Heath Becomes A Dookie*

My soon to be former congressman, Heath Shuler, has a new job lined up. He’s becoming the top “Federal affairs official” for Duke Energy aka Duke Power. That is Beltway-speak for lobbyist.

From The Hill:

The conservative Democrat won’t vote on any matters affecting Duke Energy for the remainder of his time in Congress, the company said in a statement that touted the hiring of the one-time Washington Redskins quarterback.

“Heath is well known in Washington for working with leaders from both political parties and for bringing people together in his district in Western North Carolina,” said Keith Trent, a vice president with Duke Energy’s regulated utilities.

Shuler, who announced in February that he was not seeking reelection, will be based in Duke’s Washington, D.C., office.

A Duke spokesman, citing House ethics rules, said Shuler would not be “actively lobbying” for one year but could do so after that period. Shuler will be overseeing and determining how to strengthen Duke’s D.C. office, spokesman Tom Williams said.

The environmental activist new site Grist offers this rather snide comment on the revolving door between Congress and K-Street:

That’s the commitment to ethical integrity our Congress is known for: No voting on issues related to your future employer. Strictly verboten. Hard line in the sand.

Plus, he’ll have to wait an entire year before coming back to Capitol Hill.

Wow! A whole year. That must suck.

If you wondered about his commitment to living in Waynesville with his wife Nikol and kids Navy and Island, wonder no more. His house is for sale. If you have $2.7 million lying around it can be yours.

If you listen carefully to the video below, you will notice Heath saying that they have enjoyed living in the house for six years. Hmm. How long did Heath serve in Congress? Six years. Do you think Rahm Emanual parachuted him into Western North Carolina to run for Congress? Yep.

*Dookie. A term of “affection” traditionally used for graduates of that politically correct university in Durham, NC where one is guilty until proven innocent if you are male and white. The same family that endowed Duke University founded Duke Power thus my use of the term Dookie.

Sorry Heath, This Doesn’t Cut It

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) is usually a reliable vote on Second Amendment issues and is one of the leaders of the Blue Dog Democrats. He decided not to run for re-election earlier this year. His Chief of Staff, Hayden Rogers, is the Democratic nominee for the seat and was endorsed in the primary by the NRA-PVF. Rogers will face the winner of the Republican run-off primary.

Yesterday, Shuler was one of the 67 no votes on H. Res. 711 which is the contempt citation for Attorney General Eric Holder. He released this to press explaining his vote.

“Today the House of Representatives proved once again that dysfunction and partisanship rule the day. The vote to hold Attorney General Holder in Contempt of Congress after the Department of Justice released the requested information demonstrates that Congress has lost touch. While I strongly believe that the Department of Justice should fully cooperate with Congress to ensure transparency in the “Fast and Furious” operation, this motion lacks an enforcement mechanism to make it anything more than politically motivated. Further, I am disappointed that though an agreement could have been reached, the Majority has opted to use this vote as a fundraising mechanism to rally the base. It is no wonder I have opted to retire.”

I’m sorry but I have to raise the BS flag on this. The Department of Justice did NOT release the requested information prior to the vote. The DOJ has given the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approximately 7,600 documents out of an estimated 140,000 (or even larger 250,000 documents according to some sources). If Mr. Shuler considers this releasing the requested information, he is sorely mistaken.

If there is a problem with the enforcement mechanism, it is only because a) the US Attorney for the District of Columbia is a Democrat and b) the Republican leadership does not want to use their inherent contempt power to arrest Holder.

As to his impending retirement, with four years in the NFL and six in Congress, we should all be so lucky to get the retirement checks he’ll be getting for 10 years of work.

So, Heath, this BS Flag is for you!

BS Flag gif

NRA-ILA On Passage Of HR 822 By The House

The NRA-ILA released this statement on the passage of HR 822 yesterday. As Chris Cox notes, this moves us one step closer to improving self-defense laws in the U.S.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an important self-defense measure that would enable millions of Right-to-Carry permit holders across the country to carry concealed firearms while traveling outside their home states. H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, passed by a majority bipartisan vote of 272 to 154. All amendments aimed to weaken or damage the integrity of this bill were defeated.

“NRA has made the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act a priority because it enhances the fundamental right to self-defense guaranteed to all law-abiding people,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “People are not immune from crime when they cross state lines. That is why it is vital for them to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones should the need arise.”

H.R. 822, introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), allows any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes.

This bill does not affect existing state laws. State laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within each state’s borders. H.R. 822 does not create a federal licensing system or impose federal standards on state permits; rather, it requires the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards.

As of today, 49 states have laws in place that permit their citizens to carry a concealed firearm in some form. Only Illinois and the District of Columbia deny its residents the right to carry concealed firearms outside their homes or businesses for self-defense.

“We are grateful for the support of Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Majority Whip McCarthy, Judiciary Chairman Smith and primary sponsors Congressmen Stearns and Shuler for their steadfast support of H.R. 822. Thanks to the persistence of millions of American gun owners and NRA members, Congress has moved one step closer to improving crucial self-defense laws in this country,” concluded Cox.

I might note here that Heath Schuler is my Congressman. I haven’t always agreed with him but he has always been very good on Second Amendment issues.

HR 3065 – Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC-11) has introduced the House version of Sen. Mark Udall’s S. 1249 – Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. Both bills seek to reallocate Pittman-Robinson Wildlife Restoration Act monies towards the development of shooting and archery ranges on both Federal and non-Federal lands.

The act says that the Federal portion used for construction or expansion can be up to 75% of the total cost. Moreover, for land acquisition to be used for a range or its expansion, the Federal share can be up to 90% of the total.

The bill currently has 52 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisles.

Rep Austria, Steve [OH-7] – 9/23/2011
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 9/23/2011
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] – 9/23/2011
Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 9/23/2011
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] – 9/23/2011
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] – 9/23/2011
Rep Buchanan, Vern [FL-13] – 9/23/2011
Rep Bucshon, Larry [IN-8] – 10/4/2011
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 9/23/2011
Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] – 9/23/2011
Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] – 9/23/2011
Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] – 9/23/2011
Rep Coffman, Mike [CO-6] – 10/3/2011
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 9/23/2011
Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] – 9/23/2011
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] – 9/23/2011
Rep Critz, Mark S. [PA-12] – 9/23/2011
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 10/5/2011
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] – 9/23/2011
Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] – 9/23/2011
Rep Guinta, Frank C. [NH-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] – 9/23/2011
Rep Hanna, Richard L. [NY-24] – 9/23/2011
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] – 9/23/2011
Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] – 9/23/2011
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] – 9/23/2011
Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] – 9/23/2011
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 10/4/2011
Rep Kissell, Larry [NC-8] – 9/23/2011
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 9/23/2011
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 9/23/2011
Rep Lewis, Jerry [CA-41] – 9/23/2011
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] – 10/5/2011
Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] – 10/3/2011
Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-2] – 9/23/2011
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 9/23/2011
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] – 9/23/2011
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 10/4/2011
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – 9/23/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 9/23/2011
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] – 9/23/2011
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] – 10/3/2011
Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1] – 9/23/2011
Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7] – 10/5/2011
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] – 9/23/2011
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 10/5/2011
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 9/23/2011
Rep Young, Don [AK] – 9/23/2011

I initially missed this bill because it was introduced on September 23rd which was the first day of the Gun Rights Policy Conference. Now that I see it, I encourage everyone to contact their Congressman or Congresswoman to become a co-sponsor. If they are already a co-sponsor, make that a thank-you note!

Another NC Representative Plans To Carry Concealed

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC 11) made news when he announced after the Tucson shootings that he had a Concealed Handgun Permit (NC’s version of CCW) and planned to carry concealed at public events.

According to WRAL – Raleigh, Shuler will now be joined by freshman Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC 2) who defeated incumbent Bob “Who Are You” Etheridge in November. Ellmers obtained her CHP after taking the required training back in February 2010. She never hid the fact that she had a CHP during her campaign and even spoke of it with regard to belief in Second Amendment rights.

“We have to protect ourselves. We know that. That is something we have always been cognizant of,” Ellmers said. “There have been times in the past I have carried my weapon, and I will probably continue to do so. Some days I might have it. Some days I might not.”…“I feel safe with it, and I think we should all be able to defend ourselves as we need to,” Ellmers said.

WRAL also reported that in addition to Shuler and Ellmers, Rep. Sue Myrick “told The Charlotte Observer that she’s a good shot and likely would carry a gun when she felt the need to do so.”

While I am glad that Representatives Shuler, Ellmers, and Myrick plan to take their protection into their own hands, North Carolina may be problematic. As Sean point out in his blog, NC law forbids carrying concealed at certain public events.

§ 14‑277.2. Weapons at parades, etc., prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person participating in, affiliated with, or present as a spectator at any parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility or upon any public place owned or under the control of the State or any of its political subdivisions to willfully or intentionally possess or have immediate access to any dangerous weapon. Violation of this subsection shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor. It shall be presumed that any rifle or gun carried on a rack in a pickup truck at a holiday parade or in a funeral procession does not violate the terms of this act.

(b) For the purposes of this section the term “dangerous weapon” shall include those weapons specified in G.S. 14‑269, 14‑269.2, 14‑284.1, or 14‑288.8 or any other object capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death when used as a weapon.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person exempted by the provisions of G.S. 14‑269(b) or to persons authorized by State or federal law to carry dangerous weapons in the performance of their duties or to any person who obtains a permit to carry a dangerous weapon at a parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration from the sheriff or police chief, whichever is appropriate, of the locality where such parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration is to take place.

Subsection C does provide for obtaining a permit to carry a dangerous weapon at those events. Frankly, after Tucson, I don’t see any sheriff or police chief turning down a permit for a sitting Congressman who plans to carry concealed.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a theory about human behavior that was developed by psychologist Louis Festinger in 1957. It refers to a situation where you have two incompatible beliefs or bits of knowledge which cause psychological discomfort. According to Festinger, when this situation occurs people seek to diminish it by changing one belief to bring it into conformity with the other.

So why on a gun blog would we even care about some psychological theory?

What if your Democratic Congressman who is endorsed by the NRA-PVF, who delivered the carve-out on the DISCLOSE bill for the NRA, and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting finds himself in a tough race for re-election. In an effort to shore up his Democratic base he reaches out to a former President who is roundly despised by gun people and who implemented some of the worst gun control laws in recent memory.

At Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, NC – 2008

I am speaking about Congressman Heath Shuler and former President Bill Clinton who will share a stage together Thursday in Asheville, North Carolina. Clinton is coming to Asheville to headline a campaign rally for Shuler in an effort to shore up the “base”. According to an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, Bill Clinton was one of the people who encouraged Shuler to run for Congress in 2006 as well as holding a fund-raiser for him last year. The other person who pushed Shuler to run was Rahm Emanuel. The relationship between Emanuel and Shuler is or was so close that lefty blogger Jane Hamsher referred to Shuler as “Rahm Emanuel’s puppet”.

I realize that politics in western North Carolina suffer from a bit of schizophrenia. I still remember a classmate in graduate school who, in her mind, saw no conflict between being a big Clinton fan and supporting arch-conservative Jesse Helms.

That said, how is one to reconcile Shuler’s pro-gun views with Clinton’s anti-gun behavior? Frankly, I don’t know. All I can figure is that Shuler is determined to stay in Washington longer as a Congressman than he did playing for the Redskins.

“I know you’re mad at Congress, and so am I.”

Congressman Heath Shuler is running the ad above. He is the “Blue Dog” Democrat who represents much of western North Carolina including me. He isn’t a bad sort but he has never impressed me as the sharpest knife in the drawer either. While he did vote against ObamaCare and is pro-gun, he has voted for cap-and-trade and the union-backed card-check. He rationalized the latter by saying he had been a union member. The union in question was the NFL Player’s Association.

In the beginning of the ad, Heath seriously intones, “I know you’re mad at Congress, and so am I.” However, when you begin to think about it you say to yourself, “Hey, wait a minute, you ARE a Congressman. You’re mad at yourself?”

I call this the Heath Shuler self-loathing campaign ad.