NY Times also gets Jim Zumbo case wrong

The NY Times comments on the Jim Zumbo case:

Everyone knows what a prairie dog is: a chubby North American rodent that lives in a communal burrow and grows to be about a foot long. “Assault rifle” is a much touchier term. It is generally understood to be the kind of gun that soldiers use in wars and terrorists use on the evening news. But the gun lobby despises “assault rifle,” considering it a false, scary label tacked onto perfectly legitimate weapons by people who want to take away others’ rights.

That is a debate for another day. The question for now is whether the hunter, Jim Zumbo, deserved what he got after he wrote on his blog that hunters should shun what he called assault rifles — semiautomatics like the AR-15, a cousin of the M-16, and civilian knockoffs of the AK-47. “Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist,” he wrote, “but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity.” He added: “To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let’s divorce ourselves from them. I say game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods.” . . . .

This is what I posted before:

The problem isn't that he made a political mistake, the problem is that this guy doesn't know what he was talking about. These military-style assault rifles are functionally the same as hunting rifles. A .308 caliber AK-47 "assault" weapon fires bullets that are no more powerful and at the same rate as a regular deer hunting rifle. They are both semi-automatic guns. This AK-47 is a civilian version of the weapon. It is not the military version.


Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Teacher's union is trying stop Utah Voucher Law

Surprise, the Utah teacher's union is trying stop the recently enacted voucher system in the state. It is understandable that the teacher's union dislikes competition. One positive note is that the teacher's union has tried petitions before on gun issues and they have failed (Utah's petition rules require that petitioners get signatures from across the state and not just liberal Salt Lake City and that lowers the chances of getting something on the ballot). Given that the union is probably more motivated this time, the odds are higher, but they still might fail. My guess is that once vouchers are in place for a while, it will be a lot like concealed handgun laws. People will wonder what all the concern was about.

Less than 24 hours after the Legislature adjourned, opponents of the school voucher program applied for a referendum petition that could land a final decision in the hands of voters in the next general election.
Utahns for Public Schools, a group formed to head up the task of gathering nearly 100,000 signatures — 91,998 to be exact — in the next 40 days, filed the application asking Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert to consider their cause.
"This is so important that the people in this state should get to vote on it," said Pat Rusk, former president of the Utah Education Association. "We are going to make sure that the citizens of Utah get to decide if they want their tax dollars going to private schools." . . . .

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Hysterical police and fire department reaction to guns and ammunition held by collector

It would be nice if you actually had to violate some law before the police would confiscate the guns and ammunition that someone held. So police found "large amounts of guns, large amounts of ammunition"? "Each rifle was loaded"? Again, so what? I am willing to guess that there "could be a million bullets here" is an extreme exaggeraged guess. The reporter trying to scare the neighbors is just amazing. People living in LA might consider contacting KTLA.

Some commentary here.
The KTLA film can be seen here.

Thanks to Jason Mullner for alerting me to this.

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No bounce from the Academy Awards


Cars save lives compared to horses: Technology saves lives

Cars improved the air ... that's no bull

Published on: 02/27/07
The motto of all environmentalists should be "Thank goodness for the internal combustion engine."

The abuse heaped on the internal combustion engine by environmentalists was never justified. But a recent story on cow flatulence in the British newspaper, The Independent, makes the environmental benefits from gasoline-powered engines even more obvious. Based on a recent study by the Food and Agricultural Organization, The Independent reports that "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together."

Long before global warming became an environmental concern, however, the move from the power provided by animals to that provided by gasoline had greatly improved the environment. The emissions that came out of the tailpipes of horses were much more lethal pollutants that those now coming out of the tailpipes of cars. Horse emissions did more than make our town and cities stink; they spread fly-borne diseases and polluted water supplies that killed people at a far greater rate than the pollution from cars and trucks ever have.

Photochemical smog is clearly a health risk, but not nearly the health risk of cholera, diphtheria and tetanus that have been largely eliminated with the help of gasoline powered transportation.

Before the internal combustion engine it wasn't just cows, sheep and pigs emitting pollution down on the farm. Tractors and other types of gas-powered farm machinery eliminated the horses, mules and oxen that had provided most of the power necessary to grow and harvest our food and fiber. This not only reduced the problem that still exists from animal waste that environmentalists, with justification, still complain about. The internal combustion engine also eliminated the need to produce food to fuel millions upon millions of agricultural beasts of burden. It has been estimated that in 1900 it took about 93 million acres of land to grow the food for the farm animals that were replaced by current farm machinery. Most of that land has now gone back to woodlands, greatly increasing the number of trees that are reducing the problem of global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide.

The above consideration should have been enough to warrant an environmental shrine to the internal combustion engine. And now we find that by eliminating all those farm-yard animals, the internal combustion engine also eliminated vast amounts of methane-producing flatulence, which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide produce by burning gasoline. . . . .

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Gore Admonishing the Media to Report only One side of Global Warming Issue

This reminds me of Gore's book, Earth in the Balance, where he also argued that the media should only report bad environmental news and not good news because doing so would prevent us from making the necessary changes. Well, that book was published in the early 1990s. Of course, my guess is that things are biased in the other direction.

Also, there is a big jump between saying that there is global warming and that we should do something about it or that we should do any of the things that Gore is advocating.

I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action," Gore said. "There are many reasons, but one of the principal reasons in my view is more than half of the mainstream media have rejected the scientific consensus implicitly — and I say 'rejected,' perhaps it's the wrong word. They have failed to report that it is the consensus and instead have chosen … balance as bias.

"I don't think that any of the editors or reporters responsible for one of these stories saying, 'It may be real, it may not be real,' is unethical. But I think they made the wrong choice, and I think the consequences are severe.

"I think if it is important to look at the pressures that made it more likely than not that mainstream journalists in the United States would convey a wholly inaccurate conclusion about the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced." . . . .

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What kind of judges has Giuliani appointed in the past?: Liberal Democrats

This does not seem very consistent with Giuliani's promise to appoint strict constructionists. In addition, I believe that I have heard him point to the types of judges that he has appointed in the past as a guide to what he would do in the future:

When Rudy Giuliani faces Republicans concerned about his support of gay rights and legal abortion, he reassures them that he is a conservative on the decisions that matter most.

"I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am," he told South Carolina Republicans last month. "Those are the kinds of justices I would appoint -- Scalia, Alito and Roberts."

But most of Giuliani's judicial appointments during his eight years as mayor of New York were hardly in the model of Chief Justice John Roberts or Samuel Alito -- much less aggressive conservatives in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

A Politico review of the 75 judges Giuliani appointed to three of New York state's lower courts found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 8 to 1. One of his appointments was an officer of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. Another ruled that the state law banning liquor sales on Sundays was unconstitutional because it was insufficiently secular. . . . .

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Supreme Court Going to Decide About Whether to Allow High Speed Police Chases

This is a case for the Supreme Court? The problem with the decisions at the district and circuit court levels is that the courts looked at what they thought were the costs and benefits from pursuit in those cases. Even if a particular pursuit turns out badly, the threat of pursuit may stop a lot of other crimes from occuring. It is too bad that the person in this case became paralyzed, but what about the other crimes that were stopped?

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a case expected to lay down new rules about when and how law-enforcement officers can chase suspects and use their vehicles to stop them.

At issue before the court is whether a Georgia police officer went too far when he rammed his vehicle into the car of a driver who refused to pull over for speeding. The car went down an embankment, and the crash left the 19-year-old driver paralyzed from the neck down.

Civil liberties advocates and critics of police chases are concerned that a ruling for the officer in the case would give law enforcement the green light to use more aggressive tactics even for minor offenses.

Most Central Florida law-enforcement agencies have policies that prohibit pursuits when only traffic or minor offenses are involved, although some policies are more restrictive than others.

Law-enforcement officers across the country are concerned that a ruling for the driver would put them in legal jeopardy for split-second decisions at crime scenes.

But even if the court rules in favor of the deputy, don't expect area law-enforcement agencies to change how they deal with fleeing suspects, one veteran Central Florida police official said Sunday. . . . .

As the chase continued on Georgia Highway 74, at speeds of up to 90 mph, Scott took over and led the pursuit.

Seconds later, Scott asked permission to use the PIT maneuver, and his supervisor responded over the radio: "Take him out; take him out."

But they were traveling too fast on a wet two-lane road for the maneuver, so Scott rammed Harris' Cadillac in the rear, sending the car down an embankment.

Harris was paralyzed and was never prosecuted.

He filed a lawsuit against Scott, alleging violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment's guarantees against unreasonable seizures and excessive force. . . . .

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"Cash-Strapped Michigan Sheriff's Department Auctioning Machine Gun"

Given that machine guns are legal and given that there are zero crimes committed with these registered machine guns, this seems like a rational policy to me, but I am sure that this Sheriff's office will be given all sorts of grief.

"For sale: Collector quality, fully automatic M-16 [by the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department] in excellent condition. Never fired outside shooting range."

UPDATE: Sayuncle writes me that:

"Given that machine guns are legal and given that there are zero crimes committed with these registered machine guns,"

There have been two murders committed with lawfully owned MGs. One case was a cop used a Mac 10 to murder an informant. In another, a wealthy doctor killed his assistant whom he'd been stalking with a Mac-10.

UPDATE: Sayuncle was nice enough to inform me that the case involving a police officer did not involve a privately owned machine gun. He pointed to the details are available here.

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The City of Chicago having real trouble keeping track of guns in evidence storage


Anti-crime advice from a criminal


Another huge hole in campaign finance laws

So does this mean that the Saudi's are financing Hillary Clinton's campaign? I can't give a candidate $10,000 for their campaign, but I can pay you for a talk and then let you spend the money on yourself. Given all his other ways around the campaign finance laws, I can't wait for Soros to take advantage of this. Of course, he probably figured this out long ago.

[Bill Clinton] has earned $40 million in the past six years in speaking fees.

Goldman Sachs paid Clinton $650,000 for four speeches, while the banking firm, Citicorp paid
$250,000 for just one speech. But U.S. companies didn't represent the largest of President Clinton's speaking fees—those came from overseas clients — such as a Saudi firm that paid Clinton $600,000 for two speeches and a real estate group run by an official of China's communist party paid him $200,000.

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Global Warming Hysteria Making it so Children are Losing Sleep

This is great. I hope that Al Gore with his movie and the others exaggerating the risks feel good about themselves. Some years ago, when my oldest kids were around 7 and 5, I noticed that some of the neighborhood children who we had over were not flushing the toilets. When I asked them what was going on (the smell had alerted me to the problem), I was told that they were worried that we were running out of water. It was something that they had been told in school. The notion that we were running out of water in Pennsylvania was just bizarre. I wondered what teachers could possibly scare children that way.

All the reports about the dire consequences of global warming are having one unintended effect — they're scaring the wits out of some children. According to a recent study of 1,100 British youngsters between ages 7 and 11, half of them are so anxious about the effects of global warming, they frequently lose sleep over it.

The survey, conducted for a supermarket chain in Great Britain found that a quarter of the children blamed politicians for climate change, while a seventh blamed their own parents for not doing enough to save the environment. The most feared consequences of global warming among the children included the possibility of entire countries being submerged by flooding, and of course, the welfare of animals.

A spokesman for the supermarket chain seemed pleased that youngsters are so worried about global warming that it keeps them awake, as he lamented that, "many adults may look the other way." . . . .

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