Democratic Presidential Candidates Talk About Guns

In the debate in Nevada the other night, Tim Russert asked the democrats whether they supported licensing for guns. Clinton and Obama said it would they weren't going to push for licensing, but their reason was that it would generate too much political opposition -- implying that if the opposition went down, they would push for it. Edwards said clearly that he was against licensing.

Hillary Clinton though said that "I believe in the Second Amendment. . . . But I also believe that we can common-sensically approach this." If Russert was at all on his feet, he would have asked her whether she thought that the DC gun ban, soon to be going before the U.S. Supreme Court was unconstitutional. It would be a tough question. If she said it was unconstitutional, she would get a lot of Dems upset. If it was constitutional, the question is what would be the benefit from saying you believe in the Second Amendment?

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So how will they catch cheating on tests now?

Has it just become nearly impossible to catch cheaters on tests? Will students have to have their eyes examined before taking the SATs? Foxnews has the following:

Scientists have taken the first step toward creating digital contact lenses that can zoom in on distant objects and display useful facts. For the first time, engineers have installed an electronic circuit and lights on a regular contact lens.

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Concealed Carry Permit Holder Successfully Defends Himself Against Four Men

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando victim turns gun on 4 robbers
A private investigator fires his gun as the 4 men run off with his cell phone and wallet.

Henry Pierson Curtis | Sentinel Staff Writer
January 18, 2008

An armed citizen surprised four men who robbed him at gunpoint last week.

After being ordered to his knees, Russel Olofson warned the men that "they should think about it," according to an Orlando police report released this week.

A private investigator with military training, Olofson, 24, told police the robbers snatched his cell phone and a wallet containing his concealed-weapon permit shortly before 10 p.m. Friday outside Ridge Club Apartments.

After the robbers took his items, Olofson stood up, drew his Springfield XD sub-compact 9 mm handgun "and fired two rounds toward male #1 with the silver handgun, possibly striking him," the report states. "Males #2, #3, and #4 then ran southeast . . . and male #1 ran northeast . . ."

A search by police quickly turned up a pistol likely used in the holdup, the report said. . . .

Thanks to Todd P for sending this link to me.

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Black man with permitted concealed handgun successfully defends himself against two racists

Those interested can read the entire story here:

No murder charge in racially fueled road rage incident
By Paula McMahon | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
January 17, 2008

No murder charges will be filed in a racially motivated road rage incident last month that left one of the aggressors dead at the hands of the victim, Broward prosecutors said Wednesday.

Broward Sheriff's detectives initially arrested Steven Lonzisero, 43, of Cooper City, on a charge of felony murder. He is one of two white men who investigators say confronted a black driver on Dec. 13 in Deerfield Beach, shouting racial slurs and trying to drag him from his vehicle.

Hygens Labidou, 49, of Wellington, pulled a gun and shot his two attackers, police said. Lonzisero survived, but his accomplice, Edward Borowsky, 28, of Cooper City, died four days later.

Investigators determined that Labidou, who has a concealed weapons permit, acted in self-defense and faces no legal jeopardy. . . .

The afternoon incident started when Lonzisero and Borowsky objected to Labidou's driving and they blocked in his truck near Powerline and Green roads. The two men banged on Labidou's truck and shouted "N-----, get out of the truck," according to police reports. Borowsky wielded a knife and Lonzisero kicked the truck door aggressively and ordered Labidou out, witnesses told detectives. . . . .

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Teenage Stops three men who had forced their way into his home

Vicksburg, Mississippi (01/16/08):

Bruce, Flaggs and Bass had forced their way inside at about 7 p.m. after inquiring about purchasing shoes, authorities said. The adults were not home and the teen and other juveniles told authorities the intruders started bagging up merchandise. The teen, who has not been identified, shot Bruce once with a .410 shotgun. After being wounded, Bruce stumbled onto the lawn, where he was found dead when deputies arrived. The three other men fled in a white 2007 Hyundai Sonata, which had no tag.

That car was found abandoned in Jackson Thursday and brought to the Warren County Sheriff's Department for forensic evidence, Pace said.

He has said the investigation details will be presented to the district attorney, but it appeared the teen's action -- Warren County's only shooting death of 2007 -- will be deemed justifiable. . . . .


Twice in Three Days Elderly Store Owners Stop Robberies

Here is the story from the Buffalo News:

Store owner shoots would-be robber

Updated: 01/17/08 6:56 AM

73-year-old West Side store owner foiled a robbery Wednesday evening when he pulled out a 9 mm handgun and shot the wouldbe bandit.

It was the second time in three days an elderly city store owner fired a gun during a robbery attempt. The 78-year-old owner of Bocce Club Pizzeria on Clinton Street chased away two would-be robbers Monday night with a warning shot.

Police said Wednesday’s incident occurred when Shaun M. Ford, 30, of Linwood Avenue, North Tonawanda, targeted the West Side Market at 255 Carolina St. just before 7 p.m. and demanded money from owner Ali Abdulla. Ford was wearing a protective mask used in paint-ball and was armed with a rifle, according to Central District Lt. David S. Stabler, head of the investigation.

Ford followed Abdulla behind the counter, continuing to demand money and pointing the rifle at him, police said. Abdulla then pulled out his licensed handgun and fired as many as two shots at Ford, striking him once in the leg, police said.

Ford fled the store, dropping the rifle and his mask and fell to the sidewalk just outside the store’s front door, where he cried for help, police said. . . .


Democrats and Hispanics

Is there some fraying of the Democrat's coalition? John Fund at WSJ's Political Diary writes:

Sergio Bendixen, one of Hillary Clinton's pollsters, claims Hispanics back his candidate because of her stand on health care and affinity for the Clinton presidency of the 1990s. He told reporters that he viewed Hispanics as Mrs. Clinton's "firewall" against an assault by Barack Obama. "The Hispanic voter -- and I want to say this very carefully -- has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates," he added.

That comment upset Team Obama, which quickly jumped at the opportunity to tarnish the Clinton image after Clinton allies in the Nevada teachers union sued to close down polling places set up in Las Vegas casinos to allow Hispanic casino workers easily to participate in that state's caucus this Saturday. A federal judge threw the suit out yesterday, but the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of many Hispanics.

Yesterday, Obama-supporting labor unions began airing Spanish-language radio ads attacking the lawsuit in Nevada. "Hillary Clinton does not respect our people," the ad says in Spanish. "Hillary Clinton is shameless. But Sen. Obama is defending our right to vote. Sen. Obama wants our votes. He respects our votes, our community, and our people."

Clinton supporter Dolores Huerta, an Hispanic labor leader, denounced the ad as "pathetic" and claimed it was an attempt to conceal Mr. Obama's total lack of support in the Hispanic community. "I have yet to find even one worker -- a Latino worker -- who is supporting Barack Obama," she told Politico.com.

Nevada votes tomorrow, and estimates suggest that 45% of casino workers on the Las Vegas Strip are Hispanic. We'll be able to see just how accurate Ms. Huerta is in her prediction by looking at the results from caucus sites in those casinos.

If you believe Hillary's pollster, Obama winning the nomination could alienate Hispanics. If one listens to the traded charges over racism in the campaign, a Hillary win might alienate some blacks. I wonder if this would almost ensure that if Hillary wins the nomination, she would have to pick Obama for the VP position. If Obama wins, would he have to pick RIchardson? You might have heard it here first: Obama/Richardson for the Dems.

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The Changing cost of making decisions

There are lots of costs in decision making. Most focus on the costs of information, but another important factor is the amount of time that we have to make decisions. Today's WSJ references an example of this last point and the obvious consequence of making it more costly to make decisions:

I have referred several times before in this space to Tony Blair's observation, after resigning last year, that the pressure of 24/7 electronic media has drastically cut the time available to make judgments, and so the quality of decisions has declined. The missed call in New Hampshire is the first sharp demonstration of this truth for journalism itself. Odds are that nothing will be learned from this because no one has time to think about it.

Of course, there are other costs of making decisions that have been declining. For example, it is easier to quickly get a hold of the people who you need to talk to (cell phones) and quickly search files and databases (computers).


Thompson on the issues

From the American Thinker:

Fred Thompson is perhaps the most substantative candidate to run for President in many years. He has taken the time to think about what should be the relationship between the government and the governed. He has framed his thoughts within the context of a set of bedrock conservative principles that animates his thinking and generates sound ideas about where America should be headed.

There is a heft to Thompson, a seriousness of purpose that none of the other candidates can match. It is most pronounced during the debates where Thompson's answers to questions are more subtle and nuanced than those of his rivals. His sometimes laconic style zings his opponents with brutal accuracy. Often, the candidate will answer a question by stating "Yep" or "Nope" and pause a few seconds to gather his thoughts. What follows is almost always coherent and is informed by years of experience in government.

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Podcast Interview With Michael Bane

Michael Bane's interview with me can be heard here.

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"Professor Wants Right To Carry"

Dorn Peterson, an avid shooter with a valid Virginia concealed-handgun permit, travels to JMU's campus almost every weekday for his job as a physics professor. But he can't bring his gun with him.
I wish that I could understand why there is such strong opposition to even professors carrying concealed handguns on university property. This article provides an example of one professor who would be willing to bear the cost of carrying in order to be able to protect others. It also provides no explicit evidence why people should be fearful of him carrying his gun with him.

He said he favors broader legislation allowing those with concealed-handgun permits to carry guns at colleges and other places, including government office buildings, that aren't specifically outlined in the Virginia laws.

Peterson said he would rather see a legislator vote on the matter rather than have an "unelected bureaucrat" make the decision for him.

"The president of the university is unelected," Peterson said. "Why should he be able to override the legislature?"

Peterson said that law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend themselves and, in some cases, help minimize shooting sprees like the one at Virginia Tech.

"It helps defend everybody," Peterson said. "If somebody had been prepared and carrying, this guy wouldn't have been able to go around and kill people after he chained the door."

People with the proper firearms training who get a permit are not the ones who shouldn't be allowed to carry guns, he said.

"I understand that people that aren't around guns are upset about the concept, but people that plan ahead and get the training are less likely to commit a crime," said Peterson.

Thanks very much to Scott Davis for sending this link to me.

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

From the NRAILA legislative alert:

"Incredibly, the Commission even refused to add language that would exempt the discharge of a firearm for self-defense in campgrounds."

Well, at least bears might not be as attracted to gun free zones as killers are. Though come to think about it, they may begin to learn over time that they have less to worry about so it might have the same impact.

Thanks to Sonya Jones for sending this to me.

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Glenn Harlan Reynolds & Brannon P. Denning Give their take on Heller

To see their take in the Online Companion to the Texas Law Review click here.

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More Romney Flip-flops: Campaign Finance Reform

Here Romney is running for the US Senate in 1994
Here is Romney now.

See this for other information on his views on public financing of campaigns.

See one of my earlier posts here.

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More on Inconsistent Democrats on Vote Fraud Issues

John Fund as a piece on Democrats being inconsistent about voting rules in the WSJ:

Both Democrats and Republicans are good at practicing hypocrisy when they need to. But it's still breathtaking to see how some Democrats ignore that it was only last week they argued before the Supreme Court that an Indiana law requiring voters show ID at the polls would reduce voter turnout and disenfranchise minorities. Nevada allies of Hillary Clinton have just sued to shut down several caucus sites inside casinos along the Las Vegas Strip, potentially disenfranchising thousands of Hispanic or black shift workers who couldn't otherwise attend the 11:30 a.m. caucus this coming Saturday.

D. Taylor, the president of the Culinary Workers Union that represents many casino workers, notes that legal complaint was filed just two days after his union endorsed Barack Obama. He says the state teachers union, most of whose leadership backs Mrs. Clinton, realized that the Culinary union would be able to use the casino caucuses to better exercise its clout on behalf of Mr. Obama, and used a law firm with Clinton ties to file the suit.

Mr. Taylor exploded after Bill Clinton came out in favor of the lawsuit on Monday, and Hillary Clinton refused to take a stand. "This is the Clinton campaign," he said. "They tried to disenfranchise students in Iowa. Now they're trying to disenfranchise people here in Nevada." He later told the Journal's June Kronholz, "You'd think the Democratic Party elite would disavow this, but the silence has been deafening." (Late Tuesday the Democratic National Committee quietly filed a motion supporting the Nevada party's rules.) . . .

Meanwhile, Democrats will also be asking for identification at caucus sites. The nine at-large casino sites are meant only for workers who can prove they are employed within 2.5 miles of the Strip, an area that Barack Obama notes includes thousands "working at McDonald's" as well as gas stations and bodegas.

Democratic leaders insist workers need only show an employee badge. If they don't have one, a party spokeswoman lamely says "we'll somehow accommodate them." The Las Vegas Review Journal notes "some Strip workers will have no alternative but to provide photo identification." For a party that compares photo ID requirements to Jim Crow poll taxes, even when state governments distribute the IDs for free, the irony is rich.

And it doesn't stop there. Opponents of the Indiana photo ID law used Faye Buis-Ewing, a 72-year-old retiree who had trouble getting a state-issued ID, as a poster child for how the law would block voters. Then it was learned Ms. Buis-Ewing lives most of the year in Florida, has claimed residency there, and was illegally registered to vote in both states. Confronted with these facts, Ms. Buis-Ewing was unrepentant. "I feel like I'm a victim here," she told the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. "I never intended to do anything wrong. I know a lot of people in Florida in this same situation." . . .

Thanks to Kimberly Loontjer for the link.


Another Zero Tolerance Case at a Public School Gone Wrong

Paul Huebl discusses another zero tolerance outrage at a public school:

GRAYSLAKE, Il. Christopher Berger, 18, is an honor student at Grayslake Central High School who faces an adult criminal record for the rest of his life. Why you ask? It seems that school officials found the lad’s jacket on school property, searched the pockets and found a small multi-tool that contained a knife blade. Police were called and in addition to school punishment Berger was charged with Reckless Conduct and now needs a lawyer. . . .


What do 911 operators advise people to do when they are confronted by criminals?

You can't always run away from the criminal. In fact, if the 911 operator knew about the National Crime Victimization Survey showing that particularly for women running away is not particularly effective, I don't think that the operator would so automatically give this advice. So what is the victim supposed to do now?

As he heard his locked bedroom door rattling as the burglar tried his screwdriver to open it, Six, clutching an aluminum baseball bat, told a 911 operator he couldn’t exit through his window as she had advised, AZCentral.com reported. . . .

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Is Romney the Weakest of the Possibly Republican Nominees?

If you believe the averages at Real Clear Politics, Romney is the weakest possible nominee. Giuliani, Huckabee, and Thompson are virtually the same. One thing that I will say for Thompson is that given he has gotten much less favorable publicity than Giuliani or Huckabee (particularly Huckabee), he might do relatively better than them farther down the road.

Average difference in races between Clinton or Obama and Republican

McCain . . . . +3 Percent

Giuliani . . . . -8.8 percent

Huckabee . . -9.3 percent

Thompson . . -9.75 percent

Romney . . . . -13.9 percent

Between Clinton and Obama it isn't even close. Obama is a much stronger candidate than Hillary. I haven't figured out the average difference but it looks like about 7 percent on average. Plus every Republican would apparently lose to Obama. One warning with all these numbers is that the general election is a long ways away, but these are big differences.

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Tennessee Whittling Down The Number of Gun Free Zones?

Senate passes bill permitting guns in bars, nightclubs
Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Andy Sher
Nashville Bureau
NASHVILLE -- Tennesseans with gun permits could carry their weapons into nightclubs, bars and restaurants that sell alcohol under a bill that sailed Wednesday through the Senate on a 24-6 vote.

One Senate critic raised the specter that the would-be law might result in Wild West-like saloon shoot-outs.

But the bill's sponsor, Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, argued that similar laws in 34 other states have resulted in no such problems.

"I've had people say that guns and alcohol do not mix, and I will agree that until you look at the facts -- until you understand this issue -- that is certainly an emotional argument," Sen. Jackson said. "But unfortunately, it's an argument that does not carry the day." . . .

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Animal Rights Groups Merge to Fight Hunting

Animal rights groups merging to better fight to end hunting:

The voice of America's anti-hunting forces is trying to become more powerful.

In what the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is calling a "precisely-calculated effort," the Humane Society of the United States is attempting to consolidate all of the animal rights movement's political power under a single umbrella.

Humane Society director Wayne Pacelle reportedly told one publication that his organization may soon merge with at least three unnamed animal rights organizations.

OK, so if they end hunting deer, what will happen to the deer population? What will happen to the cost of food as farmers have deer eat more of their crops? What will happen to the additional motorists who run into deer?

Meanwhile, Obama "pledges support for Animal Rights."

He said he sponsored a bill to prevent horse slaughter in the Illinois state Senate and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society. "I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other," he said. "And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals."
(emphasis added)

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China still doesn't understand the Free Market

Price controls on food simply mean that the resulting shortage will have to be solved in other ways. For example, people who get to the store first will get the food. Also if they can't raise prices, they can lower the quality of food sold (e.g., not throwing out spoiled food as quickly). The article below makes the weird claim that these controls show that Beijing is "serious" about dealing with inflation. If they were serious, a simpler solution would be to control the growth of the money supply.

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- In the latest sign that officials in Beijing are serious about reining in rampant inflation, China tightened controls on food prices Wednesday, requiring producers to seek government approval to implement any price increases.
According to an official Xinhua news report posted on the government's English-language Web site, China's top economic planner announced price controls on a package of products, including grain, edible oil, meat, milk, eggs and liquefied petroleum gas. See Chinese government Web site.
"Major enterprises are required to submit the price-raising scheme to the government for official approval 10 working days before they intend to raise the prices," said the National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, in a circular on interim price intervention.
"This NDRC directive is stricter than expected, pointing to escalating inflation pressures in China," wrote Ting Lu, Merrill Lynch's Hong Kong-based economist.
China's inflation rate hit an 11-year high of 6.9% in November. The consumer price index climbed 4.6% in the January-to-November period, exceeding the central bank's official target, which pegs CPI growth in a range up to 3%.
"We think price control will not be very effective as it's hard for the government to guarantee quality and quantity and to avoid shortage. We thus expect the government to increasingly use monetary tightening tools such as rate and [reserve requirement ratio] hikes to tame inflation," Lu said. . . .


Am I missing something here?: I thought that Democrats were supposed to get upset with anything that increased the cost of voting

From John Fund at the WSJ.com's Political Diary:

[Clinton] is scrambling for every possible advantage -- down to having her supporters file lawsuits to close some poling places -- in Nevada's Democratic caucus this coming Saturday.

How is this consistent with Democrat Party rhetoric on voting? We can't even have voter IDs because they might discourage people from voting.

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Thompson first to come out against Bush Adm Brief on DC gun case

Asked his opinion of the Second Amendment and the Solicitor General’s request that the DC Circuit Court remand the appeal back to the trial court for “fact-finding”, the lawyer turned Senator from Tennessee said the Bush Administration was “overlawyering” and stated that he opposed remand and that the case should move forward to the U.S. Supreme Court. . . .

Fred Thompson is the first and only presidential candidate to oppose the Solicitor General's brief that was filed in the DC gun case last Friday. You can read his entire response here.

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Both Romney and McCain have it wrong

Who is right? Should government provide $100 billion to the auto industry as Romney proposes? Should they spend money retraining people to work in "green" industries as McCain proposes? Romney justifies his because of government mandates placed on the industry. What about opposing the government MPG regulations to begin with? Howard Kurtz discusses the quibbling between the Romney and McCain camps here:

Steve Schmidt, a top McCain strategist, attributed yesterday's loss to "Mitt Romney's pandering up in Michigan" by promising what Schmidt called a "$100-billion bailout of the auto industry...Mitt Romney should explain to the rest of the country how he's going to pay for it."

While Romney has proposed a five-year, $20-billion-a-year effort to revitalize the ailing auto industry, the Arizona senator has emphasized worker retraining and research into green technologies. Schmidt would not put a price tag on that but minimized the retraining plan as a consolidation of existing programs.

Here is a suggestion: why have the government pick which industries should be subsidized?

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Update on Oregon School Teacher Carrying Gun

An update on the Oregon public school teacher who wanted to carry her permitted concealed handgun with her to school is here:

Shirley Katz, who teaches at South Medford High School, is seeking to overturn last year's Circuit Court ruling upholding a school district policy that forbids employees from carrying guns on campus. . . .

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Guns Might be Allowed in Public University Parking Lots in Kentucky?

This is a small step in the right direction:

State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, signed up 44 co-sponsors Tuesday for his bill that would allow people who park on public university property to keep a legally registered gun in their vehicle.

Currently, this can be prohibited by weapons policies set by the state universities. . . .

Disappointingly there is significant opposition from even this small proposal:

Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews said the bill "gives me great concern. I think we need to tread very lightly with the issue of weapons on campus."

Andrews said "if people have weapons on campus, they might use them," endangering the campus community. . . .

It would be nice if they could point to some systematic evidence to justify their concerns, though I suppose the reason they don't is because there isn't any.


The courts are now into determining if something is a "movie"

Because of campaign finance laws the courts are involved in determining whether a movie is a movie or a campaigns ad:

Citizens United had hoped to run the television advertisements in key election states during peak primary season. The court ruling means the group must either keep its ads off the air or attach a disclaimer and disclose its donors.

So do Michael Moore's movies rate being classified as a movie? Is it just that Moore's movies are being released in an odd numbered year? Can he promote it in any way during an election?


NCIS gets it wrong on guns

I normally like NCIS on CBS, but this week was extremely disappointing. This week's show entitled "Tribes" starts off with the absurd claim that "Nearly 30 percent of all gun related deaths are the result of the owners' own weapon."



Has "Global Warming" Ended?

David Whitehouse, the BBC Science Correspondent from 1988-1998 and a Ph.D. in astrophysics, notes that global warming seems to have stalled:

The fact is that the global temperature of 2007 is statistically the same as 2006 as well as every year since 2001. Global warming has, temporarily or permanently, ceased. Temperatures across the world are not increasing as they should according to the fundamental theory behind global warming – the greenhouse effect. Something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what or else we may spend hundreds of billions of pounds needlessly.

What needs to be made explicit is that if man-made emissions were important, we should have been seeing some additional increase in temperature over the last decade.

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Amicus briefs were filed in support of the District of Columbia government

For those interested, the Amicus briefs in support of DC's position can be found here.

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Appearing on Radio Shows this Morning

I was on some shows yesterday (Lars Larson was nice enough to have me on his show at 6;20 PM EST). Today I will be on Kirby Wilbur's show out of Seattle on KVI at 10:00 AM EST and G. Gordon Liddy's show at 11 AM EST.

I will be talking about my piece on the DC gun ban case that appeared at NRO yesterday.


Pistol-Packin' Preacher

Preacher who carries a gun at a hospital:

Pistol-Packin' Preacher Serves Hospital, Sheriff
By Joan Elliott, Missourian Feature Writer

He's attired just as one would expect a chaplain to be attired - dress slacks and sport jacket, gold cross in his lapel and a tie boldly emblazoned with a cross and a church. But in his car he carries a gun, a gun permit and a bullet-proof vest since he also is a commissioned law enforcement officer who graduated from the Missouri Sheriff's Academy.

He's Don Covington and for most of his adult life he's merged the two careers with a single goal in mind - to help others.

"People have called me the 'Pistol-Packin' Preacher' and that is the title of the autobiography I'm writing," Covington said. "If I went to a crime scene with an officer as a civilian I'd have to stay in the patrol car. But as a reserve deputy I can help as a backup officer." . . .



New Op-ed: Bad Brief: The Bush DOJ shoots at the Second Amedment

Here is the new op-ed that I have this morning at National Review Online:

A lot of Americans who believe in the right to own guns were very disappointed this weekend. On Friday, the Bush administration’s Justice Department entered into the fray over the District of Columbia’s 1976 handgun ban by filing a brief to the Supreme Court that effectively supports the ban. The administration pays lip service to the notion that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership as an “individual right,” but their brief leaves the term essentially meaningless. . . .

UPDATE: For different perspectives see here and here.

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5 Minute 911 Call by Woman facing stalker

Here is a chilling 911 call to police. THe woman waited 5 minutes, but then had to take things into her own hands and shot the stalker.

Thanks to Brian O'Connor for sending this to me.


Another Review of Freedomnomics

This review by Nathan was somewhat mixed:

I read it because I read Freakonomics, which, like other political (and semi-political) books, I found to be about "half-right," which is to say that a critical reading reduces it to the level of fiction; Freakonomics is opinion mixed in with statistics.

Freedomnomics proved to be exactly what I expected, which is to say, exactly the same but with different opinions. Where Freakonomics contests that Abortion decreased crime, Freedomnomics contests the opposite. Where Freakonomics says you shouldn't trust your Real Estate agent, Freedomnomics suggests otherwise.

I enjoy reading these kinds of books because I do read them through a critical lens, and I enjoy the facts that come out of them. Usually, a critical reading of these books allows the reader to examine the statistics and draw his own conclusions, often completely different than the opinions presented by the author(s).

For example, I learned from Freedomnomics that the "lemon effect" on new automobiles presented in Freakonomics is not true. This makes sense - the idea had long since made very little sense to me, as cars usually have warrantees that transfer with ownership transfers. Though Freedomnomics presented some opinions that seemed unfounded, the facts concerning automobiles (in the form of Kelly Blue Book prices) were also present, and these are indisputable . . .


Kansas Issues 10,000 Concealed Carry Permits

Here is an article from the LJWorld (Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas), January 14, 2008:

State issues 10,000 permits
Chad Lawhorn

Legislators allowed the Kansas Attorney General’s Office to begin accepting permit applications in July 2006, but licenses weren’t issued until January 2007. A total of 10,567 have been issued through the first week of this month.

Chuck Sexson, director of the concealed carry program for the Attorney General’s Office, said the office was busiest with applications in December 2006 and January 2007, when more than 1,000 were received in both months. But since September, the numbers have leveled off at about 350 or fewer per month. . . .

Here is the county by county data:

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Obama Stimulus Package

Here are the components of Obama's proposal:

1.Cut $250 checks for some 150 million low and middle income workers and send them out. If needed, send out an additional $250 per worker, totaling $500 for these workers

2.Likewise, send $250 to seniors earning under $50,000 as a Social Security supplement, and and prepared to send out a second $250 payment

3.Establish a $10 billion fund to help “responsible” families avoid foreclosure. The money would be given to homeowners who did not lie about their incomes and were “mindful of personal responsibility.”

4.Provides money to state and local governments hardest hit by housing crisis to prevent them from slashing infrastructure and other important state spending

5. Expand unemployment insurance

Can you say Keynesian economics? The problem with this is that the money has to come from someplace else. Obama doesn't want to pay for this with taxes, but then you have to borrow the money. Borrowing takes it away from other uses as much as taxes.

The subprime problem was due to government regulation and point 3 will encourage home buyers to take more risks because they will believe that the government will bail them out.

Point 5 is political and will be pushed to increase the unemployment rate before the election. Never have the Democrats before asked for an extension in benefits with an unemployment rate as low as 5 percent.

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Huckabee Versus Thompson

Look at the difference between the campaigning by Huckabee and Thompson. Thompson raises issues. Huckabee makes bizarre charges about Thompson being "a registered foreign agent, lobbied for foreign countries, was in a law firm that did lobbying work for Libya." Huckabee knows that large law firms handle a lot of clients, but that is a long way from any particular lawyer supporting a client. One of the nice things about the South Carolina and New Hampshire debates on Fox News was that they got into the issues, and Fred Thompson came out well in both debates. Huckabee apparently doesn't think that he can compete on the issues. Here is Fred Thompson again on the issues.

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Infamous Lancet Study Funded by George Soros

Right before the 2006 general election, the Lancet came out with a study claiming that 650,000 Iraqis had died in the war and it aftermath. The study got worldwide attention, much of it unquestioning. Well, it turns out that almost half the study was "funded by the antiwar billionaire George Soros." My problem isn't the funding, my problem is that the source of the funding wasn't revealed when the study came out immediately before the election. What is even worse is that this fact is not considered newsworthy by most of the media now. A Google news search on the term "Lancet Soros study 650,000" got only six news hits (The Times of London, The Spectator in the UK, The New York Post, Fox News, Wired News, and one other minor source). Trying "Soros Lancet Iraq" got only 15 news hits, but some of those were columnists and not news stories.

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Permit Holder Defends Himself Against Three Armed Attackers

Here is a news report that was filed on January 6th from Orange County, Florida. The permit holder "found himself staring down the barrel of someone else's gun." "I felt that my life was endanger." "If I hadn't had my gun, I was convinced that I could have possibly died."

Thanks very much to Todd P for sending me the link for this.

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