I believe that the Tennessee Senate has passed a bill getting rid of gun free zones in parks

Fred Thompson Quits "Law & Order," Moving towards running for President

"NASA Chief Questions Whether Global Warming Is a Problem"

the space agency's administrator [Michael D. Griffin] . . . told a national radio audience that he doubted whether global warming was really a problem. . . .

The most troublesome discussion in this news story is that "NASA initiated damage." I guess that political correctness requires that the record be expunged.

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Not a gun free zone: College Students in Dorms in Louisiana will be allowed to keep owning guns.

Dick Morris & Eileen McGann Explain Hillary's Views on Iraq: It is all clear to me now!

FOR those who are too obtuse to understand Sen. Hillary Clinton's simple and clear position on Iraq, the following is an attempt to summarize it:

* She voted in the Senate for H.J. Res. 114, the "Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq," in October 2002. But now she wants to repeal it. Why? Because, according to Hillary, President Bush misinterpreted the "Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq" resolution to mean that the use of military force against Iraq had been authorized by Congress.
* At the time of her vote, she stated that her vote for the troop authorization bill was made "with conviction . . . as being in the best interests of the country."

* But once the war became unpopular, Hillary claimed that she hadn't really voted to send troops to Iraq when she voted for the resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.

No, according to Sen. Clinton, all the "Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq" really did was to toughen the support we were already giving to United Nations inspectors who were looking for weapons of mass destruction. Although the text of the resolution never mentions a single word about strengthening the U.N. inspectors, Hillary believed that was the purpose of the bill. . . .

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Dennis Miller just kills me


New Op-ed FoxNews.com: Moore's Myths Sicko

Craig Newmark reviews my new book Freedomnomics

Craig Newmark provides a much appreciated and very nice review of my new book Freedomnomics here.

Freedomnomics focuses on incentives. It presents a wonderfully rich set of examples of how people respond to incentives. No background in economics is necessary to understand and enjoy these examples. . . .

For those interested, for a short time they can still obtain a free copy of the book here.

Side note: Craig's wife has had her blog blognapped. It is an absolutely horrendous story. It looks like things are getting fixed, but it has not been a pleasant process.

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Well at least South Africa put into place those tough new gun control laws

France Paying Immigrants to go home

Even if few people take advantage of this offer, I think that it will be very important for a reason that I haven't seen anyone note: how upset can the immigrants in France be if you can't pay them to go back home? There is obviously a lot of discontent and rioting in France, but how can people maintain the intensity of their anger when they are admitting with their feet that France is much better than the alternative and they are refusing to even accept a payment to return home.

New French President Nicolas Sarkozy made immigration a central issue of his campaign. Now, his new minister for immigration and national identity says its time to start paying immigrants to leave the country.

France is home to over 5 million immigrants -- and the new conservative-led government doesn't plan on making things any more comfortable for them. While the new regime in Paris is determined to curb illegal immigration, it is also looking to encourage legal migrants to reconsider their decision to stay in France -- by paying them to go back home.
New immigration minister, Brice Hortefeux, confirmed on Wednesday that the government is planning to offer incentives to more immigrants to return home voluntarily. "We must increase this measure to help voluntary return. I am very clearly committed to doing that," Hortefeux said in an interview with RFI radio.

Under the scheme, Paris will provide each family with a nest egg of €6,000 ($8,000) for when they go back to their country of origin. A similar scheme, which was introduced in 2005 and 2006, was taken up by around 3,000 families. . . . . .



More On Celbrating Rachel Carson's 100th Birthday

Along with a thirty-week run on The New York Times bestseller list, the book was discussed in the Senate, debated by Congressional committees, analyzed by the presidential Science Advisory Committee and widely covered on television. All of which was a deep pity, because Silent Spring was an extremely dishonest and flawed piece of work.

Carson's book was rife with omissions, misrepresentations, and errors. She neglected to mention that the spraying of Huckin's bird sanctuary was accompanied by fuel oil, which would have harmed the birds in and of itself. The fact that DDT had eliminated malaria in the northern hemisphere went unnoted. The threat of cancer (Carson herself had been diagnosed with breast cancer while at work on the book) was overemphasized -- to put it mildly -- on no scientific basis.

But far worse was the tone of hysteria permeating the entire work. DDT was not simply a chemical compound, to be analyzed dispassionately like any other. No - it was representation of absolute evil, a demonic threat to all forms of life, one that had to be ousted from the environment at all costs. Such an overwrought treatment is perhaps understandable from a woman effectively writing under the gun of cancer, but it's scarcely acceptable in a work purporting to be a serious scientific study. . . . .

As Coburn is well aware, you do not pass resolutions in favor of people who were involved in the deaths of millions, however inadvertently. . . . .



Something to think about this Memorial Day Weekend

For the price that is paid by people fighting to keep us safe please click here. I sometimes wonder how many people actually know what this weekend is about, but this news clip will give you something to think about.

UPDATE: It would be nice if these types of cases discussed here got more attention. The brutal torture of others by Al Qaeda should revolt many, but the stories need to get more press coverage than they do. I did a Google search on the words "U.S. Military Rescues 42 Iraqis Al Qaeda" (I did not use quote marks around the words so any combination of these words should have produced a hit), and I got only two news stories when I searched at 8 PM on Sunday, May 27th. One story was in the Detroit Free Press and another was with WCSH-TV in Maine.

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Yet, another benefit from drinking coffee

Boy stops wild hog as big as buffalo

This is one scary animal. It weighs as much as some buffalo and appears to be longer than most. I am no expert on this this, but one sad thing about this boy shooting the wild hog is that possibly it could have been caputred and used bred to produce larger pigs for sale for food.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Hogzilla is being made into a horror movie. But the sequel may be even bigger: Meet Monster Pig. An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.

If the claims are accurate, Jamison Stone's trophy boar would be bigger than Hogzilla, the famed wild hog that grew to seemingly mythical proportions after being killed in south Georgia in 2004. . . . .

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US alone in trying to stop the G8 from pushing for greenhouse gas rules

At least on this issue, thank goodness for the Bush administration putting up a fight. When you consider that man accounts for only 3 percent of greenhouse gases and that the Sun plays the most important role in determining the earth's temperature (one could also note the earth's orbit and tilt of its axis). Even if someone believed that the Sun did not account for any of the earth's changes in temperature, cutting greenhouse gases by 50 percent would lower the total level of greenhouse gases by 1.5 percent. Of course, the sun is important, and a more reasonable estimated impact from manmade greenhouse gases is just a small fraction of one percentage. What is not asked by the other members of the G8 is how much poorer the world will be from the policies that they are pushing and how many people more will die because of that loss in wealth. For example, how much medical research would have been obtained from this increased wealth?

Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to use Germany's presidency of the G8 to secure a major climate change deal, including:

Agreement to slow the rise in average temperatures this century to 2C

A cut in global emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050

A rise in energy efficiency in power and transport by 20 percent by 2020. . . . .

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Racial discrimination story, anarchy in a middle school

This is a very disturbing story on many levels. It is not only disturbing for the abuse that this teacher suffered, but also because her students' behavior was excused because it was part of their black culture. I suppose that it is that second part that bothers me by far the most. I don't think that we do kids any favors by excusing this type of behavior by simply saying this is the culture that they live in at home. If these kids are going to be able to function in the world as adults, they must learn what the boundaries of appropriate behavior are. You can watch a news clip of the story here.

I was also surprised that this teacher's middle school students were primarily 14, 15, and 16 with some 13 year olds. Even if the middle school goes up to 9th grade, these events apparently happened in the fall so a lot of 15 and 16 year olds were just starting 9th grade. The one document that I found indicated that middle school only goes to eighth grade.



Judge Silberman warns DC on the Parker case

UPDATE: This post is pretty important. Some basics: Only DC can appeal the circuit court decision because they lost at that level. A Supreme Court decision is necessary to make the ruling binding on the whole country.

ORIGINAL: From Bob Levy: "Yesterday the DC Circuit granted DC's unopposed motion to stay the mandate in the Parker case until August 7, the deadline for a cert petition. In an extraordinary statement (see attached), Judge Silberman warned DC that it would have been inappropriate to request a stay if DC did not intend to file for cert."

Sliberman, Senior Circuit Judge: Although the District's motion for stay only indicates it "may" petition for certiorari, since appellants did not object, I assume it is understood that the District intends to petition for review in the Supreme Court. If it did not so intend, in my view, it would be inappropriate for it to have sought the stay."

There are rumors floating around DC that DC and the gun control groups getting cold feet and believe that they will lose if they go to the Supreme Court. A couple of different people told me about this last night at the annual CEI dinner. My own guess is that if DC doesn't appeal after making so much noise about doing just that, gun control groups will suffer a serious black eye and will be taunted with that decision for years. For them not to go forward, they must be really worried about suffering a very serious loss at the Supreme Court.

UPDATE: More on the Parker Case:

Another piece of intel on Parker:

Just now I heard DC's mayor, interviewed on the local NPR show for the last hour, say the following re: the Parker decision:

1) he represents DC, and "the community" wants him to appeal
2) it would be bad precedent for the circuit court decision "that makes no sense" to stand without challenge in the US
3) there may be a risk to NYC and Chicago, Boston, etc. laws if a pro-2A ruling happens at USSC, but "he has to do what's best for DC"
4) BUT he said he was still weighing the options, and should be announcing a final decision on what DC is doing in the next few weeks.

The discussion was in the last ten minutes of the KoJo Nnamdi show, linked here:

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Nebraska creating more gun free zones

Bad news on the safety front.

(5/24/2007) LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) A loophole in the state's concealed-gun law was closed by state lawmakers Thursday -- and then some. The Legislature amended a bill (LB97) to include colleges and universities on the list of places concealed handguns cannot be carried.

A law passed last year allowing people to carry concealed handguns includes a long list of places concealed guns cannot be taken, including schools. But Attorney General Jon Bruning said colleges and universities are not considered schools under the law.

Colleges and universities reacted by posting signs banning handguns. Those signs can soon come down because of Thursday's vote.

They may also come down in hospitals, which lawmakers added to the banned list today. Emergency rooms and trauma centers were already off-limits. . . . .

Sen. Russ Karpisek says he’s a gun-loving redneck.

And he gets a lot of business at his meat market from hunters.

“I’m not intending to anger the NRA,” the Wilber senator said, “but why on earth would you need a concealed weapon in a hospital?” . . . .

Thanks to Richard F. Griffiths and Allen Forkner.


David Hardy has some interesting posts

Brady Campaign has released a paper (pdf) arguing that universities should allow neither faculty nor student holders of CCW permits to carry arguing, among other things, that universities might increase legal liability. The paper got some traction in the Chronicle of Higher Education today. . . . .

I hope the DC Examiner got the story wrong, but it claims the Gov. is "troubled that Virginia law allows any individual to stockpile ammunition with no way for authorities to monitor the cache," because Cho had 377 rounds of ammo. . . . .

377 rounds of ammo is nothing. It is very easy to go through that in a few hours of leisurely target shooting with either a semi-automatic or even a bolt action gun. Doug Hoffman writes that the machine gun mentioned by Hardy could get through the ammunition in just a very short period of time.


How to properly celebrate Rachel Carson's 100th Birthday

today millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm. That person is Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 best selling book Silent Spring. Many have praised Carson for raising concerns—some legitimate—about problems associated with the overuse of chemicals. Yet her extreme rhetoric generated a culture of fear, resulting in policies have deprived many people access to life-saving chemicals. In particular, many nations curbed the use of the pesticide DDT for malaria control because Carson created unfounded fears about the chemical. As the world commemorates the 100th birthday (May 27, 2007) of the late Rachel Carson, it is time to acknowledge the unintended, adverse effects of Carson’s legacy and find ways to correct them.


Ugh, Minimum wage increase about ready to occur

President Bush was expected to sign the bill quickly, and workers who now make $5.15 an hour will see their paychecks go up by 70 cents per hour before the end of the summer. Another 70 cents will be added next year, and by summer 2009, all minimum-wage jobs will pay no less than $7.25 an hour.

How do you get a higher wage for people? Well, if you increase people's productivity, that is the obvious way. But the way that the minimum wage and unions do it is by throwing people out of work. If you reduce the number of people able to work, than the productivity of the marginal worker will increase. When you throw out enough workers from the job, the workers' productivity will rise by enough that it will cover the higher minimum wage.

Who gets thrown out of work? The least skilled of the workers' whose wages were previously below the new minimum wage.

Are the workers who get the new higher minimum wage really better off? Some are, but others are actually worse off. How could that be? Well, you have a lot of workers competing for a reduced number of jobs. The workers will compete against each other to get the job and they will try to do so until the benefits from getting the job are dissipated. This is the same type of competition that occurred when government imposed price controls on gasoline. People sometimes had to wait hours in line at gasoline stations to try to make sure that they were the ones who got this artificially cheap gasoline.



Christopher Buckley's Great Talk at the Annual CEI dinner tonight

Some of the funny things said tonight:

1) There are two political parties: the stupid party and the evil party. I am a member of the stupid party. Every once in a while we get bipartisan legislation where we are able to obtain legislation that is simultaneously stupid and evil.

2) Apparently Buckley a former speach writer for George H.W. Bush complained about how speach writers are always treated as the lowest group of people in any administration. A "true" story that Buckley claimed had occurred during LBJ's administration:

LBJ had a speach writer who kept on trying to return to Harvard, but LBJ kept on insisting that he stay on. Apparently, multiple times he had turned in his resignation only to have it not be accepted. Finally, in desparation he tried again, and LBJ insisted on the speach writer write one more speach because LBJ had a big speach coming up. In front of a giant crowd (I believe in Texas), LBJ was reading from speach:

Can we stop the war? I am going to tell you how we are going to do it!
Can we end poverty? I am going to tell you how we are going to do it!
Can we give everyone in America equal civil rights? I am going to tell you how we are going to do it!
The crowd was going wild. LBJ turned the page:

The page read simply: "You are on your own now."

3) Buckley apparently went to an all boys catholic boarding school. Wayward boys were apparently punished with some type of corporal punishment. But what Buckley says scared him the most was the fact that he never got any real "personal" attention from the Monks. This lack of attention has created some really deep-seated fears. He now looks back and worries that the problem might have been that he simply wasn't attractive enough.

4) As one who grew up in the 1960s, Chris remembered a time when people were actually thrilled to find white powder in an envelop.

If there are any errors here, they are completely mine. Buckley was very funny and I may be missing a little on the delivery.


Giuliani changing his position on guns?

For a couple of weeks people were asking if Giuliani was switching positions on abortion (I don't really think that he was), but now I wonder whether the press will give him the same trouble on guns, where I actually believe that there is more of a change occurring. If I were convinced that Giuliani was really changing his views, I think that it would be an important advance for safety., But given the various links to videos that I have posted and other statements of his, I have a hard time that he really believes this. Would he put hundreds of dollar fees on free assembly or before someone could speak on an issue (that was the licensing fee in NYC for guns)? Would he require that newspapers register themselves?

"The Constitution of the United States in the Second Amendment gives you an individual right to bear arms; that individual right is as strong as your individual right to free speech, free assembly, being safe against unreasonable searches and seizures."

-Rudolph Giuliani
While stumping in Vermont

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A new low for even Michael Moore

A youtube presentation by Michael Moore is just completely nuts going after the police that the way he does in this video.

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Are Gun Owners Planning on Voting Differently Than Non-gun Owners?

Obama is the strongest Democratic Candidate for President

Book News: Free copies of Freedomnomics, Top 10 Books Pelosi should read, and Books to Read this Summer

France's Sarkozy stays on bold course

Israelis Support U.S. Invasion of Iraq


Breaking News: Frearms in immigration bill

This part of the immigration bill reminds me of RICO. RICO was originally designed for organized crime (just as these new gun laws are supposedly designed for), but it soon became clear that the RICO requirements could be applied to any company. What does it mean below to say "an ongoing group, club, organization, or association of 5 or more persons"? Could that be a gun club?

(a) DEFINITION OF CRIMINAL GANG– Section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality
Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)) is amended by inserting after subparagraph (51) the following:

“(52) The term “criminal gang”
(a) means an ongoing group, club, organization, or association of 5 or more persons--
(1) that has as 1 of its primary purposes the commission of 1 or more of the criminal offenses described in subsection (b); and

(2) the members of which engage, or have engaged within the past 5 years, in a continuing series of offenses described in subsection (b);


Rodents that were claimed to be extinct for 11 million years are very much alive

Something to remember the next time someone claims that some animals are on the verge of extinction.

A few months after researchers on one team thought they had discovered a new family of rodent, another group snatched their glory by identifying the critter as a member of a family thought long extinct.

Last year, scientists described the body of a squirrel-like rodent found for sale in a meat market in Laos. They believed it belonged to a previously undescribed family and named it Laonastes aenigmamus. [Locals call the rodent kha-nyou, according to The Associated Press.]

But they failed to fully inspect the fossil record. Upon closer analysis of the creature's teeth, a second group of researchers determined it was a member of the previously known rodent family Diatomyidae.

So a family thought to have died out 11 million years ago is still alive and kicking, the scientists report in the March 10 issue of the journal Science.


"Idaho Teens Tote Loaded Guns Around Town Legally"

When I was a kid I remember seeing teenage boys walking down our street carrying guns. No one said anything about it. It was no big deal. It is too bad that even in Idaho this is not possible without someone calling the police.

POST FALLS, Idaho — Two home-schooled teenagers in this northern Idaho town say they are carrying loaded guns to the library, grocery store and other public areas for self-defense, as a crime deterrent, and to educate others about their rights.

Zach Doty, 18, carries a loaded Glock handgun on his hip. His 15-year-old brother, Steven, carries a .22-caliber rifle in a sling on his back.

Police have been called on several occasions to question the teens but have not found the teens to be in violation of the law.

In Idaho, residents 18 and older can openly carry a firearm in public. And those ages 13 to 17 who have parental permission can carry a rifle in public.

"I certainly don't anticipate that I'll need to use it, but I'd rather have it and not need it than to not have it and need it," Zach told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "There's no reason for me to hide a weapon."

Zach was stopped April 17 on his way to Bible study. On Friday, police again responded when someone reported the brothers with guns in a park. But police left after confirming it was the Doty's. . . .,

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Boise State not a gun free zone for Professors and Staff

Clayton Cramer tells me that Boise State in Idaho does not prevent Professors and Staff from having guns on school property. Clayton has taught there and says that he carefully read through the facutly handbook.

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Mark Levine has a great interview with Fred Thompson

Mark Levine has a great interview with Fred Thompson here.

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New Op-ed on Campaign Finance Regulations at FoxNews.com

Campaign finance regulations have wrecked havoc on the American election system, entrenching incumbents and reducing voter turnout. But the worst may be yet to come in 2008. If news reports last week are correct, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is planning on spending $1 billion to win the presidency. He would vastly outspend Republican and Democratic nominees, even if they forego public financing.

Campaign finance laws have resulted in lots of millionaires getting elected to office. Wealthy individuals, who can only give $2,000 to someone else who is running for office, face no donation limits to their own campaign.

For example, Steve Forbes wanted to donate to Jack Kemp's presidential campaign and if Forbes could have donated what he wanted, Kemp may have run for president. But he couldn’t, so he ran himself. . . .,

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Sandy Froman on Gun rights and homeschooling

Tennessee Bill to Let Permit Holders Carry Concealed Handguns in Parks Dies

"Swiss Would Back Tougher Gun Laws"


Extra early mentions of my new book

My book isn't really out yet, but some have gotten early looks at it and James D. Miller and Richard Miniter have been nice enough to say kind things about Freedomnomics.



Tony Blair's Explanation for The Root Cause of Terrorism?

Ben Zycher writes me:

n NPR's Morning Edition today, the utterly confused Tony Blair offered the following wisdom for the ages: "The world’s inability to execute a global agreement to seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions is fueling Islamic terrorism."

Who knew? Amadinejhad, Bin Laden, Hamas, Hizballah, all of them: They're nothing more than we-are-the-world greenies. And that's the real reason the Iranians want nuclear reactors.

How many virgins do they get when they die if they buy a smaller car? On many issues, Tony Blair is great. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.

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More Guns, Less Crime makes the Modern Library's top 10 list for Nonfiction

The Modern Library has produced its list of the top 100 nonfiction books. The Virtue of Selfishness finished first and my book More Guns, Less Crime just made the top 10. The list has a decidedly conservative/libertarian slant. Still pretty neat, though I wouldn't rank my book above such classics as Thomas Sowell's Conflict of Visions (71) or PJ O'Rourke's Parlament of Whores (72) or Eric Hoffer's The True Believer (20) or certainly F.A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom (16) or Milton and Rose Friedman's Free to Choose (14).


Concealed Handgun Permit Holder Stops Helps Stop Robber: "Authorities say `good Samaritan' bought deputies time"

Chappell handed a teller a few bills, and the teller collected the coins for him. Shots rang out. Chappell glanced up and saw that the teller at the next window, Eva Lovelady Hudson, had been fatally shot.

Merriweather continued firing down the line of tellers, Chappell said, killing Sheila Prevo. Customers and employees ran for cover.

At the counter, Merriweather demanded money and keys. No one is sure whether that demand came before or after he fired his gun, or if it was during the barrage.

Merriweather then dashed behind the counter and grabbed teller LaToya Freeman by the hair and ordered her to open the vault. Another teller, Anita Gordon, tried to protect her co-worker, but Merriweather turned and shot Gordon in the face and neck. Freeman fell to the floor, leaving some of her hair in Merriweather's grip. Merriweather fired shots at Freeman, blowing off the tip of her right index finger.

Amid the rampage, Chappell and at least one other customer fled the bank.

Chappell was carrying his own gun, for which he has a concealed weapon permit. He took cover by his sport utility vehicle just outside the front doors, drew his weapon and waited.

Inside the bank, with Freeman wounded and no longer able to comply with his demands, Merriweather grabbed bank manager Myron Gooding and forced him to open the vault. Merriweather then grabbed a bag of money and exited the bank.

He found Chappell waiting.

"I was prepared to shoot him," Chappell said.

Returned with hostage:

Merriweather threw his hands up and turned to go inside after seeing Chappell. He returned to the doors a second time only to go back inside the bank. But when he returned a third time, he had taken Gooding hostage.

At the same time, sheriff's deputies Ray Sorenson and Randy Davis were passing by the bank when they spotted a woman falling. She fell, rolled, got back up and kept running.

The deputies, who serve outstanding warrants, quickly turned around to investigate. That's when they spotted Chappell standing outside, his gun drawn. Chappell screamed that an armed man inside had shot "two or three people."

"I'm very surprised that the guy he held hostage didn't get his head blowed off," Chappell said.

Thanks very much to John Harlow for sending this to me.

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Ask before you eat

One warning that I should give Americans who eat sushi in Japan and that is apparently one of the selections is raw horse. I kid you not. I had to ask about five times before I actually believed the answer that I was getting. I love sushi, but this is going too far.

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Other thoughts on Japan

1) It has been 19 years since I last visited Japan, and there are a number of things that have changed.
a) There are a lot fewer English advertising signs now, but the ones that you see generally seem to make more sense. When I was here before there were signs such as "I feel Coke" or "I touch Lark (cigarettes)." There are still a few things such as a drink called "body love," but this is more silly than anything else. Most English signs are something like "Great Selection" or "Hair Make," something I saw at many beauty salons. I like the packages in the grocery stores that have an English label reading "tastes great," but the rest of the package is in Japanese and I couldn't figure out what it was inside the bag, though I was tempted to buy it just to find out what tasted so "great."
b) When I was here before it seemed most people smoked. I thought that I needed an air tank with me to go on the trains, and the smoke was unbelievably thick. Now I have seen one person smoking. Before the sidewalks were filled with automatic dispensors for cigarettes, but I have only come across a couple of set ups this time.
c) The population seems visibly much older. I kind of expected this because of everything that I know about the birth rate here, but the ratio of older people on the trains is quite high.

2) Japan has privatized its university system, though it has left many regulations in place (such as restrictions on tuitions). The government has apparently stopped its subsidies and the universities have to make up the difference with getting donations. My host at the University of Tokyo is essentially doing consulting for major companies and turning over the consulting fee as a donation to the university. You can really tell how much he cares about the university, but it seems like are really difficult task to assume that there are enough faculty over enough years who are willing to make that type of sacrifice.

3) One hot topic among academics here is the drop in fertility. I suggested some changes in divorce laws and the property division rules that women would get on divorce. One amazing fact to me is that up until recently women did not get any of the man's retirement fund when there was a divorce. The new rule is that the fund is divided 50-50, but I explained that to the extent the man is the one who invested in market activities and the woman invested in the home, she was still being shortchanged for her investment.

4) Few apartments seem to have dishwashers and no one seems to have disposals. Dryers also seem to be relatively rare, with people hanging their clothes out to dry on their balconies. The cost to women doing these chores must be tremendous and from the comments that I have heard from people, women are the ones who are expected to do these tasks. Someone that I discussed this general issue with noted that it isn't surprising that women don't want to have many kids.

It didn't seem like a joke (I could be wrong), but one professor said he had gotten a dishwashing machine because his wife was "lazy."

5) Japanese book stores are suprisingly colorless. Their books have white covers with writing, but none of the pictures and colors found on books sold in the US. The books are also basically stuffed into every available space. The books aren't displayed nicely where you see the covers as in the US, but you only see the binding.

6) Post cards are very difficult to find. As someone who tries to send them to my friends when I go to interesting places, this has been a time consuming task with little success. strange.

7) Sake doesn't seem to produce the hangover that other alcoholic drinks do. I guess that I knew some of the differences with Sake before, but not as many as I do now. There are two types of Sake, those that are meant to be served cold and those that are meant to be served warm. The cold Sake is the high quality one, but there are many different varieties of that. The very best seem to taste very smooth -- they almost have no taste. The hot Sakes that I tried remind me of Kentucky Bourbon.

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France: The best intentioned legislation can have unintended consequences

James Miller points to how easily even the best intentioned legislation can have unintended consequences. I am glad that the new President of France seems to be willing to do a lot to get that country going again, I just don't want him to get attacked for well meaning legislaiton that goes wrong.

France's new President has proposed that there "should be no income tax on earnings in excess of 35 hours a week." This proposal is obviously designed to get the French to work longer hours. But this proposal will cause huge compliance problems.

To understand why let's say someone was earning $10 an hour and working for 35 hours a week, making $350 a week. Further assume that they pay 50% of their income in taxes so they get to keep $175.

Now imagine that the employee and firm come to a new arrangement. The employee will start sleeping at the office and the firm will consider this office sleeping time to be work. The employee will now be paid for working 60 hours a week. The firm, however, will also cut the worker's salary to $5 an hour. The firm now pays $5(60)=$300 a week. This is less than before so the firm is better off. The worker, however, is also better off. . . . .


Japanese Sake

I don't think that I have ever been much of a fan of Sake before, but I think that was because in the US I don't think that I have ever had very good Sake before. All I can say is that good Japanese Sake is amazingly smooth. A substantial amount of Sake with an absolutely awesome sushi dinner, followed by a walk through a giant (truly giant) Budist temple, was a great way to spend the evening. All I can say is that this Sake packs quite a punch. These Japanese academics have life pretty good.

A talk at Hitotsubashi University earlier today, an interesting economics and public policy faculty with lots of good question.

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Sheriff Changes Mind on Right-to-Carry


Walter Williams on everything from Global Warming to Gun Control to Taxes

I have only highlighted Walter William's discussion on gun control, but I advise people to read the entire piece.

Now let's turn to gun control laws. What do Virginia Tech's 32 murders, Columbine High School's 13 murders, Jonesboro Westside Middle School's five murders, Germany's Gutenberg High School's 16 murders, the murder of 14 legislators in Zug, Switzerland, and the murder of eight city council members in a Paris suburb all have in common? Answer: All the murders were committed in "gun-free zones." So a reasonable question is: Does legislation creating gun-free zones prevent murder and mayhem?

In 1970, Israel adopted a policy to arm teachers and parents serving as school aids with semi-automatic weapons. Attacks by gunmen at Israeli schools have ceased. At Appalachian Law School in Virginia, a gunman who had already murdered three people was stopped from further carnage by two armed students. Gun possession stopping crime is not atypical, though it goes unreported by the media. According to various research estimates, from 764,000 to as many as 2.5 million crimes are prevented by armed, law-abiding people either warning a criminal that they're armed, brandishing their weapon or shooting a criminal. In the interest of truth in packaging, I think we should rename "gun-free zones" to "defenseless zones." . . . .

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"S.C. Considers Allowing Guns on Campuses"

It would be nice if someone in the US contacted AP and told them that this story is not accurate. As has been detailed on this website, Utah is not the only place that allow guns on university campuses. Colorado State University is one example. I have it on good authority that the Dartmouth allows faculty to carry permitted concealed handguns.

Columbia, S.C. (AP) --
To prevent school shootings, some South Carolina legislators want more guns on campuses.

A House subcommittee approved a measure Wednesday that would allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns onto public school campuses, from elementary schools to universities. Supporters say having trained and armed gun owners in schools could prevent massacres like the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, where one armed student killed 32 people.
Only Utah currently has a law allowing concealed weapons on campuses.

"We're not talking about kids. We're talking about responsible adults," said Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan, who sponsored the bill.
Opponents fear more guns will mean more accidental shootings, and questioned if colleges were an appropriate environment for guns.

"I'm concerned about more guns around younger people combined with emotions and sometimes alcohol," said Rep. Doug Jennings, a Democrat. "I don't think it's a proper reaction to the Virginia Tech tragedy."

The bill heads to the House Judiciary Committee, though it is not expected to pass the Legislature before its scheduled adjournment for the year next month. Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, said he hadn't yet thought about the bill. . . . .

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Bob Levy offers DC some unsolicited advice on what to do with the Parker v. District of Columbia Case

I am not sure Bob convinces anyone that he is offering unbiased advice here, but it is still an interesting op-ed.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has the Second Amendment in his crosshairs. He faces a crucial choice over the next 90 days with major implications for residents in D.C. and across the country: Should the city ask the Supreme Court to review Parker v. District of Columbia, a March 9 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals that said D.C.’s handgun ban is unconstitutional? On May 8, the city lost round two when the appellate court declined to re-hear the case. That leaves the Supremes as the court of last resort.

Sounds like a no-brainer. After all, the city has nothing to lose. If the Supreme Court overrules the appellate court, the mayor will be off the hook. He can continue peddling his fantasy world in which the city’s handgun ban protects Washingtonians from gun violence. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court affirms the lower court decision, D.C. will be no worse off than it would have been if it hadn’t asked for review. The handgun ban, as it now stands, will be history. . . . .

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At least Arizona state legislators understand the importance of carrying concealed handguns for their own safety

Lawmakers defend a policy that lets them carry guns into the state senate.

The sign out front says "no weapons allowed," but at least two state senators, both women, bring concealed guns with them to work every day.

"I do think there's a difference between people that work in a building day after day after day and just the general public that walks in and out," said State Senator Karen Johnson. . . . .

It would be nice if the lawmakers accepted that others want to carry a permitted concealed handgun for the same reasons that the legislators do. It would also be nice if they understood how law-abiding permit holders were and they the permit holders do not represent a threat.


Ohio State Legislator who opposed the right-to-carry law changes his mind

It is like clockwork how those who feared that the concealed handgun permit holders would be the danger change their minds within a couple of years. It is simply hard to ignore how law-abiding those people are. In addition, this experience just confirms the polling data that i have seen about how being a victim of crime (or in this case an almost victim of crime) causes people to want to own a gun.

DeBose voted his conscience. He feared that CCW permits would lead to a massive influx of new guns in the streets and a jump in gun violence. He feared that Cleveland would become the O.K. Corral, patrolled by legions of freshly minted permit holders.

"I was wrong," he said Friday.

"I'm going to get a permit and so is my wife.

"I've changed my mind. You need a way to protect yourself and your family.

"I don't want to hurt anyone. But I never again want to be in the position where I'm approached by someone with a gun and I don't have one."

DeBose said he knows that a gun doesn't solve Cleveland's violence problem; it's merely a street equalizer.

"There are too many people who are just evil and mean-spirited. They will hurt you for no reason. If more people were packing guns, it might serve as a deterrent. . . . .


Fred Thompson Responds to Michael Moore's Debate Challenge

Michael Moore views himself as sufficiently important or as sufficiently worthy of a debate opponent to debate Fred Thompson. Anyway, here is Fred Thompson's response. It is pretty amusing

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"Terror Suspect Claims Torture by Americans"

The evidence is beginning to appear overwhelming that we are unfairly treating prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. WARNING. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN OR THOSE WHO ARE PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE. OK, you have been duly warned. The detainee was reportedly:

forced to use unscented deodorant and shampoo and having to play sports with a ball that would not bounce.

I admit that the "unscented deodorant and shampoo" is troubling, but I am really outraged that the prisoners were given "ball that would not bounce." This is truly shocking and almost unbelievable. If I hadn't read this news account myself, I would not have believed it.

Possibly these types of outrageous conditions are causing people around the world to become terrorists.

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Do reporters understand that demand curves slope downward?

This statement in the NY Times caught my eye:

"While New York City has always had a vacancy rate lower than most other cities, rental prices jumped last year by a record 8.3 percent."

So more people wanting apartments then are available is associated with a jump in rental prices? What is the word "while" doing in the sentence?


Right-to-carry States Map

Say Uncle has a map of right-to-carry laws. I like that the map points out gun free zones, though I have two points.

1) I wish that 98 percent of Montana was shown as green. You only need a permit to carry a concealed handgun in urban areas, which make up virtually none of the state.

2) I wish that they had shown the other big gun free zone shootings, for example, at the Lubby's Cafeteria in Texas in 1991.


Letter in Columbus Dispatch on Multiple Victim Public Shootings

Random Impressions about Japan

1) A very common way of people committing suicides is for people to throw themselves in front of trains. I can only imagine the social costs of this form of suicide in that the trains appear to be stopped for an hour or so. It would be interesting to compare the costs of say Americans committing suicide with the cost of Japanese. It is not clear why Japanese want to commit suicide in such a was as to inconvienence so many other people, with trains delayed by an hour during the busy rush hour.

2) The only English language programming that I can pick up on the TV is when they are showing American baseball. Right now I am watching Detroit play Boston. Possibly it is being covered because a former Japanese star seems to be pitching for Boston.

3) Japanese food is actually pretty cheap. If I had as much sushi in the US as I have had during the last couple of days, I would have had to take out an extra loan on my house. Instead here I have been quite stuffed and gotten to eat the food for around 1300 yen. But the food is great.

4) Japanese yell a lot when they do sports. Whether it is soccer or what appeared to be Lacrosse with huge goals, there was a lot of yelling going on.

5) I watched some Summo wrestling on TV and all I can say is that it goes by extremely fast. A match appears to take as little as 5 seconds sometimes and I don't think I saw anything longer than 15 seconds. They do it fast and then two other contestants come on. It makes it somewhat difficult to get very involved in watching a match.

Further point

6) Japan's crows are huge and extremely large and agressive. I have been told that they are originally from Africa, but wherever these crows are from, they certainly make an impression.

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Students at Virginia Tech felt that they could have stopped the recent attack if permitted concealed handguns were not banned

Fred Thompson's campagin picks up steam

Mistitled story on Fox. 10 month old gets FOID card

In Illinois, you're never too young to own a gun.

That's what one father found out, when he registered his 10-month-old son for a Firearm Owner's Identification Card.

Daily Southtown columnist Howard Ludwig registered his son —- Howard David Ludwig, nicknamed "Bubba" — online after the child's grandfather bought him a gun shortly after the baby's birth. Ludwig chronicled the road to gun ownership in a story that appeared in the Southtown on Sunday.

So the grandfather set aside a gun for his grandchild? What is the problem with that? Is the kid firing the gun or carrying it around? Is the kid actually even touching the gun? I doubt it. Illinois is one of the few states with this type of FOID card requirement. Possibly the solution is to get rid of the FOID cards. Given the parents' obvious hostility to guns, I doubt that there is much concern. I doubt that there would be any concern anyway.

One other point. There are other laws on the books in Illinois that make it a crime for an adult to let a child under 14 have access to a gun if the gun is used improperly. It is part of their safe storage law.

Thanks to Robert Aldridge for sending this.

UPDATE: The title of the piece was fixed. Previously it was "Toddler Packing Heat."


"Homeowner fatally shoots burglar"

Showing Smoking will get movie R-rating

Let me get this straight. Movies with immoral behavior are OK. Movies with dangerous behavior are OK. Movies with other addictive products are OK. At least for now, movies with alcohol are OK. Is it just because smoking is considered politically incorrect? The US is obviously becoming a much less free country.

A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film "Brokeback Mountain" in class.

The lawsuit claims that Jessica Turner, 12, suffered psychological distress after viewing the movie in her 6th grade class at Ashburn Community Elementary School last year. . . .



Happy Mother's Day

By the way, they celebrate Mother's Day on the same day here in Japan.


Did Hillary raise more money than OBama?

Why is this movie shown to 12 year olds? Why is it shown at all to students?

Colorado State University allows students with concealded handguns on campus

Japanese Baseball

Stopped by and saw a Tokyo Giants baseball game tonight. All I can say is that Japanese baseball games are very loud and their fans are fanatical, indeed I have never seen such fans at a sports game in the US. These guys were looked really intense. Banging these plastic sticks together while they are standing and yelling as load as they could.



"We've forgotten how to fight back"


Going to Japan for 9 days

I will be giving academic talks at the University of Tokyo Law School and Hitotsubashi University. For those interested, the talks are:

May 15-----talk at the University of Tokyo Law School from 13:00 to 15:00
May 17-----talk at Hitotsubashi University from 10:35 to 12:05

It has been almost twenty years since I was last in Japan so it will be interesting to see how it has changed.

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The Strange link between Abortion Supporters and Environmentalists

Pistol packin' grandma stops robbery

LAWTON, Oklahoma -- Criminals listen up. You might want to think twice before messing with one pistol-packin' grandma. A couple of would-be-robbers found out the hard way when they tried to hold up a west Lawton liquor store. What they didn't know was that the owner, 75-year-old Rosemarie O'Keeffe, was waiting for them-- armed with a gun and ready to pull the trigger. It seems they changed their minds pretty quickly when they realized they were staring down the barrel of her pistol.

O'Keeffe says she just did what she had to do to protect herself and her business. She was behind the register at her liquor store this week, when she saw something that didn't look right. Two men wearing hoodies, with gauze bandages over their faces walking up to her store. "It really made me think an ancient mummy, the way he was covered up, so you know he wasn't doing anything good." . . . .

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Fred Thompson Quotes Don Kates on Guns

Fred Thompson sets the NY Times straight on the 2nd Amendment. In "Armed with the Truth," Thompson extensively references a letter written by Don Kates to the NY Times, a letter that the NY Times never published.

Thompson will have a very loyal following when he finally announces:

When guns were outlawed in D.C., crime and murder rates skyrocketed. Still, the sentiment exists and must be countered with facts. All of this highlights why it is so important to appoint judges who understand that their job is to interpret the law, as enacted by will of the people, rather than make it up as they go along.

In March I wrote a piece saying how strong I thought Thompson was on the gun issue. I think that Thompson's statements over the last couple of months have shown that what I said was completely accurate.

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Empirical results questioning some benefits from Affirmative Action in Law Schools

Mark Ramseyer and I have a new paper that might be considered somewhat controversial.

Peer Effects in Affirmative Action: Evidence from Law Student Performace

In the Grutter case, Justice O'Connor suggested that universities could justifiably try to enroll a critical mass of minority students. Enroll fewer than that critical mass, reason some observers, and minority students will feel too marginalized to perform at their highest levels. In this article, we test whether minority students perform better with other students from their ethnic group in a class or school. To do so, we assemble data on the ethnicity and performance of each student in all classes at two law schools - for three years at one, and for sixteen years at the other. We find no consistent evidence that having additional students from one's ethnic group raises a student's performance. Instead, we find some evidence that having additional ethnic peers lowers performance - albeit by a very small amount.



Dennis Miller is awesome: Making a serious point about gun free zones

I thought Dennis Miller was great on O'Reilly (I usually do), but this joke was just too amusing. Here is a close to exact quote:

"The fact is that by doing this stuff we set us up for something like Fort Dix where six local kids think that we are so asleep at the switch. This isn't Va Tech with a gun free zone. You are talking about an army base. and they think we are so asleep at the switch they can get an AK-47 and do us in."

I also liked his joke about whining terrorists.

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The irony of liberal regulations

Here is a perfect case of unintended consequences. A lesbian couple promises a sperm donor that he won't have to pay child support. The lesbian couple breaks up and the mother sues the biological father for child support. She wins, and he loses. Here is the irony. Liberals apparently think that ordering the father to pay support is great. But what is going to happen to the people who were previously willing to provide sperm to lesbian couples? You bail out existing women who got pregnant this way, but there won't be as many future births to lesbian couples. May be it is really a conservative plot to let liberals have what they want with the notion that it will simply mean fewer children born to lesbian couples in the future. For conservatives concerned about outcomes, the issue must be a little difficult. Support the right to contract or let the right be trashed but have somewhat fewer kids born this way. I don't know the rules are for artificial insemination, but if there are some difficulties for lesbian couples to get insemination through a regular fertility clinic, this ruling could have a significant impact on lesbian couples getting pregnant.


More Evidence that Al Gore is Running

John Fund has more information that Al Gore is running for President. The polls indicate that he would be the strongest Democrat against the different Republican candidates.

Al Gore insists he has "no intention" of running for president. But that's not the signal his political fundraisers are sending. Of the 25 individuals who helped raise $100,000 or more for Mr. Gore in his 2000 presidential race, at least a dozen haven't endorsed or given money to any current presidential candidate.

"I just don't see any reason for him not to run," Sonny Cauthen, a Washington lawyer, told the Washington Times. "He's the only prospective candidate we have who has already won one time."

Former Gore campaign manager Tony Coelho has told reporters that his former boss could easily wait until the fall before announcing another run for office, noting that Mr. Gore receives between 14% and 18% in polls surveying prospective Democratic voters.

Mr. Gore will be keeping himself in the spotlight this summer. His new book "The Death of Reason" comes out this month, and Mr. Gore will be touring the nation to promote it. In July, he will host several environmentally themed rock concerts. Should he win the Nobel Peace Prize this fall, he could easily use the buzz to parachute into the presidential race. Mr. Gore has trained thousands of people to present his global-warming slide show in every state, a cast of supporters who could easily be converted into campaign volunteers. A new Quinnipiac Poll shows Mr. Gore would fare better against leading Republicans than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

In addition, John mentions that Gore is getting serious about losing weight. Anyone who has been following John's reports has to believe that Gore is going to run. With the problems developing for Hillary and Obama, this strategy seems more and more convincing all the time.

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Tennessean puts up list of concealed carry permit holders, but quickly takes it down

SayUncle posts on the Tennessean's decision to post the names of concealed handgun permit holders. SayUncle refers to this as a "'steal me' list." To me the point is that it tells criminals who isn't have to defend themselves. The Tennessean apparently took down the list after all the attention that it got.

He has other discussions: here, here, and here.


Getting Rid of Gun Free Zones: A good op-ed in the Houston Chronicle

Another convert on ending gun free zones

Here is a columnist from Texas:

It’s not often that I agree with Rick Perry or Ann Coulter. In fact, this is the first time.

Commenting on the slaughter at Virginia Tech, Nasty Ann said:

“Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder — concealed-carry laws. A comprehensive study of all public, multiple shootings in America between 1977 and 1999 . . . found that concealed-carry laws were the only laws that had any beneficial effect . . . reducing multiple-shooting attacks by nearly 60 percent.

“How did that deranged loner get a gun into a Gun-Free Zone? By the way, the other major Gun-Free Zone in America is the post office.”

Conservative columnist Michael Reagan bolstered Coulter in a recent column when he said the death toll at VT “could have been substantially lower if it were not for an absurd law that kept the students and faculty from exercising their Constitutional right to protect themselves and others by bearing arms on campus.”

According to John Terry — a defense attorney and former prosecutor who hosts a popular morning call-in talkshow on KGNC-AM in Amarillo — random shooting deaths are down significantly in Texas, following enactment of the state’s concealed-carry statute in October 1991. . . . .

Michael Reagan's piece is here.



Are schools a likely target for terrorists?

I was listening to Steve Malzberg tonight on WOR, and he made a point that he has made several times in the past. Terrorists must see the publicity that is obtained from other attacks at schools. There is an aversion to do anything that would allow people to protect schools against any type of attacks. If something like this happened, it would make any other attack that we have seen at a school very small by comparison.

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Possibly a few less gun free zones in Tennessee

Well, at least Texas isn't the only place where people are rethinking these gun free zones.

Tennesseans who have handgun permits could carry their weapons into state parks legally under a bill on the move in the legislature, and its chances of passing are greater in light of the Virginia Tech massacre, one of its sponsors said.

The proposal to allow permit holders to go armed in state-run parks was introduced well before the slayings of 32 people on the university campus last month.

But Senate sponsor Tim Burchett thinks the killings may have "created a positive atmosphere" for changing the law this year. And House sponsor Frank Niceley said he may push next year to allow college students and teachers with permits to carry handguns on campuses. . . . .

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The Economics of Drug Price Controls

Ben Zycher has a nice piece in today's Investor's Business Daily.

Lower prices on drugs sound great, and if the Beltway can take credit for such goodies, so much the better. So Congress has passed an amendment to the Food and Drug Revitalization Act allowing the importation of medicines from a number of countries in which governments "negotiate" — that is, impose — prices.

If implemented, this law will yield fewer new medicines, less safety and a weakened system of intellectual property protection.

Those foreign prices are far lower than those paid by Americans, even in economies approximately as wealthy as ours. Thus do the Europeans and others use their pricing policies to obtain free rides on the massive investments — about $1 billion per drug — needed to bring new medicines to market. . . . .

So many people think that they can get something for free. These rules would effectively impose price controls.


DC Circuit Court denies En Banc Hearing in Parker case

Good news: DC's petition for rehearing in Parker* has been denied.
Next likely step: DC will petition for Supreme Court review.
Robert A. Levy
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies
Cato Institute
c/o 8787 Bay Colony Drive
Naples, FL 34108



Article and Poll following Virginia Tech Attack

Don Kates Responds to NY Times

I had previously posted on the NY Times article on whether the 2nd Amendment garantees an individual right to own a gun. Well, Don wrote up a much longer letter here. I wouldn't normally post something this long, but some may find the long list of journal articles of interest.

To the Editor

The pervasive inaccuracy of the N.Y. TIMES on gun issues is epitomized by the fact that "A Liberal Case for Gun Rights" is the most accurate treatment the Times has ever given the Second Amendment – and yet is still highly misleading.

From the article the ordinary reader would come away with the following misimpressions: 1) from its enactment in 1791 to roughly 1980 everyone viewed the 2nd Am. as a states right

or a meaningless "collective right"; 2) since 1980 a few ivory tower intellectuals have theorized that the Second Amendment might be a right of individual gun owners; 3) nonetheless the great majority of authorities say that is wrong.

The truth is almost diametrically opposite. Specifically:

1) From its enactment till the 20th Century gun control
movement the Second Amendment was universally understood as protecting an individual right to possess arms. Not one court or commentator asserted otherwise; 18th and 19th Century judges and commentators routinely described the Amendment as a right of individual gun owners and expressly analogized it to the rights of freedom of speech, religion, jury trial etc., etc. [See David B. Kopel "The Second Amendment in the Nineteenth Century," 1998 BRIG. YOUNG L. REV. 1359.]

2) The states’ right and collective rights theories are previously unknown artifacts of the 20th Century gun control movement having no constitutional provenance whatever. William Van Alstyne, a paramount figure in 20th-21st Century constitutional law, summarized the matter thus: "In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the 'collective right' of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of 'the people' to keep and bear arms. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis." William Van Alstyne, "The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms", 43 DUKE L. J. 1236, 1243, n. 19 (1994)

3) Far from the Second Amendment creating a states’ militia right, nearly 200 years of Supreme Court cases on the militia hold that the federal government has plenary power over the militia with state authority being limited to issues on which Congress has not spoken. [Houston v. Moore, 18 U.S. 1, 24 (1820) (federal authority over the militia is paramount -- federal militia legislation preempts state), Martin v. Mott, 25 U.S. 19 (1827) (federal authority over the militia is paramount -- president's power to call militia from state control into federal service), Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366, 383 (1918) (federal authority over the militia is paramount -- Congress has power to abolish state militias by bodily incorporating them into federal army), Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990) (federal authority over the militia is paramount -- state militias may be called into federal service over state objection).]
4) Over 120 law review articles have addressed the Second Amendment
since 1980. The overwhelming majority affirm that it guarantees a right of individual gun owners. That is why the individual right view is called the "standard model" view of the 2d Am by supporters and opponents alike. [The phrase "standard model" originated in a review of the scholarly literature by an individual right theorist, University of Tennessee constitutional law, Glenn H. Reynolds, "A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment", 62 TENN. L. REV. 461 (1995). For its acceptance even by vigorous opponents of that model see, e.g., John Randolph Prince, "The Naked Emperor: The Second Amendment and the Failure of Originalism," 40 BRAND L. J. 659, 694 (2002) Saul Cornell, "Commonplace or Anachronism: The Standard Model, the Second Amendment and the Problem of History in Contemporary Constitutional Theory", 16 CONST. COMM. 229 (1999), Garry Wills, "To Keep and Bear Arms," NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, September 21, 1995 and Andrew D. Herz, "Gun Crazy: Constitutional False Consciousness and Dereliction of Dialogic Responsibilities," 75 BOSTON U. LAW REV. 57 (1995).]

5) With virtually no exceptions, the few articles to the contrary have been written by gun control advocates, mostly by people in the pay of the anti-gun lobby. [See, e.,g. Nicholas J. Johnson , "Shots Across No Man's Land: A Response to Handgun Control, Inc.'s Richard Aborn", 22 FORDHAM URBAN L. J. 441-451 (1995).]

6) In contrast, a very substantial proportion of the standard model articles are written by scholars who ruefully state that they personally support gun control but must honestly admit that the evidence is overwhelming that the Second Amendment precludes banning guns to the general population.
[See Appendix B]

-Don B. Kates

Appendix A: The following quotations indicate my authority to speak authoritatively on this subject: Sanford Levinson, "The Embarrassing Second Amendment", 99 YALE L. J. 637, fn. 13 (1989) ("The most important single article is almost undoubtedly Kates, ‘Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment, 82 MICH. L. REV. 204' (1983)."), John Randolph Prince, supra 40 BRAND L. J. at 679 ("The seminal article on the "individual rights" view is, as evidenced by its frequent citation alone, Don B. Kates, Jr.'s "Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment’" ); David G. Browne, "Treating the Pen and the Sword as Constitutional Equals..." 44 Wm & M. L. REV 2287 , fn. 12 ("The idea of a "standard model" of the Second Amendment probably began with Don B. Kates, Jr.,"Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment’").

Appendix B: The following is a partial list of publications after my 1983 article through 2000 which support the standard model using a variety of differing analyses: Calvin Massey, "Guns, Extremists and the Constitution," 57 WASH & LEE L. Rev. 1095 (2000); Roger Roots, "The Approaching Death of the Collective Right Theory of the Second Amendment," 39 DUQ. L. REV. 71, 88ff. (2000); Andrew M. Wayment, "The Second Amendment: A Guard for Our Future Security," 37 IDAHO L. Rev. 203 (2000); Robert Cottrol, ""Structure, Participation, Citizenship and Rights," 87 GEORGETOWN L. J. 2307 (1999); Nelson Lund, "The End of Second Amendment Jurisprudence: Firearms Disabilities and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders" 4 TX REV. L & POLITICS 181 (1999); David B. Kopel "The Second Amendment in the Nineteenth Century", 1998 BRIG. YOUNG L. REV. 1359; Kevin Worthen, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Light of Thornton: The People and Essential Attributes of Sovereignty," 1998 BRIG. YOUNG L. REV. 137; Eugene Volokh, "The Commonplace Second Amendment" 73 N.Y.U. L. REV. 793 (1998) and "The Amazing Vanishing Second Amendment, 73 N.Y.U. L. REV. 831, Brannon P. Denning, "Gun Shy: The Second Amendment as an 'Underenforced Constitutional Norm'", 21 HAR. J. L. & PUB. POL. 719 (1998), Brannon P. Denning, "Professional Discourse, The Second Amendment and the 'Talking Head Constitutionalism' Counterrevolution," 21 SIU L. REV. 227 (1997); Nicholas J. Johnson, "The Intersection of Abortion and Gun Rights" 50 RUTGERS L. REV. 97 (1997); Thomas McAffee & Michael J. Quinlan "Bringing Forward The Right to Keep and Bear Arms: Do Text, History or Precedent Stand in the Way?", 75 U. N.C. L. Rev. 781-899 (1997); Brannon P. Denning & Glenn Harlan Reynolds, "It Takes a Militia: A Communitarian Case for Compulsory Arms Bearing," 5 WM. & M. BILL OF RTS. J. 185 (1997); L. A. Scot Powe, Jr., "Guns, Words and Interpretation," 38 WM. & M. L. REV. 1311-1403 (1997); Robert Dowlut, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms: A Right to Self-Defense Against Criminals and Despots," 8 STANFORD LAW & POLICY REV. 25 (1997); Nicholas J. Johnson, "Plenary Power and Constitutional Outcasts: Federal Power, Critical Race Theory and the Second, Ninth and Tenth Amendments," 57 Ohio St. L. J. 1556 (1996); Thomas McAffee, "Constitutional Limits on Regulating Private Militia Groups," 58 MONT. L. REV. 45 (1997); David B. Kopel & Christopher Little, "Communitarians, Neo-Republicans, and Guns: Assessing the Case for Firearms Prohibition," MARYLAND L. REV. # 2 (1997); Brannon P. Denning, "Palladium of Liberty? Cause and Consequences of the Federalization of State Militias in the Twentieth Century," 21 OKLA. CITY U. L. REV. 191 (1997); David B. Kopel & Joseph Olson, "Preventing a Reign of Terror: Civil Liberties Implications of Terrorism Legislation," 21 OKLA. CITY U. L. REV. 247 (1997); Brannon P. Denning, "Professional Discourse, The Second Amendment and the 'Talking Head Constitutionalism' Counterrevolution: A Review Essay," 21 SIU L J 227 (1997); Kevin D. Szezepanski, "Searching for the Plain Meaning of the Second Amendment," 44 BUFF. L. REV. 197 (1996); Nelson Lund, "The Past and Future of the Individual's Right to Arms," 31 GEORGIA LAW REVIEW 1 (1996); Scott Bursor, "Toward a Functional Framework for Interpreting the Second Amendment," 74 Texas Law Review 1125-1151 (1996); Brannon Denning, "Can the Simple Cite Be Trusted: Lower Court Interpretations of United States v. Miller and the Second Amendment," 26 CUMBERLAND L. REV. 961-1004 (1996); Anthony Dennis, "Clearing the Smoke from the Right to Bear Arms and the Second Amendment", 29 Akron Law Review 57-92 (1995); Gregory Lee Shelton, "In Search of the Lost Amendment: Challenging Federal Firearms Regulation Through Utilization of the State's Right Interpretation of the Second Amendment," 1995 FLORIDA STATE U. L. REV.; David B. Kopel, "It Isn't About Duck Hunting: The British Origins of the Right to Arms", 93 MICH. L. REV. 1333 (1995); Michael J. Quinlan "Is There a Neutral Justification for Refusing to Implement the Second Amendment or is the Supreme Court Just 'Gun Shy,'" 22 CAPITAL U. L. REV. 641 (1995); T. Markus Funk, "Is the True Meaning of the Second Amendment Really Such A Riddle?" 39 HOWARD L. J. 411 (1995);; Inge Anna Larish, "Why Annie Can't Get a Gun: A Feminist Appraisal of the 2nd Am.", 1996 U. Ill. Law F. 467; T. Markus Funk, "Gun Control and Economic Discrimination: The Melting-Point Case-in-Point", 85 J. CRIM. & CRIMINOL. 764, 776-789 (1995); Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. Diamond, "'The Fifth Auxiliary Right'", 104 YALE L. J. 995-1026 (1994); William Van Alstyne, "The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms", 43 DUKE L. J. 1236-1255 (1994); Glenn H. Reynolds "A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment, 62 TENN. L. REV. 461-512 (1995); Jeremy Rabkin, "Constitutional Firepower: New Light on the Meaning of the Second Amendment," 86 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOL. 231-246 (1995); Robert J. Cottrol & Raymond T. Diamond, "'Never Intended to be Applied to the White Population': Firearms Regulation and Racial Disparity, The Redeemed South's Legacy to a National Jurisprudence?", 70 CHICAGO-KENT L. REV. 1307 (1995); Nicholas J. Johnson , "Shots Across No Man's Land: A Response to Handgun Control, Inc.'s Richard Aborn", 22 FORDHAM URBAN L. J. 441-451 (1995); David Vandercoy, "The History of the Second Amendment", 28 VALPARAISO L. REV. 1006 (1994); William A. Walker, Review, 88 MICH. L. REV. 1409-14 (1990); Nelson Lund , "The Second Amendment, Political Liberty and the Right to Self-Preservation", 39 ALA. L. REV. 103-130 (1987); Glenn H. Reynolds, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Under the Tennessee Constitution", 61 TENN. L. REV. 647 (1994) (extensively discussing the Second Amendment in relation to the Tennessee Constitution); Leonard M. Levy, ORIGINAL INTENT AND THE FRAMERS' CONSTITUTION 341 (Macmillan, 1988); (1986); Robert Shalhope, "The Armed Citizen in the Early Republic", 49 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 125 (1986); Joyce Lee Malcolm, "The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms: The Common Law Tradition", 10 HAST. CONST. L. Q. 285 (1983). Stepehn P. Halbrook, "What the Framers Intended: A Linguistic Interpretation of the Second Amendment", 49 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 153 (1986) and "Rationing Firearms Purchases and the Right to Keep Arms" 96 W. VA. L. REV. 1 (1993); Martire, "In Defense of the Second Amendment: Constitutional and Historical Perspectives" 21 LINC. L. REV. 23 (1993); Comment: "Gun Control Legislation and the Intent of the Second Amendment: To What Extent is There an Individual Right to keep and Bear Arms?" 37 VILLANOVA L. REV. 1407 (1992); O'Hare and Pedreira, "An Uncertain Right: The Second Amendment and the Assault Weapon Legislation Controversy", 66 ST. JOHN L. REV. 179 (1992); Robert Dowlut, "Bearing Arms in State Bills of Rights, Judicial Interpretation, and Public Housing" 5 ST. THOMAS LAW REVIEW 203 (1992); Moncure, "The Second Amendment Ain't About Hunting", 34 HOW. L. J. 589 (1991); Halbrook, "The Right of the People or the Power of the State: Bearing Arms, Arming Militias, and t he Second Amendment", 26 VALPARAISO L. REV. 131 (1991); Tahmassebi, "Gun Control and Racism", 2 GEO MASON CIV. RTS. L. J. 67 (1991); Bordenet, "The Right to Possess Arms: the Intent of the Framers of the Second Amendment", 21 U.W.L.A. L. REV. 1 (1990); Moncure, "Who is the Militia - The Virginia Ratifying Convention and the Right to Bear Arms", 19 LINC. L. REV. 1 (1990); Morgan, "Assault Rifle Legislation: Unwise and Unconstitutional", 17 AM. J. CRIM. L.143 (1990); Robert Dowlut, "Federal and State Constitutional Guarantees to Arms", 15 U. DAYTON L. REV. 59 (1989); Halbrook, "Encroachments of the Crown on the Liberty of the Subject: Pre-Revolutionary Origins of the Second Amendment, 15 U. DAYTON L. REV. 91 (1989); Hardy,"The Second Amendment and the Historiography of the Bill of Rights", 4 J. LAW & POLITICS 1 (1987); Hardy, "Armed Citizens, Citizen Armies: Toward a Jurisprudence of the Second Amendment", 9 HARV. J. LAW & PUB. POLICY 559 (1986); Dowlut, "The Current Relevancy of Keeping and Bearing Arms", 15 U. BALT. L. FOR. 32 (1984).

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An Evening with John Stossel

John Stossel is shown in these segments talking about the paperback edition of his book: see Part 1 and Part 2.


John Fund on France's Election

Conservative Nikolas Sarkozy's comfortable victory over Socialist Ségolène Royal in France's presidential race may indicate that Europe's slowest-growing major economy is finally ready for some change.

Long derided as a "center of social rest" for its cradle-to-grave welfare state, mandatory 35-hour work week, public-sector strikes and ossified employment rules, France has voted for a new president who claims he wants to shake things up. "France does not fear change," Mr. Sarkozy told his supporters as the vote progressed yesterday, "France hopes for it."

That's unclear. It's certainly true that Mr. Sarkozy styled himself as a reformer who wants to arrest the pessimism gripping a country where polls show 70% of voters think their country is in decline. He advocated tax cuts, allowing overtime, and shrinking the central government's bloated bureaucracy by filling only half of the slots opened up by retirement. "The best social model is one that gives work to everyone," he would tell audiences in calling for more dynamism in the economy. "That is no longer ours."

But at the same time the former interior and finance minister has shown a willingness to bail out failing French companies and to embrace greater protectionism. Mr. Sarkozy is certainly no heir to Margaret Thatcher or even Tony Blair, but he is someone that free-market advocates can at least do business with. . . .



NY Times on even liberal law school professors saying that there is an individual right to own a gun contained in the Second Amendment

This news article has multiple problems and I already knew most of this, but it is still quite useful that the NY Times is even making this point.

Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, said he had come to believe that the Second Amendment protected an individual right.

“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

The first two editions of Professor Tribe’s influential treatise on constitutional law, in 1978 and 1988, endorsed the collective rights view. The latest, published in 2000, sets out his current interpretation.

Several other leading liberal constitutional scholars, notably Akhil Reed Amar at Yale and Sanford Levinson at the University of Texas, are in broad agreement favoring an individual rights interpretation. Their work has in a remarkably short time upended the conventional understanding of the Second Amendment, and it set the stage for the Parker decision. . . .

Robert A. Levy, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian group that supports gun rights, and a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Parker case, said four factors accounted for the success of the suit. The first, Mr. Levy said, was “the shift in scholarship toward an individual rights view, particularly from liberals.”

He also cited empirical research questioning whether gun control laws cut down on crime; a 2001 decision from the federal appeals court in New Orleans that embraced the individual rights view even as it allowed a gun prosecution to go forward; and the Bush administration’s reversal of a longstanding Justice Department position under administrations of both political parties favoring the collective rights view. . . .

Don Kates notes:

From the article the ordinary reader would come away with the following impression: 1) from its enactment in 1791 to roughly 1980 everyone viewed the 2nd Am. as a states right (or a meaningless "collective right"); 2) since c. 1980 a few ivory tower intellectuals have theorized that the 2nd Am. might be a right of individual gun owners; 3) nonetheless the great majority of authorities say that is wrong.

The truth is almost diametrically opposite:

1) From its enactment till the outset of the 20th Century gun control movement there was no controversy over the 2nd Am. – not one court or commentator denied that it was a right of individual gun owners. 18th and 19th Century judges and commentators routinely described it as a right of individual gun owners and expressly analogized it to the rights of freedom of speech, religion, jury trial etc., etc.

2) The states’ right and collective rights theories are inventions of the 20th Century gun control movement having no historical constitutional provenance whatever. Far from the 2d Am being a states’ right, 200 years of Supreme Court cases on the militia hold that the federal government has plenary power over it with state authority being limited to issues on which Congress has not spoken.

3) Over 120 law review articles have addressed the Second Amendment since 1980. The overwhelming majority affirm that it guarantees a right of individual gun owners. That is why the individual right view is called the "standard model" view of the 2d Am by supporters and opponents alike. With virtually no exceptions, the few articles to the contrary have been written by gun control advocates, mostly by people in the pay of the anti-gun lobby. In contrast, a very substantial proportion of the standard model articles are written by scholars who ruefully admit that they support gun control but must honestly admit that the evidence is overwhelming that the 2d Am precludes banning guns to the general population.

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Federal Judge Reverses BATFE decision on small gun shop


The dangers of compact fluorescent light bulbs

This is an amazing story. With politicians and environmentalists talking about forcing people to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs, I will sure stock up on the old kind if we are ever forced to switch. The one group that would really benefit from a requirement that people have to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs is environmental clean up crews.

How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent lightbulb? About $4.28 for the bulb and labor -- unless you break the bulb. Then you -- like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine -- could be looking at a cost of about $2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.
Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favor of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) -- a move already either adopted or being considered in California, Canada, European Union and Australia.
According to an April 12 article in the Ellsworth American, Mrs. Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom -- it dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.
Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Mrs. Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her the CFL contained mercury and she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn, directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The DEP sent a specialist to Mrs. Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of 6 times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.
The DEP specialist recommended Mrs. Bridges call an environmental clean-up firm which, reportedly, gave her a "low-ball" estimate of $2,000 to clean up the room. The room was then sealed-off with plastic and Mrs. Bridges began "gathering finances" to pay for the $2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the clean-up costs because mercury is a pollutant. . . .

See also an updated report here and this also here.

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A history of the Parking Meter

Larry White as an interesting brief discussion of the history of the parking meter here .


Will Legislation to Stop Terrorists or Others From Getting Guns Be Abused?

My guess is that Sen. Frank Lautenberg is involved is enough to raise my concern. If this is such a good idea, possibly we should let the government arrest people simply based on someone being a suspect. (I am not serious here.)

Backed by the Justice Department, the measure would give the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales, licenses or permits to suspects on terror watch lists.

In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., "would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere 'suspicions' of a terrorist threat."

"As many of our friends in law enforcement have rightly pointed out, the word 'suspect' has no legal meaning, particularly when it comes to denying constitutional liberties," Cox wrote.

In a letter supporting the measure, Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling said the bill would not automatically prevent a gun sale to a suspected terrorist. In some cases, federal agents may want to let a sale go forward to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation. . . .



Jackie Mason on gun control

Wisconsin courts examine concealed handgun issue.

Lawrence Stich writes me that the courts are examining these self-defense cases on a case by case basis. This strikes me as similar to not posting a speed limit but making you have to go to court regarding each case to determine if someone were going too fast.

Pizza-delivery man Andres Vegas, who shot two people in seven months who were trying to rob him during deliveries, says the concealed-carry criminal charge against him ought to be tossed out for infringing on his constitutional rights.

In a motion filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court this week, lawyers for Vegas - he is fighting a misdemeanor charge for carrying a concealed weapon - contended that the state's concealed-weapons statute can't fairly be used against him because his job with Mona Lisa Pizza takes him places where he needs the gun for security.

"This prosecution functionally disallows Mr. Vegas' exercise of his constitutional rights to keep and bear arms for defense and security," his attorneys, Craig Mastantuono and Rebecca M. Coffee, wrote in the motion.

Authorities found Vegas shot the suspected robbers - one on N. 22nd St. on Jan. 4 and a 14-year-old boy on N. 34th St. on July 14 - in self-defense during what he told police were attempted armed robberies.

Vegas, 46, of Cudahy, was previously the victim of an armed robbery attempt in 2005, which was cited when prosecutors elected not to charge him in the July shooting. According to court records, he was also robbed, pepper-sprayed and beaten during a September pizza delivery, when he says he was unarmed. . . .

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More on Chicago misreporting murder rates

Fox News Poll On Gun Ownership and Gun Control


SUV runs off road and into a group of middle school children

Critical Reaction to Texas Governor's Proposal to Eliminate Gun Free Zones in State

For some critical comments on Gov. Perry's proposal see here, here, here, and here.


Copies of new book hot off the presses

My new book Freedomnomics is hot off the presses and is now starting to find its ways to book stores. It will still be a month before it goes on sale, but I have high hopes for this book. It is quite a relief to see it coming out after all the work that went into it.


"Why Economists Tend to Oppose Gun Control Laws"

Useful article:

After the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, many well-intentioned people all over the country have been calling for increased gun control laws. However, economists tend to oppose gun control laws, since such laws generally pay no attention to basic economic issues.

Let's start with the relationship between means and ends. The shooter had his ends: he wanted to kill many people, and he wanted it to be visible and spectacular. He also had his means: guns and bullets. He engaged in forward-looking behavior: he purchased the guns, bullets, chains, locks, and video equipment well in advance. He taped himself in advance explaining what he was going to do and why he was going to do it.

Now let's consider gun control. Many people argue that if the shooter did not have guns and bullets, he would not have been able to shoot all of those people. This is surely correct. However, from that, they infer that if he did not have guns and bullets, he would not have been able to kill all of those people. This is a whole different question.

As Mises.org readers know, in economics, we discuss the idea of substitutes. These are goods that can be used to replace each other such as Coke vs. Pepsi, contact lenses vs. eyeglasses, Macs vs. PCs. When a person has ends, a person can select among different means to achieve those ends. These different means are substitutes.

Cho wanted to kill many people, and he wanted it to be visible and spectacular. To that end, he purchases guns, bullets, chains, and locks (to prevent survivors from escaping). Would gun control have prevented this? Or would Cho ÷ who apparently planned this attack for weeks, based on the fact that he acquired guns, bullets, chains, and locks for weeks - have used substitute goods?

What would Cho's substitutes have been? What others means are there by which he could engage in mass murder? Well, he could have purchased a knife, although that is probably a weak substitute for guns and bullets in achieving his ends. He has to be right next to his victim, and he might be defeated in personal combat by another person. Likewise, he could not kill a lot of people in the same time frame, and it would not be as spectacular. . . .

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Texas Governor Rick Perry: : allow Texans to take their concealed handguns anywhere"

This couldn't be any clearer.

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry, mulling ways to stop the kind of murderous rampages that recently left 33 dead on a college campus in Virginia, said Monday there’s one sure-fire solution he likes: allow Texans to take their concealed handguns anywhere.


Perry said he opposes any concealed gun-toting restrictions at all — whether it’s in a hospital, a public school, a beer joint or even the local courthouse.

“The last time I checked, putting a sign up that says 'Don’t bring your weapons in here,' someone who has ill intent on their mind — they could care less," Perry told reporters. “I think it makes sense for Texans to be able to protect themselves from deranged individuals, whether they're in church or whether on a college campus or wherever."

As reporters began clicking off a list of places where concealed permit holders face restrictions, Perry cut off the questioning and made it clear that he meant anywhere at all. . . .

Thanks very much to adopted Texan Nick Trout.


Some Changes in National Presidential Primary Polls