Women Use Guns to Defend Themselves

1) "Granny bar owner chases off armed robber with her own gun"
MIDLAND, Pennsylvania - So this guy with a sawed-off shotgun walks into Josephine's bar and restaurant in Midland around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

But the punch line is: The bar's owner, 82-year-old Josephine Slater, had a gun of her own and ordered him out of her Midland Avenue bar with just a few bucks in hand. . . .

"I don't take anything from anybody," Slater, of Ohioville, said Thursday afternoon, seemingly proud and embarrassed at the same time about all the attention she's getting. "I'm not taking anything from these druggies. I try to run a decent place."

Midland police apparently had a suspect in mind for the robbery, but hadn't charged anyone as of Thursday evening. Midland Police Chief Ronald Bongivengo did not return a phone message seeking additional information.

Slater, who at 5-feet-2-inches tall stands chest high to the bar, said it's the first time in the 30 years she's owned the establishment that she's been robbed. One patron said that's because she runs a tight ship there. . . .

2) "Woman fights off 2 masked robbers"
Pittsburgh --Dan Brown said he's not too surprised his 110-pound wife, Sheri, held her own Friday when two masked men attempted to rob the family's Fayette County auto repair shop.
The couple, both in their 30s and married 17 years, opened DSB Auto Service four years ago on Three Mile Hill, Bullskin Township, not far from Mt. Pleasant.

They had no trouble with crime until Friday.

Shortly after Dan Brown left the family business at 10 a.m., his wife was confronted by two masked thieves who pulled up to the garage and demanded money.

State police at Uniontown said the victim "chased off the actors" after a brief struggle. "There was a big guy and a small guy. She was alone when they came up to her and told her to give them all the money. She grabbed a pole we use to prop up a car hood and smacked the big one. He then hit her in the head, but she was able to get away," Brown said. "She started throwing chairs and stuff in front of her to keep them away from her while she tried to get to the office.

"She got there and pulled out the gun we keep in the drawer for protection."

As soon as the mother of two pulled out the family's .357-caliber Magnum, the thieves fled, Dan Brown said. The suspects did not display a weapon, he said. . . .

Republicans stop Democrats push for more gun control in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The state House, dominated by members from rural areas where hunting is a way of life and the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, resoundingly rejected a series of gun-control measures yesterday, including one that would have allowed Philadelphia to enact its own firearms laws.

Representatives ended the second day of a special informal session on anticrime bills yesterday afternoon without considering the most controversial proposal: to limit handgun purchases statewide to one a month.

That idea likely will come to a vote when the session - convened as a way to gauge support for gun-control legislation through a series of straw votes - is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday. In the end, whatever was approved yesterday will have to be reconsidered in the formal legislative process later.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) said that despite the defeats of several controversial proposals - and the expected failure of one-handgun-a-month - he was pleased that so many anticrime measures were at long last debated on the House floor. . . .

U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon in very tight race


Gun Control Proposals Overwhelmingly Voted Down in Pennsylvania

"Woman fights off 2 masked robbers"

Dan Brown said he's not too surprised his 110-pound wife, Sheri, held her own Friday when two masked men attempted to rob the family's Fayette County auto repair shop.

The couple, both in their 30s and married 17 years, opened DSB Auto Service four years ago on Three Mile Hill, Bullskin Township, not far from Mt. Pleasant.

They had no trouble with crime until Friday.

Shortly after Dan Brown left the family business at 10 a.m., his wife was confronted by two masked thieves who pulled up to the garage and demanded money.

State police at Uniontown said the victim "chased off the actors" after a brief struggle. "There was a big guy and a small guy. She was alone when they came up to her and told her to give them all the money. She grabbed a pole we use to prop up a car hood and smacked the big one. He then hit her in the head, but she was able to get away," Brown said. "She started throwing chairs and stuff in front of her to keep them away from her while she tried to get to the office.

"She got there and pulled out the gun we keep in the drawer for protection."

As soon as the mother of two pulled out the family's .357-caliber Magnum, the thieves fled, Dan Brown said. The suspects did not display a weapon, he said.

He said he and his wife are comfortable around guns and are accomplished marksmen.

"If she would have had to shoot, she would have nailed them," he said.

Brown said the gun was kept on the premises because the business is in a remote, rural location.

"We're kind of isolated here. We have 39 acres and also live here. Someone had to have been watching us because they came right after I left," he said.

Brown said he admired his wife's courage, but was shocked at the boldness of the attempted robbery. . . .

Candidates rejecting campaign finance reform?



Does a firm's pollution harm its reputation? Many people think so, arguing that customers and suppliers are less willing to do business with companies that are not environmentally responsible. But recent research by Jonathan Karpoff, John Lott Jr., and Eric Wehrly (2005) presents compelling evidence that this is not so: The only adverse consequences suffered by firms who violate environmental regulations stem from the ensuing legal penalties and cleanup and compliance costs.

Conventional wisdom argues that when firms violate environmental rules, customers and suppliers who value environmental amenities will punish the polluters through the marketplace. Some customers, for example, will stop doing business with polluters, while potential employees may refuse to work for them, and suppliers may even decline to sell their goods to them. Hence, it is argued, polluters will face lower revenues and higher costs. The resulting lower profits are called a "reputational penalty." For a publicly owned polluter, any such reputational penalty should be manifest in a lower share price for the company's stock (Klein and Leffler 1981).

To determine whether firms suff er reputational penalties when they violate environmental laws and regulations, Karpoff et al. examined the consequences of 478 environmental violations by publicly traded companies for the years 1980 to 2000. They found that although the companies' share prices dropped measurably (about 1.5 to 2 percent) when the companies were charged with such violations, all of this decline is attributable to the direct legal penalties and the remediation and compliance costs imposed on them by regulators. Because the firms' stock prices did not fall in excess of the legal penalties, the researchers concluded that the firms' reputations were unsullied. . . .

Gov. Ed Rendell's Campaign Ads on Taxes

I just saw one of Ed Rendell's campaign ads, and it was amazing. The ad was all about him fighting for lower taxes. Ed Rendell? The same governor who wanted to increase the income tax rate by more than a third and fought incredibly hard to get the increase in the income tax and other taxes that he wanted? Now he is claiming that he has been the champion of lower taxes? No one can argue that the overall tax rate has gone down under Rendell's tenure. Obviously Lynn Swan's campaign ads must be drawing some blood. I just hope that Rendell doesn't again claim a mandate for increasing taxes again if he wins the election.

"Statehouse gun ban won't apply to lawmakers"


42 percent think Bush lower gas prices for election

If Bush had only figured this out before the 2004 election, he would have had a comfortable win.

According to a new Gallup poll, 42 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the Bush administration "deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall's elections." Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not believe in this conspiracy theory, while 5 percent said they had no opinion.

Almost two-thirds of those who suspect President Bush intervened to bring down energy prices before Election Day are registered Democrats, according to Gallup.

White House spokesman Tony Snow addressed the issue Monday, telling reporters that "the one thing I have been amused by is the attempt by some people to say that the president has been rigging gas prices, which would give him the kind of magisterial clout unknown to any other human being." . . .

Governor Rod Blagojevich's worsening ethical problems

Brendan Miniter writes about Blagojevich's worsening ethical problems at Opinionjournal's political diary:

On several occasions Gov. Blagojevich does a double take and asks for questions to be repeated as one reporter after another grills him on the details of what's becoming a damaging new ethical scandal. The details are known thanks to Chicago Tribune reporter John Chase: In September 2003, Gov. Blagojevich accepted a $1,500 check from a family friend, Michael Ascaridis, shortly before helping that friend's wife land a $45,000-a-year state job. The wife previously had flunked the civil service exam, and the governor now admits instructing his chief of staff to help find her a place anyway. Gov. Blagojevich also neglected to report the check on his annual disclosure forms until the FBI began snooping around his financials this summer. He defended the error by saying the check had been a gift for one daughter's christening or another daughter's seventh birthday, he wasn't sure which. . . . .

Ms. Topinka remains a serious contender because Mr. Blagojevich has been unable to push himself across the 50% threshold. His job approval rating is anemic and with some 12% of the electorate undecided on who to vote for this November, Ms. Topinka would stitch together a narrow victory if Mr. Blagojevich continues to flounder in explaining what for many voters will be a very simple story: A friend of the governor cut a check and then his wife landed a state job.

New Op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Among the 10 largest cities, Philadelphia now has the dubious distinction of surpassing perennial leader Chicago in terms of murder and violent crime, becoming number one in both categories. Murder and violent crime rates may be going down this year in the rest of Pennsylvania, but Philadelphia's numbers are still going up.

Philadelphians are understandably scared. But city officials seem only to want to blame others. Stepping into the breach, the state legislature will hold an unusual special session today to go through a long list of proposals. Democrats see the solution as primarily more gun control, such as a one-gun-a-month purchase limit, a state ban on so-called assault weapons, as well as allowing Philadelphia to pass its own gun-control laws. On the other side of the spectrum, House Speaker John Perzel (R., Phila.) wants more police, with the state picking up half the cost of any new hires. . . .

"Cab driver shoots would-be robber"

Shreveport, Louisiana
A Shreveport teenager remains hospitalized after police say he was shot several times by a Casino Cab driver Saturday night.

"With one of them not having a mask on at all, having his face completely exposed, I felt as they were going to get my money and kill me," said the cab driver who asked not to be identified.

Detectives say the cab driver was called to the 3500 block of Ninock Street to pick up a fare. They say Arthur Joseph, 20, got into the back driver-side seat. Seconds later, another man wearing a mask over his face got into the back passanger-side seat, pointed a gun at the driver and demanded money.

The driver pulled out his handgun and opened fire. "I came up with my 9mm and started shooting. I shot him five times," he said.

The wounded would-be robber was identified as Alexander Johnson, 18. He was rushed to the hospital and is listed in good condition.

Detective Chris Yarborough says when he interviewed Johnson, the teen was awake, very coherent and very talkative. "I got a full confession from him," Yarborough said.

Police say the teens also confessed to trying to rob another cab driver earlier the same night, but that planned failed when the driver got spooked and didn't stop. An hour later, the second driver was called. "They intended on robbing someone that night. They just got into the wrong cab," the driver said. . . .


"Chicks Carrying Guns and Kicking Tail"

Mary Katharine Ham has collected some useful stories on women defending themselves and others here.

Governor Ed Rendell and corruption problems

This from John Fund at OpinionJournals Political Diary. This piece doesn't mention other problems Rendell has faced regarding slot machines and appointments to the commission.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell frequently has been looked at cross-eyed by other Democrats for his questionable party loyalty -- even when he was party boss. That made it all the more newsworthy when, apparently safe in his own reelection race against former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, he last week delivered $200,000 in campaign cash to Bob Casey, the state treasurer seeking to unseat GOP Sen. Rick Santorum.

Here's an unsung factor that may explain the previously cool Mr. Rendell's sudden activism on Mr. Casey's behalf. A new Santorum ad, denounced as "misleading" by goo-goo groups, features actors playing unidentified Casey donors discussing their doings -- behind bars. Though the ad takes dramatic license, it alludes to a real, late-breaking problem for Democrats: An FBI investigation of Philadelphia-area developer Robert Feldman, who has raised millions for Messrs. Rendell and Casey as well as for John Street, Mr. Rendell's successor as Philadelphia mayor. The Philadelphia Inquirer last week quoted from an FBI surveillance tape that caught Mr. Feldman complaining about being shut out of a Penn's Landing development deal three years ago: "I've got nothing. I've raised a ton of money for the mayor. I'm raising right now for him. Maybe I should make this my 'big ask.'"

A lingering frost had been perceived between the two Democrats, Mr. Casey and Mr. Rendell, since their nasty fight for the 2002 gubernatorial nomination. The popular Gov. Rendell endorsed his former rival for Senate and, more importantly, worked behind the scenes to secure the nomination for him, but that's not the same thing as fervently advocating his cause in the general election. He hasn't cut any ads for Mr. Casey. Worse, just a few weeks ago, he went out of his way to praise Mr. Santorum in back-to-back interviews as a senator who "delivers" for Pennsylvania. Mr. Santorum has since closed the gap markedly, though Mr. Casey is still favored. . . .


A Professor addresses issue of students carrying guns on campus

As a professor, I do not relish the thought of teaching a group of armed students. I am not afraid, however, when I hunt with friends or travel with my sister, who has a concealed carry permit. On the contrary, I feel safe. Should I feel differently if those students were law-abiding citizens who understood firearm safety?

I am also aware that a student, or any other person, who wanted to do me harm would simply ignore Roanoke College's prohibition against carrying firearms on campus. There have been several instances nationwide in the past decade of disgruntled students shooting professors. By definition, criminals do not obey the law.

The prohibition against firearms on campus enforced by many colleges is designed to prevent accidental shootings. I have no doubt that some are prevented. We should also ask, though, if any crimes might be prevented if licensed students were allowed to carry. For example, would any rapes be deterred if assailants thought their victim might be armed?

Finally, we need to remember that those same students who are prevented from carrying on campus may carry in downtown Blacksburg, Salem or any other municipality. If they live off-campus, then they could have the firearms stored in their residence.

Greenpeace Lies?

At least that is the claim: See this post


Thailand trains teachers on how to use guns to protect themselves from Islamic terrorists

From CNN.com

CHULABHORN NAVAL BASE, Thailand (AP) -- "When you pull the trigger, you've got to keep steady," the instructor sternly told the elementary school teachers. "If your hand is shaking you can't shoot."

Teachers have one of the deadliest jobs in southern Thailand, with 44 killed by the bombs and bullets of an Islamic insurgency since 2004.

So the teachers are learning how to shoot back.

The Chulabhorn naval base, on the Gulf of Thailand in Narathiwat province, opened its heavily guarded gates on a recent Sunday to a training course for 100 public school teachers, mostly Buddhist men and women who say bringing a gun to school has become essential.

"You'd never see a teacher anywhere else in Thailand carrying a gun," said Sanguan Jintarat, head of the Teachers' Association that oversees the 15,000 teachers in the villages and towns of the restive south. "But, we need them, or we'll die."

That teachers -- not to mention Buddhist monks, bank tellers and motorcycle mechanics -- have become targets in the insurgency illustrates how badly law and order has degenerated in southern Thailand since the violence flared in January 2004.

At first insurgents targeted mainly civil servants, soldiers and police officers. Attacks then spread to businesses that serve soldiers: restaurants, outdoor markets, garages. And now come attacks that seem to have no rationale at all, such as the murder last month of an elephant trainer who was shot seven times by gunmen who had lined up with children to buy tickets for a show.

More than 1,700 people have been killed across Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat -- the only Muslim-majority provinces in this otherwise peaceful, tourist-friendly Buddhist country.

Among them was a teacher gunned down at his blackboard in July as his 4th graders watched in shock, and a Buddhist art teacher clubbed by a village mob in May until her skull shattered.

Teachers may be targets, officials say, because they are symbols of the central government's authority, or be taken hostage to be traded for captured insurgents, or because the militants want to do away with secular schools, sending the message that only Islamic schools -- which have been spared violence -- are safe.

But almost everything about this insurgency is a mystery. It isn't clear whether the militants want a separate Islamic state in what was a Malay sultanate where insurgent violence has waxed and waned over the past century. No goals are stated, no responsibility is claimed for attacks, and no allegiance to foreign Islamic groups is declared. Authorities insist the uprising is purely domestic, but have been unable to arrest any leaders. They have flooded the area with 20,000 troops, but some local officials compare the predicament to that of the U.S. military in Iraq.

Lately militants have unleashed a wave of coordinated bombings every few weeks that kill sparingly but suggest a new level of sophistication and determination. Less than two weeks ago 22 banks were bombed simultaneously, dealing a potentially devastating blow to the local economy.

"Of course teachers should not be carrying guns, but they need to protect themselves," said Srisompob Jitipirmosri, a political science professor at Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani province who tracks the violence. . . .

Thanks to Don Kates for sending this to me.


"First-Grader Suspended Over Plastic Squirt Gun"

If you look at a picture of the gun that accompanies this article, it is almost hard to instantly recognize it as a toy gun. The orange color and design make it look almost as if it were a bloob of plastic.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri mother is angry that her first-grader was suspended from school over a plastic toy gun.

"I asked her, 'You're going to suspend my son for 10 days for this? He cannot harm a soul with this,'" said Danielle Womack, whose son, Tawann Caskey, was suspended from Milton Moore Elementary School in Kansas City. Tawann was suspended over a 2-inch plastic squirt gun.

"She told me it's a weapon, a little girl saw it and reported to a teacher that he had a weapon," Womack said. According to Kansas City, Mo., School District policy, the squirt gun is a simulated weapon and a class IV, which is the most serious school offense. Principals claim to have no discretion in cases like Tawaan's. It is an automatic 10-day suspension. "We ask our principals for safety of students and staff, and we do follow the code of conduct and do not give exceptions to Class IV offenses. We take it very seriously," the school district's Phyllis Budesheim said.

The incident will stay on Tawann's permanent school record. But Womack said her son does not understand why he's not in school. "I think this could have been resolved in a different way. It's wrong to bring it school, but come on, he's 6 years old. This would not hurt a soul," Womack said. The school district said it is all policy -- one that the school told students and parents about at the start of the year. . . .

Thanks very much to CM Ross for sending me this link.


Bin Laden dead? Doubtful, but if true, didn't Bin Laden even have access to antibiotics? How bad were the sanitary conditions he was living in?

The French newspaper l'Est Republicain printed what it described as a confidential document from the French foreign intelligence service DGSE citing an uncorroborated report from Saudi secret services that bin Laden died of typhoid last month. . . . .

While there is some doubt that this story is correct, if it is, Bin Laden would have been unlikely to have died if he wasn't on the constant run from allied troops. Didn't the guy even have access to antibiotics? Couldn't he even get antibiotics within a couple weeks? Talk about him being isolated. If all this does turn out to be true, it should be marked up as a kill by our side.

Classic typhoid fever is a serious disease. It can be life-threatening, but antibiotics are an effective treatment. The disease lasts several weeks and convalescence takes some time.

The disease is transmitted from human to human via food or drinking water, and it is therefore mainly hygiene and sanitary conditions that determine its spread. It is primarily for this reason that it is no longer so commonly seen in Europe. . . . .

Vote Fraud in Texas

Two interesting posts from Canada

Montreal Shootings . . . But I watch the press and I remain stunned at one key point. Had every individual at l'Ecole Polytechnique, or Concordia, or Dawson College, been packing a gun, and trained in using it in short order, the number of casualties would almost surely have been much smaller overall than it was. This is a point made perfectly sensibly in a Toronto Star Column.
I am not pretending that this would not create other problems, but the casualty rate in ALL those cases would likely have been reduced were more people carrying guns. The offenders could have been defended against and eliminated much faster than by waiting for the arrival of the police. Wild west? Yup! In these specific cases likely effective. Problematic - yes. Let us have an honest discussion and not pretend these explosions are a case for gun control - in many ways they are the opposite.

Of course, I would point to the evidence on how permit holders actually behave in the US to assure him that the dangers aren't what he fears that they might be. For information on this please go to this, this, and this posts.

2) For an interesting picture of a shopping bag, please see this blog.

21st Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference

For those in the Charotte area this weekend, this should be an interesting event to attend.

September 22-24, 2006
Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel — Charlotte, N.C.
2800 Coliseum Centre Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina 28217 USA
Phone: 1-704-357-1414


Yet another city modelling itself after Kennesaw, Ga

Greenleaf, Idaho -- All Americans have the right to bear arms. Some towns have even gone as far as to require each household to have a gun. Now a small Idaho town is contemplating a similar idea-- it's called the Civil Emergencies Ordinance. And although gun ownership is just one piece of this ordinance, it's the part that's getting the most attention.

"We've blessed to be a fairly rural area of the state, so we don't have a lot of crime and I think we'd like to keep it that way," said Lee Belt, Greenleaf city clerk.

Drive about 10 minutes west of Caldwell and you'll run into Greenleaf, Idaho, population 860. If city council member Steve Jett has his way, each head of household that can legally own a gun, will. Along with that they're encouraged to have ammunition and appropriate training.

"I think the city council is hoping it will happen and that it will be a deterrent to crime as the city and region increases in population," said Belt.

The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar plan that went into place in 1982 in Kennesaw, Ga. In that instance there was a dramatic decrease in criminal activity. Although crime isn't a huge problem for residents of Greenleaf, the growth in neighboring counties leads them to believe they too are in for some changes.

Thanks to Ivan Shapiro for sending me this link.

The Ottawa Citizen column: "Gun bans benefit the violent criminal"

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2006.09.22
PNAME: Editorial
COLUMN: John Robson
BYLINE: John Robson
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen

Gun bans benefit the violent criminal

Last week I thought it too soon to draw lessons from the shootings at Dawson College, the shock and grief too fresh. Now I want to try to draw them using old-fashioned "if/then" reasoning. I feel lonely on both counts.

So sit down and listen to a story from the Sept. 25 Maclean's: "Deron Johnson is in hospital in New York City after allegedly trying to snatch a gold chain from a wheelchair-bound woman. Margaret Johnson, 56, was on her way to a shooting range at the time, and when her chain was removed, Margaret pulled out a .357 pistol. Deron is now being treated for a gunshot injury and faces a charge of robbery. 'There's not much to it,' Margaret says plainly, 'Somebody tried to mug me and I shot him.' " You go, girl.

If you successfully ban guns, then life gets a bit scarier for all those not well-placed to engage in fisticuffs with the young and the ruthless. It's not a conclusive argument for concealed-carry laws. But it will not do to claim that gun bans enhance public safety, then shudder at the vulgarity of counter-arguments that if every fourth biddy packed heat then muggers would be more cautious.

A gun ban may have beneficial effects that outweigh such drawbacks. But to discuss the subject rather than emoting or posturing about it, we must weigh them. Especially since Johnson versus Johnson is not an isolated case. In Britain the Blair government's near-total ban on guns was followed by a dramatic rise in crime, including gun crime. It may be possible to argue that the two were unrelated, or related by factors not present in Canada. But if you refuse to discuss awkward issues then you're not actually arguing.

Some believers in gun control do argue that if the Dawson shooter had three legally registered weapons, including a pistol, then we need a complete ban because registration isn't enough. They should have to address the historical point that when the long-gun registry was brought in we were promised that it was not a prelude to confiscation. Perhaps that assurance was ill-advised, as policy or public relations. But if "It hoodwinked the rubes" is thought advantageous in a policy, then the country will suffer.

An even bigger problem for gun-ban advocates is the gap between legislating a ban and enforcing it. And here we must grapple with the role of incentives. Strict controls make it harder for everyone to obtain guns. But they also increase the advantages to criminals and psychos of evading controls. It's not much fun trying to shoot up a restaurant full of armed diners (or a school with armed teachers, a point not lost on Israelis). But if you know they're helpless ... well, ask Britain's increasingly brazen burglars
. . . .

Defensive Gun Uses over the last few days

Fox News: "Texas school kids forced to participate in Mexican pledge of Allegiance.

If true, this is disappointing: "Texas school kids forced to participate in Mexican pledge of Allegiance." One hope that the school is forthcoming with a video tape if it exists.


Voter ID Law passes House of Representatives

Voting almost completely along party lines, the House voted 228 to 196 for a bill that would require all who register to vote in federal elections to show photo identification that proves they are U.S. citizens. . . .

The rhetoric in the House yesterday was particularly heated, with a stream of African American and Latino Democrats taking to the floor to denounce a voter ID bill that they called a "modern-day poll tax" designed to disenfranchise minority, elderly and disabled voters who lean Democratic.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the bill "a tawdry attempt by Republicans to suppress the votes of millions of Americans."

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), a soft-spoken moderate who helped craft the legislation, angrily called the charges nonsense, saying the bill authorizes funds to help state and local governments cover the costs of helping the poor obtain identification cards.

Under the bill, all states would be required to check photo identification by the November 2008 elections. By the 2010 elections, states could accept only identification that shows proof of citizenship, a passport or a new federal "Real ID" card authorized by Congress but not yet implemented. . . . .

This claim of a poll tax is really amazing. If the costs of getting the ID are covered, how can it be a poll tax?


"[National Academies of Science] denies gender differences in math ability"

Canadia's Prime Minister Stephen Harper Vowing to Scrap Gun Registration

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper is accusing the previous Liberal government of not having done enough to prevent tragedies like the Dawson College shooting in Montreal.

"Today's laws did not protect us and we take no pleasure on this side of the House from having warned the previous government repeatedly over the past decade that the gun registry would not prevent this kind of occurrence," Harper said yesterday in the Commons.

The Prime Minister was speaking as Parliament revved up for the fall session against a backdrop of tragic, violent events — notably, more military deaths in Afghanistan and the Dawson College shootings last week that left one young woman and the gunman dead, and 19 injured.

The tragedies are now spilling over into federal politics and the charged, precarious atmosphere of the Commons, where the Prime Minister hopes to steer through some controversial moves on same-sex marriage, the environment and gun control.
Harper is saying that Liberal efforts at gun control have failed, so his government will proceed with its plans to wind down the firearms registry.

But the Prime Minister is also going one step further and charging the Liberals with failing to prevent the kind of tragedy that unfolded in Dawson College's corridors last Wednesday, when Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire on students before killing himself amid a hail of police fire.

"I take no pleasure from the fact that, I hate to say, `I told you so,' but we all knew that the registry would not prevent the kind of crime we saw at Dawson College," Harper said in an interview with CTV.

Harper, without elaborating, said his government was looking at ways to strengthen the law so that guns would be kept out of the hands of people like Gill, who appeared to be a seriously troubled young man, fixated on violence and death. . . . .

Elderly Jewish man in Russia uses weapon to defend himself, charged with crime

I found that these weapons are commonly used for defense interesting: "Mr. Vaysman then shot his assailant with a gas-powered pistol (a non-lethal weapon commonly used in Russia for self-defense)."

A 70-year old Jew is being charged with “hooliganism” after shooting an attacker in self-defense, according to a September 7, 2006 report in the national daily Moskovsky Komsomolets. Anatoly Vaysman, a journalist at the “Behind the Wheel” magazine, reportedly got out of his car near a Moscow store in January 2005 when he heard someone shouting at him “Stop, you kike!” He turned to see a middle aged man charging at him. The man allegedly gave him a hard shove to the chest and then reached into his pocket, possibly for a weapon. Mr. Vaysman then shot his assailant with a gas-powered pistol (a non-lethal weapon commonly used in Russia for self-defense). The alleged assailant was lightly wounded in the neck and filed a complaint against Mr. Vaysman with the local police.

Moscow prosecutors are aggressively pursuing the case, according to Mr. Vaysman's lawyer, who told Moskovsky Komsomolets that his client had been placed on a watch list three times, even though he had no intention of leaving the city before his trial. . . . .

Luby's restaurant shooting's impact 15 years later

Fifteen years ago next month, an armed man drove his truck through a Luby's restaurant in Killeen and opened fire upon the crowd, killing 23 patrons and wounding 20 others before turning the weapon on himself.

As a direct result of the Oct. 16, 1991, Luby's incident, in 1995, Texas lawmakers, led by Suzanna Gratia Hupp (whose parents were both killed in the massacre), passed a law that allowed Texans to obtain a concealed-carry handgun permit.

Concerns were raised that the new concealed handgun law would create more problems than it would solve, turning residents into armed vigilantes who would turn to weapons to resolve minor disputes.

For one Texan, that concern was not only unsubstantiated, but one that, to him, has been proven false time and time again.

"If everyone in this state qualified to hold a concealed handgun license," said Texas Department of Public Safety certified instructor Lloyd Leppo Jr., "no one would ever need a weapon in the first place."

To obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun, one must be at least 21 years of age, submit a photo and fingerprints for a background investigation and pay a fee, pass both a written test covering laws pertaining to deadly force and gun safety and a shooting accuracy test. . . . .

More reaction to the Pope's comments on Islam

Anne Applebaum hits it on the head as usual:

Already, angry Palestinian militants have assaulted seven West Bank and Gaza churches, destroying two of them. In Somalia, gunmen shot dead an elderly Italian nun. Radical clerics from Qatar to Qom have called, variously, for a "day of anger" or for worshipers to "hunt down" the pope and his followers. From Turkey to Malaysia, Muslim politicians have condemned the pope and called his apology "insufficient." And all of this because Benedict XVI, speaking at the University of Regensburg, quoted a Byzantine emperor who, more than 600 years ago, called Islam a faith "spread by the sword." We've been here before, of course. Similar protests were sparked last winter by cartoon portrayals of Muhammad in the Danish press. Similar apologies resulted, though Benedict's is more surprising than those of the Danish government. No one, apparently, can remember any pope, not even the media-friendly John Paul II, apologizing for anything in such specific terms: not for the Inquisition, not for the persecution of Galileo and certainly not for a single comment made to an academic audience in an unimportant German city. . . . .

University of Utah backs down on its gun ban

The University of Utah on Monday agreed to allow guns on campus, 10 days after the Utah Supreme Court ruled the school has no right to ignore a state law that allows the carrying of concealed weapons by permit holders.
    The showdown, though, is not over: The U. still believes it should be able to ban weapons and will pursue the question in federal court.
    A joint motion filed Monday by the U. and the Utah Attorney General's Office reopened the case in U.S. District Court, where the dispute first landed.
    The two sides are asking Judge Dale Kimball to delay any action in the case until March 31, in the hope they can reach an out-of-court settlement.
    "We're very pleased that the university has agreed to this course of action," Raymond Hintze, chief deputy at the A.G.'s Office, said. "We think it's the correct thing to do. We think the university and the Legislature need to get together to see if they can resolve the sensitive issue of the way the laws apply to campus." . . . .


A funny joke from Don Kates

From Don Kates:

One day, after 25 years of marriage, I took a good look at my wife one day and said, "Honey, 25 years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10 inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 25 year old blonde.
Now, we have a nice house, nice car, big bed and Plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 50 year old woman. It seems to me that you are not holding up your side of things."
My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 25 year old blonde, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed. Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve your mid-life crisis....

Swedish vote for letting citizens shoot wolves

Not only did the non-socialist parties win yesterday, but I have been told that there was an advisory initiative on the ballot regarding shooting wolves. There is apparently a real problem with wolves killing farm animals and attacking pets. By margins of between two-thirds and over 80 percent the different parts of the country that voted on the initiative, voters wanted to allow people to shoot the wolves when they posed a threat to these other animals.

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More on whether violent crime is increasing

The FBI UCR numbers were just released. I am sure that the normal academics who the media goes to on this will claim that violent crime is going up, but I hope that people will realize that there is no real change in the rates. There is a one year increase in murder and robbery rates but both are still below what they were in 2003.

. . . . . .violent crime rate . .murder rate . . robbery rate
1998 . . 567.6 . . . . . . . . . . 6.3 . . . . . . . . .165.5
1999 . . 523.0 . . . . . . . . . . 5.7 . . . . . . . . .150.1
2000 . . 506.5 . . . . . . . . . . 5.5 . . . . . . . . .145.0
2001 . . 504.5 . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 . . . . . . . . .148.5
2002 . . 494.4 . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 . . . . . . . . .146.1
2003 . . 475.8 . . . . . . . . . . 5.7 . . . . . . . . .142.5
2004 . . 463.2 . . . . . . . . . . 5.5 . . . . . . . . .136.7
2005 . . 469.2 . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 . . . . . . . . .140.7

I decided to look at the breakdown in the increase in states with and without state assault weapons bans. The states with AWB saw a 2.9 percent increase in murder rates and a 3.5 percent increase in robberies. The states without AWB saw a smaller increase of just 2.2 percent for murder rates and 2.7 percent for robbery. Thus going back to the sunsetting of the federal ban in September 2004, changes in murder and robbery rates have been worse in the states with the ban than those without the ban. The states with the ban are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Note that the previous numbers that I posted were from the NCVS.

Michael Steele putting up a tough campaign in Maryland

Encouraging people to get concealed handgun permits in Houston

HOUSTON — When the "Katricians" rise up in violence, Houstonians had better be packing some serious heat.

That's the inflammatory message of a new gun-shop commercial on the radio that gives Hurricane Katrina evacuees a vaguely alien-sounding name, and advises Texans to take up arms to defend themselves against crimes committed by the newcomers.

"When the 'Katricians' themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is gonna go up if they don't get more free rent, then it's time to get your concealed-handgun license," warns the radio ad by Jim Pruett, who co-hosts a bombastic talk-radio show and owns Jim Pruett's Guns & Ammo, a self-styled "anti-terrorist headquarters" that sells knives, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles and other weapons. As Pruett describes the dangers posed by "Katricians," glass can be heard shattering, and a bell tolling ominously.

The radio spot highlights what many gun-store owners say is a hot trend in Houston: trade in weapons amid a surge in the homicide rate that police attribute to the more than 100,000 hurricane evacuees still in the city. Though the gun sale reports are largely anecdotal, Texas officials said applications for concealed-weapons permits were up statewide: 60,328 from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1 this year, compared with 46,298 for the same period last year.. . .

Zogby on the battle for control of congress


Democrats campaign themes wandering all over the place

From the Washington Post:

Democrats have had more "New Directions" recently than MapQuest.

Among the party's campaign slogans this year: "Culture of Corruption," "Culture of Cronyism," "Do-Nothing Congress," "Rubber-Stamp Congress," "Together, We Can Do Better," "Together, America Can Do Better" and, most recently, "Six for '06."

For those keeping score at home, Democrats arrived at "New Direction" yesterday by downgrading one of the "Six for '06" issues (health care) and upgrading three others (honesty, civility and fiscal discipline), for a total of eight items on the contents page.

By contrast, Republicans have settled on a single, unofficial slogan, which essentially says: Vote Democrat and Die. And in politics, scary and scurrilous usually trumps elaborate and earnest -- something Pelosi has experienced firsthand in recent days. . . .

43 million people have died from Malaria since DDT was banned

The mosquito-borne disease infects as many as 500 million people a year and kills about a million. . . .

DDT, once hailed as a "miracle" pesticide, was first used widely during World War II to help control everything from typhus to the body lice on U.S. soldiers. Within a few years, the U.S. was free of malaria. In 1955, the WHO endorsed DDT use for a global campaign that within 12 years freed developed countries, along with parts of Asia and Latin America, from risk of infection.

But reports in the 1960s, launched by environmentalist Rachel Carson in the book "Silent Spring," that DDT was killing off bald eagles, in part by thinning their eggshells, and seeping into the food chain, raised concerns about the powerful chemical's heavy use. Environmental protest led the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of DDT in the U.S. in 1972. It currently is made by one company in India and two in China. . . .

Adding up the cost of this environmentalist mistake we find that: "At least 43 million people -- mostly black kids -- have needlessly died since DDT was banned . . . ."

Environmentalist groups still oppose any use of DDT.
"We must take a position based on the science and the data," Dr. Kochi said. "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual spraying."

While DDT is very effective, its use for malaria control alarms some environmental groups, which insist the pesticide poses dangers to humans and the environment. The Pesticide Action Network, a San Francisco group, disagreed with the WHO's stance that DDT is safe, insisting that the pesticide increases the probability of cancer and developmental delays in children.

In a speech Friday announcing the new plan, Dr. Kochi urged environmental groups who have expressed concern to "help save African babies as you are helping to save the environment."

Communist China under Mao is probably the only country responsible for killing more people than the environmental movement to ban DDT.


What did the Pope say that was so wrong? It isn't obvious to me

With all the attacks on what the Pope said this week, I thought that I would look up exactly what he said (the material quoted by the Pope is in italics). If you were to read the entire speach, I think that it comes across as extremely academic (though despite his discussion of logic I am not sure how logical it actually is). Here is the relevant part of his talk:

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry. . . .

UPDATE: Dennis Prager has some interesting comments on what the Pope said and the reaction to it.

Betting Odds on Who will win control of the US House and Senate

The University of Iowa Electronic Markets again show the betting on who will win control of the US House and Senate. Right now the Republicans have a 50 percent probability of winning both houses, the Dems thus have about a 50 percent probability of winning at least one house of congress.

Some Recent Defensive Gun Uses

Gun-toting citizen foils robbery, leads APD to arrest, September 14, 2006, Albany (Ga.) -- A bystander broke up a Northwest Albany armed robbery he witnessed by firing two gunshots in the air. He then followed the armed robbers as they fled, and alerted police who arrested the three gunmen. Now, the man who stopped the robbers and their victims are too scared to talk to us on camera, afraid the young crooks will come after them. Just before 11:00 Wednesday night two gunmen jumped a man and a woman in the back parking lot as they left Mama Gina's Restaurant on North Slappey. The male victim, Michael, is afraid to show his face on camera, worried the robbers will come after him again. "He had a red bandana on, waving a gun all around, threatened to shoot us if we didn't give them the money." Marcus saw the robbery happening, and decided to help. He is too afraid to give his name or talk to us, but when he saw the robber's guns, he went to get his. Mama Gina's owner Vinny Mannino said, "The guy go in his car and get his gun. He shoot one shot in the air to scare the guys, they run away. He shot another shot in the air to make them stop, but they keep running." . . .

Choir Member Shoots Would-Be Robber Outside Little Rock Church. 9/14/2006 9:10:56 AM -- Police say a gun-toting member of a Little Rock church choir shot and killed a man as he attempted to rob a woman. Police spokesman Lieutenant Terry Hastings said a man and woman were walking about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday when they were confronted by a would-be robber carrying a pistol. The man fled in one direction and the woman in another. . . .

Suspects flee robbery attempt in JCC, BY DANIELLE ZIELINSKI, September 14, 2006, 1:44 PM EDT, James City (Va.) -- A robbery attempt this morning at ABM Fashion Beauty was foiled when an employee of the store pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at the perpetrators, police said. No one was hurt in the incident, and the two robbery suspects fled on foot, James City Police spokesman Mike Spearman said. . . .

MILWAUKEE (September 12, 2006)-- Police said a storeowner shot and killed one of two teenagers he said was trying to rob his Milwaukee store.

BEAUMONT, TEXAS – At 5:30 a.m. Sept. 9, Beaumont Police responded to a burglary call at a residence in the 6200 block of Yaupon Street. Upon arrival, officers noticed the house appeared to have been hit by gunfire. According to the victim, he awoke after hearing a noise in his home. He grabbed his gun, investigated further and found an intruder in the house. When the suspect saw the victim, he ran. The victim then fired three shots in the house at the suspect. He missed. The suspect ran out of the house and got into a green Ford. . . .


Judge: Massachusetts Law Gives Local Police Broad Powers to Ban Selling of Guns

QUINCY - A court upheld Quincy Police Chief Robert Crowley’s decision to deny a downtown sporting goods store a license to sell firearms in a case that further riled gun advocates already frustrated by the chief’s policies on granting permits.

Superior Court Judge Wendie Gershengorn ruled that Crowley was within his authority to deny a license to sell guns to Ronald Hidalgo, the owner of the Sportsman’s Den on Southern Artery, because of a 20-year-old assault charge and a 6-year-old restraining order.

Both cases were ultimately dropped, but a state law giving police chiefs broad discretion in deciding who is qualified for a gun permit doesn’t contradict Crowley’s reasoning, the judge ruled.

Hidalgo, who has owned the store for 10 years, filed the lawsuit last year, asserting that the chief was abusing his authority essentially because he could.

Hidalgo has a Quincy-issued licensed to carry a handgun and earned approval from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to be a gun dealer before he was shot down by Crowley.

‘‘Somebody has to explain to me how I can be perfectly suitable to carry a firearm, but I can’t sell one. I just can’t wrap my brain around that,’’ Hidalgo said.

‘‘He’s hurting me financially, taking money out of my pocket just because he wants to be the guy in charge. It’s ridiculous,’’ Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo said he doesn’t think he’ll appeal the court ruling because he has already spent $20,000 and doesn’t think he can afford to take the fight any further . . .


Pulling another Torricelli

From John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary:

New Jersey Democrats are huddling to see how much damage appointed U.S. Senator Bob Menendez has suffered from last week's revelation that a local U.S. Attorney has subpoenaed records of his financial dealings with a local nonprofit organization that has benefited from his political actions. Some Democrats are quietly talking about asking Mr. Menendez, who trails Republican Tom Kean Jr. in the latest polls, to step aside much as scandal-tarred Senator Bob Torricelli did in 2002. Mr. Torricelli's replacement on the ballot, former Senator Frank Lautenberg, went on to win in November.

Officially, Democrats are denying any such intention, although party lawyers are poring over statute books to determine how easily they could replace Mr. Menendez if he were to drop out after the legal deadline next Wednesday. It's clear that Democratic leaders are worried. . . .



Isn't this what government normally does?

I wonder if this type of quid pro quo is so common that it isn't even considered corruption. Your politician gives your federal grants and in return you given him donations.

And now a fresh scandal has national Democratic leaders panicking, even though the Dems haven't lost a Senate election in the Garden State since 1972. That's because this election could well decide control of the Senate come January.

News broke last Friday of a federal investigation into Menendez's finances. Over a period of nearly nine years, Menendez collected $329,353 in rent for what's been described as a "shabby" three-story rowhouse he owns in Union City.

Problem is, the rent came from the North Hudson Community Action Corp., an anti-poverty agency - and, even as he was the group's landlord, then-Rep. Menendez was muscling the federal Department of Health and Human Services to list the outfit as a federally qualified health center.

That designation has allowed the agency to rake in $9.6 million in federal HHS grants since 1998 - indeed, Washington now covers 64 percent of its yearly budget. And grateful NHCAC employees and officials have given thousands to Menendez's campaigns.

As for the building, Menendez sold it in 2003 for $405,000 - a 440 percent profit over what he paid for it two decades before.

Now comes reports that U.S. Attorney Chris Christie - who has won bipartisan praise for his anti-corruption prosecutions - has subpoenaed NHCAC's financial records.

Menendez and his allies are screaming bloody murder. "Straight out of the Bush-Rove playbook," the senator whined. Lautenberg called the subpoena's timing "sinister," while Gov. Jon Corzine - who handpicked Menendez to succeed him in the Senate - said the probe seems "less than objective." (Christie is a Republican who has been mentioned for higher office.) . . .


Judge approves Voter ID requirements go in Arizona

I guess that I am last hopeful about what will happen at the Appeals Court level given that the 9th is so very liberal.

A federal judge declined Monday to block a law that requires Arizona voters to present identification before casting a ballot.

U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver's order came a day before Tuesday's primary, the first statewide election for which voters will be required to show identification. The law has already been used in some municipal elections.

The 2004 law requires that voters at polling places produce government-issued picture ID or two pieces of other non-photo identification specified by the law. It also requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Parts of the law were aimed chiefly at illegal immigrants.

A number of challengers had sued to prohibit election officials from enforcing the registration and polling-place identification requirements. Critics said that the law would disenfranchise voters, particularly minorities and the elderly, and that requiring voters to acquire and produce identification would be burdensome in time, money and effort.

They also claimed it hinders voter registration drives.

Secretary of State Janice K. Brewer said the law was a protection against voter fraud. "Today's court ruling assures the integrity of this process by retaining the requirements established by Proposition 200," she said in a statement.

Within hours, lawyers for some of the challengers filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. . . .

Chicago Decides to Keep Jobs: Minimum Wage Increase Defeated

Democrats split over battle on minimum wage increase. I may disagree with Daley on many things and dislike him for other reasons, but Chicago can be thankful that he fought on this issue.

A divided City Council today sustained Mayor Daley’s first-ever veto by a 31 to 18 vote: Wal-Mart and 42 other big box retailers in Chicago will not have to pay their employees at least $13 an hour in wages and benefits by 2010.

One day after framing the debate in racial terms, Daley got his way with three votes to spare.

Thirty-four votes were needed to override the mayor’s veto. The attempt fell three votes short. As expected, three aldermen who supported the minimum wage ordinance on July 26 crossed over to support the mayor: Aldermen George Cardenas (12th), Shirley Coleman (16th) and Danny Solis (25th). As expected, they were joined by Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), the only alderman who did not cast a vote on July 26.

The vote came after two hours and 15 minutes of debate following a recess to accommodate chief big-box supporter Ald. Joe Moore (49th), who attended the funeral of six children who died in a Rogers Park fire.

Coleman agreed to change sides after Wal-Mart promised to build an Englewood store at 63rd and Halsted, down the street from the soon-to-be built Kennedy-King College.

Solis has been angling for Daley to appoint him to the job of city clerk vacant since the resignation of convicted City Clerk Jim Laski. But, he said today, “Even if he [Daley] offered it now, I wouldn’t take it. It’s too late. The opportunity was three or four months back when an incumbent could have made something out of it.” . . .

Here is a discussion on the possible implications for Daley:

The Chicago mayor flexed his muscle with his veto of the controversial measure, but his fight with the city council showed that he may actually be vulnerable in next year's election . . .

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Insightful article on crime problem in Pennsylvania

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Daily News called its hometown the “City of Blood,” and by all accounts that is a fair assessment for a place with 268 murders and more than 1,330 people shot this year.

So all eyes will be on Harrisburg later this month, when the state House meets in a rare, informal daylong voting session on how to curb violent crime in the City of Brotherly Love and across Pennsylvania.

But where some Philadelphia-area lawmakers see the need for tough new gun-control measures, local legislators and top law-enforcement officials see an opportunity to get to the root of the problem: drugs.

“Gun violence is coming from the drug trade,” said state Rep. Katie True, a Republican from East Hempfield Township. “People who deal in drugs, who make millions of dollars, really don’t care what kind of laws we pass on guns.” . . .

It is pretty hard to stop drug dealers from getting a hold of guns.

Why Ken Blackwell's Race for Governor is so Important


Is violent crime rising?

Experts said these increases buttress reports from the FBI and many mayors and police chiefs that violent crime is beginning to rise after a long decline. . . .

This report tells us more the serious events — robbery and gun crimes — increased and the FBI already told us homicides increased," said criminal justice professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. . . .

Professor Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University said the rise in gun violence was particularly troubling.

"A major police effort to confiscate guns helped bring down the surge in violent crime that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s," Blumstein said. "But gun distribution is easier now because we have begun to back off gun control."

Backed by the National Rifle Association, the Bush administration has been cool toward gun control measures.

The statistics bureau's victimization report found that the overall violent crime rate was unchanged in 2005 from the year before, at just over 21 crimes for every 1,000 individuals over age 12. . . .

1) Does one year make a trend? Could be, but it is really hard to see any pattern in robbery rates over the last five years. The same is true for gun crimes. Because of the comparisons drawn in the piece regarding the Clinton administration, I have put down some numbers for violent crime. Just so that you can see that since the last full year of Clinton's administration, the violent crime rate has fallen by 23 percent (15 percent since 2001). Since so much weight is put on robbery, it has fallen by 19 percent since the end of Clinton (7 percent since 2001, though again I think that it is hard to see any pattern since 2001).

Robbery Rate
1985 5.1
1990 5.7
1995 5.4
1998 4.0
1999 3.6
2000 3.2
2001 2.8
2002 2.2
2003 2.5
2004 2.1
2005 2.6

How does one use the violent crime numbers reported to justify the statement that experts believe that "violent crime is beginning to rise after a long decline"?

Violent Crime Rate
1985 45.2
1990 44.1
1995 46
1998 35.9
1999 32
2000 27.3
2001 24.6
2002 22.7
2003 22.2
2004 21
2005 20.9

2) Despite all their claim that people are being harmed more because of the increase in robbery rates last year, the share of robberies involving injury has actually fallen. Going from 56.3 percent in 2004 to 49.6 percent in 2005 and the longer term decline is even greater.

3) It would be nice if the AP provided even a little balance in academics who it interviewed.

More on Utah State Supreme Court Striking Down University's Ban Against Guns

Here is some of the coverage that this decision is receiving from academia.

Article 1)
n a ruling that legal experts say could threaten the autonomy of public universities and the safety of their students, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday that the University of Utah cannot bar guns from its campus.

The university says that the ban will remain in effect, pending a federal court battle, where academic freedom arguments based on the the U.S. Constitution will be raised. Nonetheless, Friday’s ruling angered college leaders, who saw it as a terrible precedent. “This is a violation of law and common sense,” said Sheldon E. Steinbach, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, which is backing the university in the case. “What’s it going to take for those representatives in Utah to understand? Will they only be moved after there has been an unfortunate incident involving a gun-slinging student?”

Utah’s attorney general, meanwhile, praised the ruling as “a victory for the rule of law,” and he was joined by Utah lawmakers in pledging to fight for the right of students and others to bring guns on campus.

Banning firearms from campuses is a widespread policy — and it doesn’t generally vary from state to state, even though states have widely differing gun laws. The dispute in Utah dates to 2001, when Mark Shurtleff, the attorney general, issued an opinion finding that the University of Utah’s gun ban violated state laws barring state or local entities from enacting restrictions on access to firearms. The university sued in federal court, charging that its academic freedom assured by the First Amendment was being violated, and also stating that Utah lawmakers had given the university considerable autonomy when they created it — enough to allow the university to set its own gun policy. . . .

Article 2)
The University of Utah cannot ban guns on its campus in defiance of a state gun-rights law, the Utah Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

Utah legislators enacted a law in 2004 prohibiting government agencies, like the university, from adopting policies that would restrict the possession of a firearm on public or private property. In a 4-to-1 ruling, the court sided with the state attorney general, who defended the law and argued that the university had no autonomy under the Utah Constitution to ignore the law.

The university asserted that the law hindered academic freedom and that its institutional autonomy under the Utah Constitution allowed it to enforce the ban.

Michael K. Young, the university's president, said on Friday in a written statement that while he is "disappointed" at the ruling, the university will now pursue the issue in the federal courts. A federal court, where the university had first presented its case, had instructed it to submit the gun ban first to the adjudication of state courts, and to notify the federal court once that litigation had run its course.

"We are primarily concerned, as we have been from Day 1, with how to keep our students safe," Mr. Young said in an interview.

In the case's first full hearing, a Utah district court held that the university's firearms policy did not contradict state law, but the attorney general appealed. Around the same time, the Utah Legislature passed a bill that said a local or state entity may not enforce a policy related to firearms unless specifically authorized by a state statute. . . .


Lincoln Chafee in tough senate primary on Tuesday


"More trust means more votes"

Picture this: Suppose making voters show some secure ID increased turnout in Milwaukee?

The partisan trench lines on photo identification run the other way now: Democrats say that since driver's licenses are rarer among poor people, black men and the elderly, such voters would be discouraged. They say Republicans back ID to suppress turnout. Republicans counter that they're eager to suppress turnout by guys named Mickey D. Maus whose home address turns out to be the Wisconsin Ave. viaduct.

Either way, the presumption is for fewer votes in Milwaukee.

John R. Lott Jr. suggests otherwise. He's an economist who raised eyebrows some years ago with data showing that more legal gun possession can reduce crime. He published a paper last month looking for effects from voter-ID requirements.

He didn't find much evidence about mandatory picture IDs, since such rules are new and rare in this country. But he did find signs that other tough anti-fraud rules, similarly criticized, didn't hurt turnout among minorities, the poor and the elderly. And while ID rules didn't affect turnout much overall, he says, they appeared to increase it in what the bipartisan American Center for Voting Rights identified as fraud hot spots.

Milwaukee made that list in the center's report, by the way, which suggests that tightening up here could have just such an effect.

What underlies the numbers, says Lott, is that while ID rules may both suppress legitimate voters or comb out fakes, a third thing may be happening: Voters gain added confidence that their votes won't be negated by fraud. More people vote if they know the vote is fair and accurate, and this effect would be highest in places with the worst reputations.

He says the numbers show that's what's happening.

And there is evidence about mandatory photo IDs as well, he says: Mexico has required them since 1991. Turnout has risen since.. . .

For those with HBO, a rave review for The Wire, on tonight

I got this email today from:

The fourth season of The Wire delves into the realities of our disastrous public school monopolies. Anyone who cares about our children, inner cities, and America’s future must see this series. And if Simon hits a home run the way he did in the first three years, viewers with the courage to watch will understand why our public schools cannot be fixed, why our children need charters and vouchers to escape, and why Hollywood liberals, the unions, and the politicians they buy refuse to tell this story.

Despite the show being politically incorrect, the NY Times and the LA Times supposedly have rave reviews also.

Amusing Reagan Joke

Concealed Handgun Permits in action in NYC: Wheelchair-bound woman

This from the September 8th Associated Press:

NEW YORK Margaret Johnson might have looked like an easy target.
But when a mugger tried to grab a chain off her neck Friday, the wheelchair-bound 56-year-old pulled out her licensed .357 pistol and shot him, police said.
Johnson said she was in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood on her way to a shooting range when the man, identified by police as 45-year-old Deron Johnson, came up from behind and went for the chain.
"There's not much to it," she said in a brief interview. "Somebody tried to mug me, and I shot him."
Deron Johnson was taken to Harlem Hospital with a single bullet wound in the elbow, police said. He faces a robbery charge, said Lt. John Grimpel, a police spokesman.
Margaret Johnson, who lives in Harlem, has a permit for the weapon and does not face charges, Grimpel said. She also was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and later released.

This story is amazing in multiple respects. 1) Most people probably believe concealed handgun permits are not granted in NYC so this case should probably come as a surprise. 2) The AP rarely runs even the defensive gun use stories that get local coverage. A defenseless 56-year-old woman who was in a wheelchair should make this very newsworthy. That said, it is still a very short story. Compare it in length to cases where a gun is used in a crime.

UPDATE: Apparently the woman just had a permit to own a gun and was in the process of going to a shooting range when she was attacked. It is too bad that she doesn't have the option of protecting herself at other times as well.
Also, thanks to Curt Howland for pointing out a typing mistake in my earlier post.

Utah Supreme Court Shoots down University of Utah Gun Ban

The state's highest court ruled Friday that the University of Utah has no right to ban guns on campus, rejecting the argument that prohibiting firearms is part of the school's power to control academic affairs.
Writing for the 4-1 majority, Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish said case law "is incompatible with the university's position."
"We simply cannot agree with the proposition that the Utah Constitution restricts the Legislature's ability to enact firearms laws pertaining to the university," Parrish wrote.
In a dissent, Chief Justice Christine Durham said policies that are reasonably connected to the school's academic mission are within its autonomous authority over academic affairs. Under the majority analysis, she said, "the university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class."
But no one will be permitted to carry a gun anytime soon on the campus, home to more than 44,000 students, faculty and staff members. Friday's ruling resolved only the state issues involved in the matter; the case now goes back to U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City for litigation of federal constitutional issues.
The delay is welcome to Landon Smith and Minna Shim, U. students who say they support the ban, which has been in place for almost three decades.
"It scares the hell out of me," said Smith, a senior in communication. "I don't want some cowboy coming to class with a gun."
Shim, an undeclared freshman, said, "I don't feel a threat here now, but if there are concealed weapons around, I'd be afraid." . . .

These last comments are a perfect example of how right-to-carry laws can effect people's views. It is not clear to me why these students are not equally fearful off of campus where concealed handguns are allowed, but, whatever the reason, their predictions about what will happen on school property will be quickly tested. Some people have to be shown in each venue that there will not be problems from law-abiding citizens with guns. But just as with all the other places that allow concealed handgun laws, the data makes me confident that these problems that these students fear will not occur.


Another reason that the government shouldn't control broadcast licenses

Democrats threaten ABC stations with losing their broadcast license if they don't broadcast what the Dems want. Of course there were the stories of this being done during Pres. Johnson's administration and Nixon to a lesser extent, but I had thought that this type of extreme threat was no longer viable because people would be outraged. I don't see the media turning on the Democrats for making this threat. If Republicans made this threat, what do you think would happen?

ABC is frantically recutting its $40 million miniseries about 9/11 amid a blistering backlash over fictional scenes that lay the blame on the Clinton administration.
Also feeling the heat was Scholastic, which yanked a classroom guide tie-in to the program.

Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, the former head of the 9/11 commission and a paid consultant on the ABC miniseries, told the Daily News yesterday that some controversial scenes in "The Path to 9/11" were being removed or changed. . . .

Unmollified, Democrats continued to demand that ABC yank the two-night docudrama that former President Bill Clinton's spokesman called "despicable." It is scheduled to start airing Sunday. . . .

Several top Democratic senators, including Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, accused ABC boss Bob Iger in a letter of airing "right-wing political propaganda" and obliquely threatened his broadcast license. . . .

Some amazing research on the brain

The doctor's statement that "I was absolutely stunned" says it all.

According to all the tests, the young woman was deep in a "vegetative state" -- completely unresponsive and unaware of her surroundings. But then a team of scientists decided to do an unprecedented experiment, employing sophisticated technology to try to peer behind the veil of her brain injury for any signs of conscious awareness.

Without any hint that she might have a sense of what was happening, the researchers put the woman in a scanner that detects brain activity and told her that in a few minutes they would say the word "tennis," signaling her to imagine she was serving, volleying and chasing down balls. When they did, the neurologists were shocked to see her brain "light up" exactly as an uninjured person's would. It happened again and again. And the doctors got the same result when they repeatedly cued her to picture herself wandering, room to room, through her own home.

"I was absolutely stunned," said Adrian M. Owen, a British neurologist who led the team reporting the case in today's issue of the journal Science. "We had no idea whether she would understand our instructions. But this showed that she is aware." . . .


Girls learning confidence and self-defense with guns

MINTURN, Colorado
"Stop! I have a gun. Leave my house," shouted the 11-year-old girl.

And with the words barely out of her mouth, Noel Smith opened fire.

Any intruder would be dead on his back, but this was just practice. Noel, along with seven other women, was practicing her marksmanship at a session of Girls and Their Guns, a summer-long program that teaches women how to shoot and about gun safety.

On the crisp Saturday morning at the Minturn firing range, shots echoed across the valley leaving the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air.

Noel cocked her head, squinted her eyes, placed one leg in front of the other and squeezed the trigger. Five women lined up next to her in variations of the same stance.

"I've always wanted to know what guns were like and how they were used," said Noel, who's been shooting for nearly two years and learned of the program from her karate teacher, Mathew Bayley, who teaches the gun class. "When I heard he was doing this, I really wanted to try it. ... I've been stuck to it ever since." . . .

Thanks very much to Matthew Ledyard for sending me this link.

Will NY Adopt a Right-to-Carry Law?

While attempts to make New York adopt an objective standard for concealed weapons permits have failed for almost a dozen legislative sessions in Albany, gun enthusiasts will resume their campaign for a change in the law.

"We will be pushing for that legislation," the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Thomas King, said. "The exact specifics of the bill, we're still working on."

The change being sought is at the core of the constitutional right to bear arms. In New York, a citizen's right to bear arms is frustrated, gun advocates say, by regulations limiting the ownership of guns. The proposed legislation would automatically oblige state authorities to grant licenses to all those who apply.

Gun control supporters, who say concealed weapons are incompatible with New York culture, call "concealed carry" legislation a danger to public safety.

Such safety fears have led New York to become one of eight "may issue" states, where officials can decide whether a person should be given a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Forty states have "shall issue" provisions on their books, by which anyone who meets objective criteria — taking into account criminal background and marksmanship training — must be given a concealed weapon permit. Wisconsin and Illinois completely prohibit citizens from carrying firearms. . . .


"The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin"

I guess that there are some people that even experts shouldn't be able to be around wild animals.

"Noted feminist critic Germaine Greer" claims that the late Steve Irwin "deserved his fate."


Hugh Hewitt: Did ABC Edit "The Path to 9/11?"

This is sad that Disney/ABC gave into this type of pressure at all.

The Disney execs met all through the weekend - unheard of in this business - debating what changes would be made and what concessions should be given. Here is what looks to be the conclusion:

- There will be a handful of tweaks made to a few scenes.
- They are minor, and nuance in most cases - a line lift here, a tweak to the edit there.
. . .

The story here is the backlash that the Disney/ABC execs experienced was completely unexpected and is what caused them to question themselves and make these changes at all. Had this been the Bush Admin pressuring, they wouldn't have even taken the call. The execs and studio bosses are dyed in the wool liberals and huge supporters of Clinton and the Democratic Party in general. They had no idea any of this could happen. As I understand this, the lawyers and production team spent literally months corroborating every story point down to the sentence. The fact that they were the attacked and vilified by their "own team" took them completely by surprise; this is the first time they've been labeled right-wing, conservative conspiracists.

The scramble caused by this backlash was so all consuming that the execs spent their holiday weekend behind closed door meetings and revamped their ad campaign. But at the end of their mad scramble, they found only a handful of changes they could make and still be true to the events. The changes are done only to appease the Clinton team - to be able to say they made changes. But the blame on the Clinton team is in the DNA of the project and could not be eradicated without pulling the entire show. A $40 million investment on the part of ABC is enough to stem even Bill Clinton's influence. . . .

Why not just lock up the criminals?

Europeans claim that the US is a bigger threat to world stability than Iran

Civilians with machine guns

Firing machine guns for fun:

Automatic weapons attract all types.
At the Hernando Sportsman's Club, you'd expect the camouflaged commandos toting long, mean-looking weapons.
But there's also the weekend warrior wearing a polo shirt, khaki shorts and house shoes, firing 100 rounds a minute.
Two spots down on the range is the elderly gentleman who adjusts his glasses before popping off shots from a gun that spits fire from the muzzle.

Then there's Patty Mitchell. With her ponytail pulled back by pink elastic, the slim 22-year-old shouldered her machine gun and let loose with the best of them. It was her first time with automatic weapons.

"It was overwhelming, but extremely fun," Mitchell said with a huge grin splitting her freckled face. "I was excited, really excited."

For 10 years, the club located off U.S. 19 has hosted the Labor Day machine gun shoot to raise money for its facilities. The club has a variety of ranges ranging from 200 to 10 yards for firearms, an archery range and a barn for cowboy shows. . . . .

Where have all the tough guys gone?

Where are today's John Wayne's?

Look at Gregory Peck in, say, "Twelve O'Clock High" or Clark Gable in "Command Decision," two movies of leadership agonistes set against the strategic bombing missions of World War II. In both cases -- you could add dozens more -- they were men who made decisions that cost other men their lives; they were hated, even loathed; they lived and drank alone. Their courage wasn't physical, it was almost metaphysical. They had the strength within themselves to ignore (though not really; underneath it cut bad) the will of the consensus and pleadings for such shady attributes as "compassion" and "humanity." They knew the job came first.

That certitude had vanished from many places, but nowhere more vividly than the top of the guy star pile in Hollywood.

Mel Gibson, who played an action hero, seems to have morphed into director, producer and madman, melting down in a pool of seething angers and resentments. Then there's Tom Cruise, recently dumped by Paramount for (1) personal oddnesses and (2) delivering a movie that may only make $400 million worldwide when everyone knew it should have made $500 million. Down but not out, each actor, you can bet, will hasten to a film highlighting redemption, earnestness, decency and love of fellow man. Don't bet on either guy's next movie to co-star a submachine gun. In short, they're no longer going to be John Ford heroes but Frank Capra heroes. Mel in "Mr. Goldstein Goes to Washington." Cruise in "Meet Tom Doe, Episcopalian Social Worker."

So who's left? Almost nobody. Eastwood is too old to kick you know what, Arnold is too Republican. Harrison Ford is ancient, Sylvester Stallone too kitschy as well as too old.

Let's look at a younger generation: Matt Damon? Folks, folks, I was only joking. Good God, Johnny Depp? Well, possibly his potential as an action hero was summed up when no less an important cultural figure than John Mark Karr revealed he had hoped Depp would play him in the movie. Ben Affleck? Too pretty, really. Leonardo DiCaprio? Again, I joke! . . . .

Want to honor labor?

It has always puzzled me that people honor labor by taking the day off. It would seem like the best way to honor labor would be to work hard.


Waiting and waiting and waiting for socialized medicine

Last week Ottawa-based Decima Research released results of a poll designed to answer the ultimate question in Canada: "How many wait too long for health care?" The firm says its survey of 3,070 Canadians "reveals that more than one in three Canadian households has tried and failed to get timely access to at least one health service within the last three months."

Nearly half (46%) of those waiting to see a specialist said they experienced an "unreasonable" wait time, as did 30% of those waiting to confirm a diagnosis. Of those who sought emergency hospital treatment, 44% said their wait was too long. According to Decima CEO Bruce Anderson, "In the case of some services, the number of people satisfied with the speed of service is virtually equaled by the number of people who are dissatisfied."

The Vancouver-based Fraser Institute's "Waiting Your Turn" annual report has documented Canada's waiting-time crisis in health care for 15 years. In 2005 it found "total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces, was 17.7 weeks." . . . .

As Mr. Anderson put it, "These results confirm that millions of Canadian households, in the last three months alone, experienced the anxiety of waiting what they felt was too long a period of time for a health service."

Evidence of Voter Fraud and the Impact that Regulations to Reduce Fraud have on Voter Participation Rates

This is some new research that I have recently completed.

The results provide some evidence of vote fraud in U.S. general elections. Regulations that prevent fraud are shown to actually increase the voter participation rate. It is hard to see any evidence that voting regulations differentially harm either minorities, the elderly, or the poor. While this study examines a broad range of voting regulations, it is still too early to evaluate any possible impact of mandatory photo IDs on U.S. elections. What can be said is that the non-photo ID regulations that are already in place have not had the negative impacts that opponents predicted. The evidence provided here also found that campaign finance regulations generally reduced voter turnout.

A copy of the research can be downloaded by following the above link.

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Allan J. Lichtman (Professor at American University) arrested for pushing his political views "too far"

I have had a vigorous debate with Lichtman about the Florida 2000 Presidential election. Here is my paper and Lichtman's response. Apparently Lichtman was willing to get arrested to further his Democratic political views. Lichtman's bio lists his frequent use as an unbiased expert analyst by "CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN, Worldnet, Voice of America, the BBC, and many other networks worldwide."

Importance of the 2nd Amendment

Lawrence A. Stich writes me about a very poignant post making the case for the 2nd Amendment--with far more gravity than the usual.

Thanks to Lawrence A. Stich for sending me a link to this post.


"Convert or Else"

Fox News has a new report (Al-Qaeda’s # 2 releases new video calling for Americans to convert to Islam) that makes one wonder why anyone thinks that Al-Qaeda can be talked to. How do you compromise with a group that wants you to either convert or to die? How do you give in half way?

Here is another statement from the tape:

"Instead of killing yourself for Bush ... why not surrender to the truth (of Islam), escape from the unbedlieving army and join the winning side. Time is running out so make the right choice before it's too late,

"Time is running out"?

Mayor Bloomberg hit with second lawsuit

The settlements that Bloomberg has been getting so far are tiny and simply represent these stores getting rid of cases that involve significant legal costs. But Bloomberg might run into some trouble with a second lawsuit being filed against him and NYC.

Mayor Bloomberg has been hit with another lawsuit in connection with his campaign to crack down on illegal guns.

A South Carolina gun dealer became the second storeowner to sue after Mr. Bloomberg targeted it a few months ago in an undercover sting operation designed to stymie illegal gun sales.

The lawsuit, filed in South Carolina, seeks damages and claims that the city smeared the storeowner's reputation.

Meanwhile, a gun dealer in Queens targeted by the city's investigators, Michael Spallone, 41, pleaded guilty yesterday to disorderly conduct. Mr. Bloomberg touted that plea as a victory, saying it sends a strong message that "any violation of the law that allows illegal guns to flow onto our streets will be vigorously pursued."

The punishment, a $1,000 fine, was a slap on the wrist compared to the year in prison City Hall said the dealer was facing when it announced the charges just a few months ago. . . . .

Does Greenpeace ever get its facts right?


Women Advance in Sweden (in hunting)

A record number of women are expected to take part in Sweden's annual moose hunt when it opens next week, with women now making up a quarter of those passing hunting exams, officials say.

Hunting is a hugely popular national pastime in Sweden, in particular the moose hunt, and is as much a part of life for the country's working class as it is for the rich.

Some 300,000 moose, or elk as they're known in Europe, roam Sweden's woods during the summer months, and about a third of those are killed off each autumn during the hunt.

"Society has changed over the years. Now people can pursue their interests, regardless of gender and there's nothing stopping them. Women have always been a part of the hunt but in a different way," Anja Kjellsson, a game manager in the northern county of Västerbotten and who runs a network for women hunters, told AFP. . . . .

Just do the numbers on this. 100,000 moose are killed for 8 million Swedes. For the US, that would mean the equivalent of 3.75 million killed.

"'Microstamping' Bill Defeated by California Assembly"

"(CNSNews.com) - A bill before the California Assembly that would have mandated the "microstamping" of semi-automatic handguns was defeated Thursday night."