Wisconsin Assembly Veto Override Fails, Two Democrats switch votes

Last time they failed the override by one vote. This time it was two votes. But both times the Democrats had to put a lot of pressure on those who had voted for the original bill to switch their votes.

Six Democrats, including Van Akkeren, voted to pass the bill late last year, but Van Akkeren and Rep. John Steinbrink of Pleasant Prairie flipped and voted today to sustain the veto.

“In the end, I have put my faith in the views and concerns of my constituents, Sheboygan County law enforcement, and the law enforcement leaders across the state,” Van Akkeren said in a release immediately after today’s vote. “For those reasons, in the end, I felt I needed to sustain Governor Doyle’s veto of SB 403.”

Rep. Steve Kestell, R-Elkhart Lake, who voted to override the veto, said he was upset with Van Akkeren switching his vote to side with the governor.

“After the first vote on the bill, I said if everybody keeps their word, we’d be able to do the override," Kestell said. "Well, not everybody kept their word. Two people flipped their votes and one of them was Terry Van Akkeren, who just didn’t keep his word." . . . .

Blackwell and Swan wins in Ohio and Pennsylvania would create huge change in American Politics

Personally, I can't think of two more important races this year than those by Blackwell and Swan. Both are smart, articulate conservative candidates. They could be the future Ronald Reagans in the party.

"Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Lynn Swann in Pennsylvania lead polls of Republicans in advance of spring primaries. Both are mega-swing states where the governorship is what matters since the chief executive controls patronage, judicial appointments and multibillion-dollar budgets. The key for the Republican Party's future is not so much whether Blackwell and Swann win in November -- although that would be a heck of a statement -- but if they win the primaries in which the electorate is virtually all white" -- Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute

Thomas Sowell has a great piece on Blackwell's race.

Bummer: "Walk the Line" not given best-picture nomination

Well, it makes you wonder whether pictures almost have to be political to be nominated for best picture. At least Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were given acting nominations for their amazing performances. I don't get to see many movies, but "Walk the Line" is one of the few that I would strongly recommend that people see.

Mathematical error behind crucial part of Global Warming Claims?

First the abortion and crime hypothesis was found to be based on a programming mistake, now this:

In the scientific and political debate over global warming, the latest wrong piece may be the hockey stick, the famous plot (shown below), published by University of Massachusetts geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues. This plot purports to show that we are now experiencing the warmest climate in a millennium, and that the earth, after remaining cool for centuries during the medieval era, suddenly began to heat up about 100 years ago--just at the time that the burning of coal and oil led to an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. . . .

But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records. . . . .

UPDATE: Nelson Clayton sent me this link to Michael Crichton's speeches where he goes into issues such as the one discussed above. The talks look very interesting. Thanks Nelson.

Labels: ,


Wisconsin Assembly Looks Set to Override Governor's Veto of Concealed Carry Tomorrow

With the Senate already overriding the Governor's veto, there will now only be three states that completely ban people carrying concealed handguns (Nebraska, Kansas, and Illinois). Nebraska has a good chance of also passing a right-to-carry law this year. In Wisconsin, I just don't think that the Democrats want to go through an election where right-to-carry is a big issue.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and two Democratic state lawmakers came together Sunday to put up a last-minute fight against a bill that would legalize the carrying of concealed weapons in Wisconsin. But they acknowledged that even with their protests, the legislation would likely become law.

"The possibility is very, very strong that by the end of this week, people will be able to carry concealed guns in Wisconsin," said Barrett, who spoke outside State Fair Park with Reps. Jon Richards of Milwaukee and Tony Staskunas of West Allis.

On Thursday, the Republican-controlled state Senate voted to override a veto of the bill by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. On Tuesday, the Assembly will decide whether to do the same.

The Assembly passed the bill in December by a vote of 63-32 - short of the two-thirds majority needed for an override. But a Republican was missing, and a seat that was open at the time has since been filled by a GOP supporter of the bill.

While Democratic leaders have said they are confident that two of six Democrats who supported the legislation would change their votes, Barrett and Richards did not sound optimistic.

"We're here today to talk about a bill that is about to become law," said Richards. The mayor and lawmakers were joined by Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festivals Inc., who said he opposed the bill. . . . .

Talk at Texas State Rifle Association

I will be speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Texas State Rifle Association. I will be speaking on February 4th sometime during the late morning.

My response in the Chicago Tribune to their Editorial on Assault Weapon Bans

Here is my response to this editorial in the Chicago Tribune. Not a bad week. I had something in both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune the same week.

Uncertain effects

Published January 27, 2006

With all the claims that your editorial makes about so-called assault weapons ("Ban assault weapons in Illinois," Commentary, Jan. 26), murder rates should have soared after the Federal ban sunset on Sep. 13, 2004.

On Oct. 18 last year, the FBI released the final data for 2004. It shows clearly that for the U.S. monthly murder rate plummeted 14 percent from August through December. By contrast, during the same months in 2003 the murder rate fell only 1 percent. Curiously, the seven states that have their own assault-weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders during 2004 than the 43 states without such laws.

Instead of you just citing gun control organizations, does it matter that there is not a single published academic study showing that these bans have reduced any type of violent crime? Even research funded by the Clinton Justice Department concluded that the effect of the ban on gun violence "has been uncertain."

John R. Lott, Jr.
Washington, DC

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune


Canadian Tories to let Border Guards Have Guns

Oklahoma legislation considers letting school superintendents and principals with a valid conceal-carry permit to carry firearms on school property


Dems going to go ahead with filibuster, though they know that they will fail

Among the Senators coming out for a filibuster of Alito are: Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Russ Feingold, and Dick Durbin.

They are doing this despite: "At least 65 Senators are expected to vote to end debate and move on to Tuesday's confirmation vote; that's five more votes than the minimum needed for cloture."

It seems pretty clear that the Democratic Senators are just trying to make their base happy. The cost though is that anybody else will view the Democrats as just being too extreme. There are plenty of news stories about how this is upsetting some Democratic Senators.

Wisconsin Senate Overrides Concealed Handgun Veto, House Overtide Attempt Next Week

My belief is that the Assembly vote comes down to one issue: Do the Democrats want the NRA to make Wisconsin its main target this fall? If the veto override fails, the NRA will work hard to get the additional votes needed in the Assembly and also work hard to win the Governorship.

The Wisconsin State Senate challenged Gov. Jim Doyle’s recent veto, voting 23 to 10 Thursday to uphold a bill that would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons.

“[I am] happy to see the Democrats that had supported the bill when it first went through the Senate stuck to their guns and voted to override the governor today,” said Mike Prentiss, spokesperson for bill co-sponsor Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

Authored by Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, Senate Bill 403 was passed by both the Senate and Assembly last year before Doyle rejected it last Friday.

Bill backers expressed hope the Assembly would follow suit and also vote to override the governor’s veto. . . .

In the Assemby it comes down to six Democratic representatives:

The fate of the state's 133-year-old ban on concealed weapons now rests with the state Assembly, which plans its own override try on Tuesday. The vote likely will hinge on six Assembly Democrats who broke party lines and voted with Republicans to pass the bill in December. . . .

A successful override takes a two-thirds majority in both houses - 22 votes in the Senate and 66 in the Assembly.

The measure has the support of all 60 GOP Assembly members. If the six Assembly Democrats vote to override, the GOP would have the 66 votes it needs. If one of them flips and sides with the governor, the veto would stand.

The six Assembly Democrats - Reps. Barbara Gronemus of Whitehall, Mary Hubler of Rice Lake, Marlin Schneider of Wisconsin Rapids, John Steinbrink of Pleasant Prairie, Terry Van Akkeren of Sheboygan and Amy Sue Vruwink of Milladore - likely will face heavy lobbying from both sides.

Some of the most intense pressure could come from Doyle's office. The Legislature hasn't overridden a veto of a stand-alone bill in more than two decades.

"The governor is confident his veto will be upheld in the Assembly," Doyle spokeswoman Melanie Fonder said. "He does not think people in Wisconsin will be any safer carrying loaded weapons around."

But Gronemus, Vruwink and Schneider all have said they plan to vote to override.

That means it all could come down to Van Akkeren, Hubler and Steinbrink.

Van Akkeren has said he hasn't decided which way he will vote. Steinbrink and Hubler didn't immediately return messages from The Associated Press Thursday.


Great piece in today's WSJ by Mark Steyn

I won't repeat the whole piece, just a couple of what I regarded were amazing statements about Canada:

In April 2002, the Pentagon wished to confer the Bronze Star on five snipers from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan for their service in . . . killing the enemy. Ottawa put the request on hold, relenting grudgingly only after the matter was made public. It seems the Canadian government's main objection was a reluctance to let it be known that our military still, er, shoots people, and extremely accurately. . . .

At the Washington state/British Columbia border this week, two guys on the lam were hightailing it through Blaine heading for the 49th parallel with the cops in hot pursuit. Alerted to what was coming their way, Canada's (unarmed) border guards walked off the job. For a country whose national anthem lyrics are mostly endless reprises of the line "we stand on guard for thee," we could at least stand on guard. . . .

UPDATE: A friend of mine who is an economics professor in Canada, Doug Allen, wrote me:

"The border incident happened just 4 miles south of my house, so I knew about that one. What you probably didn't hear was that a union rep for the guards claimed that if they were armed, they still would be required - according to their union contract - to not stand in harms way! What I also found classic about the case was that after the incident was over (which I understand was quite quickly), the border remained closed for like 5 hours. No doubt there had to be some serious counselling over the stress."

These confirmation battles just keep getting worse

These fights will just keep on getting nastier and nastier. Even the fact that this is being seriously called for represents a real change. I can only imagine what will happen if Bush gets another nomination. From today's NY Times:

A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.

Media Matters Attacks on Lott Get it all wrong again.

It must be nice not being very constrained by the facts. Media Matters goes after me again, and I provide some responses.

Gun Locks and Lost Lives

Abortion and Crime


Is referencing the ABA such a wise move by Republicans?


Italians can now protect themselves with force from home invasion

ABC News "hit piece" on Justices Scalia and Thomas

ABC News has this amazing hit piece on Justices Scalia and Thomas. The piece starts out going after Scalia for missing Justice Roberts swearing in cerimony because of a prior appointment in Colorado. If that weren't horrible enought, Scalia was addressing a Federalist Society Conference. And then horrors of horrors: "One night at the resort, Scalia attended a cocktail reception, sponsored in part by the same lobbying and law firm where convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff once worked." The piece then goes on to note that five Justices have received gifts, but they only mention those received by Thomas. (None of this last point is new.)

I guess that have a hard time believing that anyone takes these attacks seriously. He had a prior engagement so he missed the swearing in. I assume that Scalia sent Roberts a note apologizing, and that Roberts said no big deal. So someone attended a cocktail party? Scalia probably doesn't even know who paid for the meal, but for a couple of shrimp is Scalia going to change his position on a case?

"The iPod, soon to be seen on CSI?"

members of the London gang were able to use their iPods to download and save copies of other people's bank statements, credit statements, and driver's licenses, as well as coordinate appointments at dealerships, and do so in plain sight of everyone. But before you think Apple has created the perfect socially acceptable, high-data volume criminal accessory, think again.

Turns out Apple did some clever things within the iPod that should indirectly help criminal investigators and discourage would-be criminals. . . .

On a typical Windows drive, deleted files aren't really deleted, they are taken out of the master boot record, but the files themselves remain on the hard drive. The deleted files aren't accessible by users, but the space used can be and often is overwritten by new files. This can cause uneven wear on the drives. iPods are similar, in that deleted files aren't strictly erased, just marked as such. But Apple made it so that the tiny iPods write to the drive until the disk's real estate is used before rewriting space that holds files that are marked as deleted. For a criminal investigator, that's a boon: old data is less likely to be overwritten. If you did commit a crime, just deleting the evidence isn't going to help.

Better yet, iPods also remember where data came from. Say you used a computer at work to copy a large, top-secret program to your iPod to take home. Coding within the file would tell investigators not only what machine (MAC address) but also what operating system (though file format also tells them that) and username was used. So if incriminating evidence is found on your iPod, they can connect it to a crime scene. . . .

Of course, the downside of this for the law-abiding is that if you lose your iPod someone else is also able to get all the personal information that you have on it.

Canada has the Same Urban/Rural voting patterns as the US

This isn't particularly surprising, but it is interesting to see how the type of Red/Blue divide that American pundits point to exits in other countries. (Minor aside in Canada the conservatives are "blue" and the liberals "red." This is the color scheme used by the US media up until recently, and it makes a lot more sense to me than coloring Republicans as "red.")

As pundits, pollsters and the public sift through the results of Canada's 39th general election, one area of attention may well be the apparent urban-rural divide in voting patterns.

Voters outside of urban, downtown areas in places like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, were much more likely to cast their ballots for the Conservatives.

Inside those centres, many more voters tended to support the Liberals, the NDP or, in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois. . . .


So when did this standard of maintaining the Supreme Court's balance start?

Today in OpinionJournal's Political Diary, John Fund writes:

. . . . But in 1993, when President Bill Clinton nominated former ACLU attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg to fill the seat of retiring Justice Byron White, a conservative, there was no such wringing of hands about an impending ideological shift on the court.

An analysis by David Boaz of the Cato Institute found that major newspapers used the phrase "shift the court" 36 times in covering the Alito nomination. They referred to changes in the "balance" of the court another 31 times and used the phrase "shift to the right" 18 times.

By way of contrast, not a single major newspaper used any of those phrases when the Senate considered the Ginsburg nomination, though her appointment would clearly change the ideological makeup of the Court. Ms. Ginsburg was a noted liberal, while Justice White had voted in the minority in such key liberal decisions as Roe v. Wade and the Miranda ruling. He also wrote the majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 case that upheld the constitutionality of laws against homosexuality in some states. That decision was later overturned in the Lawrence case by a Supreme Court that included Justice Ginsburg. Indeed, the libertarian Institute for Justice has concluded that Justice Ginsburg is the most consistently liberal justice sitting on the Supreme Court today. . . .

Vote for best commentary on guns

I appreciate the notice that I was nominated for the Best Legal Commentary in the 2006 on guns. I would have thought that it made more sense to nominate me for the Best Commentary in the 2006 on guns, but the process of how these things are decided is not clear to me.

Winchester bits the dust

An interesting, but sad, article about how much things have changed over time.

A famous ad that most boy baby boomers will recall from Boys' Life, the old scouting magazine of the '50s, showed a happy lad, carrot-topped and freckly like any number of Peck's Bad Boys, his teeth haphazardly arrayed within his wide, gleeful mouth under eyes wide as pie platters as he exclaimed on Christmas morn, "Gee, Dad . . . A Winchester!"

All gone, all gone, all gone. The gun as family totem, the implied trust between generations, the implicit idea that marksmanship followed by hunting were a way of life to be pursued through the decades, the sense of tradition, respect, self-discipline and bright confidence that Winchester and the American kinship group would march forward to a happy tomorrow -- gone if not with the wind, then with the tide of inner-city and nutcase killings that have led America's once-proud and heavily bourgeois gun culture into the wilderness of marginalization.

And now Winchester is gone too, or at least the most interesting parts of it. The traditional company whose symbol was a fringed rider flying across the plains on a pinto, gripping his trusty Model '73, is finally biting the dust. The entity -- now technically U.S. Repeating Arms, which produces the rifles and shotguns as a licensee of the Olin Corp., which still owns Winchester ammunition -- announced Monday it was closing the plant in New Haven where the rifles and shotguns have been fabricated for a century and a half. Some Winchesters will continue to be built overseas, but three guns -- the classic lever-action rifle of western fame, the bolt-action hunting rifle (called the Model 70) and the Model 1300 pump-action shotgun -- will no longer be manufactured. . . . .


London, England: "Capital gun crime rises by 50 per cent" Last year

Well, the obvious solution to this soaring gun crime is to ban guns. Oh, sorry, they already did that. So how could gun crime be soaring when guns are banned?

Figures published this week by the Home Office are expected to show that offences involving guns have soared by as much as 50 per cent in some parts of the country. . . .

In London, a major area of concern is still black-on-black gun crime, despite huge efforts by the Met to combat such violence. According to Operation Trident, the Met's unit combating black gun crime, offences in the capital rose by more than 50 per cent during 2005, with 164 offences recorded between April and October. This is compared with only 108 the previous year. . . .

Outside London, the figures also show a disturbing rise in the use of guns. In Bedfordshire, gun-related offences have risen by 20 per cent over the past two years, from 173 in 2004 to 207 in 2005. The number of cases where people were found carrying a gun more than doubled from 19 to 43 in the same period. There was also a rise in the number of stolen firearms seized - 18 compared with one the year before. . . .

Human Events: Ronald Reagan's "Top 10 Greatest Quips"

10. "Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
—Remarks at a business conference, Los Angeles, March 2, 1977

9. "You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans."
—The Observer, March 29, 1981

8. “Thomas Jefferson once said, "We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying."
—Circa 1988

7. "I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting."
—Said often during his presidency, 1981-1989

6. "How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."
—Remarks in Arlington, Virginia, September 25, 1987

5. "The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
—Remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business, August 15, 1986

4. “I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
—Said often during his presidency, 1981-1989

3. "All great change in America begins at the dinner table."
—Farewell Address to the Nation, The White House, January 11, 1989

2. "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
—The New York Times, September 22, 1980

1. "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
— First Inaugural Address, January 21, 1981


Canada: Liberal Politician says Agree with Liberals or Leave Country

The following exchange seems most directly about compensation, than guns. But I assume that the Liberals want to make it so risky cost wise to own guns that people will disarm themselves without the Liberals even having to win.

Don Lindsay's self destruction continued when club member and Canadian Veteran George Tompkins stood to ask the candidates his question. "If the handgun ban goes forward. What plan would your party offer to compensate those of us who legally own the guns that would be confiscated?" To which Lindsay replied "Sir America is our neighbor not our nation, if you elect a society that talks about that kind of perspective I suggest that perhaps you go there!" Cheryl Gallant responded to the question with "George I have seen you at the legion in uniform representing our country I hope you stay in Canada," she said. "This is not an issue if the Conservative's get elected because there will be no ban on handguns. But if the Liberals are elected we know there would be no compensation, there never is," she said.

Novak on Democrats Filibustering Alito

UK: "Farmer robbed - and police confiscate his shotgun"

After a farmer says that he might try to defend himself and his property from thieves, the government takes his legally registered gun

TWYFORD strawberry farmer Eric Jarnet is fuming after police confiscated his shotgun on his 70th birthday because they feared he might emulate Norfolk farmer Tony Martin.

Mr Martin became a national figure after the shotgun killing of a burglar at his farmhouse.

An exasperated Mr Jarnet publicly admitted he might "do a Martin" after raiders stole hundreds of yards of irrigation piping from his 25-acre Twyford Fruit Farm in London Road, effectively putting him out of business.

Moments after he made his remarks police arrived to seize his shotgun, for which he has a licence.

Mr Jarnet said: "The thieves have all the rights in the world. Even if I had a dog here and he bit an intruder he would have to be put down.

Wisconsin Right-to-carry Debate


Will Democrats really filibuster Alito?

It is hard to believe that the Democrats will filibuster Alito after the good job that he did last week and after the Democrats appeared to step over any proper bounds in attacking him, and I am even surprised that they are actively threatening it. But this talk alone surely shows how much more difficult confirmations have become, even with what seemed like a flawless performance by the nominee.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Thursday he will vote against Judge Sam Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court. And he said so many other senators intensely oppose Alito that they may have enough votes to sustain a filibuster against the conservative jurist. . . .

As the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, it's Durbin's job to count votes for and against Alito. He said he won't know until Tuesday if there are enough strong opponents to filibuster Alito's nomination.

"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 senators ... are willing to stand and fight.

"We're asking senators where they stand. When it reaches a critical moment when five senators have said they oppose a filibuster, it's off the table. It's not going to happen. But if it doesn't reach that moment, then we'll sit down and have that conversation." . . .

Steinberg, who I got to know when I lived in Chicago, also writes that the Dems view Alito as evil, but:

Not that they got that across. A murderer's row of Democratic senatorial powerhouses, led by Ted Kennedy, had hours of choice TV time to tar Alito, and came off looking verbose and ineffective.

"It wasn't an easy week, I'll tell you," Durbin said, with a laugh.

To be fair, the Dems were in a bind -- anything resembling tough questioning would be seen as bullying a respected jurist, which doesn't poll well. So they were left speechifying and focusing on minutia.

None of it added up to the impression that Alito was too conservative to serve.

"We look back and say, 'What went wrong?'" said Durbin, who insists that the American people feel Bush won the election and therefore gets to pick his court nominee, but they didn't realize they would also be getting Alito's America.

"Did he win the election saying he would appoint a justice to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade?" said Durbin. "This isn't what we bargained for."

Durbin said Democratic senators will decide over the next several days whether they want to take the dramatic step of filibustering the nomination. It's still a long shot but, I'll tell you this: It would make great theater. . . .

Who is the most liberal Democratic Presidential Contender?

Lynn Swan Leading Rendell in Race for Governor

For an incumbent governor to be at only 43 percent in the polls at this point in the election is really bad news for him.

January 19, 2006--Our latest poll of the race for Pennsylvania governor shows Republican Lynn Swann, the former receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, narrowly leading Democratic Governor Ed Rendell 45% to 43%.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters view Swann favorably; 47% view Rendell favorably.

Swann formally declared his candidacy just two weeks ago, on January 4. But he has enjoyed early success in securing endorsements from two of six regional caucuses in his quest for the party nomination. The Republican state Committee will endorse a candidate on February 11. . . .

UPDATE: Note for the comment below, it is interesting that Democrats are so worried about Swan that they have to try to vainly argue that Swan stands for nothing.


Canada: "Cons have reason to vote Liberal"


Canada: What is deterrence?

With concern over rising crime rates, Canadian don't seem to understand deterrence. Crime goes up, so you reduce the penalties? At least the PM rejected these proposals, but that is still not moving in the right direction and increasing penalties.

PUBLICATION: National Post
DATE: 2006.01.17
EDITION: Toronto / Late
PAGE: A1 / Front
BYLINE: Adrian Humphreys
SOURCE: National Post
NOTE: ahumphreys@nationalpost.com


Ministers called for reduced sentences: McGuinty rejected
'offender-focused' cost-cutting plan


After an unprecedented summer of gun deaths in Toronto, two senior provincial ministers, the Attorney-General and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, endorsed a sweeping plan to create an "offender-focused" justice system.

The plan called for fewer offenders to be charged, more accused people to be released on bail, inmates to be let out of jail more quickly and the closing of several jails. . . .

Canadian Conservatives Average 12.54% Lead in Polls

Three new polls are out on the Canadian election: here, here, and here. The weighted average for these three polls implies a Conservative lead over the Liberals of 12.54%.

Hunting with atlatl

I assume that the objection is to any type of hunting.

"When I was a kid, I wasn't the best at soccer or basketball," confesses Mike Waters, a community-college student from Greenwood, N.Y. "But now I get to play with my idols and hang out with the Shaqs of my sport."

Shaquille O'Neal, the imposing center for the NBA's Miami Heat, probably never has used an atlatl, a Stone Age throwing weapon that Mr. Waters has spent several years trying to master.

On Jan. 7, Mr. Waters and nearly 20 others converged on the property of Gary Fogelman, who is one of the Shaqs of the atlatl, to brave sub-freezing temperatures and participate in a tossing contest. In the future, however, these hurlers might not be limited to aiming at targets mounted on haystacks. The atlatl is one of humankind's most ancient weapons -- and on Jan. 24 the Pennsylvania Game Commission will consider granting preliminary approval to its use as a legal hunting device. With various animal-rights groups opposed, nobody knows for sure how the vote will go. . . .

"Right now, we're re-creating this ancient principle," says Angelo Mazzarese, a carpenter in Chemung, N.Y. "And we're having a blast -- a blast from the past."

New York Suit Against Gun Makers May Finally Be Stopped

Given that the legislation last year to restrict suits against gun makers should have already stopped this suit (suits are allowed only when a crime has been committed), the suit should already be dead. In any case, give the poorly done statistical work being done with this data and given U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein's willingness to abuse the law, I am glad to see that this amendment was passed. On the other hand, I would also like to believe that the plaintiffs here are just using the restrictions on the data as an excuse for dropping this abusive case because the law suit would likely die on appeal anyway.

For six years, the nation's gun makers have fought unsuccessfully in a New York federal court to derail a lawsuit alleging that they didn't take adequate steps to determine which dealers repeatedly sell weapons that end up in criminals' hands.

Now, the gun industry has received legislative help from Washington that is likely to do the trick.

With little fanfare, a provision tucked into the 2006 appropriations act for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives signed into law in November for the first time bars contents of the ATF's "gun-trace" database from being used in any federal or state lawsuit that is pending or filed after Nov. 22, 2005.

The provision in the appropriations act, if upheld in courts, "cuts the heart out of our case," says Eric Proshansky, co-lead lawyer for New York on the gun lawsuit. "That's what it was intended to do."

Proponents of the legislation say it was sought by the ATF and will help protect law-enforcement officers from criminals with access to the database, says Chuck Knapp, a spokesman for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R., Kan.), who first introduced an amendment to limit public access to gun-trace data from ATF in 2003.

The legislation shines a light on this little-known database, which is critical to the New York case. When a gun used in a New York crime is recovered, the ATF traces the path of the weapon from the manufacturer to licensed gun dealers. This information isn't available to the public, but manufacturers, working through gun distributors, have access to it. New York believes gun makers could identify which dealers are selling guns used in crimes and cut them off from future sales rather than continue to do business with them. . . .


The NRA to the rescue for the Marines

Senator Ted Kennedy belongs to All Male club

This is too funny, especially these statements: "Kennedy admitted to Hiller that he himself probably couldn’t pass Judiciary Committee muster" or “I’m not a member; I continue to pay about $100.”

U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy — who ripped Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for ties to a group that discriminates against women — says he’s going to quit a club notorious for discriminating against women “as fast as I can.”
Kennedy was outed by conservatives late last week as a current member of The Owl Club, a social club for Harvard alumni that bans women from membership.
In an interview with WHDH Channel 7’s Andy Hiller that aired last night, Kennedy said, “I joined when I . . . 52 years ago, I was a member of the Owl Club, which was basically a fraternal organization.”
Asked by Hiller whether he is still a member, Kennedy said, “I’m not a member; I continue to pay about $100.”
He then said of being a member in a club that discriminates against women, “I shouldn’t be and I’m going to get out of it as fast as I can.”
The Harvard Crimson reports that, in 1984, the university severed ties with clubs like the Owl, citing a federal law championed by Kennedy.
Meanwhile, Kennedy admitted to Hiller that he himself probably couldn’t pass Judiciary Committee muster.
“Probably not . . . probably not,” Kennedy said. . . .


Anne McLellan Losing Re-election

Canada: Liberal Election support "Crumbling"


Most of those seats are in and around the city of Montreal, long a bedrock of Liberal support. But local polls now show even this bastion is fast crumbling, forcing Martin to spend two days campaigning there.

"Martin tries to save the furniture," read the main headline in the French-language La Presse newspaper on Sunday.

The lowest number of Quebec seats the Liberals have ever won is 13 and the party could sink below that level as it is squeezed by both the Conservatives and the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which wants independence for the province.

"I reckon we'll win 12 seats," one of the top Liberal organizers in Quebec told Reuters. Even that number could be optimistic, since there is little evidence of enthusiasm in Montreal for the Liberals.

When Martin addressed a rally to support Heritage Minister Liza Frulla on Sunday, there were barely 40 people in the room. Other Martin rallies over the weekend attracted similarly meager attendance.

Frulla -- who won her seat by just 72 votes in the June 2004 election -- acknowledged she had a battle on her hands.

"It was very difficult (in 2004) and it's still very hard, very hard here on the ground," she told reporters, complaining that unnamed opponents were resorting to "dirty tricks".

To add to Martin's challenges, Conservative leader Stephen Harper is now campaigning in normally pro-Liberal areas where his party has not won seats for years and has regularly attracted several hundred people to his rallies. . . .


For those fearful of global warming: A New Source Discovered for Greenhouse gas: Plants

Prison Inmates in Canada Vote for Liberals

And one wonders why the Democrats are fighting so hard to let felons vote?

Friday was voting day for prisoners across Canada. About 35,000 were eligible to vote, and many seemed to be voting Liberal in order to protect privileges that Conservatives threaten to take away.

"We're all voting for the Liberals, just because we want to keep our vote," Jeff Power, an inmate at Manitoba's Stony Mountain facility told CTV Winnipeg. "We don't want to lose rights like our TVs, stuff like that." . . .

The CBC also has a report with Mr. Power.

Fellow inmate Jeff Power had a red "L" for "Liberal" painted on the side of his head. He was jailed for drug trafficking and robbing two pharmacies.
He said he would not vote for the Conservatives because they've talked about tightening up parole rules.

"My dad was sentenced to double life, way before when there was no eligibility for early parole," Power said. "He killed himself. He couldn't live with it. It was like there was no hope for him." . . .

It is a little strange that both television networks interview the same prisoner. As to Mr. Power's dad, I am sorry that his dad committed suicide, but he must have done something nasty to get two life terms.


When gun laws cost children's lives

The risk of gun control laws. (I have written on this before, but it is nice to see the story updated.)

Jessica Lynne Carpenter was 14 years old on Aug. 23, 2000, the morning 27-year-old Jonathan David Bruce came calling at the Carpenter house in Merced, Calif.

Jessica Lynne knew how to shoot -- her father had taught her. And there were adequate firearms in the house to deal with what happened next.
Click here for Best Buy!

That Wednesday morning, Jessica was home with four of her siblings -- Anna, 13; Vanessa, 11; Ashley, 9; and John William, 7 -- in the San Joaquin Valley farming community, 130 miles southeast of San Francisco.

Bruce, an out-of-work telemarketer apparently high on drugs, was stark naked and armed with a spade fork. He cut the phone lines to the house shortly after 9 a.m., broke in, and immediately began chasing down and stabbing the children in their bedrooms.

Jessica Lynne tried to dial 911. The phone was dead. So she ran to the gun closet.

Then she remembered the new "safe storage law" that had just been enacted in California, and which her parents had told her about. When John and Tephanie Carpenter had left the house that morning, they had locked the gun closet so no one under 18 could get access to the family firearms ... as required by law.

Jessica's only option was to climb out a window and run to a neighbor's house.

By the time Merced County sheriff's deputies arrived at the home, John William and Ashley were dead. Anna was wounded but survived.

As deputies arrived, Bruce rushed them with his bloody spade fork. So they shot him dead. They shot him more than a dozen times.

The following Friday, the children's great uncle, the Rev. John Hilton, told reporters: "If only (Jessica) had a gun available to her, she could have stopped the whole thing." Maybe John William and Ashley would still be alive, Jessica's uncle said.

"Unfortunately, 17 states now have these so-called safe storage laws," then-Yale Law School senior research scholar John Lott, author of the book "More Guns, Less Crime," told me at the time. "The problem is, you see no decline in either juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides when such laws are enacted, but you do see an increase in crime rates" perpetrated against the newly disarmed victims. . . .


Newest Canadian Election Polls

Newest Canadian polls continue to show Conservative lead. The Liberal handgun ban doesn't seem to making the big difference that the Liberals hoped for.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not only been judged the winner of Monday's leaders' debate, he is now the leader Canadians most trust to become prime minister, a new poll says.

The poll, prepared by The Strategic Counsel for CTV and The Globe and Mail, had people picking the winner as follows (percentage-point change from the December post-debate poll in brackets):

Stephen Harper: 37 per cent (+26)
Paul Martin: 14 per cent (-7)
Jack Layton: 8 per cent (+2)
Gilles Duceppe: 3 per cent (-12)
DK/NA/Ref: 37 per cent

. . .

Here is how national support for parties is allocated (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3, when the Grits and Tories were tied):

Conservatives: 39 per cent (+7)
Liberals: 28 per cent (-4)
NDP: 16 per cent (-1)
Bloc Quebecois: 12 per cent (-1)
Greens: 5 per cent (-1)
For the rest of Canada outside Quebec, the Tories hold a 43-31 lead over the Liberals.

In terms of momentum, Woolstencroft said the Tories may have stopped growing, but with 64 per cent of respondents rating them as having the most momentum, compared to 12 per cent for the Liberals, they have lots of breathing room.

In Quebec, the Tories continue to rise, while the Liberals fall and the Bloc hovers around the 50 per cent mark (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3 in brackets):

Bloc Quebecois: 50 per cent (-2)
Conservatives: 23 per cent (+10)
Liberals: 16 per cent (-10)
NDP: 7 per cent (+2)
Greens: 4 per cent (unchanged)
The Conservatives have seen a four-point drop in support in Ontario in the last few days. Here are the current numbers (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3 in brackets):

Liberals: 37 per cent (unchanged)
Conservatives: 36 per cent (+2)
NDP: 19 per cent (-2)
Greens: 8 per cent (unchanged)
Besides Quebec, B.C. is also contributing strongly to the Conservatives' overall growth in popularity (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3 in brackets):

Conservatives: 47 per cent (+12)
Liberals: 26 per cent (-8)
NDP: 24 per cent (-1)
Greens: 3 per cent (-3)
The Tories remain overwhelmingly dominant on the Prairies.


"Why gun bans don't work … and what to do"

Canadian Conservatives look poised to take Canadian Election

Illinois Gov failure to issue permits put many citizens in violation of state gun laws


Texas Concealed Handgun Law After 10 years

New Op-ed on Mayor Bloomberg's promises for his second term

Mayor Bloomberg wants to take New York City's gun control regulations nationwide. At his swearing in ceremony earlier this month, Mr. Bloomberg announced his top priority for the next four years: a nationwide fight across America for more gun control, from Washington, D.C., to individual statehouses.

The current push for more gun control stems from the tragic murders of two New York City police officers last year, following in the wake of two officers killed in 2003 and 2004. Mr. Bloomberg has long supported every gun regulation possible, even banning off-duty or retired police officers carrying guns near city hall. He is already pushing for tougher gun control in New York state, claiming that otherwise law-abiding New York gun-owners - who already pass all the local, state, and federal gun control regulations - are an important way his city's criminals obtain guns. Those same motivations are behind the program that he now wants to take nationwide. . . . .

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is in trouble

Can you name a governor who has continually pushed for tax increases, vetoed every tax cut sent his way, received an "f" from the Cato Institute for his economic policies, has a badly deteriorating road system as he takes road reconstruction money to give to public sector unions, had his bigger spending education program rejected by 80 percent of the state's school districts, supported a law that increased the salary of state employees (including the governor's office) by as much as 54 percent, and on and on. I don't agree with many of the complaints that this columnist has about Rendell and I am glad that Rendell has broken many of his promises (e.g., failing to reform health care insurance the way Rendell wanted or failing to push to increase the minimum wage), but then again I am not a Democrat and former Rendell supporter like this columnist is. Anyway, you can judge for yourself whether Rendell is in trouble.



Getting in trouble for carrying a concealed handgun in California

Kerry on Hunting


The Economist Magazine on Steve Levitt and Abortion

Of course, lots of people have always thought Mr Levitt was in the wrong. Even if abortion cuts crime, it is still immoral, they fulminate. But this is largely beside the point: Mr Levitt's research does not take a position on abortion's social virtues, but aims merely to uncover its societal effects. Besides, for someone of Mr Levitt's iconoclasm and ingenuity, technical ineptitude is a much graver charge than moral turpitude. To be politically incorrect is one thing; to be simply incorrect quite another.

But what is most amazing is that despite all the statistical significance being eliminated from their panel data set being eliminated when the results are done Donohue and Levitt's way with the the data they want to use, John Donohue now says what they wanted to do:

It may be asking too much of the numbers to convince everybody. “The debate over abortion and crime will not be resolved within the parameters of our paper,” says Mr Donohue. He thinks the arrest figures are “muddy” and the state population data “sloppy”. Combining the two generates so much noise, it is hard for the statistical tests to hear anything. Ted Joyce, a professor at Baruch College (part of the City University of New York), who has had his own methodological disagreements with Messrs Donohue and Levitt, also thinks the debate is stretching the data too far. He points out that if you add controls for 50 states and 12 years—as Messrs Foote and Goetz do, and as Messrs Donohue and Levitt meant to do—you are, in effect, holding another 600 things constant. This robs the data of most of their variety, and of much of their ability to explain anything.

There was no warning that these were the wrong tests at all in either of their previous papers or in Levitt's book. Levitt now refers to the “collage of evidence," but the panel data was the only test that really amounted to anything worthwhile. The rest of the data was merely cross sectional or time series.

Labels: , , ,

No Place But Texas

A single store that sells: guns, ammo, liquor, cigarrettes, and food, plus a sign out front that says "May God Bless Our Freedom." You gotta love Texas.

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me by an anonymous commentor that the sign also mentions the Texas state lotto, so there is also gambling! This picture is from Uvalde, Texas.

Forests may cause global warming

It is interesting how this scientist treats the results on forests. If the same results were found for it seems anything else, I wonder whether he would still like that item. Well, at least he seems to understand the notion of trade-offs.

Canada's forests may actually be worsening global warming rather than cooling the planet, says a controversial study by a Stanford University physicist and environmental scientist . . .
Trees are designed to soak up massive amounts of energy from the sun. Much of this, he argues, is gradually released in the form of heat, especially in dark evergreen forests in the north, but also in temperate forests of maple, poplar and beech. Unlike tropical forests, Canadian forests don't release much cooling moisture. . . .

That said, Mr. Caldeira still wants forests protected for other reasons.

"I like forests. They provide good habitats for plants and animals," he said. . . .

Labels: ,

Nebraska to begin Debate on Monday on RIght to Carry Law

Democrats Apparently Realize that Their Plans for Alito Wouldn't Work

Foxnews has a very interesting story. Drudge seemed to break the Dems plan first, but Fox had this follow up about how the plan had the plug pulled. Someone who compares "animals killed for food to victims of the Holocaust" will face some credibility problems in going after Alito.

A key witness to the character of Judge Samuel A. Alito has been removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats' testimony list, FOXNews.com has learned.

Stephen R. Dujack, editor of The Environmental Forum magazine and fellow Princeton University alumnus, was expected to testify about a controversial student organization that counted Alito as a member. Dujack confirmed to FOXNews.com late Friday that he was no longer testifying, but said he could not elaborate.

A spokesman for Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a committee member, said he had been notified of the list change shortly before 7 p.m. EST. Earlier on Friday, Cornyn's office circulated a 2003 Los Angeles Times editorial in which Dujack compared animals killed for food to victims of the Holocaust. Whether the editorial factored into the decision to drop Dujack from the witness list was not clear.

Democratic committee members said as recently as Thursday that they were looking forward to answers regarding Alito's membership in the now-defunct Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP). CAP was formed not long after Princeton began to admit women, and was critical of affirmative action admissions policies. Dujack and other critics of CAP accused the organization's leadership of racism, sexism and "dirty tactics." . . .


Schumer exaggerating cell phone record risk?

Given that this is being pushed by Senator Charles Schumer and given how much he hypes the gun issue, I have my strong doubts about the accuracy of these claims. I don't know anything about this question regarding cell phones, but I know about Schumer and his false claims everything from terrorists getting guns at gun shows to you name it regarding guns. However, I will bet that this will get a lot of attention.

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company.

Some online services might be skirting the law to obtain these phone lists, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for legislation to criminalize phone record theft and use. . . .


FT: "Europe hit by rise in brutal bank robberies"

FEC lets Hillary off easy

Abramoff Affair

First let me be clear that just because someone got oney from someone doesn't mean that it bought their vote. Given that, here is a fact missed in all the media coverage of the Abramoff affair:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said yesterday that almost all Senate Democrats have accepted money from scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his associates or his Indian tribe clients.

"I think Democrats might want to be a little bit careful before they start pointing fingers," said Sean Spicer, spokesman for the House Republican Conference. "This is something that has ensnared both parties."

The Senate campaign committee said 39 of the Senate's 44 Democrats, plus Democrat-leaning independent James M. Jeffords of Vermont, have taken funds from Abramoff, directly or indirectly. . . .

Second, I listened to C-SPAN's coverage of McCain's hearings on Abramoff yesterday and I have no clue what the problem was. The claim was that a woman would tell Abramoff about conversations that she had with Interior department officials, and that Abramoff said that this information was valuable. In addition, Abramoff had Indian groups make donations to this woman's organization. The point being what? I had no idea what the crime was in what was being discussed.

Even if their governent doesn't understand, Canadians Seem to understand that punishment deters criminals


Starting Blogging at the Committee for Justice Blog

I have just put my first posting up at the Committee for Justice Blog. It is on the ABA's high rating given to Alito.

Other interesting information on Alito's confirmation can be found here at NRO.


"How's This For Anti-Gun Bias?"

Nebraska to begin Debate on Wednesday on RIght to Carry Law

The fight to allow Nebraskans to carry concealed weapons is now a decade old, but Sen. Jeanne Combs believes it will be passed in the upcoming legislative session.

Combs, a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association, introduced her concealed-weapons measure (LB454) last year.

It was passed out of committee and sent to the floor for debate, but with the legislative session waning, she made a deal with Speaker Kermit Brashear of Omaha to pull the measure from the agenda.

In return, Brashear committed to scheduling the concealed weapons measure "for full and fair debate" at the beginning of the looming session, which starts Wednesday.

"I look forward to that discussion and debate and fully expect that the bill will be enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor," Combs said.

In an Associated Press pre-session survey, 26 of 49 senators said they would favor allowing Nebraskans to carry concealed weapons, while five said they were leaning that way. Eight were opposed to the idea and two were leaning that way. Four were undecided and three did not answer the question. One senator did not participate in the survey. . . .


My Review of Paxton Quigley's new book, "Stayin' Alive."

"McDonald's worker suspended for shooting at robber"

Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 NEW ALBANY, Ind.
A McDonald's maintenance worker who pulled out his gun and fired two shots at a woman who was robbing another employee at gunpoint has been suspended from his job.

While police officials say Clifton Brown Jr. violated no laws last week when he fired the shots shortly after the restaurant's midnight closing, the franchise owner said Brown violated a ban on guns at the restaurant.

The shooting happened as Brown and a co-worker were taking out the trash and a woman, who was on foot, put a gun to the back of the second employee. She then robbed the restaurant in the city just north of Louisville, Ky., through the drive-up window, police said.

Brown told police that he pulled his gun out and ordered the fleeing robber to stop. She then raised her own gun and he fired two shots, which apparently missed the woman, before she continued to flee. . . .

Unfortunately, the owner of the store repeated all the myths about why the employee shouldn't have used his gun:

Restaurant owner Ron Vanover said Thursday that Brown had been suspended from his job while the shooting was being reviewed. He said he considered Brown's actions inappropriate.

"I think that's common sense," Vanover said. "Money can be replaced; lives cannot."

Brown could not be located for comment as no home telephone number in the New Albany area was listed in his name.

Please see this write up by Brian Blase about what is the safest course of action to take in a robbery. This is one case where people might consider letting McDonalds know about whether they are right to suspend this employee. Again, there is also the issue of deterrence. Would more people rob this store in the future if they thought that employees might be armed.

Happy New Year!!!