Letter in Today's Washington Times on Gun Show Regulations

The article on gun-show regulations in Virginia contains a serious mistake ("Panel kills gun-show checks for private sales," Metropolitan, Thursday). The article cites state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis as claiming that "the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has reported that gun shows are the second-leading source of guns used in crimes, behind only unscrupulous licensed dealers." Unfortunately, the study she cites simply was not designed to reach the conclusion that Mrs. Davis claims, because the ATF report looked at 198 non-randomly chosen investigations. The ATF doesn't make the claim that its investigations are representative of the distribution of sources of illegal guns.

By contrast, the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a survey of 18,000 state prison inmates in 1997, the largest survey of inmates ever conducted. Less than 1 percent of inmates (0.7 percent) who had a gun indicated they had obtained it at a gun show. When combined with guns obtained from flea markets, the total rises to 1.7 percent. These are tiny fractions compared to the estimated 40 percent of the criminals' guns that are obtained from friends or family and the 39 percent that are obtained on the street or from illegal sources. The numbers also had changed little from a similar 1991 survey that indicated that 0.6 percent of inmates had gotten their guns from guns shows and 1.3 percent from flea markets.

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New York Times attacking Florida's Right-to-Carry Laws

Picking up on articles in two Florida newspapers, the New York Times goes after concealed handgun laws. This editorial is very deceptive in that it implies that felons are obtaining permits. But these individuals were not convicted of "felonies." Florida judges have the power to take a plea, impose probation (without entering a conviction) and once the person completes that, "withhold conviction." These individuals are eligible for a permit because they were not convicted of anything. If the cases are as horrible or the evidence as clear as you claim, why are the judges withholding convictions? Second, I talked to a Mary Kennedy with Florida's licensing department and she confirmed for me that only one person last year lost his permit for any firearms related violation. That is 1 out of 410,000 permit holders. See my similar discussion here.


Rudy Giuliani’s view on gun control

SayUncle has some interesting information on Rudy Giuliani’s view on gun control. Apparently Giuliani is willing to question the efficacy of the so-called assault weapons ban. Possibly the fact that the law's supporters wrongly predicted what would happen what would happen after September 13, 2004 had an impact on his views.

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Take guns from police and crime soars?

This is shocking: you take guns away from police, arrests plummet, and crime rates soar. How could that possibly happen? This occurred even though there was widespread concerns of corruption among the police.

Police in the violent border city of Tijuana have their guns back three weeks after being forced to hand them over to federal authorities on allegations on collusion with drug traffickers. . . .

The officers handed in their guns Jan. 4 after President Felipe Calderon sent 3,300 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana to hunt down drug gangs. . . .

The Tijuana police initially stopped patrolling when their guns were taken, saying it was too dangerous, but most later returned to work. . . .

Last week, the Tijuana police department announced it had issued some officers slingshots and ball bearings to defend themselves.

Algorri said the drastic action put the city's safety at risk, and cut in half the number of arrests made in January compared to the same period last year. . . .

In several neighborhoods, residents took the law into their own hands, grabbing suspects off the street and tying them up before calling police to haul them off. . . .

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Revisiting Pilots with Guns

As the number of armed pilots aboard U.S. jetliners has steadily expanded in recent years, the program is showing signs of growing pains. Pilots and their labor groups complain about a lack of supervision and the difficulty in finding time to participate in training courses.

Worried that pilots' handgun skills may be eroding, federal security officials are launching a refresher training program next month. Armed pilots must attend a two-day mandatory course at a training facility near Atlantic City three to five years after getting their guns. Some pilots have already taken prototype refresher courses that are being evaluated by authorities, said officials with the Federal Air Marshal Service, which runs the program. . . .

When the program began, union officials said as many as 30,000 pilots would eventually carry firearms in cockpits. The number of armed pilots is well short of that number, but there are now more armed pilots than there are federal air marshals, according to sources familiar with the program.

I don't know who in the unions were claiming that the program would produce 30,000 armed pilots (I for one wrote several op-eds criticizing the program) and all the union people I knew were unhappy with it. What I think that the Washington Post is confusing is the number of pilots who expressed interest in carrying a gun and the number who were willing to put up with the bizarre rules required by the government.

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Comments on Bush's State of the Union Address

I was very disappointed with Bush's talk about energy independence and alternative energy sources. Ethanol costs well over $100 per barrel. Oil costs about $50 per barrel. You are throwing out $50 for each barrel of ethanol you buy (actually it is even more than that since the energy produced by burning a barrel of ethanol is apparently less). Bush’s and the Democrat’s policy on this will just make us much poorer. I know the responses: that the price of ethanol is coming down. But that doesn’t justify a subsidy. Firms can take that into account just as they do with any other product. If they think that cost will come down enough that it will pay for them to produce the product, they will start producing the product.

The other claim involves energy security. This makes little sense to me. If gas is risky because oil might get cut off in a war or if there is a boycott, that causes the current price to rise to reflex that future higher price. That higher price then will be taken into account to see whether because of that risk we should be relying on other energy sources. The only justification that I can make for this last claim is that the threat of price controls prevent gas companies from profiting from those higher future prices and thus eliminate their incentives to do things such as store more gas today. The problem here then is the threat of government intervention in the market that is then used to justify more government intervention. There is no reason to believe that the government is going to get anywhere near to picking the right levels of investments here.



Florida Newspapers Question Concealed Handgun Permit System in State

Orlando Sentinel: Some criminals qualify for concealed weapons. But what is the bottom line? During over 19 years from October 1, 1987 to December 31, 2006, Florida issued 1,206,616 permits but revoked just 158 for any type of firearms violation. Almost all of those were for non-threatening incidents such as accidentally carrying a gun into a restricted area such as an airport. (Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, Concealed Weapon / Firearm Summary Report, October 1, 1987 - November 30, 2006 (see here). See also More Guns, Less Crime (2000), p. 221.) One minor point is that I think that there are actually about 550,000 people with concealed carry permits in Florida, not just 406,000. The question is whether you want to include retired police, private investigators, firearms instructors, private security officers, etc. who have permits to carry.


Book Review in Today's New York Post on Ben Witte's New Book

I have a review of Ben Wittes very interesting book CONFIRMATION WARS: PRESERVING INDEPENDENT COURTS IN ANGRY TIMES in today's New York Post. There were a couple of typos introduced in the piece (I corrected one).


Hillary Clinton gets National Anthem wrong

Youtube (via Drudge) has a recording of Hillary singing the National Anthem. I don't know how important this is or even if it is important at all, but I am pretty sure from what few words you can hear from Hillary singing that she got one of the words wrong. (The Drudge report doesn't explicitly note that this happened.) Simply out of academic curiosity, it would have been interesting to hear more than part of just two lines from the song. She should have sung:

"O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave"

But she seems to be singing:

"O say, does our star-spangled banner yet wave"

All I can say is that if it were Bush or Quayle making such a mistake, they would get all sorts of grief. My guess is that this will get as much coverage as Al Gore misidentifying Thomas Jefferson's bust soon after he was elected to be vice president. On the other hand, the Drudge Report probably took the right and honorable route and did not make an issue at all of the mistake, though I suspect that they could have done so if they wanted to. The Drudge Report didn't even raise the issue of the mistake.


The economics of baseball and football

Russell Roberts, someone who I have coauthored multiple papers with, has a very interesting interview with Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball and The Blind Side. I guess that I have a hard time accepting Roberts' claims about the lack of competitive pressures in baseball. To say that these guys are the only baseball team in town so that they don't really have to compete seems wrong to me. There must be more teams than the Oakland A's that care a lot about winning. What about the Yankees for example? On the other hand, there were lots of points that I thought were great about the interview. I really like the NCAA recruiting discussion.



Defensive gun use in Kansas involving concealed handgun permit holder

Phillips 66 Owner Dean Yee was not going to make it easy for the two men he says tried to rob him at gunpoint Friday. “They demanded money and to make things tougher I said I'm not gonna give you the money you can come around here and get it yourself.”

That's when a customer in the store, and valid conceal to carry permit holder in Oklahoma, took action.

“He got their attention. He looked at my friend and pointed the gun at him and then his life was in danger and he exercised his right and shot him,” said Yee.

Emergency crews took the 17 year old juvenile to a Kansas City hospital. The other suspect fled.

“I would've been shot in the chest,” said Yee.

After fourteen years of trying to pass the Conceal Carry law in Kansas, State Senator Phill Journey says Friday’s incident is a prime example of where the new law could help society. It is absolutely going to be seen as more permit holders are out there. I think its important that criminals need to be on notice that this will happen to them.”

“I think its gonna give businesses a lot of added protection police can't be everywhere at every minute,” said Journey. . . . .

Thanks to Gus Cotey for sending this to me.



A new cure to smoking addiction?


DC Mayor admits DC's gun control hasn't worked, though the solution is more national gun control

Here is the interesting problem. In other countries that have adopted national gun control, they blame the fact that we don't have international gun control for their high crime rates.

[Mayor Adrian M.] Fenty (D), speaking at a news conference held by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, said local laws are not sufficient to fight the use of illegal weapons.

"We have one of the highest homicide rates in the country but at the same time have the strictest [gun] law," Fenty said, joining other urban chief executives at the bipartisan summit on the issue yesterday on Capitol Hill. "Local jurisdictions just can't solve the problem. You need to have the federal government have one standard for dealing with illegal guns.". . . .

Thanks very much to Robert VerBruggen for sending this link to me.



Problems with the latest Miller, Hemenway, Azrael study on guns

The New York Times reports yesterday that a new study from Miller, Hemenway, and Azrael claims: "States with the greatest number of guns in the home also have the highest rates of homicide, a new study finds. . . . " Well, I have just spent a short time looking at the study, but there are some of things that are pretty obvious: 1) They excluded the District of Columbia without any explanation, 2) they use other crime rates to explain the homicide rate (by the way, they don’t use anything like an arrest or conviction rate, nothing to do with law enforcement), 3) they use purely cross-sectional data that never allows one to properly control for what may cause differences in crime rates, and 4) data from different years is used without any explanation (for the sake of argument I will use what they did, but it is weird to have the unemployment rate from 2000 to explain the homicide rate from 2001 to 2003, etc.). The data for a panel test on this is readily available from the sources used in their paper, though I have only collected the data to redo the estimates for 2001 that they use (why is it that these papers where one can put together the data in an afternoon get any serious attention). Why they only looked at the CDC data for 2001 when it is available for many other years is a bit of a puzzle. Since Miller and Hemenway have refused in the past to let me look at their data, I didn't bother this time and simply put the data together myself.

The bottom line is that their results comes from two factors: the exclusion of DC and the use of other crime rates to explain the murder rate. Changing these two factors causes their result to go from positive and significant to negative and significant. I also decided to run these regressions on the robbery rate and doing so produced a statistically significant negative effect whether or not DC was excluded. Using arrest rate data, not shown, also caused the results to be more significantly negative. If I had the necessary panel data handy, my strong presumption is that would also reverse with their result whether or not DC was included.

It is problematic to include the other crime rates in these regressions, particularly since they must believe that guns cause robbery as well as homicide. The results below indicate that more guns mean fewer robberies (again this is using their flawed set up, though I believe that this would continue to be observed with panel data).

The general issue when you are doing this type of empirical work is to use all the data available. When I have done my empirical work on guns I have used all the data available for all jurisdictions for all the years available. In this case, the CDC survey data is available for many years after 1995, not just 2001, and they are not using all the jurisdictions. If you selectively pick years or places one should have a good explanation for why you are doing that, and I don't see any such explanations in the paper. The regressions reported by Miller et. al. are also not the type of regression estimates that any economist would run. What I try to show below is how sensitive the results are to what I would consider to be the most obvious corrections. Including all jurisdictions and make the estimates slightly more consistent with the way an economist would look at it without even having to add new variables.

In any case, noting that this is purely cross-sectional data and not very useful, here is an attempt to redo their estimates looking at the homicide rate from 2001 to 2003 on the gun ownership rate from the CDC and the other variables that they use (I wasn't able to find their gini coefficient, but that is the only variable that they used that wasn't included). Here are some very simple linear regressions that I put together fairly quickly:

DC excluded (used all their variables in their Table 3, except for the gini coefficient)

Homcide01to03 = average homicide rate from 2001 to 2003.
I think that the other variables should be clear.

. reg Homcide01to03 gunownershiprate2001 percenturban medianfamilyincome1999 percentbelowpovertylevel percentblack percentsinglefemaleparenthouseho unemploymentrate2000census percentdivorced percentpop18342001 aggrivatedassaultrate2001 robberyrate2001 southerncensusregion alcoholconsumption2001 if notDC==0

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 50
-------------+------------------------------ F( 13, 36) = 21.98
Model | 275.288226 13 21.1760174 Prob > F = 0.0000
Residual | 34.6827793 36 .963410535 R-squared = 0.8881
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.8477
Total | 309.971006 49 6.32593889 Root MSE = .98153

Homcide01~03 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunowne~2001 | 6.158754 2.575103 2.39 0.022 .9362022 11.38131
percenturban | -1.20992 2.421382 -0.50 0.620 -6.12071 3.70087
medianf~1999 | .000102 .000079 1.29 0.205 -.0000581 .0002622
percentbel~l | 40.05939 19.33717 2.07 0.046 .8417922 79.27699
percentblack | .1185185 .0484017 2.45 0.019 .0203554 .2166816
percentsin~o | -3.773734 39.70597 -0.10 0.925 -84.30117 76.75371
unemployme~s | -26.08681 26.27778 -0.99 0.327 -79.38061 27.20699
percentdiv~d | 27.83938 17.55642 1.59 0.122 -7.76669 63.44544
per~18342001 | 12.88474 13.88689 0.93 0.360 -15.27917 41.04865
aggriva~2001 | .0016147 .0016653 0.97 0.339 -.0017627 .0049922
robbery~2001 | .0243026 .0056717 4.28 0.000 .0127999 .0358053
southernce~n | -1.351635 .599814 -2.25 0.030 -2.568114 -.1351559
alcohol~2001 | .0742161 .3756206 0.20 0.844 -.6875778 .83601
_cons | -14.5245 5.782964 -2.51 0.017 -26.2529 -2.796107

DC excluded (did not include their variables for other crimes)

. reg Homcide01to03 gunownershiprate2001 percenturban medianfamilyincome1999 percentbelowpovertylevel percentblack percentsinglefemaleparenthouseho unemploymentrate2000census percentdivorced percentpop18342001 southerncensusregion alcoholconsumption2001 if notDC==0

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 50
-------------+------------------------------ F( 11, 38) = 14.32
Model | 249.711 11 22.701 Prob > F = 0.0000
Residual | 60.2600055 38 1.58578962 R-squared = 0.8056
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.7493
Total | 309.971006 49 6.32593889 Root MSE = 1.2593

Homcide01~03 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunowne~2001 | 2.69241 3.090395 0.87 0.389 -3.563767 8.948587
percenturban | 5.193162 2.623195 1.98 0.055 -.1172174 10.50354
medianf~1999 | .0000198 .0000975 0.20 0.840 -.0001776 .0002172
percentbel~l | 25.22912 24.1867 1.04 0.303 -23.7343 74.19253
percentblack | .2104145 .0536538 3.92 0.000 .1017981 .3190309
percentsin~o | 10.48135 48.55617 0.22 0.830 -87.81547 108.7782
unemployme~s | 1.005869 32.85402 0.03 0.976 -65.50361 67.51534
percentdiv~d | 50.45611 21.41619 2.36 0.024 7.101307 93.81091
per~18342001 | 6.999652 17.28577 0.40 0.688 -27.99356 41.99286
southernce~n | -1.131898 .7236749 -1.56 0.126 -2.596902 .333105
alcohol~2001 | .0678944 .4816396 0.14 0.889 -.9071341 1.042923
_cons | -13.31319 7.321042 -1.82 0.077 -28.13387 1.507483

Same as above, but DC is included
. reg Homcide01to03 gunownershiprate2001 percenturban medianfamilyincome1999 percentbelowpovertylevel percentblack percentsinglefemaleparenthouseho unemploymentrate2000census percentdivorced percentpop18342001 southerncensusregion alcoholconsumption2001

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 51
-------------+------------------------------ F( 11, 39) = 31.88
Model | 1620.08306 11 147.280278 Prob > F = 0.0000
Residual | 180.146769 39 4.61914793 R-squared = 0.8999
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.8717
Total | 1800.22983 50 36.0045966 Root MSE = 2.1492

Homcide01~03 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunowne~2001 | -9.199294 4.729762 -1.94 0.059 -18.76614 .3675525
percenturban | -3.598846 4.131027 -0.87 0.389 -11.95464 4.756945
medianf~1999 | .0000194 .0001664 0.12 0.908 -.0003172 .000356
percentbel~l | 39.06187 41.19014 0.95 0.349 -44.25305 122.3768
percentblack | .4766173 .0751993 6.34 0.000 .3245123 .6287222
percentsin~o | -201.1131 71.71166 -2.80 0.008 -346.1636 -56.06257
unemployme~s | 98.52408 52.70362 1.87 0.069 -8.079052 205.1272
percentdiv~d | 94.91258 35.49413 2.67 0.011 23.11892 166.7062
per~18342001 | 95.1942 23.88845 3.98 0.000 46.87524 143.5132
southernce~n | -3.159236 1.169235 -2.70 0.010 -5.524236 -.7942356
alcohol~2001 | 1.496186 .7727291 1.94 0.060 -.0668065 3.059178
_cons | -25.89853 12.24821 -2.11 0.041 -50.67287 -1.124194

DC excluded, not using their selective set of control variables
. reg Homcide01to03 gunownershiprate2001 if notDC==0

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 50
-------------+------------------------------ F( 1, 48) = 0.00
Model | .00402852 1 .00402852 Prob > F = 0.9802
Residual | 309.966977 48 6.45764536 R-squared = 0.0000
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = -0.0208
Total | 309.971006 49 6.32593889 Root MSE = 2.5412

Homcide01to03 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunownershiprate2001 | -.0743955 2.978593 -0.02 0.980 -6.063259 5.914468
_cons . . . . . . . . . | 4.707644 1.0878 4.33 0.000 2.520475 6.894813

Same with DC included
. reg Homcide01to03 gunownershiprate2001

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 51
-------------+------------------------------ F( 1, 49) = 5.18
Model | 172.063659 1 172.063659 Prob > F = 0.0273
Residual | 1628.16617 49 33.227881 R-squared = 0.0956
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.0771
Total | 1800.22983 50 36.0045966 Root MSE = 5.7644

Homcide01to03 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunownershiprate2001 | -14.46889 6.358312 -2.28 0.027 -27.24639 -1.69138
_cons . . . . . . . . . | 10.34603 2.299427 4.50 0.000 5.725162 14.9669

What it means. Again, this uses purely cross-sectional data, but accepting that: their result depends on excluding DC and including other crime rates to explain the murder rate. This would mean that more guns, less homicide. Even when DC is excluded, the simple correlation using cross-sectional data is negative, though not at all statistically significant.

Just for the sake of argument, I did the same regressions for robbery (though I only took the time to put together the robbery rates for 2001).

DC Excluded
. reg robberyrate2001 gunownershiprate2001 percenturban percentdivorced medianfamilyincome199
> 9 percentbelowpovertylevel percentsinglefemaleparenthouseho percentblack southerncensusregion
> percentpop18342001 unemploymentrate2000census alcoholconsumption2001 if notDC==0

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 50
-------------+------------------------------ F( 11, 38) = 14.80
Model | 151143.145 11 13740.2859 Prob > F = 0.0000
Residual | 35287.596 38 928.620948 R-squared = 0.8107
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.7559
Total | 186430.741 49 3804.709 Root MSE = 30.473

robbery~2001 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunowne~2001 | -148.547 74.7843 -1.99 0.054 -299.9399 2.845877
percenturban | 220.1914 63.47854 3.47 0.001 91.68583 348.697
percentdiv~d | 940.7374 518.2491 1.82 0.077 -108.4031 1989.878
medianf~1999 | -.0024856 .0023595 -1.05 0.299 -.0072621 .0022909
percentbel~l | -425.7565 585.2927 -0.73 0.471 -1610.62 759.1066
percentsin~o | 99.18109 1175.008 0.08 0.933 -2279.498 2477.861
percentblack | 3.950401 1.298365 3.04 0.004 1.321999 6.578804
southernce~n | .8315924 17.51217 0.05 0.962 -34.61994 36.28313
per~18342001 | -100.722 418.2974 -0.24 0.811 -947.5208 746.0768
unemployme~s | 892.2601 795.0325 1.12 0.269 -717.1991 2501.719
alcohol~2001 | -.6820588 11.65517 -0.06 0.954 -24.27672 22.9126
_cons | 11.46862 177.1615 0.06 0.949 -347.1761 370.1133

DC included
. reg robberyrate2001 gunownershiprate2001 percenturban percentdivorced medianfamilyincome199
> 9 percentbelowpovertylevel percentsinglefemaleparenthouseho percentblack southerncensusregion
> percentpop18342001 unemploymentrate2000census alcoholconsumption2001

Source | SS df MS Number of obs = 51
-------------+------------------------------ F( 11, 39) = 34.80
Model | 468437.017 11 42585.1833 Prob > F = 0.0000
Residual | 47727.1118 39 1223.7721 R-squared = 0.9075
-------------+------------------------------ Adj R-squared = 0.8815
Total | 516164.128 50 10323.2826 Root MSE = 34.982

robbery~2001 | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval]
gunowne~2001 | -269.6794 76.98545 -3.50 0.001 -425.3971 -113.9616
percenturban | 130.6335 67.23995 1.94 0.059 -5.372167 266.6391
percentdiv~d | 1393.584 577.7313 2.41 0.021 225.0122 2562.156
medianf~1999 | -.0024894 .0027086 -0.92 0.364 -.007968 .0029893
percentbel~l | -284.852 670.4441 -0.42 0.673 -1640.953 1071.249
percentsin~o | -2056.182 1167.237 -1.76 0.086 -4417.142 304.7783
percentblack | 6.662021 1.224005 5.44 0.000 4.186237 9.137804
southernce~n | -19.81946 19.03141 -1.04 0.304 -58.31413 18.6752
per~18342001 | 797.6534 388.8279 2.05 0.047 11.17482 1584.132
unemployme~s | 1885.609 857.8469 2.20 0.034 150.45 3620.768
alcohol~2001 | 13.86693 12.57757 1.10 0.277 -11.5736 39.30746
_cons | -116.7293 199.3618 -0.59 0.562 -519.9766 286.5179

For Robbery whether you included DC or not there is a statistically significant negative relationship between the CDC's measure of gun ownership in 2001 and robbery rates in that year.

Sorry about the typos. I was working on this pretty late.

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Mankiw interview

Here is another interesting post from Econtalk, where Russell Roberts conductes a very interviewing Greg Mankiw. Mankiw is a very interesting and bright guy. However, I did have one serious point to make with Russell. When Greg made the claim about the Coase theorem only applying when transaction costs are zero with the note that when transaction costs are positive it matters who we give the property rights to. That is not quite right. The Coase theorem implies that if the transaction costs are less than the gains from trade it doesn't matter who we assign property rights to. Similarly, I wish that Russell had raised the point that the market will solve externality problems, not just when transaction costs are zero, but when they are less than the gains from trade.



For the first time presidential candidates not accepting federal funds for general election


The Media Gets it Wrong on the Rate that Women are Married

I recently posted a discussion here on the media coverage of the claim that 51 percent of "women" were not married. Well, Jeff Jacoby has a very nice discussion that makes some of the points that I raised earlier, but he also makes a new stunning one about the study counting women whose husbands are not living with them (away in Iraq for example) as being excluded from the sample of married individuals.

"Women," for example, isn't the word most of us would use to describe high school sophomores. Yet the Times includes girls as young as 15 in its analysis. Not surprisingly, girls who in many cases aren't old enough to get a drivers' license are unlikely to have husbands. According to the Census Bureau's 2005 American Community survey, 97 percent of females between 15 and 19 have never been married. Incorporating nearly 10 million teenagers in the ranks of marriage-aged American "women" may be a good way to pad the number of those without husbands, but it doesn't make that number more enlightening.

Actually, Census data show that even with the 15- to 19-year-olds, a majority of American females -- 51 percent -- are "now married." So how does the Times reach a contrary conclusion? By excluding from the category of women with husbands the "relatively small number of cases" -- in fact, it's more than 2 million -- in which "husbands are working out of town, are in the military, or are institutionalized." That startling Page 1 headline is true, in other words, only if the wives of US troops at war are deemed not to have husbands.

Marriage in America is undoubtedly less robust than it was 50 years ago. But it is not yet a candidate for the endangered-species list. The Census Bureau reports that by the time they are 30 to 34, a large majority of American men and women -- 72 percent -- have been married. Among men and women ages 65 and up, 96 percent have been married. Yes, the divorce rate is high -- 17.7 per 1,000 marriages -- and many couples cohabitate without getting married. But marriage remains a key institution in American life. . . . .


New Orleans drags its feet on returning guns to law-abiding citizens

Bellevue, Washington - Frustrated by repeated failures to meet court-appointed deadlines, and a pattern of disregard by the City of New Orleans, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed a motion to hold Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley in contempt of federal court.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Jan. 31 in federal district court in New Orleans. The Second Amendment Foundation is suing Nagin and Riley over the confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Joining SAF in the lawsuit is the National Rifle Association.

"Mayor Nagin, Chief Riley and the city's attorney have repeatedly failed to communicate with our legal counsel, even for the most trivial of matters related to this lawsuit," said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. "We were prepared to file this motion months ago, but gave the city several opportunities to comply with the court, and to begin returning seized firearms to their rightful owners. They haven't done it. . . . .



Is Arizona trying to outlaw some types of private self defense?

"'Patrolling to detect alleged illegal activity' while carrying any weapon would be felony" . . . .

An Arizona lawmaker has introduced a bill to revise the state's statutes on organized crime and fraud by defining "domestic terrorism" in such a way that members of the Minuteman Project or other border-patrol groups could be prosecuted and forced to serve a minimum six-month jail term. . . . .

My question is whether this law is so broad that it would make it a crime to hire guards at you store. I haven't read the law, but at least what this article describes would include this also. Would a concealed handgun permit holder be included? After all, would not a concealed handgun permit holder be said to be on guard for detecting illegal activity?

Thanks to James Marie for sending this link to me.



Consumer Reports magazine forced to retract report

Conducting a test at 70 mph and reporting it as low as 35 mph without a note about how high the speeds went, sounds pretty bad.

Consumer Reports magazine was forced yesterday to retract a damning report on infant car seats after the federal government said test crashes on the seats were conducted at drastically higher speeds than the magazine had claimed.

The revelation amounts to an embarrassment for the trusted consumer guide, and a relief to parents who were frightened about their babies' safety after the original report came out.

That report said most of the seats tested "failed disastrously" in crashes at speeds as low as 35 mph. In one test, it said, a dummy child was hurled 30 feet.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said some of the crash tests were conducted under conditions that would represent being struck at more than 70 mph. . . . .


"Idaho Mayor Withdraws From Bloomberg's Gun Group"

An Idaho mayor has dropped out of Mayor Bloomberg's coalition against illegal guns, city officials said.

The mayor of Idaho Falls, Jared Mr. Bloomberg's coalition in October, but withdrew earlier this month because of pressure from constituents and what he told a local news organization was a sense that the coalition had an " agenda" of preventing guns from entering the hands even of law-abiding gun owners. The coalition is called Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Mr. Fuhriman declined to comment for this article.

"I found there's probably a little more of an agenda coming from Mayor Bloomberg's office than I anticipated," he told Channel 3, KIDK, on January 2. "So as I looked into it, I could see there was a conflict with the NRA and some of the beliefs we have here in Idaho." . . . .


Registering and Regulating Churches as Lobbyists?

This is another not particularly surprising expansion of campaign finance reform. This wasn't aimed at churches per se, but at the attempts to get around the other regulations generally.

Under the House version of the Bill, a church or organization would be considered a “grassroots lobbying firm” subject to this law if the group attempted to influence the general public to voluntarily contact federal officials in order to express their own views on a federal issue. Furthermore, many large churches and ministries utilize mass media to communicate their message. Under this House Bill by Nancy Pelosi, these communications, as long as they are directed to at least one person who is not a member of the church, would fall under this new Bill. Finally, if the church spends an aggregate of only $50,000 or more for such efforts in a quarterly period, they are now required to register as lobbyists. Many ministries spend $50,000 or more a month for air time.


This could be a lot wilder ride for Republicans than Democrats in 2008

Why are more women living without husbands?

Fox News has a nice discussion of this. With fewer women having kids, that is part of the explanation. I would like to really see how much of this is due to elderly women greatly out living their spouses. My guess is that there are a lot of 60, 70, 80, 90 year old women who are either unwilling, uninterested, or whatever in terms of getting remarried. Women so greatly out number men in those higher age categories, I would guess that it really makes a difference and that group has been growing a lot. Women are marrying later and my guess is that part of that is the result of no fault divorce laws.

Some of what is read into this finding is a joke. How do they know or prove things such as this?
At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom. . . .


Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared to about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women. . . .

UPDATE: I finally got a hold of the New York Times article upon which this Fox News story was based. Apparently, women were defined as women from age 15 and higher. My guess is that few women from 15 to 20 are married. Presumably 100 years ago that was much higher. I am not sure that tells us anything about women not wanting or needing men. If you limited the survey to women 19 and older, clearly less than 50 percent of women would be without a man. When you combine that with the fact that women are living much longer than men, I am again not sure what to make of these basic numbers. A more meaningful statistic would be something such as women 19 or 20 to 75.



Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is in trouble both with and without these days

Denver Nuggets Player Tried to Get Concealed Handgun Permit after being Shot at

Bizarre Government Accounting Rules

Many have probably heard that Sarbanes-Oxley Act is driving firms to list their shares on foreign stock markets and not on the US stock exchanges.

From an Apple representative on the show floor: so if you have a Core 2 Duo Macintosh, you have a card capable of 802.11b, g, and - surprise, surprise - n. (Well, apparently n draft 2, which may or may not be like the final ratified standard come 2008, but will be supported in multiple Apple products.) And Apple’s going to distribute software to let you unlock the n standard in that card, which offers superior bandwidth for all sorts of data, especially and including high-bitrate video. Great news, right?

I’m not going to claim to understand this next part, which really just makes no sense to me at all, but the claim Apple’s making is that it _can’t_ give you the 802.11n-unlocking software for free. The reason: the Core 2 Duo Macs weren’t advertised as 802.11n-ready, and a little law called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act supposedly prohibits Apple from giving away an unadvertised new feature for one of its products. Hence, said the Apple rep, the company’s not distributing new _features_ in Software Update any more, just _bug fixes._ Because of Sarbanes-Oxley. . . .

it’s about accounting. Because of the Act, the company believes that if it sells a product, then later adds a feature to that product, it can be held liable for improper accounting if it recognizes revenue from the product at the time of sale, given that it hasn’t finished delivering the product at that point. Ridiculous.



An alternative to recycling cars and skeet shooting

This is pretty funny: A replacement for skeet shooting. I think that this is a new sport that could really catch on.



Reviews of "24"

Here are a couple of reviews. As unbelieveable as it seems, apparently this season promises to be the best one yet. I confess that I regularly tried to watch this show. It is usually great.

-- Review by Stephen King.

--Review by DOROTHY RABINOWITZ in the WSJ.

Review by the Toronto Star for an idea of what some Canadians think of the show..

Review by the New York Times.



Major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district exempted from minimum wage increase

At least when it comes to her constituents, Pelosi seems to understand that the law can put people out of work.

House Republicans yesterday declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.
"I am shocked," said Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and his party's chief deputy whip, noting that Mrs. Pelosi campaigned heavily on promises of honest government. "Now we find out that she is exempting hometown companies from minimum wage. This is exactly the hypocrisy and double talk that we have come to expect from the Democrats."
On Wednesday, the House voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.
The bill also extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws. . . .

Twice in week that crimes stopped by armed shop owners in Las Vegas

Jan. 12, 2007, Las Vegas Review-Journal: A would-be robber was shot and killed by a North Las Vegas furniture store owner Thursday night, police said. . . . North Las Vegas police spokesman Sean Walker said the owner considered it suspicious that someone was seeking to enter through the back door and armed himself. Upon opening the door, the owner was confronted by a man wearing a mask and carrying a metal pipe, Walker said. The robbery suspect swung the pipe at the owner, who fired his weapon back at the suspect, police said. . . .

Jan. 06, 2007, Las Vegas Review-Journal: A convenience store manager shot and killed a robbery suspect and injured another Friday after the men entered his North Las Vegas store and took the manager and several customers hostage. . . .

Thanks to L.J. O'Neale for both stories.



Judge Castillo issues decision on Lott v. Levitt

A copy of the judge's decision can be downloaded here. A Copy of Levitt's Correction Letter can be obtained here.

1) The Judge has found that one of the two counts of defamation involving Levitt can proceed.

p. 15: ". . . Levitt's email sounds as if he was "in possession of objectively verifiable facts." In his email Levitt states: 'It was not a peer refereed edition of the Journal. For $15,000 [Lott] was able to buy an issue and put in only work that supported him. My best friend was the editor and was outraged the press let Lott do this.' First, it would be unreasonable to interpret Levitt's unqualified statement that the journal edition was not 'peer refereed' as Levitt merely giving his opinion on the 'peers' chosen to review,or referee, the Special issue. Indeed, the editor of the Journal might be able to verify the truth or falsity of whether the Special Issue was reviewd by peers. Furthermore, while Levitt argues that one person's "'peer' in the academic realm may be another person's 'hack'," this distinction is not reasonable when discussing the review process at a top university's academic journal. Second, a reasonable reader would not interpret Levitt's assertion that "For $15,000 [Lott] was able to buy an issue and put in only work that supported him" as simply a statement of Levitt's opinion. Levitt's email appears to state objectively verifiable facts: that Lott paid $15,000 to control the content of the Special Issue. . . . Levitt's motion to dismiss Count II of Lott's Complaint is denied."

2) p. 7: "The applicable standard, however, is not that of the 'world of academic research and scholarship' that Lott describes. Rather, the critical question is how a 'reasonable reader' would interpret the phrase. The reasonable reader in this case is the general population . . . . In everyday language replicating results does not necessarily mean analyzing identical data in identical ways . . . ."

Response: I think that the market for the book was also aimed at academics. The book is apparently marketed to a large number of economics classes and is read by academics.

Levitt's correction letter

Many comments have been posted on this letter based upon the news story written on it in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but few have seen Levitt's actual correction letter. Among those commenting on the original news stories please see Ted Frank, Ben Zycher, John Palmer, Craig Newmark, Robert Wallach, Clayton Cramer, Larry White, Steve Sailer, Xlrq, Jonathan Adler, Michael Munger, Steve Sailer again, Glenn Reynolds, Say Uncle, Jode Shoo, Singular Values, and
The Corner. Unfortunately, at this point, I am not allowed to really comment on this. One part of Levitt's letter that has not gotten any attention is the one that I think was his most important, his statement that:
"I also was aware at the time of the May 2005 emails to you that in connection with the preparation of conference issues for the JLE that the organizer of each conference issue needs to provide funding to the JLE to cover publication and mailing expenses. I did not mean to suggest that Dr. Lott did anything unlawful or improper in arranging for the payment of the publication expenses for the Conference Issue."

The Chronicle of Higher Education has had a couple of articles on all this:

See this from the Chronicle.

See also this:

According to the motion, new facts have come to Mr. Lott’s attention since last year that significantly alter the character of his complaint. For one thing, he says, new information has come out about what he calls Mr. Levitt’s malice toward him. The motion alleges that Mr. Levitt has publicly referred to Mr. Lott as “the anti-Christ” and that Mr. Levitt “offered publicly to pay colleagues if they would humiliate” Mr. Lott. (Mr. Levitt did not immediately reply to a request for comment today.)

One point that wasn't directly mentioned by anyone is that Levitt's response when asked to backup is claim that others hadn't replicated my research was that the research papers were not refereed. Not only is Levitt acknowledging that the papers backed up and replicated my research, but he is admitting that the papers that did so were refereed.

The date on this letter does not match when I received it.
Update: See also this follow up filing


The Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke on why violent crime has gone up in 2005 and part of 2006

Violent crimes are rising. Do you think there is any connection between crime rates and changing gun legislation?

A. During the 1990s the federal government helped cities like Fort Wayne fight crime by providing COPS grants to hire more police and by adopting common-sense gun legislation like the Brady bill (establishing background checks for guns sold by licensed dealers) and the assault weapons ban. In recent years, there has been less federal money for local communities to hire police, and the gun laws have been weakened. Crime rates rise and fall for a number of reasons, but I certainly think that the change from the approach in the 1990s of “more police, less guns” to the approach now of “more guns, less police” has not helped. . . .

Why not more police and more guns? My research showed that police were the single most important factor in reducing crime, but I also believe that the police themselves realize that they almost always arrive on the crime scene after the crime has been committed. Police are extremely important and help in certain ways and so does letting private citizens defend themselves.

As to the Brady Act, how has the Bush administration weakened it? What did they do in 2005 and 2006 that weakened it?

I believe that the reduction in the number of police is associated with part of the reason for more violent crime, but that has nothing to do with the COPS programs which really didn't do anything to effectively increase the number of cops on the street. I have written on this enough, but the COPS program did not do anything about fungibility of money.


Miami, Florida: "Liquor store owner shoots, kills a robber"


Democrat uses "Assault Rifle" to defend family

Former Democratic Congressional and Senate candidate uses an "assault rifle" to defend his family. "Indian Hill lawyer and former congressional candidate Paul Hackett says he was woken up by 'criminal activity'on November 19 and 'took affirmative action to protect his wife and family from an unknown disturbance at his house.'" There is a certain irony here. Assuming that this gun is a real "assault rifle," it is interesting that the leftwing HuffingtonPost is giving the case such positive coverage. Of course, they face a certain tension. On the one hand, two of their columnists are Josh Sugarman and the Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke. On the other hand, Hackett is a liberal Democrat who they supported when he ran for office.

INDIAN HILL - Indian Hill lawyer and former congressional candidate Paul Hackett - armed with a loaded assault rifle - chased down three men in a car after it crashed into a fence at his home in the early morning hours of Nov. 19.

The driver was charged with failure to maintain reasonable control, driving under suspension and carrying a concealed weapon - a pair of brass knuckles found in his pocket - according to the Indian Hill police.

Indian Hill Rangers consider the matter closed, but a Hamilton County grand jury two weeks ago took testimony from the three men in the car and the ranger who investigated the incident, according to an Indian Hill police report.

Indian Hill Police Chief Chuck Schlie said police don't plan any further investigation. . . .

The discussion on the leftwing HuffingtonPost is pretty entertaining. Many are condeming Hackett, saying that what he did was unjustified. It seems to me that when dealing with three men like that, there is nothing wrong about being careful, and in addition the news story doesn't contain a lot of detail about what happened so the conclusions that are being drawn seem strained.

UPDATE: As expected, it turns out that this "assault rifle" was a civilian version of the AR-15, meaning that it is a semi-automatic rifle. A .223 caliber rifle can't even be used for deer hunting in most states because the bullet is not big enough to ensure that you will kill, as opposed to wound the animal.


One more cost to government regulation: Apple's iPhone

Apple apparently didn't want to reveal the iPhone yesterday, but it couldn't keep the project secret any longer because of government regulations!

In the end, Apple decided to reveal the iPhone several months ahead of its official June launch because it could not keep the secret any more. Apple has to file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the permits needed to operate the iPhone, and once those public filings are made, Apple has no control over the release of that information. So, Jobs said, he made the decision to have Apple tell the world about its new phone, rather than the FCC.

Pillow talk was a challenge at the other end of the spectrum. Keeping secrets from loved ones is especially hard. Those stresses were amplified by the frantic race over the past half year to get the iPhone ready for launch. As Macworld approached, dinners were missed, kids were not tucked in properly, and family plans were disrupted, especially over the holidays. And for what? "Sorry, that's classified" is not considered a satisfactory answer in many households when Mom or Dad misses the school play or the big wedding anniversary dinner.

Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing and one of the few Apple executives involved with the project from the start, said he had to keep the iPhone development secret even from his wife and children. When he left home for the official unveiling yesterday, Schiller said, his son asked, "Dad, can you finally tell us now what you've been working on?" Jobs paused during the keynote to acknowledge the strain and sacrifices that the past months have brought not just for the employees who kept the secrets so well, but also for their families. "We couldn't have done it without you," he said, with obvious sincerity. . . .

Economists Opposed to Pharmaceutical Price Controls

If you click on the link, you will see the list of economists who signed this letter. I guess that we will find out if it helps the fight. The surprise to me is that this debate keeps on having to take place. (Ben Zycher at the Manhattan Institute did all the heavy lifting on this.)

We are deeply concerned about proposed legislation that would lead to negotiation of pharmaceutical prices by the federal government for the new Medicare Part D drug benefit.

Under current law, negotiations over prices are conducted between the pharmaceutical producers and private firms administering drug benefit programs for Medicare beneficiaries. With federal spending on pharmaceuticals is projected to grow to about $100 billion in 2007 — over 40 percent of the U.S. total —some policymakers now advocate federal negotiation of prices with the pharmaceutical producers, in order to use the large size and bargaining power of the federal government to achieve sharply lower prices.

Federal price negotiations would represent a policy change carrying significant risks for research and development investment in new and improved medicines. A substantial body of research shows that similar federal drug programs impose prices substantially lower than those negotiated in the private sector, and that such lower prices inevitably will reduce research and investment in new and improved medicines. This slowdown in pharmaceutical innovation will yield highly adverse effects upon future patients in terms of reduced life expectancies.

We urge Congress not to support negotiation of drug prices by the federal government.


Case Where Gun Free Zone Law Endangered Life?

So what was this woman supposed to do? More bizarre is what is the motivation for these letters to constantly be sent to all the school childrens' parents whenever anything happens at school. In this case, why not send a note to other school teachers? It almost smacks as a type of indoctrination.

(The Olympian, September 26, 2006) LACEY - A 33-year-old teacher at Nisqually Middle School is on administrative leave after school officials discovered she brought a .38 Special handgun - along with bullets - on school grounds Thursday, according to the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.

Teacher Mary Catherine Roe, who lives in Shelton, told deputies she was fearful of her husband and that he used a gun while assaulting her, according to a sheriff's report. Roe also has a domestic violence protection order against her husband, according to Mason County records.

No decision was made Monday about whether Roe will face criminal charges, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dave Ryan said.

Roe is under investigation for the charge of unlawfully carrying a firearm, which was in her purse, on school grounds. The law says no one except law enforcement officers can bring a firearm onto school grounds. The charge is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Nisqually parents received a letter from the school Friday explaining that a staff member brought a weapon to school and was placed on leave. The letter reminded parents that it is against state law to bring any firearm to a school campus. The letter did not name the staff member. . . .

Follow up. This woman's life has essentially been ruined because she took the only really reasonable action to ensure her safety.

(The Olympian, October 24, 2006) LACEY -Teacher facing gun accusation has resigned A North Thurston middle school teacher accused of bringing a gun to school earlier this year has resigned from North Thurston Public Schools. The North Thurston Public Schools board accepted the resignation of Mary Catherine Roe, who taught language arts at Nisqually Middle School. . . . .

(The Olympian, December 13, 2006) LACEY -Teacher with gun might not face charges Gun possession charges might be dropped after a year of probation for a former Nisqually Middle School teacher caught on campus this year with a pistol in her purse, the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday. Mary Catherine Roe of Shelton faces charges of violating the state law banning firearms from school campuses in most cases, a gross misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a year in jail or a fine of . . . .

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So What Does the iPhone mean for the Blackberry and Palm?

Blame game on crime increasing

Crime rates went up in 2005 after falling almost continually since 1991. The small increase in 2005 and the "3.7 percent increase in violent crime" for the first half of 2006 has gotten a lot of attention. Some want to put the blame on the 1 billion in cuts for Federal government aid since 1998. I am not sure of the exact theory why it is only showing up now, but the main point is that the federal money was a real waste. The hundred thousand more cops was largely more computers and other things that substituted as cops. The cops that were hired were largely people who would have been hired anyway or were used for things that didn't have anything to do with crime.

"If you talk to police, they'll tell you that fighting crime is like cutting the grass, you have to keep up with it. We didn't do that," he said. "We're seeing the results of that and I think the time has come where the wake up call takes place." . . . . .

Thanks to Keith Rasmussen for sending me this link.



Ex-Education Secretary in Britain in Trouble for Sending Son to Private School

This is depressing that equality is so deeply engrained in Britain that this woman is attacked for doing what is best for her learning disabled son. The worse aspect of this is that even she is unwilling to entertain the possibility that argument over quality applies to other types of schooling as well.

Ex-Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has defended her decision to send her son, who has "substantial learning difficulties", to a private school.

She said she removed her son from a state school after professional advice recommended he be placed in a school "able to meet his particular needs".

Ms Kelly said the local authority accepted the advice, but she had not asked for any help in meeting the cost.

She said: "I, like any mother, want to do the right thing for my son."

"I appreciate that some will disagree with my decision. I understand why, but we all face difficult choices as parents." . . . . .


Some confusion as new restrictive Nebraska Right-to-carry law goes into effect

A confusing situation as dozens of people line up to receive the state's first concealed handgun permits.
62 permits were handed out statewide including 27 in Omaha.

But other people were turned away even though they thought they were qualified.

Police say all you need to register a gun is a buy a permit, have a bill of sale and a valid driver’s license. However, registering a gun and getting a permit to carry it concealed are two different things.

At the Omaha communications office of the Nebraska State Patrol the phone rang all day Wednesday. Many calls were for the same question: How do I get a permit to carry a concealed handgun?

Robert Root was one person turned away when he tried to get a concealed carry permit. The World War Two veteran did take a gun safety course to register his handgun and he says he knows a lot about weapons, but authorities say it’s not enough to carry a gun under his coat.

"Well I don’t like it. I'm 80 years old. I shouldn’t have to take the time to do that. I've lived half my life and I'm not half done, so I got lots of things to do," says Root.

Everyone applying for a permit to carry a concealed handgun has to go through an approved gun training course. The only exceptions are active and reserve members of the military who can prove that they have taken firearm training within the last three years. . . . . .



Germany stops funding building of internet search engine

Why would the governments of Germany and France think that they could do a better job of building a search engine than Google or Yahoo or someone else? That is just has obvious as them working on a new operating system. How about the government building all their own computers?

The German government confirmed Tuesday that it had decided to opt out of a multimillion-euro research effort to build a European search engine that would compete with Google, in what one participant described as a disagreement with France over the basic design of the project.

French participants in the secretive project, called Quaero, which means "I seek" in Latin, vowed to continue their efforts to develop the search engine, possibly with funding from the European Union.

The project was first revealed in April 2005 by President Jacques Chirac of France and the former German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, as a European response to the U.S. search giant Google, but now it will have to proceed without support from the largest EU country.

The split underscores the difficulty of managing such cross-border projects, coming just months after it came to light that the wiring problem that delayed the Airbus A380 superjumbo project was in part caused by the fact that German engineers used different software from their French colleagues.

Germany and France had initially discussed plans to commit €1 billion to €2 billion, or $1.3 billion to $2.6 billion, over five years to Quaero. . . . . .

Thanks to Manny Klausner for this.

Justice John Paul Stevens thinks that he is a conservative?

"I don't really think I've changed. I think there have been a lot of changes in the Court," said the 86-year-old justice. "I can see myself as a conservative, to tell you the truth, a judicial conservative." . . . . .

At least the article notes that Steven's is "a maverick thinker who has proved to be surprisingly liberal . . . ." It would have been better if they simply came out and said that he was "liberal."


Eminent Domain Leads to Blackmail

So did the Supreme Court Justices who voted for Kelo forsee this consequence of their decision? Yet, in some sense it is not much of a different outcome than the power to tax.

Bart Didden wanted to put a CVS pharmacy on his property in Port Chester, N.Y. He even obtained approvals from the local planning board.
But because a portion of the CVS site was in a blighted redevelopment zone, Mr. Didden was told that planning board approval wasn't enough. He'd have to reach an understanding with a private company that had been selected by Port Chester officials to control all construction inside the renewal zone.

The developer, Gregg Wasser of G&S Port Chester, told Didden he'd have to pay $800,000 or give G&S a 50 percent stake in the CVS business. If Didden refused, Mr. Wasser said, he would have Port Chester condemn and seize his property and instead of a CVS he'd put a Walgreens drugstore on the site.

Didden refused. The next day, the Village of Port Chester began legal proceedings to seize Didden's land by eminent domain.. . . . .

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Democrats break another one of their promises

The Rules to get a Permit Really Matter: Texas

Patterson has it exactly correct. The 10 hour training period has a huge impact on how many people get permits. So to does the $140 fee. For those who think that Texas is a big gun state, Texas is at the extreme end for both requirements. I had a post last month that showed a number of smaller states with a lot more permits being issued than Texas and the reason is simple: the requirements to get a permit. From the Bryan-College Station Eagle:

HOUSTON - Texans who are 55 or older are more likely to get concealed handgun permits than those who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, according to Texas Department of Public Safety statistics.

That falls in line with national surveys that indicate seniors are more likely than any other age group to be gun owners.

In Texas, 42 percent of those who have concealed handgun permits are 55 or older. Texans who are 60 or older have about 25 percent of the permits issued, statistics show.

Former legislator Jerry Patterson, who wrote the Texas concealed weapons law, said getting the permit is often a question of time and money, factors that favor seniors.

"There are a whole bunch of folks in the 30-to-40 range who say they'll do that someday," Patterson said.

Residents who want a permit must pass criminal background checks, take a 10-hour handgun safety course and show proficiency in shooting.

The state also makes permits cheaper for seniors, who get a half-price discount. The permit normally costs $140. . . . .