5/29/2015

Newest piece at Fox News: "'Covering Guns': Columbia University's 'workshop' for journalists far from objective"

Michael Bloomberg at Columbia University
My piece at Fox News starts this way:
Columbia University would never sponsor an event funded by the National Rifle Association. What’s more, the idea would seem especially outlandish if most of the speakers at the event were NRA supporters. 
Yet, gun control advocate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his gun control group Everytown are now funding a two-day workshop in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday sponsored by Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The event will bring together journalists from around the country to learn about “covering guns and gun violence.”
Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center, claims that there is “no party line” and calls the workshop “very balanced.” 
But gun control advocates make up 15 of the panel’s 17 experts.  Aren’t journalism schools supposed to teach journalists to present both sides of a story? Why doesn't Columbia feature other speakers who argue that people should be able to defend themselves with guns? 
Only two law enforcement officers will be making presentations: Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik of Pima County, Arizona, and Tucson police chief Roberto A. Villaseñor.  Both are proponents of stricter gun control.  Dupnik, a liberal Democrat, has long attacked Arizona’s concealed handgun laws for being too lax and let people carry in too many places. Villaseñor has been a strong outspoken supporter of President Obama’s gun control proposals. 
These law enforcement officers represent a minority view. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

Labels:

5/27/2015

Text of main amendment adopted by the Texas House to the Campus Carry Bill

The entire text of the main amendment to the Texas Campus Carry bill is available here.  This provision allows for the establishment of gun-free zones on campus as long as two-thirds of the university's Board of Regents agree (click on text to enlarge).


Since the governors appoint the Regents with the approval of the state Senate, I suspect that all or virtually all the Regents are Republicans, and thus it seems likely that it would be very difficult to get 2/3rds of the Regents to agree to sweeping gun-free zones.  There is language in the amendment that talks about the university not being able to "generally prohibit" carrying, but that term doesn't seem to be well defined.

Overall, I suspect that the amendment won't greatly weaken the bill.

Labels:

Campus Carry in Texas stays alive with dramatic vote in the Texas House

From the Houston Chronicle:
The state House gave preliminary approval to drastically watered down campus carry legislation late Tuesday, just minutes before opponents of the controversial bill would have been able to kill it by running out the clock. 
"Passing legislation on the House floor is a high stakes game," said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, who tried to kill Senate Bill 11 through a series of legislative maneauvers. "This is a super-priority of the leadership. You never know when the stakes are this high whether you can kill a bill." 
The bill would allow concealed carry licensees to tote their handguns in most college buildings and dorms. Currently, they are only allowed in public spaces, like quads.
With a midnight deadline to pass Senate bill looming, the House approved the legislation by a vote of 101-47. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, triggered the vote after it became clear passage would not otherwise be possible due to time constraints. 
But the legislation the House approved late Tuesday was a far cry from the original sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. . . .  
Two amendments adopted by the House are signficant: one would require private universities in Texas to also implement the legislation - the Senate version required only public institutions to do so - and the second would allow each campus to decide where concealed handguns would be allowed. . . . 

Labels:

5/24/2015

Prior to last Monday's decision striking down DC May Issue concealed handgun law, there were only 26 permit holders

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. decision on Monday to strike down DC's concealed handgun law contained some interesting information.  Over six months virtually no permits have been given out.  Part of that may be because very few people have been allowed to get permits to own a handgun (a separate process) and those that do might not believe that they will get approval.  From the Washington Times:
Since October, when regulations for the issuance of concealed carry permits took effect, through May 9, the Metropolitan Police Department received 107 applications and denied 42. It has granted 26 concealed carry permits. . . .

Labels:

Letter by Maine State Police supporting "Constitutional Carry" bill

This letter provides an understanding of how well the current concealed handgun laws have worked.  I haven't seen many state police departments speak out on Constitutional Carry bills, though this might largely just reflect the governor's views on this issue.  A copy of the letter is available here:

Senator Rosen, Representative Fowle, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, my name is Major Chris Grotton, and I am here to represent the Maine State Police and the Department of Public Safety to testify in Support of LD 652. . . .  
The current permit process regulates people who are generally ‘doing it right’ . In the past four years, less than one tenth of a percent of the 36,000 applicants (to State Police) are denied. Over the past 30 years, fewer than 20 people per year have been charged with carrying a concealed Weapon of any type. Even when we deny their application most of the time they are not otherwise prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm and could still lawfully carry openly in all other places except where canying a firearm is prohibited by law. 
It is our opinion that law enforcement resources could be utilized in a more efficient mamier, such as identifying those persons who are —' and would continue to be - prohibited from owning or possession a firearm, and effectively communicating that information among law enforcement agencies instead of regulating those that are complying with the law. . . .

Labels:

Newest piece at Fox News: "Where's the coverage of heroes who stop mass killings?"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
Heroic citizens stopping someone from killing a large number of people don’t seem to be considered news worthy.  Don’t people want to read about a brave soul risking his life by running towards the sound of gunfire while others run away?  Yet, such stories never get national news coverage by the national mainstream media.
While accidental gunshots get national coverage, few people have any idea how often concealed handgun permit holders stopping mass killings.
The lack of news coverage allows left wing media outlets, such as Mother Joneswhich should know better, to falsely claim: "In not a single case was [a mass public shooting] stopped by a civilian using a gun."
The truth is that the more successful these heroes are in preventing people from getting killed, the less media coverage they receive, but the lack of fatalities doesn’t explain the lack of news coverage.  And if the heroes hadn’t been there, the attacks would have been successful and the national mainstream media would have been talking about the attack for days.
Let’s look at some of the recent cases that should have gotten some national attention. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

Labels: ,

5/21/2015

Washington Post: "Catholic University student leaders want students to be able to carry guns on campus"

From the Washington Post:
. . . “A resolution in support of student carry” easily passed the school’s student government, the Student Association General Assembly, with a  16 to 11 vote. 
That surprised one of the bill’s sponsors, Matt Hanrahan, a junior majoring in politics. “The gun debate in this country is very polarizing,” he said, “and it’s even more polarizing to talk about firearms on campus.” . . . 
Hanrahan said he’s from Danbury, Conn., about 10 minutes away from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were shot by a 20-year-old with a gun in December 2012. 
“Since that day I’ve taken school safety very seriously,” he said. 
“We don’t live in the safest place,” he added. “There have been armed robberies in the area around the school. Who knows who can come onto our campus. Metro police could be on campus within minutes, and lock the campus down, but police are only going to be able to react to a situation that has occurred.” But campus police might notice someone who seemed suspicious and be able to prevent problems, he said. 
“My end goal would be to get campus police armed,” Hanrahan said. “For me, you just never know what can happen in today’s society.” . . .

Labels:

One Republican legislator stands between Campus Carry in Nevada and passage

I have been told that Senator Michael Roberson, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, is preventing Campus Carry from being passed in Nevada.  If he thinks that enough voters in his district  (#20) want the bill, he will change is position on it, so the question is whether enough people in Henderson, Nevada will let him know about how they feel about the bill.

Here is a map of the 20th Senate District in Nevada, just south of Las Vegas.



Those who live in his district can get his contact information by going here.

Labels:

Campus Carry reaches its last hurdle in Texas legislature

From the Texas Tribune:
With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, the Texas House is all that is keeping a stalled measure requiring public universities and colleges to allow concealed handguns on their campuses from reaching the governor's desk. 
So-called campus carry could travel one of two routes to clear that chamber, passing as stand-alone legislation or as an amendment to another gun-related bill.  
A House panel has already approved Senate Bill 11, now awaiting consideration by the Calendars Committee, which sets the chamber's schedule. The House's own version of the campus carry bill died after failing to be set for consideration before a key deadline. . . .

Labels:

5/16/2015

Mass Public Shooting in Naples, Italy: Killing four (may be five) people and wounding at least five more

It is very unlikely that you have heard of this story.  Article from the UK Daily Mail:
A man armed with a shotgun opened fire in the southern Italian city of Naples, killing four people and wounding at least five more. 
The 48-year-old nurse, Roberto Murolo, killed first his brother and sister-in-law at home, according to Italian police, before killing two more members of the public after he began shooting from the balcony.  
Early reports indicate that he may also have killed his wife in the attack, in the Secondigliano suburb, although these reports have not yet been confirmed.

Labels: ,

Boulder, Colorado man shots person high on mushrooms who broke into his and attacked him

This seems like a very straight forward case of self defense.  From the Boulder Daily Camera:
A Boulder man will not be charged with a crime after shooting and killing a University of Colorado student who broke into his house and attacked him last week, according to the district attorney. 
Police say Roberto Zamora, 19, forced his way into 98 Pima Court at about 8:40 p.m. May 4 and attacked resident Jim McCain, whom he had never met.
McCain shot and killed him. 
Boulder County DA Stan Garnett announced Wednesday he will not charge McCain in the case, citing Colorado's "make my day" law and self-defense law. 
"Under those theories, criminal charges would not be appropriate," Garnett said. "This young man broke into the house and attacked the homeowner." . . .

Labels:

5/14/2015

Look at all the Democrats who blamed the Philadelphia Amtrak crash on infrastructure spending cuts by Republicans

Here you have all these people speaking out on the cause of the Amtrak crash before they had any evidence what might have caused it.  Yet, they all seemed to agree it was due to the lack of infrastructure spending.  Put aside that Obama was the one who first suggested the sequester.  Put aside the fact that the so-called stimulus already had a lot of infrastructure spending and the Democrats who controlled everything at the time could have put more of the Stimulus into infrastructure if they really thought it was important.

Luke Russert on MSNBC said: "What you're essentially seeing here are the effects of Sequester."

NBC News: $1.1 Billion Amtrak Funding Cut One Day After Crash: REPUBLICANS PASSED SPENDING CUTS AS THE LONGSTANDING FUNDING BATTLE TOOK A RAW AND EMOTIONAL TURN.

MSNBC: ED RENDELL ON AMTRAK DISASTER: REPUBLICANS CAN’T KEEP SHORTCHANGING INFRASTRUCTURE

Delegate Homles Norton on Amtrak: "Certainly is" a link between safety and funding

The Economist magazine had this in 2010:
Mr Obama called the bill “the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower built an interstate highway system in the 1950s.” But even on the broadest definition of the term, infrastructure got $150 billion, under a fifth of the total. Just $64 billion, or 8% of the total, went to roads, public transport, rail, bridges, aviation and wastewater systems. . . .
Why not put more of this $150 billion into roads and rail if they really thought that was so crucial.

Labels:

5/10/2015

Lessons for why the polls seem to be so wrong lately?

Here are a few interesting notes on the problems that we are experiencing with polling and why the problems aren't going to get any better in the near future.  From Politico:
. . . But changes in communications are threatening the viability of public election polling in many developed countries where the landline phone was once a reliable medium for representative surveys 
Like their counterparts in the United States, Britons are abandoning their landlines. Telephone pollsters have shifted, contacting an increasing percentage of their respondents via mobile phone, but perhaps not enough, according to many pollsters. In the United States, polling mobile phones is far more expensive than relying on landlines, because survey researchers are required by law to enter cellphone numbers manually when dialing. . . .  
Alberto Nardelli, data editor at The Guardian newspaper, noted last month that phone polls tended to favor the Tories, while Labour performed better in Internet polls. That phenomenon existed as late as a week ago, according to the New Statesman’s “May 2015” website. 
“I would be concerned about what looks like systematic errors in the British polling — under-representation of Conservative voters and overestimation of support for the Labour Party,” said University of Michigan professor Michael Traugott. “I haven’t seen any polls that suggested that the Scottish National Party was going to do extremely well in Scotland at the expense of Labour primarily. So, systematic errors like that, patterned errors like that, suggest methodological problems.” 
(Similarly, in Israel, some observers believe Web polling was biased against Netanyahu’s Likud Party and swayed the overall balance of pre-election forecasts.) . . . 
Telephone polls are increasingly unreliable and too expensive, while Internet polling isn’t yet able to replace truly random surveys. . . .

Labels:

5/09/2015

Concealed Handgun Permit holders in South Carolina stop a mass public shooting


FOX Carolina 21 From the news article:
Firefighters said they may have stopped a massacre after a gunman surprised them at their station Tuesday. 
The Aiken County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to the New Holland Fire Department's Station 2 around 6:30 p.m. for a report of shots fired. 
Firefighters said Chad Barker pulled up to the crowded fire station parking lot full of children and firefighters, got out of his car, and began firing in the air and at his vehicle. They say he also pointed the firearm at individual firefighters for lengthy periods of time.   
"I came out of the office, saw the man with the gun, told everybody to leave out the back quickly that there was a man in the parking lot with a gun, and I was not kidding,” said Gary Knoll, a firefighter for New Holland. 
Knoll said he and another firefighter who have concealed weapons permits pulled their guns on the gunman. 
Knoll said Barker returned to his vehicle and firefighters carefully followed him with their weapons still drawn. After encouraging Barker to put the gun down, Knoll said Barker ultimately complied and Knoll grabbed the gun. . . . .
Hat tip to AWR HAWKINS for finding this story.

Labels:

5/07/2015

Texas House and Senate reach deal to get Campus Carry bill passed

It looked as if the Campus Carry bill in Texas was going to die.  Well, a last minute deal between the state House and Senate appears to have saved it.  From the Austin American-Statesman:
. . .  Apparently out of options in the House, state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, turned to the Senate, where he said he worked out a deal to have campus carry legislation grafted onto another gun bill as an amendment. The move would allow the new combination bill to return to the House, where approval by the Republican majority is expected. 
“If I can get the Senate to send it back over this way, we’ll wrap it up and call it a session,” Fletcher said Wednesday. “It’ll save a lot of time and effort and debate.” 
The first step of the plan took place Wednesday evening when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick referred House Bill 910, allowing those with a concealed handgun license to openly carry a holstered firearm, to the Senate State Affairs Committee, where it must receive a public hearing and a vote before heading to the full Senate. . . .  
Both gun bills seemed to be stuck at an impasse as the two chambers jockeyed to see which bills moved forward — and who would receive credit for writing gun bills that Gov. Greg Abbott has already promised to sign into law. 
Fletcher said Wednesday’s action, which broke the logjam, came in an agreement with Republican Sens. Brian Birdwell, author of the campus carry bill, and Craig Estes, author of the open carry measure. . . . . 
If House members agree — the open carry bill passed 101-42 last month — the combined bill would be sent to Abbott for his signature.

Labels: ,

5/05/2015

Another Obamacare unintended consequence: emergency physicians say they've seen ER patient visits surge since Obamacare

So much for the supposed cost savings from Obamacare:

A poll released today by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that 28% of 2,099 doctors surveyed nationally saw large increases in volume, while 47% saw slight increases. By contrast, fewer than half of doctors reported any increases last year in the early days of the Affordable Care Act.
Such hikes run counter to one of the goals of the health care overhaul, which is to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by getting more people insured through Medicaid or subsidized private coverage and providing better access to primary care.
A major reason that hasn't happened is there simply aren't enough primary care physicians to handle all the newly insured patients, says ACEP President Mike Gerardi, an emergency physician in New Jersey. . . .

Labels:

5/04/2015

Man arrested because he "liked" the "most wanted" poster on Facebook

Apparently a Montana man didn't realize that his IP address allowed him to be tracked down after he liked the "most wanted" poster on Facebook:

Levi Charles Reardon, 23, was arrested Friday evening without incident, according to police records. The records indicate he had two warrants for his arrest.
Reardon made an initial court appearance for felony forgery (common scheme). His arraignment is scheduled for May 7. . . . .

Labels:

5/03/2015

What will happen in the UK May 7th election?: A hung Parliament with a Labour/SNP left wing government

Click on figures to get a clearer view.

The very left wing Scottish National Party could hold the balance of power in the Parliament.  It looks like Labour with the SNP would just together have enough votes to reach the 326 seats to form a majority.  If so, the UK might swing wildly to the left.  The UKIP (UK Independence Party) has about 14% of the vote, but probably only 2 seats.  The UKIP may be making it impossible for the Conservatives to stay in power.



Labels:

$15-an-hour minimum wages aren't so great if you no longer have a job: Pizza shop worker upset no one mentioned he could lose his job when they were discussing the increase

From Fox 13 in Seattle:

. . . Devin Jeran was happy to get a raise, when Seattle’s minimum wage went up to $11 an hour at the beginning of the month. “I definitely recognize that having more money is important,” he says, “especially in a city as expensive as this one.” Unfortunately, he’ll only enjoy that bigger paycheck for a few more months. In August, his boss is shutting down Z Pizza and putting him and his 11 co-workers out of work. “Fortunately she keeps us in the loop, she didn’t just tell us last minute.” Ritu Shah Burnham doesn’t want to go out of business, but says she can’t afford the city’s mandated wage hikes. . . .
More on the jobs being lost in San Francisco is available here.
Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in princip[le] and we believe that it's possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco -- Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage.  Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st. 

Labels:

Morgan Freeman's racist views about police

In the past, I have had some very positive things to say about Morgan Freeman (see these links).  But Freeman's comments after Baltimore are pretty nutty.
"That unrest [in Baltimore] has nothing to do with terrorism at all, except the terrorism we suffer from the police.  Why are so many people dying in police custody?  And why are they all black?  And why are al the police killing them white?"
 Even using the faulty FBI justifiable police homicide numbers makes it clear that these claims are no where near to being correct.

Labels: