Category Archives: 074 Politics and Culture

Baltimore: A Legacy of Failed State Experiments

“If you have seen The Wire, you know the score. There are consequences to state management of any social order. Baltimore is a paradigmatic case. How long can people continue to evade the obvious lessons?

It began more than 100 years ago with the imposition of state segregation. This was the original sin that created a second-class of citizenship and racial ghettos for the first time since the end of the Civil War. Every policy response follows from there, with one coercive mistake following another. This town became the backyard playground for the ruling-class planners in Washington, DC. The intellectuals and lawmakers behind these policies cannot reasonably claim to escape responsibility.

Baltimore blew up in riots and fires in the days following the astonishingly cruel death of Freddie Gray (and the stonewalling of the police department about how and why he was killed). But it is a mistake to focus the blame on this incident alone.

What happened in Baltimore is the product of the drug war, a racially punitive policing system, failed public services, segregated public housing, urban renewal, endless rounds of progressive education reform, a highly regulated labor market that cuts off economic opportunity, occupational licensure, gun control, and permanent martial law that makes everyone feel like prisoners.

Baltimore got the full brunt of it all, at every stage, decade after decade.”

(Via.) Foundation for Economic Education <—Read more here

Lawsuit challenges Ann Arbor schools’ gun ban

The lead in tot this story asks: “Is it reasonable for teachers and parents to worry that a person is openly carrying a gun around kindergartners in a public school?” 

Why would they be? Are they terrified when they see a police officer “open carrying” a gun around children? Do they think the gun will pop out of a holster and indiscriminately start shooting innocents? How many law abiding citizens have “gone off” and killed innocents in the past? I am certain that with only a modicum of research you could easily find more stories about police acting irresponsibly and unlawfully than legally armed citizens who have.

The story continues: “A statewide gun-rights group and a father with children in the Ann Arbor schools are suing the school district over its new policies that ban firearms on school grounds.”

The lawsuit, filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, comes just as a crowd of about 500 gun-rights advocates are expected Wednesday at the annual Second Amendment March around the Capitol Building in Lansing. After hearing speakers, the crowd of pistol packers customarily stride into the chambers of state lawmakers, prominently bearing their arm.

‘We like to remind the legislators who we are and what our rights are,’ said Jim Makowski, a Dearborn lawyer who filed the lawsuit and said he personally served it Monday afternoon at the offices of Ann Arbor Public Schools. Makowski planned to march Wednesday in Lansing and is scheduled to speak from the Capitol steps.”

(Via.) Detroit Free Press

Senator Chuck Riley Equates Gun Control Laws with Slavery: “Right for the Time”

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“Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro) shocked some gun rights advocates when he said slavery in the U.S. was ‘right for the time’ according to a Supreme Court ruling of the day. The comment appeared to be defending slavery, although he made the comment to illustrate the power he believes lies with the Supreme Court and to support his views on gun control, which he said does not infringe on civil liberties given in the U.S. Constitution.

Riley, whose comments were caught on video, held an informal conversation with his constituents on Saturday, April 25, at Insomniac Coffee in Hillsboro during which he faced heat from gun rights advocates. Riley has already come under pressure from opponents, who recently filed a recall petition due to his support of gun control laws in Oregon. House Rep. Susan McLain (D-Forest Grove) is also facing a potential recall…”

(Via.) GoLocalPDX <—Read more here

Where does science fall on the gun control debate? John Lott replies to David Hemenway

“Sixty percent of respondents in Hemenway’s survey agreed that “evidence indicates that background checks can help keep guns out of the hands of a significant number of violent people.”  But only 31% of all those surveyed thought that the evidence was either strong (24%) or very strong (7%).  And even these numbers seem unrealistically high.  Study after study by criminologists and economists find that background checks have no effect on crime rates.  

Economists have done a lot of work on crime.  Unlike the vast majority of work in public health, it is usually much more rigorous with more detailed statistical evidence dealing with issues of causality. Economists are also much more open to the notion of deterrence than the vast majority of authors surveyed by Hemenway.  I myself was chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission.  But Hemenway steers away from economics journals.  In addition, looking at publications from only 2011 through 2013 also picks up a recent surge in public health studies and skews the sample towards those types of authors.

I was included in the list of those surveyed, but when I emailed Hemenway reporting that my responses weren’t be recorded, my emails were ignored.

Ironically, despite over 300 studies on firearms published over about three years, Hemenway frequently complains that firearms researchers just aren’t getting enough money…”

(Via.) Fox News <—Read more here

Rebel Farmers And Government Cartels: How The New Deal Cartelized U.S. Agriculture

“Marvin Horne doesn’t look like a man in open rebellion against the United States government, but the 70-year-old raisin farmer and his wife Laura have had enough. If they get their way, they’re not going to let the U.S. Raisin Administrative Committee take their raisins anymore.

Yes, there’s a Raisin Administrative Committee.

This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Horne’s case challenging the Raisin Administrative Committee. It’s the New-Deal case that took 80 years to bring.

Like an agency pulled from the pages of an Ayn Rand novel, the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) oversees many parts of U.S. raisin production. The 47-member committee consists of different representatives from the raisin industry, including ‘handlers,’ those who pack the raisins and prepare them for sale, and ‘growers,’ those who grow and dry grapes. They meet in an office in Fresno and issue ‘marketing orders,’ which decide, among other things, how many raisins should be diverted into the National Raisin Reserve each year. By taking raisins off the open market, the RAC maintains an artificially high price for raisins and keeps many, but obviously not all, raisin farmers happy. Think of it as a raisin cartel, a raisin OPEC.”

(Via.) Forbes <—Read more here

How a maple syrup rebellion is growing in Quebec

“STE-CLOTILDE-DE-BEAUCE, QC. • On an April morning, Angèle Grenier tramps on snowshoes through her sugar maple forest. Her vest pockets bulge with plastic spouts, tube connectors, clamps, wire ties, a tool for twisting the ties, surveyor’s tape, tube-cutters, and a snack: a molasses cookie in a Ziploc bag.

At each maple Grenier stops and taps a spout with her mallet, securing it in a hole. Maple sap flows from these spouts through pipes, down the hill to a reservoir in her sugar shack. The tap of her mallet and a crow’s call are all that disturb the stillness of the sugar bush.

This diminutive, twinkle-eyed grandmother hardly looks the part of a guerilla. Yet in recent years Grenier and other maple syrup producers in Quebec have sent the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec — the provincial syrup producers’ union — into paroxysms of rage. There is a maple syrup insurgency afoot, and the union is doing everything it can to thwart the subversive activity of Grenier and her fellow insurrectionist syrup producers.

Backed by the Quebec justice system and the provincial police, sheriffs have raided sugar shacks down country roads and seized barrels of maple syrup, using trucks and front-end loaders. The federation’s goal: enforcing a supply management system that controls the sale and proceeds of maple syrup in Quebec. Angèle Grenier taps maple trees in the

‘They have more power than police,’ says Daniel Gaudreau, a syrup producer in Scotstown, Que. ‘They can come into my house anytime they want.’”

(Via.) Financial Post <—Read more here

Here’s What the Social Science Says About Countering Violent Extremism

“But the popular notion of a ‘clash of civilizations’ between Islam and the West is woefully misleading. Violent extremism represents not the resurgence of traditional cultures, but their collapse, as young people unmoored from millennial traditions flail about in search of a social identity that gives personal significance and glory. This is the dark side of globalization. They radicalize to find a firm identity in a flattened world: where vertical lines of communication between the generations are replaced by horizontal peer-to-peer attachments that can span the globe. Young people whose grandparents were Stone Age animists in Sulawesi, far removed from the Arab world, told me they dream of fighting in Iraq or Palestine in defense of Islam.”

(Via.) Scott Atran

VA and FBI Work Together To Disarm Vets

“Documents obtained by The Daily Caller and interviews with American veterans reveal a shocking government program: The Department of Veterans Affairs is disarming America’s veterans by getting them placed on the FBI’s criminal background-check list.

The VA sends veterans’ personal medical and financial information directly to the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which can seize their guns in home raids.

Veterans deemed mentally incompetent or financially incapable are finally speaking out about the errors in the system and the fearful harassment they and their families face from the federal government. And it all starts when vets go to the VA to get medical help.”

(Via.) Caller

GM, Ford, And Others Want to Make Working on Your Own Car Illegal

“One of the inherent rights of owning a vehicle is the ability to get on one’s backside — a wrench in one hand and a grease rag in the other, and just tinker to your little heart’s desire. Since the vehicle was invented, it’s been an important facet within the community of gearheads.

General Motors — the same company responsible for 87 deaths related to faulty ignition switches, FYI — wants to take that right away from you citing safety and security issues. Along with a few other big names.

It’s called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It’s been around since 2000 and started as anti-Internet piracy legislation. But automakers want to use it to try and make working on your own car illegal. Yes, illegal. The general premise is that unlike cars of the past, today’s vehicles are so advanced and use such a large amount of software and coding in their general makeup, altering said code could be dangerous and possibly even malicious.”

(Via.) Boldride.com <—Read more here

Uber driver, licensed to carry gun, shoots gunman in Logan Square

“Authorities say no charges will be filed against an Uber driver who shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square over the weekend.

The driver had a concealed-carry permit and acted in the defense of himself and others, Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said in court Sunday.

A group of people had been walking in front of the driver around 11:50 p.m. Friday in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when Everardo Custodio, 22, began firing into the crowd, Quinn said. cComments

The driver pulled out a handgun and fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times, according to court records. Responding officers found Custodio lying on the ground, bleeding, Quinn said. No other injuries were reported.”

(Via.) Chicago Tribune <—Read more here

The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science – Pseudoscience in the Witness Box

“The Washington Post published a story so horrifying this weekend that it would stop your breath: ‘The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.’

What went wrong? The Post continues: ‘Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far.’ The shameful, horrifying errors were uncovered in a massive, three-year review by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project. Following revelations published in recent years, the two groups are helping the government with the country’s largest ever post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

Chillingly, as the Post continues, ‘the cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death.’ Of these defendants, 14 have already been executed or died in prison.

The massive review raises questions about the veracity of not just expert hair testimony, but also the bite-mark and other forensic testimony offered as objective, scientific evidence to jurors who, not unreasonably, believed that scientists in white coats knew what they were talking about. As Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, put it, ‘The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster.’”

(Via.)  Jurisprudence <—Read more here

Earth Day: 22 Ways to Think about the Climate-Change Debate

“Reasonable people can disagree about the nature and extent of climate change. But no one should sally forth into this hostile territory without reason and reflection.

‘Some scientists make ‘period, end of story’ claims,’ writes biologist and naturalist Daniel Botkin in the Wall Street Journal, ‘that human-induced global warming definitely, absolutely either is or isn’t happening.’

These scientists, as well as the network of activists and cronies their science supports, I will refer to as the Climate Orthodoxy. These are the folks who urge, generally, that (a) global warming is occurring, (b) it is almost entirely man-made, and (c) it is occurring at a rate and severity that makes it an impending planetary emergency requiring political action. A Climate Agnostic questions at least one of those premises.

Trying to point out the problems of the Climate Orthodoxy to its adherents is like trying to talk the Archbishop of Canterbury into questioning the existence of God. In that green temple, many climatologists and climate activists have become one in the same: fueled both by government grants and zealous fervor.”

(Via.) Foundation for Economic Education

18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year

“Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: ‘There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.’ In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the ‘environmental grievance hustlers.’”

(Via.)  AEIdeas <—Read more here

Colorado Campus Carry: 12 Years, No Mass Shootings, No Crimes by Permit Holders

“On April 20, The Washington Post ran a column showing that campus carry has been the law of the land in Colorado since 2003, and the results have not been anything like those currently fighting against campus carry claim it should be.

There have been no mass shootings and, apart from one incident in which a gun was accidentally discharged by a Colorado University employee, there have been no crimes by permit holders.

No one was injured in the accidental discharge, and the employee was fired.

The success of campus carry in Colorado is especially good news for women, who are able to level the playing field by being armed and better able to defend their dignity when under sexual attack.

WaPo explains:

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts in-person interviews with several thousand persons annually, for the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). In 1992-2002, over 2,000 of the persons interviewed disclosed they had been raped or sexually assaulted. Of them, only 26 volunteered that they used a weapon to resist. In none of those 26 cases was the rape completed; in none of the cases did the victim suffer additional injury after she deployed her weapon.

So, in the 26 assaults in which a woman had access to a weapon, she was able to stop the rape and was not further assaulted.”

(Via.) Breitbart <—Read more here

Virginia Democrat says he’s okay with extermination of five million Americans

“On Monday, Mike Dickinson, the Virginia Democrat who sought the House seat formerly held by Eric Cantor, issued a tweet indicating that he’s perfectly okay with the extermination of five million Americans. The reason? They’re members of the NRA.

On Sunday, he said he would pray that God would kill every NRA member with the Ebola virus, claiming he would do so on a local radio program:”

(Via.) Conservative Firing LineConservative Firing Line <—Read more here

Flakka, hyperbole, yellow journalism and feeding the nanny states failed “war on drugs”

“Tales of superhuman strength have been associated with various drugs over the years, including cocaine in the early 1900s, marijuana in the 1920s and ’30s, and PCP (a.k.a. angel dust) in the 1970s and ’80s. “The notion that drugs produce superhuman strength is simply not true,” says Columbia University neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart, who studies the effects of stimulants such as crack cocaine and methamphetamine. “It has never been shown. This is just a continuation of the theme. It should raise red flags for people if they see ‘superhuman strength.

Hart notes that people who drink too much may become ‘out of control or difficult to manage,’ but ‘you can’t say [someone has] superhuman strength with alcohol because no one will believe you.’ Similarly, ‘you can no longer make up those stories about marijuana, because there are many people in our society who have used marijuana, so if you say that, you instantly lose credibility with all of those people.’ By contrast, ‘you can say it with these new synthetic drugs because people don’t know what these drugs are. And if they don’t know, maybe it’s true. They want to believe it. It’s a great story.’

The reality is less exciting. ‘When you look at the effects of cathinones in the laboratory,’ Hart says, ‘they just look like any other stimulant.’ While the agitation and paranoid delusions described in stories about flakka might be seen in some people at high doses, he says, ‘that’s a rare sort of thing,’ and the bizarre behavior may be due to other factors, such as sleep deprivation or pre-existing psychological problems. Potentially fatal reactions such as heart attacks and hyperthermia likewise are ‘possible in limited and extreme situations,’ he says, but ‘unlikely.'”

(Via.) Reason.com <—Read more here

Pew first: Gun rights top gun control in major public opinion shift

“Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership.

The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.

Pew Research Center found that while support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.

‘We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer,’ said the survey.”

(Via.) WashingtonExaminer.com <—Read more here

Chicago’s Economic Death Spiral

“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, after winning reelection, pronounced Chicago ‘the greatest city in America.’ Run by Democrats for more than eight decades, Chicago should serve as a showplace that reflects the wonderful world of ‘progressive policies.’

Public schools are a mess, and the city’s finances place their bonds at near junk level. In 2013, the city averaged 36 homicides a month, with the majority of them unsolved.”

(Via.) – Larry Elder – Townhall.com <—Read more here

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