A commentary on the political climate: Lieberman's Primary Battle

I agree with Senator Lieberman on very little and I even had a newspaper column debate with him one time on gasoline price controls, but I really hope that he wins the Democratic primary in August. I can only imagine how little cooperation there will be by Democrats with Republicans if Lieberman is defeated.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and one of Mr. Lieberman’s closest friends in the Senate, called him “one of the most decent men I have ever known” and simply shook his head when asked about his friend’s situation. “I hesitate to say anything nice about him, for fear that it would be used against him,” Mr. McCain said. “And that’s a terrible commentary on the state of politics and the political climate today.” . . .

Indeed, there is an unmistakable sense of satisfaction, if not glee, over Mr. Lieberman’s difficulties in the primary, even among people who consider themselves friends. Mr. McCain said: “This is just another of a long list of things I’ve seen that show you have very few friends. So long as you understand that, you can exist happily here. But you shouldn’t delude yourself into thinking people are going to stand by you instead of acting in their self-interests.”


Prohibition on confiscating guns during an emergency passes overwhelmingly

"To prohibit the confiscation of a firearm during an emergency or major disaster if the possession of such firearm is not prohibited under Federal or State law."

Here is the list of Senators who voted against the amendment:

NAYs ---16 (All Democrats)
Akaka (D-HI)
Boxer (D-CA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Reed (D-RI)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)

Note of the Democratic Presidential contenders Bayh and Kerry voted for the amendment while Clinton and Dodd voted against it.

UPDATE: See also this article in the Washington Post.

Thanks to Bill St. Clair for correcting this post.

Are these the people who we want teaching our children?

Here are some of the political positions that the National Education Association is advocating (from Jason Riley at Political Diary):

-- a tax-supported, single-payer (i.e., Canadian-style) health care plan for all residents of the United States, its territories and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;
-- the return of a media "fairness doctrine," which muted broadcast competition for decades;
-- "reproductive freedom";
-- a national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez;
-- a nuclear freeze;
-- a moratorium on capital punishment at the state and federal levels;
-- "U.S. participation in and equitable financing of the United Nations and related bodies";
-- "a progressive tax system," and -- was there ever a doubt -- "restoring the estate tax."

I also heard a week or so ago that they came out for recognizing same sex marriage. My question is: which ones of these positions are related to their teaching jobs?

One gun ban that is working very well

Defending the Law and Economics Center at George Mason University


"BRAZILIAN GUN BAN - The participation of Movimento Viva Brasil in the Referendum"

Bene Barbosa sent me a copy of this article from Brazil

Mr. Bene Barbosa – President – with a John Lott Book

The participation of Movimento Viva Brasil in the Referendum

When Movimento Viva Brasil was founded in August 2004, it represented not only the wishes but also the hopes of a group of idealists who had always fought for their civil rights, especially the right to self-defense.

Lead by Bene Barbosa, a mid-school teacher, dedicated defender of people’s civil rights and individual freedom for more than 10 years, Movimento Viva Brasil started a serious discussion about the lack of effective national security policies, which was being masked by some people with a Disarmament Campaign of honest citizens.

Movimento Viva Brasil was founded with the objective of showing and informing the Brazilian population about what in fact was behind the Disarmament Campaign, suggested by the Disarmament Statute, and to put an end to the fallacies suggested by the anti-gun supporters, in defense of the Referendum and the Prohibition Campaign.

The Congress

The battle that took place in the National Congress was long and hard. Always present in Brasilia, Movimento Viva Brasil followed all the steps to the MP’s voting that approved the referendum. It also worked together with the few politicians that questioned the Disarmament Statute and the absurd idea of taking this right away from the citizens.

On several occasions, the national and regional coordination of Movimento Viva Brasil tried to arrange a meeting with Senator Renan Calheiros, President of the Brazilian Senate, to discuss the Disarmament Statute, the campaign and the Referendum but was never received by the Senator.

At the House of Representatives however, Movimento Viva Brasil was received by the then President of the House, Severino Cavalcanti, together with many other entities and associations for human rights, families of victims of violence, country folks, sporting shooters (of which Brazil once won a gold medal in the Olympic Games), and several other entities and people, determined not to lose their right to purchase firearms and ammunition.
It was one of the most remarkable moments in our fight. The banner “Disarming the citizen is not the solution” was printed on T-shirts of all those who were present at the Cabinet of the House of Representatives President.

The press

It had always been part of Movimento Viva Brasiil’s policies to inform the population about the facts of the Referendum but it had a lot of difficulty in getting the necessary exposure due to the posture of the media at large, practically made up by people willing to defend the more “politically correct” position. Unfortunately a large part of the Brazilian press was not interested in listening to what Movimento Viva Brasil had to say despite all the information and statistics that were offered to journalists to analyze.

However, thanks to an excellent communication strategy, Movimento Viva Brasil conquered space in the regional communication channels and in the Internet, from where broadcasted information reached the population and opinion-makers.

Movimento Viva Brasil gradually gained visibility as a sound source of information and had a positive participation in a series of interviews and debates on television and the radio.

Parallel to that, various other idealists from different regions of the country gathered together and joined the fight. Movimento Viva Brasil managed to gather some voluntary regional coordinators in different States and it was then able to create a solid information web. The president of Movimento Viva Brasil himself traveled around the country, participating in interviews and debates, public audiences, visiting trade unions and institutions.

The Parliamentary front

A lot of effort had to be directed towards the Members of Parliament during the Referendum’s approval process. Unfortunately not enough to avoid the Referendum itself. A great mass of government’s allies in the Congress, together with NGO’s financed by foreign money, put all their effort into the approval of the Referendum. And it was the Brazilian population, eager for realistic and effective measures towards public security that had to pay approximately R$600 million for the Referendum.

In March 2005, even before the Referendum was approved by the Congress, Movimento Viva Brasil and Alberto Fraga MP created the Non-partisan Committee for Self Defense Rights (Comitê Suprapartidário Pela Legítima Defesa), which later became the Parliamentary Front for Self Defense Rights (Frente Parlamentar pelo Direito à Legítima Defesa), defending the victorious “NO” Vote.

Opinion pools started to show voting intentions of the population. Some sectors of the media however, with the clear intention of confusing the electorate about their vote, misled the population into believing that the election was about Disarmament, and that if Prohibition was passed, the crime levels would have a considerable drop. For some time these lies succeeded, and voting intention pools indicated that 80% of the electorate tended to vote “YES” (in favor of the prohibition).

The turning point

We would have to be very efficient to pass to the electorate realistic information about what was really behind the Referendum so that they knew exactly what they were voting for or against. Our PR, Chico Santa Rita, was in charge of all campaign publicity matters and was determined that the arguments should focus on civil rights and individual freedom. From then on, the lies, fallacies, fake numbers, and manipulated statistics used by the anti-gun campaigners started to be exposed. Soon most citizens had realized what the Referendum was all about, and were determined not to give up their rights particularly when their right to make choices was at stake.

It was then that we had what could be called the “turning point”. Opinion pools started to show that voting intentions were now on an equal basis, and the media could no longer continue to manipulate the facts. By then, Movimento Viva Brasil had become a sound source of information for journalists covering the event. The “NO” Vote was starting to gain strength, especially after the free TV and radio campaigns were under way.
After only twenty days of free national TV and radio campaign and two days before the voting, opinion pools indicated that 49% of the electorate already intended to vote “NO” towards Prohibition, against 45% towards the “YES” Vote.

The victory

During the days that preceded the election, there was no end of demonstrations and protests clearly showing what great part of the Brazilian population intended to vote for on 23 October.
Brazilians were prepared to say one big “NO” to Prohibition – 64% of the population did so.”

Vote today on Preventing Firearms from being Seized During an Emergency

Well, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has offered his language as an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 5441). His amendment will probably be voted on later today.

Yesterday, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Vitter documented the gun confiscation that occurred in his state last September. "Certain law-enforcement authorities confiscated legally-held firearms by law-abiding citizens," Vitter said. "Not a few, not a dozen, not two dozen, but literally thousands were confiscated by law-enforcement officials."

Vitter noted how even after a district court ordered the guns to be returned, New Orleans police superintendent Warren Riley stated in a June 6 radio interview that his officers would "confiscate guns again" if another similar disaster should strike New Orleans.

Earlier this year, the state of Louisiana enacted legislation to stop this kind of abuse. Vitter acknowledged that. But legislation is still needed, he said, to prevent federal officials from engaging in the same activity. (Keep in mind that federal agents also participated in the gun thefts last September in New Orleans.)

Vitter's amendment would prohibit the executive department from temporarily or permanently seizing firearms during a disaster or emergency. . . .


"What Mexico can teach the United States."

The American League Wins Again!

It was starting to look a little worrisome for a while there tonight, but the American League pulled it out at the end powered by Texas Ranger Michael Young's two-run triple.


Gov. Bush on Why Crime has Fallen for 14 straight years in Florida

National Education Association: "Pays Opponents Of No Child Left Behind Law"

USA Today reports that "The nation's largest teachers union has spent more than $8 million in a stealth campaign against President Bush's education reform law, paying for research and political opposition in an effort to derail it, according to a Washington think tank that supports the law." I suppose that this would appear less problematic if the research had been done before the funding was given, but the main issue is that the teachers' union secretly gave money for these studies to be done and even more important the researchers did not reveal this funding. The NEA undoubtedly knows what conclusion these researchers are going to reach even if there isn't a quid pro quo.

Interestingly, this was only discovered because of new reporting requirements. USA Today reports that "Joe Williams examined U.S. Labor Department LM-2 forms, which unions had to begin filing last year, and found that the NEA spent about $7.65 million supporting a start-up lobbying group called Communities for Quality Education, which has been critical of the law. The NEA also has funded, to a much lesser extent, other groups critical of the law, including the National Conference of Black Mayors, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Harvard Civil Rights Project."

Lott v. Levitt Response FIled

Yesterday my lawyer filed a response to Levitt and HaperCollin's motion to dismiss the defamation case. For those interested, the response can be found here.

A past post on this can be found here.


12 Year Old South Carolina Boy Saves Family by Brandishing Gun

Greenville, SC
12 Year Old Points Gun at Burglars; Group Takes Off
July 10, 2006 09:40 PM
An accused group of thugs-- thwarted by a 12-year old with a gun. It happened in Greenville when police say five masked men stormed into a house and started beating up the child's father.

FOX Carolina's Jamie Guirola reports, Try and picture it. A 12 year old walks into the living room, sees his mother frantically protecting the baby, and several strangers attacking his father. The 12 year old rushes out of the living room-- but comes back pointing a gun at the five suspects. As of Monday night-- all but one are in jail.

These are the alleged home invaders without their masks. The youngest barely seventeen, the oldest just 20. George Dickert didn't have time to think about their ages when he tells us they broke into his home and tried to rob his family.

George Dickert/Victim: "F*$# you! That's what I was thinking."

Sunday night, George says, one of the suspects in the group followed him into his house after he smoked a cigarette. He tells us the man pulled out a gun, threatening him. When George reached for a different gun in self-defense a fight broke out.

George: "I work five days a week and my wife works six days a week. We're an honest couple. We do what we have to do to make a living and some idiot decided he wanted what I had."

When the struggle started, police say, two other men came into the house and started beating on George. That's when George's 12 year old made the move credited with scaring the accused thugs out of the house-- and stopping the burglary-- without even firing the gun.'

George: "He did what he had to do to protect his family last night. And a 12 year old child should never have to go through that. Even if he does know what to do, he should not have to do that." . . . .

Thanks very much to Darren L. Higginbotham for sending me this link. As I wrote in The Bias Against Guns, the media is very reluctant to publicize these types of defensive gun use stories.

The only type of defensive gun use case that the NY Times reports

When I wrote The Bias Against Guns, the only type of defensive gun use case that I found in the NY Times was one where an off-duty cop had stopped an armed robbery at a gasoline station.

An off-duty police officer driving home from work in the Bronx early yesterday shot a man in the face when the man tried to steal his car at gunpoint, the police said. The man ran, but was captured several minutes later, according to the police.

In spite of his wound, the suspect, Daniel Arroyo, 22, of Hoe Avenue in Crotona Park East was reported in fair condition at Jacobi Medical Center, where he was under police guard. He was charged with attempted robbery, assault and weapons counts. The police said that his gun, a .380-caliber semiautomatic, was found near the officer's vehicle, cocked and loaded.

The officer, Kenneth O'Connor, 34, an 11-year veteran of the department, works in the 47th Precinct, where the shooting occurred.

Officer O'Connor had just left the Laconia Avenue station house and was headed home when Mr. Arroyo approached his Ford Explorer at East 223rd Street and Schieffelin Avenue in Williamsbridge about 12:20 a.m., according to the police. He then pointed his gun at the officer and demanded the car, the police said.

Officer O'Connor drew his off-duty weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, and fired once, the police said, striking Mr. Arroyo in the face. Mr. Arroyo dropped his gun and ran a block to Eastchester Road while Officer O'Connor called the police on his cellphone, the police said. Officers arrested Mr. Arroyo a short time later. . . . .


Ann Coulter's publisher and syndication group don't think she plagiarized

As I noted earlier, I am not surprised that Ann is vindicated. What evidence of the claims that I saw looked amazingly week. Remind me not to put too much faith in the computer programs that is used to supposedly identify plagarists (in this case iThenticate).

Universal Press Syndicate said today that it doesn't think controversial columnist Ann Coulter is guilty of plagiarism.

In a statement sent to E&P, Universal President and Editor Lee Salem said: "Last week a software program company official ran Ann Coulter's columns through a 'match-text' program, frequently used by teachers to detect original work. The New York Post cited two columns in which some text matched other published materials and also mentioned three snippets in her book, 'Godless, The Church of Liberalism.'

"In addition to looking at the columns mentioned in the New York Post story, we also reviewed a sampling of other columns that have been mentioned in the media. Like her book publisher, Crown, Universal Press Syndicate finds no merits to the allegations of plagiarism brought by the software company executive. There are only so many ways you can rewrite a fact and minimal matching text is not plagiarism. . . . .

See also a recent AP story on this..

3 AM Home Breakin Stopped with Gun

Blue State, Red State, Mexican Style

Not surprisingly, Mexico has its own geographic polarization. John Fund has a nice summary of this at Opinionjournal's Political Diary:

The results, which will no doubt be contested, paint a fascinating picture of a Mexico split between a modern northern half that has benefited from the free-trade agreement with the U.S., and a Mexico in the south that remains largely poor and wedded to the tradition of support from the state. In some ways, it's Mexico own version of blue and red states.

In the states that are closest to the U.S. border, Mr. Calderon won a smashing 47% to 22% victory. At the same time Mr. Lopez Obrador, a former firebrand mayor of Mexico City, won his home base by 49% to 32%. A critical swing area proved to be the fast-growing Yucatan states, which so many Americans are familiar with for having vacationed in Cancun and Cozumel. Although located in the south, that area went for Mr. Calderon by about 200,000 -- precisely his nationwide margin.

The sore losers in Mr. Lopez Obrador camps, along with his U.S. sympathizers, will claim their man's loss is a defeat for Mexico's poor. But that's not what the exit polls show. Among the poorest fifth of Mexicans, Mr. Lopez Obrador only won by 34% to 31% over Mr. Calderon, with the remainder of the vote going to a candidate from the once-dominant PRI party. Many poor Mexicans warmed to Mr. Calderon's calls to open up the economy and rejected Mr. Lopez Obrador's promises of state pensions for all those over age 70. Conversely, while Mr. Calderon carried the top fifth of Mexican income earners, his victory was only by a margin of 50% to 30%. "Many public-sector and university graduates with high incomes supported Lopez Obrador out of some combination of economic interest and leftist conviction," says Michael Barone, the author of the Almanac of American Politics, who is reporting from Mexico.


Do hunter safety classes matter?

These changes back and forth would provide a nice empirical test for whether these hunting education classes actually improve hunter safety. I haven't looked at the data, but my guess is that they don't matter with respect to safety, though they will probably affect the number of hunters.

New hunters in Massachusetts will have to complete a hunter education course before heading for the woods, under a bill signed into law yesterday by Gov. Mittt Romney. . . .

Prior to the 1998 gun control law, in order to get a hunting license a person would either have to have carried a license prior to Jan. 1, 1997, or have taken a 15-hour hunter education course administered by the state division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The 1998 law, according to Wallace, was "poorly written" to allow anyone who carried a firearms license or a firearms identification card to go hunting without a hunter education course. . . . .

Rod Blagojevich again on guns: will Southern Illinois learn this time?

Can Blagojevich again convince southern Illinois voters that they can trust him again on issues such as guns. Given his vetoes and acknowledgement that he has gone back on promises, I don't know how they can trust him again.

Four years ago, Rod Blagojevich, a lifelong Chicagoan with a history of supporting gun-control, stunned the Illinois political world by convincing culturally conservative voters throughout Southern Illinois to help put him in the governor's office.

Now gunning for re-election, Blagojevich is attempting another downstate surprise. But it may prove more elusive this time, as he tries to stay out of the crossfire of the state's continuing gun-control debate. . . .

After four years of sometimes strained relations with Southern Illinois - over things like prison employment cutbacks, budgetary largess aimed at Chicago, and the governor's continuing support of certain gun-control measures