Apparence on Dennis Prager Show on Monday

Dennis Prager is nice enough to have me on his show for a full hour on Monday from 2 to 3 PM EDT. You can find his stations to listen to here.

Labels: ,


Medved Show Today

I should have put down that I did Bill Bennett's show yesterday. But today at 4 PM EDT I have Medved's show again. It is extremely nice of him to have me on for a second hour within a month. I have something like eight radio shows today.

Note all times EDT:

Kirby Wilbur
Friday 6/29/2007 at 11am ET for 10 to 12 minutes

Friday June 29, 1:00-1:30pm ET
1820 Eastlake Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102
Contact: Tina (producer) 206.726.7000

Host: Chuck Bates
Friday 6/29/2007 at 2:00pm ET for 30 minutes (maybe 1 hour - please see below)
Contact: Chuck Bates: (800) 325-0919 Ext. 212
Notes: Our flagship program is News & Views heard daily in approx: 70 markets nationwide from 1-3pm EST on AM & FM stations.


Another note on Freedomnomics


At least three reviews on Amazon.com for Freedomnomics are by Economics Professors -- All are very positive (Thank you!)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
More than just three cheers for the free market., June 28, 2007
By Douglas W. Allen - See all my reviews

I'm a professor of economics, and I'm very familiar with the work of John Lott. I bought this book because I enjoy reading arm-chair econ books ... just can't get enough econ! Normally I'm disappointed because the examples and applications are usually stolen and reworked material that's been around for years. Not so with Lott's book.

The great thing about the book is not just the refreshing topics, but Lott's gifted approach to understanding them. Take, for example, the growth of government. Many bright minds have worked to explain why did governments grow so fast after WWI? Dozens of theories have been spun, none very successful. Not only does Lott have an ingenious answer (women's suffrage), but he also has an ingenious test and exploits the fact that some states voluntarily granted the right, while other states had it forced on them. It is Lott's ability to come up with clever and convincing tests and evidence that separates him from others.

I don't like the title of the book, and I don't like the sub-line "a rebuttal to Freakonomics." The book is much more than this, and I'm sure the publisher had more to do with the cover than the author. If the cover turns you off, I'd open the book and read a few pages.

The book is well written and accessible to anyone interested in social behavior. A very good read and highly recommended.

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Toward Understanding How Markets Work, June 16, 2007
By Edgar K. Browning (Texas) - See all my reviews

As a professor of economics, I am aware of how difficult it is to communicate the "simple" principles of economics. The approaoch that seems to work best involves the use of lots of examples, especially ones that engage and challenge students. John Lott's new book is filled with such examples. While it can be recommended to anyone with an interest in how the economy works, it should be especially valuable to teachers and students of economics. (I am going to assign the section "Women's Suffrage and the Growth of Government" in my public finance class in the fall.)

37 of 42 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent defense of free markets, May 17, 2007
By James D. Miller (South Deerfield, MA USA) - See all my reviews

Excellent book showing the power of free markets and the harm that manifests when governments interfere in markets. Many economists claim that free markets work great in theory but there are many types of market failures that require government intervention. Lott points out how markets themselves can overcome these so called market failures and how government attempts to correct these failures often makes the situation much worse.

Lott takes on very politically incorrect topics that the mainstream media would never touch such as how affirmative action influences police effectiveness and how giving women the right to vote has influenced the size of the government.

The book is very readable and is clearly intended for a general audience. I would strongly recommend it to people who enjoy the writings of columnists such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.

I have also gotten nice emails from Ralph Winter at UBC and a young professor at Univ of Wisconsin as well as many others.

Labels: ,

Who says that criminals don't care about getting the death penalty

More Reviews of Freedomnomics


Scalia on Rules When Dealing with Terrorism

I meant to post this a while ago, but John Fund in Political Diary reminds me about this:

The Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada reports [Scalia] positively gushed about the Fox series recently at a conference on homeland security in the Canadian capital of Ottawa that was attended by an international panel of judges. Mr. Scalia couldn't refrain from commenting after Canadian federal Judge Richard Mosley opined: "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra, 'What would Jack Bauer do?'"

As viewers know, Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, is a federal agent known for roughing up suspected terrorists who are holding out on important information.

"Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles!" Mr. Scalia interjected. "He saved hundreds of thousands of lives!"

Indeed, Mr. Scalia was just warming up. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer? Say that criminal law is against him?" he asked rhetorically. "Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so!"

Other panelists promptly challenged the American jurist, arguing that some prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay on terrorism charges could be innocent.

"I don't care about holding people. I really don't," Judge Scalia replied. After the panel broke up, he continued to wax enthusiastically about his favorite show.



Rosie O'Donnell Posts Pictures of 4-year-Old Daughter Dressed as Guerrilla Fighter Complete with Bullets and Guns

Unemployed gabfest queen Rosie O'Donnell, who last went to war with Elizabeth Hasselbeck only to retreat from her position on "The View," appears to have drafted a reinforcement in the form of waify 4-year-old Vivian Rose, better known as "Vivi."

Rosie posted a video and photo of her little soldier on her Web site Rosie.com on Tuesday, which drew immediate reaction -- some not so kind -- about the media transformation of her daughter from little princess to bullet-toting guerrilla fighter.

"That is a horrible picture of VIvi!!" one viewer wrote to her blog. Other comments included:


"wow Ro that photo of Vivi with the bullets made me cry-it’s scary to think that there are precious little ones really walking around like that in our world “for real”. Come on people! Help our babies"

"what’s with the new pic? it’s rather disturbing!" . . . .

I assume that the obvious answer is that this is just a PR ploy.

Labels: ,

A new attempt at deterrence

British Government Caught Distorting British Crime Survey Numbers: Violent Crimes 3 million higher than reported

Government figures 'missing' two million violent crimes
By David Barrett, PA Home Affairs Correspondent
The Independent
Published: 26 June 2007

An extra two million violent crimes a year are committed in Britain than previously thought because of a bizarre distortion in the Government's flagship crime figures, it was claimed yesterday.

A former Home Office research expert said that across all types of crime, three million offences a year are excluded from the British Crime Survey (BCS).

The poll caps the number of times a victim can be targeted by an offender at five incidents a year.

If anyone interviewed for the survey says they have been targeted more than five times a year, the sixth incident and beyond are not included in the BCS.

The authors of a report by think-tank Civitas said the five-crimes limit is " truly bizarre" and "misleading".

Professor Graham Farrell of Loughborough University and the former acting head of the Home Office's Police Research Group, Professor Ken Pease, calculated that if the cap is ignored, the overall number of BCS crimes is more than 14 million rather than the current 11 million a year estimate. . . . .

Please see the Liberty Zone here for a very nice related discussion.


New Op-ed Tech Central Station: On the new Energy Bill Going Through Congress

Here is a link to my new op-ed:

With gas prices around $3 a gallon, the Senate last week passed new energy legislation. It will ultimately go to conference with the House to work out differences between the Senate and House bills. But any bill that gets agreed upon seems certain to increase the swings in gas prices and leave the average American worse off.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) claims that oil companies are colluding to drive up the price, "they wink at each other and do the same thing." Likewise, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) blames the companies for taking advantage of Hurricane Katrina to raise prices: "You have a hurricane, and all of a sudden you see prices going up like that. That has... everything to do with people trying to make money off the backs of this tragedy."

With such reactions, it is not too surprising that a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows that 38 percent of Americans view the U.S. oil industry's "gouging, greed, profits" as the main reason for higher gas prices. The second reason is "the Bush Administration" at 21 percent. . . . .

Labels: , ,

Dennis Prager on the importance of reputations

My new book discusses the reputational penalty that people face in even being charged with a crime and I gave the Duke case as an example. Dennis Prager also looks at this issue:

The rape of a name can be as vicious a crime and as destructive an act as the rape of a body. Sometimes the rape of a body is worse, sometimes the rape of a name is worse. But they are both rapes. And morally likening the two is in no way meant to lessen the horror of rape; it is meant only to heighten awareness of the horror of intentionally destroying the name of an innocent person.

These words are written in the aftermath of the destruction of three young men's names by a lying woman whose name is still hidden by The New York Times and other major newspapers whose commitment to truth is not as strong as their commitment to political correctness. . . . .

The point that I would make is that for the vast majority of those convicted of crime the reputational penalty is the most important penalty that they face.


SayUncle points to another Newspaper publishing the names of concealed handgun permit holders

SayUncle points to another Newspaper publishing the names of concealed handgun permit holders here.


New Rasmussen Poll Puts Fred Thompson in Lead for Republican Nomination

Thompson sure seems to have the momentum:

Thompson, preparing to formally announce his candidacy, leads the pack in the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey with 27% support. That gives him a four-point advantage over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who is currently preferred by 23% of Likely Primary Voters. A week ago, it was Thompson 28% and Giuliani 27%. Two weeks ago, they were tied at 24%. Prior to that time, Giuliani had been on top in every weekly Rasmussen Reports poll for five months

Thompson leads Giuliani by 13 percentage points among conservative primary voters while Giuliani leads among moderates.
Among Republicans, 74% now have a favorable opinion of Giuliani. That’s down from 82% in late May. Twenty-three percent (23%) of Republican voters have an unfavorable opinion of the former Mayor. Thompson’s numbers among the GOP faithful have been moving in the opposite direction. Sixty-six percent (66%) of GOP voters have a favorable opinion of the actor while just 18% have an unfavorable view. . . . .

Labels: , ,


"Conservatives go 4-4 today at the Supreme Court"?

A blog at the Washington Post notes:

Legal and political conservatives hit for the cycle Monday morning when they "won" four long-awaited rulings from the United States Supreme Court. The Justices further chipped away at the wall that separates church and state, took some of the steam out of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, neutered federal regulators in environmental cases to the benefit of developers and slammed a high school kid who had the temerity to put up a silly sign near his high school. . . . .

I would more likely say 2.667 for 3.

1) The sign case seems like a difficult one. Students obviously don't have free speach rights at school, but the event was a school "sanctioned" one. Yet, this kid was not really in school at the time. One could even argue that he was skipping school at the time. Of course, this might explain why I am conflicted. The Circuit court decision raised an interesting point that "All sorts of missions are undermined by legitimate and protected speech -- a school's anti-gun mission would be undermined by a student passing around copies of John R. Lott's book,'More Guns, Less Crime . . . ."

2) The campaign finance case was only a marginal win given that Roberts and Alito were not willing to go anywhere near as far as Thomas and Scalia. They differentiated between different types of political advertising.


The bizarre myth of the bad economy

Some useful numbers in this piece. It has been a real puzzle for many why people think that the economy is doing so much worse than it actually is. With a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, and growth in everything from personal income to the stock market, it is very hard to see how people see things as getting worse. Donald Lambro has a nice discussion in his column:

Seventy percent of Americans now say the economy is getting worse, a belief contradicted by a growing workforce, increased wages and household wealth, and a stock-market rally that has boosted worker-retirement investments. . . . .

Kevin Hassett and I have a discussion on this general issue here.



Eastern Tennessee Experiencing sharp increase in Concealed Permit Holders

Saturday classes offered by the Knox County Sheriff's Department have been booked. They've even added extra sessions.

Instructor Sgt. Mike Lett says many students are coming through because of the brutal murder of a Knox County couple and the Virginia Tech campus shooting. He trains officers the same way he trains citizens -- to pull the trigger only as the last resort. But he says people have to decide if they can do that, before they pick up a gun. "Each individual person has to decide if they want to carry a firearm for their own protection, " said Sgt. Lett. "It's not a decision I need to make or anyone else."

In December of 2005, 63 people in Knox county applied for permits, versus 205 in April. That's a 225% difference. The number in Blount County went up by 50%. Campbell, Claiborne and Grainger counties saw single digits turn to double.


Some more reviews of Freedomnomics

Margaret at State of Nature:

This morning's radio program King Banaian and I interviewed economist John Lott, author of More Guns Less Crime and the new Freedomnomics . . . . Everything is a market failure, if you leave the market to its own devices, the market will surely screw us all.

Lott shows with many simple examples how that's just not so.

Giltner Review notes that
Perhaps the most startling claim that Lott makes is that women’s suffrage caused a dramatic increase in the size of government, because the “gender gap” reflects a genuine difference in how men and women—-especially single or divorced women—-see the appropriate role of government with respect to income security and education. He points to how state government expenditures changed in states as the percentage of women voting increased—and how the varying years in which different states granted women the vote confirms that this was not a coincidence.

Labels: ,



I will be appearing Tom Hartman's show at 1:06 PM EDT. I am letting people know about this primarily because it should be pretty fun. I have never been on Air America before.

UPDATE: It has been lively and fun. Tom is holding me over for a second segment.

One listener writes:

"I am truly shocked that you believe that unbridled capitalism is a good idea. . . . ." Bob Hirst

Labels: ,

Appearing on Kudlow & Company on CNBC during the 5 to 6 PM EDT Hour

I will be on Larry Kudlow's show to talk about my new book. It should be fun. I will put up a note when I exact time is known.

Labels: ,

Herpes, not global warming, is killing off coral

This is weird, but funny. I suppose that environmentalists will still say that it doesn't matter because mankind is still responsible.

Corals get cold sores too. Only, for corals, a herpes virus infection isn’t just annoying. It can be lethal, . . . .

Labels: ,

Prediction on Bloomberg

I think that Bloomberg's entry into the race will greatly damage Republicans. It is true that Bloomberg is liberal and would surely be more likely to draw votes from the Democratic presidential candidate, but I think that view is too narrow. Bloomberg has recently indicated that he thinks that the country is going in the wrong direction and that things are getting worse. Personally, I don't see how someone who has actually looked at the economic numbers can claim that, but what I think all this means is that Bloomberg will be spending say $500 million on television ads saying how bad things are. Bloomberg might not get many votes (the ideal state for Democrats), but he may be able to depress voters in enough key states to push down the Republican vote. There is no way that the Republicans can raise enough money to compete with this message beging put out by Bloomberg, let alone with what Bloomberg and the Dems will be putting out together. I hope that I am wrong. Overall, however, I think that this means that a higher premium than usual is going to be placed on a candidate who can effectively communicate his positions and someone who comes across as very positive. This probably pushes me to support Fred Thompson even more strongly than I alread do.

Labels: , ,


Concealed Handgun Permit Holder Stops Robbers

Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Seniors feel safer when they carry gun"

May be things are starting to change when you see articles like this in a paper such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Even at 69 years old, Russ Geis has enough vitality to bike through Stark County's remote nature trails.

He said the .380-caliber handgun on his handlebars will ensure he's doing it at 70.

Geis is among a growing number of seniors licensed to carry a concealed firearm. Because of the way the state collects such information, it's hard to determine exactly what portion of concealed-carry permit holders are 60 or older. However, some local permit data and anecdotal information indicate they have steadily packed heat since the state's concealed-carry law passed in 2004.

"You are out in a park, riding a bicycle trail and all of a sudden you're confronted by a drug addict who would kill you for $5," Geis said. "Are you going to sit there and say, 'Boy, I hope the police show up?'

"Having a concealed weapon today is more to my advantage than it perhaps would've been when I was 30 years old.". . . .

Labels: , ,


Reviewing Critical Readers' Responses to My Op-ed at OpinionJournal.com on Abortion

The responses to my op-ed piece at OpinionJournal.com were pretty balanced and can be seen here.

Let me just respond to a few of the critiques:

1) Malarkey
Roger Bleier - Houston
This article makes no argument whatsoever for an interrelationship between the various statistical trends cited. In so many words, it simply implies that there is one. I guess nowadays one can write a whole book similarly premised.

Response: The arguments in the piece are based on one paper that I published in Economic Inquiry (See here for an early version of the paper). The evidence that I find on out-of-wedlock births as a result of abortion is based upon state level statistical study. My book Freedomnomics also provides some additional discussion on this point.

2) The Economics of Subsidies
George Marcom - League City, Texas
Mr. Lott has neglected to address the key factor in the increase of illegitimate births and single-parent families: subsidization. Our vast safety net of social programs enables this problem. If you want more of anything--be it cotton, rice, sugar cane, or ethanol--subsidize it and you will get more.

Sadly, the very social welfare programs we have adopted to ease the misery of the single mother have enabled this explosion if "illegitimacy," and have seriously eroded the nuclear family.

Response: This was the main reason that I wrote: "While not all of this rise can be attributed to liberalized abortion rules, it was nevertheless a key contributing factor." I agree that there are other important factors, such as the one you mention, and I definitely do not think that the evidence supports the claim that abortion is the only factor.

Labels: , ,

New Op-ed FoxNews.com: Death as Deterrence

My Study Makes the Drudge Report

"'You're fired,' man hears after saving a woman's life"

When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg.

Tonnetta Lee survived Tuesday's pre-dawn shooting at her Jacksonville apartment, and her sister and a neighbor praised Bruley's actions. But his employers, the same people who own the Arlington complex where Bruley lives, reacted differently. They fired him.

Bruley, a leasing agent at the Oaks at Mill Creek, said he lost his job after being told that brandishing the weapon was a workplace violation, as was failing to notify supervisors after the incident occurred. He'd worked at the Monument Road complex since December and for the owner, Village Green Cos., since 2005. . . .

Some other members of the media are starting to pick up on this story.

Yes, Bruley may have deviated from protocol -- but he did so in an emergency situation. He put the life of his neighbor -- who was also his client -- ahead of his own safety. Which raises the question: Isn't this the kind of person any company would want as an employee?

Labels: , ,

These new voting rules are what is insane

“I just think if you are declared insane you should not be allowed to vote, period,” said Joseph DeLorenzo, chairman of the Cranston Board of Canvassers. “Some people are taking these two clowns and calling them disabled persons. Is insanity a disability? I have an answer to that: no. You’re insane; you’re nuts.”

Rhode Island is among a growing number of states grappling with the question of who is too mentally impaired to vote. The issue is drawing attention for two major reasons: increasing efforts by the mentally ill and their advocates to secure voting rights, and mounting concern by psychiatrists and others who work with the elderly about the rights and risks of voting by people with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

This summer, recommendations for national standards will be released by a group of psychiatrists, lawyers and others led by the American Bar Association, suggesting that people be prevented from voting only if they cannot indicate, with or without help, “a specific desire to participate in the voting process.” . . . .

Is this real? "prevented from voting only if they cannot indicate, with or without help, 'a specific desire to participate in the voting process.'" So someone who is insane enough not to be held responsible for murder is sane enough to vote?

How much help can be given? So as long as someone who is obsessed with say mutulating women is able to express with "help" that he wants to vote, that is OK?



Audio from interview Dennis Miller Radio Show

The audio of my interview from the Dennis Miller Radio show can be found here.

Labels: ,

Op-ed in tomorrow's OpinionJournal.com

I think that this is a pretty important piece: It's Not Enough to Be 'Wanted': Illegitimacy has risen despite--indeed, because of--legal abortion. The article is based upon my new book Freedomnomics and a research paper that I have just published in April in Economic Inquiry.

Labels: ,

Bizarre Zero Tolerance on Guns

According to public school teachers at this Rancho Palos Verdes, California school, tiny plastic toy soldiers apparently represent a real threat to public safety.

Who knew a 2-inch toy army man could cause such a stir?

A fifth-grade promotion ceremony in Rancho Palos Verdes turned into a free-speech battleground Thursday, when students were asked to remove weapons from toys that had been placed on mortarboard caps because of the school's zero-tolerance policy for weapons on campus.

Each year, students decorate wide caps with princesses, football goal posts, zebras, guitars and other items to express their personalities and career goals. Cornerstone at Pedregal School is the only Palos Verdes Peninsula public school to practice the tradition.

On Thursday, before the ceremony, one boy was told he couldn't participate unless he agreed to clip off the tips of the plastic guns carried by the minuscule GIs on his cap. Ten others complied with the order before the event.

Parents reacted angrily, calling Principal Denise Leonard's decision censorship, but the Palos Verdes Peninsula School District defended her.

Cole McNamara and Austin Nakata, 11-year-old buddies who share an interest in all things military, said they put the toys on their hats to support American troops in Iraq.

"I was kind of mad because they just went over and clipped them off and didn't say anything about it," Austin said.

His father, Glen Nakata, said he was disappointed that parents were not approached or consulted on elimination of the "firearms."

"I felt they were keeping the boys from expressing their patriotism, their strong beliefs toward the military," he said. . . . .

Labels: ,

Only about 7 percent of private sector workers are now unionized

In the 1950s, 35% of private-sector workers belonged to unions; only about 7% do today.

The economics point here is pretty simple. You raise the price of something (labor through unionization) and people demand less of it. Sometimes the adjustment takes a long time, but it still occurs.

I recommend that people read the entire piece because John Fund does a great job of discussing the Employee Free Choice Act, where 30 percent of workers (some possibly because of union intimidation) can sign a statement that determines whether the entire company is unionized.


Drinking Coffee Could Prevent Blindness

Sonya Jones makes the New York Times and MSNBC!

This is a weird case. Basically all the salmon have ancestors who were hatchery fish but somehow the number of hatchery fish among the salmon does not count towards whether the salmon are endangered or not. Go figure.

NY Times:
Sonya D. Jones, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights group that has for years pressed the government to count hatchery stocks when determining whether a salmon species should be protected, said the group believed that Wednesday’s decision and the 2001 ruling, by Judge Michael R. Hogan, were “in direct contrast” and that it expected to appeal the latest one.

Sonya Jones of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the builders group, the Washington Farm Bureau and Idaho water users, said the case would be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Seattle Times:
Sonya Jones, an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights group that repeatedly has sued to overturn Endangered Species Act listings, said the group was "quite surprised" by the judge's ruling.

Her group was preparing to file an appeal, Jones said.

"If this decision stands, it opens up a floodgate of listing decisions," she said. "One more time, the ESA is used to regulate the use of private property."

Labels: ,

Yet more reviews of Freedomnomics

Michigan: Permit holders extremely law abiding

Concealed weapon license holders are some of the most law abiding citizens in our state [Michigan]. Over the past five years 203,051 concealed weapon permits have been issued in Michigan and only 671 licenses have been revoked. That equals less than one percent (actually .34%) of all issued licenses that have been revoked.

As a State Representative I was elected to pass laws which protect the citizens of Michigan. That is why I introduced House Bill 4759 into the Michigan House of Representatives on May 15, 2007. This legislation would eliminate the above nine safe zones for all concealed weapon license holders. . . .

Note that this seems to include revocations for all reasons. My guess is that revocation for gun related violations is less than even one percent of this rate.

Labels: ,


Interview on CBN

An interview that I had on Friday night on CBN can be seen here. You can watch the interview on the website. Besides my head being tilted to the side, I think that the short 3 minute interview went pretty well.


University Cancels Final Exams Because of Bomb Threats

Another Review of Freedomnomics

Xrlq is nice enough to post a long review of Freedomnomics here. Here is one critique that Xrlq has of the book:

On the one hand, common sense would appear to support Levitt and Dubner’s basic theory that unwanted kids are more likely to be raised badly, and therefore, more likely to turn to crime, than wanted ones. Lott does not appear to dispute the general connection between unwanted children and crime, but reaches the opposite conclusion with regard to abortion on the more tenuous theory that abortion causes more unwanted children by lowering the incentives for unprotected sex.

I don't argue that the liberalization of abortion increases the number of wanted kids. What I argue is that it increased the number of single parent families, with all the well known problems in raising children there compared to a two parent family. It is an empirical question whether the reduction in the number of "unwanted" children as a result of more abortions is offset by liberalizing abortion rules increasing the number of single parent families. The book lays out why there is an increase in out-of-wedlock births and single parent families.


Some of the bigger radio interviews this week

This week I have three of my favorite shows with Dennis Miller, Laura and Lars.

Monday, June 18
11:15 AM-11:45 AM Radio Dennis Miller Show (Nationally Syndicated) -- Miller is a very unique host. He is incredibly laidback, and I love the way that he cracks jokes during the interviews.
6:20 PM-6:50 PM Radio Lars Larson (Nationally Syndicated)
Tuesday, June 19
11:15 AM-11:35 AM Radio Laura Ingraham (Nationally Syndicated)
4:00 PM-4:30 PM Ave Maria Radio, nationwide
Wednesday, June 20
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Radio USA Radio Network Kerby Anderson
Thursday, June 21
1:06 PM-1:17 PM Radio Tom Hartman (Nationally Syndicated)


Apparently Hospital Food in Britain is Much Worse than in Canada

For something amusing see here


Online discussions that I am having regarding Freedomnomics chapter 1

I have been having online discussions with people who have been reviewing my book here and here. Shalom Bayit's blog is moderated so it will probably take a while before my most recent response is posted. See the bottom of both pages for my responses.


Rationing in British Health Care

John Palmer has an interesting discussion of the British Health Care system here. This example surely fits in the save a penny lose a pound school of running medical care. Is it more costly for the patient and the medical system to have taken care of both kidney stones at the same time or to make the patient come in a second time. I particularly like the part of the doctor ripping off the electrodes off John.



Scaring Kids about Global Warming

A group of fourth-graders in Portland creates a list of priorities to stop global warming

This is a very distrubing, though not a very surprising story, about how public school senselessly terrify children about the world being destroyed. Can't kids be kids without being put in the middle of a political battle?

We want everyone to help curb Global warming. It truly means that the Earth is getting warmer. The ocean is warming at such an alarming rate that the continents are in danger.

Such a warming of the ocean is fuel for more severe hurricanes such as Katrina. Katrina was only a Category 1 storm when it crossed Florida. It became a monster storm by feeding off the extremely warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boy, this is new. This is obviously the first time that there has been relatively warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.

The 10 "hottest" average years on record have occurred within the last 14 years. We continue to see record carbon dixoide levels in the atmosphere year after year. Just notice the strange weather around us this winter and spring and even summer-like days in March.

"On record," gives people the impression that this is the highest temperature ever. What they mean is over the last 140 years, and there are real issues about how temperatures have been measured over that time period. World temperatures have in fact been significantly higher than today's over many periods of time in the past.

Labels: ,

Red State reviews pharmaceutical price control discussion in Freedomnomics

Red State objects to the concerns that I raise about pharmaceutical price controls here. He promises to write regular discussions of the book as he reads through it.


Schwarzenegger gets into trouble for this?

Some Hispanic leaders lashed out Friday at California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's advice that immigrants should "turn off the Spanish television set" to better learn how to speak English.

Schwarzenegger, who immigrated to the U.S. from Austria, recently told a group of Hispanic journalists that immigrants should stay away from Spanish-language television, books and newspapers.

"You've got to turn off the Spanish television set," Schwarzenegger said Wednesday night at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in San Jose, Calif. "You're just forced to speak English, and that just makes you learn the language faster."

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., called the governor's advice a "typical sound bite solution to an important issue," said Jim Dau, a spokesman for Sanchez.

Sanchez said immigrants face the challenge of taking an ESL course because of long lines and up to a three-year wait to get into a class.

A Hispanic advocacy group said Schwarzenegger's comments show his "ignorance on immigration issues." . . . .

Is Sanchez saying that these immigrants can only learn English if the government provides it? Possibly if they followed Schwarzenegger's advice, they wouldn't have to rely so much on the government program.

UPDATE: Here is a video of Arnold and Neil Cavuto discussing it here.


John Fund on Pork Barrel Spending

This is from today's OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary:

House Republicans scored a surprising victory yesterday by forcing Democrats to back down from their plans to gut the few constraints on Congress's ability to slip earmarks, or "pork barrel" projects for individual members, into legislation.

Even some Democrats were stunned earlier this month when House Appropriations Chairman David Obey unilaterally decreed that pork projects would henceforth be "airdropped" into conference reports once appropriations bills pass the House and Senate. By circumventing rules designed to allow earmarks to be challenged on the House floor as bills come up, House Democrats were setting "a new standard for secrecy and subterfuge," complained Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, the chief earmark scourge of Capitol Hill. . . . .

Brendan Miniter adds this interesting insight:

Last night's Democratic retreat on earmarks was no doubt partly due to a letter Nancy Pelosi wrote a year ago to then-newly elected GOP Majority Leader John Boehner urging serious spending reform, including an "end to secret earmarks." Mr. Boehner followed her advice and helped rewrite House rules to make it easier to spotlight and remove earmarks that Members were using to direct secret pork-barrel spending back to their districts.

That letter came back to haunt Ms. Pelosi as her new Democratic House gutted these reforms and was getting ready this week to pass eleven spending bills to fund the government in the forthcoming fiscal year -- and, oh, also slip an estimated 32,000 earmarks into law. Under a new rule enacted last month, Appropriations Chairman David Obey would have been able to certify a particular bill "earmark free" even if it's full of pork-barrel special projects. Another rule barred members from objecting to a particular earmark on the House floor if it's part of a larger bill that itself contains a list of its earmarks. This applied even if the list is inaccurate and even if the earmark in question is not on the list. (The same rule recently enabled Rep. John Murtha, chairman of a defense appropriations subcommittee, to quash a Republican attempt to stop spending on an unneeded "drug intelligence" center in his district.) . . . .


Oil Company Greed Responsible for higher Gas Prices

In a sense this is right, but I would argue that this is good, not something to be upset about. If more people want gas than gas is available, what is the alternative? Low prices with long gas lines?

Polling Data

As you may know, gas prices have been rising over the last year and the average price of regular gas for your car is about $3.50 a gallon in some areas. Who or what do you think is the main reason for the higher gasoline prices these days: Is it the Bush administration, or the oil exporting countries, or the U.S. oil industry, or supply and demand, or environmental regulations, or is there another reason for the higher gasoline prices?

U.S. oil industry (gouging, greed, profits) 38%

Bush administration 21%

Supply and Demand (market forces) 12%

Oil exporting countries 10%

Environmental regulations 5%

Other 2%

No one / No one thing in particular 1%

All 7%

Don’t know 4%

Source: Bloomberg / Los Angeles Times
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,183 American adults, conducted from Jun. 7 to Jun. 10, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.


Bizarre Government Regulation: Dems going after one particular company

Here is one classic example to show that government just can't keep politics out of its regulatory decisions:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Private-equity giant Blackstone Partners, which is in the process of going public, found itself in the sights Thursday of the powerful Senate Finance Committee as top tax writers introduced legislation that would block publicly-traded private-equity and hedge funds from continuing to enjoy favorable tax treatment.

The legislation would require publicly-traded partnerships to be treated as corporations for federal tax purposes. Under current law, income distributions for many private-equity funds are taxed at the capital-gains rates of 15% -- well below the top corporate tax rate of 35%. . . .

What is the point of imposing a 20 percentage point higher tax rate on a company just because it is publicly traded? Here you have only one company that this legislation could possibly be aimed at.


Vaclav Klaus Sets the record straight on global warming

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence. . . .

Labels: ,


Talk at New York Young Republican Club on Thursday

For those living in NYC, I will be giving a talk tomorrow night at the New York Young Republican Club.

UPDATE: This talk was fun and there was a lively question and answer period after the talk. It was also nice to meet some of the people there: such as Daniel Peterson (the club's president) and Simone Mele (with the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and who lead off with the first question).


John Fund on Democrats Discouraging Investigations in Vote Fraud

Mr. von Spakovsky has already amassed an 18-month long, largely uncontroversial record at the FEC as a recess appointment. But that's not likely to stop Senate Democrats from grilling him about his time at the Justice Department during President Bush's first term. The aim will be to portray him as a partisan who mishandled voting rights cases. Exhibit A will be his support for state voter ID laws.

For months, since the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys sparked a mini scandal, Democrats have insisted that the president has improperly politicized the Justice Department. Specifically, the accusation is that, under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, DOJ has pursued a political agenda by enforcing laws to curb voter fraud.

Last week, Judiciary Committee Democrats held a hearing aimed in part at discrediting a 2005 Justice lawsuit seeking to force Missouri to cull ineligible voters from its rolls. But while the Missouri case was thrown out by a district judge, similar Justice lawsuits in Indiana and New Jersey led to voter rolls being cleaned up. . . . .

Labels: ,


Ben Wittes on Ditching the Second Amendment

I think that this is a great piece. I think that Ben is exactly right that the debate should be about whether to repeal the amendment. Ben and I will disagree over whether there should be a repeal, but that is the right debate.

The New York Times editorial page accused the appeals court panel that on March 9 struck down portions of Washington, D.C.'s ultra-strict gun-control law of storming "blithely past a longstanding Supreme Court precedent, the language of the Constitution and the pressing needs of public safety." My former colleagues at the Washington Post described the decision as a "radical ruling" that "will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder."

It's not hard to see where the anger comes from. The two-to-one decision by the famously conservative Judge Laurence Silberman is, indeed, radical. Consider the following:

• The "central object" of the Second Amendment "is to arm 'We the People' so that ordinary citizens can participate in the collective defense of their community and their state. ... [T]he amendment achieves its central purpose by assuring that the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification. ... That assurance in turn is provided through recognizing a right ... on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in defense of themselves and their homes."

• "For too long, most members of the legal academy have treated the Second Amendment as the equivalent of an embarrassing relative, whose mention brings a quick change of subject to other, more respectable, family members. That will no longer do. It is time for the Second Amendment to enter full scale into the consciousness of the legal academy."

• While at the Founding, the Second Amendment may have embodied a "collective" right, after the Civil War amendments, the constitutional landscape changed dramatically, and "gun-toting was individualistic, accentuating not group rights of the citizenry but self-regarding 'privileges' of discrete 'citizens' to individual self-protection."

Radical stuff, indeed. But there's a big problem with blasting Silberman for entertaining the notion that the people's right to "keep and bear arms" may actually include an individual right to, well, keep or bear a gun in the District of Columbia: None of these words actually come from his opinion. All, in fact, were written by esteemed liberal law professors. . . . . .

Labels: ,

Another Review of Freedomnomics

Repeal the Second Amendment?

I respect Ben Wittes and this argument is surely the right argument to make for those who don't believe that there should be an individual right to own a gun. While I didn't attend the discussion because I was not invited until the middle of last week, I thought that Randy Barnett's response that repealing the second amendment would open up to question all other constitutional rights was pretty weak (though possibly the reporter just doesn't correctly describe his argument). It is very hard to repeal parts of the constitution and I don't see what harm that it would do to interpret these rights correctly and then have people realize that the only way that they can be changed is through a constitutional amendment.

"The Second Amendment is one of the clearest statements of right in the Constitution," Benjamin Wittes, a guest scholar at the center-left Brookings Institution, acknowledged in a discussion Monday. "We've had decades of sort of intellectual gymnastics to try to make those words not mean what they say."

Wittes, who said he has "no particular enthusiasm for the idea of a gun culture," said that rather than try to limit gun ownership through regulation that potentially violates the Second Amendment, opponents of gun ownership should set their sights on repealing the amendment altogether.

"Rather than debating the meaning of the Second Amendment, I think the appropriate debate is whether we want a Second Amendment," Wittes said. He conceded, however, that the political likelihood of getting the amendment repealed is "pretty limited."

Wittes said the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms meant more when it was crafted more than 200 years ago than it does today. Modern society is "much more ambivalent than they [the founders] were about whether gun ownership really is fundamental to liberty," he said. . . . . .

UPDATE: Ben Wittes was nice enough to write me and point out that this was indeed not Randy's argument. Ben writes me that "His comments about the dangers of the intellectual arguments against the Second Amendment came not in response to my arguments about repeal but in response to the idea of judicial interpretation that renders the amendment a nullity. His point was that the same intellectual and doctrinal strategies used by gun control supporters in arguing against the individual rights view of the amendment could easily be deployed against any other provision of individual right in the Constitution. While I assume he disagreed with my call for a repeal, I don't believe he addressed the merits of it at all."

Labels: , ,

New Haven Citizens Launch Armed Patrols

What does one do when the police are unable to provide adequate protection:

Members of a politically influential yeshiva led by Rabbi Daniel Greer (pictured at top) -- who have spent more than a decade rebuilding their stretch of Edgewood -- have organized an armed citizens patrol.

They made the announcement Monday afternoon at Yeshiva of New Haven (aka The Gan School) on Elm Street. They plan to begin patrolling Monday evening in two-person teams wearing "Edgewood Park Defense Patrol" T-shirts and carrying concealed, licensed firearms.

The patrols are scheduled to run from 6 to 10 p.m. daily in the area bounded by Norton Street, Edgewood Avenue, and West Park and Whalley Avenues.

That's the neighborhood where Greer's organization has rehabilitated 40 old-style New Haven houses and planted 450 trees over the past 18 years. It surrounds the old Roger Sherman School, which Greer's organization converted into an Orthodox Jewish school. The organization has also worked with neighbors to combat prostitution in the area, instituting a successful "John of the Week" effort which featured pinched patrons' names on flyers.

"We are unwilling to give up," Greer said at Monday's announcement in a classroom on the school's second floor. . . . ..

Labels: ,

Gas price conspiracy? Revisited

Given all the recent claims over the last couple of weeks about a conspiracy in selling gasoline, I thought I would relink to this previous post of mine here.


Most Americans Oppose Stricter Gun Control Laws

Finally a national poll that asks people if gun control might increase violent crime. On the negative side, people think by a more than two-to-one ratio that gun control is more likely to reduce than increase crime, but at least the poll allows those 16 percent to state that they think crime increases.

Polling Data

Does the United States need stricter gun control laws?

May 30

Yes 43%

No 49%

Will stricter gun control laws increase or reduce violent crime?

Increase 16%

Reduce 37%

No impact 40%

Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 American adults, conducted on May 29 and May 30, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.



More Reviews of Freedomnomics

Colorado Sheriff Discusses Problem with Gun Free Zone

Sheriff Jim Alderden discusses Colorado State University's decision to let permit holders have guns on campus:

Following the tragic events at Virginia Tech, I was frequently asked if something like that could happen here. The sad truth is something like that could easily happen here, and most anyplace else. Many on the far left were quick to call for yet more gun control, but I don’t believe more or tougher gun control laws is the answer. Criminals and like minded individuals are always going to ignore the law and find ways to get guns, or if not firearms, other weapons or means to carry out their schemes. One of the real tragedies of the situation at Virginia Tech is that misguided administrators created a gun free zone where someone like this crazed individual could prey on other students, staff and faculty who were powerless to defend themselves. Their philosophy of keeping guns out of the hands of sane and law abiding citizens on campus potentially contributed to the tragic results. Locally, we are fortunate that at Colorado State University, the administrators have shown more common sense and recognize that a firearm in the hands of a law abiding citizens who frequent the campus is not a risk but could be a deterrent to violent criminal activity. While there are a number of students, staff and faculty at CSU who have Concealed Weapons Permits, admittedly, the chance of one of them being at right place at the right time to intervene is small, but compare this to the situation at Virginia Tech where there was no chance. . . . .

Labels: ,


Listen to Michael Medved's interview with me

Just click on the listen button here.


Aging in Japan

One of the things that struck me in Japan was the number of elderly people. It seemed very noticeable. In any case, this might be a glimpse of things to come in the US, though nothing looks anywhere near as grim here as the picture in Japan:

At the moment, there are more than three people of working age to support each person over 65. In 2055, that figure will have fallen significantly. Roughly speaking, there will just be one younger person to support each pensioner. . . . .


Kenneth Sokoloff Passed away last month

When Kenneth Sokoloff died at 54 last month, of liver cancer, the economic history profession lost one of its best men, and the University of California at Los Angeles one of its brightest stars. Sokoloff had built UCLA's economic history program into one of the strongest in the nation, sufficient to persuade a major figure like Dora Costa to forsake the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. . . . .

This is very sad news. Ken was always an interesting person. I took him for American Economic History while I was a student at UCLA. I also had many chances to interact with him. It wasn't what I would call warm and friendly conversations (even when we would have him over to our apartment for dinner a couple of times) and he was often quite critical of my work, especially my dissertation on indoctrination which upset him greatly, but I valued his comments and I enjoyed arguing things with him. Indeed, I can only think of one paper of mine that he gave an unreserved positive comment on -- my work with Larry Kenny on the impact of women's suffrage on the growth of government. He was a smart guy, who sufferred great health problems during much of his life. I always felt very sorry for him, but I admired his determination.


Something for those not yet wary of following the latest medical research

Freedomnomics: Radio interviews that are set up for this coming Monday

Monday, June 11
7:15 AM-7:30 AM Radio WMT Cedar Rapids, IA
8:35 AM-9:00 AM Radio KRCS Midland, TX
10:00 AM-10:30 AM Radio WLW Cincinatti, OH (Also Syndicated)
11:15 AM-11:40 AM Radio KRMS-AM Osage Beach, MO
12:07 PM-12:30 PM Radio WDAY Fargo, ND
2:35 PM-3:05 PM Radio WMUZ Detroit, MI
4:09 PM-4:28 PM Radio WIBA Madison, WI
5:10 PM-5:30 PM Radio: Jerry Doyle ( Nationally Syndicated)
6:15 PM-6:40 PM Radio WTKF Morehead City, NC



Fred Thompson in Second Place Among Republicans

Given that Thompson has yet to announce that he is officially running for president, this is pretty amazing news.

Public support for Rudy Giuliani fell slightly among Republican Party supporters in the United States, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 23 per cent of respondents would vote for the former New York City mayor in a 2008 presidential primary, down two points in a week.

Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is second with 17 per cent, followed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 15 per cent, and Arizona senator John McCain with 14 per cent. . . . .

Matthew Mosk in the Washington Post says that Thompson poses the most danger to McCain. Possibly, but my guess is that Thompson's entry is pulling down the poll numbers for everyone. If Thompson is now really in second by only six percent, all the publicity surrounding his official entrance will put him into first place.

Labels: ,

Guest workers v. Illegals on worker wages

Dorgan said that "the main reason that big corporations want a guest worker program is that it will drive down U.S. wages." . . . .

Here is the puzzle. Democrats say that they are against a guest worker program because it will lower the wages of American workers. OK, fine, that is indeed the effect of letting in more workers. The puzzle is that the Democrats don't have any problem passing other laws that encourage more illegal immigration which would also reduce the wages of those same workers. To put it differently, making it harder for illegals to stay would also increase wages. It is interesting that the arguments regarding wages are only raised for guest workers and not the rest of the issues in the debate.


Funny letter in the LA Times

I recently came across this amusing letter that was published in the LA Times. While it was published a few years ago, I still think that the letter is worth pointing to.

Los Angeles Times

July 16, 2004 Friday
Home Edition

SECTION: CALIFORNIA; Metro; Editorial Pages Desk; Part B; Pg. 10

LENGTH: 199 words

HEADLINE: Ban on Assault Guns Misses the Target


If you must resort to such hyperbole as dubbing common, semiautomatic firearms "weapons of mass destruction," then the least you could do is run that editorial on a different day from the one that claims Saddam Hussein didn't haveany.

Jeff Bishop

Rancho Santa Margarita

Labels: ,

How to get your jail sentence reduced by almost 90 percent: Cry

This is almost too funny. Paris Hilton was supposed to serve something like 23 days in jail (the sentence was 45 days, but with good behavior she was expected to get out in 23 days). Hilton still must serve home detention and it will be for the full 45 days.

On the heels of reports that Hilton had been crying in jail and receiving visits from her psychiatrist, reporters at the press conference seemed to think that the heiress had manipulated her jailers.

Whitmore didn't fully deny this accusation. When one reporter asked him, “What’s your comment to people who say she played you like a puppet on a string — she came in here, didn’t like it, it was hard and she got out?” he replied, “Once again, I just think that’s a different way of saying it, only the language is a little more — liquid. I would simply say that I understand that."

The sheriff's spokesman would not elaborate on Hilton's medical issues, nor would he say if they were physical or psychological. He added that the decision to send Hilton home was based on dozens of consultations and discussions over a period of three or four days.

I could write a defense of this for Ms. Hilton given that a day in jail for her must represent much more of a penalty in terms of forgone income than a day for most others, but I will not press the point in this case.

Labels: ,


More Reviews of Freedomnomics

1) But as economist John Lott argues in his new book, Freedomnomics (Regnery, a Human Events sister company), today’s soaring prices are actually a good thing. They mean our free market is working to deliver a product many people want at a price they’re willing to pay. “Temporarily high prices result in increased gas supplies, ultimately leading to a faster reduction in gas prices,” he writes.

The alternative to the free market, Lott notes, would be for the federal government to impose price controls on gasoline. Washington has done this in the past, specifically during the oil crises in the 1970s.

Instead of making things better for consumers, though, these price controls led to gas shortages in 1973 and again in 1978. “Americans waited in lines for hours to fill up their tanks due to chronic shortages” in the 1970s, Lott writes, shortages that “instantly disappeared as soon as the price controls were removed.” When it comes to setting gas prices, Lott writes, “the free market is working, and it’s ultimately working far more efficiently than any government-mandated controls would.” . . . .

2) Riding to the rescue is John Lott, another economist from academia, including the University of Chicago current home of Steven Levitt. Lott takes the position in his book “FREEDOMnomics, that not only is FREAKonomics a pile of rubbish, it is a veiled attack on the free market and business in general. Lott points out that the assertion that the Klan is like a group of Real Estate agents who use “fear” to take advantage of others is beyond the rhetorical boundaries of taste if not accuracy. In fact Lott dissects the example used by Levitt and Dubner and demonstrates that while it might have been an actual example, their analysis of the motivation and result is a simplistic view of the data and a more detailed analysis would show their conclusions to be incorrect. . . . .

3) A critical review post on a web site called Shalom Bayit claims that among other things that free markets don't increase income: see here.

4) Michael Medved was nice enough to put the book first on his web page here

Labels: ,

More bad advice on gun safety

A Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center survey claims that 70 percent of gun owners do not store their firearms "safely." A doctor associated with the study claims: "This concerns us a great deal because having guns in the home increases the likelihood that they will be used in a suicide or unintentional injury.” Of course, there is no discussion about who accidentally fires these guns (hint not law-abiding citizens and not children in those homes) and no mention of the fact that locked guns lead to even more deaths because people are unable to use guns to defend themselves. I don't even see a discussion of how rare accidental gun deaths are or that with suicide there are so many other methods available.

Thanks to Sonya Jones for sending me this link.

Labels: , ,


National Radio Shows on Freedomnomics

I have 22 radio interviews scheduled for this week. Of some of the national shows I have:

11:30 AM-12:00 PM Radio G. Gordon Liddy Show
2:10 PM-2:40 PM Jerry Doyle Show (rescheduled for next week)
11:00 PM-11:30 PM Radio Alan Colmes Show
8:10 AM-8:30 AM Radio Mancow's Morning Madhouse
5:00 PM-6:00 PM Michael Meved Show
10:33 AM-10:50 AM Radio Accent Radio Network
11:15 AM-11:25 AM Radio Laura Ingraham (rescheduled for next week)

Note: All times are EDT.


Discussions of Freedomnomics

David Hardy has a nice discussion of my new book here.

Spontaneous Order includes the book on its suggested summer reading list here.

Betsy Newmark also mentions the book here.


Sample audio of Freedomnomics

Sample audio of Freedomnomics is available here. This is particularly nice because it starts with the dedication to Milton Friedman. It is also my first book that rated an audio version of it.


The tiny rate that people are wrongfully convicted

There is an interesting discussion of compensation to criminals who have been wrongfully incarcerated here. There are multiple interesting points in this discussion, but one of the more interesting is that there have apparently been only 200 cases exonerated through DNA evidence. Given that there are about 2.19 million people in prison just today and that we are talking about cases over many years, this seems to me like an amazingly small number. Off the top of my head I don't how many of these people were in prison for murder or other serious crimes such as rape or robbery, but suppose that in any given year that it is conservatively 400,000. A rate of 20 per year or even 40 per year or even a total of 200 being exonerated seems remarkably tiny. Even the worst possible and obviously wrong number would imply that only .05 percent were wrongfully convicted. The normal saying is that it is better to let 10 guilty men go than wrongfully convict one. Well, in this case the DNA evidence alone shows you would rather let 2000 guilty go rather than wrongfully convict one. I have lots of problems with overly aggressive prosecutors and would have thought that alone would imply that many more cases would be overturned via DNA evidence, but this evidence on exonerations through DNA evidence, despite the publicity that it receives, is pretty meager.



At least this will keep the police busy


More on Parker Case

David Hardy gives his legal insights on the DC Parker gun control case here.

David makes many good legal points in the interview, though I do disagree with him on the costs of losing the case at the Supreme Court. I do think that it would have a devastating effect on those who support the right to protection to have the Supreme Court say that the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual right. Right now the vast majority of people believe that there is an individual right to gun ownership and I think that would change with such a ruling. My guess is that there is a somewhat better than a 50 percent chance that won't happen, but if it did, it would be a big cost.

Labels: ,

Robbery Victim Protects Himself With Permitted Concealed Handgun

In yet another case a legally licensed citizen in Ohio has successfully used their concealed handgun to stop an attack.

Akron man with concealed gun shoots at robbers
Posted by Donna J. Miller June 01, 2007

A man legally carrying a concealed handgun shot at an armed robber in Akron.

Four teenagers approached 24-year-old Raphael L. Owens at about 11:30 Wednesday night near the corner of Elmore Avenue and South Portage Path. One pointed a chrome-plated gun at Owens and demanded his cell phone. Owens gave up the phone.

The robber then asked, "what else do you have?"

Owens tried to run, but the robber grabbed his arm. Owens broke free, pulled out his own gun and fired one shot, missing the teens, who took off running.

They ran south on Elmore while Owens ran toward a pay phone. When he got to Grand Avenue at West Exchange Street, he saw the suspects up the street, at Grand and South Portage Path. Again, one teen leveled a gun at him. Again, Owens fired a shot and missed.

The suspects fled as Owens called police from the pay phone at West Exchange and Dodge Avenue. ...

Labels: ,


Bush Administration Looking to Nominate Women or Minorities to Supreme Court

Jan Crawford Greenburg has all the details in a very long article. Given her uncanny ability to get information for her recent book on the Supreme Court, I would assume that she knows what she is talking about.

Owen, Rogers Brown Back on Short List

Leading Senate Democrats are already warning against solidly conservative nominees, and that could make confirmation difficult in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Still, some of Bush's political advisers believe he would be better off tapping a strong conservative who would rally the base -- especially a nominee with a compelling life story who would be difficult for moderate Senate Democrats to oppose.

In that camp are federal appeals court Judges Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. Both were filibustered by Senate Democrats after Bush nominated them as appellate judges and were eventually confirmed after Senate leaders struck a compromise on judicial nominations.

Either could have been a likely replacement for O'Connor in 2005, but leading Senate Republicans told the White House not to nominate them because they were seen as too controversial at the time. Now that both are on the federal bench, the White House has put them back on a working short list.

Of the two, Owen is the best known in the White House and is generally considered less controversial than the more outspoken Brown.

Owen, like Brown, also has gotten high marks from her colleagues on the federal appeals court. But Owen's friendship with Karl Rove could hurt her, especially in a White House vulnerable to charges of cronyism.

The White House also is looking at Chicago-based federal appeals court Judge Diane Sykes, who is considered conservative but less controversial, sources close to the process said. But Sykes is not as well known inside the administration, which is a strike against her, White House sources said.

Bush does not want to repeat the mistake of his father, who nominated the unknown David Souter, believing he was conservative only to see Souter quickly become one of the Court's most reliable liberal votes. . . . .



Why hasn't someone thought of this before?: Using al-Qaeda's tactics against them

China takes another move towards Capitalism, moves more towards honoring contracts

Another Review of Freedomnomics

Fred Thompson: A small government conservative