1) The President has announced his gun reform proposals. Some are pretty sensible and are likely to garner Congressional support. Unfortunately, other proposals are the product of a willful and complete failure to understand A) guns B) gun owners.
First, what's good? Closing background check loopholes seems sensible. As does tougher enforcement of existing laws. However, it is noticeable about how little effort the President has made to address mental health issues. Apart from 'clarifications' on the law, Obama has offered very little. This should be the key, guns do not kill people. People kill people.
What's bad - First, I disagree with a federal assault weapons ban. As I argued for The Week a couple of weeks back (no pun intended), states should take the lead on this particular issue. Having said this, I do not believe that there is a constitutional right to assault weapon possession. Previous statements by Justice Scalia indicate that he would be unlikely to affirm such a right.
Second, and this is my main gripe, the call for a 10 round magazine limit is a serious mistake. In fact, I believe that such a limit is unconstitutional. In the 2008 landmark case of District of Columbia v Heller, the Supreme Court held that civilians have the right to own weapons (including semi-automatic handguns) for the purposes of meaningful self-defense. Overturning DC's previous handgun ban, the court held that ''The (DC law in question) prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute. Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home “the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,” 478 F. 3d, at 400, would fail constitutional muster.'' The court also affirmed that the second amendment protects an individual's right for his or her firearms to be accessible and operational. When combined with the Court's stipulation ''There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police.'' it seems evident that the Supreme Court has held a private right not just to gun ownership, but to a gun ownership that provides for a practical and perceptible posture of defense. This understanding illustrates why I believe that Obama's (10) and New York's (7) magazine size limits are unconstitutional. If implemented, they would fundamentally alter nearly all semi-automatic weapons and would do so to a degree which excessively infringed upon established constitutional rights of self-defense. When confronted by a home invader in the middle of the night, an individual is unlikely to employ the highest levels of accuracy. When confronted by a group of home invaders, an excessive magazine limit is inherently and irrefutably precarious. Excessive magazine limits are in fundamental contest with the basic protections of the second amendment.
2) Algeria. AQIM appears to have kidnapped a number of foreign energy workers in Algeria. I expect that the 1st SFOD-D ready-alert ''bowstring'' squadron is already half way across the Atlantic. AQIM would be well advised to release the hostages now. Delta Force doesn't mess around.
3) The French Military is engaged in serious fighting in Mali. French soldiers are well trained professionals and their current tasking is justified and necessary. But because European welfare states have sucked away EU defense spending, European militaries are terribly underfunded. As a result, their ISTAR capabilities have been seriously degraded. As in Libya, once again the US will have to fill in the gaps. EU defense policy is a joke.