10/14/2018

The John Lott Municipal Park new scoreboard in Lytle, TX

10/09/2018

Democrats still control eight of the circuit courts, Republicans four, one tied


The Supreme Court grants oral arguments to about 80 cases a year. They decide another 50 without hearing oral arguments. By contrast, the Circuit Courts in the United States handled 51,832 in the year that ended on March 31, 2018 (that is down from 59,040 the previous year). The Circuit Courts, not the Supreme Court, have the final word on 99.75% of all cases.

Republicans may have confirmed 26 Circuit Court judges under Trump, but they still have a ways to go to get parity in control of Circuit Courts. As of today, the picture above shows the breakdown by Circuit. Three other nominees have cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, but even when those nominees are confirmed, the Democrats will still control the Second, Third, and Ninth Circuits. So far 62% of Trump's appointees have been confirmed are merely replacing Republicans who are retiring. Five of the Democrats on the Ninth Circuit are over 70 years of age, but Trump would have to replace all the current vacancies and have four of these five judges over 70 retire for the Republicans to take a one-seat majority on that Circuit.

If Trump were to fill all existing vacancies, the only circuit that he could move from Democrat control to a tie would be the Third Circuit. There is no Circuit that he could flip from Democrat to Republican control during Trump's first term.

Nine Circuit Court judges nominated by Democrats are over 75 years of age. These likely retirements over the next 6 years could flip the Fourth Circuit.


Some more information is available here and here

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10/07/2018

Cost of Flying Air Force One

Interestingly, Airforce One costs $206,000 an hour to operate. That is about 10 times more than the $20,000 an hour to fly a similar sized commercial jet.

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10/03/2018

Outrageous: Judge Kavanaugh no longer teaching at Harvard Law School

Seriously, only a little over 700 signatures by Monday with students and alumni who graduated from as far back as 1959. Harvard has about 500 entering students each year. Over say the last 30 years that would be 15,000 graduates. There are currently 1,990 enrolled law students. So the number of signers equals only about one-third of those currently enrolled, let alone all the alumni who have graduated over the decades.

Every single letter asked Manning to launch a Harvard-led investigation into the sexual assault allegations levied against Kavanaugh.

They need to read Rachel Mitchell report that she gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday. Click on the pages below to enlarge. The claims by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick are even more unbelievable. 






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9/11/2018

More threats of violence by the left against Republicans this week

1) "Police are on scene of a mass shooting threat at a MAGA event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC" DailyMail.com, September 11, 2018
2) "Cops: Castro Valley man tried to stab congressional candidate Rudy Peters with switchblade after ‘disparaging' GOP" San Francisco Chronicle, September 11, 2018
3) "SECRET SERVICE SO, CAROLE COOK ... What'd You Mean by 'Where's John Wilkes Booth When You Need Him?'," TMZ, September 11, 2018
4) "'Threats of Rape and Strangling' Force D.C. McAllister Into Hiding After Anti-Abortion Tweet," PJ Media, September 11, 2018
5) "A Republican Party office in Wyoming was set on fire just two days after opening, and police believe it was intentional." Daily Caller, September 6, 2018
6) Two days after ⁦⁩ says to 'Fight Back' Against Fox News, truck rams into Dallas Fox Affiliate.
"Dallas Fox News affiliate rammed by truck," Washington Times, September 5, 2018

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The supposed Russia/NRA/GOP connection was based prosecutors now admitting that they misunderstood a joke? Seriously?

For weeks, prosecutors made sure to fuel stories of an attractive Russian spy ensnaring older men with sexual favor.  Now, the Justice Department admitted in a court filing that they had been “mistaken” in interpreting what joking emails as serious offers. 
Federal prosecutors have admitted that they wrongly accused Maria Butina, a Russian citizen now in custody on charges of illegally acting as a foreign agent, of offering to trade sex for a job as part of a covert effort by Russian government officials to infiltrate Republican circles in the United States. 
In a court filing late Friday, prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Washington acknowledged that they had been “mistaken” in interpreting what were apparently joking text messages between Ms. Butina and a friend who had helped her renew her car insurance. 
Ms. Butina was charged this summer with conspiracy and illegally acting as an agent of the Russian government in what prosecutors have claimed was a secret campaign to try to influence high-level Republican politicians, including Donald J. Trump, both as a candidate and after his election. Denied bail, she is now in custody in the detention center in Alexandria, Va. . . .
“I’m glad they walked it back, but in a lot of ways, the damage is already done,” Robert N. Driscoll, Ms. Butina’s lawyer, said in an interview. In court filings, he has argued that his client engaged in innocent political activity but has now been falsely portrayed as a villain in a sensationalized spy drama. “A simple Google search using the phrase ‘Maria Butina and sex’ yields over 300,000 hits,” he said. . . .
Please note that in this story there is no mention of the NRA. Take some of the New York Times previous headlines:
Wife of Former NRA President Tapped Accused Russian Agent 
Maria Butina Loved Guns, Trump and Russia. It was cover 
Timeline of Suspected Plot to Infiltrate NRA, GOP

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9/02/2018

More examples of extreme media bias: Trump and Palin told not to come to funeral, so the media has these bizarre headlines

President Trump and Sarah Palin were bizarrely told not to come to John McCain's funeral. It is one thing not to have someone in the front row, but to tell them not to show up for the funeral is just petty. Sarah Palin has never said a bad word about McCain. What was her crime? So what were they supposed to do? Trump went to play golf.

McCain's career was marked by pettiness. If you feel wronged by someone as McCain obviously is by Trump, take it out on Trump. And McCain did so in pretty despicable ways such as sending an aide to London to pick up the famous dossier filled with fake information and give it to Comey. But out of spite, McCain broke his promise to his voters to repeal Obamacare. That didn't just hurt Trump it hurt all Americans. Where is the honor in that?

The media just can't even try to be slightly balanced. Here are some of the headlines in the media today.


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8/23/2018

Do reporters really see racism in everything?

What would Nelson Mandela think of South Africa's new policy of expropriating land without compensation? Can one look at the disaster that befell Zimbabwe and be very concerned about the human tragedy that might await South Africa? Does this reporter disagree with the US Constitution's guarantee of compensation for property taken by the government?

Click on picture to enlarge.


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8/21/2018

At Fox News: Anti-Trump media can't handle 'the truth' as it piles on Giuliani comment

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
The anti-Trump media are in an uproar about a comment by President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that “truth isn’t truth.”News reports have taken Giuliani’s comment completely out of context – showing that many in the media really don’t care about the truth.
As part of the media pile-on attacking Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, CNN’s Brian Stelter warned: “For a part of the country’s population, the truth is not the truth anymore. President Trump’s accomplishment has been to destroy the notion of the commonly accepted set of facts. The truth is what the president says that it is.”
Washington Post Opinions Editor James Downie comparedGiuliani’s comment to President Clinton’s statement about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinksy, when Clinton said: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
HBO’s John Oliver gaveonly a glimpse of the late night talk shows will do with the statement this week by poking fun at Giuliani’s statement.
But what was Giuliani really saying?
Here is the exchange between Giuliani and Todd on “Meet the Press.” 
Giuliani: “And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth.”
Todd: “Truth is truth. I don’t mean to go like – ”
Giuliani: “No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth. The president of the United States says, “I didn’t – ”
Todd: “Truth isn’t truth? Mr. Mayor, do you realize, what, I, I, I —”
Giuliani: “No, no, no –”
Todd: “This is going to become a bad meme.”
Giuliani: “Don’t do, don’t do this to me.”
Todd: “Don’t do truth isn’t truth to me.” 
Giuliani’s point was simple: even if you tell the complete truth, prosecutors can still go after you for perjury. It could be that the prosecutors truly believe some other witness. It could also be that the prosecutors are just hell bent on getting another conviction.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was charged last year with perjury after getting a date wrong in an interview with FBI agents. Flynn wasn’t told the purpose of the interview and hadn’t had a chance to refresh his memory.
The agents who interviewed Flynn didn’t think that he had lied, but merely made a mistake on dates. They found no“physical indications of deception” and “didn't see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact.”
Making a mistake isn’t the same thing as lying. Witnesses to crimes often make mistakes in recalling events that may have happened just minutes or hours previously.
But perjury charges weren’t brought against Flynn until Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election got underway months later in 2017.
Mueller never alleged that Flynn perjured himself in an attempt to cover up some other crime. The hope was simply to get someone in President Trump’s inner circle to crack and divulge evidence against the president.
Mueller’s prosecutors weren’t present at Flynn’s interview and may have no reason to believe that Flynn lied. Indeed, there was not any reason for Flynn to lie, because what he was talking to the agents about didn’t even involve a crime.
When I served as chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, I observed this sort of thing happen many times. Prosecutors often abuse their tremendous power in the belief that the ends justify the means. I had prosecutors tell me that even if the defendant hadn’t committed this particular crime, they were sure that he had committed other ones.
“Meet the Press” panelists congratulated Todd on getting a sound bite that they could run with. They seemed unconcerned with what Giuliani actually meant.
“I think the headline is truth isn't truth,” said PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. “As soon as he said (it) I thought, ‘Man, Chuck Todd really does these things really well.’"
Former FBI director James Comey ignored Giuliani’s point and quickly chimed in on Twitter: “Truth exists and truth matters. Truth has always been the touchstone of our country’s justice system and political life. People who lie are held accountable.” . . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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In China owning “too many books” is viewed as a bad thing by the government

In China owning “too many books” among other things can reduce your social credit score, limiting your ability to travel, to get a good job, to have your kids go to good schools.

MIT Technology Review has a fairly thorough review of how China is using AI and the internet to control its population.
All these data streams are fed into Xinjiang’s public security system, along with other records capturing information on everything from banking history to family planning. “The computer program aggregates all the data from these different sources and flags those who might become ‘a threat’ to authorities,” says Wang. Though the precise algorithm is unknown, it’s believed that it may highlight behaviors such as visiting a particular mosque, owning a lot of books, buying a large quantity of gasoline, or receiving phone calls or email from contacts abroad. People it flags are visited by police, who may take them into custody and put them in prison or in reeducation camps without any formal charges. . . .

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8/16/2018

Comparing percent of Americans who think the US is moving in the right direction compared to previous midterms

If the percent of Americans who think the US is going in the right direction is important for who wins elections, Republicans are in relatively good shape. The percent who think the country is moving in the right direction is currently at 43%.
By comparison at previous midterms it was much lower:

27% early Nov 2014
28% early Nov 2010

On the other hand, if the issue is presidential approval. Republicans are about in the same shape that Democrats were in 2010.


Democrats have also taken a 7 point lead in the generic ballot survey.

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7/26/2018

At Fox News: Here's the real reason Democrats are so scared about Kavanaugh joining the Supreme Court

I have a new piece up at Fox News where about why Democrats are afraid of Judge Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The piece starts this way:
In a desperate attempt to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the Senate, the Democrats are making wild claims that abortion would be banned, people would be dying in the streets, and the president would gain immunity from investigation and prosecution if Kavanaugh joins the nation’s highest court.  
Time for a reality check. Let’s all take a deep breath and look at the facts about the judge who President Trump has nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. 
Kavanaugh currently serves on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He’s not some right-wing extremist who would run wild – like the proverbial bull in the china shop – overturning legal precedents, despite what the Democrats claim.
Kavanaugh is dedicated to judging cases based on the evidence and dedicated to following the Constitution as it is written. He is a firm opponent of legislating from the bench to support his ideological views. 
When he accepted President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court in televised remarks, Kavanaugh made this crystal clear, saying: “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written, and a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.” 
Lower court judges are supposed to follow Supreme Court precedent, whether or not they personally agree with the decision. When judges ignore precedent, it is easy to infer that they are acting on their own political biases. 
However, Kavanaugh has been a consistent follower of precedent while he has been on the D.C. Circuit Court. The appellate court is widely acknowledged to be the nation’s second highest court, just below the Supreme Court. 
While the Supreme Court can overrule its own precedent, Kavanaugh has co-authored a hefty 942-page book on precedent, titled “Law of Judicial Precedent.” The book seeks to formerly describe rules when courts should follow precedent, and it makes clear that jettisoning precedent is not something that Kavanaugh takes lightly. 
For those on the left who insist that Kavanaugh is dangerous because he supposedly won’t follow precedent when it comes to Roe v Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide – it seems clear that his critics haven’t read the book he co-authored on precedent. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.
 

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7/22/2018

CBS News: "Even in gun country, Democrats shift towards gun control"

Like abortion, the Democratic party is going to exclude anyone who disagrees with the party othodoxy on gun control.  From CBS News:
Just 18 months after declaring his opposition to banning assault weapons, Nebraska Democrat Brad Ashford has changed his mind. 
The former one-term congressman, now trying to win back an Omaha-area seat he lost in 2016, used to consider it futile to push for a ban while Republicans held power on Capitol Hill. But the student activism that has followed the rampage at a school in Parkland, Florida, has changed his thinking in a way that other high-profile shootings, including two in his hometown since 2007, had not. 
Ashford's conversion mirrors the one underway in his party. Not long ago, a moderate record on guns would have been considered a plus for a Democratic candidate in the GOP-leaning suburbs and conservative outskirts of Nebraska's largest city. Today, even with Ashford's reversal, it's a vulnerability that his opponent in the May 15 Democratic primary has been quick to exploit. 
That contest, along with races in Virginia, rural Pennsylvania and other places where gun control has been taboo, shows how far the Democratic Party has traveled on this issue. The November elections will test whether Democrats will make room for candidates who don't back all gun control measures. 
"He should have been stronger on this," said Kara Eastman, the 46-year-old political newcomer running against Ashford for the nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. "We need leaders who are going to stand up and fight for the kids." . . .

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At Fox News: Trump Administration agreement means "This Marks the End of Gun Control"

I have a major piece up at Fox News where he explains how a new Trump Administration agreement means "This Marks the End of Gun Control." The piece starts this way:
The federal government has finally recognized the obvious – that sharing instructions on how to make guns with 3D printers counts as constitutionally protected speech.Despite little fanfare, this is an important victory for First Amendment rights. It also represents a real blow to the increasingly futile cause of gun control.
The U.S. Justice Department announced a legal settlementand its surrender to the First Amendment arguments July 10 made in a case brought by Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed. Wilson, 25, created a ruckus in May 2013 when he announced his successful design of a plastic gun. In just two days, 100,000 copies of the handgun blueprint were downloaded from Wilson’s website.
The most downloads came from Spain, followed by the U.S., Brazil and Germany. The heavy downloading in Spain, Brazil and Germany likely reflected attempts to evade extremely restrictive handgun regulations in those countries.
People are going to download these files whether they're legal or not. As we've seen with movies, file sharing is unstoppable. The most pirated TV program in 2017 was the seventh season of “Game of Thrones,” with well over 10 million illegal downloadsin most weeks.
Within days of the gun file being uploaded, the Obama State Department served Wilson with a letter threatening criminal prosecution for violating federal export controls. Wilson immediately complied with the order, but there was no way to stop further downloading.
Within a week of the initial uploading, the file could be downloaded on the Internet from over 4,000different computers around the world.
The Justice Department’s recent settlement with Wilson is very favorable to him, allowing Wilson to provide the printing instructions “for public release (meaning unlimited distribution) in any form.” The government also compensated $40,000of Wilson’s legal costs.
Someone has just as much right to release the instructions in a computer file as in a book or newspaper article. The groups that submitted argumentson Wilson's behalf were ideologically diverse, ranging from conservative self-defense advocacy groups to the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Anyone with access to a metal 3D printer can make guns functionally and aesthetically indistinguishable from any gun that can be bought in a store. Such metal printers are available for less than $2,000.
How the government will stop people from obtaining these printers isn’t exactly obvious. Proposals to require background checks, mandatory serial numbers and even a registration processfor printers are easily defeated. Even if printers are registered with the government, what is going to stop gangs from stealing them? And the designs for making your own printer have been available on the Internetfor years.
3D printers make the already extremely difficult job of controlling access to guns practically impossible. The government is not going to be able to ban guns, and limits on the size of bullet magazines will be even more laughable than before. Many parts of a gun can be made on very inexpensive, plastic 3D printers or even from simple machine tools. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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7/21/2018

Interesting new Gallup Survey: No one views Global Warming as most important problem and only 2% view gun control that way

A copy of the Gallup survey is available here.

Also of interest is the percent of Americans who are satisfied with the direction of the country. The percent of Americans satisfied with how things are going in July of election years isn't a great predictor of how people will feel that November, but 35 percent who were satisfied this July was 7 percentage points higher than the previous high in July 2012.

July 2010: 21 percent satisfied
November 2010: 19 percent satisfied
July 2012: 28 percent satisfied
November 2012: 31 percent satisfied
July 2014: 24 percent satisfied
November 2014: 20 percent satisfied
July 2016: 17 percent satisfied
November 2016: 37 percent satisfied
July 2018: 35 percent satisfied

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