7/19/2014

East Tennessee family restaurant posts "Guns are Welcome"




From WBIR in eastern Tennessee:

"As the owner, I wanted to stand my ground. I have that constitutional right. If you like it, that's great, if you don't, I'm sorry for you. I can't change who I am," said Sharma Floyd, with Shiloh Brew and Chew.
Floyd said she posted the signs about a month ago after reading a story out of North Carolina.
"They had put up a sign that said 'No Weapons Allowed' and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The convenience store manager was shot," said Floyd. "And that got me thinking. I lost a whole group of motorcyclists because they thought I didn't allow weapons. But I believe it's ok to carry as long as you have a permit."
The restaurant does not sell liquor, and Floyd said she asks anyone who orders a beer if they are carrying. . . .

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7/18/2014

Obama uses Russia's actions in the Ukraine to ban importation of AK-47s

The day before the tragic shooting down of a passenger airline the Obama administration banned the importation of AK-47s from Kalashnikov company.  Here is the Treasury order:
374. If I own a Kalashnikov product, is that product blocked by sanctions?  Am I able to resell a Kalashnikov product at a gun show or other secondary market?  
If a U.S. person is in possession of a Kalashnikov Concern product that was bought and fully paid for prior to the date of designation (i.e., no payment remains due to Kalashnikov Concern), then that product is not blocked and OFAC sanctions would not prohibit the U.S. person from keeping or selling the product in the secondary market, so long as Kalashnikov Concern has no interest in the transaction.  New transactions by U.S. persons with Kalashnikov Concern are prohibited, however, and any property in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest is blocked pursuant to OFAC’s designation of Kalashnikov Concern on July 16, 2014.  If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory. [7-16-2014]
Of course, these aren't the military versions of the AK-47 that are used in wars around the world, but civilian semi-automatic versions of the guns. 

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7/17/2014

Follow up on Philadelphia mother who unintentionally violated New Jersey's gun laws

The penalty for this mother of two children is out of all proportion to any possible harm that she did.  The point of these laws in New Jersey is to make people so afraid of violating the laws that they are worried about owning guns.  More background on the case is available here.  The new article from Fox News:
Allen, who has no prior criminal record, said she acquired the gun legally just a week prior to her arrest. She was headed to Atlantic City, N.J., in the early-morning hours to prepare for her son’s birthday party, which was being held three days later
“I was bringing a cake and the dog to the hotel room to surprise him,” she said. “That’s what I was doing out there and I got pulled over at 1 in the morning because I was sleepy and I swerved.” 
Allen purchased the gun for protection after being robbed twice in the past year, she said, adding that she never even fired it and feels somewhat snake-bitten by the entire ordeal.
“It’s definitely a freak thing,” she said. “I was trying to do a good thing and it turned out so bad — and just like that. I don’t know how to explain it, I really don’t.” 
Allen reiterated that she immediately told the officer she had a gun in her 2007 Chevrolet sedan, as well as a concealed carry permit for neighboring Pennsylvania. 
“The officer knew there was a gun there, she was completely honest and open,” her attorney, Evan Nappen, said. “There are no aggravating factors in this case; she’s a single mom of two, working in the medical field who was robbed twice and that’s what inspired her to get a gun license in the first place.” . . .

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Newest piece at Fox News: "Chicago violence: The buck stops with you, Rahm Emanuel"

The newest CPRC op-ed at Fox News starts this way:
Over the July 4 weekend, in Chicago alone, 16 people were shot to death and another 66 were wounded.  At a press briefing on July 11, the White House weighed in, stating that Obama would "continue to make the case" that lawmakers should adopt new gun control laws. Two days later, on Sunday, Gov. Pat Quinn also called for more gun control, in particular a state ban on assault weapons, as the solution. 
But Chicago's problems lie with the city’s politicians. Nationally, police solve almost two out of every three murders – 63 percent of them. That figure is much lower in Chicago. In 2010, right before Rahm Emanuel became mayor, the rate for Chicago was 39 percent. But by Emanuel’s second year in office, it had plunged to an official rate of 26 percent. (In reality it is even lower, because Chicago has tried to hide how bad things are by increasingly misclassifying murders as non-murders.) 
After becoming mayor, Emanuel did three unfortunate things to the Chicago police force: 
1) He closed down detective bureaus in Chicago's highest crime districts and moved them elsewhere, sometimes quite far away. 
2) Instead of increasing the number of police officers by 1,000, as he had promised during his campaign, he actually cut the number of police
The rest of the piece is available here.

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Share of permits issued to women is soaring: Tennessee and Texas

The raw Tennessee data is available here.

The raw Texas data is available here.

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House of Representatives passed a budget amendment that would have only federal gun control regulations in DC

By a 241 to 181 vote, the House passed a budget amendment by Rep. Thomas Massie limiting DC gun control laws to those passed by the federal government.  From The Hill Newspaper:
. . . Rep. Thomas Massie's (R-Ky.) amendment to the fiscal 2015 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, which includes a $637 million federal payment for the District of Columbia, would prohibit funding to enforce its handgun ban and other gun laws. The amendment passed 241-181. 
Massie said the District's gun laws ran counter to the Supreme Court's ruling on the issue. 
"Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller that struck down the D.C. handgun ban, as well as the unconstitutional gun lock provision, it's still difficult for D.C. residents to exercise their God-given rights to bear arms," Massie said.Massie said the District's gun laws ran counter to the Supreme Court's ruling on the issue. . . . .

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Detroit Police Chief credits city's huge drop in violent crime as due to surge in citizens carry guns

From the Washington Times:
Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies than it did last year, and Police Chief James Craig is crediting armed citizens for the drop. 
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Chief Craig, who has been an open advocate for private gun ownership, the Detroit News reported. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed. 
“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” he added. 
In addition to the drop in robberies, Detroit has seen 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes and 30 percent fewer carjackings in 2014 than during the same period last year, the Detroit News reported. . . .

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7/15/2014

Young woman's life likely destroyed because of NJ's bizarre gun laws


Fox News in Dallas-Fort Worth has this story from New Jersey:
27 year-old Shaneen Allen wanted to protect her family. She took a gun safety course, applied for and was granted a concealed carry permit and she purchased a gun. 
“One of my family members, he thought it was appropriate for me to get one because I’m a single mother and I have two children and I work two jobs and I work late and getting up at that time of night I got robbed twice last year and he felt the need for me to get my license to protect me and my kids,” Allen explained. 
However, while Allen, from Philadelphia, was covered to carry a gun in Pennsylvania, she made the mistake of crossing into New Jersey with the weapon and now she's facing a mandatory minimum of three-years in jail. 
Allen said that she didn't know her permit didn't apply to New Jersey so when she was stopped for a minor traffic offense she told the police about her gun and her permit to carry. In this case, being honest may have cost her. 
“The judge tried to tell me that telling the truth messed me up, my life up and the cop said the same thing. Me opening my mouth and speaking out he said I’m one out of ten people that spoke up and was honest and that got me in trouble,” she said. 
Allen was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of hallow-point bullets which were in the gun. Under New Jersey gun laws, the illegal possession of a gun is a second-degree felony which holds a minimum sentence of three-years in prison. . . .
Note that when there was a related travesty with Brian Aitken in 2009 and 2010, Governor Christie commuted his sentence.  From the Star-Ledger:
Brian Aitken, who was convicted of illegally possessing three handguns he had legally purchased in Colorado, will be out of prison in time for Christmas.
Gov. Chris Christie commuted Aitken's sentence Monday, from seven years to time served, according to an order signed by the governor. It was Christie's first commutation since taking office almost a year ago. . . .
In 2009, Aitken was arrested for possessing three handguns and ammunition — the guns were unloaded — after state police found them in the trunk of his car. Aitken was visiting his mother in Burlington County when she became concerned about his well-being and called the police.
Aitken, who had recently moved from Colorado where he bought the guns, faced felony charges the same as if he had used the guns to commit a crime. Supporters of Aitken began a Facebook campaign to get his sentence commuted. . . . .

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The Rolling Stone Interview: Michael Bloomberg says he isn't afraid of the NRA, but should we be afraid of him?

Michael Bloomberg's interview with Rolling Stone magazine has already created its share of controversy but really just for his comments about Colorado recalling several Democrat state Senators for voting for gun control.
In Colorado, we got a law passed. The NRA went after two or three state Senators in a part of Colorado where I don't think there's roads. It's as far rural as you can get. And, yes, they lost recall elections. I'm sorry for that. We tried to help 'em. But the bottom line is, the law is on the books, and being enforced. You can get depressed about the progress, but on the other hand, you're saving a lot of lives.
But there are other bizarre claims that should be at least as controversial.  Bloomberg isn't asking people just to lock up their guns, he clearly doesn't want people to own guns.
And if you want to have a gun in your house, I think you're pretty stupid – particularly if you have kids – but I guess you have a right to do that. Someday, there is going to be a suit against parents who smoke in their houses or have guns in their houses by a kid. It's not that far-fetched. . . . 
guns are dangerous. The statistics are overwhelming. You're something like 22 times more likely to get killed in your home if you have a gun than if you don't. [Gestures at a staffer.] Let's say Amanda's trying to break in. "Excuse me, Amanda, I've gotta go get my gun to shoot you. Now, where did I put that combination to that lock? And the bullets were where? I don't know what the fuck…how do you turn the safety off?" Are you kidding me? The last thing you want to do when somebody breaks in and puts a gun toward you is try to go for a gun. That's really stupid. I don't know if you're going to get shot one way, but I guarantee you're going to get killed the other way.
About the one thing that is right here is that locking up guns, especially the way that Bloomberg wants them locked up, makes it very difficult to use defensively.  The claim about risks of guns in the home is based on completely bogus public health studies.  A brief discussion on the problems with this claim is provided in my book "More Guns, Less Crime" (University of Chicago Press, 2010, 3rd edition).


In addition, requiring that people lock up guns or reduce gun ownership does two things: 1) more criminals are emboldened to break into people homes while the residents are in the dwelling and 2) they are more likely to be successful in committing a violent crime.


Whatever one thinks of the NRA, it is clear that Bloomberg's attack on them isn't very honest.
But the NRA takes no prisoners. Put yourself in the following scenario. You're a Senator or Congressman, a Democrat. I ask you to have background checks. You say, "Mike, I can't be with you on background checks, but my opponent, the Republican, is worse." What the NRA says is, "Babes, we don't care. We're going after you. We're going after your spouse and your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren. Long after you're dead, we'll still be going after you." It's hard to think these guys aren't cuckoo and wouldn't probably do it, when they say that. A rational person would consider all of my views before they make a vote – maybe he won't be happy with my gun position, but I'm so good on the others I'll probably still get his vote. But for the NRA that's not an option.
First, we already have background checks and as far as I can tell the NRA isn't trying to get rid of them.  The issue is a bill last year that Bloomberg supported and that bill included what many believed involved registration and would have affected the private transfer of guns.

Worse, this notion that the NRA appears to be just a smear.  A tougher, objective questioner would have asked for a specific example to illustrate his claim, but Simon Vozick-Levinson wasn't interested in actually questioning him.

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7/14/2014

Is Apple where really controversial old Obama administration employees go after they leave government?

Among the major Obama administration employees Apple hired were former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in 2013.  Jackson, who tried to hide government communication by using an EPA pseudonym "Richard Windsor," had a very controversial record.  "Windsor" was granted at least six ethics and cyber-security certifications.  From the Washington Examiner:
Among the certificates awarded to "Richard Windsor" was a Nov. 2, 2009 "Certificate of Completion" for "E-mail Records Management." Jackson had only been appointed by President Obama as EPA's top executive a few months prior to the certification. . . . 
During the ensuing years, however, EPA IT department officials awarded additional certificates to "Richard Windsor," including three for completion of the agency's "Scholastica Decentia," the Certificate for Ethical Behavior, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 
"Richard Windsor" was a top student of ethical behavior in 2010, compiling 100 percent scores for the "Risk" and "Cyber Threats" portions of the course, but a 50 percent score on the "EPA Information" portion dropped Windsor's total score to 83 percent. 
Jackson's use of the fake name became known in 2012 with Horner's book, The Liberal War Against Transparency, in which he made public a memo from EPA to the National Records Archives Administration describing the agency's creation of the "Richard Windsor" moniker. . . .  
Jackson resigned as EPA administrator in December 2012 shortly after her agency's inspector-general announced an investigation of the "Richard Windsor" scandal.
Now it looks like they are about to hire Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
Carney would replace Katie Cotton, who stepped down from the position earlier this year. It has previously been reported that Apple is looking for an external candidate to lead its communications team in the hopes of finding someone “friendlier,” although several internal candidates were also being considered. . . . 
Carney is reportedly being considered for such roles at several companies, including Uber.
How Carney gets identified as a 'Friendlier" candidate isn't exactly obvious to me.  The other question is why anyone would trust what Carney had to say.

Apple fans are not happy about the possibility of a Carney appointment.

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7/13/2014

Could the writers of The Bill of Rights have anticipated modern guns? Meet the auto cannon, the Puckle gun, from 1718

Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Here is a gun from 1718 that can fire 9 or so cannon shells very rapidly.  Once the principle was developed the number of shells that could be quickly fired could be increased even more.  The Puckle gun was developed long before the Gatling gun in 1862.  If a auto cannon was developed well before The Bill of Rights, how could it be claimed that they couldn't foresee machine guns and other modern weapons?

It is pretty clear that the Royce Wilson article has a typo/error when it says that metallic cartridges weren't developed until the 1950s.

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New Tennessee law allows loaded guns in vehicles without requiring concealed handgun permits

From WJHL TV in Johnson City, Tennessee:
No permit necessary that's the new law for people in Tennessee who want to carry a loaded gun in their car.
The law took effect July 1st and is an extension of the castle doctrine, that's the law that allows home owners to have guns on their own property.
Proponents of the legislation area saying a person’s car is an extension of their home.
"I have no problem with the law I voted for it and I think if you're a law abiding citizen as with many other issues in our country the government needs to stay out of your business and let you carry that constitutionally guaranteed weapon," said State Representative Tony Shipley.
Law enforcement opinions vary across the state.
But the Washington County Tennessee Sheriff's Office agrees with the legislation.
"We will do whatever state legislator and what the law states and says for us to do. And as of right now it's a new law there are some people from the other end of the state that do not agree with the law but we're comfortable with it," said Washington County Captain Bryan Horton.
As for traffic stops while some have safety concern, Horton said for their department, nothing will change. . . .

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7/12/2014

Latest concealed carry permit numbers for Arizona

The numbers are available here.

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Estimated Second Quarter GDP growth implies that Weather wasn't the reason for the drop in 1st quarter GDP

GDP fell at an annual rate of 2.96 percent in the 1st quarter.  To make that up, just to get back to where we were at during the end of December, would require a 3.1 percent increase in the 2nd quarter.  But that would leave us with zero growth over the first half year.  But if the shrinking GDP in the first quarter was just a temporary aberration from weather, we should easily make that up and be back up to at least the meager annual growth rate of 1.8 percent we have experienced during the Obama "recovery."  From The Hill:
Business economists have lowered their estimates for economic growth in the second quarter following news of a significant contraction during the first three months of the year. 
The April to June forecast fell to 3 percent from a 3.5 annual rate in June, according to a special survey released Friday by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). 
The forecast change is due mostly to a late June report showing that the economy shrank at a 2.9 percent pace in the first quarter. . . .

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7/09/2014

Last year Government gave $100B to people likely not entitled to receive them, congress thinks that the waste is greater

So much for Obama controlling waste and fraud.  From Politico:
By its own estimate, the government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them — tax credits to families that didn’t qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary. 
Congressional investigators say the figure could be even higher. 
The Obama administration has reduced the amount of improper payments since they peaked in 2010. Still, estimates from federal agencies show that some are wasting big money at a time when Congress is squeezing agency budgets and looking to save more. 
“Nobody knows exactly how much taxpayer money is wasted through improper payments, but the federal government’s own astounding estimate is more than half a trillion dollars over the past five years,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. “The fact is, improper payments are staggeringly high in programs designed to help those most in need — children, seniors and low-income families.” . . .

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Jimmy Fallon makes a joke about Obama abusing executive actions

FALLON: "Here is some news out of Washington.  House Speaker John Boehner is threatening to sue President Obama for using executive actions to create laws instead of going through Congress first.  And Obama just shrugged and made a new law saying you can't sue the president.  [Fallon pretending to be Obama] I can do this all day Boehner."

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Ann Coulter and Ted Nugent's reading level of their tweets higher than WaPo's Greg Sargent or NYT's David Leonhardt

A measure of reading level of tweets is available here.  Some amusing comparisons are here.  Possibly the level that people write at might be one very rough measure of intelligence.  With actor Jim Carrey juvenile humor, it probably isn't too surprising that his tweets are at a 3rd grade level.  Or that Kanye West tweets at the 4th grade level.  But it is more interesting to compare some political commentators.  Ann Coulter is at the 8th grade level of reading, but the Washington Post's Greg Sargent is at 3rd grade.  Fox News has a higher level of posts than CNN, CBS, and NBC, but the same as MSNBC.  I have looked at a number of columnists at the Washington Post and they are usually at the 7th grade level of reading, again a little below Coulter and the same as Ted Nugent's.  Both also score higher than the WaPo's Greg Sargent, NYT's David Leonhardt, or Justin Wolfers.

Of course, at least over some range, some could argue that being able to make more complicated ideas simpler is actually more difficult.  I am not sure if this could explain a 3rd grade level of reading, but I am open to a discussion.




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Newest Fox News piece: "Mr. Obama, you can’t blame our economic troubles on weather"

With the Obama administration continuing to blame the poor economic growth in the first quarter on the weather, it seemed useful to include a few facts.  Sure, it is certainly plausible that bad weather can impact GDP, but neither cold weather or bad snow storms seem to have a really noticeable impact.  More importantly at the end of the piece I offer a way to test if Obama is right about the claim.  My newest piece at Fox News start this way:
The economy took a bad hit during the first quarter this year.  It shrunk at an annual rate of 2.96 percent.  Since the beginning of 1947, there are only 16 of the 268 quarters experienced worse growth. 
The Obama administration blames the slow growth on the “historically severe winter weather, which temporarily lowered growth.” Jason Furman, the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, made this assertion again on July 3 and President Obama has made this claim several times.  
But that doesn’t square with the historic data. The five worst winter storms or winters with the coldest temperatures do not match economic downturns. 
In a list of the worst United States winter storms since 1888, Epic Disasters, using National Weather Service data, lists five of the ten worst occurring since 1947.  Four of the five saw economic growth.  Only during the fifth worst stormdid the economy shrink.  The average annualized GDP growth during the quarters when those storms struck was 1.8 percent. . . . .

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7/07/2014

John Walsh vows to continue Piers Morgan's Gun-Control campaign on CNN

Walsh will be much more effective at making this argument than Piers for the simple reason that he is much more likable.   From The Wrap:
Besides hosting “America's Most Wanted” and advocating for victims’ rights, Walsh has been a longtime advocate of background checks and other safety measures. He said he would continue that fight now that he is joining CNN as the host of “The Hunt,” a new show about catching fugitives. . . .
“I am the guy that has seen both sides of the issue,” Walsh told reporters Monday. “I own guns. I'm the father of a murdered child. I've done nothing but track violence in America since my son was murdered. We have a serious problem with guns in this country. And we refuse to address it. And the NRA solution to arm every grammar-school 80-year-old teacher with a gun is absolutely ludicrous,” he said.
Walsh said the NRA is so deeply in the pocket of the gun industry that “they're not a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, they're a gun manufacturer rep.” He also said Vice President Joe Biden recently agreed with him that politicians are “scared s—less” of the NRA. . . .
Just because background checks work well in theory doesn't mean that the current system actually works that way.  You can find out some of the problems with the background check system here and here.

Obviously the claim that the NRA wants to arm everyone in schools is a gross exaggeration.  The NRA proposal was to arm uniformed guards, something that Bill Clinton had supported when he was president, and something that I thought was a mistake because armed guards are likely to be the first target.

On polls Walsh says:
“I said to Joe Biden, '90 percent of Americans are for a responsible background check for a gun, and you know what this Congress has done? Not voted on it, not brought it to the floor, not introduced a bill,'” Walsh said. “I said, ‘They're all scared shitless of the NRA, aren't they?'” . . . 
You can find out why his claim is incorrect here

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So can the bad winter storms during the first quarter of 2014 explain the shrinking economy?

The Obama administration has blamed the slow growth on the “historically severe winter weather, which temporarily lowered growth.”  Jason Furman, the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, made this assertion again on July 3rd

In a list of the worst United States winter storms since 1888, Epic Disasters, using National Weather Service data, lists five of the ten worst occurring since 1947.  Four of the five saw economic growth.  Only during the fifth worst storm did the economy shrink.  

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Newest piece at the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Soccer may be 'in,' but it's not an injury-free sport"


My newest piece at the Philadelphia Inquirer starts this way:
With all the recent coverage given to the World Cup, interest in soccer is frequently described as reaching a "tipping point." Even President Obama has done his part to popularize the sport: taking time out from his busy schedule to watch the U.S.-Germany match, playing soccer against a robot on his recent trip to Japan, and chatting with foreign leaders about the game's finer points.  
But the president appears unaware of the health risks. He has strongly warned Americans about the risks of playing football, going so far this year as saying, "I would not let my son play pro football." He hasn't offered such similar warnings about soccer.  
Obama is not alone in apparently believing that soccer is less dangerous than American football. Surely the media have been all over how dangerous football is for concussions. And the lawsuits filed by NFL players have received much attention.  
Unfortunately, soccer is not the benign alternative it is often portrayed as being. 
Take concussions.  
In college, women's soccer has a higher rate of concussions than men's football or soccer: 6.3 per 10,000 times women participate in soccer practice or a game versus 4.9 for men's soccer and 6.1 for men's football. Indeed, among college sports, women's soccer has the highest rate of concussions.  
But concussions aren't the only problem. In total injuries, both men's and women's soccer exceed those of men's football. Total injuries for men's soccer are 11.14 per 10,000 practices or games and 9.7 for women's soccer. For football, the number is 9.5. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here

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7/05/2014

The "do nothing" US Senate, Harry Reid keeps protecting Democrats from hard votes

Senate Democrats essentially shutdown voting in Senate to protect their members from any hard votes before the November election.  From ABC News:
. . . With control of the Senate at risk in November, leaders are going to remarkable lengths to protect endangered Democrats from casting tough votes and to deny Republicans legislative victories in the midst of the campaign. The phobia means even bipartisan legislation to boost energy efficiency, manufacturing, sportsmen's rights and more could be scuttled.
The Senate's masters of process are finding a variety of ways to shut down debate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., now is requiring an elusive 60-vote supermajority to deal with amendments to spending bills, instead of the usual simple majority, a step that makes it much more difficult to put politically sensitive matters into contention. This was a flip from his approach to Obama administration nominees, when he decided most could be moved ahead with a straight majority instead of the 60 votes needed before.
Reid's principal aim in setting the supermajority rule for spending amendments was to deny archrival Sen. Mitch McConnell a win on protecting his home state coal industry from new regulations limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, faces a tough re-election in Kentucky. . . .
"I just don't think they want their members to have to take any hard votes between now and November," said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb. And there's "just no question that they're worried we're going to win some votes so they just shut us down."
Vote-a-phobia worsens in election years, especially when the majority party is in jeopardy. Republicans need to gain six seats to win control and Democrats must defend 21 seats to the Republicans' 15. . . .
Of course, for some Democrats this prevents them from developing any type of record to run on.  From the WSJ:
No one has done more to protect Senate Democrats from difficult votes than Majority Leader Harry Reid, but a funny thing is happening as another election nears. His own vulnerable Members are griping about the lack of votes.
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich was elected in 2008 and hasn't been able to get a Senate vote on any of his proposed legislative amendments. For years he was silent but suddenly he's upset, telling Politico: "Does it mean increased risks? Sure. That's what voting is about." West Virginia's Joe Manchin complained to the Hill newspaper: "I've never been in a less productive time in my life than I am right now, in the United States Senate."
They're right about the numbers. Wyoming Republican John Barrasso recently noted on the floor that Senate Democrats proposed 676 amendments in the last year but were allowed votes on all of seven. Republicans proposed 812 and got votes on 11. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee has been allowed twice as many amendment votes (15) in the Republican House in the last year than Mr. Reid has allowed his entire Senate caucus. Not one of the nine Senate Democrats elected in 2012 has been granted a floor vote on any of their amendments. . . . 
With this voting record, it is pretty hard for Begich to argue that his being in office is of much value. 

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