At Townhall: Felons Voting While In Prison In D.C.

Dr. John Lott has a new piece at Townhall on the push in Washington, DC to let felons vote while they are still serving their sentence in prison. The piece starts this way:
Washington, D.C.’s council seems posed to let felons vote while they are still serving their sentences in prison. Surely, that has the benefit of ensuring that these individuals turn out to vote. But one claim made to push the change, that felon disenfranchisement is racist, is absurd. 
Many states have had that rule as long as they have been states, and places such as Vermont in 1793 or later in North and South Dakota can hardly be claimed to have adopted these rules because of concerns about black voters.
Democrats used to argue that once felons had served their time, they had paid their debt to society and should be able to vote. Now, after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) earlier this year argued for felons to vote while they are in prison, even for those who have committed the most horrible crimes, other Democrats have picked up the cause. 
Other than racism, there is a more straightforward explanation for this prohibition. We learn about murderers and rapists in terms of how they care about their fellow citizens in other ways. The Boston Marathon bomber killed three people and wounded 260 others. How will someone willing to take many lives and maimed or disfigured for life many others vote on issues from law enforcement to health care policy? How will they vote on issues that depend on compassion?
Why is it in the interests of women that rapists should have a say in deciding who will win elections? Sexual offenders aren’t going to support women’s safety and health issues or education the way that other citizens will. Criminals probably shouldn’t be deciding what the laws should be or how they should be enforced.
The rest of the piece is available here.


Peter Navarro quoted Character He Invented in His Books

From the Daily Beast:
Economist and Assistant to the President Peter Navarro has admitted to quoting a fictional character he made up and named after an anagram of his last name, The Chronicle Review reports. Tessa Morris-Suzuki, emeritus professor at the Australian National University, was reportedly working on an essay involving Navarro's books when she noticed an oft-quoted man named Ron Vara—a rich military veteran and Harvard-trained economist who studied utilities regulation. None of Morris-Suzuki's Harvard contacts had any record of a Ron Vara, but Ron Vara's name suspiciously shared letters with Navarro's last name. Both Vara and Navarro also reportedly studied utilities regulation in their real and fictional bouts in higher education. 
In a statement, Navarro fessed up to Vara being fictional and called the character a “whimsical device and pen name I’ve used throughout the years for opinions and purely entertainment value, not as a source of fact.” He also likened his use of Vara in his own works to director “Alfred Hitchcock appearing briefly in cameo in his movies,” and said it was an “inside joke that has been hiding in plain sight for years.” One of Navarro's co-authors, Columbia professor Glenn Hubbard, said he did not know Vara was a fictional individual and said he was not okay with Vara being in the book that he and Navarro wrote. . . .