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This Kathleen Kane Drama Couldn’t Get Any Weirder

Apparently Kathleen Kane has an evil twin, who is in some legal trouble of her own:

Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s twin borrowed $200,000 from an FBI agent who was living with her and then kicked him out the door, the agent says in a civil lawsuit filed in Lackawanna County.

Kane’s twin is being sued because apparently that was the guy’s life savings, and he’d like it back. Classy. Meanwhile, apparently Kathleen Kane has used her evil twin to throw off the press. Maybe her next defense will be that it was her evil twin all along!

Surreal Headline of the Day

You can bet the editors were just itching to run this one: “Lawyer Invokes Porn as Pennsylvania AG Is Ordered to Trial.” I wish I could say Bloomberg must be cringing about the 600,000 dollars he donated to her campaign, but the fact is he already got what he wanted out of her, and Kane’s reciprocity take backs are unlikely to be overturned by any future successor, at least until we can have an election. What’s unbelievable to me is that she refuses to resign. Even Governor Wolf is calling on her to resign.

For those of you who haven’t been following, Kathy Kane’s defense has essentially been this whole indictment thing is just a “stealth political weapon” to get back at her for exposing various high-ranking state employees sharing tasteless jokes and porn via state e-mail, including former Democratic Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery.

Flamethrower Company Runs Into Trouble

IonXM42While it’s true that flamethrowers are unregulated, they don’t have a culture surrounding them like firearms do. Which means there’s no preemption law to protect manufacturers, sellers and buyers from the ravages of hysterical local politicians, who are often petty little Napoleons in their own right. Such is the Mayor of the town of Warren Michigan, who is moving to ban flamethrowers. Warren is where Ion Productions makes the XM42. You might think “well, he’ll just have to ban super soakers then too,” but I’m not certain that his proposed legislation doesn’t actually do that:

It describes a flamethrower as “any transportable device that can emit a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid at a distance of more than two feet.” It doesn’t include open-flame cooking devices as defined by the International Fire Code, torches used for industrial purposes or smaller flame-producing devices, like cigar lighters. It also makes exceptions for any officers, employees or members of the Armed Forces, law enforcement, fire department or local, state or federal government workers on duty and acting within the scope of his or her employment.

I’m not sure how this doesn’t cover a super soaker, since it’s certainly can “emit a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid at a distance of more than two feet” with a pretty minimal level of creativity. Let me also say how relieved I am that the Mayor decided to make an exception for Law Enforcement, because I guess we never know when we might have to burn people out of their homes, or hose down a rowdy crowd with some napalm — legitimately, and as a function of law, and for their own good, of course.

I like that a lot young people are embracing libertarian ideas and philosophy, but they are coming against the hard reality that most people aren’t libertarian in philosophy or thought, and aren’t going to agree that people can have dangerous things that they themselves don’t see any legitimate use for. I get taking on the man, but without the cultural underpinnings to support a particular freedom, attracting undue attention to it can result in that freedom ending for everyone. At the end of the day, what does it accomplish?

It’s an dilemma I don’t know how to resolve it. I think people should be allowed to have things that aren’t inherently dangerous to others, which a flamethrower is not. You have to do something stupid and/or evil with it in order for someone to get hurt, and the law would be more just to only punish the stupid and/or evil behavior than to ban the instrument that enabled it. Are there places where even using a flamethrower is stupid? I think that’s debatable. But again, that’s restricting use. If I want to take it out to a quarry and have a good old time setting piles of wood chips on fire, it ought to be my freedom to do so.

But most people don’t think this way. They aren’t willing to live in a society where there’s more risk in order to preserve someone’s “strange” idea of fun. These are people who live relatively conventional lives, and don’t exist much outside of convention. For the most part, they run the world. The reason we’ve been successful with guns is because we’ve abandoned the idea of defending firearms rights on the basis of recreation, which doesn’t appeal to anyone who doesn’t engage in the hobby or who lacks any curiosity about it. Instead, we embraced defending it on the basis of self-defense, which a lot more people can relate to. I worry that at the end of the day, preserving people’s right to have fun with flamethrowers, or their right to make guns at home, won’t prove compelling enough to ordinary people to stand against a tide of public hysteria if it were to come this way.

You know, it occurs to me I don’t have a “flamethrower” category. I guess I’ll have to file this under “civil liberties.”

Slow Gun News

If you’re like me, you find nothing particularly new or interesting about vapid celebrities bloviating on gun control, it’s been a slow news cycle over the past week. In some ways, I hate to complain about that, because careful what you wish for. These days I’m reminded I was complaining a lot before the Sandy Hook gun control fight that things were getting pretty boring in the issue. Charles C.W. Cooke recently did an interview with Ann Coulter speaking about The Donald, including his vacillation on gun control topics over the years.

I’ve long argued that people can be educated, and that those who seek and hold political office will often gravitate towards or away from positions based solely on political expediency. That Trump once held a different opinion doesn’t bother me too much. But all things being equal, I’d rather have a candidate who’s been more solid on the issue over the years. Coulter is correct that Kasich once voted for an assault weapons ban, but has since come to Jesus. I don’t think Kasich has a prayer of winning the nomination.

These days, I’m kind of leaning toward Carly, who has been pretty consistent for at least a few years on the gun issue, and I’m impressed with how well she handles hostile media. But I’d still classify myself as undecided.

First 2016 GOP Debate

Fox News sponsored the main event, and as a cord cutter, I had to rely on audio feeds which kept cutting out, so I probably only heard 1/3rd of it. Based on everything I heard and commentary I read, I really want to like Carly Fiorina, but I keep thinking “I just hope she would run the country better than she ran HP.” Then again, I’m not sure any of the other people up on the stage in either party could have run HP better, let alone the country.

I have to admit to thinking SMOD2016 isn’t looking too bad right now. But ultimately I am an optimist. It’s pretty clear the establishment is desperate to knock Trump off the hill. In this I join with the establishment. I don’t like Trump, and think he’s a stalking horse for the Clintons. I worry Scott Walker is too much of a willing culture warrior, ready to make the election about abortion and gay marriage when the country is worried about jobs and immigration. Rubio has JFKesque political talents, for good times, but these are not good times. Half the battle might just be recognizing that, and channeling voter anxiety. The reason Trump is the man to beat right now is he’s doing that better than all the other candidates.

Oh yeah, and Christie is definitely a “law and order” Republican. I can’t get behind Rand because I think the next President has a huge foreign policy mess to deal with. I believe we are headed for another Cuban Missile Crisis type showdown with the Russians. It will happen in my lifetime. But Christie seems eager to defend the surveillance police state. No thanks. I get the impression he’d be willing to promise people anything if it “kept us safe.” I’ve had enough of that since 9/11.

Kathy Kane’s Uppance Has Come

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been indicted this morning by the Montgomery County District Attorney for leaking grand jury information, and then attempting to cover it up. This woman has been slimy from the minute Bloomberg helped buy her office. Remember, she did not run on gun control; she exploited the Penn State scandal, and people’s anger with Corbett over that scandal, to sail into office. The Montgomery County DA Risa Vetri Ferman, is a Republican, so I would expect at least some accusations of a partisan witch hunt to be tossed around, but probably not much. She’s pooped in a lot of other people’s pools, and even many Democrats are sick of her. No doubt Seth Williams is smiling coyly today.

Now the question is whether she will resign. I sincerely hope so. I doubt that will do much to help our reciprocity agreements, since Kane’s replacement was picked by her, but it’s time to be over this controversy. Kane was considered a rising star in Pennsylvania Democratic Politics. Now she’s ruined. She’ll be lucky if Orange doesn’t end up becoming the New Black for her.

Cornyn Introducing New Mental Health Bill

We’ll Be Watching for Language, since I have not seen any yet. John Cornyn is introducing the “Mental Health and Safe Communities Act” today, which the NRA is already endorsing. It looks like a mix of straight-up mental health funding, along with some more incentives for reporting mental health firearm disabilities to the FBI. Without language, I don’t have much analysis to offer, except that we’ve seen several of these reporting bills become law, and there are several states that still aren’t reporting. I don’t know how much more incentive can be offered, and the feds can’t force them to report anything.

Usually you see this kind of thing run when there’s lawmakers who for one reason or another, want some cover from the “something must be done!” crowd, so they can argue they did “something.” I do know Bloomberg is trying to run a competing bill that, needless to say, probably goes further than this one will.

I sincerely hope this isn’t a sign that politicians are becoming afraid of Bloomberg’s money. In the past, the gun control movement hasn’t had the money to run “Congressman Spineless voted against keeping guns out of the hands of crazy people, and against commonsense gun reforms that will save the lives of our children. Send Congressman Spinless a message this fall; our children are more important than the evil gun lobby.” Bloomberg’s money changes that.

Silencing Unpopular Opinions

Clayton Cramer published an article about whether homosexuality is driven by childhood sexual abuse. I should note that in his follow up article that I was the blogger he was speaking up here:

Most simply ignored it; one (a supporter of SSM) was surprised that the left hadn’t already burned down my house.

I don’t think there’s anything illegitimate about Clayton’s line of inquiry, and I don’t think any journal should have to fear publishing it. Some of you might remember back in 1994, when this controversial book was published. I doubt today you could find a publisher who would dare publish it. I don’t buy the conclusions in “The Bell Curve” because I believe theory of Intelligence Quotient is crap, but as a society we should be free to discuss these kinds of things.

Today we fear controversial ideas, and to a large degree it seems large portions of our population have become infantilized. Is Clayton’s theory correct? I don’t know. But I don’t see why it should be beyond discussion and legitimate inquiry. The famous quote by Justice Louis Brandeis from Whitney v. California would seem to apply to the situation our society currently finds itself in: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Well, well, well… I guess you can add terrorists to the list of people Fast and Furious was arming. I wish I could say, “It’s amazing no one has gone to jail over this,” but it’s not surprising. Accountability in government has become a quaint notion. I’m particularly curious about this:

Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

There’s no provision in the Brady Act for a seven day hold. There can be a 72 hour hold while the case is reviewed. After that the dealer can go ahead under a “default proceed.” In this case, the sale was cleared after 24 hours. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is demanding to know what the reason for the hold was, why the sale was cleared, and why the purchase was allowed to go ahead. The FBI is declining to comment. I would tend to think they’d be eager to comment if this was just an ordinary NICS issue.

Something Rotten in New Jersey

Holding out the possibility there’s more to this story than is being reported, am I the only one who read this article and wondered why it’s the kids being charged and not the cop? A story over at has more information, where former prosecutors agree that state trooper in question could be in big heap trouble. The trooper claims he believed the kids were burglarizing his house, and there’s also some dispute as to whether he identified himself as a police officer. But you know what? If I shoot at fleeing burglars, I’m going to jail. The fact that the kids called 911 after being shot at also doesn’t speak for the fact that they were attempting to burglarize the house, or that the officer identified himself. If he did not identify himself, according to the article at that could mean additional serious charges:

If he’s not treated as an on-the-job officer — and Romankow was more skeptical the trooper would be — any number of other charges might come into play, Bianchi said. Second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose could mean 5 to 10 years, with 3 years of parole ineligibility. Fourth-degree pointing a weapon at another person carries 18 months of parole ineligibility.

If this is a case of an officer losing his cool, at the least it should be the end of his career, and he should face the same charges any similarly situation civilian would face under these circumstances.

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