About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

Spend Thrift U

University of California Spends $7.65 Million on Class Taken by One Person

The University of California is a large system of colleges and junior colleges in the State of California.  The entire system has nearly 19,000 faculty and 189,000 staff that provide a college education for almost 235,000 students throughout the state.  They are public schools, governed by a board of regents and receive between $2.5 billion and $3 billion annually from a state on the verge of bankruptcy.

With such a cash strapped state providing several billion dollars of annual funding, you would think that the university system would be doing everything it could to save money. Continue Reading

Pay – Per – Mile

New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent

An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250 percent, raising their current tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to as high as 46 cents, according to a new government study.

But without a tax increase, said the Government Accountability Office study, the government’s highway fund is going to go dry. One reason the fund is going broke: President Obama’s push for fuel efficient cars has resulted in better mileage, and fewer stops at the pump.  Continue Reading

Slice of Paradise

Are you searching for a bit of quiet time after a busy holiday season?

If so, an uninhabited island in Florida’s  Intracoastal Waterway could be yours on Ebay for just $460,000.

Emilio Cirelli, the current owner of the  private land in the Halifax River, just off the coast of the city of Port Orange  has put the deeds on Ebay with no strings attached.

 
Tranquil: This little bit of Florida could be yours for just $460,000Tranquil: This little bit of Florida could be yours for just $460,000
 
Location, location, location: The island is situated in a river, close to the beach
Location, location, location: The island is situated in a river, close to the beach
 
Potential: The interior of the island is ready to be built on
The interior of the island is ready to be built on

As reported in the Orlando  Sentinel,  Cirelli acquired the land in Volusia County after a previous owner defaulted on  property taxes.

Now Cirelli says he can’t afford to build on  the land so has put the three-acre uninhabited property on the auction website. But at the time of writing there hasn’t been too much interest.

The advantages of the plot are obvious. A  prime waterside plot, with no neighbors, the island was created as the Halifax River has been dredged.

Cirelli claims the land is ready for development and the Ebay listing is full of promising details. But be quick, there are only a few hours of the auction left.

 
Picturesque: Watch the boats go by from your own private island
 Watch the boats go by from your own private  island
 
The land is close to Port Orange and some famous Florida beaches
The land is close to Port Orange and some famous Florida  beaches

The private island is 2 miles south of Dunlawton Bridge and the land is only accessible from the river.

As the Ebay page states: ‘Islands are unique  properties as 97% are government owned, not in private ownership, and typically priced over $1,000,000.’

No back taxes are due and a down payment of  just $25,000 is required. Cash, money order or certified funds will be accepted. Only Paypal is not  welcome.

Cirelli also claims that the island is close to some of the nicest beaches on the eastern seaboard.

Though there are some downsides to the secluded private island. Everything has to be taken to the property by barge and there are no power facilities.

The new owner would need to seek permission from local government to build anything there, and the highest point is only five feet above sea level.

 
Most island properties sell for over $1,000,000 but this one is less than half that price
Most island properties sell for over $1,000,000 but this  one is less than half that price
 
There are uninterrupted views of the Intercoastal Waterway
There are uninterrupted views of the Intercoastal  Waterway

Attribution: Daily Mail

Medal Of Honor

A former Army staff sergeant who helped fight  off one of the largest and most brutal attacks against U.S. forces in  Afghanistan will receive the Medal of Honor next month, the White House said  Friday.

President Barack Obama will bestow the medal on Clinton Romesha of Minot, North Dakota, for his ‘courageous actions’ in  Afghanistan in 2009 while he was serving as a section leader during combat  operations against armed enemy forces at Combat Outpost Keating in the country’s  Nuristan Province.

Romesha, 31, will become the fourth living  service member to receive the nation’s highest award for valor for overseas duty  in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Romesha
Romesha's team
 Deadly battle: The attack against Romesha and his  comrades remains one of the deadliest against coalition forces in  Afghanistan

Seven other service members have been  posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in those  wars.

The husband and father of three was a section  leader in B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team,  4th Infantry Division, during the October 3, 2009, attack on the remote  mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan.

The attack remains one of the deadliest  against coalition forces in Afghanistan and is chronicled in the book ‘The  Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor’ written by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and two dozen  others were wounded in the battle in Nuristan as they fought against an  overwhelming Taliban insurgent force that launched the hostile attack to overrun  them.

The Taliban had been harassing the troopers  at Keating for several months, attacking them three or four times a week,  according to an account of the battle on Examiner.com.

Location of attack: The October 3, 2009, attack took place on the remote mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan's Nuristan ProvinceLocation of attack: The October 3, 2009, attack took  place on the remote mountaintop in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province

In total, 50 American, 20 Afghan and two  Latvian soldiers were stationed at the post in addition to a dozen or so Afghan  Security Guards.

Nearby, 19 American and 10 Afghan soldiers at  Observation Post Fritsche also came under heavy fire as well.

The enemy quickly brought mayhem on the two  posts firing a recoilless rifle, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine  guns and rifles.

Two minutes into the attack, the first U.S.  soldier was killed as the enemy targeted the COP’s mortar pit and pinned down  the soldiers stationed at Fritsche, preventing them from providing supporting  fire to Keating.

The Afghan troops and security guards  reportedly abandoned their posts, leaving the Americans and Latvians to fight  alone.

Up close look: The attack occurred at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province while Romesha was serving as a section leader during combat operations The attack occurred at Combat Outpost  Keating in Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province while Romesha was serving as a  section leader during combat operations

Within the first three hours of the battle,  mortars hit the two stations every 15 seconds, and in less than an hour, the  enemy swarmed Keating, eventually setting fire to the outpost and destroying  almost 70 per cent of it.

Romesha and his fellow soldiers fought back  for hours as heavy enemy fire came down on them from all directions.

The staff sergeant moved under intense enemy  fire to observe the battlefield and then went to seek reinforcements from the  barracks, according to the citation  accompanying Romesha’s Medal of Honor.

He returned to action with the support of an  assistant gunner, who is identified in ‘The Outpost’ as Corporal Justin  Gregory.

Romesha ‘took out an enemy machine gun team  and, while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by  a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with shrapnel wounds,’ according to  the citation.

Despite his injuries, Romesha continued to  fight, and as another soldier arrived to aid him he ‘rushed through the exposed  avenue to assemble additional soldiers.’

Romesha then mobilized a five-man team, which  he led back to the battle.

Recorded history: The deadly attack on Romesha and his team is chronicled in the book ¿The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor¿ written by CNN¿s Jake Tapper The deadly attack on Romesha and his  team is chronicled in the book ¿The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor  written by CNN’s Jake Tapper

‘With complete disregard for his own safety,  Romesha continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved confidently  about the battlefield, engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets, including  three Taliban fighters who had breached the combat outpost’s perimeter,’ the  citation reads.

As the insurgent group attacked the outpost  with even ‘greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades  and recoilless rifle rounds,’ Romesha ‘identified the point of attack and  directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters.’

As soon as he learned that soldiers at the  other battle position were still alive, he and his team provided covering fire,  allowing three of their wounded comrades to reach the aid station, according to  the citation.

Romesha and his team also ran 100 meters  under fire to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades.

Romesha, the son of a leader of the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church in Cedarville, California, has been  described as intense, short and wiry, according to Gannett’s Army  Times.

The 31-year-old war veteran will be awarded  the Medal of Honor at the White  House on February 11, according to  the announcement.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Impact Protection

An orange goo that looks like the children’s toy silly putty seems an unlikely material to protect valuable technology products.

Yet this strange  gel, also known as D3O, behaves very differently under sudden impact, as the molecules of this ‘non-Newtonian polymer’ lock together, immediately dissipating the force of a blow.

These characteristics make the goo an ideal product for a variety of protective purposes and it is now being used by a  British company in protecting cell phones and computers.

Scroll down  for video

Magic goo: When the material is touched gently it is soft and malleableMagic goo: When the material is touched gently it is  soft and malleable
Shock absorber: When the slime is hit violently with a mallet it dissipates the impact and protects the man's handShock absorber: When the slime is hit violently with a  mallet it dissipates the impact and protects the man’s hand

Popsci  encountered the product at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show  (CES), a four-day event which finished on Friday in Las Vegas.

A representative from London-based  company Tech  21 toyed with and then wrapped his hand in the slimy gel.

The man then whacked his fingers several  times with a large mallet with no ill-effect, proving the incredible properties  of D3O.

The patented gel was invented by British scientist Richard Palmer after a skiing accident in 1999.

Gloop: When not under stress, D3O is stretchy and slimyGloop: When not under stress, D3O is stretchy and  slimy
The unique properties of the material mean it has been used in many types of shock protectionThe unique properties of the material mean it has been  used in many types of shock protection

It is a non-Newtonian fluid – one whose viscosity differs from the Newtonian model that is  followed by liquids such as water and gasoline.

Since Palmer and his team completed development of D3O in 2005, it has been used in a number of wyas impact protection, from winter sports clothing to use on the battlefield.

Tech 21 describe their field as ‘impactology’ – the ‘science of protection’ and they are now using the intelligent gloop in  protective cases for technology products, such as phones and  computers.

In 2009, a different company company won a £100,000 contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to develop the shock-absorbing gel in helmets for British troops fighting on the frontline in Afghanistan.

Now the material is used in motorcycle and sports equipment, personal protection, footwear and safeguarding  electronics.

Silly putty is also a non-Newtonian fluid, but not as useful in a combat situation Silly putty is also a non-Newtonian fluid, but not as  useful in a combat situation

Attribution: Daily Mail

A Tantamount Admission

by: the Common Constitutionalist

It’s not often a government, any government, admits how incompetent it’s been for so many years, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has done just that. They have also, unwittingly, laid out the argument against government interference and intervention in the engine of America, the private sector marketplace.

The AP recently reported, “Federal regulators for the first time are laying out rules aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay the loans they take out. The rules unveiled Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau impose a range of reformobligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on the risky ‘interest only’ and ‘no documentation’ loans that helped inflate the housing bubble.”

“Lenders will be required to verify and inspect borrowers financial records. The results discourage them from saddling borrowers with total debt payments totaling more than 43% of the persons annual income. That includes existing debts like credit cards and student loans.”

“CFPB director Richard Cordray, in remarks prepared for the event Thursday, called the rules, ‘the true essence of responsible lending’.”

So you may ask yourself; self, if this is the first time they (the government) have insisted on these “new” rules, what have they been doing all these years?

Have the feds simply had a “hands-off” approach regarding lenders? Is that the reason for the mortgage crisis and subsequent meltdown?

For all these years the federal government has stood by and allowed evil “big banks” to use predatory lending practices to prey on the innocent and unsuspecting homebuyer.

Well, that’s not exactly how things have been. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty much the polar opposite of what I just described.

CRAInterventionalist “Nanny” government policy always begins with progressive administrations. Thus it was with Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter’s is the administration that gave us the “Community Reinvestment Act” (CRA).

As progressives are always wanting, Carter’s plan was, through the force of government, to provide “affordable housing” to those he deemed less fortunate. According to progressives, the government is both arbiter of what is fair and can always fix any problem. And you see, it’s simply not fair to deny people the right to affordable housing. Progressives are all about fairness, ya know.

As one would expect, during the Reagan years, Carter’s grand plan just languished in the shadows. It wasn’t until the progressive Clinton administration that the CRA got legs. Actually, more like wings or a jet pack.

Clinton rediscovered Carter’s plan and pumped it full of steroids. Through the power of his Justice Department and his stooge Janet Reno, he forced banks to offer mortgages to those who could not afford to purchase a home, nor had a prayer of paying back the loan.

Reno threatened banks with regulations and stiff penalties, to make these loans, so the banks, in turn, were forced to come up with ways to make the mortgages more palatable, such as “interest only” and “no documentation” loans. If one were of a “preferred” class, one would not even have to prove he or she was employed.CRA1

All this, so the Clinton administration could show the voters how, under Bubba”s rule, the American dream of owning a home could be realized.

So where did that leave the banks? In a mighty tough spot!

The government forced them to make loans and thus they got stuck with a lot of worthless mortgages from people who couldn’t pay them.

Well, the banks could not just sit on this worthless investment. So with the aid of the corrupt quasi-government run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the banks packaged the loans together and called them “Mortgage Backed Securities” (MBS).

The banks then sold these “investments” to unsuspecting buyers who thought they would have a nice steady and stable income stream. Of course the buyers were wrong and upon discovering they had been duped, they simply repackaged the MBS’s and resold them. Eventually the scheme ran its course and there were no dupes left for whom to sell.

During this time the George W Bush administration tried to clamp down on Freddie, Fannie and the banks, but were descended upon by powerful Democrats such as Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Maxine Waters. The dems claimed that all was well and those chris dodd barney franktrying to solve the problem and stop the easy money practice just wanted to deny minorities the American dream, homeownership.

That, in a nutshell, was the cause of the housing crisis and subsequent financial meltdown that continues to plague us. All those hundreds of billions of dollars (if not more) in bank bailouts are due to an activist government playing favorites with our money.

As an aside, if you, like me, had to endure an anal exam to purchase a home during that same, easy money era, you can be sure you were not of the favored class. You were most likely employed, not on welfare or collecting food stamps, as many were who received these government mandated loans.

So now, as they always do, the government wizards of smart have stepped in to attempt to remedy a problem they themselves caused.

Although they most certainly don’t realize it, at least this time our government has admitted it was the cause of our country’s financial meltdown.

A Quick Nap

We spend around 10% of our waking hours with our eyes shut.

And while it’s commonly thought that we blink to keep our eyes lubricated, it seems a lot of the time it’s because our brains need a little nap.

New research suggests that the human brain uses that tiny moment of shut-eye to power down.

Blink and you'll miss it: Scientists find that blinking is a chance for our brains to power down
Blink and you’ll miss it: Scientists find that blinking is a chance for our brains to power down

Researchers from Japan’s Osaka University found that the mental break can last  anywhere from a split second to a few seconds before attention is fully  restored.

Scans that track the ebb and flow of blood within the brain revealed that regions associated with paying close attention momentarily go offline.

The brain then goes into a ‘default mode  network’, or idle setting.

The same setting is engaged when our attention is not required by a cognitive task such as reading or speaking and our thoughts wander freely.

Mini nap: blinking allows the brain to go into idle mode
Mini nap: blinking allows the brain to go into idle  mode

During this mode we tend to contemplate our feelings; we wonder what a friend meant by a recent comment; we consider something we did last week, or imagine what we’ll do tomorrow.

While listening to another person or reading, that usually comes at the end of a sentence and while watching a film, we’re most likely to blink when an actor leaves the scene or when the camera shifts.

Most of us take between 15 and 20 such moments of downtime per minute.

The new research, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, studied 20 healthy young subjects in a brain scanner as they watched snippets from the British comedy Mr. Bean.

When subjects blinked, the researchers detected a momentary stand-down within the brain’s visual cortex and somatosensory cortex — both involved with processing visual stimuli – and in areas that govern attention.

Separate studies on blinking have shown  that  while telling a lie, people have been found to blink less.

In the seconds after telling a lie, however,  the liar will blink far more frequently than a truth-teller.

Attribution: Mail Online