New Poll Shows Drop in Support for Canadian Liberals

Just what I predicted, Minnesota and Concealed Carry

It seems that after people get to see that all the horror stories aren't true there is not much opposition left to concealed handguns:

Minnesota's 2003 handgun law, which was struck down in court, took a giant step toward reenactment Friday with decisive approval in the state Senate, long a roadblock for that kind of gun-rights legislation.

The bill differs little in substance from the law that is in limbo. The 44-21 vote in favor of the bill could signal growing acceptance of the idea that adults who get training and pass a background check can choose to be armed in public.
"On balance, it has worked," said Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, one of eight senators who reversed their votes from nay in 2003 to aye on Friday. "Law enforcement has said the process has worked well and there did not seem to be a problem."

Interesting quote from the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Opponents said they were stunned that senators defeated their attempts to change the bill.

Levitt and Dubner on Crime

From Tom Roeser's piece in today's Chicago Sun-Times

. . . Levitt makes it clear he is no cheerleader for abortion, declaring that he must go where the statistics lead. He's right. But do the statistics lead there? And does he persist in his theory when he's proved wrong?

John Lott, another U. of C.-trained economist and now resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says in a letter in the Wall Street Journal that legalization doesn't explain ''75 percent of the drop in murder rates, and if anything the reverse is true. Their data had a serious error . . . incorrectly claim[ing] that when abortion was legalized during the late 1960s and early 1970s, states went from a complete ban to complete legalization, but abortions had been allowed before complete legalization when the life or health of the mother was endangered. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that before Roe vs. Wade, many states that had allowed abortions only when the life and health of the mother was endangered actually had higher abortion rates than states where it was completely 'legal.' If Messrs. Levitt and Dubner were correct, crime rates should have started falling among younger people who were first born after legalization. Only as they aged would you start seeing crime fall among older criminals. But in fact the precise opposite is true. Murder rates during the 1990s first started falling for the oldest criminals and very last for the youngest.''

Magazine writer and blog-meister Steve Sailer sails in with more data. Murder rates are now rising, says the FBI. From 1999 through 2002 (the latest data available), the murder rate jumped 17 percent among 25- to 34-year-olds born long after Roe. ''[T]he most obvious explanation for the ups and downs of the murder rate is the ups and downs of the crack business,'' he says. ''This generation, born right after legalization, is better behaved today in part because so many of its bad apples are now confined to prisons, wheelchairs and coffins.''

These are interesting challenges to a book that is causing Americans to debate its findings at office water coolers and at cocktail parties. It turns out that Sailer had debated Levitt on these facts before the book was published. Why weren't Sailer's facts taken into consideration when Levitt wrote the book? This he doesn't seem to do -- at least when confronted by Bill O'Reilly on Fox News the other night. It's a good book. Now, if Levitt would respond to Lott's and Sailer's challenge in our letters to the editor, it would be even better!.

Of course, they didn't just ignore Sailer's claims. I provided the corrected abortion data to Levitt and Donohue back in 1999, well before they had even published the first version of their abortion and crime research. Unfortunately, they didn't deal with it in their QJE piece. (My work with John Whitley shows how that this has a big impact on their results..) For the entire Wall Street J. letter see here. Note I have corrected an error that was in the op-ed's second paragraph above.


"Rice: Gun Rights Important As Free Speech"

Rice has been saying this for a while, and I even quoted something very similar by her in The Bias Against Guns. From the AP:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recalling how her father took up arms to defend fellow blacks from racist whites in the segregated South, said Wednesday the constitutional right of Americans to own guns is as important as their rights to free speech and religion.

In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defended the black community in Birmingham, Ala., against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves.

Birmingham, where Rice was born in 1954, was a focal point of racial tension. Four black girls were killed when a bomb exploded at a Birmingham church in 1963, a galvanizing moment in the fight for civil rights.

Rice said she favored background checks and controls at gun shows. However, she added, "we have to be very careful when we start abridging rights that the Founding Fathers thought very important."

Rice said the Founding Fathers understood "there might be circumstances that people like my father experienced in Birmingham, Ala., when, in fact, the police weren't going to protect you." . . .

Bogus research on discrimination in NY Times

Of course it would be nice if they actually had some evidence

More on possible vote fraud in Milwaukee

From John Fund writing at OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary:

John Kerry won the swing state of Wisconsin by 11,000 votes out of some three million cast last November. Now many are wondering how solid that "win" was. An official inquiry into irregularities surrounding the Wisconsin election has just been finished by U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, a Republican appointee, and Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann, a Democrat. In Milwaukee County alone, 4,609 more ballots were cast than can be matched with actual voters. In addition, more than 200 felons were allowed to vote illegally, more than 100 people double-voted and 1,300 people voted on Election Day even though their same-day registration cards were missing names, addresses or other key data.


Election fraud in Milwaukee


Legislation to seize homes with illegal guns in them

"Friendly" pharmacist stops robber

John Donohue's inaccurate claims


My research on the Judicial Confirmation Process makes the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe

UPDATE: I am disappointed by the Boston Globe, though it seems as if their errors were a result of a series of unintentional mistakes. I had provided the Globe with numbers for the confirmation rates for both the District and Circuit court, but the newspaper only showed the numbers for the District court and accidentally labeled those as being for all Federal judicial nominees. Given that the confirmation rates move in opposite directions for the two courts and that the Circuit court is the more important, this created a fairly misleading impression. While the mistake made a big difference, I accept their explanation for what happened as an accident.

UPDATE 2: From the Boston Globe (Tuesday, May 17, 2005): "Because of a graphics editor's error, a chart accompanying a May 8 story on federal judicial nominations was incorrectly labeled. The chart showed the average number of days to confirm District Court nominees and the percentage of District Court nominees confirmed by presidential administration. A corrected version of the chart appears today on page A8." They still don't correct the point that they previously labeled District court judges as all judges, but this is a definite improvement and I am glad that they did this.

Original Post: I haven't seen it yet, but apparently the front page of yesterday's Sunday Boston Globe had a chart with my numbers on how the judicial confirmation process has changed over time. The article is here, but it doesn't contain the chart.

''Many perceive the judicial nomination process as broken," John R. Lott Jr. of the conservative American Enterprise Institute wrote in a study indicating that the success rate of nominations has fallen steadily over the past two decades. ''Neither Democrats nor Republicans have 'clean hands' in this debate and . . . the problem has been getting progressively worse over time."

The origins of the struggle trace back to the explosive growth of the power of the federal judiciary that began with the Supreme Court decision to end segregation in 1954 and climaxed with its 1973 declaration of a constitutional right to an abortion. A wave of class-action lawsuits and litigation over new environmental and antidiscrimination laws added to the expanded judicial scope.

I am not exactly sure what numbers the Boston Globe used because I haven't seen their chart(s) yet, but here are the general numbers that I gave them.

Appeals Court Nominees Days to confirmation (average number of days)
69.824 Carter
68.265 Reagan
92.462 Bush I
230.6462 Clinton
262.7576 Bush II

District Court Nominees Days to confirmation (average number of days)
70.715 Carter
68.0625 Reagan
102.0694 Bush I
132.2904 Clinton
157.3533 Bush II

DC Appeals Court Nominees Days to confirmation (average number of days)
86.25 Carter
70.077 Reagan
84.75 Bush I
242.143 Clinton
729 Bush II

Appeals Court Nominees confirmation rate in percent (average rate)
93.443 Carter
89.3617 Reagan
78 Bush I
74.157 Clinton
66.6667 Bush II

District Court Nominees confirmation rate in percent (average rate)
93.088 Carter
96.053 Reagan
78.075 Bush I
87.896 Clinton
96.610 Bush II

DC Appeals Court Nominees confirmation rate in percent (average rate)
100 Carter
81.25 Reagan
88.889 Bush I
77.778 Clinton
20 Bush II

Canada's failed gun registry program

It's not just the waste, although that's atrocious -- nearly $2-billion for a dysfunctional pile of uselessness. . . .

Still, the fact that 13,000 Canadians -- about one-half of one per cent of applicants -- have been refused a licence in the past seven years might be meaningful if gun-controllers could then point to lowered murder rates, or show that firearms suicides have declined faster than suicides by other methods, or demonstrate a significant reduction in spousal homicides (most of the 13,000 denials have stemmed from complaints by one partner against another).

But despite these thousands of licence refusals, government ministers and special interest groups who favour the registry can't even point to a reduction in armed robberies.

The registry is not keeping the unfit from getting guns, just licences. And licences don't kill people, guns do. Keeping licences out of the hands of people who shouldn't have guns is meaningless. . . .

The only meaningful gun control is taking firearms away from criminals. And since crooks, drug dealers and murderers don't register their weapons, the registry is useless in this task.

The battle over John Bolton

Given the battle over confirming John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, one issue that hasn't been mentioned is the upcoming UN get together on regulating small arms (namely rifles and handguns). Bolton is widely seen as one tough guy and this is one issue that Americans who support people's ability to defend themselves would want someone such as Bolton there fighting this fight. I believe that Bolton's position is sympathetic to people's ability to defend themselves and that he is concerned about the overreaching of UN authority into national affairs.


Update on right-to-carry in Nebraska