Dems going to go ahead with filibuster, though they know that they will fail

Among the Senators coming out for a filibuster of Alito are: Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Russ Feingold, and Dick Durbin.

They are doing this despite: "At least 65 Senators are expected to vote to end debate and move on to Tuesday's confirmation vote; that's five more votes than the minimum needed for cloture."

It seems pretty clear that the Democratic Senators are just trying to make their base happy. The cost though is that anybody else will view the Democrats as just being too extreme. There are plenty of news stories about how this is upsetting some Democratic Senators.

Wisconsin Senate Overrides Concealed Handgun Veto, House Overtide Attempt Next Week

My belief is that the Assembly vote comes down to one issue: Do the Democrats want the NRA to make Wisconsin its main target this fall? If the veto override fails, the NRA will work hard to get the additional votes needed in the Assembly and also work hard to win the Governorship.

The Wisconsin State Senate challenged Gov. Jim Doyle’s recent veto, voting 23 to 10 Thursday to uphold a bill that would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons.

“[I am] happy to see the Democrats that had supported the bill when it first went through the Senate stuck to their guns and voted to override the governor today,” said Mike Prentiss, spokesperson for bill co-sponsor Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

Authored by Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, Senate Bill 403 was passed by both the Senate and Assembly last year before Doyle rejected it last Friday.

Bill backers expressed hope the Assembly would follow suit and also vote to override the governor’s veto. . . .

In the Assemby it comes down to six Democratic representatives:

The fate of the state's 133-year-old ban on concealed weapons now rests with the state Assembly, which plans its own override try on Tuesday. The vote likely will hinge on six Assembly Democrats who broke party lines and voted with Republicans to pass the bill in December. . . .

A successful override takes a two-thirds majority in both houses - 22 votes in the Senate and 66 in the Assembly.

The measure has the support of all 60 GOP Assembly members. If the six Assembly Democrats vote to override, the GOP would have the 66 votes it needs. If one of them flips and sides with the governor, the veto would stand.

The six Assembly Democrats - Reps. Barbara Gronemus of Whitehall, Mary Hubler of Rice Lake, Marlin Schneider of Wisconsin Rapids, John Steinbrink of Pleasant Prairie, Terry Van Akkeren of Sheboygan and Amy Sue Vruwink of Milladore - likely will face heavy lobbying from both sides.

Some of the most intense pressure could come from Doyle's office. The Legislature hasn't overridden a veto of a stand-alone bill in more than two decades.

"The governor is confident his veto will be upheld in the Assembly," Doyle spokeswoman Melanie Fonder said. "He does not think people in Wisconsin will be any safer carrying loaded weapons around."

But Gronemus, Vruwink and Schneider all have said they plan to vote to override.

That means it all could come down to Van Akkeren, Hubler and Steinbrink.

Van Akkeren has said he hasn't decided which way he will vote. Steinbrink and Hubler didn't immediately return messages from The Associated Press Thursday.


Great piece in today's WSJ by Mark Steyn

I won't repeat the whole piece, just a couple of what I regarded were amazing statements about Canada:

In April 2002, the Pentagon wished to confer the Bronze Star on five snipers from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan for their service in . . . killing the enemy. Ottawa put the request on hold, relenting grudgingly only after the matter was made public. It seems the Canadian government's main objection was a reluctance to let it be known that our military still, er, shoots people, and extremely accurately. . . .

At the Washington state/British Columbia border this week, two guys on the lam were hightailing it through Blaine heading for the 49th parallel with the cops in hot pursuit. Alerted to what was coming their way, Canada's (unarmed) border guards walked off the job. For a country whose national anthem lyrics are mostly endless reprises of the line "we stand on guard for thee," we could at least stand on guard. . . .

UPDATE: A friend of mine who is an economics professor in Canada, Doug Allen, wrote me:

"The border incident happened just 4 miles south of my house, so I knew about that one. What you probably didn't hear was that a union rep for the guards claimed that if they were armed, they still would be required - according to their union contract - to not stand in harms way! What I also found classic about the case was that after the incident was over (which I understand was quite quickly), the border remained closed for like 5 hours. No doubt there had to be some serious counselling over the stress."

These confirmation battles just keep getting worse

These fights will just keep on getting nastier and nastier. Even the fact that this is being seriously called for represents a real change. I can only imagine what will happen if Bush gets another nomination. From today's NY Times:

A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.

Media Matters Attacks on Lott Get it all wrong again.

It must be nice not being very constrained by the facts. Media Matters goes after me again, and I provide some responses.

Gun Locks and Lost Lives

Abortion and Crime


Is referencing the ABA such a wise move by Republicans?


Italians can now protect themselves with force from home invasion

ABC News "hit piece" on Justices Scalia and Thomas

ABC News has this amazing hit piece on Justices Scalia and Thomas. The piece starts out going after Scalia for missing Justice Roberts swearing in cerimony because of a prior appointment in Colorado. If that weren't horrible enought, Scalia was addressing a Federalist Society Conference. And then horrors of horrors: "One night at the resort, Scalia attended a cocktail reception, sponsored in part by the same lobbying and law firm where convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff once worked." The piece then goes on to note that five Justices have received gifts, but they only mention those received by Thomas. (None of this last point is new.)

I guess that have a hard time believing that anyone takes these attacks seriously. He had a prior engagement so he missed the swearing in. I assume that Scalia sent Roberts a note apologizing, and that Roberts said no big deal. So someone attended a cocktail party? Scalia probably doesn't even know who paid for the meal, but for a couple of shrimp is Scalia going to change his position on a case?

"The iPod, soon to be seen on CSI?"

members of the London gang were able to use their iPods to download and save copies of other people's bank statements, credit statements, and driver's licenses, as well as coordinate appointments at dealerships, and do so in plain sight of everyone. But before you think Apple has created the perfect socially acceptable, high-data volume criminal accessory, think again.

Turns out Apple did some clever things within the iPod that should indirectly help criminal investigators and discourage would-be criminals. . . .

On a typical Windows drive, deleted files aren't really deleted, they are taken out of the master boot record, but the files themselves remain on the hard drive. The deleted files aren't accessible by users, but the space used can be and often is overwritten by new files. This can cause uneven wear on the drives. iPods are similar, in that deleted files aren't strictly erased, just marked as such. But Apple made it so that the tiny iPods write to the drive until the disk's real estate is used before rewriting space that holds files that are marked as deleted. For a criminal investigator, that's a boon: old data is less likely to be overwritten. If you did commit a crime, just deleting the evidence isn't going to help.

Better yet, iPods also remember where data came from. Say you used a computer at work to copy a large, top-secret program to your iPod to take home. Coding within the file would tell investigators not only what machine (MAC address) but also what operating system (though file format also tells them that) and username was used. So if incriminating evidence is found on your iPod, they can connect it to a crime scene. . . .

Of course, the downside of this for the law-abiding is that if you lose your iPod someone else is also able to get all the personal information that you have on it.

Canada has the Same Urban/Rural voting patterns as the US

This isn't particularly surprising, but it is interesting to see how the type of Red/Blue divide that American pundits point to exits in other countries. (Minor aside in Canada the conservatives are "blue" and the liberals "red." This is the color scheme used by the US media up until recently, and it makes a lot more sense to me than coloring Republicans as "red.")

As pundits, pollsters and the public sift through the results of Canada's 39th general election, one area of attention may well be the apparent urban-rural divide in voting patterns.

Voters outside of urban, downtown areas in places like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, were much more likely to cast their ballots for the Conservatives.

Inside those centres, many more voters tended to support the Liberals, the NDP or, in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois. . . .


So when did this standard of maintaining the Supreme Court's balance start?

Today in OpinionJournal's Political Diary, John Fund writes:

. . . . But in 1993, when President Bill Clinton nominated former ACLU attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg to fill the seat of retiring Justice Byron White, a conservative, there was no such wringing of hands about an impending ideological shift on the court.

An analysis by David Boaz of the Cato Institute found that major newspapers used the phrase "shift the court" 36 times in covering the Alito nomination. They referred to changes in the "balance" of the court another 31 times and used the phrase "shift to the right" 18 times.

By way of contrast, not a single major newspaper used any of those phrases when the Senate considered the Ginsburg nomination, though her appointment would clearly change the ideological makeup of the Court. Ms. Ginsburg was a noted liberal, while Justice White had voted in the minority in such key liberal decisions as Roe v. Wade and the Miranda ruling. He also wrote the majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 case that upheld the constitutionality of laws against homosexuality in some states. That decision was later overturned in the Lawrence case by a Supreme Court that included Justice Ginsburg. Indeed, the libertarian Institute for Justice has concluded that Justice Ginsburg is the most consistently liberal justice sitting on the Supreme Court today. . . .

Vote for best commentary on guns

I appreciate the notice that I was nominated for the Best Legal Commentary in the 2006 on guns. I would have thought that it made more sense to nominate me for the Best Commentary in the 2006 on guns, but the process of how these things are decided is not clear to me.

Winchester bits the dust

An interesting, but sad, article about how much things have changed over time.

A famous ad that most boy baby boomers will recall from Boys' Life, the old scouting magazine of the '50s, showed a happy lad, carrot-topped and freckly like any number of Peck's Bad Boys, his teeth haphazardly arrayed within his wide, gleeful mouth under eyes wide as pie platters as he exclaimed on Christmas morn, "Gee, Dad . . . A Winchester!"

All gone, all gone, all gone. The gun as family totem, the implied trust between generations, the implicit idea that marksmanship followed by hunting were a way of life to be pursued through the decades, the sense of tradition, respect, self-discipline and bright confidence that Winchester and the American kinship group would march forward to a happy tomorrow -- gone if not with the wind, then with the tide of inner-city and nutcase killings that have led America's once-proud and heavily bourgeois gun culture into the wilderness of marginalization.

And now Winchester is gone too, or at least the most interesting parts of it. The traditional company whose symbol was a fringed rider flying across the plains on a pinto, gripping his trusty Model '73, is finally biting the dust. The entity -- now technically U.S. Repeating Arms, which produces the rifles and shotguns as a licensee of the Olin Corp., which still owns Winchester ammunition -- announced Monday it was closing the plant in New Haven where the rifles and shotguns have been fabricated for a century and a half. Some Winchesters will continue to be built overseas, but three guns -- the classic lever-action rifle of western fame, the bolt-action hunting rifle (called the Model 70) and the Model 1300 pump-action shotgun -- will no longer be manufactured. . . . .


London, England: "Capital gun crime rises by 50 per cent" Last year

Well, the obvious solution to this soaring gun crime is to ban guns. Oh, sorry, they already did that. So how could gun crime be soaring when guns are banned?

Figures published this week by the Home Office are expected to show that offences involving guns have soared by as much as 50 per cent in some parts of the country. . . .

In London, a major area of concern is still black-on-black gun crime, despite huge efforts by the Met to combat such violence. According to Operation Trident, the Met's unit combating black gun crime, offences in the capital rose by more than 50 per cent during 2005, with 164 offences recorded between April and October. This is compared with only 108 the previous year. . . .

Outside London, the figures also show a disturbing rise in the use of guns. In Bedfordshire, gun-related offences have risen by 20 per cent over the past two years, from 173 in 2004 to 207 in 2005. The number of cases where people were found carrying a gun more than doubled from 19 to 43 in the same period. There was also a rise in the number of stolen firearms seized - 18 compared with one the year before. . . .

Human Events: Ronald Reagan's "Top 10 Greatest Quips"

10. "Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
—Remarks at a business conference, Los Angeles, March 2, 1977

9. "You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans."
—The Observer, March 29, 1981

8. “Thomas Jefferson once said, "We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying."
—Circa 1988

7. "I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting."
—Said often during his presidency, 1981-1989

6. "How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."
—Remarks in Arlington, Virginia, September 25, 1987

5. "The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
—Remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business, August 15, 1986

4. “I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
—Said often during his presidency, 1981-1989

3. "All great change in America begins at the dinner table."
—Farewell Address to the Nation, The White House, January 11, 1989

2. "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
—The New York Times, September 22, 1980

1. "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
— First Inaugural Address, January 21, 1981