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Posted by Jeff Soyer on 08 Sep 2014 07:02 am

With anti-Semitism on the rise, and Jewish houses of worship becoming prospective targets for Islamic attack, more Jews are arming themselves:

Some rabbis approve of congregants coming armed to synagogue, though they are a minority.

Rabbi Stuart Federow, who leads Shaar Hashalom, a Conservative congregation in Houston, said that because synagogues are a prime terrorist target, he is thankful for congregants who arm themselves. He said that dozens of people of all ages show up to an informal Jewish group called Glocks & Bagels, which meets infrequently at a local firing range.

“I know there are members of my congregation who do, in fact, carry a gun when they are at my synagogue. I have no problem with them doing that,” Federow said.

Congregation Shearith Israel, in Atlanta, has no official policy allowing guns, which makes the carrying of a firearm inside the building illegal. But apart from the “philosophical” problem of violating the law, the congregation’s rabbi, Hillel Norry, said he does not mind if a congregant brings a concealed weapon to services. “We have an armed security guard… every Shabbat,” Norry said. “But he’s just one guy.”

Much more at the link.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 07 Sep 2014 09:58 am

It’s only two months away. I know, I know… Where did the Summer go? Be that as it may, I have a question for you. This regards not local or governorship elections, but those of the Congress critters this November: What exactly are Republicans offering as an inducement to vote for them?

Yeah, I get it; that they’re not Democrats; that they disagree with Obama. But beyond that, what policies have they actually spelled out as their goal if elected? Repealing Obamacare? That’s not a policy, and they’d better make widely known what alternative they’d put into place.

Sure, I vote on the gun rights issue, but a whole lot of the electorate doesn’t. I cruise a lot of political websites and most of them are not lefty-oriented. For all the blather I read, day-in-and-day-out, I haven’t seen — or been given — much reason to cast my vote for the Republican candidate.

Does this mean that I’m considering pulling the lever for a Democrat? Probably not. What we’re offered here in Vermont is a choice between raging “Progressive” or pretty “Progressive.” Both are way to the left of Roseanne Barr.

I’m trying to view this from the eyes of the average voter. Even if disgusted by the “politics as usual” of Congress, and politicians in general — but they’re not a one-issue voter — why should he/she vote Republican? For the life of me, I haven’t seen the GOP offer a credible reason to do so. I wish that they would!

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 07 Sep 2014 02:48 am

Using forensic DNA analysis, the notorious serial killer has been unmasked:

Jari used the same extraction method on the semen traces on the shawl, warning that the likelihood of sperm lasting all that time was very slim. He enlisted the help of Dr David Miller, a world expert on the subject, and in 2012 they made another incredible breakthrough when they found surviving cells. They were from the epithelium, a type of tissue which coats organs. In this case, it was likely to have come from the urethra during ejaculation.

Kosminski was 23 when the murders took place, and living with his two brothers and a sister in Greenfield Street, just 200 yards from where the third victim, Elizabeth Stride, was killed. As a key suspect, his life story has long been known, but I also researched his family. Eventually, we tracked down a young woman whose identity I am protecting – a British descendant of Kosminski’s sister, Matilda, who would share his mitochondrial DNA. She provided me with swabs from the inside of her mouth.

Amplifying and sequencing the DNA from the cells found on the shawl took months of painstaking, innovative work. By that point, my excitement had reached fever-pitch. And when the email finally arrived telling me Jari had found a perfect match, I was overwhelmed. Seven years after I bought the shawl, we had nailed Aaron Kosminski.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 04 Sep 2014 07:12 am

From Israel Defense:

IWI has launched “Dan”, a new sniper rifle designed and developed by veteran Olympic target shooter and firearms specialist Nehemiah Sirkis. The new rifle is chambered for the .338 caliber, it weighs 6.9 kilograms and is intended for the law enforcement and military market as well as for the commercial (private ownership) market in the USA. The effective range of the new rifle is 1,200 meters and it includes Picatinni rails and an option for a suppressor (silencer). The rifle uses a bolt-action loading mechanism.

[ . . . ]

It is expected that the new sniper rifle will be offered in 7.62mm (.308) caliber as well in the near future. Regarding the .338 ammunition, it is not currently available to most military organizations, but it is undergoing development, including development by Israel Military Industries (IMI).

The rifle is already available to civilians in the U.S.

I have a fondness for bolt action rifles, having grown-up with them. Plus, with high-powered ammo, if the SHTF, it’s nice to have the ability to really reach out and, er, touch someone.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 04 Sep 2014 07:04 am

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Kroger was — for the moment — standing firm in following state laws about whether shoppers could open or conceal carry in their stores. Let’s see how they stand up to this:

Moms Demand Action is launching its first ad campaign against a corporate gun policy.

The group, a campaign of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, is running print and digital “homepage takeover” ads in half-a-dozen newspapers criticizing the gun policy at grocery retail chain the Kroger Co. The chain defers to state and local laws for its policy on whether customers may carry guns in its stores.

The six-figure Moms Demand Action campaign will feature print and digital ads in USA Today, the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Houston Chronicle. Print-only ads will run in the Tennessean.

I’m not sure how effective those ads will be. Tennessee? Texas? People enjoy their gun rights in states like that. Detroit? The police chief there is URGING residents to arm themselves!

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Sep 2014 07:38 am

I just can’t imagine going through one of these. It starts out bad, and just gets worse and worse:

Update: Video is gone. Oh well…

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Sep 2014 07:24 am

There’s some irony here:

“Duck Dynasty” patriarch and author of “unPHILtered: The Way I See It,” Phil Robertson, said that the only solution to deal with ISIS is to either “convert them or kill them” on Tuesday’s broadcast of “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.

That’s pretty much the M.O. of ISIS, too.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 03 Sep 2014 03:41 am

You know, the ones that welcome you if you open or conceal-carry? Now there’s an app for that.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 02 Sep 2014 05:06 am

At NRO, Frank Miniter examines what the billionaires contributing to gun control groups hope to accomplish, and the playbook they’re using:

In a section labeled “Overall Messaging Guidance,” the guide gives its number-one “Key Messaging Principle”: “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.” It further explains this strategy by saying, “It’s critical that you ground your messaging around gun violence in prevention by making that emotional connection.” Its second key principle is: “Tell stories with images and feelings.” The guide says, “Our first task is to draw a vivid portrait and make an emotional connection. We should rely on emotionally powerful language, feelings and images to bring home the terrible impact of gun violence.” They realize they’ve lost the rational and empirical debates about what really stops gun violence and instead want the debate enflamed by emotion.

That’s ever the way, of course; you can’t win the argument with rational facts, so legislate by emotions.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 01 Sep 2014 05:25 am

Once again, Obama is the best gun salesman in the country. From the Standard Examiner:

Thirty-six hours after the Obama administration banned importation of the classic brand of AK-47 assault rifles as part of sanctions against Russia, a Maryland dealer specializing in the weapon took stock of its inventory.

There was nothing left.

Laboring almost nonstop, workers at Atlantic Firearms in Bishopville, a Worcester County community on the Eastern Shore, had shipped hundreds of Russian-made AK-47s — an assault rifle prized by both consumers and despots — as buyers wiped out gun dealers’ inventories around the country. The frenzy was brought on, in part, by a suspicion among some gun owners that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a back-door excuse to ban guns many Democrats don’t like. Some customers bought eight to 10 rifles for nearly $1,000 each or more, stockpiling them as investments.

Here’s my problem with that thought process. If we’re talking about an individual state banning so-called “assault weapons” then fine and dandy. But, let’s say that Congress bans them nationally. Let’s say they follow the route taken by NY and CT, where the weapons already in civilian hands are grandfathered, but must be registered with the state. And, you can’t legally transfer it to someone else. If you decide to sell it, it can only be to a gun dealer, or turned in to the police. If that happens at the national level, now your investment really isn’t worth very much. Now what?

When I purchased an AR-15 from a new upstart in Vermont a few months ago, I received serial number nine. Actually, 00009. I had to make a decision. It could be, years from now, worth a lot of money if left unfired. Or, if a ban comes along, it might not be worth much at all. Buying a second one was out of the question for me. I finally decided that I didn’t buy it just to stare at it. I bought it to have some fun at the range. And that is what I’m doing.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 29 Aug 2014 08:30 am

Much ado about nothing. A cafe in liberal Winooski, VT removed a sidewalk sign advertising bacon after one professional victim complained about it. James Lileks nails it with hilarity:

In this day and age, any public manifestation of an idea that differs with yours is a tort. You suspect everyone just wanted to avoid a lawsuit; it’s public terrain, and the Constitution is rather clear on the separation of Bacon and State. It’s a good thing the sign didn’t mention bagels, or someone would have complained because of Gaza. The narcissism of the constantly offended is automatic and fierce: Enough about Ukraine! What about Mekraine?

Well, once the sign was down, the Internet took a deep breath, spat on its hands, and got to work. First, the story had to go global. The matter was picked up by a British newspaper, which put the issue like this: “[The sign] asked motorists to ‘yield for Sneaker’s [Bistro] Bacon’ but the female complainant, speaking on a community forum, described it as insensitive to her as she did not consume pig meat due to religious reasons.”

[ . . . ]

The next step: clumsy attempts to defuse the matter on Facebook, where the café said it was “here to serve breakfast, not politics.” Alas, agreeing to ix-nay the acon-bay was cultural politics at its most raw, and only slightly less annoying than putting duct tape over the word on the menu lest the forbidden arrangement of vowels and consonants cause someone to feel disrespected. Trigger warning! On request the staff will spell out the word in a soundproof booth, after consent forms have been signed.

Read the whole thing for a good laugh.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 29 Aug 2014 07:25 am

That’s the question asked of 17 Alabamans in this article.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Aug 2014 05:32 am

You know you’re getting old when tech headlines read like a foreign language: Motorola ‘Shamu’ makes appearance on AnTuTu as Google Nexus X

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Aug 2014 04:19 am

I have family visiting.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Aug 2014 12:28 pm

It’s not just the militarization of the police, but also civil-asset forfeiture laws that need reining in:

In March, Chris Sourovelis’ son was caught selling $40 of heroin to an undercover police officer.

Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department responded by raiding the Sourovelis’ north Philadelphia home, with guns drawn — one of them pointed at the head of the family dog — and found small amounts of the drug in the 22-year old’s bedroom. Chris and his wife, Amy, knew nothing of their son’s drug habit and it was the first time he had been busted for possessing narcotics.

A few weeks later, the cops were back to tell the Sourovelis family they had to gather their things and leave the property. The home was being confiscated under civil forfeiture rules, leaving the family homeless and forced to sleep on a neighbor’s couch.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Aug 2014 05:15 am

And they got it:

A cameraman from the long-running TV show ‘Cops’ was shot last night during a filmed gun-fight which ended with police killing an armed robber.

The shoot-out unfolded after police patrol cars responded to a back-up call in relation to a raid taking place at a Wendy’s restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska, just after 9pm.

Both the robber, wearing a black hoodie and white bandana, and the cameraman were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries, USA today reports.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 27 Aug 2014 05:09 am

Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that a young boy died when he lost control of a machine gun at a gun exhibition in Connecticut? And now we have this:

A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range outside Las Vegas accidentally killed an instructor on Monday morning when she lost control of the Uzi he was showing her how to use.

You don’t give guns like that to young children.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 26 Aug 2014 06:58 am

Censor might be too strong a word. Let’s instead say that they want a “truth meter” on Twitter content, and they’ll decide what is truthful:

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

How much you want to bet that anything considered Tea Party-ish, or that questions “global warming” will fall into one of those categories?

These “researchers” would then call-out (on a web portal) those whose opinions or facts they don’t agree with.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 26 Aug 2014 06:40 am

From Fox News:

A federal judge in California has struck down a law that requires a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases, but only for current gun owners who have already passed a background check and those who have a permit or certificate of eligibility to own a gun.

Eastern District of California Judge Anthony W. Ishii said Monday that the waiting period provision violates the Second Amendment rights of those who have already been approved to own a gun. This includes those who have previously undergone a background check and own a gun, people with concealed-carry permits and people who have a state certificate of eligibility to own a gun.

First-time gun buyers would still be subject to the waiting period, which Ishii emphasized in his ruling.

Why exempt first-time buyers? Maybe it’s a woman fearing for her life from a violent estranged partner, and she needs that protection Right Away.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Aug 2014 08:24 pm

From CNS News:

President Barack Obama sent no White House representative to the memorial Mass held yesterday in Rochester, New Hampshire, for James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists.

President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American fatally shot in an encounter with a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

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