Most people favor the death penalty for a person convicted of murder

Canadian Liberals in New Campaign Finance Donation Scandal


Man Shoots burglar

GRAND RAPIDS -- A man shot while trying to break into an Oakfield Township home last month was armed with a handgun, giving Marcus Diamond cause to fear for his life, Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth has determined.

Forsyth said today he will not charge Diamond, 34, for the May 12 shooting that injured Fernando Olivas, 18, outside a rural home on 15 Mile Road NE. The prosecutor's decision is based on police finding a gun Olivas allegedly carried to the house. Olivas apparently reached for the weapon before Diamond fired.

"When Mr. Olivas 'reached into his pocket,' the shooter believed he posed an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm," Forsyth ruled. "The fact that Mr. Olivas was armed clearly validates his belief.

"Even if Mr. Olivas was not reaching for his weapon, the shooter had an honest and reasonable belief that he was."

Olivas and Edgar Hernandez, 17, who both face multiple felony charges, are accused of trying to enter the home of William "Jake" Kish. They believed Kish grew marijuana and had unregistered guns inside, court documents show.

Olivas, who was shot in the back, told The Press in an earlier interview he and Hernandez went to the house, 10739 15 Mile Road NE, with the intent to burglarize it. In the interview, Olivas denied having a gun.

He since has refused to comment on the incident.

Forsyth said declining to charge Diamond is not an indication of the teenagers' guilt.

Diamond's sister said the family was relieved to learn he would not face criminal charges. Diamond could not be reached for comment.

"He wasn't too worried, but it was good to hear," the sister said, declining to identify herself. "He did what he knew he had to do." . . . .

Thanks to Matthew Ledyard for sending me this link.

Krauthammer discusses Barry Bonds and Steroids

Charles Krauthammer has a good piece in today's Washington Post. I have made these basic points before, though he may have done a better job of expressing the point.

. . . The idea that an athlete of Bonds's stature, for whom the body is both temple and bank vault, would be mistakenly ingesting substances is implausible, made all the more so by the evidence dredged up by two San Francisco sportswriters detailing Bonds's (alleged) gargantuan consumption of every performance-enhancing drug from steroids to human growth hormone.

But why should we care? What is really wrong with performance enhancement? We say we are against it because it diminishes striving, devalues achievement, produces a shortcut to greatness, etc. But in many endeavors we don't really care about any of that. Medical residents at hospitals have been known to take Ritalin to keep themselves alert on overnight shifts. If it enhances their thinking in the emergency room, what's the objection?

Many public speakers, performers and even some surgeons take beta-blockers to literally still their hearts and steady their hands. I've never seen a banner at the opera complaining: "Pavarotti does it on pasta." And what about the military, which pioneered some of these performance-enhancing studies to see how they could help soldiers survive the most extreme stresses? Isn't that an unqualified good?

Performance enhancement turns out to be disturbing only in the narrow context of competition, most commonly in sports. And the objection is not cheating nature but cheating competitors. It's basically a fairness issue.

When everyone has access to technological improvements (graphite tennis rackets, titanium drivers, more tightly wound baseballs) the sport may be transformed, but the playing field remains level. When technology is enhancing the equipment, fans become quickly reconciled to the transformation. (And it can be radical: The transition from bamboo to fiberglass totally changed the pole vault.) But when technology enhances the physiology of the athlete, we tend to recoil. . . . .


Has Europe gone nuts?

I am still trying to figure out how free train travel fits in with the other proposals, though may be it is just obvious so that people can see each other to do the other things that the party is advocating. It seems amazing to me, but this new party seems to be getting some support.

Last month, the NVD [Charity, Freedom and Diversity Party] presented its platform. The party seeks to lower the legal age for sexual relations in the Netherlands from 16 years to 12 years, decriminalize child pornography, bestiality and the consumption of all drugs, and make train travel free.

In order to officially take part in the January 2007 legislative election, the NVD requires 570 signatures of support. Party co-founder Ad van den Berg explained his rationale for allowing paedophilia, saying, "A ban just makes children curious." . . . .

50 songs that conservatives love?

50 songs that conservatives love? I am not sure that I agree with all of these. The ones that I owned of these and liked are:

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down -- I have it by Joan Baez, not The Band (What can I say, I have a weakness for the South.)
Who'll Stop the Rain -- Greedence Clearwater Revival
Janie's Got a Gun -- Aerosmith (I like this song, but it has never been completely clear to me that she was going to use it wisely.
Get over it -- the Eagles
Taxman -- Beatles (Obvious)
Revolution -- Beatles (Obvious, though for some reason it is not on their list.)


"Intruder shot after breaking into Boring woman's home"

KATU.com BORING, Ore. - Clackamas County Sheriff's Deputies say a Portland man was shot multiple times early Tuesday morning after he allegedly forced his way into the home of a woman who claims the man had been harassing her.

Investigators report the woman was in the company of her present boyfriend and was intruded upon by Joe Ray Estes, 49, reportedly her previous boyfriend.

Officers say it appears to be a situation where Estes allegedly objected to the presence of the other man and came to the residence and physically forced his way into the woman's home.

Investigators working this investigation are under the impression the multiple gunshot wounds Joe Ray Estes received during this altercation are not considered life threatening.

Estes was listed in stable condition after being flown by helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Hospital. . . . .

Entrapment?: OK, I confess that I have some sympathy for this clerk

Well, she LOOKED 21 anyway, maybe older, and what's more the clerk at the small store in this Coos County town says he was much distracted by what he called the young lady's scanty attire. So distracted, he said, that he didn't see the "Minor until 2007" stamped on her driver's license. She got the six-pack, and store owner David Cardwell got a $1,320 fine. The clerk had to pay $750.

Cardwell is hollering "Entrapment," "Draconian" and more.

Rather than pay, Cardwell says, he will take the alternative and close the store for a week. He says it doesn't make that much in a week in any case.

His clerk had been stung by an Oregon Liquor Control Commission decoy sent to test for underage sales.

His two clerks will be jobless until June 7.

Cardwell is not denying his employee erred, but says it was hardly fair.

"This young woman was dressed in very provocative clothing more suited for the bedroom," Cardwell said in a letter to the OLCC. "I would not allow my daughter to leave the house dressed in such a way." . . . .


More info on Hillary's Decision to Run for Presidency

There are so many conflicting polls on Hillary Clinton's presidential run that I am not completely sure what to make of things. John Fund has an interesting note, even if it is informal, on her decision to run for the presidency.

"There is no sentimentality for the Clintons on this issue," one party adviser says. "This is a cold political decision, because the party can't afford to lose a third straight presidential election." Jonathan Alter, a columnist for Newsweek, agrees. He says he took an informal survey of women voters who admire Hillary Clinton. He put the question to them about what they would do if in early 2008, Mrs. Clinton "is 12-to-15 points behind John McCain and that [former Virginia governor] Mark Warner or somebody else is 4-to-6 points behind John McCain. Who do you vote for? And every single one I've talked to have said that they would go for Warner or the candidate with the best chance."

We've come a long way from 1992, when almost every reporter covering the Clinton campaign knew the candidate's habits and weaknesses and chose not to report them. As the 2008 campaign approaches, the New York Times story is a signal by the mainstream media that that any foibles are likely to be addressed sooner rather later.


Harry Reid in More Ethics Problems

Will this get even a fraction of the attention that the charges against Republicans get? I doubt that it will last very long. This is from the AP via USA Today's website.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing. . . .

He defended the gifts, saying they would never influence his position on the bill and was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry. "Anyone from Nevada would say I'm glad he is there taking care of the state's No. 1 businesses," he told The Associated Press. . . .

Senate ethics rules generally allow lawmakers to accept gifts from federal, state or local governments, but specifically warn against taking such gifts — particularly on multiple occasions — when they might be connected to efforts to influence official actions.

"Senators and Senate staff should be wary of accepting any gift where it appears that the gift is motivated by a desire to reward, influence, or elicit favorable official action," the Senate ethics manual states. It cites the 1990s example of an Oregon lawmaker who took gifts for personal use from a South Carolina state university and its president while that school was trying to influence his official actions.

"Repeatedly taking gifts which the Gifts Rule otherwise permits to be accepted may, nonetheless, reflect discredit upon the institution, and should be avoided," the manual states.

Several ethics experts said Reid should have paid for the tickets, which were close to the ring and worth between several hundred and several thousand dollars each, to avoid the appearance he was being influenced by gifts.

Two senators who joined Reid for fights with the complimentary tickets took markedly differently steps.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insisted on paying $1,400 for the tickets he shared with Reid for a 2004 championship fight. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., accepted free tickets to another fight with Reid but already had recused himself from Reid's federal boxing legislation because his father was an executive for a Las Vegas hotel that hosts fights.

In an interview Thursday in his Capitol office, Reid broadly defended his decisions to accept the tickets and to take several actions benefiting disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients and partners as they donated to him. . . . .

Canada: "Shadows of the Sponsorship program hang over the gun registry"

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation is now see shades of the Adscam Sponsorship scandal in the gun registry program:

Shadows of the Sponsorship program hang over the gun registry. Some might scoff at this declaration or the need to find answers. But until it is explained how a program budgeted to cost $117-million somehow exceeded $1-billion, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of officials responsible for ensuring the proper stewardship of tax dollars.

Taxpayers are seeking answers on the awarding of contracts to consultants. Paragraph 4.82 of the auditor’s most recent report concludes “the [Canada Firearms] Centre misused contracting tools to retain the services of information technology contractors.” And paragraph 4.83 reveals the government system used to award contracts was rigged and “made directed contracts appear to have been awarded competitively.” In addition “the end result [of contracting tools] was a non-competitive process and did not meet the objectives of the Treasury Board Contracting Policy.”

The audit also found “on average the cost to the Centre for each consultant increased by about 25% under this supply arrangement.” Costs skyrocketed as excessive – and needless – commissions were paid to well-connected consultants. This has both the look and feel of another Sponsorship-style kickback scheme.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has decided to investigate who is responsible for hiding from Parliament the rising costs of the registry. Yet the committee chair has already conceded it will not be possible to remove “politics” from the examination. A wider investigation is necessary. Given what Ms. Fraser has told Canadians about the operations of the federal firearms registry, there is ample reason for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to establish an independent inquiry into this program. He should do so without delay.


"Knife amnesty held across the UK"

Felons have legitimate benefit from owning guns

There is a lot of pressure to let felons vote after they have been released from prison. Despite all the sanctions imposed on felons (lost jobs, lost professional licenses, lost retirement and other benefits, etc.), the inability to vote is considered the most important sanction by many. Jobs and hte inability to defend oneself also seem important to me, here is one example of self defense:

The Issaquah man who claims he shot a black bear in self-defense near his home Monday night is now under investigation by the Department of Fish and Wildlife for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for hunting a bear out of season.

King County Sheriff's deputies, officers with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms served a search warrant Wednesday at Aaron Enright's home in the rural High Point neighborhood near Issaquah.

They seized the 10-gauge shotgun he used to shoot the bear, a .22-caliber rifle and .22-caliber ammunition. The search warrant indicates they are seeking evidence that would support a charge of "Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree" and "Unlawful Hunt Big Game 2nd Degree: Closed Bear Season."

"It's complete insanity," Enright told us Thursday night.

Enright says that on Monday he thought his black labrador retriever was at his back door so he opened the door to let it in. Instead he stood face to face with a black bear.

He says he backed away from the door and reached for his shotgun, that the bear backed up about 10 feet from the door, then made a move as if it was going to charge at him.

"I'm tracking it and then it turns and I shoot it," said Enright, showing us where he says he stood in his own kitchen when he fired the single shot through the open door. "It turned left and took one step and I shot it." . . .