New Townhall Column: Online Abortion Class Demeans Free Thought at University of California

I’ve penned a new column for Townhall.com. Here’s an excerpt:

The University of California (UC) system is one of the most reputed institutions of higher learning here in the United States. Boasting 10 campuses stretching from Davis in Northern California to San Diego in Southern California, the UC system is historically regarded for molding future leaders and pioneers. Unfortunately, intellectual diversity and tolerance of differing opinions are concepts largely absent in the UC system today.

UC-San Francisco (UCSF)—UC’s medical school—is one of the first universities offering a free online course on abortion. The free six-week course is titled “Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications.” It is taught by Dr. Jody Steinauer, a noted pro-abortion OB/GYN and former president of Medical Students for Choice. The course started on October 13 and will conclude on November 24. It is open to the public for enrollment.

Continue reading at Townhall.com.

More Power to Millennials Getting Married in Their 20s

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Credit: StyleMePretty (via Pinterest)

Who says Millennials–young adults ages 18-33–are balking marriage? Quite the contrary!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two young conservatives who are very close friends of mine. Let me introduce you to the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Meyer!

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Congratulations to the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Ron Meyer! #CeliaAndRonFromThisDayOn

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I love seeing my friends get married.  I attended two weddings this past year–a West Virginia wedding for my dear friend Angela in July and the aforementioned Virginia wedding this past weekend. It truly warms my heart that more Millennials are realizing that the institution of marriage is not a lost cause–or an institution rooted in slavery as some women have claimed. (Yes, some hold this bizarre belief that marriage is slavery.)

Notwithstanding, people–particularly Millennials–shouldn’t fear or loathe marriage. In fact, they should look forward to it one day. (I wrote about this subject in an article titled “We Should Look Forward to Marriage” for Marriage Generation in May 2013.) Though few of my close friends have taken the plunge, I expect more of them–myself included–to experience marriage in the future.

Though today’s culture reduces marriage to planning the ‘perfect’ wedding, having the ‘perfect’ diamond ring, and saying “Yes to the Dress,” many Millennials thankfully refuse to cheapen the institution.

A March article in Forbes highlighted this trend:

Once, marriage was seen as a “cornerstone” in life. Today’s Millennials see it more as a “capstone.” The marriage rate among 20-somethings may be at an all-time low, but not for lack of desire.

Due to many factors — a lackluster economy, radical feminism, marriage redefinition, divorce, infidelity, etc. – Millennials are skeptical about jumping into marriage. Those of us who regard the institution highly don’t want to settle for less or get divorced, so we delay marriage. Others wait until they’re financially secure to take the plunge. Whatever a Millennial’s reason to delay marriage, have discernment, practice delayed gratification, and remember to love yourself before you can love someone else.

To my fellow Millennials who are newly hitched or engaged–thank you for proving that marriage is still worth pursuing!

New Counter Cultured Article: Be an Individual in the Era of Big Government

I’ve penned a new column up at Counter Cultured today titled “Be Classic in the Era of Big Government.”

Here’s an excerpt:

I was recently listening to MKTO’s megahit “Classic” for some inspiration. While this song is centered on love, it can be applied to anything. If you haven’t heard the song, below is a sample of the song’s lyrics:

You’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
It’s love on rewind,
Everything is so throwback-ish (I kinda like it, like it)
Out of my league
Old school chic
Like a movie star
From the silver screen
You’re one of a kind living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic

While government may not have direct involvement in every cultural phenomenon, its promotion of paternalism and complacency is greatly seen in pop culture, religion, business, and politics today. It’s better to be classic, or independent-minded, than a conformist in an era marked by invasive big government.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

Winning: More Lithuanians Are Purchasing Guns for Self-Defense

You might be thinking, Why should I care about people in Eastern Europe buying more guns for self-defense? Let me tell you why: These people, with whom I share a similar heritage, realize that gun control will lead their country into disarray and tyranny that once befell the nation during Soviet times.

Here’s more about the trend from Lithuanian Tribune:

Audrius Čiupaila, the head of the licensing division of the Public Police Board under the Police Department, said the number of weapons bought between March and October went up by 7 percent year-on-year.

In his words, the gun arsenal owned by Lithuanian citizens increases by 3,000-4,000 various weapons every year.

People in the country currently own over 100,000 various pistols, revolvers and different shotguns. Some of them are highly spectacular guns that can be used for more than just self-defence, sports or hunting, but also for a guerrilla war.

Compared to the United States, most of Europe has strict laws against gun ownership or boasts laws that prohibit concealed carry. Lithuanian gun laws are quite restrictive as they’re regulated by the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, the Police Department under the Ministry of the Interior, the Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance, and the Weaponry Fund of the Republic of Lithuania, and the European Commission. (Yikes!) However, Lithuanians may privately own semi-automatic firearms and handguns with a permit.

Compared to the U.S., Lithuanians must present a reason to purchase a gun as ordained by the Holder’s Right to Acquire and Possess Weapons and Ammunition Law of 2002. Its provisions are outlined below:

1. Permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania and legal persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania may acquire and keep weapons, ammunition for the following purposes:
1) hunting;
2) sports;
3) self-defence;
4) professional activities;
5) collection;
6) training;
7) scientific research;
8) other purposes, if they are in conformity with laws and international agreements and treaties.

2. Permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania and legal persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania shall have the right to acquire ammunition for weapons which they are entitled to possess.

Unlike the U.S., Lithuania doesn’t permit open carry or conceal carry in public. Their age requirements are different, as well. Under ‘Requirements for Permanent Residents of the Republic of Lithuania, Legal Persons Registered in the Republic of Lithuania in Order to Acquire and Possess Arms and Ammunition of Certain Categories or Types’, these requirements must be met in order for citizens to acquire a handgun or semi-automatic firearm:

2. Long firearms with rifled barrels classified in Categories B and C, and cartridges for them may be acquired and possessed by permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 21 years of age, have a valid hunter’s licence and at least 3 years of hunting experience, as well as by legal persons, having a licence to hire weapons, upon having obtained a permit.

3. Long firearms with smooth-bore barrels, pneumatic weapons, archery weapons classified in Categories B and C, their ammunition may be acquired and possessed by permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 18 years of age, have a valid hunter’s licence, as well as by legal persons, having a licence to hire weapons, upon having obtained a permit.

4. Weapons classified in Categories B and C, and their ammunition may be acquired and possessed by permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 16 years of age – members of shooting sports organisations, as well as by legal persons, upon having obtained a permit.

5. Short firearms classified in Categories B and C for self-defence, cartridges for them may be acquired and possessed by permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 23 years of age, upon having passed an examination and obtained a permit.

6. Long firearms with smooth-bore barrels classified in Categories B and C, cartridges for them for self-defence may be acquired and possessed by permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 18 years of age, upon having passed an examination and obtained a permit.

7. Weapons classified in Categories B and C, their cartridges for the purpose of professional activities may be acquired and possessed by natural persons and legal persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania, upon having obtained a permit. The said weapons may be carried by permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 21 years of age – employees of legal persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania, upon having passed an examination and obtained a permit. Automatic firearms, ammunition for them may, upon having obtained a permit, be acquired and possessed by the Bank of Lithuania; the said weapons may, in the course of official duties, be carried by employees of the Bank of Lithuania – permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania who are at least 21 years of age, upon having passed an examination and obtained a permit.

Though gun laws in my ancestral homeland are quite restrictive compared to American gun laws, particularly that of my adopted home state Virginia, it’s encouraging to see more Lithuanians keep and bear arms. The Soviet tried to put a muzzle on Lithuanians with gun control before. Let’s hope Lithuanians and others in Eastern Europe take matters into their own hands to prevent tyranny from rearing its ugly head again in the region.

 

The Other Newport: Newport, RI

While traveling to the Northeast to help fellow young conservatives combat leftist ideas on campus last week, I made a pit stop in Newport, RI to see what’s there. Since I grew up near Newport Beach, California, I never imagined I could like another Newport until I visited the older one here on the East Coast.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rhode Island, it’s the smallest state in the union boasting the longest official name. I kid you not. It’s officially known as the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” (I first learned this two years ago when I paid my first visit to the state.) Historically speaking, RI is famous for giving rise to religious tolerance during the colonial era.

Newport, RI is a city rich in history. First and foremost, it was the site of George Washington’s famous speech at Touro Synagogue on August 18, 1790. Here’s the full text from his speech:

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

Source: George Washington: A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1988)

Secondly, it was a summer getaway for both Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. (Kennedy even got married there at St. Mary’s Church.)

Moreover, Newport is home to some rich naval history as it boasts the Naval War College.

While in Newport, I was able to explore some cool attractions. First up was driving near some mansions on the coast, with the most famous one being the Breakers. They date back to the Gilded Age and are open to the public.

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Map of Newport mansions

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The Breakers – Newport, RI

If I hadn’t been pressed for time, I would have spent more time exploring them. These estates are alluring and beautifully crafted. (Free enterprise FTW!)

Next stop was the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It’s a place where tennis greats are inducted and given high honors. I especially loved visiting this place because it brought back memories of my high school tennis days. Who can resist grass tennis courts?

GAB NEWPORT

Me posing at the International Tennis Hall of Fame

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Statue of Int’l Tennis Hall of Fame founder

After driving to the Breakers and Int’l Tennis Hall of Fame, my final stop was downtown Newport, RI.

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Marveling Newport Harbor

 

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Cute soap bars made to look like cupcakes at a harbor-side shop in Newport, RI.

What’s the takeaway from this blog post?  It isn’t the Newport I grew up with, but it’s a Newport I can learn to equally appreciate and enjoy. Go visit Newport, RI!

 

I Rode Uber For the First Time Today and Loved It

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I’m going to come out and say it: Uber is awesome.

Don’t know about Uber? Here’s more information about the ride-sharing service:

Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 200 cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.

I finally used the service for the first time today here in Boston (where I’m currently on a business trip). In true conservative fashion, I take time to adapt to certain things. (Sorry, not sorry!) Back home in the D.C. metro area, I drive my car everywhere so I don’t see the need to use a taxi apart from traveling. (However, I plan to use it again for an upcoming family vacation in December!)

For those of you who know me, I’m an unabashed supporter of free markets and start-ups. Companies like Uber and Lyft pique my interest, so I’ll happily support them if they give consumers greater choice, employ standards, break monopolies created by unions, and offer a great service. (They should reconsider hiring former Obamanite David Plouffe. Not exactly a free market guy.) Though I fully support such enterprises as the aforementioned private ride-sharing services, I hadn’t used them until today. Better late than never, right?!

How do I rate my first Uber ride? 10 out of 10. Overall, riding an UberX is quite a pleasant experience. Regular taxis are too cramped, unpolished, or dirty. Their rates are expensive and their drivers are generally irritable. By contrast, Uber drivers are friendly, punctual, and professional. Uber cars are clean and presentable. Best of all? The iPhone app allows one to pay beforehand by making it easier to process a transaction and not deal with unnecessary fiddling of receipts. (Thanks to a $20 off coupon for first-time use, my ride was free.) I doubt after today I’ll ride in a regular taxi again.

Free enterprise is the most liberating and uplifting economic system ever devised. (Suck it, collectivists and Bolsheviks.)

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are reviled by anti-choicers, particularly unions and those who despise ingenuity. In June of this year, the Department of Motor Vehicles in my adopted state Virginia issued a cease and desist letter to Uber warning them to stop operating in the Commonwealth. Uber didn’t cower to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Richmond and remained vigilant. After many people expressed their discontent with this move, McAwful, Attorney General Mark Herring (another leftist ideologue), and others in Richmond thankfully backed off.

No government regulation or bureaucrat can kill the American entrepreneurial spirit–no matter how relentless they are in stifling consumer choice and freedom.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Uber! Long live private ride-sharing services.

 

Catch Me in Las Vegas for #SHOTShow2015

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Credit: Instagram – @shotshow

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be attending my very first SHOTShow® in Las Vegas, NV from January 20-23, 2015! I’ll be there on behalf of Counter Cultured to cover guns. (Thank you, Michelle S., for the recommendation and encouragement to apply!)

What’s SHOTShow®? Here’s more from the event page:

SHOT Show® is the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM and Conference for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories industry.

In addition, the show offers a uniquely diverse Law Enforcement and Armed Forces section for agency and department purchasing agents.

The largest trade show of its kind in the world and the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas, the SHOT Show features more than 1,600 exhibitors filling booth space covering 630,000 net square feet. The show, which is a trade-only event, attracts more than 65,000 industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries.

Attendance at the SHOT Show is RESTRICTED to the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade; and commercial buyers and sellers of military, law enforcement, and tactical products and services ONLY. The show is not open to the public and NO one under age 16 shall be admitted (including infants).

Admission to the show requires government-issued photo identification plus documentation demonstrating direct, professional affiliation to the trade. Show exhibitors and media are subject to different credentialing requirements.

I haven’t been back to the West since I moved away from Southern California permanently in September 2012, so I’m excited to venture out there again. (Don’t worry–Sin City won’t get the best of me. Vegas has more to offer than crazy partying!) Excited to see cool guns, network with others, and go hotel hopping once again. (Bellagio fountain show, to-die for Paris Hotel crepes, Venetian shoppes? Count me in!)

I’ll be chronicling the event here and at Counter Cultured. Stay tuned!

Who else plans to attend? Hope to see you there!