Monday, July 30, 2012

S.Ct. Justice Scalia on More Gun Control

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks on the Second Amendment, following the Aurora theater murders,  have drawn much attention and media comment.  By-and-large it’s much-ado-about nothing and much-spin about vague statements.

Scalia left open the possibility that new gun control laws could be constitutional.  That’s a no-brainer if one bothered to read the Heller decision.  The Heller decision (authored by Scalia) never said that Second Amendment rights were absolute.  In fact, the opinion, and the later opinion in  McDonald (making the Second Amendment applicable to the states) stated that certain types of gun control were presumptively constitutional (e.g bans applying to convicted felons).

Scalia stated the obvious that to be eligible for protection under the Second Amendment via “carrying,” the weapon would have to be “hand held.”  He then stated “but I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, but that will have to be decided.  Anti-gun rights hysterics jumped on the statement and concluded that Scalia would find these weapons protected.  Not only did Scalia say “that will have to be decided,” it is arguably unethical for a Supreme Court Justice to discuss a hypothetical that could, even remotely,  actually become a case someday.  And, of course, if one bothered to read the Heller decision one would find that keeping and bearing are only protected if they are for lawful purposes, primarily, if not exclusively, for self-defense or defense of others.  Neither  RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) nor  anti-aircraft missiles are defensive weapons. Further, it is difficult to think of a lawful purpose for civilian possession of such weapons.  Further, the Heller decision protects only weapons that are in common use at the time.  RPG’s, etc. are not in common use and it is highly likely that they never will be in common use.  Unfortunately, Scalia neglected to share these parts of the decision with the interviewer

Although all judges have First Amendment freedoms, I do not believe that judges serve either their institution, the dignity of their office, or public education  by giving mass-media interviews.  Rather than educate, these interviews typically only further confuse the public.  When you throw in media ignorance and spin, the final result is a cacophony of conflicting voices.  One doesn’t need an interview with a Supreme Court Justice to opine on gun control.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taser Sales Growing

In spite of all the negative publicity, most law enforcement agencies continue to use and even add more Tasers.  Most of the research shows that they are a valuable tool that can reduce officer and suspect injuries. Colorado Springs is the latest to add more Tasers.  Go to the Taser Intl'l website for more info.

ABC News apologizes for inaccurate reporting.

Anyone who thinks the national TV media are even attempting to be objective, balanced and ethical needs to wake up.  This reporter suggested that the alleged Aurora mass-murderer may have been a Tea Party member.  Have these people no shame?  Notice also the attempt to spin away from the issue of bias.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gun Sales & Permit Applications up after Aurora Murders

Gun sales and applications for concealed carry permits in Colorado rose sharply after the Aurora murders.  The article also contains an interesting Gun  Control Chronology.  Thanks to 44 for the link.

GAO report on concealed carry laws and permits

GAO has just released a report on licensed concealed carry in the U.S.  It has good summaries of the basic laws and numbers for each state.  Since 2002, the number of states  granting licenses has grown markedly.  Today only Illinois and D.C. do not offer licenses.  It's not hard to figure out which governments trust their own people.   These are two of the nations most liberal jurisdictions.  Over the years, millions of permits have been issued, millions of new handguns have been purchased and yet gun crime goes down.  The blood baths predicted by the knee-jerk anti-gun crowd have never materialized.  Of course, authoritarians never let facts get in the way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NYC political correctness law struck down

NYC's ban on certain types of speech on exterior bus signs was found to be in violation of the First Amendment.  Does anyone in NYC know of, or care about, the Bill of Rights?  Left wing political correctness takes a First Amendment  hit.

Good answer to anti-gun hysteria

A good answer to anti-gun hysteria caused by the Aurora killings.
Article reposts interview of American's leading expert on gun control re gun bans.  Too many people have thier minds made up and don't want to be confused by the facts.  Dr. Kleck sets the record straight.

Aurora killings bring out left-wing authoritarians and demonizers

Sad example of left-wing authoritarianism and demonizing gun owners, NRA etc. Looks like Bloomberg isn't the only left-leaning wacko in NYC.

Another academic in trouble for challenging politically correct views

Anyone who thinks that most academic researchers dealing with human relations issues (sociologists, criminologists, psychologists, etc) are, by and large, trying to be objective and are interested in truth, more than ideological advantage, is sadly mistaken.  This is a recent example of what happens when one has the courage to publish something that does not meet the left-wing political correctness which dominates most academic institutions and threatens freedom of speech and press. FSU Criminology Prof. Gary Kleck  is one of my academic "hall of famers" for having this courage to buck the academic establishment which generally hates guns and gun owners.

Most in Media want more gun control

This Time magazine executive confirms what most already know.  There is generally media bias against the Second Amendment and guns and in favor of gun control. "Eternal vigilance is the price of  liberty." Although I am not an NRA member and think they go over the top sometimes, I am am thankful we have them.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More problems in public education

 I generally don't like Susan Estrich's columns. She
1. fawns over Obama like a love-sick teenage girl;
2. brags about her foreign travels;
3. bores readers with stories about her children, friends, childhood, etc.; snf
4. reminds me more of Oprah Winfrey than a law professor should.
Anyway, in this column, she points out how dumbing it down and teaching for the test has even drawn protests from some students.  This is a healthy sign (for a change).  
 Public education in this country has almost always been a basket case because most of the folks with money and political power send their kids to private schools (e.g. the Obama girls) and only pretend to care about educating the rest of the population.  Our current round of disasters can probably be traced to a "conservative" President, George W. Bush you pushed for "No Child Left Behind."  The Texas legislature, like those in many states, has only compounded the problems.  Cheating is becoming rampant and teacher morale is hitting bottom at many schools.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Great (turtle) escape

Okay, let's take a break from politics and media-bashing.  This story will provide some escape (pardon the pun).  I hope Sheriff's officials are having fun tracking down the turtles.
This may inspire a kids animated movie based on Steve McQueen's 1963 film hit "The Great Escape."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Obama down on private-sector job creation, media slow to pick up story

Just like his famous "Bittergate" remarks, Obama gives you an insight into his real thinking. The media's failure to delay picking up the story is just another example of  wide-scale (but not exclusive)  media bias in favor of the Pres.  Folks who accuse Obama of being a closet socialist may not be for off the track.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A new outrage in the Geo. Zimmerman Case.

Irrespective of the truth of the allegations, judicial approval and  the prosecutor's release of these sexual abuse allegation claims   seems totally  outrageous and a violation of Zimmerman's right to a fair trial.  If this doesn't represent a "serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice," I don't know what might. The alleged offenses didn't even occur in Fla. and are not related to his homicide charges in Fla.    The hysteria and  witch-hunt intensify as the demonization continues. Looks like the Jacobins have taken over media coverage and the processing of this case.  A fair trial for Zimmerman seems increasingly improbable.  The "reign of terror" for Zimmerman is just beginning.  Guilty or not of any of these allegations, he deserves a fair trial.

Obamacare decision, the S.Ct. and Federalism

Good article on federalism and the Obamacare decision from the conservative Weekly Standard.  Thanks to 44 for the link.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

More from NYC: Stop and Frisk to get guns off the street, racial profiling.

Mayor Bloomberg is a staunch proponent of gun control and aggressive stop and frisk tactics to get guns off the street. He is a master of double-talk and appears to be willing to sacrifice 4th Amendment rights to get guns off the street. The article  notes:

Coming a week before a planned march to protest the policy, and just days after a group of minority lawmakers visited the Justice Department in Washington to call for an investigation of it, the speech was clearly an effort to address some of the criticism. The church where the mayor spoke, the First Baptist Full Gospel Church of Brownsville, is in a neighborhood where both the level of crime and the number of street stops are among the highest in the city.
In the city as a whole, the police stopped people and questioned them 684,330 times last year, a 600 percent increase from Mr. Bloomberg’s first year in office. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped were black or Latino, and the vast majority were young men, which has led some minority leaders to denounce the policy as a form of racial profiling.
Mr. Bloomberg said Sunday that racial profiling was banned by the Police Department, and that “we will not tolerate it.” He added, however, that the city would not “deny reality” in order to stop different groups according to their relative proportions in the population. (He used the examples of men versus women and young versus old people, rather than white versus black or Hispanic.)

Mr. Bloomberg said Sunday that racial profiling was banned by the Police Department, and that “we will not tolerate it.” He added, however, that the city would not “deny reality” in order to stop different groups according to their relative proportions in the population. (He used the examples of men versus women and young versus old people, rather than white versus black or Hispanic.)  . . .[Blogger's comment: Notice this lame attempt to dance around the racial profiling issue.]

The article further  states:

“The NYPD’s own data undermine many of the Bloomberg administration’s justifications for the stop-and-frisk program,” New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “Contrary to the mayor and police commissioner’s assertions, the massive spike in the number of stops has done little to remove firearms from the streets. Instead, it has violated the constitutional rights of millions of people and corroded the ability of communities of fathers and sons from communities of color to trust and respect the police.”

Bloggers take: Please read the entire article. Looks like NYC is not only headed toward becoming a Nanny city, it seems to be headed toward becoming a "police state," city, where Fourth Amendment rights will be few and far between.  Bloomberg is a definitive candidate for Civil Liberties Public Enemy #1)  When those obsessed with increasing gun control take control, the costs to the Fourth Amendment will be immense.  

More Nanny York City shenanigans re cabbies.

Thanks to Vince for this link.  Bloomberg just can't quit trying to run other people's lives.

Obamacare exemptions

One issue that needs to be addressed in more detail by the media and voters are the number of companies and unions that are getting exemptions from the Obamacare requirements.  There are suspicions that pro-Democrat organizations are getting more than their fair share.  Anybody out there have good info. on this?

Banned Books Week Coming Up

Banned Books Week is September 30 - Oct. 6.  Think about planning/hosting an event  or "read-in" to celebrate First Amendment freedoms. This site has lots of helpful information.

Latest "fecal matter" from the NYT

The latest outrageous Anti-Romney propaganda from the NYT.  Note the not too subtle attempt to smear certain potential Romney voters.  Although the right is equally guilty,  the NYT  is often viewed as America's leading newspaper.  If the top editors had any integrity, they never would have posted/run this piece.   I call it the American left's Pravda. See the material on the left of the page form more on propaganda. You think some on both sides are lacking integrity now, just wait!  We will see how far  many American journalists can sink.

Concerns about UN guns treaty

This article appears to be a relatively balanced and reasonably cautious look at the potential UN Arms Control Treaty. The author writes:

  1. "No external power, and certainly not the U.N., can disarm U.S. citizens or deprive us of our Second Amendment rights by force. If there is a Second Amendment problem, it comes from the actions of U.S. authorities.
  2. The U.N. and many of its member states are hostile to the private ownership of firearms.
  3. The U.S. is exceptional: It is one of the few nations that has a constitutional provision akin to the Second Amendment. . . .Thus, the default U.N. tendency—partly out of malevolence, partly out of ignorance—is to act in ways contrary to the Second Amendment, "
Notice also the trickery in the definition of covered transfer that would move beyond international transfers to all transfers.   Such lack of integrity and honesty should cause great concern.  Only a small handful of nations have anything like the Second amendment. (Please read the entire article)

Most of the media, who are clearly anti-gun have pooh-poohed the issue and tried to make it look like NRA paranoia.  I am not an NRA member, do not fawn over them and try to make up my own mind on issues. I have tried to look at all sides, and  I think this treaty is a serious concern for those who love liberty.

As the article, and other evidence suggests, on this issue, you basically can't trust the UN, or the Obama administration to be sincerely concerned about  Second Amendment rights.  There is good reason to see a red flag here.

Although both are the "supreme law of  the land," the Constitution take precedence over treaties. Currently, the Second Amendment protects at least otherwise lawful keeping of arms by ordinary law-abiding people in their homes."  How far beyond that it reaches, is unclear until the U.S. Supreme Court speaks again on the topic. Many of the lower court decisions treat the right unsympathetically and refuse to extend it beyond the home. However, there are clearly 4 anti-Second Amendment liberal votes on the Court (Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer and Ginsburg).  The replacement of a pro Justice with an anti could mean the Second Amendment rights of individuals could disappear.  I don't need to remind you which presidential candidate is likely to  make such an appointment.  

Thus, the Second Amendment is currently a frail, and potentially disappearing protection against the potential harm to current Second Amendment rights  that could result from the treaty.  Given that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," I urge you to contact your Senator and ask that he/she vote against the treaty if and when it comes up for a vote.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nanny York City Loses Smoking Display case

Nanny York City (NYC) lost a case in its campaign against smoking.  The U.S. Court of Appeals held that the area had been preempted by federal legislation.  I hope you are starting to get the picture about what life is like when government tries to become your Nanny.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Playing the Religion Card; NY Mayor Bloomberg

Just like some hard-core Obama opponents who will play the race card, some Romney opponents are playing the religion card. An example is "Bloomberg Business Week."  This magazine started out years ago as a conservative pro-business publication but in 2009 was sold to the left-leaning Bloomberg LP.  They named an editor who came from the left-leaning Time magazine.  NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg,who is part of the ownership group  has publicly remained neutral on the Presidential race, but reportedly will definitely not endorse Romney because of Romney's stands on guns and abortion. . Interestingly, Mayor Bloomberg is generally a conservative when it come to economics, but very liberal (anti-gun, Nanny state, etc.) on social and related issues.

TIH: NYC settles with Abner Louima for $8.75 million

The NYPD attack on Abner Louima was one of the worst police brutality incidents  in recent american history. On this day in 2004 the City settled the case for a total of $8.75 million. Some sources list the date of the settlement as July 30. This was the largest settlement in a police brutality case in NYC history.  A number of officers were sentenced to prison.  Unfortunately, NYPD has a long history of police brutality (see the book Street Justice by Marilynn S. Johnson.  However, this incident should not tarnish the reputations of the brave men and women of NYPD who became heroes on 9-11.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Update on Blogger's "Philosophy"

I have attempted to make my basic philosophy and biases clearer by expanding the "My Philosophy" section of the blog.  I have attempted to clarify my version of "cautious libertarianism." FWIW, scroll down the right side of the opening page to " More About the Author" and then go to "My philosophy."  I'd like to hear from posters as to their agreement/disagreement with this philosophy.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Latest from Williams: Destructiveness of the Welfare State

Latest excellent column from Walter Williams.  Some of society's losers blame others, and the lack of government support, for their problems.  Consider Washington, D.C., perhaps the most socialist city in the U.S.  On most critieria, it is the worst, or one of the worst cities in the U.S.  Failing public education, high crime, police state tactics by government, corruption, machine politics,  etc.

Walter Williams' Website

As you may have gathered, Walter Williams in one of my favorite writers.  His works show great insight into the phoniness and emptiness of much of the propaganda from the left.  However, I'm just a "cautious" libertarian, and I think sometimes he goes too far.  Be that as it may, I strongly recommend you check out his website.  It has links to many of his columns and works and other sites.

Good, readable legal Summary of Obamacare decison

Good summary of legal points in Obamacare decision.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

An example of right-wing authoritarianism

I frequently complain about left-wing authoritarianism.  However, it infects both the left and right.  Here is a right-wing example.  Although I am a strong Second Amendment supporter, I don't think those who are pro-gun should always get a free pass. I  try not to be an ideologue and absolutist even when it comes to Constitutional rights.  In a prior post I agreed with a case deciding that it did not violate the First Amendment rights of convicted sex offenders to  bar them from  social media popular with young people.  I agree with this decision striking down a Fla. law pushed through by pro-gun activists.  In some cases, the First Amendment trumps pro-gun activism.

Bad term for Justice Scalia

The just-completed Supreme Court term was a bad one for conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.  He came out on the losing end of arguably the 4 biggest cases.  He was on the losing side on the Obamacare, Ariz.immigration law enforcement, stolen valor (First Amendment) and prison sentencing for crack cocaine offenders (federal sentencing guidelines) and juvenile killers (8th Amend. cruel and unusual punishment).
This article criticizes Scalia for being too "political." Of course 7 of the other Justices are also political. (Kennedy may be the exception).  Scalia used to be one of my favorites, but his First Amendment stand on the stolen valor case and his lack of concern for Fourth Amendment rights and the exclusionary rule, have dampened my enthusiasm.  Some of his conclusions in those cases are "stretches"   Of course everyone who loves freedom owes him great debts for his support for First Amendment rights in Citizens United and Westoboro Baptist Church cases and for Second Amendment rights in  Heller and McDonald.   It is Scalia's outspokenness that has caused concern.  One left-wing ideologue in the media called for Scalia to resign. IMHO he is the most intelligent, wittiest and sharpest mind on the Court.  Hopefully after he retires he  won't demonstrate a lack of class, self-respect and integrity like former Justice Stevens, and get on every the TV and attack the Court for the cases he lost.  One sore loser among ex-Justices is enough.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Good Short Document on Peace Officer Safety

This short document from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is  close to being a must-read for all peace officers.  Note esp. the endorsement of Tasers.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Free macroeconomics course

I've complained about the lack of education and public knowledge about economics in this country. Here is a free on-line macroeconomics  course. Not being an econ prof., I can't evaluate it, but it looks like a decent start. I hope someone will check it out and give us a preliminary review.