December 31, 2007

AP Writer Falsely Casts Voter ID Laws As a ‘Mainly’ Partisan Issue

The Associated Press’s Mark Sherman, as noted by Jim Taranto at Best of the Web, “reports on a pending Supreme Court case in a way that seems to give both sides their due, but in substance does not.”

Here are the first three paragraphs of Sherman’s report (bolds are mine):

The dispute over Indiana’s voter ID law that is headed to the Supreme Court in January is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle.

On one side are mainly Republican backers of the law, including the Bush administration, who say state-produced photo identification is a prudent measure intended to cut down on vote fraud. Yet there have been no Indiana prosecutions of in-person voter fraud — the kind the law is supposed to prevent.

On the other side are mainly Democratic opponents who call voter ID a modern-day poll tax that will disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters — who tend to back Democrats. Yet, a federal judge found that opponents of the law were unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who had been barred from voting because of the law.

Taranto’s complaint is fine, as far as it goes, in that Sherman cleverly limits his comparison to Indiana law, when he (Sherman) probably knows full well that:

  • Opponents of voter ID laws are, as far as I know, unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana or non-Indiana US resident who has been barred from voting because of the law.
  • Proponents of such laws are able to find plenty of example of “in-person” voter-registration and vote-casting fraud in states other than Indiana. A simple Google search on “ACORN vote fraud” (without the quotes) confirms that. Several related posts are here, here, and here.

The further quarrel I have is with Sherman’s characterization of voter-ID backers as “mainly Republican.” This totally ignores the fact that a bipartisan commission headed by Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican James Baker III came out in favor of Voter ID verification in their September 2005 report (2-page PDF here).

In fact, in May of 2006, as the debate over immigration reform and its possible effects on the voting process heated up, John Fund noted that “the biggest surprise was that 18 of 21 commissioners backed a requirement that voters show some form of photo identification.”

“Mainly,” schmainly, Mr. Sherman.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

WSJ’s Illegal Immigration Naivete Continues, with a Small Concession

A subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Monday propagated a carefully-worded whopper, but at least made a small change to the paper’s insufferable 23-year “There Shall Be Open Borders” mantra (bolds are mine):

A recent paper by the Immigration Policy Center, an advocacy group, notes that “Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native born.” Today, immigrants on balance are five times less likely to be in prison than someone born here.

None of this is to argue that illegal immigration doesn’t have costs, especially in border communities and states with large public benefits. In the post-9/11 environment, knowing who’s in the country is more important than ever. That’s an argument for better regulating cross-border labor flows, not ending them.

The Immigration Policy Center’s use of 100 years averages things out quite a bit, doesn’t it?

Looking at more recent data might be a little more helpful — like the two items that follow, documented last year at this post.

First, Government Accountability Office (GAO) report number GAO-05-337R (‘Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails,’ issued May 9, 2005) informed us that:

At the federal level, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42,000 at the end of calendar year 2001 to about 49,000 at the end of calendar year 2004–a 15 percent increase. The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years–about 27 percent.

If the current estimate of 12 million illegals in the US is accurate, that would mean that illegals are over nine times MORE likely to be in federal prison:

  • 49,000 divided by 12 million is 0.41%.
  • 133,000 citizen prisoners [the other 73%] divided by the US population of about 300 million is .044%.
  • .41% divided by .044% is 9.21. That’s more likely to be behind bars — not less, as the Immigration Policy Center claims.

A second GAO report, number GAO-05-64R (‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States,’ also released on May 9, 2005), studied the criminal records of over 55,000 incarcerated illegal immigrants, and found the following (bold is mine):

….. they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990. They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses. About 45 percent of all offenses were drug or immigration offenses. About 15 percent were property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and property damage. About 12 percent were for violent offenses such as murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The balance was for such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud–including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice.

Here’s a question for the WSJ — How much criminal activity does it take before you’ll be convinced that there indeed is a culture of criminality and violence in the illegal-immigrant population, and that it permeates a disproportionate percentage of its population?

As to the “concession,” I may have missed it previously, but it’s the first time I’ve seen the Journal acknowledge that its July 3, 1984 “There Shall Be Open Borders” editorial (reproduced at link for fair use and discussion purposes) was even slightly imperfect. Now I guess it’s “There Shall Be Regulated Labor-Flow Borders.”

It’s a start.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: California man meets rescuer who saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:55 am

From Carson City, Nevada:

December 22, 2007

A California man who had no pulse and was not breathing after he collapsed at the wheel of his truck earlier this month in Carson City has met the rescuer credited with saving his life.

Brian Cerny, 42, of South Lake Tahoe, who crashed into parked cars outside Gottschalk’s after suffering the heart attack, greeted Tom Crawford on Friday in his room at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

Crawford, the Carson City sheriff’s volunteer reserve commander, revived the carpenter by administering CPR at the scene. Cerny then was rushed to the hospital, where he was in a coma for two days.

Cerny, accompanied by family members, threw a hand to his face and welled with tears when he was informed that he was technically dead at first.

“This is too much to take,” Cerny said.

Crawford said it helped that he was able to arrive at the scene within 15 seconds of a radio dispatch. He quickly knelt next to Cerny and began chest compressions. It was the first time he had performed CPR on a person.

“Everything worked perfectly for this guy,” Crawford told the Nevada Appeal. “We were Johnny on the spot, that’s pretty critical. Once you start compressions you get blood flow back to the brain.

“It was a collective effort. Certainly, the sheriff’s office can’t take credit for saving this guy’s life totally. We were able to assist, so that gave the fire department one extra person to assist while they were doing other things,” he added.  …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (123007)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:43 am

AJStrata, in an update at the top of the post, chronicles what he believes is “a checkmate move by the Iraqi Awakening leaders in one of the last areas infested with Bin Laden’s butchers.” Please let it be so.

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I guess Drudge considers this statement controversial, as it’s what he used to directly link to Fred Thompson’sMessage to Iowa Voters” video:

TERRORIST(s) WON’T REST UNTIL MUSHROOM CLOUD OVER U.S. CITY…

Uh, yeah Matt.

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Joe Wilcox at eWeek’s Microsoft Watch thinks that Google’s successful acquisition of DoubleClick marks the beginning of a Google monopoly. As long as Google has meaningful competition, he’s hyperventilating a bit, but he makes some very good points:

….. Google is positioned to fulfill the decade-old predictions made about Microsoft but as a more dangerous and consumer harming monopoly. Google’s monopoly would be over information, and there is just too much opportunity for abuse. DoubleClick significantly cranks up the potential volume of abuse.

Already, Google is considered a search powerhouse, but is its dominance understated by analyst data? For example, Google provides search capabilities for AOL, among other Web properties. But analyst firms like ComScore and Nielsen Online separately tabulate Google and AOL search data. AOL pushes Google share to about 60 percent—and that’s ignoring the search providers’ service role to other top Web properties.

Why should anyone care about the Google monopoly? Here are my reasons:
- Google is already an information gatekeeper…..
- There is inherent conflict of interest between Google information gathering and selling stuff around the information…..
- Google has already demonstrated questionable ethics…..
- Google’s business model leaches off the good work of others…..
- Google has no respect for intellectual property rights…..

Read the whole thing. For the dangers of having one company dominate a market segment, see “Microsoft Vista.” The economy is having productivity-inhibiting sand thrown in its wheels by one company that can’t get a computer operating system and, to a lesser extent, a web browser right. The market is attempting self-correction, as many users are switching to Macintosh, Linux (not so much), and Firefox, but the holdback effect is undeniable.

Google, with its transparently self-interested advocacy of “Net Neutrality,” is already engaging in rent-seeking and position-cementing behavior. Its (and Yahoo’s) willingness to sell out to the Chinese police state reveals the frightening possibility that behind the “do no evil” happytalk, there is little if any ethical core. YouTube’s selective deletion of videos that might offend the sensibilities of those currently in power, or those who would be brutal oppressors if they ever had any real power, further supports valid concerns.

Paraphrasing Wilcox, if the company gets its market share into the 70s or 80s, recognizes that its competitors aren’t able to harm them, but then has a bad quarter or two, fees for what used to be free will sprout like weeds.

A widget- or unit sales-based antitrust model may not work against this kind of dominance if it comes to pass. I’m not going to claim to have an answer.

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This can’t possibly fly: The world according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) –
….. in legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, ….. maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

That, it appears, would be irrespective of whether or not you make the music available to anyone else. That goes against roughly 40 years of the industry’s position, going back to whether or not the RIAA considered it OK for you to make a copy of a record (remember those?) onto a cassette so you could listen in your car (yes, it did).

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Perhaps the most interesting thing about this USA Today article about the late-nighters and Comedy Central guys Stewart and Colbert coming back without writers is the fact that, despite being linked from Drudge and the story being up for 8 hours, there are no comments. Meaning no interest?