Three academic papers have just come out during the last half of the year

What was Tom Delay's Crime?

Other than conspiracy, the indictment against Representative Tom Delay does not specify the exact crime that he committed. David Frum's excellent column yesterday discusses a very fundamental objection to the case raised by E. J. Dionne.

[E.J.] Dionne this morning puts his finger on the central and hopeless flaw in the case against DeLay: "The corporations that forked over the cash to DeLay's PAC did so not because their hearts were filled with affection for those particular Texas legislative candidates but because they recognized DeLay's power over federal legislation." (Italics addes.)

Texas law forbids corporations to give money to state candidates. The case against DeLay charges that he conspired with corporations to help them circumvent this law by routing the money through political action committees he controlled. But as Dionne acknowledges, the corporations in question did not care about Texas politics. They wanted to give to DeLay's political action committees, which was perfectly legal. It was DeLay who wanted to support the Texas candidates - which was also perfectly legal. The only way you can link these two legal transactions into one illegal transaction is by claiming that the corporations wanted to break the law. Dionne - his reporter's instincts trumping his partisan zeal - admits that of course the corporations had no such desire, and so there was no crime.

To put this into simpler terms. Suppose a corporation hired Dionne to give a speech at their next annual meeting. Dionne then turns around and gives his fee to Democratic candidates for the Texas legislature. Has any law been broken? Obviously not. The corporation does not intend to help Texas candidates: It does so only inadvertently and indirectly, as a consequence of Dionne's decisions.. . . .

A copy of the indictment against Tom Delay can be found her

A copy of the indictment against Tom Delay can be found here. There are problems with Delay (for example, his claim that there is no fat in the federal budget) as well as other Republican leaders, but after reading this indictment, I don't think that most people will think that there is much of substance here. I am not sure that Delay is any better or worse than most other Republican leaders, but that aside, this looks like a very weak case.


TV propoganda?

John Fund on how a television program is being used to help Hillary Clinton be elected President:

Mr. Lurie [The creator of "Commander in Chief"]insists that red-state viewers need not shun the show. He admits that he "can't write to a belief system that I can't swallow myself," but he says that he has hired some conservative writers to make up for his deficit. Not that a balanced approach was evident at last week's series-celebrating parties, in Washington and New York, hosted by the feminist White House Project. . . .

After the Washington premiere, Steve Cohen, a writer for the series who was Mrs. Clinton's deputy White House communications director, was mobbed by the senator's fans. One of the few Republicans in attendance, Rep. Katherine Harris of Florida, noted that the show "is softening up the country for Hillary." In a postscreening panel discussion, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek agreed that "Commander in Chief" would help Sen. Clinton. "It's so idealistic, calling us to a higher purpose," she told the audience. . . .

Emphasis added.

A comment on liberal bias in a law school class

"HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy"

A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.
    Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again." . . .
    Other members of the caucus said the comments by Mr. Jackson, who is black, could be misconstrued as a goal, particularly considering his position of responsibility in the administration. . . .

Mr. Jackson's statements seem completely correct to me, and indeed I have been making similar statements to people starting a week or so after the hurricane hit. The prediction is actually pretty simple given the areas of the city that were most harmed and that once people move away and make a life elsewhere it is unlikely that they will return. Other predictions include that families with children are less likely to return. There are no schools operating in New Orleans, and people will children will not be returning until schools are operating again. Since that group will stay away relatively longer, they will be less likely to return. However, the highlighted statement that the Jackson's prediction could be viewed as an administration goal seems amazing, and why the media doesn't make fun of this is equally puzzling.
Thanks to the Drudgereport for flagging this article.

Tidbits about Suit to stop gun confiscation in New Orleans

Note from Don Kates:

. . . [Steve] Halbrook and local [Louisiana] counsel brought an emergency suit to enjoin illegal gun confiscations in and around New Orleans. And the NRA suit won an immediate order from a federal court enjoining the confiscations. In fact the defendants� position actually was that the gun confiscation statements were a hoax. Their intention was not to confiscate guns but to terrify and fool people into leaving their guns at home. Of course an "unintended" side effect of all their "no guns" statements was that police officers, believing that they were being told to confiscate guns, did so.

Hopefully this initial success will terminate in a permanent injunction, and lead to civil damage suits against the officers and their departments. . . .

Last night I heard that one of the reasons that the New Orleans police chief was fired this week was because of the gun confiscations that had occurred. Whether Nagin really had nothing to do with it is debatable, but at least it may indicate concern over future fall out (possibly the civil damages that Kates notes).

States move quickly to ban hunting over the internet

Since March, lawmakers have rushed to outlaw online hunting, a pseudo-sport that sprung up mere months ago on a single Texas website, live-shot.com, which attracted only one customer.

This political recoil has both observers and the site's owner wondering: "Why?"

John Lockwood, who founded live-shot.com, said he still can't understand the reason state lawmakers banned online hunting. He said his site was intended for disabled hunters who can't stalk wildlife any other way but through his system, which rigs a rifle and camera to an Internet connection at his Texas ranch. . . .

Well, I could think of a few other laws that I wish legislatures would move as quickly on. I suppose that the positive thing is that 39 states have not banned the practice. It is not clear to me why this practice, even if it became more common, gets everyone so upset.


Talk at Cornell University Law School

I will be giving a talk at the Cornell University Law School from noon to 1:30 tomorrow. The topic is my recent research on the judicial confirmation process. I believe that it is open to the public.

Senator Schumer has a permit for a concealed handgun?

Are Gun owners justifiably paranoid?

Eugene Volokh has a interesting post on the concerns that gun owners have that their guns will be taken away. Many may not be surprised by all the different calls for gun bans, but it is still a useful collection of quotes. He could have gone into how gun regulations such as licensing have been used in other countries to take away guns, but his focus on the US is quite useful. Eugene also has a useful collection of numbers on workplace shootings, something that I have written on many times.


Supreme Court to review campaign spending limits

"Clerk at bookstore stopped robbery with gun"


New Orleans Not so dangerous after Hurricane

A while ago I wrote about the murder rates in the New Orleans Superdome and the Convention Center, well since I wrote it up I thought that it was important that I posted that those claimed deaths were a hoax. The stroy here is an amazing one. The news media should cover this simply to shwo how wrong their coverage can be sometimes.

Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated
Widely reported attacks false or unsubstantiated

6 bodies found at Dome; 4 at Convention Center

By Brian Thevenot and Gordon Russell
Staff writers

After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA - Beron doesn't remember his name - came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.

"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying.

The real total was six, Beron said.

Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice. State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been killed inside.

At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials. . . .

Gun Rights Policy Conference

I gave a couple of talks at the Gun Rights Policy Conference this weekend. Sonya Jones gives her take on the conference. The conference was a lot of fun. I had chance to go out to dinner with Larrry Elder and lunch with Andrew Breitbart, and it was really nice to see Sonya again. Larry also gave a great talk where he discussed his new DVD Michael & Me, which I highly recommend. You can also get the DVD at Amazon.com. Michael Reagan gave a very nice talk about his father. One interesting fact was that Ronald Reagan gave Michael a 22 caliber rifle on his 8th birthday. Other information on the conference can be found here.

Photo Voter IDs

My new op-ed on Photo IDs and the decision last week by the bipartisan Carter-Baker commission (the piece was run in the New York Post last Friday):

ON Monday, a bipartisan commission headed by former President Jimmy Carter and ex-Secretary of State James Baker surprised most observers and agreed that Americans should be required to have photo IDs to vote. In fact, though the American debate over this is vitriolic, photo IDs are commonly used to prevent voter fraud across the world.

Democrats often don't buy it. Howard Dean recently claimed that the Republican push for voter IDs is "a new Southern strategy and a new Jim Crow." Others have claimed that the requirement would victimize Hispanics, African-Americans and the poor. (Proponents answer that the IDs will actual prevent voters from being improperly challenged.) . . .

The concern about Hispanics being discouraged from voting seems misplaced. Most notably, you have to show photo ID to vote in Mexico. And while Georgia allows voters to use any of six different types of photo IDs, Mexico inists on an official voter ID with a photo and a thumbprint. . . .

Ending the Assault Weapons ban didn't cause the world to end

Armed Robbery rates plummet last year even though the so-called "assault weapons ban" expired. Armed robberies use guns, but it is that rate that fell despite increases in rapes and assault where guns are not usually used.

Crime in the United States

Here are the estimated numbers of crimes in the United States,

based on surveys done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Type of crime . . . . . . . . . 2003. . . . . . . . . . . 2004

Violent crimes . . . . . . . . . 5,401,720. . . . . . .5,182,670

Rape/sexual assault . . . . .198,850. . . . . . . . 209,880

Armed robbery . . . . . . . . 596,130. . . . . . . . . 501,820

Assault. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,606,740. . . . . . . 4,470,960

I can't do the comparison for the first and second halves of the year that I did before with the UCR data (the ban ended on September 13, 2004), but this is still interesting.