Washington Post Gets it wrong: "Criticism of hunters who use assault rifles puts writer’s career in jeopardy"

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

Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.

Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."

The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over. . . . .


The scary power of prosecutors

When I was chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission I came across many prosecutors who scared me. You want people who are really motivated to get their job done, but these guys would frequently feel that everyone commits thousands of crimes and even though we only caught this person for one crime, we are really justified in throwing the book at this person. These guys have so much power. I never meet Giuliani, but he impressed as among the worst in the way that he went after Milken. Charging Milken with a hundred crimes, going after Milken's brother, and going after others to make Milken break, not because he really seemed to believe that these charges were justified. In the end, Milken went to jail for something that had only involved fines in the past. But Milken agreed to this to save his brother from Giuliani trying to destroy Milken's brother's life.

The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is the closest version of a Red Queen trial this country has had in a long time. One says that knowing it might start a stampede from past defendants laying claim to the most upside-down prosecution.

Lewis G. Carroll's account of the Knave' s trial before the Red Queen and White Rabbit is famous for the Queen's dictum, "Sentence first, verdict afterward." But read the full transcript of the mock trial and one will see that the real subject is not justice, but the humiliation of the defendant.

The trial of Scooter Libby in Washington, the national capital of illogic, has been exemplary. In December 2003, the prosecutor purports a crime has been committed by revealing a "covert" CIA agent's identity to the press -- despite knowing then what the outside world learned nearly three years later -- that the revealer of the agent was a State Department official, Richard Armitage. With the "whodunnit" solved on day one, the prosecution follows the Red Queen's script by taking the nation on a useless, joyless ride through the opaque looking-glass of Washington journalism.

The testimony of three of the world's most sophisticated journalists -- Judith Miller, Matthew Cooper and Tim Russert -- was the trial's closest thing to the White Rabbit reading nonsense verse to the jury: "For this must ever be a secret, kept from all the rest, between yourself and me."

The Libby case went to the jury yesterday. After the verdict, all the characters in this satire on Beltway mores will go back to doing what they did before, except for one -- Scooter Libby.

If found guilty, Mr. Libby goes to prison. He is ruined. If acquitted, he loses only that which he built daily the past 35 years of private and public life -- his reputation. This, too, is ruin.

Purified justice notwithstanding, something here has gone "horribly wrong."

As is increasingly true of politics, American justice today has come to look more like mortal combat, the videogame. Notions of proportionality have eroded. Crimes that are minor crimes, civil offenses or mere hardball politics like the Plame case must be elevated to a capital offense. Eliot Spitzer's pursuit of AIG founder Hank Greenberg rose to a bonfire of never-proven criminal charges that put the torch to the company and Mr. Greenberg before burning down to its current ash of alleged civil offenses against him.

Under the constant stare of the media Cyclops, prosecutors can't back down and justice in 21st-century America degrades to swamp justice. Exhibit A: the Duke lacrosse-team prosecution. Judge Lewis Kaplan, in the federal government's recent KPMG prosecution, sat in appalled disbelief as federal prosecutors attempted to reduce 18 defendants to rubble. . . .


Very little of world temperature changes have anything to do with man


Apple CEO's lambasting of teacher unions gets a reaction

Steve Job's previous concerns about the problems with teacher unions has hit a nerve. Steve Jobs has probably lost more than a few computer sales to public schools.

California Federation of Teachers has invited Apple CEO Steve Jobs to either attend an annual CFT convention next month or offer a public apology for his "insulting comments" to California's teachers. Should Jobs fail to apologize or neglect to attend the conference, where he is encouraged to speak with the people who educate California's children and hear from them what the situation is like, the CFT will create a new award specifically for Apple's chief. "We'll call it the Rotten Apple, for the individual who best personifies the need to think differently about public education and teacher unions," California Federation of Teachers president Mary Bergan wrote in a letter to the executive. Bergan aggressively rebuted Jobs' statement to an educational reform conference last week, where he expressed belief that the schools have become unionized "in the worst possible way" and that the unionization with lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is "off-the-charts crazy." . . .


Canada: "No preventing gun rampage"

I have seen this defeatist attitude many times. Of course, they could always consider letting potential victims carry concealed handguns. Then you have many potential targets covered and the criminals doesn't know until he starts who is going to be able to stop him.

PUBLICATION: Montreal Gazette
DATE: 2007.02.23


No preventing gun rampage, Dawson's Filion says: Emergency plans and security guards can't stop an armed assailant, director-general contends


Metal detectors and beefed-up evacuation plans couldn't have prevented gun-wielding Kimveer Gill from killing an 18-year-old student and wounding 20 others when he went on a rampage at Dawson College in September, director-general Richard Filion told a safe schools conference yesterday.

Unlike a fire or gas leak, Filion said, school emergency plans and security guards are virtually helpless in the face of an armed assailant bent on carnage.

"We were dealing with an incredibly unpredictable force - an unstable and armed human intent on violence," Filion told 650 school officials at a Toronto conference organized by the Canadian Safe Schools Network.

"We have no idea where that person will go and what they will do. This guy came to the college with 1,500 bullets; he was planning a real massacre." . . . .

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Do they really want to convict this good Samaritan?

I understand how the person whose place was broken into must feel, but would convicting this guy really create the right incentives for neighbors in future cases? Possibly the solution is that the person with the DVD shouldn't have had the volume turned up so high? May be the neighbor can follow the lead in this story I posted on earlier.

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — A sword-wielding Wisconsin man broke into his neighbor's apartment thinking he was chivalrous after hearing the cries of a woman he thought was in peril — but instead, she was in porn.

James Van Iveren was in his Oconomowoc apartment listening to music when he heard loud cries from a woman he thought was pleading for help, reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The 39-year-old grabbed a cavalry sword, a family heirloom, and rushed upstairs to forcibly open the quarters of an upstairs tenant he barely knew.

"It was a woman screaming," Van Iveren said of the Feb. 12 incident. "She was screaming for help."

Bret Stieghorst told police that he was watching a pornographic DVD when Van Iveren kicked open his door, damaging the frame and lock in the process, with a 39-inch blade in hand.

Stieghorst said Van Iveren demanded "Where is she?" while thrusting the sword at him.

The neighbor told police Van Iveren became increasingly aggressive as he repeated the question, insisting that he had heard a woman being raped. The complaint said that, with the sword pointed at him, the neighbor led Van Iveren throughout the apartment, opening closet doors to prove he was alone. . . .

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More Wal-Mart Stores Stop Selling Guns


"Blair to hold summit on gun crime"

Charges finally dismissed in "A weird ending to a crime"

I previously posted on this crime because of its weird ending, with the criminal coming to the defense of the 74-year-old farmer who had caught him. Well, it turns out that the charges were finally dropped against the farmer.

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. — Charges were dropped Tuesday against a retired farmer who earned widespread accolades for chasing down a gasoline thief while wielding a shotgun.

Kenneth Englund, 74, was initially charged with felony assault, though those charges were reduced to two misdemeanors _ pointing a gun at another person and disorderly conduct.

Isanti County Attorney Jeffrey Edblad said Tuesday that his office no longer believes it can prove the case, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported. . . .

Thanks to Robert Aldridge for sending me this link.

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Concealed Handgun Permit Rate in Alabama

I am a little baffled by the claim that is supposedly attributed to Gary Kleck that "found that 2.9 percent of adults in states with the most gun-friendly laws had permits." My numbers show a number of states with much highe rates than 2.9 percent. Possibly he means an average rate, but the context of the discussion is in terms of the highest rates. As to my quotes, I did mention that there were some counties in Pennsylvania that actually had permit rates above 20 percent, so Alabama's rate is no where near the top of the range, though they are rural counties.

Some of the details about who had permits were interesting. I particularly like the fact that in Jefferson County 284 were housewives.

Birmingham News (Alabama)

February 18, 2007 Sunday

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A Vol. 119 No. 342

LENGTH: 1808 words

HEADLINE: Metro area loaded with concealed guns Records show more than 1 in 10
adults may have carry permits; for many, 'it's an insurance policy'

BYLINE: STAN DIEL News staff writer


. . . Still, some of the leading academics who study the issue said Birmingham stands out.

John Lott, a former scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of several books on handguns and crime, said his research has never identified a city with a higher percentage of adults with permits.

''Those are pretty remarkable numbers,'' he said.

Among states for which Lott said he'd collected data, South Dakota has the highest percentage of adults with permits, 7.5 percent. Lott said he'd run across a handful of very rural counties with higher percentages than greater Birmingham, but not a city of any size.

Gary Kleck, a professor in the criminology department at Florida State University, said the most recent significant research he has seen - done for a book published in 2000 - found that 2.9 percent of adults in states with the most gun-friendly laws had permits. That's less than a third of the rate in Birmingham. . . .


9,620 total permits
8% adults with permits
73% male
27% female
49 average age
90 oldest permit holder
305 nurses
222 salespeople
156 business owners
140 managers
$20 cost per year


53,545 total permits
11% adults with permit
70% male
30% female
2,091 retired
1,897 self-employed
284 housewives
$7.50 cost per year

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"Apple CEO lambasts teacher unions"

It is pretty gutsy to go before a group of people who purchase your product and say that government protection of their jobs hurts children. Yet, if you had asked me what position Steve Jobs (Democrat) and Michael Dell (Republican) would have taken on school unions, I would have been completely wrong. I would have incorrectly guessed that Jobs supported the unions and Dell was more likely to oppose them. Well, Jobs is exactly right here. I am amazed that he made the statement that he does on teacher unions, and I am equally disappointed with Dell. Jobs is correct that you can not run a business and give customers what they want if you can't get rid of employees are not doing their jobs. Why should children be the ones that have to put up with this service in schools?

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions Friday, claiming no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.

Jobs compared schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs.

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?" he asked to loud applause during an education reform conference.

"Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.'"

In a rare joint appearance, Jobs shared the stage with competitor Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Both spoke to the gathering about the potential for bringing technological advances to classrooms.

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said. . . .

Apple just lost some business in this state, I'm sure," Jobs said.

Dell responded that unions were created because "the employer was treating his employees unfairly and that was not good.


When are Global Warming Advocates Going After Your Beef Consumption?

It is obviously only a matter of time until they start to restrict the number of cows in the US. I really wish that these articles would discuss 1) what percent of global warming is due to greenhouse gases (there are other factors such as the sun), 2) what percent of the change in greenhouse gases are manmade, and 3) why exactly this warming is "bad" (after all the UN's recent claim that over the next 100 years ocean levels are only supposed to rise a small 7 to 21 inches) versus all the benefits (more usable land that is currently frozen, higher temperatures improve people's health, increase the growing season, and increase the number of plants and animals).

As Congress begins to tackle the causes and cures of global warming, the action focuses on gas-guzzling vehicles and coal-fired power plants, not on lowly bovines.

Yet livestock are a major emitter of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And as meat becomes a growing mainstay of human diet around the world, changing what we eat may prove as hard as changing what we drive. . . .

I had mentioned a similar discussion here.

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ABC's This Week interview with Mitt Romney Regarding Gun Control and Mormonism

I can give Romney an easy explanation for changing his position and not supporting the assault weapons ban: the claims made by proponents about what would happen after the ban sunset in September 2004 didn't happen.

MITT ROMNEY's ABC News interview on Sunday, February 18, 2007


(Off-camera) Let's talk about guns. You were supportive of the Brady Bill, the handgun waiting period in the past. You sign an assault weapon ban into law, and you said in the past, I don't line up with the NRA. Now you -


Well, on that, on that issue.


(Off-camera) Now you're a member of the NRA.


Yes. And I - and I know the NRA does not support an assault weapon ban, so I don't line up on that particular issue with the NRA, either does President Bush. He likewise says he supported an assault weapon ban. Today we don't havethe Brady Bill because we have instantaneous background checks, that's no longeran operative or needed measure. But a I'm a strong proponent of second amendmentrights. I believe people under our Constitution have the right to bear arms. We have a gun in one of our homes. It's not owned by me. It's owned by my son but I've always it sort of mine.


(Off-camera) When did you join the NRA?


It's about - well, within the last year. And I signed up for lifelong membership. I think they're doing good things. And I believe in supporting the right to bear arms.


(Off-camera) This gets to, I think, the core question. You've had changes on many issues, many different kinds of issues yet they're all -


Well not - certainly not that one.


(Off-camera) Well not - well, but joining the NRA. All going in the same direction. How do you combat the charge that these are conversions of convenience?


Actually not all going in the same direction. There are other - you know as you get older and you have experience, I ran for office the first time, never having been in politics . . .

I don't include the part of Stephanopoulos' interview where he was constantly going after Romney being a Mormon, but it was pretty amazing how obsessed Stephanopoulos was with Romney's religion. Stephanopoulos and other parts of the mainstream media are bringing this up so much that they must believe that they could use it to weaken Romney, but I really think that this obsessiveness makes the media look bad. I can't believe for 99 percent of conservative Christians that it makes any real difference. After seeing the way the media discusses his religion, I can believe that it makes a difference for liberals.


Al Gore doesn't practice what he preaches

Nice story about the pistol coach at Ohio State University

A story about the pistol coach at Ohio State University:
"You ought to try to go talk a parent into paying $30,000 to send a kid here to shoot a pistol," he said, eyes crinkled in amusement. . . .

Thanks to Darren Cooper for sending this to me.


Poll on Canada's gun registration program

An example of poll bias. The ANGUS REID FORUM has the question: Does the gun registry help reduce crime? The problem is that there is no possible answer for whether the gun registry might be counterproductive, that it might actually increase crime.

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