Category Archives: Politics

Diane Feinstein and Her “Research”


She “got a bunch of magazines” to find out “the state of the art” about guns.

I found this link while reading Massad Ayoob’s recent blog post.

Is anyone else getting this? The Senator is drafting federal legislation based on a “study” of “a bunch of gun magazines.” She is proposing the most radical curtailment of this constitutionally protected property and activity using information obtained from what we disdainfully refer to as “gun rags.”

And would people please stop saying that she doesn’t want to take people’s guns?

In ’94 she wanted to take them all.

An Article I’ve Been Meaning to Write

I’ve been meaning to write an article about the Assault Weapons Ban. I don’t have to now since Kontra at the Kontradictions Blog has written it for me.


Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You…

This article takes a point of view, but aims to do so in a way that members of both sides of the political spectrum can understand. I’ll try to give some idea as to why we on the political left roll our eyes at the rhetoric of the NRA, and how we in the “gun culture” can possibly defend something called “assault weapons”.

Read the rest here.

It is not often that I’d be willing to defend every statement made by someone else but I think this might hold true for Kontra’s article here.

Guns and Public Health

Public Health Experts Reportedly Targeting Gun Violence as ‘Social Disease’

On The Blaze

Before I dive into this I want to be really clear on something.

I welcome all honest inquiry.

You know what? The truth is. It is immutable. However, it becomes readily apparent in the article that the doctors in question are not after honest inquiry. These individuals are after a result. They have a conclusion in search of confirmatory evidence.

“This [mass killings] is what we’re going to have to live with if we have more personal access to firearms.”

There is the conclusion.

The statement immediately previous illustrates what I would call some fuzzy thinking:

“What I’m struggling with is, is this the new social norm?”

What an interesting question. I have a question of my own.

How can something that happened a total of three times in 2011 be any kind of norm?”


In those killings a total of 18 people died and 21 were injured. Each person is to be mourned but are we to say that these deaths are more bitter and more tragic than say the 32,885 who died in automobile accidents in 2010 (2011 was not listed in my source at the time of writing)? I could argue that Cars are the distressing “social norm” but that would be silly too. Aside from the fact that millions of people arrive safely in vehicles every day that number does not mention that lives are saved by cars. Ambulances, fire tucks, and police cars spring immediately to mind but how about folks who drove themselves or were driven to the hospital? What about the cars that the nurses and doctors used cars and buses to get to the hospital?

I could not find stats for lives saved by vehicles. People don’t usually collect information on things not going wrong. There is a similar problem with positive, life-saving gun uses; however there have been a few studies on it. The best study I’ve found says there are 1.5 million defensive gun uses each year. Some people may think that number is too high. I say fine, cut it in half. Still too big? Then cut it in half again. There is simply no way that the actions of three people in 2011 can compare to the good done, the lives saved and health preserved, by good people with the tools they needed to protect themselves.

These doctors are not looking at that.

The Trayvon Martin Shooting – At This Point

I am not happy with anything regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting. While I have misgivings about the assertions by both ‘sides,’ the thing I am least happy about has been the public reaction.

I was researching the situation to write about it when I came across Massad Ayoob’s blog post on this topic. He articulated my own thoughts and feelings quite clearly and so I am linking to his blog post.

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin: What We Don’t Know by Massad Ayoob

‘We The People’ Petitions From the White House

I saw this video at Mashup. It’s a good quick article.

If a petition gets over 25,000 ‘signatures’ that petition will be addressed publicly. Apparently petitions that the White House doesn’t like get unsatisfying responses.

This demonstrates that it is problems in the system and not technology. If a petition is politically awkward or embarrassing, it doesn’t matter how slick the technological interface is. When the petition puts a politician on the spot, that politician will do what they have always done. Prevaricate, obfuscate, and misdirect.

It doesn’t matter what Dinsey-esque, Apple-like music you play in the background, our system is broken. All this does is give us another example.

Who to Vote for President

That’s right. I’m going to tell you who to vote for president. Not only that but I’m pretty sure you will take my recommendation.

People get pretty wrapped around the axle about a candidate’s foreign policy or domestic policy proposals. So let’s look at Obama and Bush. McCain was labeled as being nothing more than Bush by a new name. Obama was supposed to right all of Bush’s wrongs. He’d bring the troops home. He’d close Gitmo. He did take our troops out of Iraq. This was done in accordance with the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement signed by George W. Not only that, Obama was trying to negotiate for our continued presence in Iraq. Have you heard about Club Gitmo lately? Neither have I, but it is still up and running.

I neither support nor condemn any of those choices. But the fact is that Obama is strikingly similar to Bush in many areas of foreign policy. You might point out that he has made decisions that are different from what Bush would do. His running around the world bowing to every foreign leader he met would definitely be a change from Bush but I’m sure he’s made substantive decisions that are very different from Bush. But that is my point. There is very little in the overarching theme of US foreign policy that changes that much and little of lasting import that one president can do in foreign policy. Presidents either carry on with the same old policies that were there already or go about changing things back and forth so that no changes last.

There is one thing that the president does which has a lasting impact on our lives and the lives of the Americans who come after us. What is it?

Nominating judges.

During the interviews with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church Obama was asked whether he believed the Second Amendment guaranteed a collective or individual right to keep and bear arms. Obama replied that he believed it to be an individual right. Yet both his Supreme court nominees voted against findings for the Second Amendment being an individual right. This came as no surprise but here is the issue. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan (Obama’s two appointees) will be there long after Obama’s presidency. Justice Antonin Scalia was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986—over twenty-five years ago! Off the top of your head can you think of a decision that Reagan made which is still having such a direct impact on our lives? There may be one or two but it’s not springing to mind. The president appoints many other judges as well. These decisions have a lasting impact.

So I put this to you. When you are evaluating the lack-luster field of prospective presidents for this next term ask yourself one question, “Who is most likely to nominate people that I want to be judges?” And then vote that way.

Gun Control – The Positions

March 17th, 2011

Gun Control Debate

Do you have an opinion about the right to keep and bear arms? How educated is that opinion? You may find that your thoughts and feelings place you firmly on one side of the issue but have you heard what the other side has to say?

Below are links to a series of podcasts put out by Mark Vanderberg of the Gun Rights Advocates Podcast. He is a clear advocate for gun rights but what he has published here is a unique opportunity to hear real representatives of each side speak at some length about the positions they hold. I have included times when each speaker starts and stops so you can go immediately to the person you want to hear. If you are pressed for time then the must hear folks are John Lott in the first podcast and then all three on the second podcast. This will give you two speakers from each position.

This was a debate held at the Cooley Law School. The format is opening remarks followed by a too brief debate.

In order of appearance the participants are:

Part 1 (Download Link)
Beginning – 8:20 – Mark Vanderberg’s intro
8:20 – 16:47 – Introduction by William Wagner
16:47 – 48:19 – John Lott (Pro-Gun)
49:35 – 1:06:01 – James Manley (Pro-Gun)
1:07:00 – End – John Johnson (Anti-Gun)

Part 2 (Download Link)
Beginning – 15:39 – Mark Vanderberg’s intro
15:39 – 34:32 – Joshua Horwitz (Anti-Gun)
36:40 – 47:23 – Steven W. Dulan (Pro-Gun)
48:44 – 1:09:34 – Dennis A. Henigan (Anti-Gun)
1:09:34 – End – John Lott is given time to respond to Dennis A. Henigan’s claims.

Part 3 (Download Link)
Beginning – 12:48 – Mark Vanderberg’s introduction
12:48 – End – The Debate

Mr Vanderberg recognized what an important resource this was and out of his own pocket paid for a professional transcription of each section.