Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Thursday, January 31, 2013

In More Good Economic News...

Daimler Trucks to lay off 1,200 at three Charlotte-area plants

Daimler Trucks North America will temporarily lay off 1,200 employees in three Charlotte-area truck and truck parts plants.

The numbers finally appeared this morning on the N.C. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Website. The numbers mean that 1,200 of the 1,300 layoffs will come from the three Charlotte-area DTNA manufacturing facilities.

Portland, Ore.-based Daimler employs some 6,400 workers at four manufacturing and administrative facilities in the Charlotte region.

--

Robert Van Geons, executive director of RowanWorks, says he’s confident that the cutbacks are temporary.
Here's the kicker:
Just a year ago, Daimler boosted its Charlotte-region work force by roughly 1,100, adding a second shift at its Rowan County manufacturing facility. But the company later said its projected volume and demand had not materialized, causing slower-than-expected growth in employment and forcing temporary closures on occasional days.
So they're laying off 100 more people than they just recently hired.

Yup, all that Hope-'n-Change never materialized.

I wonder if Daimler got any government-secured loans?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quote of the Day - Samizdata Edition

From Samizdata a couple of days ago:
Let’s see – Native Americans were wards of the state for a century, and, until the recent casino boom, were the most impoverished, addiction ridden, unemployed group in society; the family farmer has been the object of endless state programs to save him for most of the 20th century, and his numbers have shrunk from over half the population to under 2%; black people were “adopted” by the modern welfare state about 50 years ago, with the result that the black family has shattered, perhaps irreparably, and the male part is massively either in prison or unemployed, while the female half now has a 75% or so rate of births out of wedlock, and single parent families struggling with poverty lead to homicide from gang activity being the primary cause of death for young black males.

The wars on poverty and drugs continues to decimate the very populations they were supposed to help, the federal education programs have overseen a massive decline in the competency and educational achievements of our youth across the board, and catastrophically poor literacy rates among the minority communities.

The Fed decided to massively aid the housing market, to assist people in buying homes, and within a few decades, the housing and financial markets collapsed into a recession which we are still struggling to climb out of, and return to a semblence of our former economic levels.

And so now, the progressive state under the current progressive regime is going to come to the aid of the struggling middle class?

Yeah, that will work out just fine…

- Samizdata commenter ‘veryretired’
And NOW they're going to take over HEALTH CARE!

What could possibly go worng?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

American Constitutional Law Specialist, Eh?

Dr. James J. Magee is the Judge Hugh M. Morris Professor of Political Science and International Relations for the University of Delaware:
James Magee, PhD (University of Virginia, 1975) joined the Department in 1976 and specializes in American constitutional law and the United States Supreme Court. Professor Magee has received three times the University's Excellence in Teaching Award and twice the University's Excellence in Advising and Mentoring Award. He teaches courses in US constitutional law, judicial process, American politics and directs a UD study abroad program in Italy.
He teaches:
Introduction to Political Science (Honors and Regular Sections)
American Political System (Honors and Regular Sections)
Political Culture: Italy (Study Abroad)
Introduction to Law
Constitutional Law of the United States (Honors and Regular Sections)
Civil Liberties (Criminal Procedure)
Civil Liberties (Individual Rights and Freedom) (Honors and Regular Sections)
The Judicial Process (Honors and Regular Sections)
among other courses, according to his CV. He's written several books and numerous book reviews, but interestingly, none seem to touch on the Second Amendment.

So I found it interesting to read up on the good professor after reading his January 27 op-ed No constitutional right to military weapons, published at DelawareOnline. I left a comment to the piece, but I was pressed for time. This one, I think, deserves a full-fledged Fisking, given the credentials of its author.

So let us Fisk:
The News Journal reported that National Rifle Association President David Keene had "lashed out" last Sunday in Dover to a packed audience of some 1,500 people against proposed state and federal bans on military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The NRA has long insisted that the Second Amendment guarantees private individuals a right to own and bear arms. The very conservative former Chief Justice Warren Burger after retiring from the Supreme Court publicly derided this interpretation as a "fraud." However, in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court adopted a portion of the NRA’s account in declaring a municipal ordinance prohibiting individual ownership and use of handguns for self-defense a violation of the Second Amendment.
This was the first thing I took exception to in my comment - the "appeal to authority," said authority being Chief Justice Warren Burger. The good Professor does note that Justice Burger's opinion was rendered after he retired, not as part of a Supreme Court decision or (heaven forbid) a dissent.  No, the Burger court never heard a Second Amendment case.

What the good Professor does not tell you is what else Chief Justice Burger had to say on the topic. After retiring, the Justice apparently traveled the speaking circuit and also did a little op-ed writing of his own. In January of 1990 he wrote a piece for the Sunday Parade magazine newspaper insert entitled The Right to Bear Arms. In it, he makes much the same argument as Professor Magee, but states:
Americans also have a right to defend their homes, and we need not challenge that. Nor does anyone seriously question that the Constitution protects the right of hunters to own and keep sporting guns for hunting game any more than anyone would challenge the right to own and keep fishing rods and other equipment for fishing -- or to own automobiles.
Excuse me? The Second Amendment - which the Chief Justice quotes - reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
And then he follows it with this:
We see that the need for a state militia was the predicate of the "right" guaranteed; in short, it was declared "necessary" in order to have a state military force to protect the security of the state. That Second Amendment clause must be read as though the word "because" was the opening word of the guarantee. Today, of course, the "state militia" serves a very different purpose. A huge national defense establishment has taken over the role of the militia of 200 years ago.

Some have exploited these ancient concerns, blurring sporting guns -- rifles, shotguns and even machine pistols -- with all firearms, including what are now called "Saturday night specials." There is, of course, a great difference between sporting guns and handguns.
(My emphasis.)

Burger's focus wasn't on "military weapons," it was on handguns - particularly "Saturday Night Specials." Warren Burger didn't (apparently) have a problem with private possession of machine pistols, as they were in his eyes "sporting guns"!

But the Second Amendment mentions "sport" or "hunting" nowhere. It speaks of the need for a milita, and prohibits the infringement of the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms.

As an authority to appeal to, I think Chief Justice Burger is lacking, but he's the best the Other Side™ has.

Continuing, the Professor now attempts to, as his type always does, read overweening import into the Second Amendment's opening clause:
That amendment's prologue once seemed to restrict possession of arms to state-organized militias summoned to defend individual states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

With professional police forces and a national military, these militias became obsolete along with the amendment. (My emphasis.) However, in the Heller case, Justice Antonin Scalia (an avowed textualist), wrote for a 5-4 majority and oddly dismissed the prologue that provided a limited context for understanding the meaning of the amendment and that supported Burger's rejection of the NRA's position. Scalia reconstructed a moribund amendment newly to read: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," and this translated into a substantive, individual right to self defense. Two years later, the same majority in a case from Chicago ruled that the right announced in Heller (extracted from constitutional language that once had seemed only to promote "the security of a free state") paradoxically binds the states as well.

Detached from the prologue or any other context, the right "to keep and bear arms" could literally include any arms.
Now Professor Magee is supposed to be an expert on Constitutional Law, is he not? Apparently, however he has no grasp of the Rule of Law and the power of precedent. Let's examine his assertion that Scalia's decision "oddly dismissed the prologue that provided a limited context for understanding the meaning of the amendment." In the antebellum Scott v. Sanford or "Dredd Scott" decision, the 7-2 majority of the Court decided that the plaintiff, a slave, and by extension all black residents of the United States was not and could not be a citizen of the United States because:
For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.
(My emphasis.) The Court understood precisely what rights they were denying to blacks by denying them citizenship, and you'll note that - in a Supreme Court decision no less - the right to "keep and carry arms" is in no way associated with enrollment in a militia, "well-regulated" or otherwise.

But this was a horrible, unjust decision, you exclaim! Indeed it was. And after a long and bloody war, in large part fought to determine just who were and weren't citizens, the Constitution (you remember, that document that Professor Magee is supposed to be an expert on?) was amended. The Thirteenth Amendment said yes, blacks were citizens, and the Fourteenth Amendment said "they get all the same rights as everyone else." In fact, the language was interestingly evocative of the wording in Dred Scott:
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Again, my emphasis.

What was one of those "privileges and immunities" defined by the Dred Scott court? The right to "keep and carry arms wherever they went."

But not so fast! After the war there was much resistance to allowing blacks to enjoy the privileges and immunities that tens of thousands had been killed wounded to win them. In 1875, after an incident in which several hundred blacks were disarmed and then subsequently slaughtered, charges were brought against some of the killers in U.S. v. Cruikshank. Among the charges was one having to do with the disarmament of the victims, specifically:
The second (count) avers an intent to hinder and prevent the exercise by the same persons of the 'right to keep and bear arms for a lawful purpose.'
What did the Supreme Court determine? (This one is a favorite among the gun-control crowd - as long as it is suitably edited):
The second and tenth counts are equally defective. The right there specified is that of 'bearing arms for a lawful purpose.' This is not a right granted by the Constitution.
"See! SEE?!?" they shout. But they always leave out the next part:
Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow-citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called, in The City of New York v. Miln, 11 Pet. 139, the 'powers which relate to merely municipal legislation, or what was, perhaps, more properly called internal police,' 'not surrendered or restrained' by the Constituton of the United States.
(My emphasis.)  So, between the Dred Scott decision of 1857, the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, and the Cruikshank decision in 1875 the pre-existing right to "keep and carry arms wherever" we go, the right of "bearing arms for a lawful purpose" went from the inherent right of every citizen to something which Congress couldn't infringe on, but your state and local governments could.


Which is why we have developed a myriad patchwork of gun laws from state to state, county to county, and city to city.  That's why it may be perfectly legal for you to do something in one location, but by driving to the next county or city you could be guilty of a felony for doing the exact same thing.  Hardly an ability to keep and carry arms wherever you go, no?

And that is why Heller and McDonald were so important - because Heller said the right was individual, like all the rights protected under the First Amendment, and McDonald said Cruikshank was WRONG, and that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to that right, and NO jurisdiction can infringe on it, not just Congress.

However, in the landmark 1939 case of U.S. v. Miller the Supreme Court did not ignore the "the prologue that provided a limited context for understanding the meaning of the amendment". Miller, a known moonshiner, was arrested in possession of a sawed-off shotgun that the government could easily prove he'd taken across state lines. In Federal district court the judge declared that the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, which made it illegal to move such a weapon across state lines without possession of a $200 tax stamp (on a $10 shotgun) and that also required registration of the weapon and its owner, was unconstitutional as it violated the Second Amendment. That decision was appealed and went immediately before the Supreme Court without any delaying moves through the Appeals court. In the short interim between the District Court decision and the Supreme Court hearing, Miller vanished and no one appeared before the Court to speak on his behalf.

Mr. Gordon Dean for the Solicitor General's office argued (among other things) that Miller had no standing in relation to the Second Amendment because he obviously wasn't a member of a "well-regulated militia," but the Court did not take that argument into account.  It studied and discussed just who were the militia, but rejected the argument that Miller had no standing. Instead, the Court decided the case on the merits of the weapon:
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense.
(My emphasis.)  Remember, no one was there to argue Miller's side. Had there been, abundant evidence was available that "short-barreled shotguns" have been of military usefulness since their invention, but this raises another question that I also mentioned in my comments.

The 1934 NFA regulates automatic weapons - like Justice Burger's "machine pistols" - exactly the same as short-barreled shotguns. The same requirement for registration and the same $200 tax stamp.

What if Miller had possessed, say, a Browning Automatic Rifle? That weapon was part of the Table of Equipment for any infantry platoon in the U.S. Army at the time. (And a favorite of Clyde Barrow.)  Could the Court have claimed ignorance of that? Prior to 1934 you could order one directly from the manufacturer and have it shipped to your door. But could the Court say that such a weapon was not "part of the ordinary military equipment"? That was the basis on which they reversed and remanded the Miller decision to the lower court for finding, a finding which never happened.

So Justice Scalia's odd dismissal of "the prologue that provided a limited context for understanding the meaning of the amendment"? Two prior Supreme Court cases, Scott and Cruikshank dismissed it before him, and Miller was based on whether the weapon was of military usefulness, not whether Miller was a member of a militia or whether the weapon was suitable for "sporting purposes."  I'd say he followed precedent properly.

And Professor Magee's a Constitutional expert?

Continuing:
Larry Ward, promoter of "Gun Appreciation Day," asserted on national television last week that the amendment was meant to arm "the people" to oppose a "tyrannical" government. This would constitutionally entitle "the people" to whatever arms they need to wage war against the United States should it be declared "tyrannical," presumably by Larry Ward or other attentive citizens.

Simply to state his position is enough to refute it.
Not so fast there, Guido. I could write another entire essay on this topic, but that's for another time. That statement is a lazy way to avoid an uncomfortable subject, and if the Professor would like, I'm up for a discussion on it, too, but getting back to this piece:
Responding to President Obama's inaugural remark that absolutes are not necessarily principles, the NRA's CEO Wayne LaPierre in Reno on Jan. 22 quoted Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black who in the first James Madison lecture in 1960 at New York University law school had said: "There are 'absolutes' in our Bill of Rights, and they were put there on purpose by men who knew what words meant, and meant their prohibitions to be 'absolutes.'" LaPierre ignored Black's definition in the same lecture of the Second Amendment "to include only arms necessary to a well-regulated militia."

Black, in fact, had joined the unanimous opinion in 1939 that the Court in Heller effectively overruled.
Really? Go back and read Miller again, Professor. I think you missed the big flashing sign.
Whatever one thinks of the unprecedented ruling in Heller, opponents of regulations or bans (of) military-style automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines should read what Justice Scalia in Heller actually said: "Of course the right was not unlimited ... [W]e do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation." "We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. [T]he sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time.' We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.'"
The AR-15 rifle is currently the most popular long gun in America, manufactured by literally dozens of companies and owned by literally millions of people. It is also carried by the majority of police departments around the country. Does that not qualify as "common use"? As the semi-automatic version of the select-fire M16 and M4 military-issue rifle and carbine, does it not meet the Miller "ordinary equipment" test?  As the joke goes, "Is gun.  Is not safe."  And it's hardly unusual.
Neither Gov. Markell nor President Obama is proposing anything forbidden by the only decision the Court has ever made that comes anywhere close to the NRA's account of the Second Amendment. There is no constitutional right to possess the type of "dangerous and unusual" firepower that killed kindergartners in Newtown. Accustomed to weapons "in common use at the time," the founding generation, even the most gifted and farsighted among them, could hardly have imagined such weapons.
The founding generation could "hardly have imagined" radio, telephones, television, communication satellites, the internet, cell phones, fax and copying machines, scanners or any of the other myriad advancements in information technology, but those are all protected under the First Amendment's freedom of expression.

The current Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote a rather famous dissent in the 2003 Silveira v. Lockyer case that rejected an en banc rehearing. In it he said:
Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that "speech, or . . . the press" also means the Internet, and that "persons, houses, papers, and effects" also means public telephone booths. When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases — or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we're none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it's using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.
Silveira was decided using the Ninth Circuit's 1996 Hickman v. Block decision that erroneously interpreted the Supreme Court's Miller decision as declaring the right to arms a collective and not individual right.

And Professor Magee's op-ed is but another example of someone wishing to constitutionalize his own personal preference.

Continuing:
Despite the overflow crowd in Dover to hear David Keene, most Americans are willing to prohibit certain military-style weapons and ammunition. More people are killed in the United States by gun violence on average each year than all the Americans who have died in both long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Banning high-powered automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines might not end daily killings largely ignored by the media or massacres making national headlines only to disappear with time.
Long guns are used in a tiny fraction of all firearm-involved crimes, and "military-style weapons" are only a small percentage of that tiny fraction.  Given the FACT that the overwhelming majority of people killed and injured in the United States by "gun violence" are killed and injured with HANDGUNS - a fact that hasn't changed since retired Chief Justice Warren Burger went on the lecture circuit to try to get them banned, then a ban on "certain military-style weapons and ammunition," "high-powered automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines" is merely theater, albeit theater with an ultimate goal.

No, an "assault weapon" ban is precisely what Charles Krauthammer said it was for in 1996:
In an election year you expect Washington to be full of phony arguments. But even a cynic must marvel at the all-round phoniness of the debate over repeal of the assault weapons ban. Both sides are blowing smoke.

The claim of the advocates that banning these 19 types of "assault weapons" will reduce the crime rate is laughable. There are dozens of other weapons, the functional equivalent of these "assault weapons," that were left off the list and are perfect substitutes for anyone bent on mayhem.

--

Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquility of the kind enjoyed in sister democracies like Canada and Britain.

Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a purely symbolic move in that direction.
(My emphasis.)  Concluding Professor Magee's piece:
The NRA is quite right in pushing mental illness as a major contributor to the epidemic of gun violence gripping this country. However, it undermines its own credibility and disserves the public to exaggerate what the Supreme Court or any of its justices have said just to ignite support for make-believe constitutional rights.
I think, Professor Magee, that you have undermined your own credibility and performed a disservice to the public in writing your op-ed. You have attempted to mislead the public on the law through deliberate mendacity.

Shame on you.

And what is it you teach your students?

UPDATE, 2/1/13:

It's been almost three days since this went up. There have been some fun comments to the DelawareOnline piece, but Professor Magee has not replied to my emails. Probably spam-filtered due to the Gmail origin. As an interesting aside, I received this message from a Facebook member:
Kevin, Professor Magee from the University of Delaware was the head of the Poli Sci department and, as a Poli Sci major with a concentration in public law, the man who taught all but one of the Constitutional Law classes I took in college.

Not once did we ever discuss the 2nd Amendment, even in a class dedicated to Constitutional Law and Individual Liberties.
Well, until 1999 even Laurence Tribe gave the Second Amendment short-shrift in his textbook American Constitutional Law. But I can't say I'm surprised.

Echoes

Today Michael Bane posted The Rabbit Hole and said (among other things):
As I have said for years, the controlling word in the phrase "gun control" is control, not gun. I've followed with interest many of the threads on various forums arguing about "terminology"...if, for instance, we all agreed to call black rifles "modern sporting rifles" or we were careful to never refer to firearms as "weapons." I used to agree pretty wholeheartedly with those arguments, but over the years I've come around to a different view. Our enemies aren't antigun, they're anti-people-with-guns. It's not the guns they hate...it's us.

--

The reason there is no middle ground (and Mike Thompson, now would be a good time to take notes) is this war is between two fundamentally opposed world views. After living in New York City and spending a lot of time in California, I've come to see the fight as one between the adults and the perpetual children of the Nanny State.
I think it's worse than that.  Back around 2004 ex-blogger Ironbear from the now-defunct blog Who Tends the Fires wrote something I've quoted repeatedly here:
It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of "cultural war," or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism... the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put - and over who'll hold the reins. It's the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.

--

This is a conflict of ideologies...

The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.
One of the few things Patrick J. Buchanan has ever said that I agree with is that "Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey."

Interesting that more people seem to be awakening to the idea.  Sad that more haven't.

Edited to add:  Read also Michael's earlier post, A Certain Kind of Peace. Excerpt:
The point that I want to make here is that just because we have the facts on our side doesn't automatically mean that we win. Every word that Mitt Romney said about Barack Obama in the last election has proven to be true, yet you'll notice that BHo is the President and Mitt Romney is a future trivia question on Jeopardy. This is not a debate, and we are not a debating society. This is an all-out war for the soul of the United States. I don't want to win this debate; I would rather borrow this quote from Conan the Barbarian (channeling Genghis Khan of course), "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."

Facts are indeed weapons of this war! We must have those weapons at our fingertips (and I'll do my best to help in that arena), but weapons alone do not win a war. Strategy wins a war. And in this war we need to be thinking of ourselves as guerrillas facing a large, heavily funded, absolutely ruthless oppressor.

Quote of the Day - Victor Davis Hanson Edition

On education:
Thank God for Mississippi and Alabama, or California schools would test dead last.

Somehow, in just thirty years we created obstacles to public learning that produce results approaching the two-century horrific legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. About half the resources of the California State University system are devoted to remedial schooling for underperforming high school students (well over half who enter take remediation courses; half don't graduate even in six years; and well over half have sizable financial aid). The point of CSU’s general education requirement is not so much any more to offer broad learning (who is to say what is "general education?"), but rather to enter a sort of race, class, and gender boot camp that allows some time off to become familiar with how the culture and politics of the state should continue.
(Bold emphasis mine.)  Excerpted from California at Twilight. And, being a college professor himself, Professor Hanson is what is known as a "primary source" on the topic.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mystery Political Theater 3k

I don't know how I missed this one when it was first posted in April of last year.  Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle skewer Obama's The Road We've Traveled:




Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quote of the Day - Glenn Reynolds Edition

Actually, he gets two.  First up, this one, from his post on Gun Control Politics:
Resort to theatrical efforts at emotional blackmail is an admission that you have no intellectual arguments. Which is par for the course with the smarmy Diane Sawyer, of course, and with the even-smarmier gun control movement.

I would ask "have you no decency?" — but we already know the answer to that.
Which presents me the perfect opportunity to insert this video clip of the "smarmy Diane Sawyer" from 2007:


The second quote is from an older post having to do with the civil war in Syria, but it has more a more universal applicability:
In a revolution, if you’re not willing to die or kill for your beliefs you’re basically irrelevant. Tweeting doesn’t count.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Out With the Old, In With the... Older!

About seven years ago, I bought a Winchester 94 for BAG day, the 24" blued version, chambered in .45 Long Colt.  Nice rifle, but the 24" barrel was a bit unwieldy and I really wanted something in stainless, but at the time those were rare as hen's teeth.

Well, my favorite Merchant-O'Death dropped me an email last night to inform me that they'd just received a stainless Rossi M92 carbine in .45LC, if I was interested.


So this morning I trekked over to the shop, hunted for a place to park, (thanks, Obama!) and went in and made a trade. Almost seven years ago I dropped $399 on the Winchester. I got $400 for it today on trade, and dropped an extra $105 to pick up the Rossi. Two model years older (Winchester '92 vs. '94), but much handier with a 16" barrel, and the action is quite smooth. Now I'm looking at modifying it with a peep sight to replace the bolt-mounted safety and a metal magazine follower to replace the plastic one. These seem to be the most recommended modifications made by the Cowboy Action shooters. Very nice piece!

Quote of the Day - Fracking Edition

From Dale at Mostly Cajun:
I worked for a company refurbishing a SONATRACH liquifaction plant that took that gas and liquified it and sold it to, among other places, the US, shipping it to the facility that sits behind my office, where we turn the liquid back into gas and pump it into the pipelines that spread that energy all over the country. When we were buying gas from overseas, it was thirteen bucks for a thousand cubic feet. Now it’s a bit over three. The reason for the difference is one word, ‘FRACKING’. Yeah, the same word that’s joining global warming as the word of the week for the envirowhacko movement. And make no bones about it, under the present regime, envirowhackos are at the highest levels of the government.

So let’s see if we can put a couple of things on the table: Our own government wants to shut down OUR gas production. No sweat, huh? We can still buy gas from overseas, right? AT five times the cost of what we can suck it out of the ground here. Since gas is the energy for electricity, heating, and a million other uses in modern life, prices across the board will go up. Oh, wait! That overseas gas? Under control of all manner of people that the obama regime seems to empower. OPEC? They’re one of the more stable and benign. And how’s OPEC gonna fare as one ‘stable’ government after another falls to the obama-endorsed ‘Arab Spring’?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Michael Ramirez - Need I Say More?


(Click for original)

Your 13:29 of Zen

Watch right about 7:20.  Yikes!  Oh, and my strong suggestion is to crank up the definition as high as your connection will allow and watch it full-screen.


Quote of the Day - David Mamet Edition

David Mamet, playwright and recent convert to the right has written an op-ed on gun control for Newsweak. Today's QotD is excerpted from its opening:
Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.

For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called "The State," and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read "The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs." "Needs and abilities" are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to "the State shall take, the State shall give."
Read. The. Whole. Thing.

Your .Gov at Work

No one can convince me that this was an "unintended consequence."  Via GOF in comments:


The .gov essentially just took their property from them without compensation.

Edited to add: Don't forget, essentially the same thing is happening to Roger Kimball (and undoubtedly hundreds if not thousands of others) on the other side of the country where Sandy made landfall.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

FrackNation

I watched the documentary FrackNation that I helped fund last night when it aired on AXS.  It is a takedown of the previous crockumentary Gasland, and the opposition to fracking both here and around the world using, you know, facts.

The central focus of the film is the town of Dimock, PA and the people there who have been fighting against the anti-fracking forces, and one thing that struck me in particular was a montage of residents decrying the incredibly slanted media coverage of the topic without, as one person put it, any attempt at balance at all.

I was reminded of The Narrative - an excerpt from a Stephen Hunter novel I posted here a while back:
You do not fight the narrative. The narrative will destroy you. The narrative is all-powerful. The narrative rules. It rules us, it rules Washington, it rules everything.
--
The narrative is the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It's so powerful because it's unconscious. It's not like they get together every morning and decide "These are the lies we will tell today." No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it's a set of casual, nonrigorous assumptions about a reality they've never really experienced that's arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they've chosen to live their lives. It's a way of arranging things a certain way that they all believe in without ever really addressing carefully. It permeates their whole culture. They know, for example, that Bush is a moron and Obama is a saint. They know communism was a phony threat cooked up by right-wing cranks as a way to leverage power to the executive. They know that Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction, the response to Katrina was fucked up.... Cheney's a devil. Biden's a genius. Soft power good, hard power bad. Forgiveness excellent, punishment counterproductive, capital punishment a sin.
--
And the narrative is the bedrock of their culture, the keystone of their faith, the altar of their church. They don't even know they're true believers, because in theory they despise the true believer in anything. But they will absolutely de-frackin'-stroy anybody who makes them question that....
And the media knows that fracking is a horrible thing that destroys ground water and air quality and must be stopped at all costs because it will contribute to Global Warming.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Now THIS is a Gun Rights Spokesman

Larry Correia on "assault weapons."


Good on ya, Larry, but it wasn't Cynthia McKinney, it was Carolyn McCarthy. Understandable error.

And Larry's essay referred to was An Opinion on Gun Control. Highly recommended.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Are You Going to the NRA Convention?

This year it's in Houston, May 3-5.  I've missed the last two three, but Houston is close enough to drive to.  (15 hours from Tucson, just like Reno.)  So, if you're going, where will you be staying?  I'd like to be in the same hotel with as many other bloggers as I can.  Please let me know in comments or by email.  Thanks.

UPDATE:  I'm staying at the Hampton Inn by the Galleria. I'll at least get to meet up with JayG!

Now I just have to get my media credentials.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quote of the Day - "Yes, Exactly" Edition

From the InstaProf:
Gun control is a culture-war effort to rub middle America’s nose in the fact that the world is run by its betters. Any actual improvement in public safety is of no concern at all.

Friday, January 18, 2013

For Markadelphia

From Snarky Posters:


This goes along with today's QotD.

Quote of the Day

From Robert Avrech:
Yes, we eager students studied history, literature and art. But soon enough it became clear to me that a massive amount of time was spent on Marxist theory, a material view of the world. Still observant, still wearing a yarmulke, I would ask about religion, about the spirit. With deep condescension, my professors informed me that we live in a post-religious world. Religion, I was lectured, was the opiate of the people.

I wondered, but never had the courage to suggest, that perhaps Marxism was the opiate of the elites.

What He Said

Fûz over at WeckUpToThees! has a timely post up, ...you joined the NRA. Give it a read.

I'll add only one thing: The Second Amendment Foundation. The NRA and the various state-level organizations fight in the legislatures. The SAF fights in the courts. And we need to be hitting on ALL fronts.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Now Illegal in NY?

Remember, the new evil capacity is EIGHT!


And yes, THAT is a CLIP.

I Don't Know Why I Bother Anymore

As others do it better and faster than I.

Obama's "23 Commandments"?  Phelps dissects them perfectly.

And here I was thinking that Obama was going to, you know, DO SOMETHING!

Oh, and this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quote of the Day - "We're from the Government" Edition

Honestly, I ought to just reproduce the whole piece, but from Roger Kimball's Wall Street Journal column This Metamorphosis Will Require a Permit, I have selected this excerpt as QotD:
In "The Road to Serfdom," Friedrich Hayek noted that "the power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest functionnaire possesses who wields the coercive power of the state on whose discretion it depends whether and how I am to be allowed to live or to work."

And how. But what makes the phenomenon so insidious is that many of the functionaries are as friendly as can be. It's just that they're cogs in a machine whose overriding purpose is not service but self-perpetuation and control.

It is, as Alexis de Tocqueville saw, a recipe for a form of despotism peculiar to modern democracies. It does this, wrote Tocqueville, by enforcing "a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules" that reduces citizens "to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd." The sobering thought is that we're all complicit in that infantilization. After all, we keep voting for the politicians who put this leviathan in place.
RTWFT.

I would say "unbelievable," but it is, in fact, all too believable.

Monday, January 14, 2013

No Blog for You!

Sorry, haven't been cranking the free ice-cream machine much recently.  Been fighting off the creeping crud, and surrendered to it on Friday.  Spent most of the weekend asleep.  Now my wife has it worse than I did/do.  I'm still not quite over it.

Bleh.

Maybe later....

Friday, January 11, 2013

Your Government at Work

So Florida Senator Bill Nelson has posted a survey on his .gov homepage asking "Would you favor reinstating the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004?"  Of course I had to register my vote.  But when the results popped up, I was certain I was at a .gov website:


If you can't read that, it says 23 votes "Yes," 27 votes "No," total votes 1745.

So apparently no one on the Senator's staff can find a real online poll service?  Or is this just to prevent the Senator's embarrassment when the actual results come back 3:1 against reinstating the ban?

Yeah, your .gov at work for sure.

--

UPDATE: Somebody finally got it working. At this time, 4,398 votes - 4319 "No," 67 "Yes," and 12 "No Opinion."  Oh, and that's 64.5:1

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quote of the Day - Sounds Plausible Edition

A comment to the Market-Ticker column, Fox Gets It Right (!) On Guns:
Sorry to sound tinny, but I'm pretty convinced that this sudden, intense push for gun control is directly related to the fiscal issues facing this Nation. They don't want an armed citizenry when the SHTF. This may be government recognition that we have passed the event horizon. - Mdm
And to add to the tinfoil, it also helps explain the massive quantities of ammo purchased by various Federal departments recently. Go read the original piece and all the other comments to it. Some are really excellent.

But that wasn't the QotD.  This is, from a comment at Rachel's:
Attestations by liberals and leftists of what it is they desire bear no resemblance to what they're after.

Obamacare has nothing to do with health; cap and trade has nothing to do with global warming; anti-gun laws have nothing to do with saving lives; free schooling has nothing to do with education; universal suffrage has nothing to do with governance.

What is it they're after? What all –isms are after – acceptance, compliance, concession, cooperation, and submission; Utopia.

Utopia: if it saves but one life it's worth the death of millions. -- George Pal

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Another Repost

This one from 2006 - The Other Side:

__________________________________________________


Whenever I write an essay or argue a point about "gun control," I always consider what the other side believes. While I've always had an individual-rights understanding of the topic, it took me the better part of a decade to construct what I believe is the logically defensible ideology to support that position. I have tried to repeat those logical points, sometimes ad nauseam, in order to reach a broad audience. After three and a half years that audience has about reached its maximum here, I think, but I'm not quite done yet. The other side certainly isn't.

A long time ago I came across an anonymous quote:
Simply put, gun control cannot survive without an accompanying sea of disinformation.
This fact is one of the major reasons I started this blog. I've found through my studies that this is a truism that most people simply don't recognize. I feel a need to counter that disinformation. I found another quote, courtesy of Triggerfinger that is almost a truism:
The difference between gun control activists and gun rights activists is simple: gun rights advocates know what they are talking about, because they have depth of knowledge and expertise about firearms and pay attention to the issue. Gun control advocates, for the most part, don't know anything about guns, aren't interested in guns, and only pay attention to gun issues when the latest blood-dancing press release arrives. There's no sustainability.
All but the last sentence is correct. There may not be individual sustainability, but the bad ideas, the erroneous memes, live on.

Today's example: an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Let us fisk:
Too many weapons

Control guns to stop the tide of death.

John D. Kelly IV is an associate professor and vice chair of orthopedic surgery at Temple University School of Medicine

Weeks ago, I witnessed - again - a young man's needless departure from this life. Another victim of the senseless gunshot violence that has besieged our city.
Note: Not "senseless violence," but "senseless gunshot violence," as though it is not the violent who are at fault, but the guns. Not the person behind the trigger. Not the person who acquired the gun, loaded the gun, aimed the gun, and pulled the trigger - but the gun itself.
As an on-call surgeon, I ambled into the emergency room before I left for home that evening to be sure that no orthopedic care would be needed for the "trauma category one" I heard announced throughout the hospital.

When I entered the trauma bay of our emergency department, I was mesmerized by the surgeons who were trying heroically, albeit unsuccessfully, to revive the young man who had been shot in the chest, presumably at close range. In the cacophony of the life-and-death rescue attempt, I couldn't help overhearing a nurse exclaim, "There is another gunshot wound to the abdomen on the way."

The poor lifeless body I beheld was essentially dead on arrival. I was overwhelmed by the childlike countenance of this poor victim, who was reportedly 21 years old, but appeared still an adolescent.
A 21 year-old who the Bradys will count as a "child" in their statistics, but by any measure ought to be an adult. And why isn't he an adult? Is that the fault of guns in society? Or is there a deeper problem that guns are a symptom, but not a cause of? Dr. Kelly doesn't, and won't, consider that question. He has bought the "guns-as-disease-vector" meme.
I remember my 21st year with the fondest of memories - family, friends, romance, sports, college, and the prospects of going to medical school. I grieve this young man's truncated existence - the loss of yet another precious life, a life that will never experience the full joys of early manhood, of vocational calling, of marriage and parenthood - all the things I revere about my blessed life.
I can infer from this that Dr. Kelly, the fourth, was not raised in the "inner city." That he was not part of the tiny identifiable population (young urban black males) who make up the largest portion of homicide victims in this country, at a ratio of 6:1 over any other group. That he was raised in a whole family, and was not exposed to drugs and violence and poverty and neglect from childhood.

But it's guns that are the problem.
With every gunshot-related death I read about or discover on TV, there always seems to be a continual lament: This violence and senseless killing must stop. With the recent death of Philadelphia Police Officer Gary Skerski, the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the slaying of Officer Daniel Faulkner, and the recent Springfield High School tragedy, the public outcry against gun violence seems to have reached its zenith.
For this month. But as I've pointed out, Birchwood, Wisconson is not Hungerford, England, and Philadelphia is not Dunblane.
Alas, nothing has changed. Yet one blatant truth remains: There are too many guns.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what every single one of us who believes in the right to arms must never forget:

The Other Side BELIEVES THIS. Absolutely. Without question.

It is their single article of faith.

And it is why we cannot trust them when they assure us that they "don't want to take our guns away," because if the "one blatant truth" is that there are "too many guns," then the only answer is to reduce the number of guns.

This is simple logic.

If the single tenet of the gun control faith is that there are too many guns, the end purpose of "gun control" must be to eliminate them, or - at a minimum - reduce the number to some arbitrary "this is OK" level which I suspect must be significantly close to "nobody but the police and the military can have them" as to be indistinguishable from zero.

Yet we've seen what that's done for England. A complete ban on full-auto weapons? Gun crime increased. And full-auto weapons are still used in crimes, such as the January, 2003 shooting of two young women at a party in London, or a young man at a carnival in August of 2004, or the group, including a 14 year-old girl, arrested in October for supplying guns to criminals - including a sub-machine gun. What do they all have in common?

Youth gangs and drugs. Poverty and crime. Failed government policies based on "blatant truths."

Oh, and full-auto, completely banned firearms on an island.

What about their ban on semi-auto and pump-action rifles? Gun crime went up. The ban on handguns? Well, according to the BBC, "there were 4,903 firearms incidents recorded in 1997 when Labour first took power" and banned handguns. In the 2004/2005 reporting period there were 10,979 recorded firearms crimes according to the Home Office. Fifty-eight percent of them involved handguns.

The handgun ban removed over 160,000 - legally owned - handguns from the UK with the insistence that the "number of guns" was the problem, and the promise that banning them would make the public safer.

Go ahead. Pull my other leg.

The British government estimated in 2000 that some three million firearms were held illegally there. Boy, those bans really worked well, didn't they?
A wounded culture simply does not need more weapons to settle its conflicts. Until this truth is embraced and conquered, the carnage will continue.
Par for the course, once you've erroneously identified the problem, the platitudes commence. There's a "wounded culture," all right, but "more weapons" isn't the cause of it, nor will removing those weapons cure that culture even if it was possible. England is the petri-dish that proves this. Until that truth is embraced, the real problems will never be addressed - because it's far easier to point to an inanimate object than it is to overcome cognitive dissonance and accept the facts of human nature and failed social policies.
The state legislature's failure last month to pass a paltry "one-gun-a-month" limit speaks volumes about Pennsylvania's resistance to change. Who on God's earth needs more than one gun a month?
Ah, yes. The "need" argument. Who needs "X." Fast cars? Trans-fats? Cigarettes? Why not ban it? If you can limit purchases to one a month, why not one a year? One a decade? If someone is already a gun owner, how does limiting them to one a month stop them from committing a gun crime with one they already own? Or how does preventing a purchase from a dealer prevent a purchase on the street? Criminals won't pay attention to "one gun a month" laws. They don't pay attention to "murder is illegal" laws. This is another example of "feel good" legislation that acts as "the next step."

The next step to what? To not taking our guns away, of course!

Because the "blatant truth" is the number of guns is the problem!

Oh. Wait...
Pennsylvania eased restrictions on gun permits in 1985. Since then, the number of citizens authorized to carry a handgun has risen from 700 to 32,000.
Wait for it...
Guns are simply too accessible and too often used to settle disagreements.
By CCW permit holders?
Our beloved city saw 380 homicides in 2005, the most since 1997. Of those, 208 deaths were over "disputes." Drug-related killings accounted for only 13 percent. This year, we are on track to surpass the total.
Again, BY CCW HOLDERS?

That's certainly the implication he's blatantly making. Oh, and according to the Pennsylvania State Police, there are currenly not 32,000 carry licenses on issue in Pennsylvania, but 101,643. This report does not mention how many of those permits have been revoked, so I must assume that (as it is in other states) the number is insignificantly small, but these are the people Dr. Kelly thinks should be disarmed.

Because we know they have guns. They've got a license to carry.

And what were those "disputes" about? Could it be "disrespect?"
I have had the profound privilege of caring for injured members of our beloved police force for the last 17 years. These men and women risk their lives every day for our society. Yet they continue to be outgunned by their foes. Even an Uzi submachine gun, classified as a handgun, is not difficult for a criminal to procure.
It's not too hard in England, either, and sub-machine guns have been banned there since 1935. Also, Uzi submachine guns are classified by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as fully-automatic weapons, not handguns, unless you're talking about the semi-auto version called the mini-uzi. The full-sized semi-auto Uzi is considered to be a rifle. The submachine gun version is heavily restricted, and it is difficult for a law-abiding citizen to procure. But remember this Violence Policy Center advice from 1988:
Although handguns claim more than 20,000 lives a year, the issue of handgun restriction consistently remains a non-issue with the vast majority of legislators, the press, and public. The reasons for this vary: the power of the gun lobby; the tendency of both sides of the issue to resort to sloganeering and pre-packaged arguments when discussing the issue; the fact that until an individual is affected by handgun violence he or she is unlikely to work for handgun restrictions; the view that handgun violence is an "unsolvable" problem; the inability of the handgun restriction movement to organize itself into an effective electoral threat; and the fact that until someone famous is shot, or something truly horrible happens, handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority. Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons - anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun - can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.
Dr. Kelly provides another example of that "sea of disinformation" and his willingness to prey on the public's ignorance.
Our country experiences 30,000 firearm-related deaths each year. The estimated cost to society - including loss of productivity, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life - has been estimated at $63.4 billion per year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2004 the total was 29,569. Of those, 16,750 - 56.6% - were suicides. Yet America ranks relatively low for suicide internationally. Japan, with almost no privately owned firearms has a far higher suicide rate. France, higher still.

But guns are at fault for all of this?

There were 5,733 non-gun homicides and 15,689 non-gun suicides in 2004. What inanimate object is at fault for those? And why are we only concerned with gun violence? (And why don't they call it the "Gun-Violence Policy Center"?)
Contrast these figures to countries with strict handgun prohibitions, where the number of gunshot-related deaths is but a handful.
Like England? Where the number of gunshot-related deaths has always been "a handful?" But has done nothing but increase since they addressed the "one blatant truth" that there were "too many guns?" Or how about Switzerland, where every eligible male of military age possesses a military (read: "full-auto") firearm and ammunition for it, and handgun regulation is minimal?

Care to run that one past me again?
It is time we embrace the obvious. Unless we make it more difficult (if not impossible) to carry a concealable firearm, the loss of precious life will inexorably continue.
Yes, let's "embrace the obvious." How do you plan to accomplish this? Force everyone to walk around naked, or dressed in Saran-Wrap sarongs? How do you propose to make the some 65 million (in reality, probably far more) handguns already in private hands unconcealable?

I'm waiting for suggestions. You know, that don't include "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in."
Let's get back to the fundamentals: Life is more important than outdated "Second Amendment rights" or special-interest groups.
At least Dr. Kelly recognizes that the Second Amendment stands in the way of his vision of utopia. Unlike most, while he considers it a withered appendage, it's not yet powerless to him. Life is more important than a lot of things. That's one reason so many people have gotten concealed-carry permits, 101,000 in Pennsylvania alone. My "special interest group" supports the Constitution of the United States and all of the Bill of Rights. My "special interest group" recognizes that even über-liberal Alan Dershowitz understands the problem illustrated here:
Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right or that it's too much of a public safety hazard, don't see the danger in the big picture. They're courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like.
And so does Ninth Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld:
About twenty percent of the American population, those who live in the Ninth Circuit, have lost one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. And, the methodology used to take away the right threatens the rest of the Constitution. The most extraordinary step taken by the panel opinion is to read the frequently used Constitutional phrase, "the people," as conferring rights only upon collectives, not individuals. There is no logical boundary to this misreading, so it threatens all the rights the Constitution guarantees to "the people," including those having nothing to do with guns. I cannot imagine the judges on the panel similarly repealing the Fourth Amendment’s protection of the right of "the people" to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the right of "the people" to freedom of assembly, but times and personnel change, so that this right and all the other rights of "the people" are jeopardized by planting this weed in our Constitutional garden.
The populations of the states in the 9th Circuit could, if they wished, do as Washington DC has done and ban the possession of handguns, for all the good it has done DC. That Court has said that the Second Amendment does not protect against this. But Judge Kleinfeld understands the danger, and he is not alone. Dr. Kelly apparently rejects or has never considered the argument.
Society's cultural ills, including the dissolution of family, departure from God, and the degradation of mores, will not be cured overnight. In the meantime, guns remain the default option for conflict resolution, and more guns lead to more killings. One more senseless killing is one too many.

Excuse me for now. I must rest and prepare for the next call. I pray my spirit can withstand what befalls my eyes in my next sojourn to the ER.
And here I will ask Dr. Kelly Joe Huffman's "Just One Question":
Can you demonstrate just one time, one place, throughout all of human history, where restricting the access of handheld weapons to the average person made them safer?
Because that's what Dr. Kelly is advocating.

The only people he and those like him can disarm are the law abiding, as England has discovered. All they can accomplish is to build a population of disarmed victims for what we know is a small but willing pool of violent criminals who will never be prevented from getting all the weapons they want or need. England and Wales may not have the murder rates that the U.S. does (and never has), but their rates of many other violent crimes - muggings, home invasion, assault - outstrip ours now.

As I illustrated in Questions from the Audience?, the United States just went through a decade of significantly declining violent crime - including homicide - while "the number of guns" here increased each and every year. During the same period, the UK experienced significantly increased violent crime, even though they banned handguns. How does Dr. Kelly reconcile this fact with his belief that "too many guns" are the cause of violent crime? I submit that he cannot.

His position is, as it is for all who support "gun control" as a solution to violent crime, based on an erroneous ideology. His solution is, as Mencken (or someone) put it, "simple, neat, and wrong," but it's the one "solution" that all fervent gun-control supporters believe. "If we could only get rid of the guns..." But we can't. They're not going to go away.

And that is why we must reach those fence-sitters out there and educate them. The best way I can think of is to make them shooters too. As Teresa Neilson Hayden put it:
Basically, I figure guns are like gays: They seem a lot more sinister and threatening until you get to know a few; and once you have one in the house, you can get downright defensive about them.
I think Mike S. Adams might be on to something. Interesting idea, anyway.

UPDATE, 1/1/06: Dr. Kelly responds:
Kevin, thanks for writing. I am all for individual rights but life is sacred. Too many guns end up in the wrong hands. Whatever reason, the youth of North Philly too easily obtain firearms which are designed to seriously wound. Furthermore, the folks who wrote the constitution also owned slaves. Times do change and we have not demonstrated that the masses, unlike you, can responsibly control firearms. Peace, JK
My reply to the good Doctor:
Dr. Kelly:

You didn't read the piece, did you?

Read your email to me carefully. What you're saying here is that "the masses" - your words - are "the wrong hands." Apparently I'm OK, though.

Sorry, Doc. "The wrong hands" belong to about 1% of the total population - i.e.: by definition, not "the masses." But your "solution" is to disarm them, with the erroneous belief that doing so will disarm "the wrong hands." We have evidence that this doesn't work. That the fundamental idea behind it all - that there are "too many guns" - is in error.

Are you familiar with the term "cognitive dissonance"?

Oh, and as to "the Founders owned slaves" - yes, they did. And seventy years after the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights we went to war over that. Following the war, we amended the Constitution. Read the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, the one that contains this clause:
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Are you familiar with the Dred Scott decision? The 1856 Supreme Court case that declared that blacks, free or slave, could not be citizens because:
For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.
I don't think the "privileges or immunities" language in the Fourteenth Amendment was an accident. I think Chief Justice Taney quite well understood what the Founders intended with the Bill of Rights, and he and six others on the Supreme Court denied fundamental human rights to blacks because they were "the wrong hands" in their eyes.

So you're in good company. You've just broadened the bigotry.
UPDATE: The good doctor sent another reply. So did I.

___________________________________

The gun controllers aren't interested in "reducing gun violence," they're interested in reducing gun ownership.  That's all they've ever been interested in.

Quote of the Day - Thomas Sowell on Education

From his Townhall piece, The Role of Educators:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society's knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education -- one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.

John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society's culture to the young, but as an agent of change -- someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.

A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America -- and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.

If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers' attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn's book.

That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as "agents of change," without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse -- or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.

A People's History has even made inroads into popular culture. I wonder how many books that clip sold?

"Agents of Change" explains things like The George Orwell Daycare Center, too.

Here's another little example, a worksheet from a fifth-grade Scholastic Teaching Resources mathematics workbook on the distributive property of multiplication. Check the graphic:


Tell me, what does "distributing the wealth" have to do with the distributive property?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Quote of the Day

Found here:
Let's look at what we have learned from this election: Twenty-one of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. The American people have re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about 9 percent. This indicates, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots.
100+ years of Publik Edumacashun FTMFW!

But THAT Would Be RAAAAAACIST™!

I've got nothin' for you right now, but US Citizen pointed to this excellent video that repeats some of what I've been saying for years here:


They don't care about violent crime. They care about disarming the citizenry.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Well of COURSE Not

PJTV: Chicago Murder Rate Proves That Liberals Do Not Care About Gun Deaths:


And "gun control" isn't about guns, it's about CONTROL.

Quote of the Day - Taki's Mag Edition

Wherein the editors tell us how they really feel:
Trying to rein in Leviathan is somehow depicted as "obstructionist." One must never obstruct the bloody beast. One must continue tossing raw meat into its maw. Anyone who stands in the beast's way is full of "hate" and "anger." We know who the problem is here, right? It's those Tea Party redneck rural paint-huffing Bible-thumping cousin-humping bigots who aren't like we are and whose chief sin is that they don’t like people who are different than they are. We all know it's a scientific fact that those people are only against abortion because they prefer the taste of newborn babies.

The average naïve and uninformed American seems to believe that a politician's main role is to care about his or her feelings. As long as the words sound vaguely compassionate and the soundtrack is uplifting, they'll swallow whatever ball of honey-coated dung that politicians feed them. In truth, politicians care about us so much, they even indenture the unborn to lifetime financial servitude.

If you oppose taxing the lifeblood out of the people until their bodies are dried-up like beef jerky, well, you're obviously a racist. Not that there's any correlation. There doesn't need to be a correlation in a world where feelings trump facts.

I Already Liked Jeremy Clarkson...

...but now I want to build a shrine to him. And I now understand why Piers Morgan moved to the U.S.

Clarkson punched him.


And doesn't want him back.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

George F. Will on Religion and Politics

Former Blogger Jed Baer sent me an email New Year's Eve with a link to a recent speech given by George F. Will at St. Louis' Washington University for their John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.  I respect Mr. Will quite a bit, having quoted him numerous times on this blog including the entire text of his keynote speech at the Cato Institute's biennial Milton Friedman Prize dinner from May of 2010.  I won't do that again, even though I have much better PDF version of this speech from which to work than I had of the previous one.  No, this time I'll just embed the video.

Mr. Will explains that he is "secular," by which I assume he means small-"a" atheist or agnostic, but his defense of religion in America had me nodding along throughout the speech.  If you're interested in this topic, I highly recommend the speech and Q&A that follows:


I will excerpt a short bit, though, to whet your appetite:
When people today speak of nature, they generally speak of flora and fauna, of trees and animals and other things not human.  But the Founders spoke of nature as a guide to and and a measure of human action.  They thought of nature not as something merely to be manipulated for human convenience, but rather as a source of norms to be discovered.  They understood that natural rights could not be asserted, celebrated and defended unless nature, including human nature, is regarded as a normative rather than a merely contingent fact.

This was a view buttressed by the teaching of biblical religion,  that nature is not chaos, but rather it is the replacement of chaos reflecting the mind and will of the Creator.   This is the creator who endows us with natural rights, that are inevitable, inalienable, and universal, and hence the foundation of democratic equality.  And these natural rights are the foundation of limited government, government defined by the limited goal of securing those rights so that individuals may flourish in the free and responsible exercise of those rights.

A government thus limited is not in the business of imposing its opinions about what happiness or what excellence the citizens should choose to pursue.  Having such opinions is the business of other institutions, private and voluntary institutions, especially religious ones that supply the conditions of liberty.   Thus the Founders did not consider natural rights reasonable because religion affirmed them, rather the Founders considered religion reasonable because it secured natural rights.

There may, however, be a cultural contradiction in modernity.  The contradiction is that while religion can sustain liberty, liberty does not necessarily sustain religion.  This is of paramount importance because the seminal importance of the Declaration of Independence.
And he goes on to explain why.

Worth your ninety minutes.

Fracking Hollywood

A while back, I chipped in some cash so that the documentary FrackNation could be finished.  Well, it's finished:



Yup, it's going to be on cable, on AXS TV.  I'll DVR it.  Should be interesting when compared to Matt Damon's oil-money-funded feature drama Promised Land.

UPDATE: And they've upped the ante with respect to Promised Land:
Matt Damon called 'liar' by pro-fracking filmmaker
Accompanied by this photo:

Photobucket
Movieline.com attended on a panel discussion about "Promised Land" featuring Damon and reported that Damon said the movie wasn't political.

"I don't want to call Matt Damon a liar but he's a liar, really," McAleer said. "It's a deeply political movie and it's deeply disingenuous for Matt Damon to say otherwise. … Matt Damon isn't telling the truth."

Quote of the Day - Astute Observation Edition

In a sane nation, "Contempt of Congress" would not be a crime. It would be a Pulitzer Prize category. - Jim @ The Travis McGee Reader
Or a Nobel Prize category....

Just sayin'.

FORWARD!

From The People's Cube:

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Quote of the Day - Rachel Lucas Edition

Rachel starts the year off right with the title to her post, which I made QotD:

Thank God our heroic president spent more than three million dollars of our money to heroically help our heroic Congress heroically do exactly shit-all.

After the title, she really gets going.

Read it all, and all the links.  Quoting Rachel again:
When I encounter people in conversation who acknowledge the set of facts about what’s happening in the Western world right now and then say, "Meh, bah, blah blah, there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m just going to enjoy my life," I literally – I do mean literally - almost burst into tears because it feels so hopeless and frustrating if even the most reasonable of us flat-out do not give a shit. I actually have burst into tears when certain people very close to me have offered those rhetorical shoulder-shrugs.

Sorry to be so pessimistic. Last thing I want is for this blog to become depressing for anyone who likes it. It's just that I read all that insanity about the fiscal cliff "deal" today, and then a trainload of terrifying anti-2nd Amendment rhetoric by fascists dressed in sheep’s clothing, and then two pieces by the excellent historian and writer Victor Hanson Davis, and I'm ready to offer a cash reward for anyone who can convince me that America as we've known it is not irretrievably gone.
I've got nothin' else for you today.



Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 TSM Year in Review

I've done this every January 1st since 2007, but I almost skipped it this year.  I think burnout is getting to me.  But I decided to do it anyway, so here we go.

January brought the single most popular post here ever.  My dad sent me the link in an email, and since I put it up on January 11 (according to Google Analytics) it's drawn 396,497 hits:  That's not Recoil, THIS is RECOIL.  And 144 comments without a peep from Markadelphia.  Yup, a YouTube video.  Somebody ELSE's YouTube video.

In February another YouTube video post became the #2 all-time traffic draw with 129,711 hits so far and counting:  THIS Might Make Me Want to Try Shotgunning.  Why do I bother with überposts?

In March, we lost another blogger.  Newbius passed away.  I know more people online who have died than I know in meatspace, and as I get older that list gets longer.  The first death of an online personality that really affected me was when Acidman passed in June of 2006.  Rob Smith is, in a way, responsible for the existence of this blog.  But it's still a shock when someone known to you is no longer there.  Fair winds to them all.

I had another very popular post - again, someone else's work - when I posted the story of J. David Phillips and his last-ditch self-defense:  The .25ACP and "Stopping Power"

April brought us the conclusion of the GOP primary race, and the Quote of the Year that predicted, somewhat, the outcome in November:
Given how the GOP field has been winnowed, this has really just been a race to determine the form Gozer the Traveler takes.

So this just means the giant Sloar is off the table and means is we’re looking between the moving Torb and the Staypuff Marshmellow man.

-- Jack
And, of course, the accompanying T-Shirt.  Also in April, I drank the Kool-Aid and bought an M&P9.

Speaking of traditions, May 1 is now Victims of Communism Day.  I intend to commemorate it every year.  I bought a new AR lower.  Those are thin on the ground these days.  And TSM turned nine years old and drew its 3,000,000th visitor, and that ain't bad.

Instead of original content (who reads that?) in June I posted a series of Quotes of the Day from educator John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education. Twelve of them, in fact.

In July, the Supreme Court ruled on the Constitutionality of Obamacare. A 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice Roberts, said it was. I took exception.

 I was introduced to the concept of "hyperindividualism." And finally, on the event of Milton Friedman's 100th birthday, I posted a video of an excellent speech he gave in 1978 at the University of Chicago. I strongly recommend you watch it.

In relation to that video, in early August I posted a Quote of the Day in apposition to one from the video illustrating the ongoing decline Friedman warned about, preceded the previous day by a QotD that illustrates why I think this is happening. Meanwhile in Sarah Brady Paradise, their criminals have apparently started using hand-grenades. I thought that only happened in Mexico. How's that gun control (on an island no less) working out for them?

September brought the Seventh Annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous, but this year instead of driving, I got to fly up. In a Cessna 310. Still haven't won a gun there, though. And over in Sarah Brady Paradise, a cop-killer used a hand-grenade in the double-murder of two female Bobbys. And Markadelphia returned to the comment threads. If you see a post with 50+ comments, chances are Markadelphia is in it at least once.

October brought us a preview of coming attractions I thought should be shared, and another from closer to home. I finally concluded that Anthropogenic Global Warming Climate Change is bullshit based on the evidence in hand. And I made my grandson a kick-ass Halloween costume.

November. Ah yes, November. I think the country reached the point of no return in November. Honestly, it happened long before November, but the election ended any speculation on the question. As I said, OUR Austerity Riots are going to be SPECTACULAR!

And finally, December. First post of the month, How We "Lost the Culture War." Not an überpost, but I've kinda lost my enthusiasm for those. There was some good news - Illinois' ban on concealed carry was found unconstitutional. And we had another mass shooting, this time involving twenty dead first-graders. For the gun-banners, they couldn't have dreamed of a better pool of blood to dance in. But Newtown, Connecticut is not Dunblane, Scotland. America's response? There's not an AR-15 left on a gun store shelf, nor a standard-capacity magazine to fit one. Seven thousand AR-15 rifles sold in Arizona in ten days, according to the Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Association.

SPECTACULAR, I tell you.

2013? Maybe there's something behind Triskaidekaphobia after all.

Happy New Year, y'all.