Archive for May 2003

Gov. Davis Scared to Death Over Recall Drive

This harkens back to this entry in my blog about the California implosion or this one about the start of the recall. It is starting to look like it is getting a good head of steam. I am absolutely giddy about the idea that California may be shaping up. It is undeniable that as California goes, the country goes.

Atlanta Public Schools

A gem from Neal. The caption:

Atlanta Public Schools spend $13,000 a year per student.

A Modest Proposal

This one has reportedly been making its rounds on email:

Since the Palestinians want a homeland and it doesn’t seem like a good idea to chop Israel up even smaller than it already is, here is a satisfactory solution: Let’s give France to the Palestinians! The French have already stated that nothing is worth fighting for. Besides, France has better irrigation and soil than the West Bank and Gaza strip. It’s perfect. The French won’t even fight back. And how about a new name for this Franco-Palestine?

How about Frankenstine?

Send this to all of your friends. Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with the French.

The Evidence of Things Not Seen

The Evidence of Things Not Seen

A study that supposedly validates “diversity” may do just the opposite.
An intersting lead on some possible academic misconduct. The “racial diversity” thing has never rang true for me, but the economic diversity thing does.

(Note the Bastiat reference. I really like that he didn’t give any explaination for it, either.)

A Letter to Tristero

A Letter to Tristero

This is the part that jumped out for me:

Two weeks after September 11 I went to New York with my soon-to-be wife, and we took a cab to Lower Manhatten at Midnight. The subway wasn’t running yet, and it was too far to walk from where we were staying. City Hall was close enough to the pit, so we got out there, too ashamed to tell the driver where we were going.

The acrid stench of burning–.what?– wafted north toward Midtown. Choppers circled the smouldering ruin, barracades blocked the neighborhood streets, and soldiers manned the checkpoints. “My God,” I told Shelly. “It feels like we’re in a war zone.”

Then it hit me for the first time. I mean, it was then that it really hit me. I knew from the way I phrased that sentence that I was still in denial.

It wasn’t a joke, it wasn’t a show, it wasn’t an “incident,” and it wasn’t a “tragedy.” War had come to New York. War. In New York.

We stood at the lip of the rim of oblivion, and I never felt so old in my life.

(For the record, those were burning people, Mike.)

I’ve heard it said often that a liberal is a conservative who has never been mugged. I don’t have a problem with the “builders and defenders” model as much as I have with the “liberals and conservatives” model. When you base your description on a flawed model, then you carry those inherent flaws over.

I’ve been thinking about the difference between liberals and libertarians. It is worth noting that, if you have called someone a liberal 150 years ago, you would be talking about a libertarian, not what we think of as a “liberal”. The difference I see is that liberals tend to assume that people will be good when treated good, while libertarians assume that people will be bad regardless of how you treat them.

Take socialism, for instance. Few people on either side will argue that if socialism worked the way the idealists describe that it would be a bad thing. The diagreement between liberals and libertarians often comes down to this: liberals believe that if you give everyone a good life, then they will be good, and everyone will benefit. Libertarians believe that if you give people anything, then too many of them will see no reason to do any good.

The other main difference is how you see people. If you see people as groups, you are more likely to be liberal. Liberals love to classify people: black, white, rich, poor, male, female, liberal, conservative. When you classify everyone like that, then it is easy to ignore the individual and look at how things affect the groups that they belong to. Libertarians never forget the individual. We tend to believe that no group is more important than the individuals that comprise it.

The best and most topical illustration is the liberation of Iraq. The liberal viewpoint tends to be that it isn’t worth American lives to free Iraqis. One group is determined to be more valuable than the other. The libertarian view (aside from the ivory tower position of the LP) is that it is worth a hundred lives to free one person in tyranny. I cannot be free if you are not free. Freedom knows no nationality.

This one
was too good to pass up. There is no way I could make it more succinct than LGF, so take a look.

VPC – Officer Down

VPC – Officer Down

I hate it when someone uses footnotes on a “study” that doesn’t actually follow logic. I would rather read straight bullshit than well-documented bullshit.

This study reveals the gun industry’s efforts to evade the 1994 ban and documents the significant threat assault weapons still pose to law enforcement.

Whew. I’m smelling it already. “The gun industry’s efforts to evade the 1994 ban…” This seem to insinuate that something illegal has been done, doesn’t it? Not to VPC. To VPC, you are “evading” a ban if you comply with it. Keep up with me here: If someone passes a law that says, “You are not allowed to do A, B, and C” and you stop doing A, B, and C, and do D instead to get your job done, you are “evading” the law. “But I did what the law said” you claim? Too bad. You didn’t look at whatever sort of “meta-law” VPC wanted you to.

Also, “weapons” don’t threaten law enforcment. They don’t even threaten law enforcement officers. Criminals threaten law enforcement officers.

In 1995, the first full year in which the ban was implemented, police continued to be victims of assault weapons. Approximately one in 10 of the 74 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 1995 was slain with a banned assault weapon.

Hmm. I guess they consulted Nostradamus on that one — the study they cite (their own in fact) was published in September 1995. I wonder where you budget crystal balls?I can’t access the study online, but I suspect that I know what sophistry they used to make this statement — weapons that were owned before the ban are grandfathered in. Of course, they can’t be bothered to be accurate and say “legally owned weapons listed in the ban” — they have the children to lie for.

Immediately after the 1994 law was enacted, the gun industry moved quickly to make slight, cosmetic design changes in their “post-ban” guns to evade the law, a tactic the industry dubbed “sporterization.” Of the nine assault weapon brand/types listed by manufacturer in the law, six of the brand/types have been re-marketed in new, “sporterized” configurations. In fact, gunmakers openly boast of their ability to circumvent the assault weapons ban.

Let’s see — you pass a law that bans guns on the way they look, and then you complain that they continue to sell after changing the way they looked? You told them, “You can’t do A, B, and C.” They stopped doing A, B, and C. That is called “compliance”, not “evasion.”Of course, I didn’t know that advertising counted as “openly boasting”.

Just such a post-ban AR, the Bushmaster XM15 M4 A3 assault rifle, was used by the Washington, DC-area snipers to kill 10 and injure three in October 2002. The Bushmaster is the poster child for the industry’s success at evading the ban. The snipers’ Bushmaster is even marketed as a “Post-Ban Carbine.”

Uhh… so? They could have easily been killed by deer rifles. I could have done the job with a .22 plinking rifle at the ranges they operated at. The type of weapon had nothing to do with the crime. This isn’t advocacy; this is demagoguery.

The industry’s efforts have been aided by the fact that not all assault weapons are covered by the 1994 ban. For example, assault weapons with more conventional designs, such as the Ruger Mini-14, were not covered by the 1994 law–although gun experts define them as assault weapons.

Really? Which experts? After riddling this “study” with footnotes, this one is conspicuously missing. Funny that.

The gun industry’s evasion of the 1994 ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines continues to put law enforcement officers at extreme risk. Using data obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Violence Policy Center has determined that at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2001, were killed with assault weapons.8 Using these figures, one in five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty was killed with an assault weapon.

Here’s the big lie. This one is the money shot. They lied by counting weapons that they say are “assault weapons” in the list, not ones that the ban says are assault weapons. 10 of the weapons they list are SKS and Mini-14 rifles — rifles that they admit (and lament) aren’t covered by the ban. That puts us at 31 of 211 — and we have no idea how many of these rifles are legally owned from being purchased before the ban took effect.This is the thing to keep in mind. There is no provision to confiscarte legally owned weapons. All these bans apply to future sales. There laws they are asking for in no way apply to the situations they describe.

In other words, even after lying about the evidence, they still fail to make a logical argument.