A South African's view on guns

Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya has a piece in the South African Mail & Guardian:

The great Nelson Mandela was rejected when, upon returning from prison, he urged the people of KwaZulu-Natal to throw their guns into the sea. Without them saying it in as many words, they said that the reasons they had acquired the guns in the first place still persisted. Security Minister Susan Shabangu is our Donald Rumsfeld. Instead of al-Qaeda or whatever other incarnation of evil the Bush administration sees everywhere, the devil troubling our souls is the organised criminal gangs that lurk everywhere. Shabangu's call for police to shoot criminals when they threaten lives speaks to our gut. Given everything we have seen, show us why shooting the bastards cannot make the situation any better than it is now. Perhaps then we will think of more humane ways to deal with them.


911 not very helpful for this student

I find it very disturbing that the police will not release the 911 tape. I would hope that there is enough of a ruckus that there would be real pressure for them to release the tape. The story is here:

Police: Slain student apparently dialed 911; help not sent

Associated Press Writer
May 2, 7:51 AM EDT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A college student apparently called 911 from her cell phone shortly before she was killed but a dispatcher hung up, failed to call back and never sent police to investigate, authorities said Thursday.

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray said it was too early to know whether a better response could have prevented the April 2 slaying of Wisconsin-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann or helped police capture her killer.

Authorities refused to release the content of the phone call, but Wray said it should have been enough for the Dane County 911 Center to take it seriously.

Thanks to Rich for sending this to me.

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Kelly and David Boldt start new blog on Bolivia

Unfortunately, Bolivia looks like it is going to soon be making international news for all the wrong reasons. David is a former Philadelphia Inquirer newspaperman, and he has already sent me numerous extremely long, detailed, and interesting emails about what is happening down there. The government recently nationalized the telephone company. The rest of the nationalization of the oil companies is being completed. Past emails from David have already discussed threats of violence that have erupted in Santa Cruz, where the Boldts live. Anyway, for anyone interested in what is happening in South America with the recent swing to the left in some countries or Bolivia, please see their blog here.


Wife falsely yells rape, Is convicted of Manslaughter

This is a defensive gun use case, though it occurred only because the wife falsely yelled rape.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- A Texas woman who caused her lover's shooting death by falsely crying rape was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter.

Tracy Denise Roberson, 37, cried a bit when the verdict was announced. The punishment phase was set for Monday, and she faces two to 20 years in prison.

In late 2006, Darrell Roberson came home from a late-night card game to find his scantily clad wife with another man in a pickup truck in the driveway. Tracy Roberson was with her lover but cried rape, and her husband fired four shots into the truck as Devin LaSalle drove off, killing him.

Darrell Roberson initially was arrested, but a murder charge was later dropped and a grand jury indicted Tracy Roberson instead.

During her three-day trial, defense attorneys called no witnesses but blamed LaSalle's death on Darrell Roberson's jealousy and rage.

But prosecutors placed all the blame on Tracy Roberson, showing evidence of the affair with LaSalle, 32, and a text message in which she invited him to her house that evening.

Thanks to JJ234 for sending this.

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British Conservatives win big in local elections, taking even London

The BBC reports:

Conservative leader David Cameron has hailed the local election results as a "big moment" for the party.
Mr Cameron said the results marked a positive vote for his party, not just a protest against the government.
He said that a Boris Johnson win in the London mayor race - now widely tipped - would be "enormously important".
The Conservatives have made over 190 gains in council seats with Labour likely to be pushed into third place by the Liberal Democrats.
Speaking to reporters outside his London home, Mr Cameron said: "I think this is a very big moment for the Conservative Party, but I don't want anyone to think that we would deserve to win an election just on the back of a failing government.
"I want us to really prove to people that we can make the changes that they want to see and that's what I'm going to devote myself and my party to doing over the next few months." . . .

The conservatives now control 65 councils to 18 for labour.


Australian gun regulations on murder

Did the Australian gun regulations reduce murder? Time has this discussion:

"The hypothesis that the removal of a large number of firearms owned by civilians [would lead to fewer gun-related deaths] is not borne out by the evidence." - Samara McPhedran, University of Sydney academic

I wish that they had discussed other types of crime.

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Louisiana House votes to let permit holders carry guns on college campuses

A discussion on the Louisiana legislation can be found here:

BATON ROUGE -- Despite opposition from student government leaders and top state education officials, a House committee Thursday took the first step toward allowing authorized concealed weapons on college campuses.
Members of the Committee on the Administration of Criminal heard emotional arguments on both sides for three hours before voting 11-3 for House Bill 199 by Rep. Ernest Wooton, R-Belle Chasse, a former sheriff and the panel's chairman.

The panel rejected an amendment to exempt private colleges from the bill. The measure heads to the House floor for debate.

State law now bans guns from being carried onto college campuses as well as other sites, such as the State Capitol, police stations, courts, churches and governmental buildings.

"We are not going to have 20,000 students lining up tomorrow morning to get a concealed weapons permit" if this bill passes, Wooton said. He said it is designed to give student a more secure feeling in light of recent violence on campus. The bill requires that the gun holder be 21 years old and have a valid concealed weapons permit. . . .

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What the Wright affair is doing to Obama's campaign

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary has a new post about what the Wright affair is doing to Obama and Democrats generally:

A new Fox News poll may provide some evidence that the Rev. Wright affair is damaging the campaign of Barack Obama.

The poll shows that Mr. Obama's favorable ratings have declined among Democrats to a point where Hillary Clinton now has higher net positive ratings. Mr. Obama is viewed favorably by 63% of Democrats and negatively by 27%. Mrs. Clinton has a 73% favorable rating and is viewed negatively by 22% of Democrats. Specifically on Rev. Wright, 36% of Democrats say they would be disinclined to vote for Mr. Obama because of his ties to his former pastor.

Perhaps this explains why Travis Childers, the Democratic frontrunner in a special House election this month in Mississippi, has now gone out of his way to combat GOP attempts to associate him with the Illinois Senator. . . .

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Question: Will the rising gasoline prices cause support for global warming proposals to decline?

The cost of gas is already so high. Will the threat of even greater costs reduce support for global warming proposals?

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Politicians seek to control what people eat

New Jersey considers taxing fast foods:

Now some lawmakers in New Jersey are considering taking food taxes a step further and install a proverbial "sin" tax on fast food.

Yes, the idea of marking up your favorite fast food burger or pack of fries is actually being tossed around, and it's not settling well with many residents.

"They're taxing everything. Now you're gonna tax fast food? That's crazy," said Newark resident Miriam Robertson.

Added Livingston resident Tina Abrahamian: "No one wants to be taxed. I mean, it's a necessity to eat and people need to eat and with everything skyrocketing, that's the last thing we want to tax." . . .

A spokesperson for the governor, however, told CBS 2 on Wednesday:

"The governor is open to reasonable solutions to help solve our financing problems, but there are no plans for any fast food tax."

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Montana man defends himself from bear, but is afraid that he will get in trouble for having a gun in a national park

The Bozeman Chronicle has this story:

LIVINGSTON - Bob Johnson, the mountain man mauled by a grizzly bear last week, has decided to tell the rest of the story.

He shot the bear dead, he said Wednesday, plugging it with a .41-caliber Magnum pistol after it had mauled him once and was returning for a second attack.

Johnson, 55, maintained last week that the details of the attack were hazy. On Wednesday, he said he had been reluctant to tell the whole story because of legal concerns.

He was convicted of a federal poaching charge in the early 1980s and was unsure if carrying a handgun would land him in trouble.

"I was scared of going to jail," he said Wednesday. . . . .

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McCain's risky strategy

McCain's attack on the North Carolina Republican party last week was not only factually wrong, but those types of attacks may help ensure that if McCain wins, he will have massive Democratic majorities in congress to deal with. McCain's attack on the North Carolina Republican party and his references to their ad as being racist were completely uncalled for (the ad was very factually showing a clip of one of Rev. Wright's sermons and a picture of Obama and Wright together), but I am sure that it probably hurt the Republicans nationally as much as it might have helped McCain. The WSJ has some poll numbers that McCain might want to keep in mind:

Only 27% of voters have positive views of the Republican Party, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, the lowest level for either party in the survey's nearly two-decade history.

Yet the party's probable presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, continues to run nearly even with Democratic rivals Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. His standing so far makes for a more competitive race for the White House than would be expected for Republicans, who face an electorate that overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction under President Bush. . . .

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Why aren't Obama's political supporters coming to his aide this week?

Dan Henniger has this very interesting observation at the WSJ:

At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman.

No prominent black clergyman came forth to make even the simple point that Jeremiah Wright's notion of the "black church" is but one point on a spectrum of faith. Rev. Wright, now written off as a virtual nut case, got more support from black clergymen than did Obama.

Barack Obama was bleeding by Monday and needed cover. Where, when he could have used them, were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers: Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Oprah, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Jay Rockefeller, John Lewis, Toni Morrison, Roger Wilkins, Eric Holder, Robert Reich, Ted Sorenson, Alice Walker, David Wilhelm, Cornel West, Clifford Alexander, Donald McHenry, Patricia Wald, Newton Minow?

Where were all the big-city mayors who went over to the Obama camp: Chicago's Richard Daley, Cleveland's Frank Reynolds, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin, Washington's Adrian Fenty, Newark's Cory Booker, Baltimore's Sheila Dixon?

It isn't hard for big names to get on talk TV to make a point. Any major op-ed page would have stopped the presses to print a statement of support from Ted Kennedy or such for the senator. None appeared. Call it profiles in gopher-holing. . . . .

Analysts and historians will spend years sorting through the lessons of this most bizarre of all presidential campaigns. The Obama desertion points in a few directions.

The nature of modern media coverage and the length of the campaign (two years!) has made these presidential candidates truly larger than life; indeed, they've become almost cartoon-like. Their personas dwarf and overwhelm the parties to which they nominally belong. . . . .

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Girl who had been in vegetative state is now able to give testimony in her own case

If the order to remove life support had gone through, those who harmed this girl would never have been brought to justice. Fox News has the story here:

Last winter, just as the state’s highest court was about to rule that a girl in an "irreversible vegetative state" should be removed from life support, 14-year-old Haleigh Poutre started to breathe on her own.

Haleigh, who spent the past two years at a pediatric rehabilitation hospital in Brighton, Mass., suffered a near-fatal head injury in September 2005.

Communicating with simple words and hand gestures and by spelling out full sentences by pointing to alphabet letters on a board Haleigh in December described to police the intense physical abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her adoptive mother and stepfather, Holli and Jason Strickland, The Boston Globe reported on Tuesday.

Incidentally, Haleigh’s sister, Samantha Poutre, has given police a new statement about Haleigh’s injury, which put her in a coma. Samantha initially told investigators that Haleigh was practicing a back flip when she hit her head on a basement pipe, according to defense lawyers. . . . .


Another very restrictive California Gun Law on the way

Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker has an article on a very worrisome development in California:

AB2062 is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, May 7 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.Sponsored by State Assembly Member Kevin De Leon (D-45), AB2062 would require that law-abiding gun owners obtain a permit to buy handgun ammunition and would impose severe restrictions on the private transfers of handgun ammunition. Applicants for a "permit-to-purchase" would be required to submit to a background check, pay a $35 fee, and wait as long as 30 days to receive the permit. . . . .


Defensive gun use in West Palm Beach Grocery Store

The Palm Beach Post reports:

Manager recounts shooting in West Palm Beach grocery
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — . . . . Grant then drew a handgun. Assistant manager Roberto Espinal, behind a side counter, drew his gun. When Grant turned that way, Hernandez pulled his gun.

It was 5 p.m., and the store was jammed with customers, loading up for dinner on their way home, who hadn't counted on a three-way standoff.

Grant made the first move. He backed out of the store and started firing.

One bullet struck the front wall above the doorway, one hit the wall beside the door, and one imbedded in the ceiling over the cash registers.

One cashier, all of 16 years old, was on her first day on the job.

"A lot of chicken was left on shopping carts," Hernandez said. "Customers started screaming, going for the floor."

But, he said, "I'm a quick thinker. When I saw the first bullet hit high, right away I knew I was dealing with someone that was not a good shooter."

The two managers surrounded Grant as he backed into the parking lot, hid behind a car, and fired a fourth shot.

"He said, 'You calling the police?'" I said, 'Hell, yeah I am.'" Hernandez said. "I said, 'Put the gun down. Put the gun down. It's not worth it.' Then he said, 'You're going to beat me up if I put the gun down.' I said, 'I'm not going to beat you up.' "

Police then arrived and took Grant away. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied dwelling, aggravated assault with a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm. . . . .

Thanks to Anthony Troglio for sending me this link.


NY City lawsuit against gun makers is thrown out

It is about time that this got thrown out, though I am sure that it accomplished imposing a large cost on the gun makers:

A U.S. federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York City against gun makers the city targeted in a bid to stop the flow of illegal weapons.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the city's claims against the manufacturers and wholesale sellers of firearms, ruling a federal law granted them immunity. The decision overturns a lower court ruling.

The city claimed firearms makers and suppliers marketed guns to legitimate buyers knowing those guns would end up in illegal markets. It argued manufacturers should be required to ensure guns did not end up in illegal hands, including monitoring the activities of the dealers they sold to.

But in a 2-1 decision, the panel of three judges ruled that the gun suppliers did deserve immunity under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a federal law passed in 2005 to prevent firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for crimes committed with their products.

"Congress clearly intended to protect from vicarious liability members of the firearms industry who engage in the 'lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation or sale' of firearms," the appeals court said. . . . .

Thanks to Gus Cotey for sending me this link.


Supreme Court to hear another case on Second Amendment

The Charleston Daily Mail has this story:

He expects the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case between October and December.

Out of about 5,000 petitions the court receives each year to hear cases, the justices accept only about 75. Giatras says not that many West Virginia lawyers have argued a case before the country's highest court.

Hayes' case goes back to 1994, when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery offense after a dispute with his wife. Ten years later, an argument over their son occurred over the phone between the now-divorced parents and she asked police to go to his home.

When they searched Hayes home, an old Winchester rifle given to him by his father was found under a bed. Hayes didn't know it, but a 1996 amendment to federal gun laws made it illegal for him to possess the gun because of his prior misdemeanor offense.

Giatras was retained two days before Hayes was expected to plead guilty to the gun charge in federal court.

"We halted the entire process in March 2005," Giatras said. "Because he only pleaded guilty in 1994 to battery, not domestic battery. But the federal court interpreted it as domestic battery because it was against a family member."

"In 1994 and in 1995, he was legally able to have a gun," Giatras said. "The 1996 law was applied to him retroactively, but he didn't even know it."

The case proceeded through the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond in October 2006 and the court reversed the earlier decision. But the U.S. Justice Department appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and the court agreed last month to hear the case.

Giatras said the case is important because it will further define the right to own a gun and also addresses the issue of laws affecting citizens retroactively. . . . .

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"Obama’s Favorable Rating Drops"

Fox News has some amazing changes in the poll numbers:

Nearly half of Democrats (48 percent) think Hillary Clinton has a better chance of beating John McCain in November — 10 percentage points higher than the 38 percent who think Barack Obama can win, according to a FOX News poll released Wednesday. This represents a significant shift from March, when Democrats said Obama was the candidate more likely to beat McCain. . . . .

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Gun ownership across countries

From the Economist magazine:

AN ESTIMATED 875m small arms are in circulation worldwide: one for every seven people on the planet. Nearly three-quarters of these are owned by civilians. And about 80% of those guns in civilian hands are found in just 30 countries, according to the Small Arms Survey, a research group. Although America accounts for 40% of firearms in civilian ownership, people put them to more deadly use elsewhere. The gun murder rate in Colombia and South Africa, for example, is much higher than in America. . . .

I am not sure where this 40 percent claim comes from.

Thanks to Harry Atkins for sending me this link.

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Abortion and Planned Parenthood

Here is a previous story that I helped write up on this issue.



Southern Oregon Newspaper Fighting to Get List of Conceal Carry Permits

The Mail Tribune reports:

The Mail Tribune is entitled to the list of concealed handgun licenses issued in Jackson County that it sought from Sheriff Mike Winters, according to an opinion issued Friday by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge G. Philip Arnold.

"We were confident all along that concealed weapon permits are public records," said Editor Bob Hunter. "They've always been public records."

The newspaper asked for a list of concealed weapons permits issued in 2006 and 2007 in Jackson County about eight months ago as part of an investigation into news that a South Medford High School teacher had such a permit and wanted to carry her gun at school. . . .

Of course, this defeats part of the purpose of having concealed handguns, where the identity of who has the permit is unknown.


David Friedman on the FLDS and common law marriage

David Friedman has an interesting discussion on whether any laws were actually broken by the FLDS in Texas.

See also some inconsistencies in the story, comparing the FLDS to Islam, some of the bias in how the story was covered, and comparing the FLDS and the Oneida Commune.

He has a discussion on whether the 401 children seized on a fake phone call.


Obama's Minister's Inaccurate response

Rev. Wright claims that his statements have been taken out of context and unfortunately the media isn't calling his statements into account. On Monday Rev. Wright said:

"Have you heard the whole sermon?" he responded. "No. You haven't heard the whole sermon. That nullifies that question." He said criticism comes from people who only have heard sound bites playing repeatedly on television and have never listened to his entire sermons. . . .

Here is what I posted over the weekend along with links to Wright's "Goddamn America" sermon. I think that anyone who listens to this will be convinced that his speeches were accurately reported. If anything, Wright got off easy during that coverage.

Dana Milbank, at the Washington Post, described Rev. Wright's appearance at the National Press Club this way:

Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

In front of 30 television cameras, Wright's audience cheered him on as the minister mocked the media and, at one point, did a little victory dance on the podium. It seemed as if Wright, jokingly offering himself as Obama's vice president, was actually trying to doom Obama; a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

Wright suggested that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his pastor. "He didn't distance himself," Wright announced. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American." . . .

Milbank's title for his piece is "Wright's Voice Could Spell Doom for Obama." It seems quite appropriate. C-Span has tapes of Wright's address at the National Press Club and an even more bizarre appearance at the NAACP. Here is a two minute segment from Wright's presentation.

What I find so disheartening is that Wright got such an enthusiastic response from those in the audience.

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New Op-ed up at Fox News: Ethanol Mandates Cause Rising Food Prices

You can read the new piece here:

Food prices are rising worldwide. Some nations, such as Egypt and Cameroon, are facing riots as the prices for basic food stuffs rise. Other countries from India to Cambodia have banned food exports to try and keep prices low and reduce voter anger.

In the U.S., the Wall Street Journal last week gave advice normally associated with survivalists warning about the end of civilization. Readers were warned to start hoarding non-perishables ("Dried pasta, rice, cereals, and cans of everything from tuna fish to fruit and vegetables").

But in case anyone missed the seriousness of the message, the Journal went so far as to give the extra advice that: "You should also save money by buying them in bulk."

Not all food prices are soaring, however. Food and beverages as a group aren’t rising much faster than overall inflation. Inflation over the last year was slightly under 4 percent, with food and beverages at 4.4 percent. . . .

UPDATE: IBD notes that "The International Monetary Fund says U.S. ethanol production accounts for half the rise in global corn demand since 2005."

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Britain's Daily Express has the story here, though the story does seem to confuse rates and simple numbers:


SMITH: Defended Labour's stance on weapons
Monday April 28,2008
By Gabriel Milland Political Correspondent

THERE has been a huge increase in being people shot, stabbed and even kicked to death since Labour came to power.
Shocking statistics released last night show a 14 per cent increase in murder and manslaughter in England and Wales between 1998 and 2007.

There was also a 28 per cent increase in deaths from bladed weapons. Those killed by shootings increased by the same figure. . . .

Thanks to Ron Oglesby for the link.

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Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Voter Photo ID: CRAWFORD v. MARION COUNTY ELECTION BD.

The discussion of the Supreme Court's decision can be seen here:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.

In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to prevent fraud.

It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush. But the voter ID ruling lacked the conservative-liberal split that marked the 2000 case.

The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,'" Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy. Stevens was a dissenter in Bush v. Gore in 2000. . . .


Wright: Obama still agrees with him

Politico has the story here:

[Rev. Wright] also insisted Obama “didn’t denounce” him and “didn’t distance himself” from Wright’s controversial remarks, but “did what politicians do.”

Wright implied Obama still agrees with him by saying: “He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American.”

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Scalia's interview with 60 mintues

Entertaining as always. Still this is more on personalities and less on issues than I would have liked. As to the parts that did discussion originalism ("people who ratified it over 200 years ago"), I thought that Scalia could have been clearer. I understood what he meant went he said that it wouldn't be a constitution if you allowed the majorities' sensibilities to determine what things mean, but I would have said something like this: The point of a constitution is to protect minority rights, if you let the majority determine whatever the living constitution means, it won't provide minorities any protection.


Anti-aging foods

Foods that help delay the aging process are discussed here.

Red grapes- red grape juice, red wine
tomatoes - cooked tomatoes
Whole grains
olive oil, as your cooking oil



Who knew?: Global Warming Helps Opium Production, Cold weather hurts

I guess that I knew that warmer weather helped plants grow, though you wouldn't know that there were any benefits from most discussions on global warming. One of the benefits of a very cold winter can be seen here:

Freak weather linked to global warming is expected to reduce parts of the country's opium harvest drastically. Scientists believe freezing winter temperatures followed by late rains and a possible drought may cut this year's yields, with some farmers losing half of their crop.

The fierce winter cold – which claimed hundreds of lives across Afghanistan – is thought to have stopped millions of poppy seeds from germinating. Late rains have then stunted many of the plants that survived.

One expert said: "It was too cold in some areas for the seeds to come alive. Between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of the seeds may not have germinated.". . .


Missouri House passes bill to restrict lawsuits against gun ranges

The Associated Press article can be found here:

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House passed legislation Thursday that would restrict lawsuits filed against firing ranges.

Gun ranges and those who use them couldn't be sued for allegations of noise or nuisance violations stemming from their normal operations. The bill, which passed 139-6, now moves to the Senate.

Bill supporters accuse gun critics of filing lawsuits against firing ranges in an attempt to force them to close. The legislation seeks to block those suits. . . . .

Thanks to Anthony Troglio for sending the link.


McCain's campaign strategy

The NY Post has the inside word here on how the McCain people plan on running the campaign. Given that Obama could easily raise $200 million for the general election and that McCain is going to have to make do with less than $100 million because he is accepting public financing, I am not sure what alternative McCain has. But this will be very problematic. Can free media replace campaign expenditures? Possibly. But the problem is that those providing the free media want Obama to win.

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The BBC on How Safe Americans Feel

Justin Webb, the BBC North America editor, Missouri, has an interesting article. You have to read down a ways into this BBC article before you come across this point:

Brits arriving in New York, hoping to avoid being slaughtered on day one of their shopping mission to Manhattan are, by day two, beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. By day three they have had had the scales lifted from their eyes.

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.

"It seems so nice here," they quaver.

Well, it is! . . .

Wait till you get to London Texas, or Glasgow Montana, or Oxford Mississippi or Virgin Utah, for that matter, where every household is required by local ordinance to possess a gun.

Folks will have guns in all of these places and if you break into their homes they will probably kill you.

They will occasionally kill each other in anger or by mistake, but you never feel as unsafe as you can feel in south London.

It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream. . . .

Possibly it would have been useful if this article had also contained a few numbers to back up the claims presented here. For example, it would have been useful to note that half the counties in the US have zero murders in any given year, another 25 percent have just one murder, and that over 70 percent of the murders are in just over 3 percent of the counties. Even within those counties, the violent areas are very small and heavily associated with drug gang activity. The areas outside the big urban counties are the places where gun ownership is highest, but it is where murder rates are lowest. For accidental gun deaths in the US, in 2004 there were a total of 649. Obviously the discussion could have gone even deeper and discussed how many of these accidents were committed by criminals, but the point is that I think that it would have made the article stronger and It would show people that the impressions that people had about America fit in with the reality.

Thanks very much to Richard of Newport for sending me this link.

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Was Obama an Employee of William Ayers?

The left wing blog site, No Quarter, notes something shocking that has not gotten really any attention:

Barack also was essentially an employee of Bill Ayers for eight years.

In 1995, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created to raise funds to help reform the Chicago public schools. One of the architects of the Challenge was none other than Professor Bill Ayers. Ayers co-wrote the initial grant proposal and proudly lists himself on his own website as the co-founder of the Challenge.

And who did William Ayers, co-creator of the Challenge, help select as the new director of the board for this program? Barack Obama. Barack Obama was the first Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. This appointment came at a crucial time in Barack’s life. He was on the verge of challenging longtime state Senator Alice Palmer for her job. When Barack decided to run, it is no surprise that he turned to William Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn for help in organizing the campaign and in hosting his first fundraiser in the district.

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