Endangered Species Act Help Cause California Fires

Ralph Hostetter shows how the fuel behind the California wildfires came from environmental regulation to protect critters such as frogs and rats:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) has had unintended consequences that have proved a nightmare for many Americans who have had their properties seized, faced exorbitant fines, and in some cases given jail time, all in the name of protecting rodents and reptiles, principally.

We need only look to the wildfires raging in California at the present time as an example.

No doubt some of the homes still going up in flames are lost as a result of protection for an endangered species.

ESA regulations prevented homeowners from clearing highly flammable brush from around their homes in San Bernadino and San Diego counties. The very brush that brought the flames that destroyed their homes was the protected habitat of an endangered species, the kangaroo rat. . . . .

UPDATE: I don't think that there was anything "new" here, but I thought that this newspaper editorial put things together very well:

Remember when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shamelessly told reporters the Southern California wildfires were the result of man-made global warming? Not to be outscreeched, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi exploited the tragedy by forming a select committee with the stated goal of establishing a link between "changing climate and the frequency and intensity of wildfires." Nothing like reaching a conclusion, then gathering "the facts" to support it.

But the Nobel-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the 1 F increase in the average Southern California temperature since 1900 was accompanied by an increase in precipitation. The U.S. Forest Service and National Climatic Data Center, not exactly global-warming skeptics, say changes in the frequency and intensity of the wildfires defy explanation. Tom Wordell of the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho said it most succinctly: "That's a fire-prone environment regardless of whether we are in a climate-change scenario."

It turns out the wildfires had an anthropic element: Police say one was touched off by a kid playing with matches and several others were sparked by arsonists. Nice try on that global-warming twaddle, though.

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More Limits Coming On Death Penalty?

First it was the ABA this week, now yesterday the Supreme Court halts all executions by lethal injection. There are real concerns that this 7 to 2 vote does not give one a lot of comfort for the future:

Moments before a Mississippi prisoner was scheduled to die by lethal injection, the Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution on Tuesday evening and thus gave a nearly indisputable indication that a majority intends to block all executions until the court decides a lethal injection case from Kentucky next spring.

There were two dissenters, Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr., but neither they nor the majority gave reasons for their positions. Because only five votes are required for a stay of execution, it is not clear whether all the remaining seven justices supported it. . . .


Finally, Iowa Campus Police Allowed to be Armed

Some New York City Council Members Who Own Guns

Well, at least a few people, even if they are politicians, are getting permits.

A City Council member who represents parts of Staten Island, Vincent Ignizio, says he is hoping to obtain a gun permit from the city — a process that can take up to six months.

Mr. Ignizio, a Republican, said he wants to buy a rifle or a handgun for protection in his home. When he was growing up on Staten Island his father owned a gun for protection and he said he always knew he would do the same when he had a family. His first child, a girl, was born earlier this month.

If approved Mr. Ignizio would join a small group of elected officials known to own guns. A council member who is a Democrat and represents parts of Queens, Peter Vallone Jr., owns a rifle and said he is not aware of any other council members who own firearms. Mr. Ignizio's plan to arm himself was reported by the Staten Island Advance and picked up on the politics Web log of the New York Observer. . . .



Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act Does Not Stop Gary, Indiana Lawsuit Against Gun Makers

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a lawsuit by the city of Gary against several gun makers can go to trial.

The court ruled 3-0 that a provision in the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 does not bar the case from going forward in state court. The federal law grants the industry broad protections from municipalities and victims seeking damages for gun-related violence.

Gary's lawsuit, filed in 1999, alleged that 16 gun makers and six Northern Indiana gun dealers sold guns they knew would end up in criminals' hands.

The Court of Appeals cited a prior ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court that said Indiana's public nuisance laws could apply to the city of Gary's claims and found that the federal law did not bar the city from taking legal action.

The federal law seeks to prevent lawsuits that try to use the judicial system to circumvent the legislative branch. But Gary's claim rests on state law passed by the Indiana legislature, the court noted.

It also cited an exception to the immunity provisions of the federal law that allows certain cases to go forward if plaintiffs can show that the manufacturers knowingly violated a statute applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms.

A Lake County judge dismissed the Gary case in 2001, saying the city cannot fault businesses beyond its jurisdiction for others' crimes. . . .



Russell Roberts and Robin Hanson on the value of Empirical work

I don't know how one figures out what is right without looking at data. Introspection only gets one so far and introspection is really built to some extent on our relationship with data (at least broadly defined) at some point in our lives. I agree that a healthy sense of skepticism is necessary regarding empirical work, but Russell Robert's recent discussions went beyond that.

Russell Roberts makes a pretty disappointing claim here that empirical data really only demonstrates the researcher's prior beliefs. Roberts then cites work on concealed handguns and lojack devices as evidence for his claim. Even more interesting, he references Ed Leamer (a former professor of mine) whose work has largely been set up to take out some of researcher's biases from the research that they present. Roberts fails to note that in More Guns, Less Crime I used Leamer's approach for both the sensitivity of specifications as well as bounding measurement error. As an aside, I also think that it is important that people share their data as an important check on the quality of research, even if others do not behave similarly.

Unfortunately, Russell isn't familiar with much of the debate over concealed handgun laws. I think that the refereed academic research on concealed handgun laws by economists has had an impact. For example, how many refereed academic papers by economists or criminologists claim that right-to-carry laws have statistically significantly raised accidental shootings, suicides, or violent crime rates? I know of none. If Roberts can point to one paper, he should do so. Even most of the relatively few papers that claim to find no statistically significant effects have most of their results showing a benefit from right-to-carry laws. For example, Black and Nagin's 1998 piece in the JLS shows that even after they elminate about 87 percent of the sample (dropping out counties with fewer than 100,000 people as well as Florida from the sample), there are still two violent crime rate categories (as well as overall violent crime that they don't report) that show a statistically drop after right-to-carry laws are adopted. Mark Duggan's paper in the JPE is a similar example. Once the admitted typos in his Table 11 are fixed, most of the estimates show a statistically significant drop in violent crime. All but one of the results for murder show a statistically significant drop. There is only one of the 30 coefficient estimates that show a statistically significant increase, and even that is because he is looking at just the before and after averages and not trends.

My question is this: before this research, how many academics would have believed that at least some refereed research would show that right to carry laws did not increase accidents, suicides, or violent crime rates? I think that most would believe that some would find these results.

Robin Hanson gets to the central question: What Roberts would use to make decisions if he isn't going to use empirical work?

Try saying this out loud: "Neither the data nor theory I've come across much explain why I believe this conclusion, relative to my random whim, inherited personality, and early culture and indoctrination, and I have no good reasons to think these are much correlated with truth."

Russell tries to respond here. In particular he states:

Where does that leave us? Economists should do empirical work, empirical work that is insulated as much as possible from confirmation bias, empirical work that isn’t subject to the malfeasance of running thousands of regressions until the data screams Uncle. And empirical work where it’s reasonable to assume that all the relevant variables have been controlled for. And let’s not pretend we’re doing science when we’re not.

Anyone can make such broad claims and many frequently have. Be specific. You have gotten into a debate over particular laws. What is it that you think should have been done regarding right-to-carry laws? What should have been controlled for that wasn't? What combination of control variables should have analyzed that wasn't?

Footnote: In Duggan's main estimates in the above discussed paper, it is interesting that the magazine he uses in much of his paper, Guns & Ammo, is the only one that shows the effect that he claims and that is because the magazine bought many copies of its issues in increasing crime areas (places where it thought there was a demand for defensive guns) when sales failed to meet promises to advertisers.

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Video of Puget Sound Federalist Society Talk on Freedomnomics

A video of my recent talk at the Puget Sound Federalist Society that was done by TV Washington can be seen here. This should give people a good idea of the book. It airs live on TV Washington on Tuesday, October 30th @ 10:15pm (with repeats on Wednesday, Oct. 31st @ 6:15am and 2:15pm, all times PDT).

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Britain travel abroad to avoid long waiting lists and hygiene concerns

One Vote Hillary Probably didn't Want to Win

At first I thought that Hillary having the most choosen mask for Halloween would be a plus, but given that her mask was primarily picked by Republican men, it seems a pretty safe bet that those wearing the mask are doing so because they really believe it to be scary. Giuliani probably shouldn't be too thrilled either, but it would be very informative if we were given the same type of breakdown in terms of who was wearing it.

Clinton was the choice of four in 10 men and one-third of women. While a predictable two-thirds of Republicans picked her, she also was the choice of 18 percent of Democrats. Among members of her own party, that made her second only to Giuliani as the scariest costume.

About one-third of independents, nearly half of whites and just over half of conservatives selected her.

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Senator John Edwards asks for 2 Year Ban on all New Drug Ads

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says prescription drug companies should have to wait two years to begin advertising their new products to consumers. . . . .

Heck, why should customers know about a new drug for the first two years that it is out? If these new drugs are beneficial (presumably why the FDA approved them), what is the loss in poorer health that results from not letting people learn about these drugs? Many years ago there used to be bans on all sorts of advertising such as for optometrists. There have been studies that showed that when advertising was allowed the prices for that type of care went down substantially.

If ads are so misleading, why allow them to be advertised when they have been out for 2 years and one day?

Well, in some sense all this might not really matter very much since the price regulations that the Democrats want to impose on drugs will mean that very few new drugs will be being made.

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Who was at fault with Hurricane Katrina?

This morning I watched a discussion between Senators Trent Lott and Barbara Boxer on This Week. What was striking was their discussion of the fires in California and Trent Lott briefly mentioning the Katrina disaster in his own state. The focus emphasized that FEMA might finally have gotten its act together with the fires in California. But Florida has had many big hurricanes hit before Katrina, Mississippi faced an even more direct hit than New Orleans from Katrina, and now California, all seemed to go pretty smoothly. Could it be that the problem was with Louisiana's local government and not FEMA?


Some pictures from Roger's Eagle Scout Project

My son Roger did the first half of his Boy Scout project today. It went well today. Today mainly involved planting seven trees in a local park. Boy, those trees were heavy! Here are some pictures of everyone at work and then eating pizza during a break.


Some News Coverage for Students for Concealed Carry

Here are just a few of the many news stories that Students for Concealed Carry had written on them. Good for them.

(CBS 11 News) DALLAS A nationwide effort is underway to give college students the right to carry concealed guns on campus. Those who support the idea are being asked to wear empty gun holsters around their waist.

"At Virginia Tech, if someone would have stopped that student from going into those classrooms, or from shooting the very first kid, we could have stopped a lot of murders," said Michele Connole.

Connole is a recent University of North Texas graduate who is still active with her alma mater. In 2004, she was pushing for the rights of students to carry concealed weapons. She had little sympathy back then, but today support is growing.

"As we saw with Virginia Tech, laws that prohibit people from carrying weapons on campus didn't really stop the shooter," said Shawn Griffiths, a member of the UNT Young Conservatives of Texas. . . . .

Here is a negative editorial:

Students may have noticed some of their peers wearing empty gun holsters around campus. While this choice in attire may seem bizarre, these students are participating in a weeklong national peaceful protest of state and university policies banning concealed firearms from campus.

We unequivocally support these protesters' right to express their opinions peacefully, and we are glad to see students exercising their First Amendment rights. But UK should not change its firearms policy.

UK is currently a deadly-weapons-free campus, a fact that UK's Students for Concealed Carry on Campus hopes to change. Students at Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University and Northern Kentucky University, along with local gun shops, are also participating in this event, according to a Kernel article on Tuesday.

The protesters are just trying to raise awareness of the policy prohibiting concealed weapons on campus, said Dave Burnett, a member of SCCC at UK, in the article. . . . .

The following artcle has a small mistake about the number of people killed at Virginia Tech (32 not 33), but it is still useful. (I blame this mistake on the media usually including the killer's death in their numbers so it isn't surprising that some people would think that all 33 were killed.)

A small number of Ohio State students have been wearing empty gun holsters around their waists this week in protest of a campus law prohibiting the possession of firearms on college campuses.

This protest is just a small part of a larger national movement - Students for Concealed Carry on Campus - of more than 5,000 people started by a student at the University of Cincinnati who used Facebook to rally support for the issue.

Evan Peck, a senior in sociology and math, is one of the OSU students participating in the protest and lent holsters to students who did not have one of their own. . . . .

This next article is more than a little biased. I know more than several students at just one school, let alone

Cleveland -- Several college students statewide are coming to campus wearing empty gun holsters.
They are protesting the prohibition of firearms on college campuses.

The group, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, is organizing the protest on more then 100 Ohio campuses this week.

Cleveland State University Junior Joe Rodriguez is attracting attention around campus with his holster.

Rodriguez says gun free zones are an invitation to those who would do harm to a disarmed student population.

The Virginia Tech ambush was just one example Rodriguez says where a student with a license to carry a concealed weapon, could have saved lives. . . . .

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Sunday: My son Roger does his Eagle Project

This Sunday my son Roger starts his eagle project for Scouts. Maxin did his Eagle project a few years ago. It is always impressive to see these Scouts organize their projects. Roger had to work hard to get the approval for his project through the different government officials in town. After helping plant all the trees and putting up the sign to the park, I may be pretty sore on Monday, but I will also be very proud of Roger.


MP3 of Interview with Kirby Wilbur on Seattle's KVI

Kirby WIlbur was nice enough to have me on his radio show on Friday. A MP3 of an interview can be found here. Go to a little past the half way point in the mp3.

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Three talks down in Seattle, One more to go

It has been a fun week First Appalachian School of Law in Virginia. Then in Seattle I have had talks with the Seattle Federalist Society, the econ department at the University of Washington, and Women of Washington. TV Washington covered the Federalist Society event and today I was on Kirby Wilbur's radio show. All the events have been a lot of fun. The big talk is still coming up tonight where there will be around 1,000 people at the Free Enterprise Conference 2007 at the Westin in Bellevue at 9 PM. There was another small talk on Friday, but it wasn't open to the public.

UPDATE: Well, I did the talk tonight, and it was a lot of fun. First, let me apologize for those relying on my website to go to the talk. While I meet the people who took me to the talk at the Westin, the actually talk was at a convention center and given the number of people at this event it needed to be in the convention center. It was a large auditorium, with huge video screens. Given the academic that I am, the 50 minutes that they allowed me were not enough, but I can blame them a little bit because as the speech sent on, the time keepers were ordered to give me more time. That is a first for me, but for an event that seemed to be timed down to the minute the fact that they gave me an extra 10 minutes to talk was very nice. All I can say is that the ovation that I got was much more impressive than the type of ovation that I have gotten from any academic talks. Finally, the setup tonight was extremely well organized. Jeff and Pam Israel did an extremely good job in chaperoning me.


Business Week On Why Environmental Groups Go After Apple Computers So Much

Why do people think that the economy is doing worse than it is?


Giuliani Tries Reassuring Voters on Gun Control

LEBANON, N.H. — Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani is leaving the door open to allowing the blind and physically disabled to carry guns.

During a town hall meeting in northwestern New Hampshire Tuesday night, Giuliani told a former police officer blinded in the line of duty and concerned about the former New York City mayor's stance on guns, "You don't have to worry."

"You have a constitutional right, that is protected, to bear and carry arms. It is the Second Amendment," Giuliani told about 200 attendees in a high school gymnasium in Lebanon. "If someone disagrees with that, you have to get the Constitution changed."

He added that he believes in only three restrictions for those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right — a previous criminal record, a history of mental instability and an age requirement. . . . .

Giuliani's answers are all over the map on guns as I discussed here. I have a hard time believing almost anything he wants to say on guns. One time he gives big qualifications, the next time he seems to believe that there are only three reasons for someone not being able to own a gun. If true, that would rule out most gun control.

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Miami Police Arrest a Report Who is Carrying a Concealed Gun

MIAMI (AP) — A television reporter investigating a story on school violence was arrested after carrying a loaded gun onto school property, authorities said.

Jeffrey Weinsier of WPLG-TV, an ABC network affiliate, was taken into custody Tuesday at Miami Central High School after ignoring several warnings not to walk on school property, Miami-Dade schools police said.

"Kindly go across the street now," an officer is shown telling Weinsier during the videotaped encounter.

"I'm not," Weinsier replied. The officer then handcuffed him.

Weinsier, 40, was charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds, trespassing on school property with a weapon and resisting officers without violence.

The photographer working with Weinsier, Frank Debesa, said afterward: "Jeff did have a gun on him."

Weinsier began carrying a gun after he received death threats stemming from a series he did about unsanitary conditions at restaurants, according to the station. . . . .


Talk at Appalachian School of Law

Yesterday was a very interesting day. I don't have time to go through it now, but after writing about the horrible attack that was suffered at the law school in 2002, I had a chance to actually visit the school and talk about the tragedy. The students there were great, and one of the administrators and a former student herself, Jina Sauls, was nice enough to share a couple of her personal thoughts over lunch about those who had lost their lives that day. I must also say that the school is located in an absolutely beautiful area. Hopefully more later.


Georgia Concealed Carry Holder Stops What Would Have Been A Multiple Victim Shooting


Talks this coming week

This will be a busy week:

Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Va. at noon on Tuesday October 23rd (For past discussions that I have had on the tragic attack in 2002 at the law school see here) -- Gun Control
Puget Sound Federalist Society (Seattle, Washington) at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, October 24th -- Freedomnomics
University of Washington Economics Department at 2 PM on Thursday, October 25th -- Measuring Media Bias (Something discussed in Freedomnomics)
Women of Washington at 7 PM in Seattle on Thursday, October 25th -- Freedomnomics
Free Enterprise Conference 2007 at the Westin in Bellevue on Friday night at 9:16 PM-- Freedomnomics

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Endangered Species Act Creates Real Problems in Georgia

Radio Interview with Jason Lewis on KTLK

An MP3 of the radio interview on Freedomnomics and other issues is available here.


This is why we need to arm teachers: Glenn Beck deserves a lot of credit for this story

On Glenn Beck's page scroll down to the middle of the page and click on the video for "Exposed: The Perfect Day". Beck says that the government is sitting on this information because they are "afraid that the American people will panic." I think that this is the information that we need for a rational discussion on arming teachers.

Glenn's guest, Brad Thor, gets it partially right when he says "You want an armed presence at your school." He then points to armed guards and police. The problem with armed guards and police is that if they are present, they will be the first ones taken out. It is good to have some there, but it is cheaper and much better to allow armed teachers and staff. He makes four points on school security: deter, detect, delay, and destroy. Armed teachers and staff can help with all these four points (even "detect" because they might be more able to successfully detect and alert others if they are armed). The deterrence, delay, and destroy aspects are more obvious. Thor points to Israel, but he doesn't mention that they arm teachers in Israel.

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Global Warming Misinformation

OpinionJournal.com has an interesting piece up:

Global warming doesn't matter except to the extent that it will affect life--ours and that of all living things on Earth. And contrary to the latest news, the evidence that global warming will have serious effects on life is thin. Most evidence suggests the contrary.

Case in point: This year's United Nations report on climate change and other documents say that 20% to 30% of plant and animal species will be threatened with extinction in this century due to global warming--a truly terrifying thought. Yet, during the past 2.5 million years, a period that scientists now know experienced climatic changes as rapid and as warm as modern climatological models suggest will happen to us, almost none of the millions of species on Earth went extinct. The exceptions were about 20 species of large mammals (the famous megafauna of the last ice age--saber-tooth tigers, hairy mammoths and the like), which went extinct about 10,000 to 5,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, and many dominant trees and shrubs of northwestern Europe. But elsewhere, including North America, few plant species went extinct, and few mammals. . . .

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One reason why anonymous political donations should be allowed

This deluge of corporate dollars comes at a time when congressional Democrats aren't the least bit bashful about their agenda. Should they win the White House they'll raise tax rates, pursue a trade protectionist policy under the guise of "fair trade," and enact as much of Big Labor's wish list as they can, from doing away with secret ballots in union certification elections to piling on more labor, environmental and health regulations. "There's almost nothing in the Pelosi/Reid agenda that we favor," one long-time industry government affairs representative tells me. "But we're still giving the bulk of our money to them." . . . .

When Republicans were in control, Ms. Pelosi and company denounced the "K Street Project," run by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. They protested that corporate lobbyists were allowed to become a fourth branch of government--and in some cases their protests had merit, as Republicans curried favor with money interests.

Meanwhile, Democrats under Rep. Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Schumer have quietly erected their own K Street Project, and employ some of the same strong-arm tactics they once deplored. "I've never felt the squeeze that we're under now to give to Democrats and to hire them," says one telecom industry representative. "They've put out the word that if you have an issue on trade, taxes, or regulation, you'd better be a donor and you'd better not be part of any effort to run ads against our freshmen incumbents." . . .


Second Grade Student Suspended for Drawing Stick Figure With Gun


Zogby Online Poll claims that 50 percent of Voters would never vote for Hillary Clinton

I guess that I am a little dubious of this type of poll, though Zogby claims that these surveys are reasonably accurate. However, one thing to take into account is that some candidates may have low numbers simply because they are not that well known. People won't say that they would never vote for someone whom they don't know much about. That said, Hillary's numbers seem to be going up, not down, and at 50 percent, they are dangerously high. My guess is that this will be a very close presidential race. If Hillary wins, she will do so with only around 50 to 53 percent of the vote.

The online survey of 9,718 likely voters nationwide showed that 50 percent said Clinton would never get their presidential vote. This is up from 46 percent who said they could never vote for Clinton in a Zogby International telephone survey conducted in early March. Older voters are most resistant to Clinton — 59 percent of those age 65 and older said they would never vote for the New York senator, but she is much more acceptable to younger voters: 42 percent of those age 18-29 said they would never vote for Clinton for president. . . . .

On the other side, Fred Thompson has the fewest number of people who say that they will not vote for him among major candidates from both parties.

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New Op-ed: On the benefits from Hunting

New Op-ed: Teachers Packing Heat?

Caught Burglar Complains that Home Owners Forced Him at Gun Point to Clean Up Mess that He Made

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A burglar in Montgomery chose the wrong family to mess with, literally. Adrian and Tiffany McKinnon returned home on Tuesday after a week away to find that thieves had emptied almost everything the family of five owned, Tiffany McKinnon said through tears.

"Tears just rolled down my face as I walked in and saw everything gone and piles of trash all over my home," she said.

Adrian McKinnon sent his wife to see her sister while he inspected the piles left behind. As he walked back into the sunroom, a man walked through the back door straight into him, Tiffany McKinnon told the Montgomery Advertiser in a story Thursday.

"My husband Adrian caught the thief red-handed in our home," she said. "And what is even crazier, the man even had my husband's hat sitting right on his head."

Adrian McKinnon held the suspect, 33-year-old Tajuan Bullock, at gunpoint and told him to sit on the floor until he decided what to do.

"We made this man clean up all the mess he made, piles of stuff, he had thrown out of my drawers and cabinets onto the floor," Tiffany McKinnon said.

When police arrived, Bullock complained about being forced to clean the home at gunpoint.

"This man had the nerve to raise sand about us making him clean up the mess he made in my house," she said. "The police officer laughed at him when he complained and said anybody else would have shot him dead."

Thanks very much for Rich sending this to me.



Another TV news story on defensive gun use

Andrew Breitbart has another interesting defensive gun use story "‘Hello, Hello’: Man Shoots, Kills Intruder After Parrot’s Alert". This time a "watch" parrot alerted his owner to a problem by repeatedly saying "Hello."



Another set of talks

Today I had a fun debate on the DC gun ban case at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee. Richard Withers provided a useful defence of the case for the ban. There might have been a hundred plus people there. Tomorrow I give talks at Hamline University and University of Minnesota. Both of these last two talks will be on my new book, Freedomnomics.

Discussions on the debate today are provided here and here.

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Interesting video news clips on defensive gun use stories

Andrew Breitbart has two interesting defensive gun use stories "Man Kills Second Burglar at His Business in Less Than a Month" and "Gun-Packing Granny Shoots Hefty Home Invader Clad Only in His Underwear." The second story is particularly amusing. Please visit this site if only to encourage him to keep on posting these stories. This type of news coverage could eventually have an important impact on the debate.


British Government Health Insurance System Makes Major Innovations in Dental Care: Dental Patients Pull Out Own Teeth


Hillary Clinton listened in on illegal tapes of telephone calls

Republicans are focusing on an allegation in a recent book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, which suggests Clinton listened to a secretly recorded conversation between political opponents.

In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at The New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent 30 years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.

“The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with Bill,” Gerth and Van Natta wrote in reference to Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. “Bill’s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones, and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.”

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People's experiences with intrusive physicians

An unnamed friend of mine sent me this after reading my recent op-ed on physicians asking people about guns in their home:

The pediatrician asked what I'm sure was her standard list of questions for new parents. In my sleep deprived state I was not paying very close attention until guns were mentioned.

Pediatrician: "So, are there any smokers in the house?"
My wife: "No, neither of us smoke and none of the grandparents smoke."

Pediatrician: "Any pets in the house?"
My wife: "Yes, we have cat."
Pediatrician: "Okay" (presumably worried about Pit Bulls?)

Pediatrician: "Are there any guns in the house?"
My wife: (before I can say anything...) "Yes."
Pediatrician: "Do you have gun locks on them?"
Me: (jumping in and annoyed) "The question is irrelevent, don't you think? The kid is all of 5 days old."

The pediatrician was definitely caught off guard and quickly changed the subject while muttering something about it being a question to ask down the road.

Having had a law school seminar "taught" by someone from Handgun Control, Inc. who attempted to convince us guns were a public health issue, I was familiar with this battle.

I'm amazed (or maybe not) the pediatrican did not ask questions that would seem to me to be more relevant (and pressing) for new parents who have an infant in the house. Such as....

"Do you have a child seat for your car?"

"Do you place your baby on his back to sleep?"

"Do you have stairs in your house? And a child gate to keep them from falling down them?"

"Do you have a small plastic bath tub designed to bathe your an infant (rather than dropping the child in a regular bath tub full of water)?"

"Do you have covers on your electrical outlets?"

"Do you store household chemicals within reach of the child?"

"Do you leave small items around your house that your child could pick up and put in his mouth?"


Concealed Handgun Permit holders Extremely Law-abiding in Florida

Stunningly bad results for African-Americans on state bar exams


Leading Meteorologists Calls Al Gore's share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous"

ONE of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".

Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.

His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.

"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous.

From Drudge Report.

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Students for Concealed Carry on Campus push for Nationwide Protest

Nelson Lund deals with what he thinks is the strongest argument that can be made in favor of DC's gun ban

This is worth reading:


The District of Columbia forbids almost all civilians to possess handguns in their own homes. Rifles and shotguns are permitted, but they must be kept unloaded and either disassembled or secured with a trigger lock, making them useless for self defense. The D.C. Circuit recently held that this statute violates the Second Amendment.

One way to attack the D.C. Circuit decision is to argue that the Second Amendment protects the private possession of weapons only to the extent necessary to preserve in civilian hands a stock of weapons suitable for use while serving in the militia. Rifles and shotguns would be the most obviously useful weapons for militiamen to bring with them from home, and the D.C. statute permits civilians to possess rifles and shotguns, along with the ammunition these weapons require. Why does this not satisfy the Second Amendment?

This superficially plausible defense of the District’s statute was not adequately refuted in Judge Silberman’s opinion for the D.C. Circuit. This article demonstrates, largely but not exclusively on the basis of a careful linguistic analysis of the Second Amendment, that such a defense of the District’s statute is untenable.

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Let's hope for global warming

Well, demand for oil would go down if we had a mild winter. If one believes these global warming models, it is the lowest temperatures that rise, not the high ones. That means milder winters and longer growing seasons.

The US department of energy said US crude oil stocks fell by 1.7 million barrels, in contrast to analyst expectations for a rise.

This takes crude inventories in the US to their lowest level since January as the weather turns colder and demand for heating oil increases, a report by the US Energy Information Administration showed.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) agreed in September to boost crude supplies by 500,000 barrels a day starting in November.

But there is much debate over whether the increase will be sufficient to cater for demand levels in the winter months.

This has led to huge swings in the oil price this week with US sweet, light crude dropping $2.20 on Monday to $79.02 a barrel, while London Brent fell to $76.58 a barrel, down $2.32.

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Man stops burglars with gun, Wife says she has never seen this side of her husband before and said it is like they are "newly weds"

Video can be seen here.

Thanks to Andrew Breitbart for putting this up.



Oregon School Teacher will carry gun with her

Talks next week

Next Tuesday I give a talk at noon at Marquette Law School -- debate on gun control
On Wednesday I give talks at Hamline University Law School at 1:30 PM and then at the University of Minnesota Law School that evening at 6 PM. Both talks are on my new book Freedomnomics.

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Poll results regarding support for gun control are changing

I wonder how much of this change is do to the change in the questions used in these polls. I believe that the older polls didn't include an option for making gun laws less strict.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A new Gallup poll says the gap is closing between people in the United States who support stricter gun laws and those opposed to new laws.

A survey last week found that 51 percent support stricter laws governing the sale of firearms. Those who said the laws should either be kept as they are or made less strict was 47 percent. Between 1990 and 2000, 60 percent of Americans favored stricter laws, Gallup said Thursday in a release.

The poll found that a majority of residents in the East and West favor stricter laws, while about half of those in the Midwest and South are opposed. Two-thirds of Democrats favor stricter gun laws, while a majority of Republicans and independents would rather laws remain as they are or become less strict.

The survey result, based on telephone interviews with 1,010 adults, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent. . . . .

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So should this be considered a campaign contribution?

This just goes to show how hopeless campaign finance regulations are. Moveon.org's credibility will be important in determining the impact of its ads during the campaign.

Internet search giant Google has rejected ads that are critical of far-left advocacy group MoveOn.org. MoveOn caused a national stir last month after The New York Times gave it preferential treatment for the infamous “General Betray Us” public message.

The banned ads were placed by the campaign of Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, for her re-election. The reason given for the ads' removal was that they violated Google’s copyright infringement policy. . . . .

While the Google people are obviously strong Democrats anyway, here is some additional information from John Gibson that makes this contribution to the Democrats even more interesting:

Now Gore and MoveOn are, if not joined at the hip, at least extremely simpatico. Gore also sits on the board of Google. Its $600 a share stock has made him so rich he could fund his own presidential campaign with one check.

Why do you think Google has denied Republican Collins ad space to fight back against MoveOn, which is trying to put her out of business?

Google says her ad against MoveOn violates some policy or other and they have to tell her no. Translation: It's Al Gore's Google in this situation and Al Gore is more interested in MoveOn getting its anti-Bush, anti-war message out there than helping a Republican fight the Soros MoveOn machine to hold onto to her Senate seat.

MoveOn has been a very, very Clinton-centric organization, of course. But do you think maybe, just maybe, MoveOn might be interested in the candidacy of the environmental saint Al Gore if she should stumble?. . . .

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Defending Ann Coulter on being "anti-Semitic"

COULTER: Well, everyone would root for America, the Democratic Party would look like Joe Lieberman . . . .

Isn't Lieberman an orthodox Jew?

DEUTSCH: "Let's wipe Israel off the earth." I mean, what, no Jews?

COULTER: No, we think — we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we're all sinners —

DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued — when you say something absurd like that, there's no —

COULTER: What's absurd?

DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I'm going to go off and try to perfect myself —

COULTER: Well, that's what the New Testament says.. . . .

I wouldn't have phrased things this way, but I don't think that she said anything wrong. All she is saying is that she has certain beliefs. Don't members of all religions think that they have the right religion? She is emphatically not saying that Jews should be done away with nor is she saying that they should be second class citizens nor is she saying that there is anything wrong with other religions having the beliefs that they do. She is simply saying that she believes in the New Testament and that many Jews did become Christians. Big deal.



Futures Market predicts Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize

Pretty depressing, Well at least a British court ruled earlier this week that Gore's movie can only be shown to British School Children if they have been told about 11 false statements in it.

Al Gore, the former US vice-president, on Thursday overtook Barack Obama in a closely watched futures betting market on the next Democratic nominee fuelled by speculation that he would pick up the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Although the Nobel committee never informs the winner in advance, online speculators drew energy from the fact that Mr Gore cancelled his attendance at a global warming event in San Francisco on Thursday night, citing an unspecified overseas event on global warming. . . . .

Nine of the Eleven errors that the British Court found with Gore's movie can be seen here:

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News coverage of Shirley Katz's attempt to carry a concealed handgun on school property

South Medford High School English teacher Shirley Katz won the first round of her legal bout for the right to carry a pistol onto school grounds today.

Jackson County Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold dismissed a motion by the Medford School District to dismiss the case because she has not actually broken the school policy prohibiting teachers from bringing guns to school.

The judge told Katz he will issue a written opinion on her claim that the policy violates state law that gives concealed weapons permit holders the right to take guns into schools and other public buildings.

Outside the courtroom, Katz said it would be "naive" to think no one is carrying guns to school, she is just the first person with a concealed weapons permit to assert her rights in public.

The school district is arguing that while the state law does not let the school ban concealed handguns on school property, the school district is doing an end run by banning it in employee's employment contracts:

The judge did not rule today. Since there is no ruling Katz can decide to carry a weapon to school.

Her attorney advised her not to comment on whether she plans to do so.

“The whole point of carrying it concealed is that no one should know, whether you are carrying it concealed or not. And that no matter what happens my students will not know whether I am carrying concealed or not or if another teacher is carrying concealed or not,” said Katz.

The school district has previously indicated that they do not argue that carrying a concealed weapon is legal.

However, in a letter to Katz they indicated that they would punish her if she decides to do so, because she is an employee of the school district and under their policy she cannot carry a concealed firearm. . . . .

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So why is Columbia University refusing to turn over this video tape?

Could it be that it wasn't a white student who put up the noose? I don't know, but it is strange that for such a crime that the university would show any reluctance to release the tape. It will be interesting to see when the tapes are released what was on them.

The New York Police Department said Thursday that Columbia University has refused to voluntarily turn over security video that could help identify suspects in the case of a noose left on the office door of a black professor — a claim the school now denies.


Children, Doctors, and Guns

I got this email this afternoon:

I agree with the premise of your Op-Ed piece, with one caveat. My children's Pediatrician asked a similar question once when my son in to see her, but it was phrased a different (and I felt appropriate) way. She asked "If you were over at a friend or relative's house and was playing hide and seek and found a gun, what would you do?" I took that to be as innocent as asking if they knew what to do in the event of a fire. My son, who was 9 at the time, answered perfectly by telling her that he wouldn't touch it, he believes it's real, and goes and gets an adult. I didn't have a problem with the question posed in that manner. We have worked with both of our children with gun safety. Ours are locked away (quick handgun access for protection if needed; long guns and other firearms in gun safe). I am not a Texas CHL holder, but will be soon. My children are familiar with firearms and have been shown their destructive power, been to the range, etc., but I can't speak for other kids that may be in my house if I’m not immediately available. My kids need to have a good understanding because I can't control other's access in their homes. It's my responsibility to them.

Here is my response:

My only concern is that even by asking the question there is the implication that these deaths are at all common. In 2004 for children under 10, the age that would encompass your son, there were 28 accidental gun deaths (something that would have been the outcome of the hypothetical example that the doctor gave). If the doctor had gone through similar hypothetical questions for everything else that had 28 or fewer accidental deaths associated it, the doctor would have spent hours on the topic. Why just guns?

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New Op-ed: "Guns Don't Kill Kids, Irresponsible Adults With Guns Do"

Mark Levin Nails the unfair treatment of Fred Thompson

This "senior moment" and "Fred Thompson-is-lazy" stuff is really starting to irk. I remember hearing the same comments about Ronald Reagan in every campaign in which I participated — 1976 and 1980. And this tactic was especially used against him in 1984. I have spent some time with Thompson. He is intellectually curious and sharp. He is engaging and vigorous. Yes, he chooses his words carefully. He speaks in a southern accent. But the attacks on him appear to have a Northeastern-liberal-style feel to them, emanating largely from the NewYork-Washington, D.C axis. This is a man, after all, who worked sixteen hours a day in both television and radio. (By the way, have any of those who promote the "lazy" argument actually analyzed his campaign activities compared to the other candidates? If so, I've not seen any such thing.). . . . .

I have also seen and talked to Senator Thompson in person and the description of him as tired and being without energy is simply inaccurate.

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Students in the UK must be given a warning about inaccuracies in Gore's Movie


Federal Court shoots down law that stopped employers from banning guns in locked cars

Well, given that I think that bans make it easier for multiple victim public shootings to happen, I think that they got the argument backwards. I wonder what evidence was provided by the state and whether the state will appeal.

The Tulsa World a federal court struck a pro-gun State measure. OK passed a law forbidding employers to ban guns in locked cars in their parking lots. ConocoPhillips and some others sued in federal court to strike it. The federal district court bought their argument that the state law conflicted with the federal 1970 Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires employers to minimize workplace risks.

UPDATE: Let me make something clear here. I think that it should be up to the property owner to decide how their property is used, but given that the federal government regulates all sorts of aspects of work place safety, I am not sure why these gun free zones should be treated any differently.

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Oh No, Health Food Restaurants are Dangerous to your Health!

Appearing on Glenn Beck Show on CNN Tonight

I will be on the Glenn Beck Show on CNN tonight to discuss the Oregon teacher case. The program airs at 7 and 9 PM EDT.

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One reason why this presidential election counts so much

This question is made all the more urgent by the fact that on Jan. 20, 2009, six of the nine current justices will be over the age of 70--an age at which many people either retire or begin to wind down their affairs. There is thus a very real possibility that the next president could appoint as many as four justices in his first term alone. We may be getting ready for the biggest turnover in the membership of the Supreme Court since Richard Nixon's election in 1968 brought the Warren Court to an end.. . . .

It seems difficult to believe that John Paul Stevens won't retire within the next five years. He is already in his late 80s and one of the longest serving justices ever. Three replacements would be a likely outcome and thus a huge role in shaping the court for decades to come.



Hugh Hewitt's Show at 8:35 PM EDT

I will be on Hewitt's show tonight to talk about the Oregon teacher who wants to have a gun for self protection.

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Off-Duty Cop Stops knife wielding madman

Clinton Campaign getting only a small amount of flak from having Sandy Berger as an advisor

One would think that there would be more of an outrage over Sandy Berger being brought on as an advisor to Hillary Clinton.

Fox News has a report on this, but I couldn't see anything on this on CNN, MSNBC, or the New York Times.

Sandy Berger, the former national security adviser to President Bill Clinton who was convicted after he stole and destroyed top secret documents, is now advising Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, FOX News confirms.

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Medford Oregon teacher wants to carry

A video of her interview can be seen here. I didn't think that she did a very good job. The point isn't the Second Amendment. The point is one of safety. The host starts off by talking about the conflict between freedom and safety and I would argue that this is one place that freedom and safety go together.

Bob Aldridge also sent me a link to this post.

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Mass email that I received opposing free-trade

Another American company is deserting the United States, seeking cheap labor, less government regulations and lower taxes. Hershey, whose name has been synonymous with U.S. candymaking for more than a century, is moving a bigger chunk of its production to Mexico. The company has announced as a part of its restructuring that it will scale back its workforce of 1,500 jobs and force some U.S. plants ot close. Management predicts it will save $190 million per year and who can blame the company? The real blame it a the door step of the free trade advocates in your Administration who make it extremely difficult to operate with any success in our country.

E. F. Jones

The last five or so administrations have been pushing what are generally free trade rules. Besides that shouldn't we require each state or better even each town to be self sufficient? I am personally very upset that Virginians could have had jobs producing cars that workers in Ohio and Michigan end up getting. Let's at least be consistent and insist that every local community be self sufficient. While it is true that the costs of products would rise much more than any possible benefit from keeping the jobs, at least we would have the jobs, right? After all, there are a finite number of jobs.


Harassing Concealed Handgun Permit Holders in Connecticut

This guy's ability to do his job is effected by these hassles over his concealed carry permit.

TJames Goldberg was never in trouble with the law, never even had a traffic ticket. And he had no difficulty obtaining a gun permit to carry a pistol to his job as night manager of a liquor store for protection.

So when Glastonbury police seized Goldberg's gun and revoked his permit - following his arrest on charges of breach of peace June 21 at Chili's restaurant after an employee complained about seeing the gun under his T-shirt - friends and family, even the Wethersfield police chief who signed off on the gun permit, figured it was a misunderstanding that would be quickly corrected.

The misdemeanor charge was dismissed about a month later . . . .

Thanks to Bruce Mills for sending this to me.



A thought on the DC Gun Ban Case

The ban comes "nowhere close to disarmament of residents. The District's overwhelming interest in reducing death and injury caused by handguns outweighs respondent's asserted need . . . ." The obvious key here is that DC says people can use rifles and shotguns for self-defense. DC also adds that they don't believe that the regulations that lock up and require the disassembling of guns does not "prevent the use of a lawful firearm in self-defense."

Here is the problem that DC faces. 1) The law is very clear. If you assemble and load a rifle or shotgun, that long gun becomes an illegal weapon. 2) On top of this, DC has won a previously legal victory before the Supreme Court that says that the DC police are not responsible for harm that comes to people. 3) The bottom line is that the DC police are not obligated to protect citizens AND DC will not allow people to defend themselves. I don't know how DC gets out of this. Either people are at least given the option to defend themselves or the city has to bear responsibllity.

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Something worth listening to on who are these gun owners

For many anti-gun people this will be educational. It is something that I posted to years ago when it came out. I guess the fourth picture and discussion is my favorite one.


In Britain Air Guns are classified as firearms

TOUGH new laws about the sale and possession of air weapons and crossbows come into force today.

The crackdown, which will force all retailers to be registered as firearms dealers and restrict the sale of airguns and crossbows to the over-18s, represents a combination of UK and Scottish initiatives.

The UK government introduced the new laws on airguns, requiring dealers to conduct face-to-face sales and to record the name and address of the buyer and details of the weapon sold. The UK government was also responsible for raising the purchase age limit to 18. . . . .

Ministers moved to tighten the law following a rise in airgun crime in Scotland - offences have hit a seven-year high.

There have been three fatalities across Britain in the last two years, including the high-profile death of two-year-old Andrew Morton, the Glasgow boy who was shot in the head by Mark Bonini.

These three deaths over two years are tragic, but just out of curiosity how many other ways in the UK and Scotland have averaged at least 1.5 deaths per year?

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More benefits from Ann Coulter mentioning my book


More on Endangered Species act and Salmon

I think that this television interview is pretty good, though I would have mentioned that there is no obvious evidence that wild raised salmon have an great advantage over hatchery fish. The higher rate of survival of hatchery salmon up to the point that they are released in the wild is offset by a higher death rate after that, but in the end the overall survivorship rate is the same.

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Market Failure: Supposedly not enough diversity

This brings us back to Nike's new shoe. Foot Locker is full of options that fit me and most other Americans. But American Indians make up just 1.5 percent of the U.S. population, and with feet on average three sizes wider, they need different-sized shoes. If we had all voted in a national election on whether the Ministry of Shoes should make wide or typical-width shoes, we surely would have chosen the latter. That's why Friedman condemned government allocation. And yet the market made the same choice. If Nike's announcement looks like a solution to this problem of ignored minority preference, it really isn't. The company took too many years to bring the shoe on line, and according to the Associated Press, the new sneaker "represents less of a financial opportunity than a goodwill and branding effort." . . . .

1) Just because Nike wasn't producing these shoes, I would have liked some evidence that shoes weren't already being produced for this segment of the market. I looked up some shoes on the internet and it seemed that this market niche was well covered see here, here, and here. You get sizes from EEEEEE to XW, and I haven't even heard of some of these sizes since they are so wide. I see no evidence that the basic claim in this article is correct.

2) "That's why Friedman condemned government allocation. And yet the market made the same choice." If the size of the particular group is so small or if those in the group aren't willing to pay that much for the shoes, you might not get a product specifically designed for each small group, but it is a long way to implying that the market doesn't produce a lot more diversity of products than the government.

3) "The company took too many years to bring the shoe on line . . . ." There is a cost and benefit from producing this diversity of products. I would guess that the benefits now exceed the costs. Possibly the cost of making products for such small niches has gone down. The article mentions that these wider feet might be a result of "diabetes and related conditions" and possibly more people generally are suffering from this problem. (It isn't clear from the piece what percentage of the 1.5 percent of the population who are Indians have these wide feet, but presumably it is less than 1.5 percent.) Bottom line: what evidence is provided here that it took "too many years" to provide these shoes. That is, "too many years" in the sense that the costs of doing this were less than the benefits (total costs including the costs of figuring out that such a market existed) and yet it was not provided.

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Big UN push for more gun control

If the Bush administration wasn't there, the UN would represent a real threat to gun ownership. You can only imagine what would happen with Hillary Clinton in office.

Britain, Japan, Australia and others are pushing for an unprecedented treaty regulating the arms trade worldwide, in a campaign sure to last years and to pit them against a determined American foe, the National Rifle Association.

In what U.N. officials say is an "overwhelming" response, almost 100 governments have submitted ideas for such a treaty, to be reviewed over the next year. There's an "extremely urgent" need for controls on the international gun trade, says Kenya, echoing the sentiment in much of guns-besieged Africa.

But in the U.S., the NRA says it sees a creeping attempt to limit civilian gun ownership within nations - even though the focus now is on setting standards for arms exports and imports.. . . .

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"Jodie's got a gun: Foster finds social meaning in 'Brave One' "

Jonathan Turley: "A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all"


I wish them good luck with this, but . . .

I agree completely with the end goal that these students have, but I just hope that they are as organized as they seem to think that they are.

On April 16, 2007, twenty-seven students and five faculty members at Virginia Tech lost their lives to a madman who possessed one distinct advantage over his victims—He wasn’t concerned with following the rules. Undeterred by Virginia Tech’s status as a “gun free zone,” this mentally unstable individual carried two handguns onto the university campus and indiscriminately opened fire.

During the week of October 22-26, 2007, college students throughout America will attend classes wearing empty holsters, in protest of state laws and campus policies that stack the odds in favor of armed killers by disarming law abiding citizens who are licensed to carry concealed handguns virtually everywhere else. . . . .

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