Wal-Mart to Stop Selling Guns in 1,000 stores

This is really major news. I doubt that this would have occurred if Wal-Mart heir John Walton hadn't died last year. In any case, this will have a major impact on the gun industry.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the biggest seller of firearms in the country, said it is discontinuing sales of guns in about 1,000 U.S. stores due to insufficient demand, part of an effort to boost sluggish sales by better matching store merchandise to individual neighborhoods.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer wouldn't say which stores would stop selling guns and whether sales at those stores had fallen off recently or had always been substandard. The company said the move to stop selling guns at what amounts to about a third of its U.S. stores is part of Wal-Mart's larger effort to improve its "store of the community" program that tailors store products to neighborhood demand.

Some interesting quotes sent around by Dan Gifford

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm ... Believe that Palestine will be freed soon."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of Iran
April 15, 2006

"I thought about ... the consequences for me saying I was a part of 9/11. I decided to just put my trust in God and tell the truth and time will tell. Even without my testimony, taking into account the emotion of the case, there was definitely a chance I would be found eligible for death."
Zacarias Moussaoui
Confessed al-Qaida conspirator
April 13, 2006

"We [Muslims] have to be the superpower. You have to be subdued. We have to be above you. Because Americans, you are the superpower, you want to eradicate us."
Zacarias Moussaoui
Confessed al-Qaida conspirator
April 13, 2006

Some quotes sent around by Dan Gifford


Canada's Gun Registry Program to Suffer Major Blow in Coming Report

DATE: 2006.04.14
PAGE: 10
COLUMN: Parliament Hill


A potentially explosive audit could "put the nail in the coffin" of the controversial gun registry, according to a Conservative MP.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser is slated to release a damning audit on the Canada Firearms Program next month and has cryptically hinted at a major finding.

"In carrying out our audit of the Canada Firearms Centre, we noted a matter with significant implications for Parliament's control of public spending," she writes after a brief summary of eight chapters.

Tory MP Garry Breitkreuz, a long-time critic of the gun registry, believes the AG will expose more numbers fudged by the former Liberal government. He said Fraser could blow the lid off murky enforcement costs and a shadowy $273-million computer contract he uncovered while in Opposition.

"She could be highlighting the fact that contracts were given out and there's not a proper paper trail," he said. "That's a damning indictment of how a government does business if there's no paper trail and you're shovelling millions of dollars out the door."

Breitkreuz has filed about 550 access to information requests on the gun registry, but still doesn't know the true costs. He predicts the AG's report will be a "significant event that will finally "put the nail in the coffin" of the registry. . . .

"Attempts To Intimidate Scientists About Global Warming"

Clayton Cramer has a nice link to a discussion of the political pressure in the global warming debate.

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In England the Police Don't Always Come Even when You Call Them

These are some pretty scary stories. Despite reading previous stories about police being told to leave the area when a criminal has a gun (see this article in the Washington Post), I even find them somewhat hard to believe:

. . . You can never find a policeman when you want one, they say. Being attacked by a maniac with a gun seems like one of the few circumstances in which I might really want to find one. However, recent cases suggest that the police would refuse to come anywhere near, on the ground that deranged gunmen tend to be a bit dangerous.

Thames Valley Police received a dressing-down this week over their pathetic response to the infamous 'barbecue killings'. Stuart Horgan burst into a family barbecue, shot his estranged wife, her sister and mother, then left. Neighbours repeatedly phoned the emergency services, explaining that the gunman had gone. But the police refused to attend for more than an hour in case he was still around; armed officers waited four miles away. Ambulance crews would not enter without police. Horgan's wife, Vicky, and her sister, Emma Walton, both died.

This week, an inquest heard that Thames Valley Police took almost seven hours to enter a house after another emergency phone call from a terrified woman hiding in a cupboard. By the time they arrived Julia Pemberton was dead, along with her teenage son William, killed by her estranged husband Alan who then shot himself.

And lest anybody think this problem is peculiar to Thames Valley, another inquest this week revealed that Sussex Police refused to go in after Linda Watson dialled 999 to say that her husband Richard had been shot outside their home. Even after a family friend took it upon himself to drive up, check Mr Watson's dead body and report to police, they waited another hour before deciding it was safe to approach.

Mrs Watson's solicitor told the inquest that the police were 'cowardly'. There seems no reason to suppose that officers are personally any more cowardly today. But they are now working within what looks like a culture of moral cowardice.

The damning report into the barbecue killings reveals that in dilly-dallying rather than acting decisively, the police were only following official guidelines. A police force that is ordered not to be forceful, for fear of unknown consequences, seems an appropriate guardian of our safety-first society, which is wary of tackling anything risky. Senior police officers faffing about in the face of murder are not the only leaders reluctant to take responsibility for life-and-death decisions today.

No doubt police also fear that they might be sued by victims or prosecuted by the authorities if they take a risk. After all, wasn't the Metropolitan Police Commissioner himself charged with breaching health and safety laws after the death of a PC who fell through a roof while chasing suspects? It's a wonder that the police don't insist that health and safety inspectors answer 999 calls and carry out a risk assessment of all crime scenes before they agree to tiptoe in. . . .

Thanks very much to John Zumrick for sending me the link. Thanks to L.J. O'Neale for reminding me of the Washington Post article that I added in the first paragraph.

Summary from Today's National Journal Hotline on Midwest Gubernatorial Elections

This is the summary that the National Journal sent out today:

Midwest Going South

Their '02 victories crushed the GOP's grip on midwest GOVs. Four years later, those Dem GOVs (MI's Granholm , IL's Blagojevich and WI's Doyle) are fighting for their lives. Why??
-- First, the economy. The midwest is struggling to evolve from its manufacturing past. IN's Daniels and MO's Blunt, both GOPers, aren't up in '06, but they also aren't popular.
-- None of the three Dem GOVs has had friendly legislatures. It reminds us of how poorly cong Dems received a Dem president in '93 and '94.
-- These GOVs are also suffering from labor pains. Unlike in red states where Dem GOVs are safer, these three have a heavy union presence. All are struggling to balance labor and centrist policies.
-- Expectations? All three replaced GOPers who'd held power for more than a decade. Did they spend too much time re-populating state bureaucracies? Or, perhaps, not enough time?
-- In truth, it's all four factors, and they're turning the midwest into an unexpected ground zero for GOV races this fall.


Global Warming Hysteria

When I used to teach environmental regulation at Wharton, I used to give the class a copy of an article in Newsweek (I believe that it was Newsweek, not Time) showing the earth in an ice block and warning that we had to immediately cover the earth's poles with coal dust to prevent an ice age (snow reflects the sun light back into outer space). It was a pretty scary article. At that time global cooling was claimed to be caused by man-made carbon dioxide. Of course, now the carbon dioxide is said to be a significant cause of global warming. In both cases, something much stronger was likely responsible (energy output from the sun).

This letter from 60 top climate scientists makes the same point that I made in my class:

It was only 30 years ago that many of today's global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.

This is a nice piece from the Daily Telegraph:

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.

Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible? . . .

Thanks to Nelson Clayton for sending this link to me.

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Guns at work bill advances in Florida

While I sympathesize with the goal, I have problems with laws that force firms to let their employees have guns at work. I think that firms have it wrong in that the people that they should fear are the people who are going to break the rules, not the ones who obey them. That the regulations leave victims defenseless and encourage attacks, creating safe zones for criminals, not victims. That said, I think that the best approach is to make it so that victims can clearly sue for damages if they are prevented from protected themselves and something bad should happen. My guess is that firms face a strong asymmetry. If something bad happens, they face lawsuits only from victims for the gun being there. Firms don't face lawsuits from guns not being available for people to defend themselves or others.

After six tries, the National Rifle Association has managed to get a committee in the Florida Legislature to endorse one of the worst bills filed in the current session.

In its original form, the bill would have charged business owners with a felony -- punishable by up to five years in prison -- if they prevented employees from storing guns in their cars while at work. . . .

In a "compromise" move, the NRA and its legislative stooges have revised the language to remove the felony charge and -- in theory, at least -- preserve the private-property rights of businesses. The bill now allows bans when "reasonably necessary."

The changes were apparently enough to satisfy the House Judiciary Committee, which approved the bill --despite the fact that "reasonably necessary" isn't defined.

"Nobody on the committee could even define what it means," Mark Wilson of the Florida Chamber of Commerce said. "So how can an employer?" . . .

"Kyoto is pointless, say 60 leading scientists"

Canada's new Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, has been urged by more than 60 leading international climate change experts to review the global warming policies he inherited from his centre-Left predecessor. . . .

"Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science," they wrote in the Canadian Financial Post last week.

They emphasised that the study of global climate change is, in Mr Harper's own words, an "emerging science" and added: "If, back in the mid 1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary." Despite claims to the contrary, there is no consensus among climate scientists on the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, they wrote.

"'Climate change is real' is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified." . . .