2004 Archive


David Kopel, November 30, 2004 at 2:10pm] Possible Trackbacks

Another Victim of Arafat

My recent media column in the Rocky Mountain News examined the press's moral bankruptcy in its coverage of the death of the mass-murdering terrorist Yassir Arafat. A reader sent his own memories of one of Arafat's many crimes against humanity:

When I was living in Israel from 1977-78 Yasir Arafat sent a group of terrorists down from Southern Lebanon in a small boat. They landed north of Haifa and when they came ashore found a young American woman by the name of Gail Rubin. She was a nature photographer who had the misfortune of taking photographs in the area where Arafat's men beached their boat. (A beautiful collection of her photographs was published after her death under the title: Psalmist with a Camera). After extracting information from her about their location they murdered her and proceeded to the coast highway. There they commandeered a bus and drove down the highway, shooting at pedestrians and passing cars. When the Israeli army shot out the tires and stormed the bus the terrorists opened fire on the passengers. Gail Rubin and the others murdered that night were just a few of the victims of Yasir Arafat. As you pointed out in your piece on November 20 in the Rocky Mountain News, he was a man responsible for death of thousands of Jews and, because of the violence he fomented, of thousands of Palestinians as well. I agree with you that the news coverage about Arafat after his death was unbelievably distorted and cowardly.


David Kopel, November 19, 2004 at 1:20am] Possible Trackbacks

Condoleezza Rice and the Second Amendment:

Condoleezza Rice has described herself as "a Second Amendment absolutist." An article in the Montgomery Advertiser explains why. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where her father, a Presbyterian minister, was a strong advocate of civil rights:

Rice has said memories of Birmingham's racial turmoil shaped some of her core values.

During the bombings of the summer of 1963, her father and other neighborhood men guarded the streets at night to keep white vigilantes at bay. Rice said her staunch defense of gun rights comes from those days. She has argued that if the guns her father and neighbors carried had been registered, they could have been confiscated by the authorities, leaving the black community defenseless.

David Kopel, November 17, 2004 at 11:43am] Possible Trackbacks

Illinois Limits Gun Ban Enforcement:

Chicago and several of its suburbs ban the possession of handguns. A new law in Illinois prevents the conviction of a person for violating the handgun ban, if the person used the handgun for lawful self-defense on his property. The new law (720 ILCS 5/24-10) states:

It is an affirmative defense to a violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibits, regulates, or restricts the private ownership of firearms if the individual who is charged with the violation used the firearm in an act of self-defense or defense of another as defined in Sections 7-1 and 7-2 of this Code when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.

Although vehemently anti-gun Governor Rod Blagojevich vetoed the bill, the Senate over-rode the bill narrowly, and yesterday the House voted to 85-30 to over-ride. The reform was the result of the prosecution of a man who violated the Wilmette handgun gun, and whose violation was discovered after he shot a burglar during the burglar's second invasion of the man's home.

In my Arizona Law Review article "Lawyers, Guns, and Burglars", I argue that one reason the United States has a much lower rate of home invasion burglaries than do countries such as the United Kingdom is that American law allows crime victims to shoot home invaders. The new Illinois law is a good first step on legal reform; in the minority of states (such as New York) in which local governments are allowed to ban certain types of guns, an Illinois-style reform deserves careful consideration.


David Kopel, November 13, 2004 at 2:03am] Possible Trackbacks

Arafat. Godfather of Terror:

A new one-minute film from Honestreporting.com sums up the legacy of the founder of modern terrorism.

With one despot already gone, another Middle East despot may not survive much longer, according to a report from the indispensible StrategyPage.com: "With its military falling apart and all its traditional sources of foreign aid drying up, the Syrian dictatorship is sliding closer to revolution, and disaster."


David Kopel, November 12, 2004 at 2:06am] Possible Trackbacks

Letter To John Perry Barlow From A Pot-Smoking Deadhead Bush Voter:

This letter on Dean's World says it all. A few of the great quotes:

"A lot of us grew up being told to question authority, and a lot of that authority we now question is the left-wing orthodoxy of your generation..."

"In other words, I've experienced firsthand just how hateful, intolerant, and irrational you guys can be when someone dares to question your beliefs. You guys often come off exactly like the theocratic mullahs and the lock-step fascists you claim to hate (but which you, oddly enough, don't seem willing to use American power to try to overthrow)."

"You guys may have whipped a bunch of dumbass kids into a rage by feeding them Michael Moore style hate-propaganda, but you equally p----- off a bunch of other folks in the process who showed up to vote just to spite you guys for being such mean-spirited, reactionary, paint-by-numbers, bigoted, closed-minded jerks."

"It reached a point for a lot of us that on election day, we were doing more than just saying 'We want to re-elect George Bush.' When we pulled that lever for Bush, we were also just plain saying 'F--- YOU!'"

Were Deadheads who question the authority of the official Questioners of Authority among the micro-groups which Karl Rove targeted? Has the independent Question Authority voting bloc become a counterforce against the Politically Correct authority which proclaims its love for diversity and tolerance, but is more intolerant of intellectual diversity than any other large group in the United States?


David Kopel, November 11, 2004 at 4:23pm] Possible Trackbacks

Zogby's Implausible Analysis of Catholic Voters:

Pax Christi, one of the leading organizations of the Catholic Religious Left, is touting a new Zogby poll which headlines "Catholic voters ultimately turned-off by single issue messaging of conservative Catholic leaders." Horsefeathers.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bush lost the Catholic vote 47-50 in 2000, and won the Catholic vote 52-47 in 2004, for a net Catholic gain of 3.3 million votes--a rather substantial contribution to Bush's 3.5 million margin of victory. Bush's strongest Catholic support came from Catholics who attended Mass weekly.

The Zogby/Pax Christi spin reminds me of the many polls which claim that there are more voters who will support a candidate because he is a strong gun control advocate than who will oppose him because they support gun rights. Many politicians, including Al Gore, have entered early retirement because they believed those polls. The actual behavior of voters is a much more reliable guide about how people vote.


David Kopel, November 9, 2004 at 12:49pm] Possible Trackbacks

How Hillary Clinton Won the Presidential Elections of 2008 and 2012:

That's the title of my newly-published future history of the United States. Looking back on the United States from a French perspective in the year 2150, the story explains how Mrs. Clinton won, and how she governed so successfully. The keys to her first election, it turned out, were President Bush's victory in the War on Terror, and the Supreme Court decision over-ruling Roe v. Wade.

Characters who play a prominent--but often unexpected--role during the Rodham-Clinton administration include Michael Moore, Glenn Reynolds, Anita Hill, and Chief Justice Clarence Thomas.

The future history is tongue-in-cheek, but many a truth is said in jest.


David Kopel, November 4, 2004 at 3:03pm] Possible Trackbacks

Hillary's Vice-President:

Assuming that Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008, who will she pick as her running-mate? Some people would say Illinois Senator Barack Obama--an excellent speaker who could help bring out the black vote.

But I'm putting my money on Colorado's new Democratic Senator Ken Salazar. Salazar is a very dull public speaker, but he's much closer to the political center than Obama. And Hillary doesn't need a staunch leftist to shore up her base.

Moreover, Salazar is a proven Democratic winner under tough circumstances. His victory on Tuesday was the only Democratic victory in a seriously contested open seat, and he won in a state which George Bush carried.

A fifth-generation Coloradan, Salazar is of Mexican ancestry, and would likely increase turn-out and Democratic voting among Americans of Mexican ancestry. He might help Mrs. Clinton carry Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona, all of which have large populations of immigrants from Mexico.

Hispanics are not nearly as monolithic as some political pundits claim; I doubt that Salazar's Mexican roots would mean a great deal to Floridians who immigrated from Cuba, or to New Yorkers from Puerto Rico.

But for the Democrats to win the electoral contest while being shut out in the South, they're going to need to add some more states, and Salazar could be part of a winning strategy to pick up the southern Rocky Mountain states.

P.S. A couple points in response to reader comments. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson would also be a good VP choice, for many of the same reasons as Salazar. But he does have the burden of serving as Secretary of Energy under the Clinton administration. Another reader suggests that North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, who was re-elected this week, might make a stronger candidate in the general election than Senator Clinton; he is more moderate, and both parties do well nationally when they nominate Southern Governors.


David Kopel, November 4, 2004 at 1:57pm] Possible Trackbacks

Gun Case in the Supreme Court; Sporting Clays Case in Virginia:

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in U.S. v. Small. The case involves interpretation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), which prohibits firearms possession by any person "who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year." The question for the Court is whether the statute applies to foreign convictions, or only to American convictions.

Before buying a gun in Pennsylvania in 1998, Small had been convicted in a Japanese court of a non-violent firearms offense punishable by more than one year in prison. The procedures of the Japanese trial were grossly divergent from American legal standards of due process.

Small is represented by Paul Boas (who gave the oral argument) and Stephen Halbrook (a firearms law expert with a 3-0 record in Supreme Court cases).

The Halbrook and Boas opening brief argues that when Congress said "any court," Congress meant "any state or federal court." Halbrook and Boas muster a host of federal statutory and legislative history arguments to support their point.

They also point out that Congress has explicitly found the Second Amendment to be an individual right, and that Congress therefore would not want a person to be deprived of one constitutional right based on a foreign court conviction obtained contrary to other standards in the Bill of Rights.

Another interesting brief on Halbrook's website is the Virginia state case of Orion Sporting Group v. Nelson County. The case is currently before the Virginia intermediate court of appeals. Nelson County denied Orion a permit to use land for simulated hunting. Halbrook argues that the denial violates the Virginia Constitution, which guarantees the right to hunt.

Orion wants to operate a sporting clays facility. Sporting clays, which first became popular in the 1980s, involves firing a shotgun at clay disks. Sporting clays is usually considered much more difficult than trap or skeet shooting, because the clays fly in a wide variety of different paths--such as very steep arcs in the air, or gliding a few feet off the ground. Sporting clay fields are natural land, comparable to typical bird hunting terrain.

Bolstering Halbrook's argument are Virginia state laws which specify how local governments may regulate firearms discharge. The Orion sporting clays field would comply with all such laws.

The Nelson County government argues that since Orion is a corporation, it is not a person, and therefore has no right to hunt. Halbrook answers that "the constitutional right to hunt implies a right to make and provide the goods and services that make hunting possible, just as the right to a free press includes a right of corporations to print newspapers or communicate on signs. Corporations manufacture firearms, ammunition, clay pigeons, blaze orange clothing, and other items necessary for hunting, and corporations sponsor hunting safety classes, opportunities for simulated and actual hunting, and other services. "

These days, even anti-gun groups claim that they support "gun safety." An isolated 450 acre rural tract is certainly a safe place to shoot sporting clays, and to improve the shooting skills that are important to safe hunting.


David Kopel, November 2, 2004 at 11:26am] Possible Trackbacks

Second Amendment Election Guide:

I've just published a Second Amendment guide looking at all U.S. Senate races, all Governor races, and important U.S. of House of Representatives races. You can use the guide to see how the Second Amendment is faring when election returns come in tonight.


David Kopel, November 1, 2004 at 3:10pm] Possible Trackbacks

Michael Moore and Osama bin Laden:

The Canadian web journal PoliticsWatch.com has a new article noting some of the many similarities between the claims in Osama bin Laden's latest movie and the claims in Michael Moore's latest movie.

The reporter asked me for an observation, and I said, "It's a poor reflection on both of them. Michael Moore presents numerous anti-American falsehoods in Fahrenheit, and Osama bin Laden echoes them.

"It should not be surprising that bin Laden finds so much in common with Michael Moore. After all, Moore says that Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the Iranian- and Syrian-sponsored terrorists who want to prevent free elections in Iraq, are the equivalent of the pro-freedom 'Minutemen' who won the American Revolution."

Although the Osama video will likely make Michael Moore even more popular among totalitarians around the world, Moore's reputation in central Europe may have suffered a new blow, as a Czech citizen has just produced a translation of the 4-page summary of my report 59 Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11. Or as they say in the Czech Republic, 59 lží dokumentu Fahrenheit 9/11. Update: It appears that Michael Moore doesn't mind being an indirect speech-writer for Osama bin Laden. Moore's final pre-election web letter says, "did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?"


David Kopel, November 1, 2004 at 10:31am] Possible Trackbacks

Federalists "sniped" at Western New England College School of Law

Last Thursday, I spoke on the Second Amendment, at Western New England College School of Law, in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the invitation of the school's Federalist Society. The night before, the Red Sox won the World Series, and it was fun to be in the hotel bar, with plenty of Red Sox fans, as the 86-year Curse was lifted. It was sort of like being an eyewitness to the final scene of Beauty and the Beast—a very rare event.

My speech the next day also unusual had an unusual experience, although the WNEC Federalists tell me that it happens all the time to them. For the first time ever, I was "sniped." According to the WNEC Federalists, when they schedule an event, the school administration quite often schedules a counter-event, designed to keep the law students from hearing whatever the Federalists have to say.

My speech was final event in the WNEC Federalists' "Second Amendment Week." On Tuesday at noon, they showed a video of the recent debate in London between the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and Rebecca Peters, a leading scholar of the international gun prohibition lobby. At the last minute, the administration scheduled an event at the exact same time—on the highly controversial Solomon Amendment, which forbids schools which receive federal funding from barring military recruiters. Many law schools, including WNEC, would like to prohibit the military from conducting campus interviews to recruit lawyers for the Judge Advocate Generals Corps, because the military discriminates against homosexuals.

The Federalists asked the administration why the event had been scheduled to conflict with the Federalist event. According to the Federalists, the administration replied that the conflict was unavoidable, because of faculty scheduling. The Federalists, and even some members of the faculty, suggest that the administration's rationale was nonsense; faculty schedules are the same every week. If the faculty speakers were available last Tuesday at noon, they would also be available the next Tuesday, at noon, or the Tuesday after that.

My speech was scheduled for Thursday at noon. The Federalists entice students to attend events by offering free pizza and soda, which the student Federalists pay for out of their own pockets.

Just a few days before I arrived, an announcement was made that PMBR, a company which offers classes to prepare students for the bar exam, would be holding an informational meeting about how PMBR could help students pass the bar. As is the norm at PMBR events, free pizza was offered.

When the PMBR representative arrived on campus, a Federalist heard him remarking to his assistant about how unusual the WNEC administration's request had been: the administration had contacted him on very short notice, and insisted that he make his presentation on a particular date and a particular time. The date and time just happened to be the exact time when I was scheduled to speak.

Now WNEC does not graduate any students in December, so none of its students would be preparing for the bar exam until next summer. So why would the WNEC administration be so insistent that PMBR make its presentation on a particular Thursday at noon—as opposed to the next day, or the next week?

According to the U.S. News & World Report rankings, WNEC is a "tier 4" law school, meaning that it is in the bottom quartile. A professor at another (mid-ranking) school once explained to me that political correctness and hostility to intellectual diversity are more intense at the lower-ranking law schools than at the higher-ranking schools. At the high end, the leftist faculty are influential in legal scholarship, and in the broader world. Accordingly, they can afford to be tolerant of a few conservative or libertarian faculty or students. But in the lower-ranking law schools, power over of the school itself is the only power the faculty have, and they are often especially rigid about attempting to suppress diverse points of view.

Notwithstanding the "sniping" attempt, about 55 students showed up for my lecture, including (to their credit) some students who were well-known members of the campus Left.

Like many of the members of the Volokh Conspiracy, I have spoken at Federalist events all over the country, at law schools all over the prestige rankings. But this was the only time I have ever been sniped.

WNEC charges its students $29,000 a year in tuition. Perhaps the administration might offer the students a better value for the very hefty tuition if, instead of sniping Federalist events, the administration celebrated intellectual diversity, and stopped trying to distract its students from hearing non-Left points of view. Why not schedule campus programs so that students can attend both events, rather than having to miss one?

After all, a good lawyer is comfortable with being confronted by the best arguments of her intellectual opponents. A law school which tries to shield students from speakers who dissent from politically correct ideology does a very poor job of training lawyers to engage in intellectual combat, which is an essential skill of a lawyer.


Oct. 23, 2004

HOLY BIAS, BATMAN!

Have the New York Times and other media been fair in covering the controversy over Catholic Bishops urging Catholics to vote pro-life? Not entirely, I argue in my new media column.
Posted at 09:41 PM


Oct. 22, 2004

ME, .INF

[Dave Kopel]
What file extension am I? "You are .inf. You are informative. When you are gone you make life very difficult for others." What operating system am I? "You are HP-UX. You're still strong despite the passage of time. Though few understand you, those who do love you deeply and appreciate you." Which Nigerian spammer am I? "YOU ARE AN ACCOUNTANT WITH THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORP. YOU WISH TO REMIT $21 MILLION TO MY COMPANY FOR SAFEKEEPING. YOU ENJOY BICYCLING AND TYPING IN ALL-CAPS." To learn more about yourself, try these on-line quizzes.

Posted at 12:33 PM


Oct. 21, 2004

DEBUNKING MOORE

[Dave Kopel]

A new college student activist website, Must Have Info, promotes campus screenings of the movie "Farenhype 9/11," which debunks the lies in "Fahrenheit 9/11." Among the people appearing in the "Farenhype" are Ed Koch, Zell Miller, and myself.

My written report "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11" now has over one million page views. There is a 4-page summary in PDF which you can distribute for free. The 4-page summary is also available in Spanish, in Italian, and in Swedish. There is also a French version of the full-length report, covering deceits 1-33, and supplemented by many photographs and documents.
Posted at 03:08 PM


Oct. 16, 2004

FOR YOUR VIEWING

[Dave Kopel]

A new 14-minute film, now available for web viewing, uses Michael Moore's film-making techniques to examine The War of the Ring: "Michael Moore's searing examination of the Aragorn administration's actions in the wake of the tragic events at Helms Deep....He looks at how - and why - Aragorn and his inner circle avoided pursuing the Saruman connection to Helms Deep, despite the fact that 9 out of every 10 Orcs that attacked the castle were actually Uruk-hai who were spawned in and financed by Isengard. "
Posted at 10:12 AM


Oct. 14, 2004

AK-47

[Dave Kopel]

Ramesh is wrong but that doesn't mean he should apologize. The AK-47 (an automatic rifle) is not and never has been illegal; but it is very severely regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which covers automatic firearms. The (now-expired) 1994 Clinton ban on so-called "assault weapons" had nothing to do with automatic weapons, including the AK-47. The ban applied to about 200 firearms with a military appearance, yet had nothing to do with real automatic military weapons. Kerry makes a big deal about being a hunter (he wants to "hunt and kill terrorists," supposedly), but the "assault weapon" ban was about the cosmetics of ordinary guns, not about automatics, as I detailed for NRO.
Posted at 01:56 AM


Oct. 13, 2004

MARRYING UP

[Dave Kopel]

With all due respect to my esteemed webmistress KJL, Kerry's "marrying up" line was a disaster. For the voters who are deciding on character rather than issues (many of the undecided and uninformed voters), the line was a stark reminder that Bush is still married to the girl of his youth, through all the ups and downs of his alcoholism and career. Bush did not "marry up"; he married down for the woman he loved. Kerry, in contrast, married up for his first wife, dropped her, and then married up big-time for his arrogant billionairess second wife. Which guy would you trust for steady leadership? Hugh Hewitt gives Kerry an "A" for his response to the question, but I think Hugh is dead wrong. Game, set, and match to GWB.
Posted at 11:10 PM


Oct. 10, 2004

ALTERNATIVE READING

[Dave Kopel]

The new issue of Liberty magazine includes a detailed analysis of Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Bandarik's swing through Colorado, by Colorado writer Ari Armstrong. Armstrong discusses candidate Bandarik's disturbing answers to some questions which I posed to Bandarik on a public television interview show--regarding Bandarik's refusal to pay federal income taxes, and Bandarik's support for a man who was convicted of threatening a judge.

Besides writing for Liberty, Armstrong publishes his own online magazine, Colorado Freedom Report. It's filled with interesting stories about federal interference with Colorado's medical marijuana law, Amendment 36 (the initiative to split Colorado's electoral votes), and of Al Franken's recent visit to Colorado. My favorite new article, however, is a mostly favorable review of the Colorado premiere of Farenhype 9/11, a movie with debunks the lies in Fahrenheit 9/11, and which features Frank Gaffney, David Frum, David Hardy, Ed Koch, Zell Miller, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and yours truly.
Posted at
03:45 PM


Oct. 9, 2004

FYI

[Dave Kopel]

My latest media column examines the draft hoax. Along the way, I point to good work by Beldar Blog, INDC Journal, Snopes.com, and two anti-draft websites with intellectual integrity. And I show that John Kerry is the candidates who has advocated mandatory national service for young people, although he is now trying to cover up his proposal for coercion.
Posted at 07:36 PM


Oct. 6, 2004

MY FOCUS GROUP

[Dave Kopel]

I watched the VP debate with a Boulder, Colorado, focus group, consisting of my relatives and neighbors. Except for me, none of them was considering voting for Bush. Some were confirmed Kerry voters, and others were undecided between Kerry and a third party (Nader or Green Party candidate David Cobb).

The verdict: two members of the focus group (one a solid Kerry vote, the other a solid Nader vote) were impressed with Edwards' poise, and liked him more. The majority of the group, however, thought that Cheney outperformed Edwards. The former was solid, experienced, and comfortable in his job. The latter was glib, superficial, and platitudinous. The solid Kerry votes remain solid, while swing voters who were considering a third party are now more likely to vote third party, particularly because they found Edwards too aggressive on foreign policy and too pro-Israel.
Posted at 12:28 AM


Sept. 7, 2004

RE KERRY'S GUN

[Dave Kopel]

S. 1431, co-sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, says that an "assault weapon" is any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun with a "pistol grip." According to the bill, "(42) PISTOL GRIP- The term 'pistol grip' means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip." Kerry's new semi-automatic gun has a protrusion below the stock, which a person could grip. The protrusion is not a "pistol grip" in the ordinary meaning of the term, but it is a "pistol grip" as defined by S. 1431.
Posted at 03:04 PM


Aug. 24, 2004

RE: MYSTERY

[Dave Kopel]
A little bit ago, I asked why Kerry's Silver Star was signed at least twelve years after the fact by the Secretary of the Navy. FrontPage offers an excellent article by Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer examining the issue, and many other anomalies about Kerry's Silver Star citation.
Posted at 01:10 PM

SILVER STAR MYSTERY

[Dave Kopel]
On John Kerry's website, one can read the document awarding him the Silver Star for his actions on Feb. 28, 1969. Strangely, the document is signed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. Yet the Secretaries of the Navy in 1969 through 1974 were John Chafee and John Warner. Not until 1981 did John Lehman become Secretary of the Navy. Does anyone have an explanation for why Kerry's Silver Star award letter appears to have come at least 12 years after the incident in question? Certainly the naval bureaucracy can move slowly, but a 12 year delay seems strange.
Posted at 06:29 AM


Aug. 14, 2004

MEDIA AND KERRY-CAMBODIA

[Dave Kopel]
Another important daily newspaper breaks the media vow of silence on Kerry's Cambodia Christmas Caper: my latest media analysis column in the Rocky Mountain News/Denver Post.
Posted at 11:11 AM


Aug. 6, 2004

SWELL VIDEO

[Dave Kopel]
There is a free preview on the Net (2:46) for "A Question of Balance." It presents some highlights of a firearms policy symposium held in London in 2003. You can also get details about the full 56-minute DVD, which offers the best excerpts from the day-long presentation. Speakers include Stephen Halbrook, Don Kates, Mary Stange, and myself.
Posted at 11:06 AM


July 5, 2004

MOORE & MOVEON

[Dave Kopel]
MoveOn.org is running an "AstroTurf" campaign in support of Fahrenheit 911. As detailed by "doubleplusungood infotainment," the MoveOn has succeeded in getting newspapers to publish pre-written form letters to the editor. Most newspapers work hard to avoid publication of such phony "grassroots" letters, which are pushed by unethical groups on all sides of the political spectrum. Smaller papers are more vulnerable to such letters, since they do not have the staff to fully investigate all suspicious letters.
Posted at 03:54 PM


June 22, 2004

REAGAN, 1982

[Dave Kopel]
How did the media cover Reagan in June 1982? As I detail in my latest Rocky Mountain News column, the media trashed Reagan's foreign policy of peace through strength, and fawned over the Soviet-manipulated "peace" protestors who were holding rallies all over Europe and the United States. Sort of reminds you of the present, doesn't it?
Posted at 01:12 PM


June 19, 2004

JUNE 19

[Dave Kopel]
Today in history, on June 19, 1953, the traitors Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed at Sing Sing prison. Although Communists and others whose philosophy is hate-America-first bewail the Rosenbergs as victims, the Rosenbergs chose to betray their country and to assist a genocidal tyrant. The fact that you are free today to study the debate about the Rosenbergs is only because the Rosenbergs their fellow traitors failed in their efforts to impose Stalinism on the entire world.
Posted at 06:07 PM


May 27, 2004

"JUSTICE" IN ZIMBABWE

[Dave Kopel]
According to ZWNews, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe has filed murder charges against a white farmer who apparently shot one person in an armed mob of people who had invaded his land. The Mugabe regime has been disarming potential victims of government violence (including white farmers), and has been stealing land to give to thuggish young gangsters who support the tyrant in exchange for impunity to rape, rob, murder, and pillage the rest of the population.
Posted at 10:13 PM

LISTEN

[Dave Kopel]
Here's what I talked about yesterday. In the evening, I gave a tribute to Harry Truman at the Boulder County Democrats annual Truman Dinner. Before that, I appeared on WBUR's national program "On Point," where Jim Hightower and I debated the influence of Michael Moore. Our discussion begins at 17:30 into the show, following an interview with Frank Rich.
Posted at 10:08 PM


May 25, 2004

MOORE RADIO

[Dave Kopel]
On Wednesday, May 26, on WBUR Radio, Boston, I will be discussing Michael Moore, his new movie Fahrenheit 911, and his role in American culture. The show airs from 7-8 p.m. Eastern Time, and is available live and archived here. Listener call-ins are allowed. The program is "On Point," a syndicated National Public Radio program hosted by Tom Ashbrook. The show will open with a segment with New York Times columnist Frank Rich. Then Jim Hightower and I will talk about Moore.
Posted at 08:49 PM

KERRY'S NOMINATION MISTAKE

[Dave Kopel]
According to the Boston Globe, Senator Kerry had the following reaction to Republican criticism of his plan to delay accepting his party's nomination:

The senator chuckled at the criticism. "Once again, the Republicans don't know history, and they don't know facts," he said. "The truth is that it used to be that the convention, after nomination, traveled to the home or the state of the nominee to inform them they've been nominated. Woodrow Wilson was at his house in Princeton, N.J.; Harry Truman was in Independence, Mo.," he said.

In fact, it is Senator Kerry who apparently does not know the history and facts. On July 14, 1948, President Truman's name was placed in nomination at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia by Missouri's Governor, Phil M. Donnelly. Just as Governor Donnelly was nominating President Truman, President Truman and his family arrived in Philadelphia by train. The Democratic delegates voted for Truman's nomination that night. The next night, July 15, 1948, President Truman came to Convention Hall in Philadelphia, and accepted his party's nomination, delivering a blistering speech which set him on the course for victory in November.

As for Wilson, Kerry is closer to the truth. The 1912 Democratic Convention in Baltimore voted for the nomination to Woodrow Wilson on the 46th ballot on July 1. Wilson was formally notified of the offer on August 7, 1912, by a convention delegation which traveled to Wilson's summer home in Sea Girt, New Jersey (not Princeton).
Posted at 06:16 PM


May 22, 2004

A SHOUT-OUT FOR FRANKEN

[Dave Kopel]
My new Rocky Mountain News media column looks at Air America. The verdict: "The O'Franken Factor" is a strong show, equal to many of its right-wing counterparts. Randi Rhodes, on the other hand, offers an amazing combination of stupidity, banality, and smugness.
Posted at 07:41 PM


May 20, 2004

"THE CRISIS"

[Dave Kopel]
Rob S. Rice is a classicist and poet whose poems on the current war have earned the favor of OpinionJournal, among others. Dr. Rice also helps me produce my monthly free e-mail newsletter on Second Amendment issues. Here's Dr. Rice's newest verse.

The Crisis

By Rob S. Rice

In these dull dreary days the truly brave man knows
That steel, true steel, is tempered by blows.
Fools sneer and deride, let them cheer for our foes
So much harder steel that they temper with blows.

Honor is eternal, though fools disregard
The tests they despise, or consider 'too hard.'
Or in scheming for power they chatter, like crows,
But steel, true steel, is still tempered by blows.

We face scheming murderers with calm defiance.
They have soulless evil, we have self-reliance.
They butcher civilians, their cruelty shows.
Our steel, true steel, is tempered by blows.

Let them come and dare face us, or run, if they choose.
In battle or treachery, the wicked shall lose.
For the acts of their madness are in truth their death throes.
They'll die on our steel that they've tempered, with blows.


May 19, 2004

EXCOMMUNICATION FREQUENCY

[Dave Kopel]

When was the last time an American Catholic Bishop actually excommunicated an elected official? On April 16, 1962, the Archbishop of New Orleans, Joseph F. Rummel, excommunicated three men who had persistently defied and interfered with the Archbishop's order to integrate the parochial schools of New Orleans. The three men were State Judge Leander H. Perez, State Senator E.W. Gravolet, and a racist citizen activist B.J. Gaillot.

Two days later, President John F. Kennedy was asked at a press conference, "Mr. President, would you care to comment on developments in New Orleans where the Archbishop excommunicated three people for hindering school desegregation?"

He replied: "No, the action of the Archbishop related to private acts and private individuals, which did not involve public acts or public policy, so that carrying out the spirit of the Constitution which provides a separation between church and state, I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that."

Excommunication aims to make the excommunicant aware of the grave nature of his sin, and the peril to his soul. At least for Perez, the excommunication eventually worked. In 1968 he repented his fervent racism, which was extreme even compared to other segregationists. He died in 1969 and received a Catholic funeral.


May 16, 2004

RC VOTING GUIDES

[Dave Kopel]
Whether or not Bishop Sheridan's edict about the voting duties of Catholics is wise, it is not unprecedented. In July 1949, Pope Pius XII declared that any person who consciously advanced Communism was “without question excommunicated.” The declaration was consistent with the 1937 statement of Pope Pius XI that any form of support for Communism was sinful. Voting for a Communist Party candidate would obviously be a form of conscious support for Communism


April 9, 2004

SECOND AMENDMENT ELECTION

[Dave Kopel]
This election year, there is no candidate who is more deserving of support from Second Amendment supporters all over the nation that Gary Marbut, who is running for a state house of representatives seat in Montana. As I detail in the foreword to Gary's new book Gun Laws of Montana Gary's leadership of the Montana Shooting Sports Association has not only led to the enactment of outstanding gun laws in Montana, those laws have set excellent examples for other states to follow. Should Gary be elected to the Montana House, he will be in an even better position to fight for good laws in Montana, whose benefit will redound to gunowners everywhere.


March 18, 2004

MEL'S NEXT

[Dave Kopel]
Folks who would like to preview the general plot background for Mel Gibson's forthcoming (I hope) movie on the Jewish war of independence against Syria might want to check out my 2002 column on the military history of the war, and my 2000 column providing a broader historical perspective.


Feb. 26, 2004

GUNS IN MISSOURI

[Dave Kopel]
The gun-prohibition lobby has suffered a major defeat in the Missouri supreme court. Today the court ruled that Missouri's new law to create concealed-handgun permits for licensed, trained citizens who pass a background check. The law was enacted last fall, when the Missouri legislature over-rode the governor's veto. The gun-prohibition lobbies quickly filed suit against the new law, shopped for an anti-gun judge, and obtained a temporary injunction against the concealed-carry law. The Missouri supreme court overturned the injunction, thereby allowing the law to go into effect.

Article I, section 23, of the Missouri constitution states: "That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons." The obvious meaning of the final clause is that concealed carry is not part of the right to keep and bear arms. The Missouri legislature could prohibit concealed carry entirely, could allow unrestricted concealed carry, or could allow concealed carry under certain circumstances. The Missouri legislature chose the third option: prohibiting concealed carry except for people who are given a license according to state standards.

The gun prohibition groups made the preposterous argument--with the trial judge in Saint Louis accepted--that the constitutional clause forbids concealed carry under all circumstances. The Missouri supreme court rejected this absurd claim. The court wrote: "There is no constitutional prohibition against the wearing of concealed weapons; there is only a prohibition against invoking the right to keep and bear arms to justify the wearing of concealed weapons." A contrary decision would have made it illegal for even police officers to carry concealed guns.

Not long ago, the New Mexico supreme court rejected a similarly nonsensical claim against a new concealed-carry law in the Land of Enchantment.

The Missouri supreme court did rule that the new law cannot go into effect in four counties, because the law, at least arguably, imposes an unfunded mandate on local law enforcement for the cost of issuing the permits. The Missouri constitution's "Hancock Amendment" prohibits unfunded mandates. Sheriffs are allowed to charge a fee of up to $100, but a few sheriffs have argued that the fee is inadequate. It is expected that the issue regarding appropriate fees will not be difficult to fix by the state legislature.
Posted at 05:37 PM


READY, AIM...

[Dave Kopel]
The Senate is currently debating a bill to prohibit junk lawsuits against firearms companies. A variety of amendments are being proposed. Here are some resources for background on the issues: Summary of problems with the lawsuits.

Why protecting Second Amendment rights from abusive lawsuits is similar to protecting First Amendment rights from abusive lawsuits, as the Supreme Court did in New York Times v. Sullivan.

Extending the 1994 ban on so-called "assault weapons," which is due to sunset in September 2004.

Redefining "cop-killer" bullets so as to allow prohibition of ordinary rifle ammunition (coming soon on NRO).

Authorizing federal regulation of gun shows, in a manner imposing gun registration on all sales at gun shows, and allowing gun shows to be eliminated administratively.

Requiring gun dealers to sell gun locks with guns. Unnecessary, since federal law already requires that gun dealers make locks available to customers.
Posted at 01:51 PM


Feb. 3, 2004

DEAN

[Dave Kopel]
Howard Dean's collapse is much worse than Hart (1987/88) or Muskie (1972). Hart in 1987 was the front-runner, but nobody was claiming that he had a lock on the nomination. His biggest endorsers were people like the Speaker of the Florida House--rather than former nominees of the national party. As for Muskie, he went on to win New Hampshire with 46% (but McGovern's 37% was portrayed as moral victory), and he later won the Illinois primary with 63%. Will Howard Dean win a single state?
Posted at 11:06 PM

IMPORTANT

[Dave Kopel]
Last September, I wrote a NRO article criticizing the legal strategy in the litigation over the Morton Grove handgun ban, in the early 1980s. Although I contacted several people who were involved in the litigation, and who had personal knowledge of the case, I made a serious error in judgment by failing to contact Victor Quilici, the attorney whose strategy my article criticized. Mr. Quilici has written a response to my article, which provides a different perspective events in Morton Grove, and which I should have included in my original article. Another response has been written by Robert Kukla, who has served as Executive Director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. Mr. Kukla support's Mr. Quilici's recollection of the Morton Grove history. I urge all readers of my original article (and anyone else interested in the history of the Morton Grove cases) to read what Mr. Quilici and Mr. Kukla have to say.
Posted at 12:18 PM


Feb. 2, 2004

SECOND AMENDMENT AND KERRY

[Dave Kopel]
After winning the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry told CNN, "I've been a hunter all my life, and I'm a gun owner, and I've never thought of going hunting with an AK-47. I believe in the Second Amendment." Indeed, while Kerry has almost always voted with the anti-gun lobby, on May 17, 2000, he was part of the 69-30 Senate majority that passed a non-binding resolution urging respect for Second Amendment rights. The resolution, Amendment no. 3150 by Senator Lott began: "(a) FINDINGS.--The Senate makes the following findings: (1) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of each law-abiding United States citizen to own a firearm for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense or recreation." The resolution concluded that "It is the sense of the Senate that:...The right of each law-abiding United States citizen to own a firearm for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense or recreation, should not be infringed."

Senator Kerry has pledged that as President he would only appoint judges who support Roe v. Wade. Accordingly, it is reasonable to ask Senator Kerry if he will promise to appoint only judges who agree with Kerry that "The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of each law-abiding United States citizen to own a firearm for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense or recreation."
Posted at 04:04 PM


Jan. 27, 2004

PREDICTIONS

[Dave Kopel]
My prediction: Dean 30, Kerry 29, Edwards 19, Lieberman 12, Clark 9, Kucinich 1, Sharpton 0. Second prediction: No-one drops out between now and Feb. 3. Instead, every candidate looks for a state to win on Super Tuesday. Clark goes all-out in Oklahoma, Edwards in South Carolina, Kerry in Missouri or Arizona, Dean in Delaware or New Mexico. Lieberman tries to place or show in enough states so that he can survive until early March, and win Florida and New York. And because South Carolina will have a real choice among several serious candidates, the state's blacks decide not to waste their vote on Al Charlatan, who finishes under 10%.
Posted at 11:18 AM


Jan. 20, 2004

NUTS?

[Dave Kopel]
The media is certainly capable of artificially inflating a trivial error into a disaster that can wreck a political career--as the media did when Dan Quayle used a spelling of "potato" that was proper in the mid-twentieth century, but which had become archaic by the 1990s. Howard Dean's speech to his supporters in Iowa last night strikes me as even less important, substantively, than "potato(e)." Dean struck a tone that's more typical of a college football coach than of a typical presidential candidate--but the speech hardly showed that Dean was going crazy, or having a breakdown, or any other mental problem. John Kerry's use of the "f-word" was likewise more appropriate for a locker room than for a Presidential interview--but I don't think that Kerry's error in tone proves that he is unfit to be President. If I lived in New Hampshire, I would vote for Lieberman, but if I were inclined to vote for Dean, the Iowa speech would not make me waver in the slightest.
Posted at 05:03 PM


Jan. 14, 2003

DC PRIMARY

[Dave Kopel]
In the non-binding District of Columbia Democratic Presidential primary, Al Sharpton finished second, with 34 percent of the vote. Carol Moseley Braun came in third, with 12 percent. So faced with a choice between a black candidate who was a former U.S. Senator with a very liberal voting record, and a black candidate who is a racist hate-monger who incited murder and made knowingly false accusations of rape, D.C. voters preferred the latter by about 3:1.
Posted at 01:22 PM


Jan. 12, 2004

FENCE POLITICS

[Dave Kopel]
Various groups which favor the extermination of Israel are complaining about Israel's security fence, which is designed to protect the Israelis from Palestinian terrorists. The pro-terror groups complain that the fence is a form of discrimination against the Palestinians. If a protective barrier against deadly invaders is "discrimination," then the Great Wall of China was "discrimination" against the Mongols; and the Maginot Line was French "discrimination" against the Germans. Like the Israeli security fence, the Maginot Line was partly built in disputed territory, since the Germans claimed that Alsace and Lorraine, which had many German-speaking people, properly belonged to Germany. France acquired these provinces after Germany started and lost a war against France in 1914--just as Israel acquired Judea and Samaria after Jordan started and lost a war against Israel in 1967. As Cliff May points out in his latest column, many other nations have protective fences--including India, the southern U.S., and South Korea. Like Israel's fence, India's fence is for protection against Islamic terrorists, and is built in disputed territory, Kashimir. But it is only Israel that is going to get hauled before the mis-named International Court of Justice for the crime of defending itself.
Posted at 02:54 PM


Jan. 6, 2004

MEDIA NOTES

[Dave Kopel]
My latest media column highlights the two best weblogs in Colorado, and discusses the junk science behind the fabricated hysteria over depleted uranium ordnance.
Posted at 02:01 PM


Jan. 5, 2004

WHAT WE HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO

[Dave Kopel]
Wait till Dean is campaigning for the Arab vote in Michigan. He'll say his favorite book of the Old Testament is Sura 17, the "Night Journey" to Jerusalem. However, Dean will favor a modern version in which Mohammed traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem by bicycle.
Posted at 05:56 AM

 

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