CBS 5went undercoverin a California gun show to look for guns that violated the state's strict gun laws, but the only people breaking any rules were the CBS investigators. The investigation centers on thebullet button, a small button that allows users of semi-automatic rifles to quickly change magazines using a cartridge or similar tool. Under California law, assault rifles that have detachable magazines are illegal in conjunction with other parts. The bullet button allows gun owners to quickly reload and change magazines, but without using an illegal detachable magazine. At it's core, it's a simple matter. California made something illegal, so gun owners complied and found a different method to enjoy their rifles with the convenience of a quick reload. Things got a bit ironic, however, when CBS took a camera into a gun show. They didn't find any guns with illegal detachable cartridges, but the news crew was breaking rules left and right. As it turns out, there are "No Camera" signs all throughout the gun show, and gun show representatives announced "No picture taking during the show" frequently throughout the day. "Hypocrisy" is the word that we're looking for, here . . .
Harvard won't say who the Native American Indian Faculty member is
Harvard claims that they have one American Indian faculty member, but they won't say who it is. What is the point of that? Isn't the point of having minority appointments so that students can use them as guidance? Back in 1996 the Harvard Law School pointed to Warren as their American Indian professor. An article in the Harvard Crimson made a not of her as such. From the Boston Herald:
Harvard Law School lists one lone Native American faculty member on its latest diversity census report — but school officials and campaign aides for Elizabeth Warren refused to say yesterday whether it refers to the Democratic Senate candidate. . . . Harvard Law’s 2011 diversity report does not indicate who the Native American professor is. And the school refused to say whether it’s Warren. . . . .
So what impact is all this having on the campaign? Again from the Boston Herald:
Elizabeth Warren’s stumbling efforts to douse the firestorm surrounding her claims of being a Native American minority have raised concerns among local and national Democrats who are questioning her campaign’s competence. “There’s nobody watching this that doesn’t think she’s in big trouble,” one well-known Massachusetts Democrat said. . . . Some national political experts had much stronger words for Warren’s conflicting explanations about why she listed herself as a minority in university directories. “This takes her biography into a bizarre dimension,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “It has derailed the effort to define Warren in a voter-friendly way.” Sabato also said that Warren’s claim that she didn’t list herself as a minority to gain an employment advantage is not believable.
“This is what happens when candidates don’t tell the truth,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious she was using (the minority listing) for career advancement.”. . . .
New rules for adoptions or foster children in Virginia
My research shows that such mandatory rules will make families less safe. Accidental guns deaths involving children are very rare, when they do occur they don't involve the child firing the gun, and the locks make it difficult for people to use the guns defensively. The new Virginia rules are available here:
R. Possession of any weapons, including firearms, in the home or independent
living arrangement shall comply with federal and state laws and local ordinances. 1. Any firearms and other weapons shall be unloaded and stored with the
weapon's safety mechanisms activated in a locked closet or cabinet. 2. Ammunition shall be stored in a locked location separate from the
weapon. 3. The key or combination to the locked closet and cabinet shall at all times
be maintained out of reach of all children in the home.
So why did the unemployment rate fall to 8.1% in April?
If you look at the BLS Household Survey (the data used to calculate the unemployment rate), the number of people employed fell by 169,000. The number of unemployed fell by 173,000. But the number of people "Not in the Labor Force" soared by 522,000. The unemployment rate can fall either by people getting a job or by them no longer looking for work and thus removing themselves from the labor force. Those not in the labor force rose by three times the amount of those getting jobs.
The unemployment rate has fallen by 0.9 percentage points in the seven months since September, but during that same period while employment has gone up by 1,758,000, the number of people "Not in labor force" has gone up by 2,206,000.
While the actual number of jobs has now grown by about 1 percent during the Obama recovery, the average for the other recoveries since 1970 has been about 7 percent.
Here is an interesting discussion on the politics of the economy:
The trend since the late 1970s is available here. Given that global temperatures have been rising since that point it makes me wonder why they picked that starting date. But in any case, since 2000, the level of Arctic sea ice has remained at about the same level.
The reported beating in Gainesville of a white man by a group of black men who yelled “Trayvon” before the attack last week resonated on the Internet on Tuesday, though police locally were still hoping for someone to come forward with information about the assailants. . . . Gainesville police said they consider the beating Saturday to be “racially motivated” and apparently done in retaliation for Martin’s death. The 27-year-old victim, who was described by police as “visibly intoxicated,” said he was walking home on Southwest 23rd Terrace after a night out at midtown bars when, at about 2:45 a.m., a vehicle pulled up to the intersection with Southwest 32nd Place. According to a police report, the victim said “five to eight black males, unknown age or description, jumped out of the vehicle at the intersection and told (him) he was walking too slow and then started yelling, ‘Trayvon.’ ” The victim said he was punched in the face and fell to the ground, where he was “struck numerous times in the face.” He estimated the attack lasted five minutes. The men got back in the vehicle and headed north on 23rd Terrace, which runs between Archer and Williston roads. . . .
A teen charged with a hate crime in Oak Park says he attacked and beat up his victim because he was angry about the Trayvon Martin case. Alton Hayes III, 18, of Oak Park, is charged with attempted robbery and aggravated battery. He is also charged with a hate crime. Hayes and his 15-year-old alleged accomplice are African-American, while the victim is white. The Oak Park-River Forest Patch reportsaround 1 a.m. April 17, Hayes and the Chicago boy walked up behind the 19-year-old victim in the 1600 block of North Kenilworth Avenue in Oak Park. Police say Hayes and his accomplice and pinned the victim’s arms to his side, police said. Hayes then picked up a large tree branch, pointed it at the man and said, “Empty your pockets, white boy,” police said. The two allegedly rifled through the victim’s pockets, then threw him to the ground and punched him “numerous times” in the head and back before running away, police said.After being arrested, Hayes told police he was upset by the Trayvon Martin case, and said he beat the victim up because he was white, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said. . . .
A white Alabama man’s brutal beating by a mob is not being investigated as a hate crime, despite eyewitness reports that one of the assailants referenced Trayvon Martin during the attack. The attack on Matthew Owens, 40, is currently being investigated as an assault, said Ashley Rains, public information officer for the Mobile Police Department, to Fox News. Owens, of Mobile, remains in serious condition after cops say about 20 African-American adults showed up at his home Saturday and beat him with chairs, pipes, brass knuckles and paint cans. Owens’ sister and another witness say that as the group left, one assailant said: “Now that’s justice for Trayvon” following the assault. . . . Furious neighbors say that no matter what was said, the attack had nothing to do with Martin. . . .
A 78-year-old Ohio man says he was a victim of a hate crime when he was severely beaten by group of youths -- who allegedly said "this is for Trayvon," referring to the unarmed black Florida teen killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. The man, Dallas Watts of East Toledo, told police he was walking home Saturday afternoon when he was confronted by six youths, both white and black, ages 11 to 17, FoxToledo.com reports. One of the youths allegedly said "take him down." Watts said he told the youths, "Why me? Remember Trayvon." He told FoxToledo.com that he meant it in a "peaceful way," since he had nothing to do with the Florida killing. But police suggest the youths may have misinterpreted Watts' words as threatening. "[Get] that white [man]. This is for Trayvon ... Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man]," the boys are quoted as saying in a police report cited by the Toledo Blade. . . .
. . . on the weekend of March 24th and March 25th at least seven white people were brutally beaten by mobs of blacks in Grand Rapids, MI. Five of the victims filed police reports. At least two other victims exist, and there are probably others. The local media has refused to report the cruel attacks and the authorities are resisting any serious charges. I talked with one of the victims, 37 year old Jacob Palasek. He is a full time student and does computer work part time. He was attacked by a wolf pack of thugs on the corner of Sixth Street and Broadway in Grand Rapids, Michigan just after midnight on March 25th. The location is a mix of stores, offices, and residential neighborhoods. Jacob lives near where he was attacked. As he was walking to his apartment, he saw three black males loitering. One was on a bicycle. The suspect on the bicycle rode up beside him. Suddenly the thug smashed him in the side of the head with a chain. He was hit two or three more times in the head with the chain before he broke loose and ran to the nearest home. He knocked on the door, hoping the owner would call the police. All three of the black males then attacked him on the porch. They yelled “this is what you deserve you white piece of shit.” Jacob was hit in the head with the large chain more times. Jacob broke free again and hid behind a dumpster. The attackers initially chased him, but broke their pursuit and walked away. There were some cars driving by and the thugs may have thought a driver was calling 911. All seven known victims were attacked within about six blocks of where Jacob was attacked. The victims were in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Some of the victims were attacked during the day in broad daylight. . . .
Two weeks have passed since reporters Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami - friends to me and many others at the newspaper - were attacked on a Saturday night as they drove home from a show at the Attucks Theatre. They had stopped at a red light, in a crowd of at least 100 young people walking on the sidewalk. Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that's when the beating began. Neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster's torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami fears to be alone in her home. Forster wishes he'd stayed in the car. . . . Forster and Rostami's story has not, until today, appeared in this paper. The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack. A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see "simple assault" and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. In this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees. Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims? . . . Forster and Rostami wondered if the officer who answered their call treated all crime victims the same way. When Rostami, who admits she was hysterical, tried to describe what had happened, she says the officer told her to shut up and get in the car. Both said the officer did not record any names of witnesses who stopped to help. Rostami said the officer told them the attackers were "probably juveniles anyway. What are we going to do? Find their parents and tell them?" The officer pointed to public housing in the area and said large groups of teenagers look for trouble on the weekends. "It's what they do," he told Forster. Could that be true? . . . Police spokesman Chris Amos said officers often respond to reports of crowds fighting; sirens are usually enough to disperse the group. On that night, he said, a report of gunfire in a nearby neighborhood prompted the officer to decide getting Forster and Rostami off the street quickly made more sense than remaining at the intersection. The officer gave them his card and told them to call later to file a report. The next day, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack. One post chilled him. "I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light," wrote one person. "I don't," wrote another, indicating laughter. "(do it for trayvon martin)" . . . Forster and Rostami, both white, suffered a beating at the hands of a crowd of black teenagers. . . .
Now it comes out that in this Norfolk, Va. case the police originally listed this as a hate crime.
A witness told deputies he heard someone screaming for help and saw two men pull the victim from his vehicle. He said he watched as one man held the victim and the other beat him in the head with a hammer. After they dragged the victim into the woods, the men drove away in his sport utility vehicle, which was later found abandoned about a half-mile away on Garbo Jack Lane. Investigators got a break in the case Thursday, when a tip to Crimeline named Bender and gave the street name of the second suspect. On Friday, investigators learned Israel's fingerprints had been found both inside and outside of the victim's vehicle. The witness was shown photo lineups and picked out Bender and Israel as the men he saw beating the victim. He said Bender was the man wielding the hammer. . . .
The two attackers are black and the victim is white, but that isn't what is interesting here. I haven't been able to confirm the following claim here in a solid news source, but if true, this would be important:
Shortly following Rev Al Sharpton’s Anti-George Zimmerman rally in Sanford, FL, two Sanford teens, enraged by hate and racism at the rally, decided to burglarize, terrorize and beat a white man to near death with a hammer. . . .
As we reported in March, Al Qaeda claimed that Fox News Channel was their least-favorite news outlet, for it “falls into the abyss … and lacks objectivity,” adding that they’d like to see the network “die in her anger.” I’m surprised Fox News hasn’t made promotional commercials based on the laudable distinction of being the terrorist organization’s most-hated network. In a series of letters released today, an Al Qaeda author revealed himself to be an amateur media critic, saying that MSNBC was “neutral” before some controversial firings . . .
With the leading French presidential candidate calling for higher taxes, this warning is unlikely to be heard. From the NY Times:
Ahead of crucial elections in France and Greece, Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, warned governments on Thursday that opting for the “easier road” of raising taxes to fill public coffers would not solve Europe’s problems. Mr. Draghi said it was understandable that governments would be tempted to raise taxes “under extreme urgency,” but he emphasized that “past the urgency, this should be corrected,” especially in a European environment with “a high level of taxation.” . . .
A Wikipedia page exploring the historical significance of the word “Forward” as a socialist rallying cry has made it the subject of dueling snarks from assorted would-be Wiki editors and vandals. Within hours of the Obama campaign’s slogan unveiling, the online page had its first edit since November 2011. ”Forward is the official slogan of the Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2012,” the simple entry read. But nothing in Wiki-land is simple, especially when the name “Barack Obama” is sandwiched between references to “Avante!, organ of the Portuguese Communist Party” and “Voorwaarts!, organ of the Communist Youth Movement (Netherlands).” Apples and oranges, a persnickety editor claimed around 1 a.m. Tuesday: “The Obama campaign is not a publication, socialist or otherwise.” And with the click of a mouse, the Obama connection disappeared — for nearly 14 hours, at least. . . . The next edit seemed earnest enough. . . . . Within four minutes, that, too, was gone. “Obama’s campaign slogan,” another editor sniped, “is irrelevant to an entry on Forward as a generic name for socialist publications.” . . .
Is Elizabeth Warren serious about her explanation for why she classified herself as an American Indian in Law School Directories?
The reporter's question here is such a softball. I have a hard time believing that the reporter is at all serious. How does someone with 1/32nd American Indian ancestry really list enroll as being a member of a tribe? How do they list themselves as being an Indian? Warren's claim that she didn't expected any affirmative action gain from her listing and that she just did it to meet other people with tribal roots is bizarre. Again, I am 1/32nd American Indian and it has never crossed my mind to list myself down as American Indian.
In the youtube videos below a couple of points have come out. 1) That she is 1/32nd Indian may be questionable because the ancestor was apparently not in the Cherokee census. 2) Warren used to claim that she was a descendant from the Delaware tribe, not Cherokee.
Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, fending off questions about whether she used her Native American heritage to advance her career, said today she enrolled herself as a minority in law school directories for nearly a decade because she hoped to meet other people with tribal roots.
“I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off,” said Warren.
The Harvard Law professor argued she didn’t use her minority status to get her teaching jobs, and slammed her Republican rival U.S. Sen.Scott Brown for suggesting otherwise. . . .
As to her attacks on Scott Brown, all he has done is say that he isn't going to get involved in all this.
Some other videos
James Taranto on the issue.
High cheek bones?
This is her answer after 5 days?
Apparently it isn't clear that she is 1/32nd Indian. Apparently, Warren originally claimed that she was part of the Delaware tribe, not Cherokee.
. . . Van Hollen, speaking inside the Department of Justice room where the permits are printed, said no problems have been reported since the law went into effect six months ago, refuting arguments made by “doomsday people” concerned about legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons. Van Hollen, who holds the first permit issued by the state, said he firmly believes that people ought to be able to defend themselves and the law empowers law-abiding citizens. But he said it may be impossible to know whether the new law has deterred any crimes from occurring. “I don’t know that it’s safer and I don’t know that it’s less safe,” he said when asked about the impact of the law that went into effect in November. . . . The agency had estimated 125,000 permits would be issued in the first year, but after it was issuing the 100,000th one Friday. . . .
Is there really a conspiracy in how the jobs numbers are put together? In the past, I have expressed doubt in such claims, but the odds of such consistent errors seems to be becoming more and more remote (see here). From the WSJ:
An intruder who was shot in the leg by the man whose Fenton-area home he broke into has been charged with burglary and two gun charges. A man, 59, said he was sleeping at 2 a.m. Tuesday when he awoke and saw a burglar with a handgun in his home, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. The man then pulled out his own handgun and fired two shots. The burglar fled. . . .
Florida Governor Rick Scott shots down Tampa's mayor request to ban guns at Republican Convention
Well, if the city has already banned water guns from being near the Republican convention, I would think that would have taken care of any potential problems. From Reuters:
. . . Citing Second Amendment protections in the U.S. Constitution, Scott told Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn that conventions and guns have co-existed since the nation's birth and would continue to do so during the four-day event beginning August 27. "It is unclear how disarming law abiding citizens would better protect them from the dangers and threats posed by those who would flout the law," the Republican governor said in a letter on Tuesday. Local officials need Scott's permission to enact the temporary restrictions . . . Florida has some of the most lenient gun laws in the United States and by some counts leads the nation in gun ownership, with about 6.5 percent of all adults licensed to carry a concealed weapon, state records show. New applications for concealed gun permits have quadrupled since 1998. In a letter to Scott, Buckhorn said the Tampa City Council had banned a host of items from the area surrounding the convention facility, a list that includes water guns . . . .
For months, the Obama administration has told American voters that the nation had turned the corner on a stagnant recovery. Job creation picked up in December, January, and February, averaging a decent if unspectacular 217,000 jobs added monthly during that period. . . .
In their book Debacle, John Lott and Grover Norquist compare the Obama recovery to that of the 1982 recovery under Ronald Reagan. The double-dip 1980-81 recession was longer and produced higher unemployment than that of the so-called Great Recession, and it followed a decade of stagnation, “stagflation,” high interest rates, ill-considered wage and price controls, and energy shocks. Yet in the 29 months that followed the 1982 recovery, the American economy expanded jobs by 8 percent. In contrast, the Obama recovery in the same period only grew jobs in the US by 0.25 percent: . . .
I was interviewed on Ed's show yesterday (see starting at 1:01 into show).
Did the US Government handle the Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng case well?
A political activist under house arrest by the Chinese government makes a daring escape to the US Embassy. Publicly the Obama administration praises his bravery. Privately did they really pressure him to leave the US Embassy? CNN has this transcript of their interview with Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng:
Q: What prompted your change of heart [about leaving the US Embassy]? A: The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital. But this afternoon as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone. Q: Has the U.S. disappointed you? A: I'm very disappointed at the U.S. government. Q: Why? A: I don't think (U.S. officials) protected human rights in this case. Q: What would you say to U.S. President Obama? A: I would like to say to (President Obama): Please do everything you can to get our whole family out. Q: Is this your most urgent wish? A: That's right. Q: What has your wife told you after you escaped? A: (My wife) was tied to a chair by police for two days. Then they carried sticks to our home, threatening to beat her to death. Now they have moved into the house -- eating at our table and using our stuff. Our home is teeming with security -- on the roof and in the yard. They have installed seven surveillance cameras inside the house and built electric fences around the yard. Q: What did officials tell her if you didn't leave the embassy? A: They said they would send her back (to Shandong) and people there would beat her. . . .
It doesn't seem as if the Obama administration followed the expectations of others for this case. From the UK Guardian:
Jean-Pierre Cabestan of Hong Kong University said if Chen was at the embassy, the two governments would probably try to downplay the issue, at least until the end of this week's talks. "Then the Obama administration will try to find a solution that may not be asylum, but an assurance from Beijing that they will stop harrassing Chen; but if that does not work, asylum will eventually be granted," he said. Nicholas Bequelin, of Human Rights Watch, said it was unlikely that the Chinese government would accept Chen's demands for an investigation into his case. In the interim, Washington should offer to take Chen and his family to the US for "medical reasons". "If Beijing is not ready for that either, they should be ready to shelter Chen for a longer time, until a solution is negotiated," Bequelin said. . . .
Apparently, Chen was willing "to spend may years" in the US Embassy. Did the Obama administration put a lot of pressure on Chen to get him to change his mind?
The office of Vice President Joe Biden overruled State and Justice Department officials in denying the political asylum request of a senior Chinese communist official last February over fears the high-level defection would upset the U.S. visit of China’s vice president, according to U.S. officials. The defector, Wang Lijun, was turned away after 30 hours inside the U.S. Consulate Chengdu and given over to China’s Ministry of State Security, the political police and intelligence service. Wang has not been seen since Feb. 7 and remains under investigation. His attempt to flee China set off a major power struggle within the ruling Communist Party and led to the ouster of leftist Politburo member Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges. . . .
Here is a discussion from the WSJ that indicates that the US felt pressure to make a deal quickly. At least the US got a deal over cleaner burning cook stoves.
London’s Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, is poised to win re-election today, providing Prime Minister David Cameron with some relief after more than a month of damaging headlines. Polls over the past week have shown Johnson extending his lead over Ken Livingstone, the former mayor who is running for the opposition Labour Party. That goes against a national trend that has seen Labour taking support away from the Conservatives. Labour is likely to gain hundreds of the 4,800 local-council seats being contested across Britain today. Support for the Conservatives has slumped to the lowest since the coalition government came to power two years ago. . . . The latest poll in London, carried out April 27-29, gave Johnson a lead of 56 percent to 44 percent over Livingstone in the decisive second round of counting, when second-preference votes from the five minor candidates are totted up. . . .
How Daley beefed up his pension payouts, taking a government job for a month to get an extra $50,000 a year in pension
Not bad pay. Get on the government payroll for a month and get another $50,000 a year for life for retirement. Daley's answer in this piece is just stunning. If he had to go on another payroll for another month while he was serving as Chicago's mayor, is he really serious in believing that anyone will believe that he didn't understand that he was gaming the system? From the Chicago Tribune:
Two years into his reign as Chicago's longest-serving mayor,Richard M. Daleytook advantage of the state's convoluted pension system to significantly increase his potential payout while saving $400,000 in contributions, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has found. Daley, a former state senator, made it happen by briefly rejoining the legislative pension plan in 1991. He stayed there just one month before returning to Chicago's municipal pension fund, but the switches made him eligible for benefits worth 85 percent of his mayoral salary — a better rate than all other city employees receive.
He was just 49 years old at the time. Even if Daley had never won another election, he could have started collecting a public pension at age 55 of $97,750 a year. Without the steps he took, his public pension benefits at that age would have been worth just $20,686. Of course, Daley went on to win five more elections, remaining ensconced on the fifth floor ofCity Hallfor the next two decades. When he retired last May, his pension benefits had grown to $183,778 a year — about $50,000 more than he would have otherwise received. Daley declined to be interviewed for this story.
His spokeswoman, Jacquelyn Heard, wrote in an email: "I can only assume that his pension was handled in the same manner that anyone's would be, given the length of service — nearly 40 years — in government." . . .
Daley apparently used public funds to pay off people.
The Tribune and WGN-TV already have detailed how Daley used the city's pension funds for political purposes. In 1991, the same year he secured his much larger pension, Daley's administration helped aldermen land a dramatic pension increase, providing them with benefits far exceeding those of the average city worker. The same legislation, rushed through the General Assembly on the last day of the session, also gave private labor leaders public pensions based on their much higher union salaries. Under Daley's watch, former Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon was given a one-day city job that allowed him to collect a public pension based on his $200,000 private union salary. . . .
At the very least, having composite figures in an autobiography makes it very difficult for anyone to check out Obama's claims. From Politico:
"None of this happened with Genevieve," Maraniss writes. "She remembered going to the theater only once with Barack, and it was not to see a work by a black playwright. When asked about this decades later, during a White House interview, Obama acknowledged that the scene did not happen with Genevieve. “It is an incident that happened,” he said. But not with her. He would not be more specific, but the likelihood is that it happened later, when he lived in Chicago. “That was not her,” he said. “That was an example of compression I was very sensitive in my book not to write about my girlfriends, partly out of respect for them. So that was a consideration. I thought that [the anecdote involving the reaction of a white girlfriend to the angry black play] was a useful theme to make about sort of the interactions that I had in the relationships with white girlfriends. And so, that occupies, what, two paragraphs in the book? My attitude was it would be dishonest for me not to touch on that at all … so that was an example of sort of editorially how do I figure that out?”" Broadway Books, a division of Random House's Crown Publishing Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. . . .
Handgun sales numbers are up, but it’s who’s buying them that may be surprising. National numbers show that women are quickly becoming some of the top customers at gun shops.
Certified handgun instructor Kathy Richardson said, “I’ve had more women in this past year than I have in the past years before.”
This isn’t just in Richardson’s class. Enrollment numbers are up nationwide. The National Shooting Sports Foundation shows gun stores reported a 73 percent increase in female customers. . . .
More on Elizabeth Warren claiming to me a Native American Minority
The claim is that new research claims that she is 1/32nd American Indian. In fact, I am 1/32nd American Indian, but I never, ever thought for a second of putting it down that I was a minority American Indian because of that. With her listing herself as a minority in the law professor directory and having listed that at the University of Texas, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard, does anyone possibly believe that she didn't know that universities were making a big deal about having a very rare American Indian on their faculty?
Update: Media Matters has gotten upset with the media for the third time in eight days because of coverage that I have received. It appeared to me that Chuck Todd was alluding to Media Matters' attacks when he introduced me on the show, and I appreciate him having me on despite the fact that he must have known that they would attack his show also.
Interestingly, I have already dealt with many of the comments in this newest comment from Media Matters in my previous posts (here and here), but just as Media Matters won't allow me to put up responses on their website in the comment sections, they won't acknowledge my responses to their claims that I post on my website. It is interested to see how fearful Media Matters is of letting their audience know that there are responses to their claims.
Even more astonishingly, Lott then claimed that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law has nothing to do with the controversy surrounding Trayvon Martin's death.
What I will say is that no matter whose story is right, the Stand Your Ground law isn't relevant to the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case. If George Zimmerman is right and the wounds on the back of his head that he was on the ground, Trayvon Martin was on top of him beating him, there was no place for him to retreat. And so the old defense, even if you had the rule that you have to retreat as far as possible, he still would have been able to act in self-defense there. And if the other side is right that somehow George Zimmerman provoked the attack, attacked Martin to begin with, then he wouldn't be able to rely on the Stand Your Ground law to protect him in that case either.
Lott is really burying his head in the sand on this one. The Sanford Police Department cited the "Stand Your Ground" law as the reason that Zimmerman was not initially arrested. Before he became George Zimmerman's lawyer, attorney Mark O'Mara appeared on a Florida local news program and suggested that Zimmerman's actions may have been legally excusable under "Stand Your Ground." Controversy surrounding the law has even led Republican governor Rick Scott to convene a taskforce to address concerns related to the 2005 legislation.
Lott is correct that Zimmerman may unsuccessfully assert "Stand Your Ground" at trial. Or it is possible that Zimmerman will not use the defense at all. Or that he will use it and prevail. Only time will tell. But to claim that "Kill At Will" has not been "relevant" to the Trayvon Martin controversy is an act of willful blindness that serves to draw attention away from the legitimate debate surrounding the self-defense law.
Building on this point, Lott then claims that "the Stand Your Ground law doesn't allow you to provoke an attack, doesn't allow you to throw the first punch, it doesn't allow you to go and shoot someone in the back. You have to pass this reasonable person test that you're in direct threat, serious injury or death was going to occur." By suggesting that all shooters claiming immunity under "Stand Your Ground" face a thorough review into their actions, Lott is ignoring the fact that some of these shootings, even those that occur under dubious circumstances, are resolved without the shooter ever having to face a jury of his peers.
The quote that Media Matters reports from the interview gets most of my point across. What Media Matters doesn't understand is that the Stand Your Ground law covers self-defense of all types and what I was referring to was what had changed in the Stand Your Ground law relative to what was in the original law that required retreat when possible. The point is clear that the Stand Your Ground law added nothing new that allowed Zimmerman to claim self-defense that he couldn't already claim under the old law. Yet, instead of dealing with the logic of this point, Media Matters just asserts its point.
I have some examples of why Stand Your Ground laws were adopted in
Cases Supporting Stand Your Ground/ Castle Doctrine/ Business Protections
Kenny Der and Darrell R. Kifer:
Two businessmen indicted in intruder's shooting death
Two businessmen accused of shooting to death an intruder who broke into their East Baltimore warehouse in June surrendered to police yesterday after a grand jury indicted them on first-degree murder charges.
The indictment contrasts with a similar Baltimore County case in which a grand jury declined to indict two brothers who shot and killed someone who broke into their warehouse in March. That grand jury said the men acted in self-defense.
Kenny Der and Darrell R. Kifer, both 35, surrendered to police yesterday and were in custody last night, said Deputy State's Attorney Haven H. Kodeck. They will be arraigned Jan. 18.
The men, whose addresses could not be confirmed last night, are charged in the death of Tygon Walker, 37, on June 30. Walker was shot after a break-in through a second-story window of the men's warehouse in the 1300 block of N. Wolfe St. . . .
"I'm really sorry that the grand jury saw fit to indict," said Der's attorney, David B. Irwin. "It was a self-defense situation where the men were in their own business and it was being burglarized. ... I'm upset, and I think it's the wrong decision." . . .
Irwin said the two men were at work on the building's first floor about 9:30 p.m. when they heard "crashes and thunks" upstairs.
They armed themselves and went up to investigate. Irwin said it was dark on the second floor, where they discovered Walker. "He says, `I'm gonna kill you,' and comes toward them," Irwin said.
Irwin said the men opened fire on Walker, who was holding a weapon believed to be a hammer. (At the time of the shooting, police also said any weapon Walker had was not a gun.)
Walker, who lived in the Yorkewood Apartments in the 1100 block of E. Belvedere Ave., was convicted of felony theft in Baltimore in 1994, records show.
Irwin said the grand jurors might have been swayed by Walker's having multiple gunshot wounds. "Maybe the grand jury thinks they shot him too many times," he said.
Under Maryland law, a person can use deadly force if that person has a reasonable belief that his or her life is in imminent danger and if he or she uses no more force than reasonably necessary.
In the case of Dominic "Tony" Geckle and Matthew Geckle, who killed one unarmed man and injured two others who had broken into the Geckles' concrete plant in Glyndon in March, the grand jurors found that the brothers were protected from prosecution under the self-defense law.
"It was an open-and-shut case," one juror said at the time.
In that proceeding, unlike this week's, one of the brothers was invited to testify before the grand jury.
Judge acquits two men who shot intruder
The Baltimore Sun
January 24, 2003
Byline: Allison Klein
Arguing that the state's murder case "challenged the foundation of the right to defend yourself," two Harford County businessmen were acquitted yesterday of gunning down a drug addict who broke into their East Baltimore warehouse.
Prosecutors said the men, frustrated by repeated burglaries at their business, were acting with murder in mind, not self-defense, when they killed Tygon Walker with a shotgun and a handgun in June 2001. But Baltimore Circuit Judge John M. Glynn pronounced Kenny Der and Darrell R. Kifer not guilty of first-degree murder seconds after attorneys finished their closing arguments.
"This is a sad and disturbing matter," Glynn told the courtroom packed with teary-eyed supporters of the defendants. "The case is straightforward. The state has the burden of proof, and I cannot find that the state met that burden of proof."
The courtroom erupted into gasps of relief, and Der and Kifer hugged each other. Both had said that Walker appeared to be carrying a weapon and threatened to kill them.
"This case was an injustice that challenged the foundation of the right to defend yourself," Kifer said. "I am hoping people will now be able to defend themselves and not be prosecuted by the law."
The Der and Kifer case is one of a handful of Maryland self-defense killings in which the gunmen have not been held legally responsible for murder.
Most recently, a Baltimore County grand jury declined in 2001 to indict brothers Dominic "Tony" Geckle and Matthew Geckle; they killed an unarmed man and injured two others who had broken into their concrete plant in Glyndon.
In Baltimore, Der and Kifer were indicted but waived their right to a jury trial, instead opting for Glynn to decide the matter. Der said he was grateful for the judge's decision.
"Now I can go on with my life," said Der, who nearly broke down and cried as he testified on his own behalf yesterday. "It's been a living hell. This has been a tremendous burden emotionally and financially."
Throughout the five-day trial, prosecutor Mark P. Cohen said Der and Kifer, both 36, did not act in self-defense - claiming that they knew an intruder was in the Wolfe Street warehouse and fired at Walker, 37, with intent to kill. The men own a furniture refinishing business in the building, which is owned by Der's father.
Cohen said the men were angry because the warehouse had been broken into many times in recent weeks, including one incident hours before the shooting. Walker had 11 gunshot wounds, including five in the back. . . .
FREE BUT IN FEAR OF REPRISAL MAN ACQUITTED OF MURDER, BUT LIVING UNDER THREAT
The South Florida Sun Sentinel
July 1, 2007
Byline: Nancy L. Othon
Norman Borden doesn't want to be the poster boy for Florida's self-defense laws.
He never wanted to kill anyone, but he did. He killed two.
More than eight months in a jail cell awaiting his murder trial gave Borden, 44, time for contemplation.
He wondered what might have happened if he hadn't done what he did.
How much of a beating could he have endured? How many times could he have been run over? Would he have been left in a vegetative state?
And even though he was acquitted Monday of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two young men, this is what Borden wants you to know.
"Stop saying I'm a murderer," Borden said in a lengthy telephone interview Thursday from a location he declined to disclose. "There has to be a new word for people who defend themselves. There has to be a word for people who are forced into a situation." . . .
He was walking his four dogs near his home in the Westgate neighborhood west of West Palm Beach with his friend. It was after 2 a.m. on Oct. 8, in the rough neighborhood where homeless settle and gang activity has grown.
There was an altercation between Borden and Juan Mendez, 21, and Christopher Araujo, 19. Heated words were exchanged, the men reportedly threatened to hurt Borden's dogs. He showed them he had a gun.
But it wasn't over. The men sped away and picked up Saul Trejo, 21, a documented member of a violent gang. Armed with bats, they headed straight to Borden, and he fired.
Fourteen gunshots later, Araujo and Trejo were dead, Mendez injured. Prosecutors said the first five shots fired at the windshield were self-defense, the next nine were murder.
"When I called 911 that night, I didn't believe I would be put in jail," Borden said. "The simple fact of the matter was that it was a do-or-die situation."
Borden said he's almost positive Mendez, who he said started the incident with taunts and threats, had a gun that night; his attorney told jurors that Mendez had opportunity to hide a gun before deputies and paramedics arrived.
"If I had done it out of anger, or spite, it would surely be him that would be dead," Borden said. "I'm glad he's alive because life gives opportunity for change. I hope and I pray he will change, and he will be an example for people to say, 'Turn away, stop, don't do these things.' "
Though Public Defender Carey Haughwout vigorously argued that Borden was immune from prosecution as a result of a 2005 Florida law that became known as the "stand your ground" law, Circuit Judge William Berger declined to dismiss the charges and the case went to trial. Eleven women and one man on the jury reached their not-guilty verdict in two hours.
Now he's a free man.
But he's a marked man. . . .
And the jury says: Fight back -- Florida prosecutor decides to test new law giving citizens right of deadly force against attacker in any public place
The Associated Press
July 15, 2007
Byline: Brian Skoloff
Norman Borden fought back twice - once against three assailants on the street, then again in a courtroom where he was charged with murder for killing two of them.
Borden, 44, was walking his dogs last year when three men in a Jeep tried to run him down. He pulled a gun and shot five times through the windshield, then moved to the side of the vehicle and fired nine more rounds.
He thought the shooting was self-defense, but a prosecutor put him on trial in the deaths, despite a new Florida law that grants wide latitude to people using deadly force to protect themselves.
The case highlights the confusion surrounding so-called "stand- your-ground" laws, which have been adopted in at least 14 states. The laws have perplexed judges and prosecutors, and, in some cases, forced attorneys to change the way they review evidence.
In Borden's case, a prosecutor filed charges against him, even though he privately thought Borden might have been correct to open fire. . . .
A Wilson native who spent more than six years in a Georgia state prison for a killing that he said was in self-defense was released from prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case.
John McNeil, 46, was convicted in November 2006 of the shooting death of a man who McNeil said had threatened his son and refused to leave his property.
He was serving a life sentence at Macon State Prison for the crime, but for years, McNeil's wife, Anita, and his supporters, including the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, spoke out for his release, saying he was wrongfully prosecuted because of his race.
John McNeil is black. The man he shot, Brian Epp, was white.
But on Tuesday, a Cobb County Superior Court judge accepted a plea on a charge of voluntary manslaughter and gave him 13 years of probation and credit for seven years served, making him a free man.
"I am grieving for my wife's death," John McNeil told reporters upon his release. "It's just a sad time for me right now."
Anita McNeil, 47, died Feb. 2 after a long battle with breast cancer. Even as she underwent chemotherapy for her second recurrence of the disease, she traveled and advocated for her husband's release.
Family members said they are planning a memorial service once John McNeil returns to Wilson.
State NAACP President Rev. William Barber called Tuesday's release "a kind of partial repentance" by the Georgia criminal justice system.
"While we would have preferred John to be exonerated based on self-defense, we are thankful that he can return home to be with his two sons and start his life over," Roslyn M. Brock, chairwoman for the National Board of Directors for the NAACP, said in a statement. "His release today is a bittersweet victory, because he also returns home in sorrow following the recent death of his loving wife Anita, who fought for his release until her last breath."
Epp's family members, who were present for Tuesday's hearing, said they did not support the plea deal or John McNeil's release.
"It's just hard to believe that someone can do something so horrific and get away with seven years," his former sister-in-law, Jill Bonney, said.
According to the NAACP, the McNeils were the only black residents living in an upscale suburban Atlanta neighborhood in December 2005 when John McNeil received a call one day from one of his sons, telling him that a man was on their property and was threatening him with a box cutter.
John McNeil called 911 and drove home, where he asked the man to leave his property. When the man would not leave, McNeil fired a warning shot into the ground and a second shot when the man became aggressive and approached him.
Witnesses corroborated the story, and police initially ruled the shooting self-defense.
Nine months later, the Cobb County District Attorney's Office pursued a murder charge against John McNeil and won a conviction, putting him in prison for the rest of his life.
Last fall, however, a judge ruled that John McNeil should be released because of multiple errors at trial, including that the jury was not properly instructed on a person's right to use force to defend himself, his home or another person from violent attack.
"I am happy and sad, all at the same time," McNeil's brother, Robert Lee McNeil Jr., said Tuesday. "I'm happy that he's out free, but due to the situation on how it took place, that displeases me, because when a man is innocent, he's innocent."
Anita McNeil's family members in Wilson cried and celebrated John McNeil's homecoming Tuesday morning.
"It's bittersweet. He's going to be very happy here at home," sister Claudette Howell said. "But not to see (Anita) here, it's going to be a little sad."
The family had hoped he would have made it home before his wife died, but they say she died knowing that he would likely be released from prison.
"She believed in justice. She had plenty of faith, and she knew this day was coming," friend Patricia Higgs said. "So, she was able to lay to rest knowing that it was near."
Jurors late Friday acquitted Paul Anders Saustrup of murder, finding that he acted in self-defense when he shot to death Eric Demart Smith after following the car burglar for two blocks in downtown Austin in 1998. The verdict, coming at 10:45 p.m. on the fifth anniversary of the law allowing Texans to carry concealed weapons, was cheered by Saustrup's family and friends.
On the other side of the courtroom, Smith's sister, Charlotte Sledge, covered her face with her hands and wept. She left the courtroom without comment .
Saustrup said he had endured a "terrible, terrible ordeal" and was looking forward to resuming a normal life.
His supporters were jubilant, hugging each other and the defendant. "I'll say we're all kind of happy right now," said Jolice Wiedenhof, a friend of Saustrup. "We didn't expect the deadlock to break."
Jurors reached their verdict three hours after they had attempted to declare themselves deadlocked. State District Judge Bob Perkins had ordered them to continue deliberating.
If convicted of murder, Saustrup would have faced up to life in prison.
Saustrup is licensed to carry a handgun. Although both sides said the case was not about the right to carry concealed weapons, it was monitored from the beginning by gun safety instructors and gun- control advocates.
In closing statements to a packed courtroom earlier Friday, attorneys presented radically different interpretations of the facts.
Saustrup, 35, never denied shooting 20-year-old Smith after discovering the man sitting in his girlfriend's parked car on July 8, 1998. He told police he did so because Smith had lowered his hands to his waist and began to turn around, as though to attack.
Two bullets struck Smith in the back, one behind each shoulder blade.
Earlier this week, Saustrup's girlfriend, Sasha Sessums, provided jurors with a first-hand account of the minutes just before 2 a.m., when she and Saustrup found the passenger window of her Chevrolet Suburban broken and saw a man jump into the driver's seat.
While Saustrup drew his .380-caliber pistol -- shouting, "Freeze! . . . Anyone else comes jumping out of there, you'll be the first to die!" -- he told Sessums to call police on his cell phone.
When she turned around, she saw Smith standing outside the car, his shirt off. Other witnesses testified that Smith's torso was decorated with gang tattoos and that he was drunk. . . .
Defense attorney Joe Turner then reminded jurors that Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo agreed the bullet angles looked as though Smith was spinning before and during the shooting.
He referred to Saustrup's gun instructor, who testified that Saustrup followed the rules of self-defense, firing when he reasonably believed he was in danger, without waiting to see a gun.
"He followed the instructions he was taught in a class approved by the state of Texas," Turner said. "And now the state of Texas wants to prosecute him for murder."
He told jurors it's easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
"Here's the good guy," he said, pointing to Saustrup. "And here," he said, picking up a life-sized photo of Smith's tattoos, "is the bad guy. He's dead because he's the bad guy."
Phillip D. Mielke:
Pastor acquitted in fatal shooting of intruders at his church
Associated Press (AK)
October 27, 2003
PALMER, Alaska (AP) - A preacher was acquitted Monday of two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide in the shooting deaths of two intruders at his Big Lake Community Chapel last spring.
Jurors deliberated for two days in Superior Court before acquitting the Rev. Phillip D. Mielke, 44, in the deaths of Christopher Lee Palmer, 31, of Big Lake and Francis Marion Jones IV, 23, of Wasilla.
"We're relieved," Jim Gilmore, Mielke's defense lawyer, said after the verdicts were read.
Mielke had no comment.
"I will never be able to accept what Mr. Mielke did," Palmer's mother, Shirley Novak, told KTUU-TV in Anchorage. "Chris is never going to be back."
Palmer and Jones were burglarizing the chapel at about 5 a.m. April 24 when Mielke heard a noise over a homemade intercom system that linked the church to his home, across the road.
He got his .44-caliber Magnum revolver and went to investigate.
The three men ended up together in a small, dark arctic entry.
Mielke testified that he ordered the men to stop and then fired when they kept coming.
He told investigating troopers that he saw one of the intruders get up and run toward a parked, idling car outside the church.
Palmer was found dead on a road near the church. He had been shot once in the lower back.
Several hours later, a woman called 911 to report that Jones had been shot and was at her house. When investigators arrived, they found him dead with a gunshot wound to the back and the left ankle.
In closing arguments last Thursday, Gilmore characterized Mielke as a mild-mannered man who carried a gun for self-defense. The preacher used it in a "totally unexpected, out-of-control" situation when Palmer and Jones rushed him inside his own church, he said.
"It was like a bear charging," Gilmore said. "The critical feature of this event (is) it happened in a matter of seconds ... and it happened in the dark. ... His fear that caused him to pull the trigger was reasonable under the circumstances."
If Mielke was acting in self-defense, why did he empty his gun out a window as the mortally wounded Jones fled toward his car, Collins asked in closing arguments.
"Once he started shooting, he couldn't stop shooting," Collins said. "This is the act of someone who isn't going to let them get away."
The burglars were stealing donated food the church planned to give away, Collins said.
"You don't take a gun to protect some old doughnuts," he said. "Those are not the actions of a reasonable person."
Big Lake is about 59 road miles north of Anchorage.
Columbus bike shop owner Jack Tant was found not guilty Thursday of the murder of a 15-year-old boy he shot as three youths attempted to burglarize his business.
The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated 80 minutes acquitting before the 74-year-old businessman, rejecting District Attorney Gray Conger's plea for a conviction on either murder or manslaughter.
Tant smiled after the verdict was read in the packed courtroom, ending the four-day trial and the 18 months of uncertainty with which he has lived since the June 16, 2000, incident.
"I haven't had any fear from the start," said Tant, surrounded by his family and defense attorney Mark Shelnutt shortly after the trial ended. "I wasn't worried about it. I had a feeling it would come out good.
"But it shouldn't even have gone to court," he added.
Tant said he'll be back at work today at his bicycle and lawn mower repair shop, "doing the same thing I've been doing."
Shelnutt said the verdict reflects what really happened that evening at Tant's 1742 Benning Drive business.
"He went up to check on his business and was attacked by intruders. It's nothing more than that," the defense attorney said. "I think when the jury heard all the evidence, they saw that's what happened." . . .