Just Like a Skipping Record

(For those who remember records.)

Ten years ago I wrote The ACLU Hasn’t Changed Its Tune, quoting then-President Nadine Strossen from a Reason interview:

Reason: So why doesn’t the ACLU challenge gun-control laws on Second Amendment grounds?

Strossen: We reexamine our positions when people come forward with new arguments. On the gun issue, I instituted a reexamination a few years ago in response to a number of things, but the most important one was an article by Sanford Levinson at University of Texas Law School that summarized a wave of new historical scholarship. Levinson’s argument was that in the 18th century context, a well-regulated militia meant nothing other than people in the privacy of their homes.

So we looked into the historical scholarship there and ended up not being persuaded. The plain language of the Second Amendment in no way, shape, or form, can be construed, I think, as giving an absolute right to unregulated gun ownership. It says, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Certainly, when you have the notion of “well-regulated” right in the constitutional language itself, it seems to defy any argument that regulation is inconsistent with the amendment.

Putting all that aside, I don’t want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.

Mentioned. MENTIONED in, not just the Constitution, but the Bill of Rights.

Nah. Doesn’t mean anything.

Then we had D.C. v Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. And the ACLU?

The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.

So much for “reexamin(ing) our positions when people come forward with new arguments.”

My original piece still stands. And the ACLU is cordially invited to kiss my ass.

Choose Your Own Crime Stats

Ran across this last night:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooa98FHuaU0?rel=0]
A bit simplistic (it is, after all, a six-minute YouTube video), but it hits all the high points.  QotD:

So what I find astonishing about these numbers is that nobody’s talking about it.  We have a 50% reduction in violent crime over the last twenty years, yet no one is taking credit for it.  I find it pretty astonishing, I mean, it’s unbelievable.  Does it not play into their fear agenda?

Three Felonies a Day,

I recently finished reading Harvey Silverglate’s Three Felonies a Day:  How the Feds Target the Innocent.

Here’s another example of what he was writing about.  Read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

…every incentive that we put in place as a company was designed to encourage people to achieve their goals. All these incentives had the caveat that the goals must be achieved while obeying the law. Now that may sound simple, but in virtually every meeting every day people discuss their goals and how they will achieve them. They almost never discuss accounting law. In a sales forecast meeting, you will often hear, “What can we do to get this closed by the end of the quarter?” You never hear, “Will the way we made the commitment comply with Statement of Position-97-2 (the critical software accounting rule)?”

Beyond that, U.S. accounting law is extremely difficult to understand and often seems illogical and random. For example, the law in question with respect to stock options, FAS 123, is filled with paragraphs such as this:

“This Statement does not specify the measurement date for share-based payment transactions with nonemployees for which the measure of the cost of goods acquired or services received is based on the fair value of the equity instruments issued. EITF Issue No. 96-18, “Accounting for Equity Instruments That Are Issued to Other Than Employees for Acquiring, or in Conjunction with Selling, Goods or Services”, establishes criteria for determining the measurement date for equity instruments issued in share-based payment transactions with nonemployees.”

And that is the clear part.

Here’s Ayn Rand once again on the topic:

There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking the law. Create a nation of lawbreakers and then you can cash in on the guilt. Now that’s the system! – Atlas Shrugged, 1957

As others have observed, Rand wrote a cautionary tale. It seems more every day that it’s being used instead as an instruction manual.

Quote of the Day – Edward Snowden Edition

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

But given our media, the public won’t be informed, and being uniformed the public won’t get angry, so no worries!

“…only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.”

I’m sure everyone remembers this:

News out of LA yesterday:

Shooting during Dorner stakeout violated policy, panel rules

Eight Los Angeles police officers who opened fire on two women delivering newspapers in a pickup truck during the hunt for Christopher Dorner violated the LAPD’s policy on using deadly force, the department’s oversight body found Tuesday.

In making its ruling, the Police Commission followed the recommendation of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who faulted the officers for jumping to the conclusion that Dorner was in the truck. Beck said the officers compounded their mistake by shooting in one another’s direction with an unrestrained barrage of gunfire.

Reports made public Tuesday offered new details of the hours that led up to the shooting and how it erupted into a wild, one-sided firefight in which the officers fired shotguns and handguns more than 100 times. One woman was shot twice in the back; her daughter received superficial wounds.

A panel of high-ranking police officials that reviewed the shooting urged Beck to clear the officers of wrongdoing, according to several sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Violated policy. POLICY. How about LAW? Common sense? Decency?

So, thirty days without donuts, or do they get a six-week paid vacation (suspension with pay)?

Not Feelin’ It

Another free ice cream machine update.

I’ve been spending a lot of hours on jobsites recently, with corresponding 12+ hour days and/or being out of town.  The last hotel I stayed at, I asked the desk clerk what I needed to get logged onto their WiFi network.  “Luck,” she said.

She wasn’t kidding.  Two days with only my iPhone for internet access.  (I could make a Phillip Seymour Hoffman joke here, but I’m not that tasteless.  Really.  No, really.)

As a consequence, I’ve been reading more – not up to the levels I have maintained in the past, but more than I’ve managed over the previous few months.  Over just the last week I finished Harvey Silverglate’s Three Felonies a Day:  How the Feds Target the Innocent, Stephen Hunter’s The Third Bullet, and I blasted through Marko Kloos’ Lines of Departure Sunday and Monday.  I read his short-story Lucky Thirteen at lunch today.

Now, at my wife’s insistence, I am starting Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

The stack on my headboard keeps getting taller.

And the tumbleweeds blow through this blog.

Ammo Recall Notice: Winchester M22

Recall page is here.  If you were somehow lucky enough to find .22 ammo, I hope it wasn’t this stuff:

Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling two (2) lots of M*22™ 22 Long Rifle 40 Grain Black Copper Plated Round Nose rimfire ammunition.

Symbol Number: S22LRT
Lot Numbers: GD42L and GD52L

Winchester has determined the above lots of 22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition may contain double powder charges. Ammunition with double powder charges may subject the shooter or bystanders to a risk of serious personal injury and/or death, or cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable.

That would leave a mark that would not buff out.