Archive for April 2013
John Hinderaker raises what I think is an important point:
What is odd about this is that a filibuster occurs in the context of a cloture motion, for which 60 votes are required. “Cloture” means cutting off debate, but the Democrats aren’t planning on having a debate–any debate. They apparently intend, in keeping with their recent practice, that senators should read Reid’s bill and vote on it simultaneously. It is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who would relish a debate on the Left’s harebrained gun control schemes.
We’ve already seen a lot of this from the Democrats on the state level in places like New York and Connecticut: they want to avoid public debate of their legislation. They don’t want the public to know what is being done to them until it is already law. Despicable.
Update: Learn something new every day. There are apparently several stages at which a bill can be filibustered, and in this case it was filibustering the motion to open the bill for consideration and debate. There will be a later stage where the filibuster occurs in the context of a cloture motion.
According to the complaint, obtained by Campus Reform, the professor compelled students in her graphic design class to create artwork opposing firearms on campus and opposing pro-gun legislation currently pending before the Texas state legislature.
The professor then used the artwork students created online to publicize an anti-gun petition entitled “MSU is anti-Concealed Carry on Campus” and on a now deleted Facebook page opposing firearms, says the complaint.
“On Monday, April 1, around 7 PM (class was 5:30 – 8:20), Jennifer Yucus, Assistant Professor of Graphic Art/Design, compelled students from her Computers For Artists class to advocate in favor of a political petition opposing firearms on campus, in opposition to a pair of bills currently before the Texas legislature, using personal art materials and MSU resources,” reads the complaint.
“Several of my classmates were uncomfortable with the assignment and either quietly or openly expressed this,” it continues. “Professor Yucus asked students to rationalize objections by thinking of it as a job from an employer (or words to that effect).”
Of course in reality the students were the ones paying for this class. They aren’t employees; they are customers. I think the ethical thing to do would be for the university to refund the student’s cost for the class.
The complaint adds that Yucus “did require all works to include the URL to the petition” she had created and adds that students were photographed while crafting the posters to give the illusion of youth support.
“Professor Yucus took photos of her students in the process of drafting and creating the posters, but did not say how these would be used,” says the complaint. “The posters were then hung in the hallways of the Fain Arts building, giving the impression of student support.”
Some of the photos later appeared on an anti-gun Facebook page that appeared to have been created by Yucus. The page appeared to have been deleted after the complaint was filed, but Campus Reform was able to capture the posted images before they were removed.
I am not a lawyer, and that goes double for Texas law, but I wonder if that crossed the legal line into misappropriating the student’s likenesses since it sounds like she was taking advantage of their reputation, prestige, or other value associated with them, for purposes of publicity.
According to the complaint, Yucus used her official university-issued e-mail address to later forward a URL to her petition to the entire class.
State law in Texas appears to forbid professors at public universities from using their authority to compel others to advocate for political causes.
“A state officer or employee may not use official authority… to interfere with or affect the result of an election or nomination of a candidate or to achieve any other political purpose,” reads subsection C of 556.004 of Government Code, Title 5, entitled “Open Government, Ethics.”
So at the least, that bit of the law seems to have been broken.
86 percent feel the currently proposed legislation would have no effect or a negative effect on improving officer safety
Similarly, 92 percent feel that banning semi-automatic firearms, or “assault weapons,” would have no effect or a negative effect on reducing violent crime
Respondents were more split on background checks, with 31 percent agreeing that mental health background checks in all gun sales would help reduce mass shootings, while 45 percent disagreed
71 percent support law enforcement leaders who have publicly refused to enforce more restrictive gun laws within their jurisdictions
82 percent believe gun buyback or turn-in programs are ineffective in reducing the level of gun violence
91 percent support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or have not been deemed psychologically incapable
Likewise, 80 percent feel that legally-armed citizens would likely have reduced the number of casualties in recent mass shooting incidents
Since it’s an attack on the right to keep and bear arms, I wouldn’t bother with the word “could” with respect to civil liberties.
But Calabrese says that Reid’s legislation fails to include those “privacy best practices.”
“Contrast this with what the existing [Reid] legislation says, which is simply that a record has to be kept of a private transfer,” Calabrese highlighted, “and it doesn’t have any of the protections that we have in current law for existing licensees.”
“We think that that kind of record-keeping requirement could result in keeping long-term detailed records of purchases and creation of a new government database.”
“And they come to use databases for all sorts of different purposes,” Calabrese said. “For example, the National Counterterrorism Center recently gave itself the authority to collect all kinds of existing federal databases and performed terrorism related searches regarding those databases. They essentially exempted themselves from a lot of existing Privacy Act protections.”
“So you just worry that you’re going to see searches of the databases and an expansion for purposes that were not intended when the information was collected.”
Reid’s legislation is hauntingly vague about who would physically keep information about American gun purchases, but it’s crystal clear that records will be kept.
That is the privacy part. Here is the civil liberties angle:
The ACLU’s second “significant concern” with Reid’s legislation is that it too broadly defines the term “transfer,” creating complicated criminal law that law-abiding Americans may unwittingly break.
“[I]t’s certainly a civil liberties concern,” Calabrese told TheDC. “You worry about, in essence, a criminal justice trap where a lawful gun owner who wants to obey the law inadvertently runs afoul of the criminal law.”
“They don’t intend to transfer a gun or they don’t think that’s what they’re doing, but under the law they can be defined as making a transfer. We think it’s important that anything that is tied to a criminal sanction be easy to understand and avoid allowing too much prosecutorial discretion.”
“For example, different gun ranges are treated differently,” Calabrese said. “You’re firing a firearm in one geographic location, you’re OK, but in another, you’re not. And those kind things, it’s going to be hard for your average consumer to really internalize and figure out the difference.”
“Criminal sanctions shouldn’t hinge on those kinds of differences,” he said.
The Jarusalen Post: Study: Global anti-Semitism rises by 30 percent
Global violence and vandalism against Jews has increased by 30 percent, according to an annual survey released by The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, on Sunday.
For comparison’s sake, here is some US data:
According to the FBI: Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,318 offenses reported by law enforcement in 2011. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-biased offenses showed 62.2 percent were anti-Jewish.
Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,409 offenses reported by law enforcement in 2010. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-bias offenses showed 65.4 percent were anti-Jewish.
Law enforcement agencies reported 1,376 hate crimes motivated by religious bias in 2009. A breakdown of biases for these offenses showed 70.1 percent were anti-Jewish.
There were 1,606 hate crime offenses motivated by religious bias in 2008. A breakdown of these offenses shows 65.7 percent were anti-Jewish.
Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,477 offenses reported by law enforcement in 2007. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-biased offenses showed 68.4 percent were anti-Jewish.
In contrast to a relative decline in numbers of anti-Semitic acts over the past two years, the report noted that a “correlation was observed between the political strengthening of extreme right parties and the high level of anti-Semitic manifestations including incidents of violence and vandalism.”
“Extreme right” in this context means Fascists and Nazis, not Libertarians and Anarchists. Outside the US they use this weird measure of the political spectrum based on where people sat during the French Revolution, rather than actual differences in political systems. As a consequence, for them, the extreme left is totalitarianism while the extreme right is… totalitarianism.
“There are extremely worrying signs emanating from Hungary at the moment where barely a week passes without an attack on minorities or outrageous comments from far-Right politicians,” Kantor said at the anti-Semitism Press Conference held at Tel Aviv University Sunday.
Kantor also expressed concern for Greece and Ukraine, which experienced trends similar to those in Hungary of political advancement for neo-Nazi parties and the far-Right.
France was also regarded as troubling with a 58% increase of anti-Semitic occurrences following the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse last year.
The ATF doesn’t just want a huge database to reveal everything about you with a few keywords. It wants one that can find out who you know. And it won’t even try to friend you on Facebook first.
All for my own good I’m sure. Big Brother loves us, yes he does!