Compact fluorescent lights likely to cost much more than they save

CFLs contain mercury. If one breaks in your home, Kazman says, EPA guidelines suggest you open windows and leave the room for at least a quarter of an hour before trying to clean up the mess. And for God's sakes don't use a vacuum, which could disperse the poison into the air. Even when they're intact, U.S. News happily tells us, "the bulbs must be handled with caution. Using a drop cloth might be a good new routine to develop when screwing in a light bulb."

I really wonder whether people have thought of these bulbs being used in real world use. How will be dispose of them? Will people actually keep them on for 15 minutes after they have been turned on? Suppose that you just want to temporarily turn on the light when you go into a room. What about the time costs of people having to come back a second time to turn it off? What about the costs of people's time waiting for these lights to warm up? What about the fact that people might have to turn on more lights because these new bulbs don't produce as much light? This has to be one of the dumber regulations in a long time.

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In Defense of Waterboarding

Here is some excellent cost-benefit analysis of waterboarding by Mark Bowden, the author of Blackhawk Down.

No one should be prosecuted for waterboarding Abu Zubaydah.

Several investigations are under way to find out who ordered the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, apparently an effort to cover up evidence of torture. Leaving aside for a moment the wisdom of destroying the tapes, I'd like to take a look at what was allegedly done to Zubaydah, and why.

When captured in Pakistan in 2002, Zubaydah was one of the world's most notorious terrorists. The 31-year-old Saudi had compiled in his young life 37 different aliases and was under a sentence of death in Jordan for a failed plot to blow up two hotels jammed with American and Israeli tourists. The evidence was not hearsay: Zubaydah was overheard on the phone planning the attacks, which were then thwarted. He was a key planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was thought to be field commander of the attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors on the USS Cole, and was involved in planning a score of other terror attacks, successful and unsuccessful. He was considered to be a primary recruiter and manager of al-Qaeda training camps.

He was, in short, a highly successful, fully engaged, career mass murderer. Think back to those pictures of workers crouched in windows high up in the burning World Trade Center towers, choosing whether to jump to their death or be burned alive. This was in part Abu Zubaydah's handiwork. . . .

Bowden's piece was greatly criticized and he wrote this response:

Many readers found this outrageous. I received the usual cascade of comment from the Sandbox School of Argument, the name-callers and those whose idea of persuasion is to state their own opinion loudly - lots of capital letters, bold type and underlinings. Several responders belong to the Ostrich School; they won't be reading this because they have forsworn reading anything I ever again write, presumably on the assumption that if you ignore opinions you don't like, they go away. . . .

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Thompson trying something different: "something more substantive"

John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary notes:

Peter Robinson, a former speechwriter for President Reagan who is now at the Hoover Institution, notes that Mr. Thompson is trying something no other GOP candidate this year has done: appeal to Democrats. His key passage begins: "You know, when I'm asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn't matter. These days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They're all NEA-MoveOn.org-ACLU-Michael Moore Democrats. They've allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course.... This election is important to salvage a once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It's time to give not just Republicans but independents, and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once-proud party of working people."

Certainly the other GOP candidates might argue with Mr. Thompson's claim that his track record and approach make him the best candidate to win Democratic votes in the general election. Rudy Giuliani would be expected to put blue states such as New Jersey and Connecticut in play, and John McCain has proven support among some independent voters. But Mr. Robinson gives Mr. Thompson credit for trying to change the tone of the last days of the Iowa caucuses to something more substantive: "We have here a serious man, making a serious case -- and doing so in the context of a campaign that has otherwise descended into mere caterwauling."

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Czechs upset at having to pay less than $2 for a doctor's visit

The Czech healthcare system undergoes a minor revolution on 1 January as patients are asked to pay a small fee each time they visit their doctor.

The move is part of a widespread reform of the health sector unveiled by the centre-right government.

It is far from popular - a number of leading figures are calling on Czechs not to pay up.

Czechs enjoyed free healthcare during four decades of communist rule and in the past 17 years of capitalism.

But from 1 January, Czech patients will be asked to pay 30 crowns (£0.83; 1.1 euros) for each visit to the doctor, and 60 crowns for each day spent in hospital. . . . .

If $1.50 dissuades someone from going to the doctor, you have to wonder how badly they had to go to the doctor. It is pretty obvious that they shouldn't be wasting the doctor's time if they don't value the service at $1.50 or so. Clearly, this $1.50 is much too low.

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Somebody please provide an economic justification for these different government spending items

Some of the spending in the new Federal budget that congress enacted. Where is the federal issue in these spending proposals? I don't see the externality issue for the Lobster Institute. Where is the national concern with managing beavers in North Carolina or rats in Arkansas? As far as bees go, why isn't it a simply question of supply and demand (see Freedomnomics for a discussion about how the market solves free-riding problems in this problem)?

Next time you go out for seafood, remember the $188,000 lawmakers sent to the Lobster Institute in Orono, Maine. Then there was the tidy sum to the pest-control industry in the form of $2.5 million to fight grasshoppers and Mormon crickets in Nevada and Utah; $223,000 to manage beavers in Raleigh, N.C.; $3.7 million to combat termites in New Orleans; $244,000 to conduct bee research in Weslaco, Texas.

Congress, which spends millions battling roaches and rodents in the Capitol, has a thing about bugs. It can't spend enough on them: $353,000 to battle the Asian long-horned beetle in Illinois; $234,000 to help an American laboratory in Montpellier, France fight the olive fruit fly; $113,000 to go after rodents in Arkansas.

This is just a sampling of the 11,331 "earmarks" (a 426 percent increase over last year) that this Congress snuck into its annual appropriations bills and accompanying reports for fiscal year 2008 -- nearly 10,000 of them in the omnibus bill alone. Want more?

-- $700,000 for a bike trail in Minnesota.

-- $200,000 for a post office museum in downtown Las Vegas.

-- $1 million for a river walk in Massachusetts.

-- $150,000 for the Louis Armstrong Museum in Queens, N.Y.

-- $200,000 for the Hunting and Fishing Museum in Pennsylvania.

-- $113,000 for rodent control in Alaska.

-- $4 million for a Beverly Hills veterans' park.

-- $37,000 for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

-- $8.8 million for the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium at Eastern Kentucky University.

-- $2.4 million for renovations in the Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, W.Va.

-- $250,000 for construction work at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Wash.



Fred Thompson's Closing Message for the Iowa Caucuses

A compelling closing message from Fred Thompson before the Iowa Caucuses can be found here.

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Brought to you by Campaign Finance Regulations: Bloomberg's Presidential Run

My book Freedomnomics goes through the impact of campaign finance regulations, but one of the bigger impacts is how it has worked to give wealthy candidates an advantage. I won't go through all the arguments here, but one simple point is that if Bloomberg spends $500 million or $1 billion as has been discussed, donation limits mean that there is no way that even the combined Democratic and Republican expenditures can match that.

Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of launching an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.

On Sunday, the mayor will join Democratic and Republican elder statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in what the conveners are billing as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock.

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Push in Texas to Repeal Gun Free Zones for Colleges

For a discussion of the current push in Texas see here.

Thanks to Scott Davis for this link.

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65 Year Old Concealed Handgun Permit holder Stops 5 Armed Robbers

Gun-packing man, 65, fights off 5 thugs


ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Central Florida man who collects cash for parking at a church fought off five armed men who had ambushed him and demanded cash.

The 65-year-old victim, who did not want to be identified, said he was collecting cash in the Parramore area before an Orlando Magic basketball game when someone put a gun to his head.

He noticed that that he was surrounded by four other men as well.

The man said he pretended to reach into his jacket for cash but instead pulled out his hidden gun and opened fire.

The men fled during the shooting and it was not known if any of them were hit by bullets.

The victim said he had a permit for the concealed weapon.

He said he has been a victim of crime before.

"A couple of years ago, eight teens attacked me with a pipe trying to rob me," the man said.

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UK Government: Let boys play with guns in nurseries

Giuliani On Global Warming

Rudy Giuliani is shown discussing the threat of global warming here. As bad as Rudy is on this, the only consolation is that Huckabee, Romney, and McCain are worse. Of all the top tier Republican candidates, only Thompson is good on this issue.

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Sockpuppets used by Hillary Clinton Campaign

While it has gotten mentioned twice on the NY Times' blog and once on a Washington Post blog, the fact that the Clinton campaign has been using sockpuppets to push her campaign doesn't seem to be worth mentioning in even one single print publication or main media website. A Google search tonight on "Clinton Sockpuppet" or "Clinton 'Sock Puppet'" turned up no other hits other than to the two NY Times' blog posts using Google News. I guess that I thought that there would be at least one mention in the print or television media, but I guess that this is not deemed to be very important.

1) Here is the original post on December 13th:
BlueHampshire.com, a progressive site in the Granite State, has found that several Clinton staff members slipped into sock-puppet mode to beef up the pro-Clinton diary recommendations on its site.

The Caucus learned of this through techpresident.com, which is surprised that anybody still uses sock puppets.

“I’m still amazed that anyone with a basic knowledge of computers would think that they operate anonymously from a campaign office,” Joshua Levy writes. “Haven’t we learned anything from Wikipedia?”

The Caucus too is shocked — shocked! — at the use of sock puppets. We have nothing like that on our site, right readers? We thought sock puppets were “in” for about as long as Paris Hilton’s stay in jail.

In any case, BlueHampshire handled the whole thing with class and their story says a lot about maintaining site integrity in these wild and wooly times.

Blue Hampshire’s Dean Barker writes that the site administrators grew suspicious when they saw that several users had signed up in quick succession. They then discovered that they all used the same IP address, which is registered to the Clinton campaign.

2) Here is the entire reference on December 20th to her campaign's sockpuppet postings:

‘Vote for Me. I’m a Sock Puppet.’
You may have seen that some Hillary Clinton “sock puppets” were recently outed on a New Hampshire blog, to the campaign’s great embarrassment. A sock puppet, for those of who you aren’t immersed in blog culture, is what they call someone who pretends to be commenting as a regular voter but who is in fact posting propaganda. . . .

Nathalie Guyol writes: I hope you can find out (and publish, if you do) how many Iowans would support Hillary Clinton if Bill Clinton did not exist. I suspect a huge preponderance would not have even given her serious consideration.

Good question. I say we get that car that Christopher Lloyd had in “Back to the Future,” go back to the Yale Law School library in the spring of 1971 and ask Bill Clinton for a lighter at exactly the moment that Hillary first walks by. It could work. Barring that, we’ll never know.

The Washington Post mention can be found here. Here is all the blog commentary that I could find here, here, here, and here. At least this is all the blogs that gave me a hit for "Clinton Sockpuppet" after the beginning of December.

Thanks to Joe Olson for sending these links to me.

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Disarming police in Mexico

The Mexican army has confiscated guns from the entire police force of the town of Rosarito, near the Mexican border with the US.

Mexican authorities suspect that the town's police have been colluding with drug trafficking gangs.

Mexican troops carried out a similar crackdown in January on Tijuana police.

This is what happened after the Mexican government disarmed the Tijuana police the end of last year:

Police in the northern Mexican border city of Tijuana have had their guns returned, three weeks after they were all ordered to hand them in.

Mexican federal authorities confiscated the guns to check whether any had been used in drug crimes.

Some officers refused to go on patrol without their weapons, while others carried plastic catapults and marbles to protect themselves.

An official said it was not clear if any officers would face drugs charges.

The authorities' move was part of efforts to crack down on drug traffickers and suspected police collaboration.

Officers attacked

The operation is part of tough measures introduced by new Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

The government has sent more than 3,000 soldiers and federal police to the Tijuana area to help fight drug trafficking and gang violence.

They confiscated the local force's weapons during investigations into allegations that some local officers had been involved in drug smuggling.

But Tijuana Public Safety Secretary Luis Javier Algorri said the move had endangered the city's police and residents. . . .

See my recent post here for what also was claimed to have happened when fewer police carried guns in England

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Permit holder kills intruder in his house

Convicted Criminal Arrested When Trying to Get Concealed Handgun Permit

Even Convicted Felons Can Use Guns Legitimately for Self-Defense


It would mean a lot to me if the readers of my blog would visit Amazon.com and "tag" my book Freedomnomics as being for the "economics" category. The link is here. For those who have been nice enough to read the book, I would greatly appreciate even a couple or a few sentence review of the book posted here. While positive reviews would be nice and I only want reviews from those who have read the book, please be honest and say what if anything useful that you learned from the book. Both of these things would mean a lot to me. Thank you.

Permit Holder Pizza Delivery man kills robber


Fired for stopping shoplifter

John Schultz says he lost his job at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor after he tried to stop a shoplifter from making a getaway. But the company says he went too far and violated a policy that prohibits employees from physically touching a customer - even if that person is carrying a bag of stolen goods.

Schultz says he had just punched out for a break at 7 p.m. on Sunday when he heard a commotion at the front door of the store, 3135 Washtenaw Ave. He said he came to the aid of the manager who yelled for help in stopping a shoplifter. Schultz, the manager and another employee cornered the shoplifter between two cars in the parking lot . . . .

I think that the obvious defense that Schultz could have made was that the manager asked him to stop the shoplifter. My guess is that this blanket rule against touching customers is because of fear of lawsuits.



Armed clerks turn tables on would-be robbers

1) Reidsville , North Carolina
A Reidsville area store clerk turned the tables on a would-be robber by pointing a gun at him, the sheriff's office said.

Saveng Kaaosanga, 46, who works at the Cornerstone Market outside Reidsville, told the Rockingham County Sheriff's office a man entered the store with his right hand inside his coat as if he had a gun. . . .

2) Ingram, Pennsylvania
An Ingram convenience store clerk shot a would-be robber Christmas morning, then shot him again as he tried to flee, the store owners said.

The masked bandit walked into the 7-Eleven on West Prospect Avenue about 4:30 a.m., said Vicky Bawa, whose family has owned the business for about 12 years. The intruder brandished a knife, jumped the counter and attacked the clerk, said Bawa, 25, of Robinson.

The clerk, identified by Bawa as Kaelin Weber, 24, pulled out a handgun and fired. . . .


Fewer Armed Police, More Violent Crime

Some Background Of Nebraska Mall Killer

For whatever this is worth:

OMAHA, Neb. — The teen gunman who killed eight people and himself in a mall this month once told social workers he was satanic and acknowledged that he often acted before thinking of the consequences, according to newly released court records.

I think that it makes a lot more sense to worry about whether people are able to defend themselves than whether these killers are Satanic.


New Op-ed: The High Cost of Higher MPG restrictions


Some detective work pays off for the NRA

It is interesting how the government can take people's guns and people don't feel that it is worth the hassle to go through the process to get them back.

NEW ORLEANS — The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina.

The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren't part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said investigators have identified about 300 of the gun owners and located about 75 of them. Some of them could be called to testify during a trial, he added. . . .


Lower the cost, people do more of it

The cost of doing something can take many forms. One cost of doing things involves the cost of figuring out how to do it and physically executing that decision. For those that haven't used it, the iPhone does a remarkable job of making tasks such as surfing the web or sending emails remarkably simple. Perhaps then these facts in the Financial Times aren't too surprising:

About 60 per cent of iPhone customers are sending or receiving more than 25 megabytes of data per month, which is the equivalent of sending 7,500 e-mails.

By comparison, only 1.8 per cent of O 2 's other mobile customers on monthly contracts are consuming more than 25MB per month.

The O 2 research suggests that, after years of dashed hopes for the operators, customers are on the verge of surfing the web on their mobiles in significant numbers. This could in the future make mobile advertising a significant revenue stream for the operators. . . . .


Permit holder stops road-rage attack

Permit Rate in Florida has Soared Since 9/11

TAMPA - A skyrocketing number of applications for concealed weapons licenses has hindered the state agency that screens people for the documents from, at times, suspending or revoking the permits in a timely manner, according to a state audit released this week.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the number of applications for the licenses has risen 30 percent to 50 percent since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but the agency's staff has not increased in pace with the "incredible workload," agency spokesman Terence McElroy said. . . .

McElroy said Thursday shortcomings have been addressed with updated computer systems and staff retraining. "There's no suggestion in this audit that people are getting concealed weapons permits that shouldn't be," he said. . . .




A Happy and Joyous Christmas wish to all.


Did Mitchell Steroid Report Tarnish Other Players' Images to Protect Barry Bonds?

By putting together a long list of players who had used steroids, the Mitchell Report made it difficult for MLB to do anything to Barry Bonds. The vast majority of the 80 names listed were essentially unknowns, but there were enough names a few well known ones to make punishing people seem impossible. Many of those attacked where attacked based on virtually no evidence. Simply having one person mention their name was enough to get them included in the list. Well, some are fighting back.

NEW YORK — Roger Clemens posted a video Sunday repeating his denials of the steroids use alleged against him in the Mitchell Report and plans to be interviewed for a future episode of "60 Minutes."

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was accused in the report of using steroids, an allegation made by his former trainer.

In October last year, the Los Angeles Times reported Clemens was linked to steroids in the May 2006 sworn statement of a federal agent who cited former big league pitcher Jason Grimsley. At the time, the names of players in the public version had been blacked out. When the full affidavit was unsealed Thursday, Clemens' name was not in it, and the paper issued a correction and an apology.

"I faced this last year when the L.A. Times reported that I used steroids. I said it was not true then, and now the whole world knows it's not true, now that that's come out," Clemens said in the video, which was posted Sunday on the Web site of his foundation and on You Tube.

His youtube response can be seen here.

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Reagan Officials claim that "Charlie Wilson's War" has "left-wing" slant

Conservative officials who served in the Reagan administration are upset by the left-wing slant of the new movie about the covert action program that helped Afghan guerrillas defeat the Soviet army during the 1980s.

"Charlie Wilson's War," out Friday, is based on a book about former Rep. Charles Wilson, Texas Democrat, known widely on Capitol Hill during his tenure as "Good Time Charlie" and who helped fund the semi-secret war that ultimately helped fell the Soviet Union.

The Reagan-era officials said the movie promotes the left-wing myth that the CIA-led operation funded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ultimately produced the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Bin Laden, the officials said, never got CIA funding or weapons, and was not directly involved in Islamist extremist activities until years after the Afghan operation ended after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989. . . .

The officials blamed the anti-Reagan slant of the film on the movie's screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood liberal who regularly attacked conservatives on his television drama "The West Wing," also known as "The Left Wing" because of its liberal bias.


Fred Thompson's Christmas Ad

Fred Thompson has a very unique Christmas ad. You can see it here. It seems that I have seen all the other ads on the news.

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OK, Al Gore, so even though the other 375 are legitimate scientists everyone should be dismissed?

A spokeswoman for Al Gore tells The Washington Times that 25 or 30 of the 400 scientists may have received funding from Exxon Mobil Corporation — an allegation that an Exxon Mobil spokesman dismissed.

This seems like a very weak response. First, simply because 25 or 30 may possibly have gotten some money from the energy industry their views should be dismissed? Could it be that they really believed certain things and that is why they got the money? Will Gore dismiss the views of all the scientists who got money from the government?

Second, even if Gore is right and Exxon is wrong about the funding for the 25 to 30 scientists, what does that have to do with the other 370 to 375? Nothing. He still has to deal with the 370+ and their views.

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The changing sex ratio in South Korea

In South Korea, once one of Asia’s most rigidly patriarchal societies, a centuries-old preference for baby boys is fast receding. And that has led to what seems to be a decrease in the number of abortions performed after ultrasounds that reveal the sex of a fetus.

According to a study released by the World Bank in October, South Korea is the first of several Asian countries with large sex imbalances at birth to reverse the trend, moving toward greater parity between the sexes. Last year, the ratio was 107.4 boys born for every 100 girls, still above what is considered normal, but down from a peak of 116.5 boys born for every 100 girls in 1990. The most important factor in changing attitudes toward girls was the radical shift in the country’s economy that opened the doors to women in the work force as never before and dismantled long-held traditions, which so devalued daughters that mothers would often apologize for giving birth to a girl.

The NY Times attributes this sea change to things like an advertising campaign by the government. An explanation that I had given in Freedomnomics was that as the ratio of men to women rose, women would become more valuable. In competition to marry women, men would be forced to offer them more and it would open opportunities for women. Nothing more than simple supply and demand is needed to explain the societal changes.


Another Review of Freedomnomics

The cost of animal and car crashes

Jim Robbins details the increasing cost of accidents from deer and other animals.

Wildlife-related crashes are a growing problem on rural roads around the country. The accidents increased 50 percent from 1990 to 2004, based on the most recent federal data, according to the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University here.

The basic problem is that rural roads are being traveled by more and more people, many of them living in far-flung subdivisions. Each year, about 200 people are killed in as many as two million wildlife-related crashes at a cost of more than $8 billion, the institute estimated in a report prepared for the National Academies of Science.

Ninety percent of the accidents occur on rural two-lane roads, and the most common animal involved is a deer. . . .

The human death toll has risen from 111 in 1995 to around 200 in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available. Officials say better designed highways would help lower the number.

An 80 percent increase in 10 years is pretty amazing. One cause that he doesn't mention in the piece is the increases in the number of animals. As the number of animals increases, the animals move into areas where people live.


Does Porno Lead to Rape?

DALLAS — Texas, where strip clubs have given rise to Anna Nicole Smith and many other less-generously endowed performers, is about to make it more expensive to watch a little bump and grind.

In what some have dubbed the "pole tax," the Lone Star State will require its 150 or so strip clubs to collect a $5-per-customer levy, with most of the proceeds going to help rape victims. The tax goes into effect on New Year's Day.

Club owners and some of their customers say the money is going to a noble cause, but they argue that the tax infringes on their First Amendment right to freedom of expression, that it will drive some bars out of business and that it unfairly links their industry to sex crimes. . . . .

Well, this might provide a test for the claims of sex clubs on crime rates. So if people go less to strip clubs, does that reduce rape? The problem with the test in this case is whether the "help" given to rape victims encourages more of them to come forward. It is possible that the evidence is biased against finding a drop in rapes from a drop in people going to strip clubs.


Ditching 90 percent of earmarks in Federal Budget?

John Fund at OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary writes:

After expressing disappointment at the thousands of earmarks stuffed into the foot-tall Omnibus spending bill passed by Congress, Mr. Bush told reporters: "I am instructing the budget director to review options for dealing with the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill."

The president gave no details, but South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a vocal critic of earmarks, has an idea what the president may have in mind. He has long cited a Congressional Research Service opinion that 90% of earmarks are suspect because they were slipped into committee reports and not written into law. "These non-legislated earmarks are not legally binding," Mr. DeMint says. "President Bush could ignore them. He doesn't need a line-item veto." The Club for Growth reports that Mr. Bush might be planning an executive order that would tell federal agencies simply to ignore Congress' earmarks if they aren't written into law and spend the money on higher priorities.



The UK Government's Chief Scientific (Political Chosen) Adviser: Warns Women about Sport Cars

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government's chief scientist has urged. . . . .

Of course, a lot of scientists here and here would suggest that women who spurn men simply because they drive nice sports cars are daffy.

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The impact of MPG regulations

GATHER ’round, children: a long time ago, before S.U.V.’s roamed the earth, families great and small piled into something called a station wagon.

It was a primitive thing, often paneled in wood — yes, it is true — and later a man-made, nostalgic variety thereof. These pioneering wagons served Americans well, though today you young’uns would be seized by child protective services if they spotted you bouncing in back, innocent of seat belts and such notions as parental supervision.

Younger generations can be forgiven if they see station wagons as hazy boomer memories. Some companies stubbornly roll out new wagons, but buyers mostly ignore them. Mazda recently axed its terrific 6 wagon after selling just 12,249 retail copies in 2004-7. Dodge has announced the end of its muscular but weak-selling Magnum.

Do you want to know what happened to the station wagon? It is called CAFE regulations. The MPG regulations were imposed on station wagon and not SUVs. Not a deep mystery, but with Bush signing the new MPG regulations this week it shows how important these regulations are in pushing people away from the cars that they otherwise would have purchased.


News Items from the UK

Having guns makes a teacher unfit to teach in England:

A TEACHER police feared could become "the next Thomas Hamilton" has been banned from the profession. Firearms enthusiast Stewart Nicoll, 56, is to be struck off by the General Teaching Council for Scotland after being found guilty of professional misconduct at Grantown Grammar in the Highlands.

He had previously been suspended by the local authority on full pay after his civil case against the police to win back his guns hit the headlines. . . . .

It appears that someone as young as eight years of age has been allowed to fire a shotgun in England:

Children as young as eight are being issued gun licences by the police, figures showed yesterday. # Have your say: Is eight too young for a gun?

Forces granted 1,291 shotgun certificates to those aged 16 and under in England and Wales during the 12 months to October.

Police said that there was no minimum age requirement for a holding licence and that a certificate would be issued to anyone who was not banned under the Firearms Act or did not pose a risk to public safety.

Campiagners expressed shock last night that those so young were being given licences. However, police said that children were not allowed to own a gun unless they were over 16 and licences were not issued until they were satisfied that security measures were in place and that adults were supervising correctly. . . . .

Thanks to Bruce Mills for these links.

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"Nebraska may consider assault weapons ban"

Well, here is one fall out of the recent mall attack in Nebraska: "Nebraska may consider assault weapons ban"

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Appearance from Thursday on The Greg Knapp Experience

"Lou Pate filling in for Greg talks to John Lott about why what Congress did yesterday would NOT have stopped the VA Tech shooting." For a copy of the interview go here.


Another mention of Freedomnomics


Steroids for Academics?

So why if this is wrong for athletes, isn't this wrong for academics? Will we soon have congressional hearings on this?

While caffeine reigns as the supreme drug of the professoriate, some university faculty members have started popping "smart" pills to enhance their mental energy and ability to work long hours, according to two University of Cambridge scientists who polled some of their colleagues about their use of cognitive-enhancing drugs.

In a commentary published in Nature on Thursday, Barbara Sahakian and Sharon Morein-Zamir revealed the results of an informal survey they conducted of a handful of colleagues who are all involved in studying drugs that help people perform better mentally.

Ms. Morein-Zamir said they asked "fewer than 10" colleagues in different fields who have done research on cognitive-enhancing drugs, such as Provigil, which is approved in the United States to treat narcolepsy and other severe sleep disorders. "We know that some people—academics—they could be philosophers or ethicists or people who do neuroscience, they chose to take some of these drugs," said Ms. Morein-Zamir.

The notion raises hackles in some parts of academe. "It smells to me a lot like taking steroids for physical prowess," said Barbara Prudhomme White, an associate professor of occupational therapy at the University of New Hampshire, who has studied the abuse of Ritalin by college students. Revelations about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional baseball have stirred public interest recently, and she sees parallels between athletes and assistant professors. "You're expected to publish and teach, and the stakes are high. So young professors have to work their tails off to get that golden nugget of tenure." . . .

Worries About Side Effects

. . . . For example, she notes, cheating the body of sleep suppresses the immune system and impairs brain functions. "There's no reason to believe that modafinil is protecting you from these really bad effects of long-term sleep deprivation," she said.

In fact, although cognitive-enhancing drugs have been on the market for decades (The Chronicle, June 25, 2004), it sometimes takes that long for side effects to become apparent. A major study published in August by the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry showed that children with ADHD who had taken stimulants grew less than did children with ADHD who did not take the drugs. . . . .

Unfair Advantage?

Even with such warnings, the allure of chemicals that confer an advantage may be hard to resist for academics, given the pressures they face. If there were a cognitive-enhancing drug that did not have side effects, said Ms. Prudhomme White, "would I be tempted? Damn right I would. ... Who wouldn't be?"

In their Nature commentary, Ms. Sahakian and Ms. Morein-Zamir asked people to consider whether and when cognitive-enhancing drugs are acceptable. While many people might agree that students should not be allowed to use such compounds during, say, a college-entrance exam, society might decide that it was worthwhile for surgeons or air-traffic controllers to use them. . . . .

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Op-ed on New Jersey Eliminating Its Death Penalty

"400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims"

For a list of the 400 scientists and their statements please see this.

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Kyoto curtailing carbon dioxide emissions?

You would think from all the attacks on what a terrible country the US is that we have the largest increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Who has done the best since Kyoto in controlling carbon dioxide emissions? The Kyoto signers or the ones who haven't signed?

Change from 1997 to 2004

Kyoto signers 21.1 percent
Worldwide 18 percent
non-signing countries 10 percent
USA 6.6 percent

US had a slower increase in emissions than 75 percent of the countries that signed the treaty.

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Using a tragedy to pass unrelated gun regulations


Government Regulation: Our mistake, you pay

Bill Akins describes how his Akins Accelerator operates when a rifle is attached. The patented device, which allows target shooters to convert a rifle into a simulated fully automatic weapon, has been declared a machine gun by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

By Christian Wade of The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 18, 2007

HUDSON - It was a simple idea, with big potential.

For years, marksmen have been using a technique called bump firing, shooting a semiautomatic rifle from the hip and allowing the weapon's recoil to pull the trigger.

With federal regulations keeping fully automatic weapons out of their hands, it was one of the few ways for firearm enthusiasts to enjoy the thrill of firing a machine gun.

If there was only a way to simulate that action, Bill Akins wondered, by creating a device that mechanized the recoil resistance to fire more rapid, and accurate, bursts of bullets.

Thus, the Akins Accelerator was born.

Akins, 54, is an expert marksman, ex-Marine, Elvis impersonator, seventh-generation Floridian and member of the National Rifle Association.

The Hudson man spent nearly a decade designing his Accelerator. He got a patent for his invention. Then he poured his life savings into marketing and producing it for distribution.

In the era of gun control laws, the device promised to revolutionize target shooting.

"They were selling like hotcakes," Akins said. "We were truly amazed by the response."

That was until the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives banned the Accelerator — two years after approving it.

To the ATF, the mechanism is an illegal converter kit that, if it fell into the wrong hands, could turn a run-of the-mill target rifle into a 700-round-per-minute killing machine.

Under the threat of imprisonment, officials ordered Akins to cease production, turn over the recoil springs from his existing stock and hand over his customer list.

And they didn't give him a dime in return.

More than five years later, Akins is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

His business partner has severed ties with his company. His investors have bailed. He has a warehouse in Oregon filled with more than $750,000 worth of useless stock. His reputation has been sullied by trade publications that once praised his invention. . . .


College makes students more liberal?

During their first three years of college, students tend to become more caring, more interested in spirituality, and more politically liberal, according to a new study.

The findings are part of the national "Spirituality in Higher Education" project conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. Researchers surveyed 112,000 students from 236 colleges in the fall of 2004 and then followed up with nearly 15,000 from that same group last spring. . . .

Students also appear to become more liberal during their first three years of college. While 28.6 percent of freshmen identified themselves as "liberal/far left," that proportion rose to 34.3 percent among juniors.

Some survey results can be seen below. These results make the changes seem even worse than the small change in those who classify themselves as liberal or conservative.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2004 . . . . . .2007
Political orientation: Liberal/far left . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28.6% . . . . . 34.3%
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conservative/far right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26.6% . . . . . 25.1%
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Middle-of-the-road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44.7% .. . . . . 40.6%

Agree that:

Wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes
than they do now 57.3% 60.2%

Same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status 53.8% 66.1%
Abortion should be legal 51.9% 59.7%
Casual sex is okay if people like each other 44.7% 51.5%
The death penalty should be abolished 32.5% 37.1%

Disagree that:

The activities of married women are best confined to the home
and family 81.4% 86.0%
Racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America 76.1% 85.2%
It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual
relationships 68.4% 78.6%
Federal military spending should be increased 65.8% 75.2%


‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting’

A Q&A with Bill Steigerwald and Frank Miniter on this interesting topic can be seen here.


Why Hillary might be in real trouble


Making the question of gun free zones clear

VIN SUPRYNOWICZ at the Las Vegas Review-Journal makes the point very clear about the Colorado church attack that was stopped by Jeanne Assam:

Authorities and her minister say Assam saved untold lives -- lives that would have been lost, had Murray attacked in a disarmed-victim city like Los Angeles, New York or Washington.

In any of these other places there would have been no volunteers with permitted concealed handguns. In any of these places, it would have taken minutes, possibly a half hour, possibly more before someone with a gun was there to stop this attack. If so, how many people would have died? We still would be talking about this story.


10-year-old girl for eating a steak with a steak knife

10-year-old girl facing felony. She was arrested for using 4 inch steak knife during school lunch The little girl was using the steak knife on, unbelievably, a steak.

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Mitt Romney inaccurately claiming that he had the NRA endorsement when he ran for governor

John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary writes:

"Last Sunday, Mr. Romney appeared on NBC's 'Meet the Press' and twice claimed he had won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in his 2002 race for governor of Massachusetts. Wrong. While Mr. Romney got a respectable 'B' rating from the NRA, it was his Democratic opponent, Shannon O'Brien, who actually got an 'A' grade from the gun-rights group, which ultimately made no endorsement in the race. Ouch."

My guess is that Shannon O'Brien didn't want the endorsement because it would have hurt more than helped in Massachusetts.

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An explanation too far

In a new television ad debuting Tuesday in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee does the unthinkable - he wishes early voters “Merry Christmas.”

Wearing a red sweater and standing before a glowing Christmas tree as “Silent Night” plays in the background, the former Arkansas governor asks viewers if they’re “about worn out of all the television commercials you’ve been seeing, mostly about politics.”

Behind Huckabee appears to be a white cross, which may be intersecting shelf lines or a window pane and slowly moves to the right on the screen until it’s behind his head.

But the ordained Baptist minister, who has been riding a wave of evangelical support with his open religious appeals, said Tuesday that it’s just a bookshelf and defended the ad.

Huckabee shouldn't have tried this explanation because it makes him look dishonest. True the cross in the ad is just a "bookshelf," but to imply that Huckabee and his people just saw it as a bookshelf and not as a cross isn't believable. If you haven't seen the ad, the cross image just dominates the picture. Does the image bother me? Hardly, but this explanation is just not credible. You can see the ad here.

For Jason Lewis' typically perceptive comments on this ad go here.

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Yale University Jury Opinion Study

For those interested, a friend of mine at Yale and a student of his are conducting this survey on juries. Please feel free to participate. This survey picks a case where someone shouldn't have used a gun defensively and sees how people react to the case.



Where are they now: Tracy Bridges and the Appalachian Law School Attack

Prediction: Hillary Clinton to come in third in Iowa

Edwards and Clinton are tied for second, but Edwards appears to be every Democrat's second choice. If a candidate doesn't have at least 15 percent of the voters at a Caucus site, those voters have to choose another candidate. I don't think that Hillary will pick up many votes there, but Edwards will.

So what will this do to her supposed invincibility? What will this do to her very narrow leads in NH and South Carolina? The polls showing her far ahead in Michigan are over a month old and I am not sure that they are worth very much right now.

Barack Obama is the top 2008 United States presidential contender for Democratic Party supporters in Iowa, according to a poll by Research 2000 released by the Quad City Times. 33 per cent of respondents in the Hawkeye State would vote for the Illinois senator in January’s caucus.

New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and former North Carolina senator John Edwards are tied for second with 24 per cent, followed by New Mexico governor Bill Richardson with nine per cent, Delaware senator Joe Biden with three per cent, Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich with one per cent, and Connecticut senator Chris Dodd also with one per cent. . . .

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When a reporter gets in trouble with the law who does she call?: Ed Rendell

When Alycia Lane, an anchor for the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, was released from jail who was the first person whom she called? Ed Rendell. Philadelphia media types have told me about Rendell being well known for having affairs with all sorts of women so possibly that explains it, but what would a reporter hope that Rendell would do for her? Intercede with the TV station management? One quote in the piece by Dan Gross (12/17/2007) makes the problem clear: "Station sources questioned Lane's journalistic integrity in contacting or seeking any assistance from prominent politicians. Lane's attorney David Smith did not immediately return a call seeking comment on why his client was phoning lawmakers from Pennsylvania, two states away from where the incident occurred." If Rendell did help her out and even if there hadn't already been some type of improper relationship, how objective could she be in the future?



"Canada's Thought Police"

This will put a real damper on free discussion in Canada.

Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book "America Alone."

The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.

Steyn, who won the 2006 Eric Breindel Journalism Award (co-sponsored by The Post and its parent, News Corp), writes for dozens of publications on several continents. After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean's reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading "hatred and contempt" for Muslims.

The plaintiffs allege that Maclean's advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada's liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported "hate speech."


Long List of Scientists Question IPCC Global Warming Report

Here is a group of scientists who are claiming that the IPCC report was written by only a small group of people and not representative of the scientific community. I thought that I would emphasize one particular comment: "there has been no net global warming since 1998."

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:

- Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.

- The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.

- Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/wg1_timetable_2006-08-14.pdf) to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

Here is the problem with the global warming debate. Before you want the government to do more to stop carbon dioxide emissions you must answer "yes" to all these questions:

1) Is there global warming?
Answer: "there has been no net global warming since 1998."
2) Is mankind responsible for a significant and noticeable portion of the increase in temperature?
Answer: Mankind is responsible for just a tiny fraction of greenhouse gases and there are other causes beyond that (e.g., the Sun). The letter notes: "significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming."
3) Would an increase in temperature be "bad"?
Answer: No. Higher temperatures will increase the amount of land that we can use to grow food, it will improve people's health, and increase biological diversity.
4) Are all the taxes that we already have too small to internalize whatever externalizes might exist? Note that we already have high gasoline and other taxes and it is possible that even if you answer yes to all the first three questions, we have too high a level of taxes and should actually cut them.

To me this is the bottom line: "It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation."

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Police hit rates on shootings as low as 17.4 percent

New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year.
In 2005, officers fired 472 times in the same circumstances, hitting their mark 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate. They shot and killed nine people that year.
In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance.
In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them. . . .

The one important piece of information that is missing here is the number of people that the police shot at. If you take the estimate that I have that only about 5 percent of confrontations between armed victims and criminals result in the victim firing a gun, a 17.4 percent hit rate would imply that fewer than one percent of criminals would be shot. It would be interesting for someone to explain how this hit rate varies across cities.

Thanks very much to Rich for sending me this link.

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Will Ferrell and Gun Control

I confess that I have always liked Will Ferrell's movies and have not only seen them in theaters, but I have also given DVDs to people. Well, not only has Ferrell been "deemed the worst celebrity signer" for autographs and apparently just not very friendly to his fans when they meet him, but he is also a big donor to gun control efforts. Apparently, other big contributors include actors Peter Weller and Amy Brenneman.

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State Laws on Openly Carrying A Gun

For those interested in the interactive version of this state map of open carry laws see this link. This site has a lot of interesting information, though the only additional information that I would like is on when the different state laws have changed.

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A lot is at stake in this next election regarding global warming

My guess is that global warming fanatics realize that a lot is at stake in this next election. I think that the more time that goes by, the more obvious it will be that these various predictions of concern on global warming are wrong. The problem is that if a global warming agreement goes into effect, those pushing for more controls will say that their regulations are responsible. If we can get by the next administration, I would guess that the pressure on all this will begin to subside and those who have been pushing for all these regulations will look really foolish.

Germany’s environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who led the criticism of the United States earlier in the week, said Friday, “The climate in the climate convention has changed a little bit.”

He added: “It’s true that during the last night and during the negotiations America was more flexible than in the first part of the conference. We very much appreciate this. Not only the Americans but also other parties.”

It was not clear what had brought about the improved mood of cooperation. Amid the escalating bitterness between the European Union and the United States on Thursday, former Vice President Al Gore told delegates in a speech that, “My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.”

He urged delegates to agree to an open-ended deal that could be enhanced after the Bush administration leaves office and the United States policy changes.

“Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now,” Mr. Gore said to loud applause. “You must anticipate that.”

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Dumb Academic Study: "Students Who Pull All-Nighters Have Lower GPAs"

ALBANY, N.Y. — Students who rely on all-nighters to bring up their grades might want to sleep on that strategy: a new survey says those who never study all night have slightly higher GPAs than those who do.

A survey of 120 students at St. Lawrence University, a small liberal arts college in northern New York, found that students who have never pulled an all-nighter have average GPAs of 3.1, compared to 2.9 for those who have. The study, by assistant professor of psychology Pamela Thacher, is to be included in the January issue of Behavioral Sleep Medicine

Here is the problem: presumably those who are pulling the all-nighter are way behind in their studies. Those who are caught up don't have to be up all night. The real question is not to compare the grades for those who are up all night with those who aren't, but to ask what grades would those who did stay up all night get if they didn't do it. Those are two different questions.



A first hand account of how the Colorado Church attack was stopped

Arming Professors?

The professor here writes that this professor finds it necessary to write under the pseudonym of "Thomas Benton" when discussing the gun issue tells you something about academia.

What can be done to protect faculty members from potentially dangerous students?

Ultimately, nothing. Or so it seems.

Teachers are all, in varying degrees, personally vulnerable for three reasons:

First, it is our job to demand difficult tasks of people and judge the results in ways that can have consequences for their future. Sometimes we are called upon to challenge students' beliefs in ways they may deem offensive.

Second, we cannot pursue disciplinary action within a college unless we are willing to accept the possibility of personal retaliation by the student outside the college's area of jurisdiction, off the campus, or after graduation. Moreover, disciplinary action against one student does nothing to restrain the actions of a disgruntled student's allies, possibly after a long interval.

Third, it is increasingly difficult for us to maintain our personal privacy because of the circulation of information on the Internet. . . . .

During the past seven years, there have been several incidents of vandalism at our house in the country about 10 minutes from the college. Our mailbox has been destroyed twice, incidents I have written off as teenage pranks. We frequently hear gunshots in the night, but there are a lot of hunters in the country who shoot at animals and other targets from their cars. About once a year, we find bags of garbage split and scattered on our property, but people dispose of things that way around here without personal malice, I assume.

Some things can't be dismissed, however. One night I heard a chainsaw running, opened a window, and realized someone was in our front yard, cutting down one of our trees. I came out with a flashlight, and the chainsaw-wielder ran to the passenger side of a pickup truck, and the two people roared away. I didn't get the license number; the car's lights were off. The next day a police officer took notes and said nothing could be done.

After that, we installed more outdoor lighting and adopted a German shepherd, and I bought a 12-gauge shotgun and learned how to use it. There is no way I am going out in the middle of the night to investigate intruders again with nothing but a flashlight in my hands. . . .

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Two letters in USA Today make point about gun free zones

'Gun-free zones' make vulnerable people targets

It appears that malls, schools and businesses that post "gun-free" signs increasingly are becoming prime targets for people who want to cause harm to unarmed citizens ("Police seek link in Colorado attacks," News, Monday; "Lives, loves cut horribly short," News, Friday).

When will those who pushed for gun-free zones realize that they are contributing to tragic situations? They are preventing legally armed citizens from interceding and preventing casualties. By the time law enforcement arrives, the shooter either commits suicide or escapes. Thankfully, New Life Church in Colorado Springs had armed security guards, and one shot the shooter, who then killed himself. This probably saved many lives.

Arnie Krause

Columbus, Ind.
. . .

Nebraska and Utah, where mall shootings recently have occurred, have laws that allow individuals with permits to carry concealed weapons. Both states also allow some private property owners to declare their property as gun-free zones.

The conclusion is that people intent on killing do not obey the laws, and disarming law-abiding citizens results in more death. The Omaha mall was a gun-free zone. One would think that this was at least as important as the type of weapon used because it shows that the young killer was not deterred by the signs or the law. In fact, he was probably emboldened by it, knowing that there would be no armed resistance to his killing spree.

Raymond D. Trombino

Green Valley, Ariz

Thanks very much to Rich for sending this link to me.



Jeanne Assam on how she stopped the Murderer

From the

Security Guard: 'God Guided Me And Protected Me'
Jeanne Assam Stopped Gunman At New Life Church
By Thomas Hendrick
News Editor
The Denver Channel
December 10, 2007

"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover. I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down. God was with me. I didn't think for a minute to run away.


"Human Evolution Seems to Be Accelerating"


"Colorado church hero "security guard" was volunteer church member with carry permit"

(CNSNews.com) - Many people are expressing relief that a volunteer security guard used her own gun to stop a man on a shooting spree Sunday. "She probably saved over 100 lives," the Brady Boyd, the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, said on Monday. The female guard, a church member dressed in plain clothes, killed the gunman after he opened fire at a mega-church in Colorado Springs. Boyd said she "rushed toward the attacker and took him down in the hallway" as he entered the building. The shooting erupted around 1 p.m., at the end of a service, when 7,000 people were either inside the New Life Church or just leaving. "He was just walking and shooting," the Denver Post quoted one witness as saying. The gunman, still unidentified, shot at least five people, killing two teenage sisters, the pastor said. The girls were 16 and 18 years old. Their father, also shot, is listed in father condition. The gunman is believed to be the same young man who shot and killed two people earlier the same day at a missionary training center in suburban Denver. In that case, the gunman opened fire after he was refused permission to spend the night at the missionary center. The gunman was described as skinny, in his 20s, about 6 feet tall and dressed in black, police said. KUSA-TV reported that the gunman was wearing a "tactical helmet and body armor." The church's pastor said the New Life Church "prepared in advance" for a possible attack, after hearing about the shooting at the missionary training center.

This woman was really just a private CCW holder who asked the minister to carry a concealed handgun at the services. Apparently, there were others who also were allowed to carry their concealed handguns also at the church.

I had posted on this yesterday, but I must thank Andrew Rothman for finally providing me a link to this.



Elderly man stops attackers

Good this man was able to defend himself.

Miami ;; An elderly man takes matters into his own hands when 4 robbers follow him home from the bank. Police said he shot and killed one of them while he was being attacked.

More from Breitbart.tv. This site is really becoming an indispensable resource.


Church Shooting was Stopped by Armed Security (Correction: "Armed Volunteer")

The gunman in the shootings at the New Life Church was shot and killed by a church security guard, Colorado Springs police chief Richard Myers said. . . . .

I have been traveling to Canada today and I don't know much else about what has happened with the other shooting.

Thanks to Andrew Breitbart letting me know about this.


Cartoonist Mike Lester "channels John Lott"

Well, at least more people are talking about this. (Thanks to Frank Stephenson for putting this up.)

On the other side, Chuck Carlson has this column. What this piece fails to note is that there are no problems created by those with concealed handgun permits. It is also not necessary that everyone carry a concealed handgun. To me the interesting fact is how incredibly rarely people have to fire their guns to stop these attacks. Even if a small percentage of people carry a gun, you can have a strong deterrent effect. Pennsylvania and Indiana for example have 6.5 percent of the adult population with permits. Even a group of 16 people means that on average, if all permitted people carry a gun, you have about a 100 percent chance that on average an attacker will find that at least one of his potential victims will be able to protect themselves.


Canada's School Lunch Police


More comments on Freedomnomics

I'm just getting started on this book. So far, it is--thankfully!--a much more interesting read than Dr. Lott's More Guns, Less Crime, which is a marvelous repository of information and should be on the shelf of everyone interested in the second amendment, self-defense, crime, and liberty, but is nevertheless, for the most part, a drearily boring exposition of reams of statistical data that only the most determined reader will slog through to confirm a thesis which is intuitively obvious to most of us: a ubiquitously armed citizenry suffers less crime.

Well, I didn't mean to slam More Guns, Less Crime. Like I said, it should be on shelves everywhere. I'm just sayin' Freedomnomics looks to be a considerably more entertaining read, though no less informative.

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Open Carry at the University of Utah?

The U and gun rights activists appear to be headed for another legal clash.

The debate: whether or not concealed weapons permit holders can openly display their firearms on campus.

Students and staff with permits have been allowed to carry guns on campus since last fall when the Utah State Supreme Court struck down the U's gun ban. After battling the state for nearly five years, administrators said they were happy to put the issue behind them when they dropped a federal lawsuit against the state last spring. . . .

While I understand the push for this from a desire to get people to accept gun ownership, the benefits regarding stopping multiple victim public shootings are much bigger for concealed carry because the criminals won't know until they attack which potential victims will be able to fight back.

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Talks this coming week

Monday, Economics Department at Simon Fraser University on media bias
Tuesday, Business School at University of British Columbia on media bias
Wednesday, Seattle Economic Council, Lunch


Follow up coverage on the Gun Free Zone Multiple Victim Public Shootings

Jason Lewis on KTLK has some very useful discussions here and here. Jason has designated me the "resident scholar at radio free Minnesota." I am honored to have this new line on my CV.

Instapundit has a discussion here.

If you can listen to Dennis Prager's and Lars Larson's shows from Thursday, I strongly advise people to do it. They both had great shows. Dennis Prager suggested this sign during our discussion:

One thing that was stated on Dennis' show was: could you imagine how different the debate on guns today if the media kept on reporting the fact that there was another shooting in a gun free zone?

See also Clayton Cramer, Michael Bane, Wayne's Dirty Lab, Keep and Bear Arms,Freespeech, Liberty Zone, Plains Feeder, From the Heartland, Armed Canadian, Three Dogs and a Camera, Buckhorn Road, Free Libertarian, IFCONFIG, Northern Muckraker, News by Us, James Taranto, Dustin's Gun Blog, A Deo et Rege, and Pat Dollard. Some discussion on this can be found here, here, and here.

Some malls have learned their lesson and taken down these "no gun" signs.

Thanks also to Andrew Breitbart for helping to publicize the gun free zone point.


Characteristics of the readers of my blog

First let me say that I have absolutely no idea how this information is obtained nor do I vouch for its accuracy. I was actually kind of stunned that it was supposedly possible to get this type of data on the type of people who go to different websites. One problem that I immediately see with this data is that they claim that there are fewer than 2,000 unique visitors to my website when my sitemeter claims that there are over 20,000 per month. Another problem is that I switched to blogspot a couple of months ago, but quantcast doesn't have enough data to give me information on that site address and is giving me data on an old address.

Given those caveats, apparently the readers of my blog are more educated than those who go to the average blog, tend to be 25 to 34 or 55 to 64, and more likely to have kids at home. Because I recent changed blog servers I am missing a lot of hits here (this is the breakdown for the old address and the new one has been used long enough for a breakdown), but it is still interesting.



USA Today Online Poll on Second Amendment

A USA Today poll asking whether the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms can be found here.

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New op-ed: Media Coverage of Mall Shooting Fails to Reveal Mall's Gun-Free Zone Status

The oped can be read here.

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Evidence that the Omaha Westroads Mall was yet another gun free zone

Nebraska allows people to carry permitted concealed handguns, but it allows property owners, such as the Westroads Mall, to post signs banning permit holders from legally carrying guns on their property.


A fast look at the media coverage on the Omaha Westroad Mall Shooting

There were 2,674 news stories according to Google News search by about 4 AM EST today. Of course, these are news stories worldwide.

But I can find any of these stories that mention that the attack occurred in a gun free zone. Why?

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Another Gun Free Zone Killing

For Hanukkia light one fewer candle to save the planet

This is too bizarre. Aren't Orthodox Jews the very people who already don't use electricity one day a week?

In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," said Liad Ortar, the campaign's cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site's environmental forum. "Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation."

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Logical inconsistency in using the death penalty?

OK, the Supreme Court claims that whether the death penalty should only apply to those whose brains were sufficiently developed. But does this logic mean that men and women should face the death penalty at different ages?

Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development

Personally to me just because brains are changing doesn't mean anything about the ability to understand right and wrong.

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More Women Packing Concealed Handguns in Michigan

Friday, November 30, 2007
More women pack heat
Safety fears spark jump in concealed weapons permits
Darren A. Nichols and Iveory Perkins / The Detroit News

. . . . They fell for years among women as well, but are rising again. Women may set a record for statewide applications this year, and they're flooding ranges and prompting Wayne County and other training facilities to host "women-only" permit classes.

Bunch and other women remain the vast majority of the state's 150,000 who legally carry concealed weapons, but their ranks have jumped from 10 percent of permit-holders in 2001 to 17 percent this year. Women are on pace to receive nearly 4,100 permits this year, close to double that in 2003. . . . .

Michigan's rate for women seems low compared to other states, but it is rising quickly. It would be interesting to try to explain why there is the difference across states in the rate that women carry concealed handguns.


Very lively debate on Supreme Court Gun Ban Case

Last week I had a debate with Richard French on the Regional News Network, which is in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. I believe that you can watch the debate here, though I can't seem to get it to work because it apparently doesn't work with Macs. If that doesn't wok, you could try this and search under "John Lott."

P.S. I have both Windows Media 7 for the Mac and I have tried with both Firefox and Safari, but failed to get this work. If any readers could help me out with the exact link (assuming that I got it wrong), please let me know.

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Michelle Obama (Barack's wife) sees need for guns in rural America

“My wife, she was traveling up, I think, in eastern Iowa, she was driving through this nice, beautiful area, going through all this farmland and hills and rivers and she said ‘Boy, it’s really pretty up here,’ but she said, ‘But you know, I can see why if I was living out here, I’d want a gun. Because, you know, 911 is going to take some time before somebody responds. You know what I mean? You know, it’s like five miles between every house.”

Well, I know Barack from when we were both at the University of Chicago Law School, and I have the strong belief that he does not people that any private citizens should be able to own guns and that he never came across a gun control law that he didn't like. This appears to be a bit of election time conversion or that his wife has different views than he does.

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Podcast from Appearance on Air America last Thursday

Thom Hartmann had me on his show again last week. This was not the liveliest show that I was on last week to discuss my piece on women's suffrage. You can listen to the podcast here.

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Philly Scouts face eviction

The Cradle of Liberty Council—Philadelphia's Boy Scout chapter—has been housed in an historic building in downtown Philly for almost 80 years, paying almost nothing for the prime piece of proprety under the terms of a 100-year sweetheart lease it inked with the city in 1928. But that lease is set to expire, and city officials say the taxpayer's shouldn't be footing the Scouts rent bill because of it's national policy banning openly gay members and leaders. The Scouts must either pony up the fair market rent for the space—about $200,000 a year—or find a new home. . . . .

According to a letter the Boy Scouts received from City Solicitor Rome Diaz, the Boy Scouts have until Dec. 3 to sign a new lease and start paying for the use of the property, or the city will find a new tennant and the scouts will be evicted. Diaz, who is openly gay, refused FOX News' request for an interview. . . . .

I just hope that there is a follow up story that looks at what is the rent that the city gets for the space. I am willing to bet that it is quite a bit less than $200,000.



A Question of Causality: Political Beliefs and Mental Health

Boy, what I would give to get data that follows individuals over time. Here is the question: Does being dependent upon someone else make you more depressed or does being depressed make you want to depend on the government more? Surely both of these two claims could be true.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education. . . . .

But an analysis of the relationship between party identification and self-reported excellent mental health within various categories of age, gender, church attendance, income, education, and other variables shows that the basic pattern persists regardless of these characteristics. In other words, party identification appears to have an independent effect on mental health even when each of these is controlled for. . . . .(emphasis added)