But I Don’t Want to Be A Pirate ‘Patriotic’

(Headline hint: Seinfeld, puffy shirt)

There Are No Sensible Gun Control Laws Or Restrictions. None.

Let’s say I have this cake. It is a very nice cake, with “GUN RIGHTS” written across the top in lovely floral icing. Along you come and say, “Give me that cake.”

I say, “No, it’s my cake.”

right-to-bear-armsYou say, “Let’s compromise. Give me half.” I respond by asking what I get out of this compromise, and you reply that I get to keep half of my cake.

Okay, we compromise. Let us call this compromise The National Firearms Act of 1934.

There I am with my half of the cake, and you walk back up and say, “Give me that cake.”

I say, “No, it’s my cake.”

You say, “Let’s compromise.” What do I get out of this compromise? Why, I get to keep half of what’s left of the cake I already own.

So, we have your compromise — let us call this one the Gun Control Act of 1968 — and I’m left holding what is now just a quarter of my cake.

And I’m sitting in the corner with my quarter piece of cake, and here you come again. You want my cake. Again.

This time you take several bites — we’ll call this compromise the Clinton Executive Orders — and I’m left with about a tenth of what has always been MY DAMN CAKE and you’ve got nine-tenths of it.

Then we compromised with the Lautenberg Act (nibble, nibble), the HUD/Smith and Wesson agreement (nibble, nibble), the Brady Law (NOM NOM NOM), the School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act (sweet tap-dancing Freyja, my finger!)

I’m left holding crumbs of what was once a large and satisfying cake, and you’re standing there with most of MY CAKE, making anime eyes and whining about being “reasonable”, and wondering “why we won’t compromise”.

I’m done with being reasonable, and I’m done with compromise. Nothing about gun control in this country has ever been “reasonable” nor a genuine “compromise.”

Here’s the original source.

Schutze: A Man Crush

He and I will never see eye to eye on so much, but this is why I can’t quit him:

Two things. First, I would like for people to quit bitching about my photo. One guy wrote in that he found it “disturbing.” Well, WTF, Einstein. It’s not meant to be a sympathy card.

Second: Another guy wrote in with a really good idea yesterday. I had written about how the city is persecuting Robert Groden, the Kennedy assassination guy, because he’s selling his books and magazines in Dealey Plaza without a Dealey Plaza Literature Sales Permit or DPLSP, which, I should mention, is a term I made up. And here is why I made up such a term:

The city has taken Groden to court on a charge of selling literature in Dealey Plaza without a permit allowing him to sell literature in Dealey Plaza. But there is no such thing as a permit to allow anybody to sell literature in Dealey Plaza.

I was pointing out that this is the kind of Kafkaesque/Soviet bullshit that Dallas City Hall thinks is clever. Fine the guy for not having a permit. But then when he tries to go get one, tell him that no such permits exist.

I had written before about City Hall security and the requirement that members of the press present credentials at certain types of events. But in Dallas there is no such thing as an official press credential. So I said I just make mine on the copying machine with some cheap laminating sheets you can buy by the box.

Truth Comes Out in…Mother Jones?

Weird that this was the first media outlet to get it right.

At 2:00 a.m. on Saturday—about eight hours before he allegedly killed six people and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), in Tucson—Jared Lee Loughner phoned an old and close friend with whom he had gone to high school and college. The friend, Bryce Tierney, was up late watching TV, but he didn’t answer the call. When he later checked his voice mail, he heard a simple message from Loughner: “Hey man, it’s Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later.”

That was it. But later in the day, when Tierney first heard about the Tucson massacre, he had a sickening feeling: “They hadn’t released the name, but I said, ‘Holy shit, I think it’s Jared that did it.’” Tierney tells Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Loughner held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a “fake.” Loughner’s animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed, Tierney says. He also describes Loughner as being obsessed with “lucid dreaming”—that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control—and says Loughner became “more interested in this world than our reality.” Tierney adds, “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything.”

Full story on their site. And everyone using this incident to push their political points can suck it.

Texas Budget Has Problems; Krugman Has Pants on Fire

From Dave Cavannaugh at Reason:

In his column Nobel from Los Tiempos de Neuva York, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, the doctor, makes some legitimate criticisms of Perry’s vague budgeting habits before engaging in his newspaper’s long and honored tradition of making up facts:

But reality has now intruded, in the form of a deficit expected to run as high as $25 billion over the next two years.

And that reality has implications for the nation as a whole. For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.

How bad is the Texas deficit? Comparing budget crises among states is tricky, for technical reasons. Still, data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggest that the Texas budget gap is worse than New York’s, about as bad as California’s, but not quite up to New Jersey levels.

“About as bad as California’s”? Not quite. California’s projected deficit over the next two years is a whopping 29 percent of revenues. The worst-case interpretation of Combs’ figures has Texas with a 17 percent deficit, and the actual current deficit is a mere 5 percent. As Combs points out, the Lone Star State would still be ahead even under the worst circumstances because, unlike California, Texas has a real “rainy day fund” and has kept it funded. If Krugman’s $25-billion guesstimate (which is not to be found anywhere in Combs’ review) were to come true, Austin would still be able to reduce it by $9 billion by drawing on emergency funds.

The contrast is even more striking if you believe there is more to the health of a region than the government’s fiscal condition. The worst part of Texas’ job loss appears to be in the past, and unemployment is gradually decreasing. In California it is still increasing. The state’s business community and population continue to grow. They continue to shrivel in the heavy tax states. The problem for the Empire, Golden and Garden States isn’t just that they face present deficits but that their tax bases are not growing. Every year they have fewer and smaller pockets to pick.

That you’ll get different outcomes with different tax policies is an idea Krugman would have understood when he was still doing economics rather than demagoguery. It’s true Texans’ overall tax burden is more than 2 percent lower than Californians’ but the most important differences are in how revenues get collected. In Texas, where property taxes are higher and zoning is looser than in California, land values didn’t zoom as much during the boom, and they haven’t tanked as badly during the bust. By the same token, lack of an income tax makes job and business creation easier. That’s not fiscal-con cant; it’s basic economics. Rick Perry deserves criticism for concealing Texas’ fiscal troubles, but it won’t be time to gloat until people stop voting, with their feet, in favor of his state.

Former Dallas Cop Goes Down Again

Got word of this last night from a great Dallas police officer, and now it’s up at FrontBurner.

As boss man Tim puts it:

If you’ve been following along at home, you know that four Dallas cops sued D Magazine for libel in 2008. For those who need to catch up, you can read about how the whole deal started right here. Needless to say, we and our fine lawyers and Haynes and Boone believe the suit is without merit. Nonetheless, it drags on. We won a judgment against them. They’ve appealed. It’ll be another six months probably before we get a ruling from the appellate court.

One of the plaintiffs in the suit against us is Jeffrey Nelson, who is now known to the fine folks of Seven Points, Texas, as Police Chief Jack Nelson. Or he was until recently. Seven points is east of Ennis, out by Gun Barrel City. After a political shakeup in Seven Points, Nelson was installed as the top cop there in July 2010. But just five months later, in November, Nelson had to resign “amidst allegations that he had made a sexual and racial slur to a female officer in the department.”

Here’s my 2007 investigative story that got Nelson, et al, up in D’s grill.

I give Tim the last word since he put it so perfectly:

Our magazine has spent quite a lot of time and money dealing with the groundless lawsuit that Nelson filed against us. Reading that story from the Athens Review about the allegations against Nelson, the word “schadenfreude” comes to mind.

Commenter Knocks Out Professional Columnist

First, the doctrinaire anti-libertarian take from Ezra Klein:

But if the argument is that incremental libertarianism deserves more respect, then it also deserves more accountability. Desperate storytelling about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aside, the financial crisis was, in large part, the product of the idea that massive financial markets that we didn’t understand would effectively regulate themselves. Alan Greenspan, perhaps the only man in America with the unilateral power to have prevented the blowup, has been quite clear on the flaw in his thinking: “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder’s equity — myself especially — are in a state of shocked disbelief.”

To a first approximation, that was a failure of not just a crucial pillar of libertarian economic thought, but of libertarian practice: We spent the ’90s not just deregulating, but much more dangerously, refusing to enact new regulations even as the financial system changed dramatically. One of the key players there was Sen. Phil Gramm, who certainly has his fans at the Cato Institute. His was the sort of libertarianism that is politically potent because it is backed by lots of money and lots of elites who combine to push it into the public discourse.

Taxes are another example. Plenty of libertarians have lined up for repeated tax cuts under the theory that they would stoke enough growth, and force enough compensatory budget cutting, to put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path. Plenty of wealthy individuals and firms have pumped a lot of money into propagating that theory and rewarding politicians who vote they way it asks them to. That theory, however, has been a disaster as a policy matter, even as the individuals and firms have made a lot of money.

And there’s a lot of power, of course, lined up against anything that gets us close to single-payer health care. Most of the arguments made in that debate are fundamentally libertarian ones: that it will reduce freedom, or that government programs are inevitably bloated and wasteful (“Like going to the DMV? You’ll love government health care!”). Cato’s policy wonks spent much of 2009 on television arguing against reforms that would mean more government intrusion into the marketplace. Politicians and political organizations, meanwhile, received a lot of money and support in exchange for making those arguments. But it’s of course true that America, being the developed country with the least nationalized health-care system, also spends the most and has the highest rate of uninsurance.

And now the inside uppercut from a commenter at Hit and Run.

Klein knows that this country started out a totalitarian regime, with all enterprise centrally planned (if anyone could decipher the 100-plus-year-old Constitution, this would be provable). It’s what built America at its height into a prosperous nation. The billionaire libertarians have been effectively chipping away at that well-ordered machine for years, until we’re left with the hollowed shell of a regulatory state that we now see in smoking ruin before us.

Star Children’s Charity Responds To My Article in D Magazine

Cover_bigMy boss man over at D Magazine has posted a response we got from Star Children’s Charity to my story in the January issue of D.

As Tim notes, the money graph in my story is this.

A look at Star’s most recent IRS Form 990 provides insight. It shows that in 2008 Star brought in $979,081 in donations and grants. It spent $522,554 on administrative costs and fundraising events. So the organization spent 53 cents for every dollar it raised, quite a high figure. The national average is about 20 cents. That year, Star doled out just $367,764 to its partner charities. 2009 was worse. Star doled out only $294,000, and it spent $1.57 for every dollar it raised.

Here’s what they sent both Tim and me.

Your recent article negatively portraying Star Children’s Charity is a disappointment to our Board of Directors, members, sponsors, beneficiaries and so many others in Collin County whose goal it is to make life better for the children of our community.

The accusation that Star is one of the reasons that Crossroads Family Services was folded into Boys and Girls Club is one of several egregious misstatements. The article also infers that Star has not distributed funds to Crossroads. The fact is that we have distributed a total of $661,000 to our beneficiaries including Crossroads.

Star is a well-run volunteer organization led by business owners and leaders, corporate executives and community philanthropists. The cumulative Management and General Expense for our organization is 10% compared to an acceptable industry average of 12% to 20%. Star also compares favorably to the national non-profit benchmarks for the cost to raise a dollar with our expenses for fundraisers between 5 cents to 57 cents for each dollar raised.

But the most disrespectful part of your article was in demeaning the beneficiary agencies. These institutions are known for their stewardship and their integrity and we are grateful to be a part of their important missions for children. We invite your readers to visit our website, starchildrens.com to see for themselves that we are a well managed organization dedicated to providing funding and leadership to important community organizations.


Michelle Brennan Hall, Chairman, Board of Directors
Michael Urtso, Treasurer, Board of Directors
Ronelle Ianace, Executive Director

Submitted and mirrored from here without comment. You decide.