Stuff You Find When Looking For Something Else

I was reading a couple of articles about how an insignificant party attendee ended up getting doxxed in an article in the Washington Post. Her crime was to attend a party pretending to be Megyn Kelly in blackface – two years ago.

Now I’ve never worn blackface nor do I encourage it. That is, unless you are using black in conjunction with other colors for camo face paint in hunting. I still think a camo face mask is easier and certainly easier to remove.

Back to the subject at hand.

This got me to thinking of that old Southernism, “He needed killing.” It turns out that this was often called the “Texas Defense”. Despite that, there was no law in Texas or anywhere else I can find that allows the murder of someone because they were reprehensible human beings. Despite being called the Texas Defense, it actually originated with an 1870 Kentucky case dealing with self-defense. Dave Hardy covered that case in his Of Arms and the Law blog back in 2011.

All of this eventually led to Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary on the entry on Homicide. Published in 1906, it is available for free on the Internet thanks to the Gutenberg Project. If you haven’t read entries in it, you should.

HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homocide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another—the classification is for advantage of the lawyers.

As the Complementary Spouse would assure you, my mind sometimes does work like that. I start at Point A, meander a bit here and there, dawdle for a while on something totally irrelevant but interesting, and eventually end up at Point Z. It is like following links on the Internet where you keep following link after link until you remember what you were originally trying to find and you go back there.

If you are of a certain age, you may remember a Chicago newspaper columnist by the name of Sydney J. Harris. Long before there was an Internet, he would write about “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things.” It was full of interesting trivia. I can only imagine what he’d come up with now thanks to the Internet.

And that is how I got from some Social Justice Warriors thinking it was their duty to dox an ordinary person who then lost her job to “he needed killing” to good old Ambrose Bierce (and Sydney J. Harris).

NRA’s Josh Powell Placed On Administrative Leave (Updated)

Wayne LaPierre’s Chief of Staff Joshua Powell has been placed on administrative leave. This is according to court filings in one of the lawsuits involving the NRA and Ackerman McQueen in Virginia courts.

From the Washington Post:

A top National Rifle Association official has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the nonprofit group’s lawyer, according to a recent court filing, in a sign of ongoing turmoil surrounding the nation’s largest gun group.

The removal of Joshua L. Powell, the NRA’s chief of staff, was referenced in a Jan. 23 filing in Alexandria Circuit Court by the NRA’s former public relations agency, Ackerman McQueen. “Mr. Powell has now been placed ‘on leave’ by the NRA pending an investigation by NRA counsel,” the filing in Virginia says.

According to the story by Beth Reinhard, the NRA has not responded to multiple requests for comment. It is also unknown whether he is on paid or unpaid leave. His last reported compensation was $919,969 according to the 2018 NRA Form 990.

Powell also refused comment. The Post notes that he, ” removed “National Rifle Association Chief of Staff – Senior Strategist” from his Twitter bio this week.”

Powell has had a checkered history at the NRA. He was the one responsible for rushing CarryGuard out before it was ready when he served as Director of General Operations. He has also been named in sexual harassment allegations involving an Ackerman McQueen employee. It was serious enough that AckMac told Wayne LaPierre that they refused to work with Powell anymore.

As to why now and not earlier, that is unknown. Some have speculated he knew too much dirt and the powers that be wanted to keep him close. Powell has had a reputation according to some of looking out for himself above all else. If so, it would not have been unreasonable to suspect that he would cut a deal to save himself if it came to it.

Eventually we may know the full story. As for today, we know he is on administrative leave and that’s that.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rob Pincus, we have a photo of the filing in question. It is a filing by Ackerman McQueen asking the court to force the NRA to provide additional information regarding its interrogatories. As Powell is on administrative leave and “not in good standin”, his prior responses on behalf of the NRA under oath are no longer sufficient.

At Least His Heart Is In The Right Place

The Washington Post ran an article yesterday that discussed the monies that flowed to certain members of the Board of Directors. According to the article, 18 Board members received some sort of compensation over the past three years. Some of this is already well known such as the amount of money paid to Marion Hammer for lobbying in Florida. Some of it was merely the commission NRA recruiters earn for new members.

Without getting into the meat of the article, one quote just stuck out.

After learning about the money his fellow board members received, Malone
said he was concerned.

“If these allegations are correct and 18 board members received pay, you’re
damn right I am,” he said. “If it’s correct, the members who pay their dues
should be damn concerned, too.”

Karl Malone has never attended a board meeting and, to the best of my knowledge, has never even been sworn in as a Board member. Nonetheless, the Nominating Committee put him up for reelection and he was reelected in April to another three year term with the 16th highest vote total.

 Perhaps it is cynical of me to think that Mr. Malone’s concern is a bit late in the game. If he had bothered to attend meetings, he might have been aware of this and might have had an impact. Then again, he was selected for the Board of Directors due his celebrity status and not expected to have an actual impact on the running of the organization.

Well, at least his heart is in the right place which is more than I can say about certain other members of the board.

Would Internal Passports Be Next?

One of the things that has always distinguished the United States from the authoritarian countries of the world in that we have the freedom to travel anywhere and everywhere within the country – at will and without any required national documentation. We don’t have internal passports and we don’t have national ID cards.

However, our betters at Pravda on the Potomac (or the Washington Post, if you prefer) think we all should have a universal national ID card with biometric identifiers built into it. They propose this as a means to keep employers from hiring illegal aliens and as a means to deter illegal immigration.

An effective solution would be to issue tamper-proof, biometric ID cards
— using fingerprints or a comparably unique identifier — to all
citizens and legal residents. Last week, both President Obama and a bipartisan group of eight senators
seeking immigration reform urged something along those lines, without
calling it a universal national identity card. That’s a major step
forward.

The Post thinks this is more effective than securing the border. They also dismiss concerns held by civil libertarians.

Critics on both the civil-liberties left and the libertarian right have long resisted such cards as the embodiment of a Big Brother brand of government, omniscient, invasive and tentacular. Their criticisms ring hollow.


More than a third of Americans (35 percent) possess passports, up from just 6 percent 20 years ago — and all passports issued since 2007 contain chips that enable biometric use of facial recognition technology. The proliferation of passports for foreign travel has not encroached on Americans’ civil liberties. Why would another form of ID, used for employment verification, pose such a threat?

I’m surprised that the Post doesn’t argue that we need to be “chipped” just like your dog or cat. Wouldn’t that make it even easier to determine who is legally in the country or is a citizen?

As to the Post’s argument that a national ID card won’t encroach on our civil liberties and wouldn’t pose a threat, that’s BS. It is the height of control by the government. It is their key to our lives, our privacy, and our freedom.

I say thanks, but no thanks.

WaPo Notices Second Amendment Cases

Robert Barnes, writing in the Washington Post, recognizes that there are a number of Second Amendment cases working their way through the lower courts including two that have been appealed to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately he buys the Brady Campaign’s argument that Second Amendment cases have been continually losing in the lower courts since the Heller and McDonald decisions.

A funny thing has happened in the three years since gun-rights activists won their biggest victory at the Supreme Court.

They’ve been on a losing streak in the lower courts.

Barnes makes reference to the so-called report put out by the Brady Center in July titled “Hollow Victory?” In it, the Brady Center argues that the lower courts have held that “the Second Amendment does not interfere with the people’s right to enact legislation protecting families and communities from gun violence.”

Both Barnes and the Brady Center ignore the 7th Circuit’s decision in Ezell v. City of Chicago which was an unequivocal win for the Second Amendment and which may be the tool needed to get some sort of carry law passed in Illinois.

That said, the article does do a decent job of exploring two cases that might be granted certiorari by the Supreme Court. The cases are a Maryland case challenging a conviction for carrying or transporting with a permit and a Virginia case involving possession of a firearm in a National Park.

The Maryland case – Williams v. Maryland – is brought by Charles Williams who is contesting his 2008 conviction for violating Maryland’s law against wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm in public without a permit. He was traveling from his girlfriend’s house to his own with a legally purchased gun. However, he does acknowledge that he hadn’t applied for a permit. He is being represented by attorney Stephen Halbrook who contends that the Maryland law is so restrictive that “ordinary people” can’t get the permit. This, he says, clearly violates the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald. This case comes on appeal from the Maryland Court of Appeals which is that state’s highest court.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Sean Masciandaro was convicted and fined for having a loaded firearm in the trunk of his car on National Park Service property. While this has not been a crime since 2010, it was still prohibited when Mr. Masciandaro pulled off the George Washington Parkway to take a nap rather than fall asleep at the wheel of his car. Unfortunately, the GW Parkway runs through Theodore Roosevelt Island N.P. Moreover, when woken from his nap by park police because he was illegally parked, he answered honestly when asked if he had any more weapons than a knife that was in open view.

Masciandaro appealed his conviction to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals where it was upheld. He is now appealing to the Supreme Court. According to Supreme Court case filings, he filed an in forma pauperis petition and has been assigned a Federal Public Defender in the case. The Second Amendment Foundation has filed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Masciandaro that was written by Alan Gura.

The article concludes with a brief discussion of the conflicting views about the right to carry for self-defense outside the home.

While the Brady Center trumpets Scalia’s finding that there is no right to “carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” the Second Amendment Foundation takes that as confirmation that “there is a right to carry at least some weapons, in some manner, for some purpose.”

The latter argument is in a brief supporting Masciandaro’s appeal written by Alan Gura, who argued the Heller case. He said the case provides a perfect chance to “clarify” for recalcitrant lower courts that the Second Amendment “applies beyond the threshold of one’s home.”

But if neither Williams nor Masciandaro strikes the court as the right opportunity for the next round of Second Amendment jurisprudence, Gura assures that there are more cases on the way.

Mr. Gura along with the Second Amendment Foundation has done a good job in making sure that many more (good) cases are on the way! And to be fair, the NRA has done its part as well.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A Forum And Then A Report? Not For Elijah Cummings

In the normal course of events, a group holds their hearing, forum, or fact-gathering event and then issues a report even if that report’s “evidence” is pre-ordained. That obviously is just too slow for Rep. Elijah Cummings and the Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who are holding their forum at 10 am this morning.

Thanks to the Washington Post and their admitted plagarist Sari Horwitz, we now have the “report” from the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. You see if you write for Pravda on the Potomac and you are needed to attack Project Gunwalker, you get your copy of the so-called report before the rest of us whose tax money paid for it. If you were to check the Minority page of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s website, you would not see this report.

Screen Capture Taken at 8:05 EDT On Thursday, June 30th

You can see the “report” embedded below. Next time you’d think their mainstream media mouthpieces might wait until the actual forum had been held. Jeez!

Firearms Report 063011(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

H/T Mike Vanderboegh

Plagiarism At The Washington Post

The Washington Post has a mini-scandal on its hands. It seems that they had to acknowledge that their Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sari Horwitz had lifted copy from the Arizona Republic without attribution. In order words, she plagiarized it.

Plagiarism is both cheating and cutting corners in your research. It should call into question the rest of the plagiarist’s work.

Sari Horwitz is the co-author with James Grimaldi of the Washington Post’s anti-gun screed (or investigation as they call it) The Hidden Life of Guns. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

The Washington Post Is Finally Heard From

It has been almost three months since Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered on the U.S.-Mexico border. It has been over one month since Sen. Chuck Grassley went public with his concerns about ATF allowing guns to “walk” unmolested across the border which were then used to kill Agent Terry. During this whole time, while David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh have been working to get this story the attention it well deserves, the Washington Post has barely mentioned it. This despite their months long series of articles called “The Hidden Life of Guns”.

Today, James V. Grimaldi deigned to finally cover the story in detail for the Washington Post. I guess after feature stories in the L.A. Times and Christian Science Monitor, multiple reports by Sharyl Attkisson for CBS News, CNN, and an in-depth report by the Center for Public Integrity this scandal could no longer be ignored without looking like (more of) a fool.

The article entitled ATF’s tactics to end gun-trafficking faces a federal review breaks virtually no new ground in its summary of the scandal. It does try to place the blame on “weak gun laws” and “investigative restrictions” for the tactics used by ATF managers to try and build a “big case”.

The controversy highlights the difficulty ATF agents face in complex cases against increasingly sophisticated gunrunning rings, said former and current government officials. Because of weak gun laws and investigative limitations imposed at the urging of the gun lobby, many gunrunning cases end with little more than paperwork violations against buyers who procure guns for others. Such so-called straw purchaser cases rarely amount to more than charges of lying on federal documents.

Sebastian at Snow Flakes in Hell does an excellent job of demolishing this argument by pointing out the penalties for “paperwork violations” which, by the way, are Federal felonies.

Not satisfied with glossing over what are Federal felonies, Grimaldi and the Post then call upon the anti-gunners favorite ex-ATF Special Agent “Waco Jim” Cavanaugh to help buttress their argument.

“There is no gun-trafficking statute,” said James Cavanaugh, a retired ATF supervisor. “We’ve been yelling for years that we need a gun-trafficking statute because these cases are so difficult to prove.”

This means that agents who want to make bigger cases must sometimes watch guns travel to criminals who use them in more serious crimes, such as drug trafficking.

Grimaldi, in a back-handed slap that would make Mark Potok of the SPLC salivate with joy, then acknowledges the work that that David and Mike have done bringing this scandal to light.

Anti-ATF bloggers sympathetic to the militia movement picked up the allegations late last year, dubbing the scandal “Project Gunwalker” and alleging ATF agents let guns “walk” to boost the numbers of U.S. weapons recovered in Mexico. The bloggers theorized that the ATF wanted high numbers to gain support for an assault-weapons ban.

It must suck to have a pair of middle-aged white guys with blogs just thoroughly beat you at your own job.

Grimaldi tries to defend the tactics used by ATF by quoting Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading in Glendale, AZ, who cooperated with ATF in selling substantial numbers of AK’s to straw purchasers. Howard said “It appears that any state or federal agency charged with said tasks are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.” Mind you, Howard was probably paid twice on the guns he sold. Once, by the straw purchasers and  second, by the ATF as I understand he was a paid Confidential Informant.

This was the same store Grimaldi tried to savage back in December when he identified them as No. 8 on the list of gun stores with the highest number of traces. At the time he said they couldn’t be reached for comment. He did add that “ATF officials said they have no indication that Lone Wolf is doing anything wrong or illegal.” I’m sure that if Howard was in the midst of allowing guns to go to Mexico at their behest that is exactly what they would say.

The question now is when the New York Times – the self-proclaimed paper of record – will see Operation Fast and Furious as “news fit to print”.

Washington Post In Tears Over NRA’s Influence

The Washington Post ran a story today that was intended to be a hit piece on the NRA and its influence on Congress. It is part of their The Hidden Life of Guns series.

In the story they decried the amount of money the NRA spent on Congressional races of which 80% were won by NRA endorsed candidates. However, if you look at the graphic presented for House races, the striking thing is that for the majority of endorsed candidates the NRA spent nothing. As in nada, zilch, zero.

While not true for the Senate, in the House races even when the NRA endorsed candidate lost, their opponent was usually as good on gun rights as the endorsed candidate. I wonder how the Post would like to play that little tidbit.

There are a number of good blog posts on this article in the Post. Instapundit linked to the story with the snarky intro – WHEN IT’S BAD THAT CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS have influence. Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee applies a proper fisking to the story as well.

Finally, in the not connecting the dots category comes this from Don Davis of Don’s Guns and Galleries in Indianapolis who only yesterday they pilloried for being number three on the list of crime guns traced.

Don Davis, 77, has run Don’s Guns and Galleries in Indianapolis for 37 years and says he is one of the highest-volume dealers in the region. A big supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, Davis resigned from the NRA many years ago. “They used to be an organization for the hunter and the fishermen,” he said recently. “Then they got into politics. They’re so political, that’s what they do with their money. Today if you say anything about a gun, they use their money to run against you.”

If it weren’t for the NRA being political, Mr. Davis and his gun shop would have been forced out of business long ago by the gun control forces.

UPDATE:  Sebastian at Snow Flakes in Hell does a good job dissecting the Washington Post article. Also both he and Thirdpower over at Days of Our Trailers caught the bit about Ray Schoenke being paid by the Obama campaign to shill for them to gun owners. I missed that part.