Oil Drilling Spills Virtually No Oil

There was this interesting piece in the WSJ:

Since 1975, drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (within 200 miles of the U.S. coast) has had a 99.999% safety record, according to the Energy Information Administration, which reports that "only .001 percent of the oil produced has been spilled."

Thanks to technological advances, large spills are rare. Most spills are tiny, only a few feet in diameter. Large tanker spills, such as the Exxon Valdez in 1989, are so infrequent they account for a very small fraction of the oil that winds up in the sea.

A joint study by NASA and the Smithsonian Institution, examining several decades' worth of data, found that more oil seeps into the ocean naturally than from accidents involving tankers and offshore drilling. Natural seepage from underwater oil deposits leaks an average of 62 million gallons a year; offshore drilling, on the other hand, accounted for only 15 million gallons, the smallest source of oil leaking into the oceans.

The vast majority of the oil that finds its way into the sea comes from dry land, NASA found. Runoff from cities, roads, industrial sites and garages deposits 363 million gallons into the sea, making runoff by far the single largest source of oil pollution in the oceans. "Every year oily road runoff from a city of 5 million could contain as much oil as one large tanker spill," notes the Smithsonian exhibit, "Ocean Planet."

The second-largest source of ocean oil pollution was routine ship maintenance, accountable for 137 million gallons a year, NASA found -- more than 2.5 times the amount that comes from tanker spills and offshore drilling combined. But no one is proposing that we ban cargo and cruise ships. . . .

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Supposedly why the Bush Administration Kept Quite about Saddam having 550 tons of enriched uranium

The Bush administration apparently would rather have people call them liars than say something that could endanger security. Townhall has the information here:

It appears that American troops found the 550 metric tons of uranium in 2003 after invading Iraq. They had to sit on this information and the uranium itself, for fear of terrorists attempting to steal it. It was guarded and kept safe by our military in a 23,000-acre site with large sand beams surrounding the site. . . .


Tony Snow Dies: One of the nicest guys that I knew

Fox News has the news about Snow's passing. Brit Hume has a discussion here about Snow. Chris Wallace has some comments here.


The Controversy over how the Journal of Political Economy treated papers on Downloading Music

I have covered the controversy here. Stan Liebowitz has a follow up piece on the who debate here. His abstract notes:

Through a stroke of luck, a referee report in the review process at the JPE has been positively identified as the Oberholzer-Gee/Strumpf (O/S) response to my earlier comment. Regardless of the response's provenance, what counts is whether it solidly refuted my comment. This 'sequel' analyzes the O/S response. The O/S response only deals with four of the nine points discussed in my comment, leaving the five remaining critiques unchallenged. The conclusion of my review is that the O/S response fails as a defense of these four points and contains many of the same types of errors that marred their original paper. This sequel also discusses the history of this dispute including O/S' various reasons for not making their data available. Finally, this sequel provides full documentation on the JPE's decision not to publish the comment.

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Federal Regulations Require Changes in Nevada's Background Checks

This just creates additional costs and delays when there is no evidence that I know of that these additional background checks will produce any benefits. KTVN, a Reno TV station, has the story here:

If you have a concealed weapons permit, you'll now have to get a background check every time you buy a new gun.

The federal government is behind the new rule.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it's basically because Nevada's background checks don't meet the federal requirements.

But, the gun owners and concealed weapons permit aren't at all happy about the changes.

Frank Morraele owns The Gun Trader and owns several guns himself, "Prior to the first of July, if you had a concealed weapons permit and you wanted to buy a gun, we would document it and that was good instead of calling the state and charging you $25 for a background check."

To buy a gun and obtain a carry concealed weapons, or C.C.W. permit, someone has to take an all day safety and education class.

And then it's off to the sheriff's office to be fingerprinted and photographed.

It can take 3 or 4 months to be issued a permit after the background checks at the state and federal level.

Van Lizanetz who has a concealed carry weapons permit says, "People that have C.C.W.'s have been through a stringent background check and they have taken clases to get the permit."

Gun owners and those C.C.W. holders say having to go through a background check to buy a new firearm or re-new their C.C.W. is just too much.


New Ohio gun laws going into effect

Ohio now has the Castle Doctrine and new rules on where one can carry concealed handguns:

A new Ohio law signed into effect this week, not only gives property owners the right to shoot intruders, but it's also changing Ohio's concealed carry law.

Local authorities have dealt with concealed carry since 2004 and believe this could clarify a lot of questions still associated with the law.

Already the bill has done away with the issue of carrying a gun in a locked glove box.

Colonel Bryan Hoover from the Muskingum County Sheriff's Department explains other changes, " It also permits guns to be carried in retail establishments that sell liquor, as long as the licensee isn't consuming. It permits concealed carry in a school zone, when picking a child or dropping a child off."

The Sheriff's Department will now also honor concealed carry permits to those who've had their records expunged, where in the past they would've been denied. . . .

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So what else is on the Jesse Jackson tape?

The LA Times has this story:

Shortly afterward, Fox News teased the news of Jackson's remarks on "Special Report With Brit Hume." The network didn't air the more vulgar part of Jackson's comments for two more hours, when the clip ran on the top-rated show hosted by Bill O'Reilly.

"It was Bill's staff who had been working on it, and we felt it would be appropriate to put it there," Shine said.

O'Reilly told viewers that the network had decided to air only portions of what Jackson had said, saying there was "more damaging" material.

Shine declined to comment on what else Jackson said, adding that news executives were in discussions about whether to air more of the tape. . . .

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It is apparently pretty hard to restrict abortions

This article at the BBC just shows that technology can make it pretty difficult to regulate things, including abortion.

Some women in countries where abortion is restricted are using the internet to buy medication enabling them to abort a pregnancy at home, the BBC has learned.

Women in Northern Ireland and over 70 countries with restrictions have used one of the main websites, Women on Web.

A British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology review of 400 customers found nearly 11% had needed a surgical procedure after taking the medication.

The website says it can help reduce the problems linked with unsafe abortions. . . .

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Is the term 'Black Hole' Racist?

This news story at Fox News would be pretty funny if it weren't so sad:

DALLAS — What do "black hole," "angel food cake," and "devil's food cake" have in common?

They're all racist terms, says a Dallas County, Texas, official.

A county commissioners' meeting this week over traffic tickets turned into a tense discussion over race when one commissioner said the county's collections office was like a certain astronomical phenomenon.

"It sounds like Central Collections has become a black hole," Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said during the Monday meeting.

One black official demanded an apology, and Commissioner John Wiley Price, who also is black, said that type of language is unacceptable.

At the meeting, Mayfield said he intended his comments to be taken in the context of the scientific meaning, and became upset that he was being misunderstood.

In astronomy, the term black hole refers to a star that has collapsed upon itself, creating something so dense and small that it does not have any physical properties besides a gravitational force so great that even light cannot escape its pull.

Later, Price told MyFOXdfw.com that he believed it and other terms were racist.

"So if it's 'angel food cake,' it's white. If it's 'devil's food cake,' it's black. If you're the 'black sheep of the family,' then you gotta be bad, you know. 'White sheep,' you're okay. You know?" Price said. . . .

Thanks to Bob Aldridge for sending me this link.

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"Gun sales increase as crime rates go up"

Something to remember for studies that try to separate out gun ownership and crime rates:

LEE COUNTY: Gun shop owners in Lee County say sales are up and they attribute the increase to home invasions.

Officials with the Lee County Sheriff's Office say at least 15 home invasions have been reported this year. In Cape Coral, police say they have investigated five and have solved most of them.

At Tactical Weapons in Fort Myers, salesman Andrew Bulman says the store sells 10 guns a week to first-time buyers.

"I do think people do react to the circumstances around them at the time," Bulman said. "A lot of people are coming in to look for something to protect themselves, their property. It gives them a peace of mind to resort to." . . .

NBC2 talked to Cape Coral Police Chief Robert Petrovich and he encourages people to bear arms, but to do so properly.

"We can't be everywhere, for them, every time, every minute, every second of the day," Petrovich said.
. . .

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Obama's "regrets"

Luke Boggs has a partial collection of Obama's "regrets":

Barack Obama just may be the most regretful figure in American politics, no small feat for a freshman senator. . . . .

So what jumped out at me was how quickly Obama regretted his decision. And that, in turn, made me wonder how often the senator has regretted other choices. Answer: pretty often. (Googling "Obama" and "regrets" yields more than a million hits.)

In November 2006, Obama said he regretted buying property adjacent to his Chicago home from Tony Rezko, a longtime supporter and big-time fund-raiser who has since been convicted of mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting bribery and money laundering.

In February 2007, as his presidential campaign was beginning, Obama said he regretted saying that the lives of American soldiers who died fighting in Iraq had been "wasted."

In April 2008, Obama said he regretted his choice of words when he told some well-heeled donors in San Francisco that "bitter" folks in Middle America who have lost economic hope "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." . . .

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More Evidence of Vote Fraud

Hans A. von Spakovsky has this interesting note:

The Government Accountability Office estimated that up to 3 percent of individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens. While that may not seem like a large number, it’s more than enough to tip close elections — say, Florida in 2000.. Florida has over a million illegal aliens, and the Justice Department has prosecuted non-citizens, including a state-legislature candidate, for voting there. . . .


Going to 55 Speed limits?

The discussion here looks at the debate. (You have to pick the one on 55 mph from the list.) One thing that this discussion doesn't discuss is the value of people's time.


Americans divided on gun control

For those who think that gun control has gone away as an issue, see this new poll:

People in the United States are evenly divided on the topic of firearm regulations, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 44 per cent of respondents believe the country requires stricter gun control laws, while 44 per cent disagree. . . .

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What is wrong with Wikipedia

Here is a discussion about Wikipedia on Global Warming:

Ever wonder how Al Gore, the United Nations, and company continue to get away with their claim of a “scientific consensus” confirming their doomsday view of global warming? Look no farther than Wikipedia for a stunning example of how the global-warming propaganda machine works.

As you (or your kids) probably know, Wikipedia is now the most widely used and influential reference source on the Internet and therefore in the world, with more than 50 million unique visitors a month.

In theory Wikipedia is a “people’s encyclopedia” written and edited by the people who read it - anyone with an Internet connection. So on controversial topics, one might expect to see a broad range of opinion.

Not on global warming. On global warming we get consensus, Gore-style: a consensus forged by censorship, intimidation, and deceit.

I first noticed this when I entered a correction to a Wikipedia page on the work of Naomi Oreskes, author of the now-infamous paper, published in the prestigious journal Science, claiming to have exhaustively reviewed the scientific literature and found not one single article dissenting from the alarmist version of global warming.

Of course Oreskes’s conclusions were absurd, and have been widely ridiculed. I myself have profiled dozens of truly world-eminent scientists whose work casts doubt on the Gore-U.N. version of global warming. Following the references in my book The Deniers, one can find hundreds of refereed papers that cast doubt on some aspect of the Gore/U.N. case, and that only scratches the surface.

Naturally I was surprised to read on Wikipedia that Oreskes’s work had been vindicated and that, for instance, one of her most thorough critics, British scientist and publisher Bennie Peiser, not only had been discredited but had grudgingly conceded Oreskes was right.

I checked with Peiser, who said he had done no such thing. I then corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.

Peiser wrote back saying he couldn’t see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again. I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made.

Turns out that on Wikipedia some folks are more equal than others. Kim Dabelstein Petersen is a Wikipedia “editor” who seems to devote a large part of his life to editing reams and reams of Wikipedia pages to pump the assertions of global-warming alarmists and deprecate or make disappear the arguments of skeptics. . . .

Thanks to Jim Purtilo for this link. For his collection of comments on Wikipedia see here.


Jesse Jackson on Obama

Here is MSNBC just flat out misstates what the point is of Jackson's comments. MSNBC claims that Jackson was attacking Obama for his statements "on father's day in which he scolded the absentee fathers of children in single parent households." The tape itself refers to the "faith based" proposals. Presumably MSNBC think that Obama's speech on absentee fathers is more sympathetic. The Obama campaign also spins this the same way.

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New gun control book by Howard Nemerov

I haven't read or even seen Howard's new book entitled, "Four Hundred Years of Gun Control…Why Isn’t It Working?" But it seems to be interesting. You can see a review of it here and the write up on Amazon.com here.


A Chihuahua and a handgun prove too much for criminal

Tampa Bay Online writes about this story today:

TAMPA - Robert Cash Jr. said he felt like somebody was targeting his Palma Ceia home.

About two weeks ago, he found a claw hammer covered with a rag in a backyard flower bed. Last week, he saw the gate to his wooden privacy fence in the 4100 block of West San Luis Street had been opened. He secured it with a new lock.
"It was obvious something was about to happen," recalled Cash, 40. "You don't know what to think."

About 2:50 a.m. Saturday, everything gelled. Tampa police said Cash surprised a man who had tunneled under a neighbor's fence carrying a blowtorch and shimmied onto Cash's property.

Cash said he greeted the intruder with a .357 Magnum after being awakened by the family dog, a 4-year-old male Chihuahua named Odie.

"You just don't take chances," Cash said. "This guy was hell-bent on breaking into my house."

Cash's wife called 911 while Cash kept the man at bay. Cash said he fired once at the man after he did not obey Cash's commands to stay still; the bullet went into the fence.

"He said, 'Oh, I'm just trying to cut through,'" Cash said. "I fired a little to the left of him."

Cash's actions were justified, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Police identified the prowler as Mark Edward Mazur, 56, of Tampa. He is charged with felony burglary, felony possession of burglary tools, misdemeanor assault and violating his probation. He was held without bail Tuesday at Orient Road Jail.
Public records show Mazur lives at 4110 W. El Prado Blvd., about five blocks from the Cash family.

Cash, a telecommunications consultant, said he has a burglar alarm but had deactivated it that night to avoid a false alarm during inclement weather. Fortunately, "the Odie alarm was on," he said. . . .


Orange County California Sheriff making permits more discretionary

The rules put in place by former Sheriff Carona look to be a thing of the past. Carona had implemented a right to carry type set of rules. Indeed, he had even mentioned my book More Guns, Less Crime when he first ran for sheriff. I guess things regress towards the mean in California.

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual Americans have a constitutional right to own a gun. But will Orange County's new sheriff tighten the rules on who can actually carry one?
At issue here is "carry concealed weapon" permits, or "CCWs," which allow a citizen to carry a loaded firearm under a jacket or in a purse or glove compartment. Currently about 1,100 people in Orange County (not including police officers) have such permits – which is more CCWs than any other urban county in the state. And while some people think the requirements for obtaining a CCW are too restrictive, others believe they're not restrictive enough.
New Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens appears to be leaning toward the latter group.
Soon after being appointed last month, Hutchens announced plans to review all CCWs issued by her predecessor, indicted former Sheriff Mike Carona, to determine if the permit holders had a legitimate need or "good cause" to carry a gun. If in her view they don't have that need, their permits will be revoked. She plans to have a new CCW policy in place by the end of this month.
"I probably will tighten it up a bit, but probably not as drastically as some people might assume," Hutchens told me. But Hutchens also indicated that she envisions a higher threshold on the "good cause" necessary for a citizen to have a CCW. . . .

Thanks to Tom Williams.


Democrats reverse positions on what food can be served at the National Convention

The Denver Post has the change here. This is just emblematic of the problems Dems have in running people's lives.

Rest assured: Chicken tenders and doughnuts will make appearances at the Democratic National Convention.
In the midst of media mockery and embarrassment among national Democrats that Denver had declared fried foods a party foul and had ordered multihued entrees, the Denver host committee has softened an original document that called for caterers to be "lean and green."
Local officials are now calling the 12 stipulations laid out in a May Request for Proposal to caterers "guidelines."
The May request asked caterers to make "every effort" to accomplish healthy goals and called for:
• Three-colored meals selected from the following palette: red, green, yellow, purple and white.
• Half of the plate should belong to fruits and vegetables.
• No fried foods.
• The use of 70 percent organic or Colorado-grown ingredients.
A memo, titled "Fiction Fuels Frivolous Food Fight," will be issued later this week in an attempt to bring everyone — caterers, national Democratic operatives tired of tongue-in-cheek press about it — back from the ledge.
"Maybe we didn't do a very good job on the outset," said Chris Lopez, spokesman for the Denver host committee. "We'll take criticism for not presenting it well. It's a guideline. It's a recommendation. It's not to say we have lean and green mandates." . . .


Today's schedule

I will debate someone from the Brady Campaign at the National Youth Leadership Conf at 9:30AM EDT here in DC. The Thom Hartman show on Air America has been rescheduled for 1 PM EDT on July 17th.

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"Revised SAT is a better grade predictor"

New test "slightly" improves predictive power of SAT. But the problem is whether it is the nature of the particular new addition (which is the way it is being sold) or simply that you have more information in general. Increasing the length of any test, either the verbal or math portions, would have also provided more information and presumably improved the predictive power of the SAT. More questions would have given a more accurate estimate of how good the student is. Here is one of the articles on this new study:

The addition of a mandatory writing section to the SAT three years ago slightly improved the exam's ability to predict academic success for college freshmen, according to a report by the test's owner. . . .

The test now takes three hours and 45 minutes, which is 45 minutes longer than the old exam, and a perfect score is now 2400, up from 1600. The test-taking fee has risen from $29.50 to $45 over the last three years. . . . .


"Congressional Approval Falls to Single Digits for First Time Ever"

Rasmussen Reports releases this new poll:

The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category.
Last month, 11% of voters gave the legislature good or excellent ratings. Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of 2008. . . .

But as I mentioned previously, only 40 percent know that Senator Harry Reid is a Democrat.

Possibly it isn't too surprising that Rasmussen finds: "Despite these negative attitudes towards Congress, Democrats continue to enjoy a double digit lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot."

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New Op-ed at Fox News: Abortion and Crime

So does increasing abortion rates increase crime rates? The full article is here:

Violent crime in the United States soared after 1960. From 1960 to 1991, reported violent crime increased by an incredible 372 percent. This disturbing trend was seen across the country, with robbery peaking in 1991 and rape and aggravated assault following in 1992. But then something unexpected happened: Between 1991 and 2000, rates of violent crime and property crime fell sharply, dropping by 33 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Murder rates were stable up to 1991, but then plunged by a steep 44 percent.

Many plausible explanations have been advanced for the drop during the 1990s. Some stress law-enforcement measures, such as higher arrest and conviction rates, longer prison sentences, “broken windows” police strategies, and the death penalty. Others emphasize right-to-carry laws for concealed handguns, a strong economy, or the waning of the crack-cocaine epidemic.

Yet, of all the explanations, perhaps the most controversial is the one that attributes lower crime rates in the ’90s to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to mandate legalized abortion. According to this argument, . . .

Please leave a comment on the piece.


Obama moves to right on abortion?

On top of changes his position on FISA, NAFTA, campaign finance, guns, negotiating with rogue nations, welfare reform, social security taxes, homosexual marriage, and moveon.org's criticism of General David Petraeus one can now add abortion. Here is what Obama told a magazine that opposes abortion:

I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions. . . .

This would be a major restriction on late-term abortions. Obama who has a perfect pro-abortion voting record, and supports the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, which guarantees that:

A government may not--

(1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--

(A) to bear a child;

(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information. . . .

His position was quite a surprise to a reporter who asked:

Reporter: You said that mental distress shouldn't be a reason for late-term abortion?

Obama: My only point is this — historically I have been a strong believer in a women's right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family. And it is ..I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions. In the past there has been some fear on the part of people who, not only people who are anti-abortion, but people who may be in the middle, that that means that if a woman just doesn't feel good then that is an exception. That's never been the case. I don't think that is how it has been interpreted. My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, it can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don't think that's how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don't think that's how the courts have interpreted it and I think that's important to emphasize and understand. . . .

So Obama makes a clear statement to an anti-abortion magazine and then appears to back away from that statement when he talks to the media.

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Sen. John Kerry apparently asked some unfit to be President to be his VP nominee in 2004

This amusing piece is from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — John Kerry said Sunday Republican John McCain doesn’t have the judgment to be president.

If that’s the case, then it’s probably a good thing McCain rejected overtures from Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, to form a bipartisan ticket and run with Kerry as his candidate for vice president.

Kerry had no kind words for his Senate colleague, accusing McCain of poor decision-making on everything from backing tax cuts for the wealthy to making support for continuing the U.S. military presence in Iraq the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

“John McCain … has proven that he has been wrong about every judgment he’s made about the war. Wrong about the Iraqis paying for the reconstruction, wrong about whether or not the oil would pay for it, wrong about Sunni and Shia violence through the years, wrong about the willingness of the Iraqis to stand up for themselves,” Kerry, who supports Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“If you like the Bush tax cut and what it’s done to our economy, making wealthier people wealthier and the average middle class struggle harder, then John McCain is going to give you a third term of George Bush and Karl Rove,” the Massachusetts senator added, echoing an Obama campaign talking point. . . .

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The ACLU on the Heller Decision

The ACLU says that it values people's comments regarding its stand that the 2nd Amendment is not an individual right. I have no idea whether people's input really matters, but possibly someone can get the ACLU to explain why a guarantee of government rights would be part of the Bill of Rights and why the term "the right of the people" shouldn't be interpreted the same way here that it is in other places.

Thanks to Alec Dawson for sending this to me.

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The Supreme Court's Decision to strike down the death penalty for raping a child based on factual error

The Washington Post points to the error:

what if the Supreme Court not only blows a key fact but also bases its ruling, in part, on that error? There was quite a goof in the court's 5 to 4 decision on June 25 banning the death penalty for those who rape children. The majority determined that capital punishment for child rape was unconstitutional, in part because a national consensus had formed against it. As evidence, the court noted that "37 jurisdictions -- 36 States plus the Federal Government -- have the death penalty. [But] only six of those jurisdictions authorize the death penalty for rape of a child." Actually, only two years ago, Congress enacted a death penalty for soldiers who commit child rape, as part of an update to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Irony of ironies: The court has cast doubt on the constitutionality of an act of Congress based on the erroneous claim that the statute did not exist. . . .

If the horrible event should come to pass where a soldier should rape a child, I hope that they try their best to impose the death penalty on him. Not only would it be an understandable desire to punish the horrible crime that way, but it would allow the Supreme Court to revisit the issue of the death penalty for other such horrible crimes. However, I should mention that the death penalty for crimes other than murder do have one significant problem with them, and that is it creates an incentive for the rapist or criminal committing some other act to kill the victim so as not to leave any witnesses. On the other hand that effect might be offset at least partially because police attempt to catch murderers much more than they attempt to catch other criminals.

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