More on Salmon

Is this really a gun control picture?

My first reaction to this picture where it says "Good People! No Guns!" was that it is too bad that the good people didn't have a gun. Of course, the statement at the bottom makes the conclusion clear, but it would have been nice if someone had asked this six year old what the solution to these good people not having guns is. This contest was held by Flashbunny.org. I confess that I am somewhat dubious that this was done by a six year old boy. The hand writing is too well done.

Possibly I should put up a similar contest.


Evolution explains why women like shopping

WOMEN really are better than men at shopping. And they really do prefer pink. And, surprisingly, it is possible that these facts are connected. The first conclusion was drawn by Joshua New of Yale University and his colleagues. The second was drawn by Anya Hurlbert and Yazhu Ling of Newcastle University in England. The connecting theme is that in the division of labour that forms the primordial bargain of human hunter-gatherer societies, it is the men who do the hunting and the women who do the gathering.

Blackberry-picking aside, urban humanity does little gathering from the wild these days, so Dr New decided to look at what seemed to him to be the nearest equivalent—shopping at a farmers' market. There is a fair amount of evidence that men are better than women at solving certain sorts of spatial problems, such as remembering the locations of topographical landmarks. Many researchers suggest such skills may have been important in the past for man-the-hunter, who needed to be able to find his way round the landscape. If that is the case, then woman-the-gatherer might have been expected to develop complementary skills not shown by males. And that, as he writes in this week's Proceedings of the Royal Society, is what Dr New found. . . . .


Banning Tag at School

Arming Police on Campus?

Richard Featherstone, an Assistant Professor of Criminology at Northern Iowa University, sent me a letter that he wrote. Given the debate about guns on campuses and the upcoming votes in Iowa on arming campus police, I thought I would point to one part of his letter:

A federal 1995 study indicated that among public campuses with 10,000 or more students, 89% had armed officers. Since the publication of the study more universities, like Brown University and the State University of New York Geneseo, have chosen to arm their campus police.



Concealed Handgun Permits in Michigan

Earlier today I talked to a reporter from the Detroit Free Press, Dawson Bell, and he indicated that there are 140,000 permit holders in the state as of a month ago.

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When Trade Protection and Environmentalism Collide

Glenn Beck's Radio Show (Updated)

I am supposed to be on Glenn Beck's Radio show at 10:35 AM EDT on Thursday.

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Transcript of Senator Larry Craig's Police Interview

A copy of Senator Craig's police interview is available here. After reading this, I am not exactly sure what to make of this case. Could I see someone dropping a piece of paper and having their foot briefly move up to the side of the stall divider? Sure. I guess that I would want to have something a lot more definitive about someone than that. This seems like awfully weak evidence. The thing that worries me the most is that I had no clue that this type of action could get you arrested. I could just imagine myself wiggling around in a stall sometime and accidentally creating this "signal." Is it possible that Craig knew what he was doing and it happened exactly as the officer describes with the intent that the officer attributes to the events? Sure. But while I am inclined to believe the police officer, I would like something more here as evidence. Apparently the officer knew Craig was a Senator before this interview took place and that could introduce all sorts of biases.

The biggest problem that I have is that sexual relations in a restroom should be punished. I don't think that simple foot tapping or even having one's shoe briefly touch another person's shoe should be a criminal offense.

UPDATE: After reading the transcript again, especially the beginning, I have become more convinced that Craig did something wrong. What convinces me of that is Craig's claim that the officer had tried to entrap him. At the very least that implies that Craig positively responded to some advance by the officer. Possibly Craig simply mispoke, but it would have been better if he had simply said that the police offiicer was inaccurate, which is what he says later on in the discussion.


West Virginia has 82,000 Permits


Concealed Handgun Permits Fall Dramatically in New York City

I will be on Glenn Beck's CNN program Tonight

I will be appearing on Glenn Beck's program on CNN tonight. The topic will be concealed handgun laws. His program starts at 7 PM EDT. I don't know when during the hour the segment will run.

A transcript of the interview can be found here.

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New Op-ed: More Guns, Not Less, Would Prevent Shooting Massacres

Reminder of talks at Minnesota State Fair

I will be at the KTLK booth with Jason Lewis from 5:30 to 7 PM this evening (near the Hoyt Entrance). I will be doing the show with Mitch Berg from 7 to 8 PM (at the AM 1280 booth on the other side of the fair).

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Governor Ed Rendell will stop gun sales in Pennsylvania for 5 days in September

Senator Larry Craig Arrested for disorderly conduct in June

Larry Craig has probably been the most important single Senator on the gun issue. This seems like very bad news. It appears as if he pleaded guilty to the charges. If this is true and it is truly very sad, it appears that Craig should resign from the Senate.

Sen. Larry Craig was arrested in June in Minnesota and paid $575 in fines and fees for a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, FOX News learned Monday.

A Hennepin County (Minn.) District Court spokesperson said Craig's case was put off and could be dismissed after one year of unsupervised probation. A 10-day prison sentence was stayed. . . . .

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Arizona School Suspends 13-Year-Old for Doodle showing a Gun

MESA, Arizona — Officials at an Arizona school suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.

The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.

"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.

The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he did not intend for the picture to be a threat.

Administrators of Payne Junior High in nearby Chandler suspended the boy on Monday for five days but later reduced it to three days. . . . .

If you follow the above link, you will see a copy of the picture that this 13-year-old drew. This doodle doesn't seem very threatening to me.

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Fred Thompson's campagin reportedly in good shape

South African Gun Control hasn't reduce Crime Rates

Here is an article from Friday's Christian Science Monitor:

It is now 13 years since South Africa turned its back on the oppressive era of apartheid and, in a remarkably peaceful transition, embraced democracy. Much has been accomplished as blacks and whites sculpt a new, multiracial nation. But the warning in the Sowetan's boardroom is a reminder that democracy must be nurtured to flourish. . . . . Thus the big cities such as Johannesburg have become seedbeds for robbery and violent hijacking, making crime South Africa's biggest problem. Sometimes it is the work of individuals; sometimes the work of organized gangs. One black editor, while in no way supporting the old apartheid regime, remarks wryly: "There was no city crime or unemployment in the old days. If you were a black without a [residence] pass and a letter from your boss saying you had a job, the police would run you out of town. Today, whether you are black or white, you take your life in your hands if you walk downtown at night." . . . .

South Africa gun control really started disarming many people after 2004.

The Firearms Control Act came into effect on 1 July 2004 after the Pretoria High Court dismissed an application by seven organisations to prevent the Act from being implemented. . . . .

Thanks to Rich Griffiths for sending me these links.

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Handgun crimes rise in Britain since ban

Despite a ban on handguns introduced in 1997 after 16 children and their teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane massacre the previous year, their use in crimes has almost doubled to reach 4,671 in 2005-06. Official figures show that although Britain has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the world, firearm use in crime has risen steadily. This year eight young people have been killed in gun attacks: six in London and one each in Manchester and Liverpool. . . . .

I don't think that the population of Britain has gone up much in the last decade (if it has gone up at all), but it would still have been better if they reported this in terms of crimes per capita. In any case, there are lots of reasons why gun crime is low or high in different countries, but the main point is how it changes when the regulations change. At the very least here, a gun ban doesn't appear to have lowered the crime rate.

Thanks to Richard of Newport for sending me this link.

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Is it a crime (or at least wrong) to sell lock-picks?: iPhone unlocked

No one ever doubted that the iPhone would be unlocked. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to crack the armor that heretofore has kept iPhone users from popping in a SIM card other than the iPhone-specific one that AT&T Wireless supplies with every new iPhone.

It seems that the team of someones at iPhoneSimFree.com are the first to successfully pull off this feat. The group says it has unlocked the phone, and will be releasing its software for sale starting next week.

Unlocking the iPhone dramatically widens the phone's appeal. . . . .

Unlocking the iPhone is on net bad for consumers. Those who already have an iPhone or who are going to get one are possibly better off. The question though is whether this theft will alter AT&T's investments in future capabilities for its network and service. If it does, the consumers will not have quality of service that they would have had and that will work to reduce the iPhone's appeal. One presumes that since Apple wants to maximize iPhone's attractiveness relative to its costs, this cheating will move them away from the right mix of quality. The bigger problem is that this type of cheating reduces the incentives to invent and invest in devices such as iPhone to begin with.

UPDATE: This is about what I expected. This seems like pretty strong evidence that Apple for one doesn't think that it is better off by the unlocking of the iPhone.

The man informed McLaughlin that if he posted the unlock code, he could be sued for copyright infringement and for dissemination of Apple’s intellectual property. . . . .

UPDATE2: AT&T is now in the act.

Until an assessment is made of the potential of legal action, Uniquephones is unable to release the unlocking software for sale. The company spokesperson also said that the company would also be evaluating what to eventually do with the software should they be legally denied the right to sell it. A substantial delay caused by any legal action would render the unlocking software a less valuable commodity as well as creating unforeseen security issues for the company.

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Rational Monkeys

It appears that even monkeys understand the notion of deterrence. At the very least, they at least respond in the way economics predicts: the more costly something is the less they do of something.

They say the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu's women have tried wearing their husbands' clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

"When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men," resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website

"But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don't run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops."

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Minnesota State Fair Next Tuesday

I will be at the Minnesota state fair signing copies of Freedomnomics next Tuesday afternoon. Jason Lewis, who does the early evening afternoon talk show on KTLK FM, is being quite nice and having me out for his entire show while he broadcasts from the fair grounds. I have done this before with Jason, and it should be a lot of fun.


Women Voting: Second of two part interview about Freedomnomics

The second part of the interview with Fred Lucas at CNSnews.com is available here.



Pigeon Dung helped Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

He forgot that he voted twice the same day in two different places

First of two part interview about Freedomnomics

The first part of the interview with Fred Lucas at CNSnews.com is available here.


Update on if weather forecasting should be run by the government

A critical discussion on my op-ed on weather forecasting services can be found here.

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Video of part of talk at the Cato Institute

A video of part of my recent talk at the Cato Institute can be found here.

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An update on British crime rates

An update on British crime rates can be seen here.

Thanks to Brian O'Connor for sending me this link.

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Bill Murray is also a funny guy in real life

Michael Medved nails another myth: The Truth about Internet Hunting

Who says politicians can’t move swiftly and decisively to block an imminent threat to public decency?

Consider the courageous work of most of our state legislatures and, potentially, the Congress of the United States, to put an end to the shameful scourge of internet hunting.

Since 2005, 33 states have outlawed the cruel, unsportsmanlike practice, and when the governor signs an Illinois bill that’s already passed both houses that will make 34 states that have taken action to put an end to the slaughter. As the Humane Society of the United States declared in a mailing that went out in 2006 to 50,000 households: “Such horrific cruelty must stop and stop now!”

As recently as last week, sportswriter and novelist Frank Deford delivered a scathing commentary on NPR decrying the hordes of knuckle-dragging internet hunters and comparing their viciousness to the alleged dog-fighting abuses of football star Michael Vick. Even the United States House of Representatives has taken up the cause, with one of the senior Republicans in Congress, the usually level-headed Tom Davis of Virginia, introducing HR 2711, The Computer Assisted Remote Hunting Act. “You just wonder,” he declared, “who would do something like this?”

The answer is no one, actually.

Despite the nationwide hysteria (deliberately fanned by the Humane Society and other animal welfare groups) there’s no evidence anywhere, that anyone has blown away herds of unsuspecting wildlife through an internet connection. . . .

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President Signs Executive Order on Hunting

Washington, D.C. - An Executive Order issued by the President of the United States will spell more hunting opportunities and enhanced conservation efforts, according to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the nation's premier sportsmen's rights advocacy organization.

Today, President George W. Bush released the order, entitled "Facilitation of Hunting and Wildlife Conservation." It directs all relevant federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities, wildlife management and habitat.

"The Executive Order is a great milestone for sportsmen and wildlife conservation," said Bud Pidgeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. "It clearly demonstrates that the President understands the unbreakable bond between successful wildlife conservation and hunting - that sportsmen are the key to abundant wildlife and habitat." . . .

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School suspends boy for drawing "doodles" of gun

MESA, Ariz. - School officials suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.

The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.

"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.

The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he didn't intend for the picture to be a threat.

Administrators of Payne Junior High in nearby Chandler suspended the boy on Monday for five days but later reduced it to three days.

The boy's father, Ben Mosteller, said that when he went to the school to discuss his son's punishment, school officials mentioned the seriousness of the issue and talked about the massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School, where two teenagers shot and killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves in 1999. Mosteller said he was offended by the reference.

Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the crude sketch was "absolutely considered a threat," and that threatening words or pictures are punishable. . . .


Another Endorsement for Freedomnomics

Will shooting in Missouri Church get Churches to reconsider Concealed Handgun Ban?

I found it interesting that the left-leaning Daily Kos seriously discussed the issue of gun free zones:

The fatal shooting of three people in a Missouri church on Sunday promises to renew the debate over concealed weapons laws.

Under the state's "conceal and carry" law enacted in 2003, Show Me State residents can bring firearms into places of worship (among other places), provided they get permission from their pastors. Whether the gunman or any of the assembled in the First Congregational Church in Neosho had received the blessing to pack heat in a house of God remains to be seen.

Among Missouri's Catholic churches, at least, such permission is unlikely. In the wake of the passage of the conceal and carry law, the Missouri Catholic Conference prescribed guidelines for churches in the state. Among its recommendations that each church should distribute a written policy to all employees and parishioners, as well as post a sign of at least 11 inches by 14 inches announcing that all weapons are prohibited within. . . .

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Fred Thompson and Giuliani Tangle on Gun Issue

Fred Thompson made a blog posting on the gun issue yesterday:

There are lots of things about [New York] I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category. Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights. . . .

The lawsuit has been a lesson in out-of-control government from the get-go. Mayor Bloomberg sent private investigators to make “straw” purchases – illegally buying guns for somebody else. According to the ATF, NY’s illegal “stings” interfered with ongoing investigations of real gun traffickers. . . .

Guliani, who has claimed in the past that gun control was an important reason for crime falling in New York City in the 1990s, responded:

In his comments, Mr. Thompson went on to suggest that high gun ownership rates may be related to the nation’s low violent crime rates.

The Giuliani campaign responded. “Those who live in New York in the real world — not on TV — know that Rudy Giuliani’s record of making the city safe for families speaks for itself,” said Katie Levinson, the Giuliani campaign’s communications director. “No amount of political theater will change that.” . . .

For those who want to see some of my past postings on Giuliania and guns see here, here, and here.

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Norway: Schooling and Guns

Schooling in Norway is apparently not a gun free zone:

Students on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard aren't allowed to leave their village without a shotgun and ammunition. That's because hungry polar bears can be behind every swing on the island.

Although no one wants to shoot a polar bear, and they're indeed protected by national law, the huge white animals can quickly outrun a human. And humans don't have a chance if confronted by an aggressive bear.

So everyone on Svalbard needs to be able defend him- or herself, and students undergo weapons training every year.

"We feel more secure and look forward to learn a lot more," said Helga Therese Tilley Tajet of Moelv. She's studying meteorology at the University of Oslo and will concentrate on the Arctic marine climate for the next six months at the university on Svalbard, UNIS. . . .

I wonder if there are any students who have been wounded with accidental gun shoots. For some reason despite all these students having guns I bet that there haven't been any problems.

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Another Review of Freedomnomics

“Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don’t,” reads the subtitle on the dust jacket.
So what? And what does that have to do with gun rights?

Like the saying goes, it’s not about guns, it’s about freedom. And Freedomnomics, by economist and author John Lott, Jr., does much to illustrate the relationship between free markets and liberty.

Sure, he builds on the groundbreaking work that established his name as a world-renowned commentator in More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns. But some of his conclusions go against what is intuitively accepted as common knowledge.

For instance, many believe legalized abortion has reduced violent crime by removing the most unwanted and therefore potentially crime-prone from the population. Lott has the numbers to show an increase in “the murder rate, on average, by about 7 percent.”

Likewise, affirmative action programs for police forces have the effect of lowering their effectiveness by lowering standards. “Ironically,” Lott writes, the people this hurts the most are those who live in “places already plagued by terrible crime.”

This is controversial stuff to some, hardly politically correct. But Lott proceeds unfazed, taking on capital punishment and demonstrating “the death penalty helps deter violent crime and save lives,” and when “there were no executions … between 1968 and 1976 … murder rates
skyrocketed.” . . .

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Some shows on gun crime

John Stossel has a nice show after the Virginia Tech shooting here.

The 1/2 hour News Hour has a more humorous take here.

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New Op-ed: Does Government Weather Forecasting Endanger Lives?

. . . . With all the blame still going around about Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, one fact has missed getting much attention: private weather forecasting companies predicted the threat to New Orleans well before the National Weather Service. In fact, AccuWeather issued a forecast that the hurricane would hit New Orleans 12 hours earlier than the government service.

This is hardly something new. Private companies with a lot at stake would often rather pay for private forecasts than rely on the “free” forecasts from the government. Hugh Connett, the president of Bridgeline, a gas pipeline company in Louisiana, claims that the government’s hurricane forecasts are too imprecise. He says that private companies such as AccuWeather do it better, because they give more accurate predictions and provide hour-by-hour forecasts of a storm’s path. . . .

UPDATE: For those interested, links for the sources have been imbedded in the article. Simply click on the link above.

UPDATE 2: Please note that a correction was made in the piece. The portion of a sentence in the second paragraph stating that there were 5 hurricanes predicted to hit the US has been cut.

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Debate on letting guns on college campuses

A C-SPAN Washington Journal debate between a student at George Mason University, Andrew Dysart, and Paul Helmke from the Brady Campaign can be seen here.

This morning during the 6 AM hour I debated Paul Helmke on WTOP radio.

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South African Health Minister Pushes new Cure for HIV AIDS


CSPAN 2 Showing Talk on Freedomnomics

CSPAN 2 Booknotes TV will show a presentation on my book on Saturday, August 18th at 7 PM EDT.

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Extensive interview with Bill Steigerwald at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Another Review of Freedomnomics

An Australian weighs in on Freedomnomics with a lengthy, thoughtful review. I particularly appreciated his conclusion:




Senator John Edwards asks if Cuba has a government health care system?

Is this really serious? It just shows the old saying that telling one lie can lead to many other ones.

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: When an Iowa resident asked former senator John Edwards Thursday whether the United States should follow the Cuban healthcare model, the 2004 vice presidential contender deflected the question by saying he didn't know enough to answer the question.

"I'm going to be honest with you -- I don't know a lot about Cuba's healthcare system," Edwards, D-N.C., said at an event in Oskaloosa, Iowa. "Is it a government-run system?"

But just three days earlier, the candidate was asked a question about the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" -- which focuses extensively on the Cuban healthcare system.

As Willie Nelson's classic "On the Road Again" blared, Edwards leaned out of a window of his campaign bus dubbed "Fighting for One America", to hear an off-camera voice howl, "I wanted to ask ya, is it required that everyone go see "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko"?

Edwards, in between autographs outside Dan's Pizzeria in Onawa, Iowa, replies, "I watched Sicko," later adding, "It's a great movie."

You can watch the moment captured by C-SPAN and spread to the world on YouTube by clicking here. . . . .


Regulating Prescription Drug Prices Will Cost Lives

Census Bureau Asks that ICE stops rounding up Illegal Aliens

Some simple economics here. If the Census Bureau is correct that the current round ups of illegal aliens is causing illegals to be fearful, eliminating these round ups would presumably increase the number of illegal aliens.

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau wants immigration agents to suspend enforcement raids during the 2010 census so the government can better count illegal immigrants.

Raids during the population count would make an already distrustful group even less likely to cooperate with government workers who are supposed to include them, the Census Bureau's second-ranking official said in an Associated Press interview.

Deputy Director Preston Jay Waite said immigration enforcement officials did not conduct raids for several months before and after the 2000 census. But today's political climate is even more volatile on the issue of illegal immigration.

Enforcement agents "have a job to do," Waite said. "They may not be able to give us as much of a break" in 2010.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman declined to say whether immigration officials would halt raids. "If we were, we wouldn't talk about it," Pat Reilly said.

"For us to suspend that enforcement would probably take a lot more than one meeting," Reilly said. "We would have to discuss this at the highest levels of both agencies." . . . .

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Most of the victims at Virginia Tech were over 21 years of age

Robert Tims writes me that "19 [of the victims at Virginia Tech this spring] were 21 yrs old or older." He provides five sources: here, here, here, here, and here.

Robert concludes by noting that "It is very significant to me that, if they had been allowed to carry on campus, there certainly could have been an individual who was responsible enough to insure their own and others safety."


Talk at the Cato Institute available here

A podcast from what I talked about at Cato this week on my book Freedomnomics is available here


More on Students Carrying Guns on Campus

The CNN program here reports that over 500 students at the University of Utah have concealed carry permits. I assume that there are probably about 30,000 students on campus. If that number is correct, that is only about 1.6 percent of the students being able to carry a gun. It would be nice to get that number somewhat higher. Still, 500 on students on campus must mean that there will often be multiple people around the school who are able to stop an attack. I would be willing to bet that there won't be any significant multiple victim public shootings at that university.

One professor, Barbara Nash, who is interviewed claimed that the idea that more guns would mean a safer place is a "stupid" idea. It would have been nice if the professor could have pointed to some evidence that students with a concealed handgun permit posed a danger. On the other hand, another professor in the Business School, Randall Boyle, said he actually felt safer now that some students in the class legally have concealed handguns.



George Mason Students Come Out for Carrying Concealed Handguns

A debate between a couple of students on a local TV show can be seen here. Andrew Dysart was the student from GMU who supported students being able to carry concealed handguns. The main answer that I would have given to the question about what might happen with students carrying concealed handguns is that where has there been a problem with people over age 21 who behave improperly with concealed handguns.


Some Los Angeles Police Discuss Letting Citizens Carrying Concealed Handguns

There is an interesting TV program segment on what police in Los Angeles felt about right-to-carry laws can be found here. It seems like right below the very top that there is a lot of support even in Los Angeles for concealed handguns. I have no idea how representative these interviews are, but it was interesting.

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Media Bias Revealed in Seattle TImes

No matter what you think of Karl Rove -- or anyone else in politics -- please keep it to yourself, or at least falrly quiet. That was the message in a note sent to staffers at the Seattle Times by Executive Editor Dave Boardman after what he called "an awkward moment at yesterday's news meeting."

What happened? According to Boardman in the latest email installment of what he calls "Dave's Raves" it was this: "When word came in of Karl Rove's resignation, several people in the meeting started cheering. That sort of expression is simply not appropriate for a newsroom....As we head into a major political year, now's a good time to remember: Please keep your personal politics to yourself."

The incident was described in a blog by chief political reporter David Postman. He comments: "I wasn't there, but I've talked to several people who were. It was only a couple of people who cheered and they, thankfully, are not among the people who get a say in news play. But obviously news staff shouldn't be cheering or jeering the day's news, particularly as Boardman points out, 'when we have an outside guest in the room.' . . . . (Emphasis added)

I emphasized the word "particularly" because why should it be that they should hide their political views "when we have an outside guest in the room."

Apparently, the reaction at the Seattle Times is not unique. Joe Scarborough witnessed a similar event at MSNBC:

Joe Scarborough has pulled back the curtain on the liberal bias at MSNBC, describing an incident in which people in its newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address.

The revelation came on "Morning Joe" today at 6:02 A.M. EDT. Joe was discussing a recent episode at the Seattle Times in which reporters and editors cheered the news that Karl Rove had resigned. Scarborough applauded Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman for issuing a memorandum reproving his colleagues. For more, read NB items by Brent Baker and Ken Shepherd.. . . . (Emphasis added)


More problems with Wikipedia

The main problem with these edits is just too obvious.


Mexico Deports Illegal Aliens in its Own Counrtry

The Slippery slope: Banning Twisting Balloons into the Shape of Guns

Reputations matter, even for China

In my talk at the Cato Institute today the claim that reputations don't seem to be important in disciplining China was very briefly raised. Anyway, talk about timing, here was a story that I just happened upon:

Whittle Shortline Railroad , a company in Louisiana, Mo., that makes wooden trains and trucks, posted a banner on its Web site several weeks ago: “100 percent kid-safe,” it read, “with lead-free paints.” Mike Whitworth, the company’s owner, said the recent recalls of Chinese-made toys found to contain lead in their paint has been good for his business. Very good. . . . .

Some evidence that it matters to consumers:

OTTAWA - Fears of shoddy and dangerous toys pouring into Canada from China are prompting parents across the country to seek safer alternatives following a large-scale recall announced by Mattel this week. But many are finding it's a nearly impossible task because the majority of the world's toys come from China.

"It's really difficult to find anything," said Keely Dennis, mother of a one-year-old boy in Vancouver. "It's really hard to find toys that aren't made in China that are age-appropriate, and are just cool, that your kid will play with."

For the second time in two weeks, the toy giant began recalling millions of Chinese-made toys over concerns that small parts could pose choking hazards and that excessive amounts of lead may be present. This is the latest in a string of problems that are raising doubts over the safety and quality of Chinese products, including toothpaste and pet food. . . . .

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Washington Post Article from 1922 Showing Early Signs of Climate Change

Have we been through this all before?

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."

As I have blogged before about the new NASA data, I believe that it is 5 out of 10 years with the highest temperatures were before WWII.

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For something a little different

Fox News has all the info on the Hog and Husband Calling Contest at the Illinois State Fair.


Video from C-SPAN performance can be seen here

This weekend C-SPAN's BookTV aired a presentation at the Heritage Foundation on my new book Freedomnomics. You can view the film here (real media required).

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Gun ownership drops further in Massachusetts

Well, the gun control laws accomplished exactly what they were supposed to do: reduce legal gun ownership.

According to the Boston Globe, the number of legal gun owners has declined by more than 25 percent in the past six years . . . .

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Students at Virginia Colleges Push to carry concealed handguns

The liberal imbalance in Academia

Seventy-six percent of the education industry's total federal contributions for '08 has gone to Democrats, on par with the industry's partisanship in the last two election cycles. Perhaps more surprising than the industry’s party split is its sheer size: Education was the eighth-largest industry in terms of all federal campaign contributions in 2004 and the 13th largest in 2006, meaning that in the last two election cycles, college employees contributed more to politicians than the oil and gas industry, which ranked 16th in both cycles. For 2008, CRP ranks the education industry as No. 14, still ahead of big-givers such as oil and gas, general contractors, the computer and Internet industry, electric utilities and the pharmaceutical industry.

My new book, Freedomnomics, tries to explain why academia is as heavily liberal as it is and, more importantly, how the tenure process works to keep it that way.

Thanks to Butch Browning for sending me the link to this study.

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One of the problems with survey data

Obese people underestimate the amount of sugar they eat, making studies into the condition based on self-reporting very unreliable, UK researchers say. . . . . In a study of hundreds of volunteers, researchers compared what people said they ate with data from urine tests.

The problem with this is that it produces a systematic bias in the survey data. The high end of the survey results are biased downward. The problem is probably even worse than might be claimed here if those being studied in this case understood why their urine samples were being taken. The reason is that the people may have been relatively more accurate in their answers if they thought that they were being checked for accuracy. As the article points out, claims that sugar intake are unrelated to health problems or obesity could simply be due to this bias in the data.


Freedomnomics on C-SPAN this Weekend

This Sunday, August 12, at 11:00 AM EDT; Sunday, August 12, at midnight EDT; and Saturday, August 18, at 7:00 PM EDT C-SPAN 2's Booknotes will have a presentation on my new book. The discussion each time will last an hour.

My appearance on CSPAN 2's Booknotes seems to have engendered some reaction:

On the positive side you can find this: "I almost forgot to mention that John will discuss his terrific book, Freedomnomics, on C-SPAN at 11:00 am EDT. The interview repeats at midnight and the booktv site has the full schedule for subsequent replays.

Go see it, the book is wonderfully ingenious, clearly written, and the balance of evidence and analysis makes John one of the formidable economists in the public policy arena."

On the negative side you can find this: "John Lott is scary. He's on CSPAN2 right now, giving talk on his book. What's scary about the guy is that he has no concept of the idea that human beings might be less than rational in the way they go about making life decisions. He really thinks everybody is hyper-rational. And, he's the chief economist for the US Sentencing Committee." I did put in a reply to his post on his website. It will be interesting to see if he has any response. Update: Well, there wasn't a substantive response, just some name calling.



Talk at the Cato Institute this coming Tuesday

From the Washington Post Literary Guide
TUESDAY, August 14, 2007

Noon. Economist John R. Lott Jr. discusses his new book, Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't, in conversation with Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute and Michael New from the University of Alabama, at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Call 202-789-5229 or e-mail events@cato.org to RSVP.

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Example where discretionary concealed handgun permits may have been given out as political favors


Data error in recorded world temperatures exaggerated global warming

This is yet another case of government funded data not being shared with other researchers. The warmest year in the last 100 is 1934, not 1998.

These graphs were created by NASA's Reto Ruedy and James Hansen (who shot to fame when he accused the administration of trying to censor his views on climate change). Hansen refused to provide McKintyre with the algorithm used to generate graph data, so McKintyre reverse-engineered it. The result appeared to be a Y2K bug in the handling of the raw data.

McKintyre notified the pair of the bug; Ruedy replied and acknowledged the problem as an "oversight" that would be fixed in the next data refresh.

NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II. Anthony Watts has put the new data in chart form, along with a more detailed summary of the events.

The effect of the correction on global temperatures is minor (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge. . . . .

Thanks very much to John Lazar for pointing this out to me..

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New Op-ed: On Giving Terrorists the Best Advice

Here is a new piece that I have at Fox News:

Should a website post the best ideas for successful terrorist plots? Should we even discuss publicly how to stop terrorist attacks? This week, New York Times blogger Steven Levitt publicly posted terrorist plot suggestions. He claims that “by getting these ideas out in the open, it gives terror fighters a chance to consider and plan for these scenarios before they occur.”

Levitt clearly assumes that terrorists have already figured out the best ideas, but that our side has not. If anything, the reverse is probably true. There are vastly more Americans than terrorists possessing detailed information on American infrastructure, traffic flows, policing practices, etc. So terrorists could easily learn something. To make matters worse, there are also many home-grown mental basket cases who could get ideas on how to obtain worldwide attention. . . . .

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Draft nonsense

WASHINGTON — Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday.

"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

"And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another," Lute added . . . .

If you are having troubles getting enough people in the military, there is a simple solution: increase pay. The notion that you can save money by reinstituting the draft is simply an illusion. True the government doesn't have to spend more, but it is a big tax on many of those who would have been able to earn a lot of money outside of the military. When you include the value of that foregone output, the cost of the draft is much higher than simply paying people more to join. It is pretty obvious that this guy hasn't had even basic economics.


The Abortion Debate Gets Heated

I guess that it would have been helpful if Ms. Marjorie Signer had actually explained why my research showing that the liberalization of abortion rules increased crime contained "many unfounded, fallacious, racist, and confused assumptions."

"Lott offers so many unfounded, fallacious, racist, and confused assumptions that his overall opinions are useless," said Marjorie Signer, spokeswoman for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights, in a statement sent to Cybercast News Service.

"To speculate that abortion is responsible for various and sundry social trends is irresponsible and misses critical points," she said.

"Abortion has always been an option that women at all socioeconomic levels have considered, and many abortions are performed for medical reasons. Trying to correlate abortion with social trends smacks of pseudo-science and shows little understanding of women's lives and decisions," Signer added. . . . .

John Donohue also refused to comment on the actual research, but was reduced to saying this: "I am a social scientist, however, so Lott's behavior has in my mind, put him outside the bounds of scientific discourse." That will certainly settle the debate, though I can understand why Donohue is reluctant to actually discuss the facts on this issue. Since John Whitley co-authored this paper with me, does Donohue's statement tar Whitley also?

Donohue also doesn't comment on recent issues regarding his co-author Levitt.

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Steve 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.


Another Review of Freedomnomics

Forum on helping Terrorists

I am not really sure that I understand what some people are thinking sometimes.

If you were a terrorist, how would you attack?

That's the question a New York Times blogger posed Wednesday on the newspaper's Web site.

Steven D. Levitt, in a controversial posting on the paper's Freakonomics blog, has invited fellow bloggers to submit their worst-case scenarios for a terrorist attack.

The blogosphere is buzzing about whether the posting will prompt officials to stay ever-alert, as Levitt intends, or whether it could lead to a catalog of ideas that could encourage new attacks

Instead of setting up a forum to educate terrorists an alternative approach was suggested to me: "put up a website on how to CATCH terrorists (and criminals) more easily. The how-tos should be sent secretly to FBI,CIA, police."

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Another Review of Freedomnomics

This cliché of government intervention might not be the effective long-term solution for the economy that many trust it to be. John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, author of the newly-published book Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don’t, believes that government intervention into a free market can adversely affect the economy. Lott further maintains that many so-called “market failures” actually become profit opportunities for those people who work to solve the problems.

Dr. Lott was at the Heritage Foundation last Wednesday to discuss his book and explain his thesis supporting a free economy despite its shortcomings. Lott drew upon multiple examples from his book to prove that the free market works most effectively with as little government intervention as possible, and is actually able to solve its own market failures over time, contrary to popular opinion. Also, Lott expounded upon the long-term domino effects that touch society when the government exercises sufficient power. . . . .

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Book Signing in Houston on Wednesday

Galleria Barnes and Noble for noon to 2 pm on August 8
5000 Westheimer Suite 100
Houston, TX 77056
scheduled August 8, 2007 from Wednesday, August 8, 8:00 PM to Wednesday, August 8, 9:00 PM



Congress is in need of some parental supervision

John Fund goes through the details:

The House of Representatives almost turned into the Fight Club Thursday night, when Democrats ruled that a GOP motion had failed even though, when the gavel fell, the electronic score board showed it winning 215-213 along with the word FINAL. The presiding officer, Rep. Mike McNulty (D., N.Y.), actually spoke over the clerk who was trying to announce the result.

In the ensuing confusion several members changed their votes and the GOP measure to deny illegal aliens benefits such as food stamps then trailed 212-216. Boiling-mad Republicans stormed off the floor. The next day, their fury increased when they learned electronic records of the vote had disappeared from the House's voting system. . . . .

Mr. Foley also made a very prescient warning. . . . . should [Democrats] win back control that November . . . "Democrats [should] clearly and intensely [promise] that if they take the majority back again, they will not go back and try to pay back, so to speak, what they felt were the excesses and even the outrages of this period, but will promise minority rights in reaching those majority decisions."

Clearly, his fellow Democrats in the House haven't been following his advice. . . . .


Barry Bonds' Home Run Record Tainted by Mechanical Device

Predictions on surveillance cameras

I wonder whether there will be a difference in the change in crime rates between the summer and winter with these cameras. Surely there are fewer crimes that take place in the winter, but my guess is that the drop will be smaller then because in Chicago (one of the cities mentioned in the story) most people where some hood or face mask, thus negating the benefit of the camera.

Most people in the United States have no reservations regarding the use of video cameras in public places as a way to improve safety, according to a poll by TNS released by the Washington Post and ABC News. 71 per cent of respondents support having public surveillance cameras, while 25 per cent do not. . . . .

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The penalties faced by white collar criminals

This article only mentions the prison term faced by Fingerhut. But of course he will have to provide full restitution and fines. He is retired so he doesn't have to look for a job again because if he did (as I have pointed out in Freedomnomics), he would have an almost impossible task. There is also a high probability that his wife will divorce him and take most of his assets.

In his day, Bert Fingerhut was a Wall Street player. A top-ranked securities analyst for eight straight years, making calls that moved markets, Mr. Fingerhut rose to director of research at Oppenheimer & Co. in 1980. Three years later, he retired to Aspen, Colo. He was 40 years old.

In the Rockies, Mr. Fingerhut became as passionate about conservation as he once was about stocks. He joined the boards of a string of environmental organizations. So devoted was he to the wilderness that he got married in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

But he couldn't get Wall Street out of his system. In the 1990s he picked up a copy of Peter Lynch's "Beating the Street," in which the former star manager of the Fidelity Magellan Fund wrote of a "can't-lose proposition (almost)" called bank-conversion investing.

When mutual, depositor-owned banks convert to public companies, Mr. Lynch noted, they must let depositors buy stock at the initial-public-offering price. The new shares are often priced at a discount. So "the next time you pass a mutual savings bank or an S&L that's still cooperatively owned," Mr. Lynch suggested, "think about stopping in and establishing an account."

Mr. Fingerhut took the advice to heart, and then some. Starting in 1995, he opened accounts at more than 400 banks across the country, from Wellsburg, W.Va., to Covina, Calif. He eventually got in on public offerings at many of them, and flipped their shares for quick profits. Over a decade, he made $11 million from the strategy.

There was one problem: The way he did it, he was breaking the law.

In May, Mr. Fingerhut pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud banks and their depositors by secretly using other people as fronts to open accounts for him, thus increasing the number of IPO shares he could buy. He forfeited all the money he earned from the strategy. On Friday, a federal judge in Newark, N.J., sentenced the onetime star stock analyst to two years in prison.
. . . .

Thanks to Jack Langer for sending this article to me.

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Fund raising with a blast

Dems on Earmarking

-- I thought that the Dems were upset about government no bid contracts (that is those under Bush even though the same ones were the same under Clinton).

Some companies stand to gain from Pelosi's earmarks. The California Democrat has won funding for six companies in a 2008 defense funding measure. One is a $4 million request to develop a ``novel viral biowarfare agent'' for Prosetta Corp., based in her San Francisco district. Tom Higgins, the company's chief executive officer, says he talked to the Speaker's staff directly rather than hiring a lobbyist and hasn't given money to her campaign. ``We're just a little company,'' he says.

Another of Pelosi's earmarks was $2.5 million to Bioquiddity, Inc., a San Francisco biotech company with nine employees, to continue developing drug-infusion pumps. Bioquiddity President Josh Kriesel, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the state legislature in 2002, has donated $6,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since last September. The company received a total of $3.9 million in earmarks in the last two years. Kriesel declined to comment directly on the earmarks.

Pelosi has said some earmarks are ``worthy.'' And she said there is a distinction between those for public projects, which she sometimes touts with press releases, and special interest earmarks. . . . .


Democratic Presidential Race Getting Tighter Where it Counts

Concealed Handgun Permit Holder Stops Murderer at Seattle Party


Congressional Energy Bill Farce

The Energy Bill adopted by the Congress has many problems and provisions that will make the US poorer. For example, requiring that we use more expensive, less efficient sources of energy. This discussion in the NY Times caught my attention:

The utilities provision, or the so-called renewable electricity standard amendment, was among the most contested measures in the energy bill. Sponsored by Representative Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, and several others, it will force utilities to make a significant share of their electricity from solar, wind, geothermal, water and other nonfossil fuel sources, although they can meet part of the requirement through conservation measures.

The standard applies only to investor-owned utilities and exempts rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the state of Hawaii from the mandate. . . . .

If cutting back on carbon dioxide is so important, why do these rules only apply to "investor-owned utilities"? Surely municipal utilities should also count? What about Hawaii? Carbon dioxide is being added to the atmosphere every place. Why does the administration only threaten to veto based upon the lack of oil production in the bill?

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Some recognition for a permit holder who helped stop a bank robbery

A man who helped thwart an armed robber's escape from a Bessemer bank in May died this morning in a bulldozer accident in western Jefferson County.

Christopher Lynn Chappell, 41, was accidentally killed at 8:15 a.m. by the bulldozer he was operating, said Jefferson County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian.

It is believed he became entangled in the track of the bulldozer and was run over while working alone. Deputies and the Concord Fire Department responded, but Chappell was pronounced dead on the scene.
On May 14, Chappell was a customer at the Wachovia Bank on Ninth Avenue in Bessemer, when a gunman opened fire, killing bank employees Eva Hudson and Sheila McWaine Prevo. Two other bank employees, Anita Gordon and LaToya Freeman, were wounded.

Chappell, who was approaching the bank and heard the gunfire, got his gun from his vehicle and confronted the gunman as he was leaving, forcing him back inside and giving law officers time to respond..

Thanks very much to James Roberts for sending this to me.

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"Burglar is shot by store owner"

GREENCASTLE - An Antrim Township mini-mart owner who has been the victim of several recent burglaries shot an intruder during a confrontation early Thursday, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Merlony Colaco, 29, has seen his Molly Pitcher Mini-Mart at 13640 Molly Pitcher Highway burglarized more than half a dozen times since March.

Colaco has owned the store for a year and a half. The first year was relatively tranquil, but in March the establishment was robbed four times in 14 days. In one incident, Colaco held a woman at bay with a gun until police arrived.

On Thursday at 1:46 a.m., Colaco pulled the trigger when Thomas Philip Candeloro Jr. allegedly approached him after breaking in a side door.

“I shot him because he was coming at me,” said Colaco this morning. “I didn't shoot him because he was stealing the cigarettes.”

Colaco said he has never shot a gun in his life and believes his actions were in self-defense. . . .



San Francisco Makes it More Difficult for People to Defend Themselves

For those in San Francisco who really believe that this is the solution: "San Francisco residents will be required to keep their guns in lock boxes or have trigger locks on their firearms under a law signed Wednesday by Mayor Gavin Newsom. "

See this:
"these storage requirements appear to impair people?s ability to use guns defensively. Because accidental shooters also tend to be the ones most likely to violate the new law, safe storage laws increase violent and property crimes against low risk citizens with no observable offsetting benefit in terms of reduced accidents or suicides. During the first five full years after the passage of the safe storage laws, the group of fifteen states that adopted these laws faced an annual average increase of over 300 more murders, 3,860 more rapes, 24,650 more robberies, and over 25,000 more aggravated assaults. On average, the annual costs borne by victims averaged over $2.6 billion as a result of lost productivity, out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, and property losses."

Well, at least San Francisco has almost eliminated the need for self defens. Here is an news article from the end of 2005: "San Francisco Murder Rate Highest In 10 Years"


A thought on bridges collapsing

Given the tragedy yesterday and all the discussion about it, I just thought that I would look up the number of major bridges in the US. One source, even if the source is of questionable reliability, puts the number at 467. (I didn't count all the covered bridges, though there certainly seems like a lot of those. I also only did one faset count so that I might be off by a couple.) In any case, I think that it has been something like 17 years since the last bridge collapse. 1/(467*17)= 1/7939 is the rate per year that a major bridge collapses. I guess that the rate is a little higher than I would have thought, but the number hopefully gives one some perspective. If the list that I am using is incomplete, the rate of collapses will be lower than what I report.

I am not putting this up to minimize the tragedy, but to give some perspective. Especially since everyone is going to extrapolate from this into claiming that something needs to be done instantly across the entire country.


Insights from John Fund at Political Diary

On Senator Patrick Leahy recent comments on Justice Roberts:

. . . . "I think in his actions and the actions in which he has joined, he has made the court an arm of the Republican Party," Mr. Leahy said. "They (the Republicans) say they don't want an activist Supreme Court, but this is the most activist Supreme Court we have ever seen, running roughshod over the Constitution, like Plessy v. Ferguson did."

Those are fighting words. In the infamous Plessy case, the Supreme Court in 1896 declared that states could practice racial segregation under the "separate but equal" doctrine. The decision was finally overturned in 1954 in the famous Brown v. Board of Education decision that led to the desegregation of many of the nation's schools.

Mr. Leahy is comparing that history with a five-to-four decision that Mr. Roberts joined in last month which declared that it was impermissible for governments to use race in the assignment of children to public schools. Many legal scholars believed the Roberts court was acting in the finest tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., who declared in his 1963 "March on Washington" speech that he longed for the day when people would be "judged by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin." While Mr. Roberts didn't quote King, he clearly shared those sentiments when he wrote: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Rather than at least grant Mr. Roberts has an honest disagreement, Mr. Leahy has chosen to smear him. As for President Bush, the Vermont Democrat was openly contemptuous of his court choices. "I am not sure the president realizes what he has done with the court. He was told by Dick Cheney and others, 'This is what you are going to do.'" . . .

On the "ethics reform" legislation before the Senate

Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid has brokered an ethics reform bill that is a travesty when it comes to shining light on earmarks, the pork barrel projects members slip into bills without any real scrutiny. Mr. Reid, for instance, made sure that he retained the right to decide what qualifies as an earmark instead of giving that responsibility to the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian. . . . .


Problems with discretionary concealed handgun permits

SaysUncle in his piece on "Like you and me, only better" notes how not everyone is treated equally when there is discretion in granting permits. Note my book doesn't say that permits increased in New York City, just that it was higher than most people might think.


New York Times concerned about Wall Street Journal's objectivity

If we were in any other business, a risky takeover of a powerful competitor might lead to celebration. Not in our business. Good journalism, which is an essential part of American democracy, thrives on competition.

More than anything, competition makes our work better — more ambitious, more in-depth, more honest. When Americans are served by many different, responsible, competing news outlets, they can make more informed judgments. That is why we, and so many others, are paying such anxious attention to Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones & Company and its crown jewel, The Wall Street Journal. . . .

Well, on the plus side at least the New York Times will maintain its objectivity. That should be a real boon for the NY Times circulation, right? Personally, I think that the news pages of the WSJ have a left wing tilt. I could see the problem for objectivity if the news stories moved to the middle.


Coverage of Concealed Carry in Philadelphia Inquirer

A month ago, with her frustration mounting over all the guns and killing, she shredded her own gun permit. She won't seek to renew it, she says. . . .

This woman is understandably upset about what appears to be gang shootings in Philadelphia. But it would have been nice if the Philadelphia Inquirer could have had some discussion of whether this response by a law-abiding citizen to disarm herself made any sense.


The Pacific Legal Foundation tries to reign in some nutsy interpretations of the Endangered Species Act

"Are salmon really endangered?" (Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon) An interesting part of the article is here:

But how do you define hatchery and naturally spawned fish as different species? There are no biological or genetic differences, the only way you can tell the fish apart is a clipped fin on hatchery fish. Environmental groups claim that some hatchery fish behave differently, but that is hard to take seriously. Why ignore all hatchery fish just because some behave differently?

But think where that logic ultimately leads. By defining different species based on behavior, how many different species of humans do you think that there would be?

The claimed distinction largely stems from hatchery and natural fish survival rates. Hatchery fish have a higher survival rate from egg to smolt, but a lower survival rate from smolt to adult. Yet, that is hardly surprising. Many of the weaker naturally spawned fish have already died off so that there are fewer of them to die off in the next stage. In the past, the government’s policies have lurched from one extreme to another. . . .



Heritage Talk Available Here

The talk that I gave at the Heritage Foundation can be found here. Hopefully it provides a quick understanding of economics is and how powerful of a tool it is. For those with Windows and Windows Media Player you can watch the presentation here.


Another Review of Freedomnomics

Phil Miller over at Market Power has a review of Freedomnomics:

John Lott has given us a book that gives an important perspective on the workings and intricacies of markets and what happens when private citizens are economically free.

John Palmer has more thoughts here and Stephen Karlson has his comments here.


Talk at the Heritage Foundation Today

I will be giving a talk today at the Heritage Foundation at noon on my new book Freedomnomics. It is my understanding that C-SPAN's Book TV will be covering the event for broadcast at a later date.

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First Gore, now Bloomberg

First it was Al Gore using something like 20 times more energy than the average household in just one of his four or five mansions. Then it was Gore's frequent use of private jets. Now Mayor Bloomberg's reputation for being green is being tarnished.

He is public transportation’s loudest cheerleader, boasting that he takes the subway “virtually every day.” He has told residents who complain about overcrowded trains to “get real” and he constantly encourages New Yorkers to follow his environmentally friendly example.

But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s commute is not your average straphanger’s ride.

On mornings that he takes the subway from home, Mr. Bloomberg is picked up at his Upper East Side town house by a pair of king-size Chevrolet Suburbans. The mayor is driven 22 blocks to the subway station at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, where he can board an express train to City Hall. His drivers zip past his neighborhood station, a local subway stop a five-minute walk away. . . . .

Personally, given Bloomberg's value of time, I don't begrudge him doing things to shorten his trip. But I didn't think that was the environmental thing to do.


Man stops two pit bulls attacking his dog by using his gun

From Gainesville, Florida:

A Gainesville man awoke to the sounds of a dog fight early Monday. When he walked outside, he found his dog locked in the jaws of a large pit bull.

"I'm sound asleep and my wife says there's a dog fight in the yard," said Fletcher Sutton, 58. "And within 90 seconds I find myself standing in the yard in my bathrobe with a knife in one hand, a gun in the other and a dog dead between my legs."

Sutton and his grandson, Robert Koehler, 16, reacted quickly when they found their 110-pound Labrador-Mastiff mix being attacked by two pit bulls, the larger of which had clamped down on the dog's neck.

"We tried to beat him off, we tried to kick him off, and it was like it was to the death," Sutton said.

Lt. Scott Meffen with the Gainesville Police Department said they arrived at the home, 2415 SE 11th Ave., around 7:30 a.m. Monday to find a large black pit bull shot twice in the head. Sutton's dog had wounds to his neck and two front legs from the fight.