Disaster Du Jour

Bret Stephens discusses the fruits of Obama’s foreign policy over at WSJ.

Yet when it comes to leadership, we have our very own Clement Attlee at the top, eager to subtract the burdens of international responsibility so he can get on with the only thing that really animates him, which is building social democracy at home. Actually, that’s unfair to Attlee, who could count on a powerful ally to pick up England’s dropped reins, rescue Europe, stop the Soviets. Mr. Obama’s method is to ignore a crisis for as long as possible, give a speech, impose a sanction, and switch the subject to climate change or income inequality.

Read the whole thing.

A Majority Leader Falls Behind

Wow! I go out for a haircut, dinner, and some shopping, and when I get home, the House Majority Leader is looking for a new job. Eric Cantor lost in the Republican primary tonight.

Smitty has coverage from Virginia.

UPDATE—Hold it! Didn’t John McCain just say that the Republicans would be toast if they didn’t get behind immigration reform? NRO opines on that here.

An “Assault Weapon” in New Jersey?

The New Jersey legislature has passed a bill that would classify any semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine that hold more than 10 rounds as an “assault weapon.” That would include such evil firearms as my old .22, a Remington Nylon 66.1959_remington_nylon_66My brother’s little .22 pump action rifle would be covered too if it were a semiauto. But it’s OK because he has to rack the slide between shots.Rossi62<sarc>I’m sure New Jersey will be much safer if Gov. Christie signs the bill.</sarc>

Plus Ça Change …

It turns out that the data used to support the conclusions in French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been fudged. This undermines the credibility of yet another bit of “research” that bolstered a progressive political meme, increasing economic inequality.

I’m reminded of Michael Bellesiles’s Arming America.

plus c’est la même chose.

A Very Stupid “Smart Gun”

A German company called Armatix is trying to peddle a very stupidly designed “smart gun.” It’s a small .22 caliber pistol of the sort that might be useful for plinking at tin cans but is underpowered for any serious self-defense application. Strike one.

iP1The gun uses RFID technology to enable operation. The user must have a companion wrist watch, and the watch must be within 10 inches of the pistol in order for it to be fired.

As soon as the gun loses radio contact with the watch – e.g. if it is knocked out of the shooter’s hand or in case of loss, theft, etc. – it automatically deactivates itself.

Since most of us wear our watches on the left wrist, the pistol would have to be fired from the left hand (as shown in the Armatix picture above) or using a two-handed grip. While that wouldn’t be a problem for me, I’m ambidextrous, it’s could be a real issue for the roughly 90% of shooters who are right-handed and might not have both hands free in a self-defense situation. Strike two.

Using RFID means that the gun could be subject to jamming—and I don’t mean failure to feed the next round. Strike three.

I’ll believe that “smart guns” are a good idea when the security details of the politicians who want to force them on the public are carrying them—and no conventional firearms for backup.

Undue Burden Analysis

I’m on record as supporting a ban on high-capacity magazines. No one has any legitimate need for a copy of Mother Jones or Time with more than ten pages. Sebastian has an excellent piece over at Shall Not Be Questioned on how a related, but broader, proposed common sense regulation on reading materials might survive judicial scrutiny.

One might argue there’s no governmental interest, but suppose it’s saving trees? You can have as many e-books as you want, but you’re strictly limited in paper books. The surplus books can be recycled and put back in to supply existing paper needs.

Read the whole thing.

“For Sale To Civilians”

The Jersey Journal and the WSJ report that Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop wants to “shape the dialog” about “gun safety” by requiring companies who want to sell guns and ammunition to the Jersey City PD to state whether they offer “assault weapons” “for sale to civilians.” Of course, they do. They wouldn’t be offering them for sale to the Jersey City Police Department unless they did.

Perhaps the mayor should reacquaint himself with the Constitution. Article I, Section 10 states:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, … keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace …

Jersey City, as a subdivision of New Jersey, has not been granted the authority by Congress to raise and keep its own army. The cops in Jersey City are civilians.

The mayor’s question would be more properly framed as asking if the companies offer semi-automatic rifles for sale to citizens. Citizens. Those pesky people who think that public officials, elected and appointed, work for them rather that rule over them.

Intended Unintended Consequences

People are often surprised by the unintended consequences of their actions. For example, it was forest management policy to aggressively put out wildfires for many years. That resulted in forests full of quick-burning fuel in the understory—and spectacular, devastating forest fires.

The government’s attempts to manage the economy have been no better. The more it has fiddled, the worse things have become. Now, the Brookings Institution is reporting an across the board decline in business dynamism around the country.

The Blue State Model suggests responding with more government intrusion into the economy. States such as Maryland are doing things such as raising their minimum wage above the national level. The unintended consequence will likely be that marginally skilled workers will be priced out of the legal job market to become more of a drag on a state budget starved because of reduced economic growth.

DaTechGuy suggests that the conservatives in the Blue States should call the Left’s bluff and let them pass such ill-conceived laws. He suggests that the result would be to drive economic and population growth to the Red State, increasing their clout at the national level. It’s a strategy not unlike letting a drunk keep going till he hits bottom.


Quote of the Day

For there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked.


Mrs. Hoge Gets An Email

Mrs. Hoge received the following email. Note that it has a bogus return address. The headers show that it was sent via a remailer service.

From: televisionwatch@gmail.comd
Subject: Local “minister” WJJ Hoge is no one to admire. Vile harassment lobbied against disabled man.

A copy of what has been sent to Sheriff’s office, the local news and, of course, the forestry board. Thank your husband for any attention you get.

WJJ Hoge of Westminster, a man who claims to be a minister, is waging a petty war against a Parkinsons sufferer. Why? Because they dislike one another. Mr. Hoge has admitted ownership of the content attached in the link below. It is filthy and meant only to emotionally harm his “enemy” and nothing more.


One other time Mr. Hoge was angered, he created this online movement meant to harrass local officials:

Everyone Blog About Howard County SA Office

This man claims to be doing the lord’s work, believes he is standing up for Jesus. In truth, he is a bully, a hypocrite and someone who can only create walls and vitriol. Online harassment is something we take seriously when it involves children, but we ignore it when it comes to disabled adults. Is this what Maryland has become?

His wife, Connie, is a member of the Forestry Board and, therefore, a public figure.

Mrs. Hoge forwarded this message to me, and it popped up on my iPhone while I was at a Candidates’ Forum being held in the studios of our local public access cable station. There were two panels that night. The first was the candidates for Sheriff. The second was the candidates for State’s Attorney.

Sometimes it’s good to be able to share things with your neighbors.

UPDATE—The Cabin Boy™ says he didn’t send the email.@PatO201405030151Z

The email refers to “what has been sent to Sheriff’s office,” but the complaint Schmalfeldt filed is timestamped 18:00 on 30 April, and the headers for the email show a timestamp of  “30 Apr 2014 17:48:48.” (See the comment section below.). Now, who other than the Cabin Boy™ would have been aware of the contents of the complaint to the Sheriff 11 minutes before it was filed?


Irony Alert

The Cabin Boy™ writes this about some advice he has received—P-O20140416Leaving aside the fact that the “harassment” the Cabin Boy™ thinks he has experienced was actually pushback against the harassment he has dished out, it’s interesting to see that Howard County’s idea of the equal protection of the laws is to tell him the essentially the same thing that they told the Walker family when they sought protection from Schmalfeldt’s online harassment.