Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama on the Spike in Gun Sales

According to the Chicago Sun-Times:
As gun sales shoot up around the country, President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday that gun-owning Americans do not need to rush out and stock up before he is sworn in next month.

"I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the second amendment," Obama said at a news conference. "Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word."
Of course, during the campaign, Mr. Obama never said what he considers "common sense gun regulation." I doubt that he and I would agree, or even come close. Common sense gun regulation does not include banning all handguns and requiring safety locks on guns at all times (as the District of Columbia required). That was a "common sense" regulation that Mr. Obama supported before he opposed it. (Pre-Heller versus post-Heller.) That was common nonsense regulation that Attorney General nominee Eric Holder supported in a written brief in the Heller case.

Common sense regulation is not the banning of firearms less powerful than fully automatic assault rifles. (Gun banners have improperly labeled semi-automatic rifles to be assault files -- they aren't. With a fully automatic gun, the gun keeps firing as long as the trigger remains pulled. With a semi-automatic, the trigger must be pulled again for each round fired.)

In my view, common sense regulation is the Castle doctrine by which homeowners are privileged to use deadly force against home invaders. Even better common sense gun regulation can be found in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Obama Birth Certificate

I do not for a minute believe that Barack Obama was born outside Hawaii. Although the issue seems to rise to the same absurdity level as Trutherism (9/11 conspiracy), I see no reason that the Hawaiian officials do not release a copy of the original birth record and put an end to the speculation.

Personally, I suspect that the original record states a religion, specifically: Muslim. So what? I understand that information would be missed during the campaign, but it would make no difference now. The guy got elected.

Mr. Obama is probably very sympathetic to Muslims given his background, but his religion is not Muslim.. He spend 20 years in the Trinity United Methodist Church. While one may argue whether that church is truly theologically Christian, it is certainly not Muslim.

So show the original record already. Demonstrate conclusively that Mr. Obama meets the constitutional birth qualification. The country has to move on to more pressing issues.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holy Land Foundation Guilty on All Counts


I must have been knee deep in turkey and dressing to miss the news of the conviction of the Holy Land Foundation and the individual defendants as reported in the Dallas News. There were convictions on all 108 counts.
Peter Margulies, a Roger Williams University law professor who studies terrorism financing cases, said, "The government showed in a streamlined case that where special assistance to the families of terrorists is concerned, cash is the moral equivalent of a car bomb."
American Muslims need to hear and understand the message that aid to the families of terrorists, in Palestine and elsewhere, is aid to terrorism. It is NOT an effective argument to justify that aid by claiming Israelis are terrorists, too. That argument would not fly even if true.

One can only wonder what is next for the unindicted co-conspirators such as CAIR. Will the government be emboldened to go after them as well?

Shire Network News


Shire Network News is absolutely the best podcast out there for serious conservative commentary with a humorous tilt. The cast is international and professes to be amateur.

The podcast is available on iTunes and from Shire Network News website.

Highly recommended.
Update:The podcast is on hiatus until January, but back podcasts are still worth checking out. Some of the humor and information is very topical, other information is more long-term. The presentation makes it worth listening to regardless of the currency of the topic.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ted Strickland Fails


Ted Strickland has announced that he is not firing Helen Kelley-Jones, the $140,000 a year bureaucrat who violated the privacy rights of a private citizen who dared to question Barack Obama's tax plan. Governor Strickland put the miscreant bureaucrat on 30 days unpaid leave.

Sorry, Ted. That does not send enough of a message. This woman is one of your cabinet members. She clearly lacks the impartial judgment necessary to your government of Ohio.

We are all the worse for your decision, Ted.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dirty Business


The Columbus Dispatch reports: The Ohio Inspector General confirms that Helen Jones-Kelley (and others) improperly accessed Joe the Plumber' confidential data. Will Ted Strickland to the right thing and send a message that this sort of dirty political conduct will not be tolerated by him?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Case Against Universal Suffrage

Be afraid. Be very afraid.



Who is to blame this time around?



Although Alan Coombs did his best to mischaracterize the results, one thing is clear. Avid watchers of Hannity and Coombs and other intelligent Fox News programs would never have gotten those questions so horribly wrong.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Unity and Barack Obama

Now we know exactly what Barack Obama means by his call for unity: Silence those who disagree with him:
The Obama campaign has decided to heave out three newspapers from its plane for the final days of its blitz across battleground states -- and all three endorsed Sen. John McCain for president!

The NY POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs -- and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
Source: The Drudge Report

Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama Attacks Joe


What is the content of Obama's character? He attacks Joe the Plumber, because Joe supposedly makes $250,000 per year (which Joe denies).

So Obama's message is clear: He wants to punish people who succeed (or are on the road to success) financially. If he can't punish them financially, he will pillory a private citizen.

In Obama's world, a guy who dares to question him and his desire for government "to spread the wealth around" deserves to be punished. Obama must have no conscience whatsoever to smear average citizen, Joe the plumber, including spreading a big lie about Joe's income.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama's Tax Plan

Obama's Tax Plan is simple: Punish success and reward failure.

Joe the plumber sees it. No wonder the MSM, all left-wing, is smearing Joe with all its fury.
Public disclosures of a private citizen, the liberal MSM at its worst:
  • Joe is not a licensd plumber. So what? A license is not a prerequisite to owning a plumbing business that employs licensed plumbers.
  • Joe has tax liens. My conclusion, taxes are too high and too tough to pay for non-employee folks who have to file estimated returns. If employees, who now have taxes withheld, had to actually write checks, they would see and truly feel how burdensome the tax system is.
  • Joe is a distant cousin to Charles Keating. Wow. Could the smears get any more irrelevant?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Kennesaw Comparison


Gun bans cut crime, don't they?

The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
by Jeff Knox

(October 7, 2008) In 1981, Morton Grove, Illinois became the first town in the U.S. to pass a flat out ban on the possession of handguns within the town limits by anyone except police and active duty military during the performance of their official duties. In response, the town of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a gun law of their own in March of 1982. The Kennesaw law was almost the exact opposite to the Morton Grove ordinance. Rather than banning handgun possession, Kennesaw required every head-of-household to keep at least one firearm and appropriate ammunition in their home – with exemptions for those who had religious or philosophical objections to maintaining or using weapons. In other words, gun ownership was mandatory except for people who didn’t want to own a gun.

While Morton Grove became an instant media darling, Kennesaw became a pariah and a punch line. Pundits and “reporters” made jokes and wild predictions about the blood that would soon run in the streets of the small town a few miles North of Atlanta. The derision can still be heard occasionally from a late-night talk show host or a reflective news anchor, but all of the predictions of the “Wild West” and shootouts over fender-benders, simply didn’t pan out. Of course this lack of disaster was simply ignored by most in the media as were the actual results of this little comparative experiment.

Kennesaw and Morton Grove weren’t really a fair comparison when the experiment started. Kennesaw was pretty rural while Morton Grove was solidly suburban. Kennesaw had a population of only about 5500 while Morton Grove was closer to 23,000. And Kennesaw had a per capita crime rate significantly higher than the national average while Morton Grove enjoyed a relatively low crime rate. The fact is, Kennesaw was at a marked disadvantage from the beginning of this comparison. In the nearly three decades since these laws went into effect, Kennesaw’s disadvantage has grown rather than shrunk. While Morton Grove has remained at a fairly steady population, Kennesaw’s population has boomed to take a slight lead. While Morton Grove’s residents are slightly older than the national average, Kennesaw’s are significantly younger. Both towns are predominantly White, but Kennesaw has more Blacks and Hispanics while Morton Grove’s minority population is predominantly Asian. Statistically, Asian populations have the lowest crime rates of any minority while Blacks and Hispanics have the highest crime rates in the nation.

With all of these disadvantages working against Kennesaw, how did the two communities actually fare?

Morton Grove’s relatively low crime rate went up by over 15% immediately after enactment of the ban (12% more than surrounding areas) and has held pretty steady at just a tad below the national average ever since. There has been no statistical indication of the handgun ban having any positive effect.

Kennesaw is a different story though. In 1982, the year the firearms requirement was enacted, Kennesaw realized a 74% reduction in crime against persons over the previous year. That rate then dropped 45% between 1982 and 1983. In fairness, statistics showing percentage increases or decreases in crime can be very misleading especially when crime numbers and the population are both low to begin with.

The statistics that are really telling are per capita comparisons between municipal, county, regional, and national averages. When a city’s crime rate is trending parallel to the national and/or regional crime rates (whether higher or lower) and then deviates dramatically from those averages after a new law is passed, that is a strong indication that the new law is having an impact. While Morton Grove’s per capita crime rate took a dramatic jump, deviating substantially from regional and national averages, right after passage of their gun ban, Kennesaw’s crime rate did the opposite in an even more dramatic way. After Kennesaw’s gun law was enacted crime dropped dramatically – much faster than federal, state, or local trends – and leveled out well below national averages. In spite of a population increase from 5000 to almost 30,000 during the same period, Kennesaw’s crime rates remain significantly lower than national or area averages. And the people of Kennesaw didn’t have to use their mandated firearms to effect this dramatic change. The simple knowledge on the part of criminals that if they worked in Kennesaw they were choosing to work with an armed prospective victim pool was enough to convince them not to pursue their chosen professions there.

After the enactment of the firearms mandate in 1982, it took 15 years before there was a murder committed with a firearm in the town. As I recall, it was the result of two visitors who got into an argument in their motel room. One was insisting that a .25 automatic could not penetrate thick chest muscles like his and the other fellow decided to settle the argument and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were both idiots.

After 25 years, Kennesaw and Morton Grove stand out as proof positive that the only gun control laws with any hope of reducing crime are laws which empower the law-abiding people rather than disarming them. But remember how much news coverage was given to this story last March? Expect more of that deafening silence for the 26th anniversary next March.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas VA 20108.
©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates
It is baffling to me how gun banners ignore facts and history, because they think they know better.

Criminals for gun control video.

Obama Lied, Children Died


From Hotair.com discussing the final presidential debate:

The next big lie came during the debate on abortion. McCain pointed out Obama’s radical positions on the issue, including his repeated opposition to the Illinois version of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. Obama responded with a series of lies:

There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.

During that period, the Attorney General reported that the practice of abandoning infants born alive during late-term abortions was not covered by the law. Jill Stanek and others testified to the practice, and the Illinois Senate heard testimony that suggested that as many as 20% of all late-term abortions resulted in a live birth. Obama lied about the circumstances of the bill; the reason it was being proposed was because existing law was ineffective at protecting infants born alive.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Islamic School Closed for Teaching Hate

After 9/11 and the many terrorist attacks throughout the world since then, it is reasonable to ask whether practitioners of Islam in the United States are a threat to our society.  One reasonable emeasure of the long-term threat is:  What values are they teaching their children?  Can we trust that Islamic schools are teaching the children our values of tolerance and love of one's neighbor, even if the neighbor is different from you?

Well, it seems the genie (jinn?) is out of the bottle, so to speak:
updated 8:45 p.m. ET, Wed., June. 11, 2008

McLEAN, Va. - Textbooks at a private Islamic school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, according to a federal investigation released Wednesday.

...

The commission said it obtained 17 of the academy's textbooks through a variety of channels, including from members of Congress. The texts did appear to contain numerous revisions, including pages that were removed or passages that were whited out, but numerous troubling passages remained, according to the panel:

  • The authors of a 12th-grade text on Quranic interpretation state that apostates (those who convert from Islam), adulterers and people who murder Muslims can be permissibly killed.
  • The authors of a 12th-grade text on monotheism write that "(m)ajor polytheism makes blood and wealth permissible," meaning that a Muslim can take with impunity the life and property of someone believed guilty of polytheism. According to the panel, the strict Saudi interpretation of polytheism includes Shiite and Sufi Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.
  • A social studies text offers the view that Jews were responsible for the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims: "The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated (the Muslims).
I predict that the only outrage we will see from the Muslim community will not be about the teaching, but about the closing of a Muslim school. Anyone willing to wager against me?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Goofy Quote of the Month

From the Congressional hearings on oil prices.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked: “I can’t say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not.”

Can you believe that she actually got elected to Congress?  

Prove a negative, because there is no evidence of the positive.  Really.  As Mark Steyn suggested, perhaps we should demand that Debbie prove she has not been sleeping with barnyard animals.   

Monday, May 19, 2008

Barack the Elitist

There was an excellent column published in a Kansas small town newspaper, The Hays Daily News written by Will Manly:

Dear Barack Obama:

I grew to like you over the last year.

I’ve always thought of you as dangerously naive at best. Eloquent, gifted, genuine, yes. But dangerously naive at best.

I couldn’t vote for you — but not because of your funny name or your lunatic pastor. I couldn’t vote for you because you say we should raise taxes (even on the rich, who I’m convinced already pay too much), and because you say we should abandon Iraq (which I’m convinced would be surrendering a war we must win), and because you don’t respect the Second Amendment (which I’m convinced should disqualify any politician from any office).

Read it all.  

Mr. Obama seems like a nice guy, but I am sorry to say that he is really an empty-suit, knee jerk, left-wing elitist. 



Monday, April 21, 2008

Carter Visits Hamas

I am posting the article below at the request of Mahmoud El-yousseph  I although I disagree with it strongly, I hope the article will encourage a debate.  My comments appear below the article.

Carter is Right: US Must Engage Hamas

By Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Newsflash: Carter denied permission into Gaza by Israel! The former U.S. president is currently on a peace mission in the Middle East as the head of Carter Center for Peace and not as a U.S. official.

His mission were to include various countries in the region to discuss: truce, prisoners exchange, the siege of Gaza, and reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Other high-profile international figures including the prime minister of New Zealand, former South African president Nelson Mendela, and the former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Anan were to join Mr. Carter on his mission. 

Carter’s mission could have created unprecedented opportunity for peace which must not be lost if this generation and future generations are to be spared the tragedies of war.

The former president cares more about Israel than all 43 U.S. presidents. Thanks for his effort, Israel has signed peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 at Camp David. It was the first peace treaty with an Arab country. And that is how Israel shows its gratitude! It is an outrage that our former president has been shunned by the country that we handout 3 billion dollars in aid every year, which comes from my and your tax dollars.

To me, as American tax payer, that is an affront and slap on the face. Carter was allowed however by Israel to only tour the towns of Sderot and Ashkelon and visit a local hospital. 

It is amazing how the former president came under attack once the news of the trip was made public. Our Department of State and few members of our Israeli controlled Congress attacked Mr. Carter and mocked his mission and the prime minister of Israel refused to meet with him. 

But the brave Carter refused to budge, even as the other members of the delegation canceled under outside pressures. With rising tension in the Middle East, and our current president is a sitting duck unable to accomplish nothing, Jimmy Carter wanted to give peace a chance.

Telling Carter to "butt off" is undignified and disgracefull. Those who attacked the former president have nothing better to offer, except write fancy speeches and  look for photo ops and get free trips. Attempting to appease Israel and its powerfull lobby in the U.S. will only prolong conflict. 

Even Mahmoud Abbas, the subservient Palestinian president did not bother to meet our former president. Abbas has off course to obey the wishes of his Israeli benefactors and those of other donor-countries.

So what is the big deal about Carter meeting Hamas leaders- the truly elected representative of the Palestinian people?

Cater who himself monitored the Jan. 2006 Palestinian election in which Hamas scored a land slide victory, has certified the election as, fair, clean, and transparent.

America was able to end the Vietnam war only after it sat down at the table in  Paris Peace conference face to face with Vietnamese officials. Neither country at that time recognized the other. What grinds my gears is: President Bush has directed Egypt to negotiate a truce between Hamas and Israel, but when our former president did the very same thing, everyone started jumping up and down! Please, can someone explain this to me?

Let’s face it, in the last 8 years, 15 Israelis were killed to due to the rockets attack from Gaza. By contrast Israel has killed during the same time frame thousands Palestinian, mostly in Gaza. Israel's history of violating the human rights of Palestinians long predates these rockets attacks. Here is a short list of these violations which all constitutes war crimes by Israel:

* The strangling and inhumane siege of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.
* The continued detention of 11,000 Palestinians with no charges, no trial.
* Subjecting West Bank Palestinians to daily humiliation at 580 Check points.
* Land theft to be used for new settlement or building the "Separation wall."
* Using Palestinian men and children as a human-shield
* Targeted assassination, where
 
Israel acts as a judge, jury, and prosecutor. 
* Uprooting 700,000 olive trees by
 Israeli army and extremist settlers.  
* kidnapping detainee relatives and threatening to rape, their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters by interrogator in order to obtain a confession.

This has been documented by Israeli and Palestinian human right groups, admitted by Israeli security service, and reported by Israeli daily Haaretz. You will not be able to read this in main stream news media, because once the siege of Gaza began and Israel turned off the light, US media started the news blackout.

Why put all the blame and the pressure on the Palestinian and bend backward to protect and shield Israel? Who articulates our foreign policy in the Middle East? Is it drafted in Tel Aviv or in Washington? It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out, our Middle East policy is held hostage by the powerful pro Israeli lobby in the U.S.

That is the sad truth. No wonder why America's image abroad has been tarnished. Our policy need to be re-examined, and it is time for new and fresh approach. If America wanted to be an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians, it should talk to both sides and not favor one over the other. With such a policy and an attitude by our government, a genuine peace will never see the day light. 

A lasting peace will only be reached when the occupation ends and the settlements dismantled, the siege of Gaza lifted, and targeted assassination stopped, Palestinian prisoners free, showering rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon quit, and yes, captive Israeli soldier free.

All of this could only be accomplished through negotiation, to which courageous Carter is an expert at. Once again, Israel blew another chance for peace. And yes, the US needs to talk to Hamas.

-Mahmoud El-Yousseph is USAF Retired Veteran. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at:elyousseph6@yahoo.com

Hamas is a terrorist organization.  You don't negotiate with terrorists.  It just encourages them.  Even the far left Barack Obama sees that. 

Mr. El-Yousseph bases much of his impassioned arguments on disinformation emanating from Arab sources.  I believe the Arabic word is taqyya, sometimes rendered taqquiya.  If you begin from bad premises, you will most assuredly reach wrong conclusions.  But the article and the actions of Mr. Carter show how effective a disinformation campaign can be.  Mahmoud is well-meaning, but deceived.

Fourteen Carter Institute staffers felt they had to resign over the lunacy in  Peace Not ApartheidMr. Carter's anti-Israel book.  I sometimes wonder if Mr. Carter isn't suffering from some form of mental illness. 

Challenge to Mahmoud:   Do you acknowledge that Hamas an organization that uses terrorism as a weapon?  If not, how can you rationalize the suicide bombings and the other murders of innocents (e.g., the recent Jewish seminary massacre)?  If you concede that Hamas uses terrorism as a weapon, then you must also address the rationale for why America should dignify that tactics by negotiating with terrorists.  

I don't see it.  And neither do any of the current crop off presidential candidates.


Update:  Carter called a "useful idiot" after Hamas twice disputed Carter's purported agreements.  Video available.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obama: Hamas is a Terrorist Organization

From the April 16, 2008, Democratic presidential candidates debate Senator Barack Obama said:
“That’s why I have a fundamental difference with President Carter and disagree with his decision to meet with Hamas,” Obama said. “We must not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel’s destruction. We should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements.”

“Hamas is not a state. Hamas is a terrorist organization,” he said.
I believe that makes all three major presidential candidates unanimous in describing Hamas aa a terrorist organization.  Of course, it is stating the obvious, but there remain some Americans (especially American muslims) who remain blind to the facts.

Of course, Hamas will never meet Sen. Obama's preconditions for talks.  Not unless they amend their charter.

Update:  This blog has not gotten many commenters, but be sure to read the comment of Mahmoud El-Yousseph who is a USAF veteran, a Muslim, and an outspoken opponent of US support for Israel.  Mahmoud and I disagree on much, but he is passionate in his views and deserves a reasoned response to his arguments, whether agreeing or disagreeing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Global Warming Threat

From Chuck Muth's News and Views email newsletter:

TIME TO TAKE GLOBAL WARMING SERIOUSLY

I have to admit, I've been in the camp which hasn't taken the threat of global warming seriously, but this story from FoodWeek Online has forced me to change my position.

"Beer production in Australia and New Zealand could be cut by climate change within 25 years, a scientist has warned.  Climate expert Dr Jim Salinger, of the NZ National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says that climate change could cause a decline in malting barley production in both countries. 'It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up,' Dr Salinger said."

When the only effect of global warming was the melting of polar ice caps, thereby displacing a few bears, what's the big deal?  But if it could affect the beer supply, well, that IS a crisis.  Get Al Gore on the phone

I've gotta go with Chuck on this one.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Obama: No Guns for Self Defense

Obama approves of guns for hunters.  But not guns for the defenseless hunted according the the Investors Business Daily:

Gun Control: Barack Obama says he won't take folks' guns away as long as they're hunters. But when the hunted are his constituents, well, that's different: He opposes concealed carry and the right to self-defense.

There's something about an election that brings out the sportsman in a Democratic presidential candidate. Recall John Kerry's sudden fondness for hunting four years ago.

And speaking in Idaho earlier this year, Barack Obama told the crowd, "We got a lot of hunters in the state of Illinois, and I have no intention of taking away folks' guns."

Except he does.

In a 1996 questionnaire, Obama wrote that he "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns." He says now that the survey was filled out by an aide who misrepresented his views. Yet his record since then is consistent with that view. Never mind that Illinois and the other 49 states have a lot of two-legged predators.

Read it all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Obama and the Incredible Expanding Ego

The Boston Globe reports:
According to an account posted online on The Huffington Post, Obama was answering a question about what he would look for in a running mate if he wins the nomination. "I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I'm not as expert on," he replied. "I think a lot of people assume that might be some kind of military thing to make me look more commander-in-chief-like. Ironically, this is an area -- foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain."
Words fail me. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's Failure of Leadership

Two days after Mr. Obama's major racial speech, what are we to think of it? Is Mr.Obama an appropriate candidate for the leader of the free world?

Mr Obama said,
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America....
He is right, of course, but the statements were not mere snippets, cherry-picked to make Rev. Wright look bad. The "remarks" were entirely consistent with the church's overall philosophy and liberation theology. He sat in the pew for 20 years listening to this philosophy/theology. He did not speak up until the news media publicly revealed the hate-filled rhetoric.

If Mr. Obama were a leader, why did he merely follow Reverend Wright for 20 years? Why did he not speak up? Why did he not lead anyone to do what is right and reject the hate-filled philosophy?

He waited until he got caught.

I'm sorry. there can be only one conclusion. Mr. Obama is not a leader. I do not want him leading my country. And the truth is the Trinity United Church of Christ and its overarching Liberation Theology represents Mr. Obama's worldview, or he would not have stayed for 20 years.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Half Price Books: Victim Rich Zones

I received a letter to the effect that making their stores "gun free zones" (or sitting duck zones or victim rich zones) has been company policy for 14 years. Here is the letter. My response follows:

March 11,2008

Re: Half Price Books — No Guns Policy

Dear Mr. Carroll:

Thank you for your letter dated May 4, 2008 [sic.] and the earlier letter to the manager of one of our Columbus stores.

In February 22, 1996, our Board of Directors passed a resolution making all of our stores and facilities gun free. I am pleased to report that since the “gun free” policy was implemented, not a single person, customer or employee, has been the victim of gun violence in any of our stores or other facilities.

We have also researched whether or not states which have concealed weapons laws have seen a reduction in crime. So far, I have not found any correlation between the reduction in crime in right to carry states and all of the other states.

I regret that you believe you should boycott our stores because we do not want people carrying guns in our stores.

If you change your mind, you are welcome in any of our stores if you will follow our no guns policy.

John Albach
General Counsel


I sent my response today:

March 19, 2008

Mr. John Albach Esq.
General Counsel
Half Price Books
5803 East Northwest Highway
DallasTX 75231

Re: Concealed Carry in Half Price Stores

Dear Mr. Albach,

Thank you for your letter of March 11, 2008.

I am a lawyer in private practice. As part of my practice, I became chairman of the board of a nonprofit organization involved in counterterrorism activities. Last summer our security people strongly recommended that I obtain the necessary training and obtain a permit for concealed carry of a firearm.

Not being a fool, I did it.

Before that advice, I did not own a gun. I had never shot a handgun before, but I learned. Being a curious, inquisitive type, I also who decided to learn all that I could about concealed carry -- which was really a stretch out of my box. I have read pretty much everything I could on the subject of guns, concealed carry, gun rights, and crime.

According to your letter, the board voted on February 22, 1996, to make all of the Half-Price Bookstores gun free zones. Wow. So much has happened in 14 years.

Among other things, it has become plain that "gun free zones" are dangerous places if you do not want to be the victim of a gun crime. Gun free zones attract armed robbers and homicidal maniacs, because of the easy victims they present: In just the last 13 months there have been at least the following massacres of defenseless victims in gun free zones:

· February 14, 2008, Northern Illinois University, 5 dead, 40 wounded;

· February 2, 2008, Lane Bryant, Tinly Park, Illinois. 5 dead, 1 wounded;

· December 6, 2007, Westwood Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, 8 dead, 5 wounded;

· April 29, 2007, Ward Parkway Center, Kansas City MO, 1 dead;

· April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech University, 32 dead, 17 wounded;

· February 12, 2007, Trolley Square mall, Salt lake City UT, 5 dead, 4 wounded.

I doubt that any rational person actually thinks that a homicidal maniac or an armed robber will obey a gun free zone sign.

Your letter states that you have researched whether or not states which have concealed carry have seen a reduction in crime, but you have not found a correlation. The most comprehensive independent study, looking at all of the 3084 counties in the United States was done by John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard. Journal of Legal Studies (v.26, no.1, pages 1-68, January 1997. The study was not funded by the NRA or any pro gun organization. Mr. Lott says he did not own a gun until his study showed him how important gun ownership was to his safety. Professor David L. Mustard writes in "Culture Affects Our Beliefs About Firearms, But Data Are Also Important," 151 U. Penn. L. Rev. 1387 (2003):

When I started my research on guns in 1995, I passionately disliked firearms. .... My views on this subject were formed primarily by media accounts of firearms, which unknowingly to me systematically emphasized the costs of firearms while virtually ignoring their benefits. I thought it obvious that passing laws that permitted law abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms would create many problems. [But research has convinced me that]... laws that require [right-to-carry] permits to be granted unless the applicant has a criminal history or history of significant mental illness reduced violent crime and have no impact on accidental deaths.

Mr. Lott has elaborated on the study in his book, More Guns, Less Crime (1998 and 2000), University of Chicago Press, with additional follow ups in: The Bias Against Guns (2002), Regnery Publishing, Straight Shooting: Firearms, Economics and Public Policy (2006), Regnery Publishing. The methodology of the studies has never been successfully assailed, but some of the reading is a bit thick, unless you have a background in economics (which I do). According to Mr. Lott, two-thirds of the studies he has seen indicated that right-to-carry laws reduce crime.

I was reading about Michigan yesterday. In the six years since Michigan enacted its concealed carry law., violent crime has dropped significantly. One in sixty-five Michigan citizens has a concealed carry permit.

There are now 40 right-to-carry states. That is a large number of potential customers that Half Price is turning off and turning away.

From a liability standpoint, consider that you are now on notice that gun free zones are dangerous to the employees and the public. If there is an unfortunate incident in one of your Ohio stores, You may now be liable to employees on a Blankenship claim (so called because of Blankenship v. Cincinnati Milacron Chemicals, Inc., 69 Ohio St.2d 608, 433 N.E.2d 572 (Ohio 1982) whose harsh anti-employer ruling was almost modified by a tort reform bill ruled unconstitutional). The employee could beat the employer's immunity by asserting in essence that the employer knowingly exposed the employee to a risk of substantially certain injury from a "high risk" of harm (whatever that means). Fyffe v. Jeno's Inc. (1991), 59 Ohio St.3d 115.

Similarly, there is a significant risk of liability to customers, not only for negligence but possibly punitive damages for knowingly exposing the customers to the dangers of "gun free zones" which have a "high risk" of harm. A stretch? I don't know. Ohioans (including presumably jurors) favor concealed carry by a large margin.

On the other hand, Ohio by statute protects private employers from injuries caused by acts of concealed carry permit holders. This statutory immunity is in RC 2923.126(C)(2)(a):

(2)(a) A private employer shall be immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer, unless the private employer acted with malicious purpose. A private employer is immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to the private employer's decision to permit a licensee to bring, or prohibit a licensee from bringing, a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer. As used in this division, "private employer" includes a private college, university, or other institution of higher education.

In Ohio, at least, a private employer appears to have greater legal protection by allowing concealed carry in its stores than by prohibiting it.

Of course, any business has the right to display "gun free zone" size. Every business has a right to act unwisely.

Contrary to your suggestion, I am not boycotting your stores. I and other law-abiding citizens have been disinvited by your policy.

I am an impulse stopper. However, I no longer have an impulse to stop if I have to go to the effort of disarming, safely storing my gun as required by Ohio law, and then entering your store which I know to be unsafe. I will submit your letter to the Ohioans for Concealed Carry Association's Do Not Patronize While Carrying list, so everyone can follow your rules (or avoid your stores, of course). If you change your mind, though, let me know and I will get you off the list.

In view of the legal situation in Ohio favorable to those who permit concealed carry, I respectfully request that the Board of Directors of Half-Price Books consider removing the "gun free zones" from its Ohio stores, because as an Ohio employer, it is the responsible thing to do.

Sincerely,

David Carroll

Opposition to Voter ID is Racist?

I read a recent Mother Jones article (don't ask why) that noted that voter ID laws have a negligible effect on elections.  OK so far.  T...