Two out of 111 University of Oregon faculty who are registered to vote are registered as Republicans

Dan Lawson, a journalism student at the University of Oregon, had this piece published in the Christian Science Monitor:

The University of Oregon (UO), where I study journalism, invested millions annually in a diversity program that explicitly included "political affiliation" as a component. Yet, out of the 111 registered Oregon voters in the departments of journalism, law, political science, economics, and sociology, there were only two registered Republicans.

A number of conservative students told me they felt Republican ideas were frequently caricatured and rarely presented fairly. Did the dearth of conservative professors on campus and apparent marginalization of ideas on the right belie the university's commitment to providing a marketplace of ideas? . . .

The reaction of faculty at UO was what I would expect.

A professor who confronted me declared that he was "personally offended" by my column. He railed that his political viewpoints never affected his teaching and suggested that if I wanted a faculty with Republicans I should have attended a university in the South. "If you like conservatism you can certainly attend the University of Texas and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis everyday on your way to class," he wrote in an e-mail. . . .

Another faculty member told him:

"You think you're so [expletive] cute with your little column," she told me. "I read your piece and all you want is attention. You're just like Bill O'Reilly. You just want to get up on your [expletive] soapbox and have people look at you." . . . .


After campaigning vigorously against President Bush's signing statements on bills, Obama has done the same on five bills he signed

A discussion of the broken promise is here.

March 11 -- Omnibus Appropriations Act -- Obama objected to five aspects of the bill, including a whistleblower provision and several items on foreign policy.
March 31 -- Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 -- "Because it would be an impermissible restriction on the appointment power to condition the Secretary's appointments on the recommendations of members of the House, I will construe these provisions to require the Secretary to consider such congressional recommendations, but not to be bound by them in making appointments to the Commission."
May 20 -- Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 -- Obama asserted that he reserves the right to prevent an administration official from testifying before the Financial Crisis Commission – which is congressionally appointed but is not an arm of Congress itself – on matters the Obama administration considers privileged.
June 2 -- Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission
June 26 -- supplemental spending bill -- this bill "would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions. I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations."

Labels: ,

Associated Press gets story wrong on concealed handgun permits.

Sandy Kozel with the Associated Press claims in the above piece: "Some states require fingerprinting, gun training, and a federal background check in order to get a concealed weapon permit. Other states give out permits to almost any gun owner." Clearly this implies that in some states people can get a concealed handgun permit without having to undergo a background check and that is clearly false. She also implies that permit holders are not currently allowed to carry permitted concealed handguns into other states -- this is also obviously false. Most states already recognize permits from other states: 34 states recognize Missouri's permits, 33 for Utah, 32 for Florida, 31 Texas, 26 Ohio, and 24 Pennsylvania. All the states issuing permits have at least some other states recognizing them. There are also other problems with Sandy Kozel's piece.

Labels: ,

"Man, 74, Shoots Carjacker"

A victim with a gun makes the criminal very serious about running away.

Man, 74, Shoots Carjacker, 18
Teen Shot Twice
POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2009
UPDATED: 4:33 pm CDT July 23, 2009
HOUSTON -- A 74-year-old man shot a teenager who tried to carjack him outside his home, police told KPRC Local 2.

Houston police said Martin Baltazar, 18, approached August Peters as he was getting out of a car at a home in the 10900 block of Corona Lane shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday.
Investigators said Baltazar, wearing a ski mask, put a knife to Peters' throat and told the man to hand over his keys.
Peters got back in his car, pulled out a gun and and fired twice -- hitting Baltazar once in the stomach, police said.
Detectives said Baltazar ran through a house across the street and tried to run through a back door, but it was locked.
"I see the guy running to my house, and I see a lot of blood on him. I told that guy, 'Stay there,'" witness Jorge Ramos said.
Baltazar picked up a chair, threw it through a window and jumped out the window, police said. . . . .



Senator Mark Pryor, profiles in courage

This incident tells you a lot about what this politician believes and whether he is willing to be honest with his constituents.

How do you outgun the NRA? Very, very carefully.

Mark Pryor knows all about that. The Democratic senator from pro-gun Arkansas was nowhere to be seen on the Senate floor during Wednesday's showdown over a proposal, championed by the National Rifle Association, that would have gutted state gun-control laws across the nation.

After a morning of angry speeches, a vote was called at high noon. Toward the end of the vote, Pryor entered the chamber through the back door, took a few steps inside, flashed a thumbs-down to the clerk, and retreated as fast and furtively as somebody dodging gunfire.

Several minutes later, the Democrats had racked up more than enough votes to block the proposal. "Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote?" the presiding officer inquired.

Pryor burst back in, this time through a side door. "Mr. President!" he called out. "Mr. President!" He stopped in the well to consult with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a gun-control advocate who was keeping the whip sheet. Schumer gave Pryor a nod, and the Arkansan -- reassured that his vote was not needed to defeat the proposal -- changed his vote to an "aye." . . .

Labels: , ,

Coldest June since 1958, now second coldest July on record for NYC

Will this get some headlines?

444 AM EDT FRI JUL 24 2009



70.7 1888
71.9 1884
72.1 1914
72.3 2000/1871
72.4 1891
72.6 1895
72.8 1902/1869
72.9 1956
73.1 1890
73.2 2001




Note that record low temperatures are falling nationwide.

Labels: ,

India doesn't believe claims about global warming, will not accept limits on emissions

Hopefully, India and China will keep the rest of the world from adopting some really stupid rules. I just hope that this isn't a bargaining ploy to get more resources from the West.

Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers.

He dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming.

“We have to get out of the preconceived notion, which is based on western media, and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere,” he said. . . .

Mr Ramesh was also clear that India would not take on targets to cut its emissions, even though developed countries are asking only for curbs in the growth of emissions, rather than absolute cuts. . . . .

Labels: ,


So much for Sotomayor's disavowal of using international law for American law

Few people will be paying attention to her written comments. What mattered most was when the cameras were going. Changing her answer now prevents any of the fireworks that could have occurred during the hearing. From Human Events:

During committee, she backpedaled on the use of international law in decision making. Having done a 180, she is now circling back for a full 360 degree turn to her original position. This troubling flip-flop should give Republican Senators grounds to vote no. . . .

During her testimony before the Senate, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) asked Judge Sotomayor about that. Her response? “I will not use foreign law to interpret the Constitution or American statutes. I will use American law, constitutional law to interpret those laws except in the situations where American law directs the court.” . . .

a. What did you mean by the word “use”? Did you mean that you would not consider foreign law at all in interpreting the Constitution or statutes, or merely that you would not cite foreign law as the basis for your legal conclusions? b. Would foreign laws regarding gun ownership be relevant to you in your efforts as a judge to interpret the Second Amendment? c. If foreign laws are not relevant, how do you distinguish when it is appropriate to use foreign law to assist in the interpretation of the Constitution and when it is not? Isn’t foreign law then simply a vehicle by which judges indulge their own policy preferences? d. If foreign laws are relevant, are the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments the only places in your mind where foreign law is relevant in interpreting the Constitution?

Sotomayor’s response should send cold chills down the backs of gun activists and senators. She wrote back:
In my view, American courts should not “use” foreign law, in the sense of relying on decisions of foreign courts as binding or controlling precedent, except when American law requires a court to do so. In some limited circumstances, decisions of foreign courts can be a source of ideas, just as law review articles or treatises can be sources of ideas. Reading the decisions of foreign courts for ideas, however, does not constitute “using” those decisions to decide cases.

What she is saying now is that she does, despite her Senate testimony, agree with Justice Ginsburg. Note her caveat now. She will not rely on “decisions of foreign courts as binding or controlling precedent.” That is not what was asked.

Labels: ,

Getting married to someone from a different country or religion increases risks of divorce

The article can be found here:


A textbook hypothesis about divorce is that heterogamous marriages are more likely to end in divorce than homogamous marriages. We analyse vital statistics on the population of the Netherlands, which provide a unique and powerful opportunity to test this hypothesis. All marriages formed between 1974 and 1984 (nearly 1 million marriages) are traced in the divorce records and multivariate logistic regression models are used to analyse the effects on divorce of heterogamy in religion and national origin. Our analyses confirm the hypothesis for marriages that cross the Protestan/Catholic or the Jewis/Gentile boundary. Heterogamy effects are weaker for marriages involving Protestants or unaffiliated persons. Marriages between Dutch and other nationalities have a higher risk of divorce, the more so the greater the cultural differences between the two groups. Overall, the evidence supports the view that, in the Netherlands, new group boundaries are more difficult to cross than old group boundaries.


"Democrats Block GOP Health Care Mailing"

Earlier this year, Democrats had a massive increase in spending on franking privileges. Now they want to regulate what Republicans can put in their mail to constituents. The Democrats delay in allowing the mailing to go out might delay it until after the vote on the health care plan. From Roll Call:

Democrats are preventing Republican House Members from sending their constituents a mailing that is critical of the majority’s health care reform plan, blocking the mailing by alleging that it is inaccurate.
House Republicans are crying foul and claiming that the Democrats are using their majority to prevent GOP Members from communicating with their constituents.

The dispute centers on a chart created by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee to illustrate the organization of the Democratic health care plan.

At first glance, Brady’s chart resembles a board game: a colorful collection of shapes and images with a web of lines connecting them.

But a closer look at the image reveals a complicated menagerie of government offices and programs that Republicans say will be created if the leading Democratic health care plan becomes law.

In a memo sent Monday to Republicans on the House franking commission, Democrats argue that sending the chart to constituents as official mail would violate House rules because the information is misleading.

In their eight-point memo, which was obtained by Roll Call, Democrats identify a litany of areas where they believe the chart is incorrect.

For example, Democrats argue that the chart depicts a “Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund” that is “simply a recipient of IRS funds, with no outflow. ... This is false.”

The chart’s illustration of low-income subsidies is also “misleading and false,” Democrats argue.

Congressional rules for franked mail bar Members from using taxpayer-funded mail for newsletters that use “partisan, politicized or personalized” comments to criticize legislation or policy.

The dispute over Brady’s chart is being reviewed by the franking commission, which must approve any mail before it can be sent. No decision had been made on the matter by press time.

Brady adamantly denied that the chart was misleading and said Democrats are simply threatened by the content of the graphic.

“I think their review was laughable,” Brady said. “It’s ... downright false in most of the cases. The chart depicts their health care plan as their committees developed it.”

“The chart reveals how their health care bureaucracy works, and people are frightened by it,” he added. “So this is their effort to try and discredit” the chart.

Republican Members have made 20 requests to mail a version of the chart to their constituents and have been told that the requests are being delayed while the commission reviews allegations that the chart is misleading. . . .


Poll from the WSJ on health care

For the WSJ discussion of the poll see this.

Labels: ,

Defensive gun use: "Gunfire greets thieves during home invasion"

From Halifax County, North Carolina:

Shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office investigators were dispatched to a breaking and entering in progress at an Edgewater Community residence.

Once Sgt. Randy Keeton arrived on scene, the victim said he and a friend were asleep when they heard a knock at the door. At first they did not get up but the knocking grew louder.

As the two got out of bed and went toward the bathroom, they heard the door come crashing open and people begin rambling through the man’s belongings. The man said he confronted the suspects with a handgun he kept in the home for protection. He fired the gun and the two suspects fled out of the house, jumped in a pickup truck and drove off.

The victim fired shots at the getaway vehicle. No one was hurt in the incident, but thieves did make off with a pump shotgun.

The sheriff's office is investigating this incident.


VA. Republican Gubernatorial Candidate: Privatizing state liquor stores to fund transportation

From the Washington Times:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell on Tuesday proposed privatizing Virginia's liquor stores in order to reap about $500 million in revenue dedicated to funding the state's transportation needs.

The proposal, unprecedented among states grappling with ways to fund infrastructure in the midst of a nationwide economic downturn, would provide for a wish list of projects led by a plan to widen Interstate 66 both inside and outside the Capital Beltway.

"The plan doesn't rely on tax increases; it relies on making Virginia transportation more efficient," Mr. McDonnell said at the announcement of his 20-page transportation plan - made on the roof of an Arlington parking garage that overlooks the often congested I-66.

The former state attorney general also proposed dedicating 0.30 percent of sales tax in Northern Virginia to a regional transportation account that he said would generate $105 million annually to pay for transportation improvements in the region. . . . .

Labels: ,


"Obama Says Cambridge Police ‘Acted Stupidly’ in Arresting Gates"

Before you read what President Obama said on all this, you might want to listen to an interview with Stg. James Crowley, Cambridge Police. It is available here. A copy of the arrest report is available here. Obama has some pretty strong views on this and it is pretty clear that he was wrong to get involved.

President Barack Obama said police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard University African American studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home after responding to reports of a burglary.

Disorderly conduct charges against Gates, 58, who had just returned home after a trip to China, have been dropped. The Cambridge police department called the arrest “regrettable and unfortunate.”

“The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama said at a White House press conference, adding that he didn’t know what role race played in the incident. . . . .

President Obama raised the issue that race played a role in the incident. "There is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately," Obama said. Here is how the Boston Globe describes the police report:

The Cambridge police report describes a chaotic scene in which the police sergeant stood at Gates's door, demanded identification, and radioed for assistance from Harvard University police when Gates presented him with a Harvard ID. A visibly upset Gates responded to the officer's assertion that he was responding to a report of a break-in with, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?''
"Gates then turned to me and told me that I had no idea who I was 'messing' with and that I had not heard the last of it,'' the report said. "While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me.''
When the officer repeatedly told Gates he would speak with him outside, the normally mild-mannered professor shouted, "Ya, I'll speak with your mama outside,'' according to the report.
Gates was arrested after "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior'' toward the officer who questioned him, the report said.

I find it so expected the way that the professor said to the police officer that he had no idea who he was messing with.

Fox News has this: "Officer Who Arrested Harvard Scholar Not Sorry."

Bill Cosby was less than happy about the President's remarks:

“I’ve heard about five different reports [on the details of the arrest],” Cosby said on Boston’s WZLX. “If I’m the president of the United States, I don’t care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”

“I was shocked to hear the president making this kind of statement,” Cosby said referring to the president’s remarks during last night’s press conference. . . .

Obama defends his comments and gets his facts wrong:

"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama said.

In an exclusive interview with ABC's Terry Moran to air on "Nightline" tonight, Obama said it doesn't make sense to him that the situation escalated to the point that Gates was arrested.

"I think that I have extraordinary respect for the difficulties of the job that police officers do," the president told Moran. "And my suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officer and Mr. Gates and that everybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed. That's my suspicion."

Labels: , ,

NJ Poll: Christie leads Corzine by 15

The Politico has this:

New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has opened his lead over incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine to a whopping 15 points, according to a new poll released today.

The new survey from Republican polling firm Strategic Vision gives Christie a 53 percent to 38 percent lead over Corzine, whose approval ratings have plummeted as economic tides battered New Jersey.

Only 4 percent of respondents told the pollsters they were undecided – that means this race is shaking out a lot faster than anyone in New Jersey thought, and that Corzine needs a game-changer to win back independents who have flocked to the Republican.

The poll, conducted July 17-19, surveyed 800 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Labels: ,

Senators from Right-to-carry states that voted against the reciprocity legislation today

The vote on the Thune amendment was very close. 58 voted "yes" and 39 voted "nay." If only two had switched their vote, it would have passed. West Virginia's Byrd would have voted "yes," but he has been very ill. Specter should have virtually always voted "yes," but he appears to have misread the legislation.

21 Senators from right-to-carry states voted against the amendment. If only two of these Senators had switched their votes, the amendment would have passed.

Dodd (D-CT), Nay Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Franken (D-MN), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Nay
Specter (D-PA), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay

The one senator from a state that bans concealed carry.
Feingold (D-WI), Yea

I am getting so many email questions, here is a copy of Amendment:


(a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:

(1) The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the right of an individual to keep and bear arms, including for purposes of individual self-defense.

(2) The right to bear arms includes the right to carry arms for self-defense and the defense of others.

(3) Congress has previously enacted legislation for national authorization of the carrying of concealed firearms by qualified active and retired law enforcement officers.

(4) Forty-eight States provide by statute for the issuance of permits to carry concealed firearms to individuals, or allow the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes without need for a permit.

(5) The overwhelming majority of individuals who exercise the right to carry firearms in their own States and other States have proven to be law-abiding, and such carrying has been demonstrated to provide crime prevention or crime resistance benefits for the licensees and for others.

(6) Congress finds that the prevention of lawful carrying by individuals who are traveling outside their home State interferes with the constitutional right of interstate travel, and harms interstate commerce.

(7) Among the purposes of this Act is the protection of the rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to a citizen of the United States by the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

(8) Congress therefore should provide for the interstate carrying of firearms by such individuals in all States that do not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by their own residents.

(b) In General.--Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 926C the following:``§926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms

``(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof--

``(1) a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm, may carry a concealed firearm in any State other than the State of residence of the person that--

``(A) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; or

``(B) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes;

``(2) a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides otherwise than as described in paragraph (1), may carry a concealed firearm in any State other than the State of residence of the person that--

``(A) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; or

``(B) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.

``(b) A person carrying a concealed firearm under this section shall--

``(1) in a State that does not prohibit the carrying of a concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes, be entitled to carry such firearm subject to the same laws and conditions that govern the specific places and manner in which a firearm may be carried by a resident of the State; or

``(2) in a State that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms, be entitled to carry such a firearm subject to the same laws and conditions that govern specific places and manner in which a firearm may be carried by a person issued a permit by the State in which the firearm is carried.

``(c) In a State that allows the issuing authority for licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms to impose restrictions on the carrying of firearms by individual holders of such licenses or permits, a firearm shall be carried according to the same terms authorized by an unrestricted license of or permit issued to a resident of the State.

``(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to--

``(1) effect the permitting process for an individual in the State of residence of the individual; or

``(2) preempt any provision of State law with respect to the issuance of licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms.''.

(c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 44 of title 18 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 926C the following:

``926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms.''.

(d) Severability.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, if any provision of this section, or any amendment made by this section, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, this section and amendments made by this section and the application of such provision or amendment to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

(e) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.


Obama claims credit for saving the economy

Be serious:

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told The New York Times Obama intends to use the news conference as a "six-month report card," to talk about "how we rescued the economy from the worst recession" and the legislative agenda moving forward, including health care and energy legislation. . . .

Labels: ,

Strange comments by Obama

From the National Journal:

"A Democrat congressman last week told me after a conversation with the president that the president had trouble in the House of Representatives, and it wasn't going to pass if there weren't some changes made ... and the president says, 'You're going to destroy my presidency.' "

Or this:

Obama Tweets: 'Health Care Reform Opponents Playing Politics With Our Lives'!

Labels: ,


Cass Sunstein's nomination for Regulatory Czar being held up

Fox News has this:

WASHINGTON -- President Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar" has hit a new snag in his Senate confirmation process -- a "hold" by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who's says he's not convinced that Harvard professor Cass Sunstein won't push a radical animal rights agenda, including new restrictions on agriculture and even hunting. . . . .


Sotomayor's claim that there are no Supreme Court precedents on the right to self-defense

From Sotomayor's confirmation hearing:

Sotomayor: "I'm trying to think if I remember a case where the Supreme Court has addressed that particular question. Is there a constitutional right to self-defense? And I can't think of one. I could be wrong, but I can't think of one."

Well, it should have been pretty obvious that Sotomayor didn't know her constitutional law very well. First, there is the Heller case:

That of the nine state constitutional protections for the right to bear arms enacted immediately after 1789 at least seven unequivocally protected an individual citizen’s right to self-defense is strong evidence that that is how the founding generation conceived of the right. . . .

It is inconceivable that this law would have been enforced against a person exercising his right to self-defense on New Year’s Day against such drunken hooligans. . . . . Given Justice Wilson’s explanation that the right to self-defense with arms was protected by the Pennsylvania Constitution, it is unlikely that this law (which in any event amounted to at most a licensing regime) would have been enforced against a person who used firearms for self-defense. . . . .

Some older cases:

Acers v. United States 1896 164 U.S. 388 238
Is fear of a deadly attack, without reasonable demonstrated grounds for the fear, sufficient to support a claim of self defense [NO]; Must the danger be immediate [YES]; Can any object be considered as a deadly weapon depending on how it was used [YES].

Alberty v. United States 1896 162 U.S. 499 231
If a husband sees another man trying to get into his wife’s room window at night is it natural for him to investigate further [YES]; Is the husband under a duty to retreat when attacked with a knife under such circumstances [NO]; May the husband use only as much force as is necessary to repel the assault [YES]; If in an ensuing confrontation the husband shoots and kills the other man, then flees, must his flight in and of itself be seen as evidence of his guilt [NO].

Allen v. United States 1896 164 U.S. 492 241
Are words alone sufficient provocation to justify an assault [NO]; Are words alone sufficient to reduce murder to manslaughter [NO]; Can premeditation and intent to kill be determined from your actions [YES]; Although flight after a possibly criminal event may suggest guilt, does it prove it conclusively [NO].

Allison v. United States 1895 160 U.S. 203 216
Is it reasonable to believe that you’re in immediate deadly danger if a person, known to be abusive, known to carry a pistol, and who has made public threats against your life, makes a motion as if to draw down on you, even if it turns out he wasn’t armed at the time [YES]; If there is no corroborating evidence besides your testimony, may the jury decide to take your word for it and acquit based on your credibility [YES]; If you have your deer rifle with you while visiting a friend’s house and your adversary shows up, and in an ensuing confrontation you shoot him, can the judge instruct the jury that you’re guilty of murder if you armed yourself to go hunt down your adversary, when there is no evidence to support this claim [NO].

Andersen v. United States 1898 170 U.S. 481 255
If an indictment is brought charging that a defendant shot and then threw a victim’s body into the sea, so the exact cause of death cannot be known, is the indictment flawed and invalid [NO]; Do the elements of self defense have to be present for an accused person to successfully claim self defense [YES].

Beard v. United States 1895 158 U.S. 550 208
Can you stand your ground with a shotgun against an unprovoked armed attack on your property near your home [YES]; Is there a greater duty to retreat on your own property than in your house [NO].

Brown v. United States 1921 256 U.S. 335 285
Is there a duty to retreat when attacked by a man with a knife [NO]; Believing you’re in a mortal conflict, if you fire a shot in the heat of combat, which in cool reflection later may be seen as unnecessary, may you still be acquitted on grounds of self defense [YES]; Is your right of self defense roughly similar in your home, on your land, and at your work [YES]; Can detached reflection be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife [NO].

Gourko v. United States 1894 153 U.S. 183 189
If you shoot someone who has repeatedly threatened you, and the circumstances of the shooting are not found to be justifiable as self defense, does the fact that you armed yourself in response to the threat automatically make the shooting murder (as opposed to manslaughter) [NO].

Logan v. United States 1892 144 U.S. 263 180
Does the 2nd Amendment guarantee a preexisting right recognized by the Constitution, and not a right created by the Constitution [YES]; Is a prisoner in legal custody entitled to protection “while he is deprived of the ordinary means of defending and protecting himself” [YES].

Rowe v. United States 1896 164 U.S. 546 247
If a man is provoked into making a minor assault on someone, and then backs off in good faith, is his right to self defense restored if the person he assaulted attacks him with a deadly weapon? [YES]; Is he required to retreat under such circumstances [NO]; Is he under an obligation to try to only wound an attacker when fighting for his life [NO]; Can either party in a mutual combat claim self defense [NO].

Starr v. United States 1894 153 U.S. 614 196
If a law officer legally serving a warrant shoots at a suspect without identifying himself, is the suspect justified in shooting back and killing the officer in self defense [YES].

Tennessee v. Garner 1985 471 U.S. 1 428
Is the use of deadly force by police to prevent the escape of all felony suspects constitutionally unreasonable [YES]; Is the use of deadly force by a police officer permissible under the 4th Amendment, if necessary to prevent the escape of a felony suspect who threatens the officer with a weapon, or if there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, if, where feasible, some warning has been given [YES].

Thompson v. United States 1894 155 U.S. 271 203
Does arming yourself after being threatened, and then traveling the only road in the area where you know your adversary may be, turn a subsequent shooting of the adversary during a confrontation into murder? [NO]; Is arming yourself for legitimate self defense premeditation [NO].

Wallace v. United States 1896 162 U.S. 466 224
Is it up to the jury to decide whether a homicide is murder, manslaughter or justifiable [YES]; Does a perfect right of self defense require blamelessness in the confrontation and an act of necessity only [YES]; Can you claim self defense if you had intentionally brought about a lethal conflict [NO]; Is it up to the jury to decide whether you armed yourself defensively or otherwise [YES]; Is it murder if you enter a quarrel without felonious or malicious intent, and then, under reasonable belief of imminent mortal danger, you kill the assailant [NO]; Does the fact that you deliberately go and arm yourself, for self defense or other innocent purpose, turn a subsequent shooting necessarily from manslaughter to murder [NO].

Labels: ,

"President Obama's Dishonest Demagoguery on So-Called Tax Havens"

Brief appearance on Coast-to-Coast AM tonight

I will be briefly on Coast-to-Coast AM at a little after 1 AM tonight. I will be on to talk about the new national concealed handgun legislation that is being voted on tomorrow morning.

Labels: ,

More broken promises by Obama: using signing statements just as Bush did

From the AP:

President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same.

Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were "surprised" and "chagrined" by Obama's declaration in June that he doesn't have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

In a signing statement accompanying the $106 billion bill, Obama said he wouldn't allow the legislation to interfere with his authority as president to conduct foreign policy and negotiate with other governments. Earlier in his 6-month-old administration, Obama issued a signing statement regarding provisions in a $410 billion omnibus spending bill.

"During the previous administration, all of us were critical of (Bush's) assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes he was required to enforce," the Democrats wrote in their letter to Obama. "We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude." . . . .

Labels: ,

"Former NPR editor gets no prison time in child porn case" in some part because he had "thrown away a successful career"

The story is here. The judge is taking into account the reputational penalties that this criminal already faces. For many criminals, the reputational portion of the penalty is the greatest penalty that they face. It is the total penalty that should count and judges used to do more of this prior to the sentencing guidelines.

"I say, 'What further pound of flesh is needed to achieve the goal of punishment?'" asked Huvelle.
In explaining the exceptional step of sentencing below the guidelines, the judge said Malakoff had already thrown away a successful career and has to live with the stigma of being a sex offender for most of the rest of his life. But the strongest argument for the lesser sentence, Huvelle said, was that Malakoff had been raped as a 9-year-old boy and he had looked at the child pornography over five hours last year to relive his own rape.

Labels: ,


Honduras Vote Almost Stolen

Manuel Zelaya was ousted because he was trying to have an illegal vote. Well, it turns out that he might have been well on his way to stealing the election.

"In Honduras, according to breaking Catalan newspaper reports (translations available, USA Today mention), authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for a constitutional election that never happened. The election had been scheduled for June 28, but on that day the president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted. The 'certified' and detailed electronic records of the non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly."


Schumer threatening to filibuster amendment to let licensed permit holders carry guns into states with similar laws

Politico has this:

A posse of Dems led by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are threatening to filibuster a controversial amendment that would allow licensed handgun owners to carry their weapons into states that have similar carrying laws. . . . .

Schumer: “This amendment is a bridge too far, and could endanger the safety of millions of Americans. Each state has carefully crafted its concealed-carry laws in the way that makes the most sense to protect its citizens. Clearly, large, urban areas merit a different standard than rural areas. To gut the ability of local police and sheriffs to determine who should be able to carry a concealed weapon makes no sense. It could reverse the dramatic success we’vie had in reducing crime in most all parts of America. In the past, the gun lobby has had as its rallying cry, ‘Let each state decide.’ With this amendment, they are doing a 180-degree flip. Whether you are pro-gun or pro-gun control, this measure deserves to be defeated. We will do everything we can to stop this poisonous amendment from being enacted.”

Labels: ,

Some recent editorials in the Washington Times

$2 trillion has been spent so far on bailouts

$2 trillion still sounds like a lot to me. Presumably $24 trillion (yes, $23.7 is normally rounded up to $24) won't be spent, but the enormity of what was risked is staggering. Did people really understand what was being risked?

A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion, the U.S. government’s watchdog over the effort says – a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.

If the feds end up spending that amount, it could be more than the federal government has spent on any single effort in American history.

For the government to be on the hook for the total amount, worst-case scenarios would have to come to pass in a variety of federal programs, which is unlikely, says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the government’s financial bailout programs, in testimony prepared for delivery to the House oversight committee Tuesday.

The Treasury Department says less than $2 trillion has been spent so far. . . .

Labels: ,

Is the White House putting off releasing this new budget deficit info until after the health care vote?

I would think that this unwillingness to release this info should make politicians even more leery of voting for more spending. From the AP:

The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.
The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.
The release of the update — usually scheduled for mid-July — has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town Aug. 7 on its summer recess. . . .

Labels: , ,

Not much stimulus from highway spending

Look, I think that the whole language here is flawed because it ignores that money is merely being moved from one place to another. Jobs are being lost where the money is being taken from and the moving around of money is increasing unemployment. That said, it is still interesting to see the gap between what was promised and what is being delivered. From the LA Times:

In February, when Congress approved President Obama's mammoth plan to stimulate the economy, transportation projects were supposed to be among the fastest-acting pieces of the $787-billion package.

All 50 states moved quickly to qualify for their share of the money. But since then the pace has slowed considerably, particularly in California and Florida, where the effect of the economic crisis has been especially severe.

As of July 10, more than 3,600 of the 5,600 road projects approved by Washington -- including six of the 10 largest approved projects -- had not been given the green light to start construction.

"What we're seeing is a significant level of bidding activity," said Anne Lloyd, chief financial officer at Martin Marietta Materials, a nationwide supplier of stone, asphalt and other construction supplies. "But the big thing we're not seeing is work on the ground."

The reasons are many. One is the time needed to get heavy equipment and crews ready for jobs. Also, overburdened state officials have sometimes had trouble sustaining the early momentum.

Even where projects have begun, they haven't always brought with them as big a burst of hiring as might be expected. . . . .


Robert J. Samuelson says stimulus "hasn't done much stimulating"

See his piece here:

It's not surprising that the much-ballyhooed "economic stimulus" hasn't done much stimulating. President Obama and his aides argue that it's too early to expect startling results. They have a point. A $14 trillion economy won't revive in a nanosecond. But the defects of the $787 billion package go deeper and won't be cured by time. The program crafted by Obama and the Democratic Congress wasn't engineered to maximize its economic impact. It was mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies and signal support for fashionable causes. . . .


Mass murder committed with "blunt object"

Here is something that just happened in Australia:

The Lin family were bludgeoned to death at their home in the northern Sydney suburb of North Epping on Friday night.
Such was the violence of the attack, that blood spatter experts were still examining the scene on Monday, trying to map out the order of the murders.
Min Lin, 45, and his wife Yun Lee "Lilly" Lin, 43, were found dead in their bed. The bodies of their sons - Henry, 12, and Terry, 9 - were found in another bedroom that they shared.
The fifth victim was Mrs Lin's sister Yun Bin Yin, 39, whose body was found in the bedroom where she had been staying.
All victims were hit repeatedly to the head and upper body with a blunt object. . . . .

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the link.

Labels: ,

Rep. Carolyn Maloney's campaign using Sockpuppets and engaging in Astroturfing

The Sockpuppet admission is here. Despite Joe Trippi's denial that he was also astroturfing for her, the claim is repeated at the DailyKos here.

Labels: ,

This is one of the very many reasons that Mitt Romney can't be the Republican presidential nominee

Romney has just had too many huge switches on policy. No matter whether you agree with his current position, you have no reason to believe that he will keep that position.



New Fox News ANALYSIS: States Hit Hardest by Recession Get Least Stimulus Money

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

The stimulus bill "includes help for those hardest hit by our economic crisis," President Obama promised when he signed the bill into law on Feb. 17. "As a whole, this plan will help poor and working Americans."

But FOXNews.com has analyzed data tracking how the stimulus money is being given out across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and it has found a perverse pattern: the states hardest hit by the recession received the least money. States with higher bankruptcy, foreclosure and unemployment rates got less money. And higher income states received more.

The transfers to the states having the least problems are large. Even after accounting for other factors, each $1,000 in a state's per capita income means that the state got $21 more per capita in stimulus funds. With a spread of almost $38,000 in per-person income between the top and bottom states, this has a sizable impact. High-income states get considerably more stimulus money.

States with higher bankruptcy rates got a lot less, not more, money — roughly $86 less per person for each percentage point increase in the state's bankruptcy rate. States with higher foreclosure rates were treated very similarly, losing $82 per person for each one percentage point more of the people suffering foreclosures. . . .

For those interested, here is the most basic regression result.

King Banian points to this earlier piece by Gavin Wright that finds that the New Deal spending was also related to maximizing political support.

Labels: ,

Will these checks really save money?

If these types of checks really saved money in the long run, why would they have to be mandated? Wouldn't it pay for people to hire their own inspector? Wouldn't builders offer it? Wouldn't inspectors spring up to offer these services for a fee? Of course, the New York Times fails to understand this simple economics.

AUSTIN, Tex. — Peering behind a bathtub in a newly built house, an inspector, John Umphress, spotted a big gap in the wall insulation. “Somebody took a lunch break!” he complained to the builder, who sheepishly agreed to patch the hole.

With the fix, the house, already a model of energy efficiency, will use even less energy and save its residents money — for decades.

But that small catch would not have been made in many American towns. Mr. Umphress is a particular kind of inspector, an energy auditor, and Austin, with one of the toughest building codes in the country, requires an energy inspection before a building can be occupied. . . .

Labels: , , ,