if they have premarital sex, number two you kill all homosexuals, number three you kill all apostates, your own, if they say one word against the Quran, Mohamed or Allah. Number four, you kill all infidels, that’s anyone of any other religion.”

History shows trail of death for Christians under Islam

Van Impe said the greatest number of Christians ever slaughtered in the history of the world since the year 600 when Islam came into existence has happened in this last century, the 20th century.

“And their method is beheading. And that’s Revelation 20 verse 4, ‘I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus.’ You can’t deny this is going on. And it’s going to continue going on because they have to get rid of all infidels and that’s anyone in any other religion who will not accept Allah.”

Rapture ‘before Armageddon’

Van Impe has also been a big proponent of the pre-Tribulation rapture teaching, often punctuating his teachings with references to this escape of Christians into the heavenly realm before the wrath of God is poured out on the Earth. On Oct. 10, he closed his show saying, “Get ready. Prepare to meet your God, Amos 4, verse 12. He’s coming soon, the rapture, we’re going to be called home. Before it takes place. Before Armageddon.”

As for his ability to memorize Scripture, Van Impe has said that it didn’t happen overnight.

On his website, Jack Van Impe Ministries, he credits the memorization techniques of one Rev. David Allen, whose classes he sat under when he was young.

“The authority given his ministry by using Bible verses was easy to see. It is not surprising that one of his students decided to build on the same foundation.”

He attributes the lasting effect of his many crusades to the saturation of his sermons with Bible verses.

“Sinners are confronted with God’s Word, rather than tear-jerking stories,” Van Impe says on his website. “The result is conviction and genuine conversions. Christians are moved to revival because they are forced to see themselves as God sees them. And that is what preaching is all about.”

Van Impe declined to be interviewed for this story saying he’s said all he wanted to say about his health crisis in the last two shows aired Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.

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4 Reasons People Assume I’m Smarter Than My Contractor

In “Don’t Assume I’m Smarter Than My Contractor,” I recalled an incident where my contractor, Tom, asked me a question prefaced with, “You’re smarter than I am, so….”

It led me to think about how our culture tells us that intelligence means having academic smarts and being well schooled, which devalues other kinds of smarts. The article was well received and seems to have struck a collective nerve. It also elicited one common follow-up question: Why does our culture lead us to assume that I, a PhD, am smarter than my contractor?

A number of factors are involved in this cultural message. I want to highlight a few of them.

1. The Comprehensive High School

Before the mid-19th century, there were no public high schools. There were private academies, and their job was primarily to prepare well-to-do and middle-class kids for college and the learned professions. Public high schools started appearing in the 1860s, and by the turn of the century, they were common. Compulsory education laws and other factors led more and more teens to attend these public high schools.

Our culture tells us that intelligence means having academic smarts and being well schooled, which devalues other kinds of smarts.

But there was a problem. These academically focused high schools saw a big influx of immigrants and poor children in the early 20th century. What was society to do with these students, who seemed ill suited to academic pursuits? Reformers argued about this. Some believed these students should receive the same academic curriculum as everyone else; others believed they needed a different curriculum and maybe even should attend a “vocational” school.

The compromise was the comprehensive high school — a model everyone who’s attended high school in the past century or so is familiar with.

<…

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California gun-control laws wrench leftward

California Gov. Jerry Brown has not voiced an opinion on the state's right-to-die legislation, which was approved in a 42-33 state Assembly vote on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015.

California Gov. Jerry Brown

California’s gun laws are some of the strictest in the U.S., but Gov. Jerry Brown still managed to wrench them tighter over the weekend.

The Democrat signed Senate Bill 707 on Saturday, which expanded a current ban on having firearms within 1,000 feet of a school without permission of administrators. Concealed-carry permit holders no longer have an exemption.

The legislation was introduced by state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, months ago, and was signed by Brown without comment, the Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.

“California’s college campuses and K-12 schools should be sanctuaries for learning, free from the fear of gun violence,” Peggy McCrum, president of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.

The Golden State is now the 20th state to ban campus carry.

“This bill puts control of firearms on campus grounds squarely where it belongs, with those public safety officials responsible for the safety of our students and staff on school or college campuses,” Democratic Assemblyman Bill Dodd, said in a statement following the State Assembly’s vote on Sept. 1, the Washington Times reported.

This infallible argument for armed self-defense presents real stories of Americans fighting back against criminals – and surviving because they were armed. “America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense In A Violent Age” is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered if concealed carry can actually save and protect.

Brown’s signature comes less than two weeks after the Oct. 1 massacre in a gun-free zone in Roseburg, Oregon, where 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer killed nine and injured seven at Umpqua Community College.

The school’s lone security officer was unarmed.

Harper-Mercer committed suicide after an exchange of gunfire with cops responding to the first 9-1-1 calls at 10:38 a.m. PST.

“This bill will put thousands of innocent lives at risk. Criminals will know that their intended victims are totally vulnerable when they’re on California school grounds because SB 707 will ensure that they’re defenseless against a violent attack,” Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, told the Los Angeles Times.

Active law enforcement officers are not subject to SB 707. The bill also includes an exemption for retired law officers and reserve officers, provided their former agency gives authorization.

School officials do have leeway to grant permission to individuals with concealed-weapons permits.

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Who Exactly Is Government Helping?

Almost everyone believes that government is an essential institution, necessary to protect us from those threats we cannot counter on our own. But even if we accept that justification, it rarely describes what American government actually does, whether at the local, state, or federal level.

What exactly is the government protecting — and from whom?

Local Protection from Food Trucks

Late last year, Rachel Kennedy wanted to bring a Cuban food truck to North Kansas City, Missouri, a town of four square miles and 4,500 people. That shouldn’t have been controversial. The city agreed to allow the trucks to operate during lunchtime, and several other operators came, too. There was no reason to restrict the trucks to lunchtime, but never mind. At least for one meal a day, consumers enjoyed more choices at less cost. What could possibly go wrong?

The restaurant owners might lobby to expel the food trucks, that’s what. Choice and competition are good, except when you are an incumbent provider. Monte Martello, a local Dairy Queen operator, complained, “They bring the truck in, they compete against us for four hours, and then they drive away.” Outrageous!

Choice and competition are good, except when you are an incumbent provider. 

Worse, Martello went on, “They don’t actually contribute to the community in any way.” All the food trucks do is provide hungry people with lunch, and nothing more. If that’s all, who needs them? City Councilman Gene Bruns asked, “Why are we trying to rob our local businesses with vendors that come in from outside?”

Once the protest got going, city officials ran for cover. The community development director who helped arrange the pilot program refused to take a position. The executive director of the business council refused to be quoted on the issue. Another city councilman suggested allowing in the trucks once a week as a “compromise.” Even that would…