Devaluing achievement: "everyone can be a winner," what it means to be a valedictorian

"Rarely received a B" means that you get a 4.0. Well, yes, when AP classes are graded on a 5.0 scale. So if you take AP classes, a "B" student can be valedictorian.

"At this time, I would like to award all 41 students who have achieved that honor," Meier said as the crowd cheered. "I tell these guys," Meier joked, "the only thing I have in common with them is I rarely received a B in high school myself." . . . .

As high school graduates across the region accept their diplomas this month, one tradition has changed greatly. The title of valedictorian -- the coveted top slot for the brainiest student -- is no longer necessarily reserved for the single best student.

A growing number of schools, such as Robinson, bestow the title on every graduate who earns a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher. . . . .

Concealed Carry Permit holder defends himself in a robbery

A Virginian-Pilot carrier who was delivering newspapers early Thursday shot and wounded one of two youths who tried to rob him, police said.

Police planned to charge the youths, who were in custody, with attempted robbery and related crimes. Their ages and identities were not released. The injured youth was hospitalized under guard Thursday, according to Cpl. Ollan Burruss, a police spokesman. His wounds were not considered life-threatening.

Police said the shooting happened about 2:52 a.m. in the vicinity of the 3500 block of Chesapeake Blvd . The carrier, who is an independent contractor and not an employee of the newspaper, had just started his route when he encountered the two.

The carrier i s not facing charges, Burruss said.

"They were trying to rob him, and he defended himself," he said.


Apparently there are good reasons to sleep with your gun under your pillow

I have never known someone who has actually done this (it seems like you would find it quite uncomfortable sometimes, though may be he uses a really big pillow). Anyway, I am sure that Mr. Brown believes that sleeping with a gun under his pillow was well worth any discomfort.

Willie Brown shrugged off the noises downstairs early Thursday, but the 74-year-old was fully awake when he saw a man holding a knife in his bedroom doorway.

"He said, 'Don't move, I got a knife.' I said, 'You got a knife, huh?' He said, 'Yeah.'"

"I reached under my pillow and came up firing my .38 Smith and Wesson. He said, 'Oops' and turned and ran down the steps. I followed and shot him again," Brown said.

The suspect hopped out of the window he broke to enter Brown's house at 3912 Caseyville Ave. and ran across his yard, Brown said. East St. Louis Police did not identify the suspect, but said he was arrested Thursday as he was fleeing. . . .

"He appeared to be heading right into me," Williams said. "He hollered out that he'd been shot. I took off behind him with lights and my siren on. At 40th Street and Caseyville Avenue, Washington Park police officer Wendell Wilson blocked him in. I took his car keys," Williams said.

Williams said he saw blood on the back of the suspect's red and white shirt. There was a bullet hole in the man's back.

The suspect's condition was not immediately available and police would not say how many times he was shot. Brown said he thinks he hit him with at least two of the three rounds he fired.

East St. Louis Detective Ricky Perry, who is investigating the case, said police were called to Brown's home at 4:48 a.m. Brown's handgun was taken by police.

Although it's not likely Brown will be charged, Perry said he would present the case to the state's attorney's office and let them make a decision.

On Feb. 8, an 87-year-old woman on Gaty Avenue shot and killed Larry Tillman as he was breaking into her home. She had previously been beaten by an intruder, believed to have been Tillman , and was not charged in the shooting. . . .

Thanks very much to Guav for giving me a link to a story that did a better job of covering the story. I have changed it to the link that he gave me.

iPods and Baseball, even better together


I thought that gun bans would stop this

Oops. Apparently people have figured out how to make weapons themselves. In any case, the problem that I have with this article is one of causation. Guns fuel crime, but may be there is some desire to commit crime that creates the desire to get the weapons and that there are a lot of different weapons to pick from.

BEIJING (Reuters) - The illegal manufacture and sale of weapons is fuelling a crime wave in poorer parts of China, police said on Tuesday.

Knife attacks have become a particular problem in a country where crime has boomed along with the economy for the past two-and-a-half decades, threatening government control and stability.

"Some evil forces and crooks always carry around illegal blades, using them for fights and resisting the law, whipping them out at the drop of a hat," Xu Hu, deputy director of the police's public order division, told a news conference.

The number of incidents using explosives has fallen every year for the last four in the country that invented gunpowder.

But police spokesman Wu Heping voiced concern at the news conference about their continued availability thanks to a huge market for fertilisers and a thriving mining industry.

"At present, the security management situation of explosives, guns and ammunition is still not optimistic," Wu said. "...In some parts of the country incidents continue to happen, seriously threatening people's lives and property." . . . . .

I thank RGriff for sending me this.

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Media and Terrorism: Good for each other?

I know Bruno and he is a good, well known economist. Despite its name however, the Granger Causality test doesn't really test causality. It just says that if there is a change in one variable, there is a change after that in the change of some other variable. That is interesting, but it isn't a test of causality. It would have been nice to have more media covered than just two newspapers, though I presume that there is a lot of correlation between coverage in the NY Times and the rest of the media. My work with Kevin Hassett, however, indicates that there are significant differences across even just newspapers.

More ink equals more blood, claim two economists who say that newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks.

It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.

"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

The researchers counted direct references to terrorism between 1998 and 2005 in the New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a respected Swiss newspaper. They also collected data on terrorist attacks around the world during that period. Using a statistical procedure called the Granger Causality Test, they attempted to determine whether more coverage directly led to more attacks.

The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001. . . . .

Using Riflery Training to Overcome Social Differences

Rifle Bonding
June 9, 2006
Malaysia has come up with a novel approach to encourage its next generation to live together more harmoniously: teach them to use guns.

Amid much handwringing about continuing distrust between the country's majority Malay population and its Chinese and Indian minorities, Kuala Lumpur's policy makers this week announced a proposal to help teenagers of all ethnicities bond: the government's National Service Program will now require training in the use of rapid-fire M16 assault rifles.

Launched two years ago, the National Service Program puts tens of thousands of randomly selected 18-year-olds through three months of boot camp every year with the aim of teaching them to live better together. That bunching is something that rarely happens elsewhere in Malaysia, where members of the three main ethnic groups attend different schools and live largely separate lives. One recent survey found that only a third had ever shared a meal with someone from another race. No wonder the labels flew, with the same survey finding Malays are commonly called "lazy," Chinese "greedy," and Indians "untrustworthy." . . .

Sharing rifles may give teenagers a thrill in a country where possession of an unlicensed weapon is punishable by death. But neither this, nor the other bonding activities on the National Service program -- ranging from map reading to community service -- stand much chance of bridging the gulf dividing Malaysia's ethnic groups, so long as they know they'll be treated differently once again as soon as their three months in boot camp are over.

Thanks to Rex Chadwell for sending me this link.


Self Defense Gun Use Stories

April 20, 2006, Indianapolis, Indiana

DeAngelo Morrison felt lucky to be alive Wednesday, hours after he shot and killed a masked man armed with a shotgun who was chasing him into his Speedway apartment.

"He had a big gun," Morrison said. "We locked eyes. Honestly, I'm thinking this dude is coming to kill me.
"It was the craziest 30 to 45 seconds of my life."

Speedway police say Morrison, 21, was acting in self-defense when he fired his handgun at the two men rushing up the stairs at the West Wind Terrace Apartments, near I-465 and Crawfordsville Road.

The bullet struck DeShawn Givens, 21, in the chest and police said he died at the bottom of the stairwell. Givens and another man were planning to commit a robbery, police said. Givens was wearing a black mask and police found a shotgun near his body.

Givens' reported accomplice, Andre Washington, 19, faces initial charges of felony murder and attempted robbery. He is being held in the Marion County Jail.

Marion County prosecutors still are investigating the case and declined comment, but experts say Morrison may have been justified in his actions.

"At the end of the day, the law says if you have no other out and it appears you are about to get killed or seriously harmed, you don't have to send out a survey," said Scott Newman, the former Marion County prosecutor. "You can pull out a gun and defend yourself."

Just last month, Indiana became the third state to make clear that people have the right to use deadly force when threatened without first trying to back away. Indiana did not previously require residents to retreat before using a gun or other deadly weapon, but the new law clarified that point.

The reported robbers have lengthy criminal records, police said, while Morrison has a clean record and a permit to carry a gun. "All the evidence is basically lining up with what (Morrison) says," Assistant Police Chief Joel Rush said. . . . .

Thanks to Matthew Ledyard for sending me this story.

By the way, Eric Root sent me a couple of examples of self defense from his own life:

a couple of years ago, I encountered several drunk campers burning a picnic table at about 11:00 PM. I went a short distance from their campfire, called the police, and continued to track what they were doing. In retrospect, I misjudged the situation - thinking that it was more benign than it was. They ordered me to leave, and laughlingly said, "Good luck finding any evidence when the police get here." I remained where I could see them. Two men pursued me, eventually attacking me front and back. All three of us went to the ground, one on my back choking me and the other in front keeping my hands down and hitting me. After about a minute, I realized that this was not just about beating me up, but was a murder in progress - they were trying to kill me. There were other members of the group I was hoping would pull their buddies off, so there was still some possibility that I could get out of this without shooting either man. I cocked the pistol in my pocket and I began counting down to time the last moments to the point at which I would either take their lives or they would take mine. My patience was rewarded, their friends stopped the choking before I had to pull the trigger. They continued to hit me, but addressing that could wait for the police to show up.

Contrast that with another incident involving twelve weight lifters who I had earlier thrown off our property for inappropriate behavior. They had canoed downriver to another of our beaches where they were surrounding and threatening eight young women. When I arrived on the scene, about half of these guys were naked and it was clear to me that they were intending one or more rapes (the women confirmed afterwards that they thought the same thing on the basis of the obvious signs of excitement). I chased the nearest one off (the little noisy one I judged to be a coward), and shoved a second one into the water (the oldest one that I judged to be looking for an excuse to leave). Then the biggest of the men, who appeared to be the group's dominant member, came at me, demanding to know, "What are you going to do with me?' He was about 6' 3" tall, and weighed about 270 - almost none of which was fat. I told him that he was 35 pounds heavier and 30 years younger than I was, that I wasn’t going to fight him, I was going to shoot him. I also said that if his friends got behind me or did anything other than immediately leave, I was going to shoot him first. I was not bluffing, they knew it, they swore and threatened retaliation, but they left promptly. It is worth noting that the weapon involved was a derringer chambered for 45 Long Colt. I could not have wounded or killed more than two of them.

More Defensive Gun Use Stories can be found here as well as here.

Coffee as health food

Scientists v. Gore on Global Warming

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of "climate change skeptics" who disagree with the "vast majority of scientists" Gore cites?

No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field. . . . .

Thanks to Rob Moore for sending me this link.

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Canadians learn that terrorism affects them also: Support for troops in Afghanistan goes up

Lindgren's post on David Gross and the Survey data

Jim Lindgren has a new post that indicates that a concern Lindgren raised earlier that David Gross might have taken Hemenway's 1996 survey and not my 1997 survey. In bold type near the end of his post he notes:

"Since neither the demographics nor the descriptive accounts matched Gross to any Minnesota respondent, it seems clear that Gross was not surveyed by Hemenway in 1996."

Lindgren notes that it is possible that Gross may have taken another suurvey in 1997, but no such remotely similar survey has ever surfaced. Opponents, even those immersed in these issues, have not pointed to any remotely similar survey during anywhere near that time period. If Lindgren does not believe that Gross is making up this memory out of whole cloth and Lindgren claims that he believes that Gross did take a survey when Gross says that he did, either point to some other possible survey that was given around that time or concede that Gross took my 1997 survey. Of course, I raised this several years ago and at that time Lindgren pointed to the 1996 Hemenway survey. Now that Hemenway has finally released the data from that survey, it is clear to everyone that Gross could not have taken that survey. Rather than just conceding the point, Lindgren points to claimed inconsistencies in Gross's statements, but Gross strongly disagrees with those claims (see point 4a). David Mustard also states that Lindgren inaccurately reported what Mustard told Lindgren.

It is also very disappointing that Lindgren has put no pressure what so ever on getting Hemenway to release his 1999 data. However, Lindgren in a email to me this week indicates that: "By the way, when I talked with either Hemenway or the survey organization they used for the 1996 study, they suggested that for most of their studies after 1996, they had lists at least of the telephone numbers used (they didn't for the 1996 study except on paper in boxes someplace)." However, Hemenway told Jeff Parker earlier this year something quite different:

From: David Hemenway [mailto:hemenway@hsph.harvard.edu]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 10:56 AM
To: Jeffrey Parker
Subject: Re: John Lott survey

Dear Jeffrey:
Unfortunately, it does not appear to be possible. I emailed the
survey firm which conducted the surveys, and they no longer have the data
on the phone numbers. Here is the email response I received.

Best Regards,

Just as he did for years with the 1996 survey, Hemenway has consistently refused to release the 1999 data.



Female store clerk uses gun to stop robbery

Lexington, KY, June 11, 2006

A Lexington store clerk shot and killed a man who attempted to rob a downtown market this morning, Lexington police said.

Charles F. Harmon, 26, of Lexington entered SubCity Market, at the corner of East Seventh Street and Shropshire Avenue, just before 9:30 a.m. and demanded money from the clerk behind the counter, Lexington police Lt. James Curless said. The clerk pulled out a handgun and shot Harmon, who stumbled outside the store and collapsed.

The clerk then called 911, Curless said. When firefighters arrived they performed CPR on Harmon and transported him to the University of Kentucky Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:58 a.m., according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.

Police do not plan to file charges against the female store clerk, whom police did not identify.

Should off-duty and retired police in San Diego be able to carry guns? Apparently not according to some.

This post touches on something that I have been arguing for a long time (e.g., see here for one of my past pieces). I guess that I have a really hard time understanding why even the police or retired police can't be trusted to carry guns. I would trust more than just those individuals, but it seems very difficult for gun control advocates to continue claiming with a straight face that we can trust the police.

Police officer groups to continue lawsuit

By James Steinberg

June 7, 2006

DEL MAR – Off-duty and retired law-enforcement officers are permitted to bring their weapons to the 2006 San Diego County Fair when it opens Saturday, the fair board decided yesterday.

But the decision does not apply to future fairs, and it leaves intact a lawsuit pending in federal court brought by the Deputy Sheriff's Association of San Diego and the San Diego Police Officers Association. The lawsuit seeks to permanently prevent the board from enforcing the weapons restriction. . . .

So what is the value of a fish?

From Brendan Miniter at OpinionJournal.com's Political DIary:

Credit Rep. George Radanovich, a California Republican and chairman of the subcommittee on Water and Power, with eliciting one of the report's most chin-dropping disclosures: The Bonneville Power Administration routinely is forced to release water from one its power-generating dams to benefit a handful of salmon. The number of fish saved? Twenty. The value of the electricity lost downstream? Approximately $77 million -- about $3.85 million per fish.

Political correctness and breast-feeding

I am not sure that I understand this. It is OK to make parents "feel guilty" about second hand smoke (even when the science isn't there), but it is butting into people's business and improperly making them feel guilty to say that children are better off being breast feed. I definitely don't think that the government should get involved in either case, but is it me or is it just that there is a bias against making women feel that they should stay home raising their kids?

Child-rearing experts have long pointed to the benefits of breast-feeding. But critics say the new campaign has taken things too far and will make mothers who cannot breast-feed, or choose not to, feel guilty and inadequate. . . .

urging women to breast-feed exclusively is a tall order in a country where more than 60 percent of mothers of very young children work, federal law requires large companies to provide only 12 weeks' unpaid maternity leave and lactation leave is unheard of. Only a third of large companies provide a private, secure area where women can express breast milk during the workday, and only 7 percent offer on-site or near-site child care, according to a 2005 national study of employers by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute.

One could also add how having a child and breast-feeding, especially when the woman is at a relatively young age, reduces the risks of breast cancer. (This study doesn't differentiate by the age of the mother when she starts breast-feeding and this average effect hides the big benefit of doing it at younger ages.)

The study involved 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 without the disease. According to the study, a woman's risk for breast cancer decreased by about 4.3 percent for every 12 months she breast-fed. The risk went down 7 percent more for every child born.

Is eminent domain causing a health threat?


Don Kates: "VICTORY IN SF!"

Email from Don Kates:

Last November San Francisco enacted what was billed as a handgun ban -- it banned and confiscated all handguns in the city and severely restricted even police access to handguns -- but also included a ban on sale of all long guns
This was Round 2: In 1982 San Francisco had enacted a similar handgun ban that did not apply to long guns at all. Twin cases were filed then, one by the NRA and one by me on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation, and that ban was held invalid as contrary to state law.
As to the Nov., 2005 ban(s), suit was brought by a law firm w/ which I am Of Counsel, Trutanich & Michel, on behalf of the NRA and many individual San Franciscans. Today the SF Superior Court threw out the entire Ordinance. Kudos are due to a host of lawyers who filed amicus briefs including one for the Pink Pistols a group championing the right of gays to possess arms for self-defense.

The case is not over for the City will doubtless appeal.

LA Times Letter to Editor: Re "Shooting holes in a lawsuit," Opinion, May 31

Unfortunately, this letter was substantially shortened and somewhat altered the meaning due to space limits on letters. It is also unfortunate that the LA Times did not publish any letters from other academics who had written in.

Accusations on gun law research are unfounded
June 12, 2006

Re "Shooting holes in a lawsuit," Opinion, May 31

Jon Wiener claims that "nobody" tried to replicate my research, which demonstrated that right-to-carry laws reduce crime rates.

This is false. Not only has everyone who tried managed to replicate my findings, but many academics have gone beyond that and shown that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime under a variety of approaches
(see johnrlott.tripod.com/postsbyday/RTCResearch.html).

Wiener fails to note that since my research was published, not a single peer-reviewed publication has found that right-to-carry laws increase crime, and there is research that finds even larger drops than I found.

Wiener's Google search implies that many other scholars agree with his claims of research fraud. Yet Wiener fails to note that only about a sixth of the postings are actually scholars of any type.

Wiener claims that my defamation suit wants to "silence" certain claims of fraud. I and other academics have tried to engage Stephen D. Levitt in discussions on the accuracy of his claims, but he won't respond to us.

Instead, [Levitt] falsely charges that the research with which he disagrees was published only because the University of Chicago Press overrode the journal's editor, and that I bought the press' decision.


Here is one of the other letters that I know of from two academics:

In his op-ed piece, “Gun-research 'Freak'-out” (LA Times, May 31), Jon Wiener says, “Blocking the sale of a book based on a literal interpretation of a single word would be outrageous.” But this is not the issue. In Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner say, “When other scholars have tried to replicate [Lott’s] results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don't bring down crime.” This statement is false under any reasonable interpretation. We replicated Lott’s results, as have many other scholars. If Levitt did not know this, then he was lax in his scholarship.
Levitt should know that among scholars “unable to replicate” is interpreted as “something is seriously wrong here.” Moreover, the phrase carries the suggestion of, at best, incompetence and, more likely, dishonesty.
Levitt should express his disagreement with Lott in a way that does not imply incompetence or dishonesty. It is thoroughly reasonable to require a publisher to revise a sentence for future sales if the existing sentence is false and defamatory.

Nicolaus Tideman
Blacksburg, VA

Florenz Plassmann
Ithaca, NY

See also:

Dear Mr. Goldberg:
At the end of his op-ed piece, “Gun-research 'Freak'-out” (LA Times, May 31), Jon Wiener says, “Blocking the sale of a book based on a literal interpretation of a single word would be outrageous.” But the relevant issue is not “a literal interpretation of a single word.” In Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner say, “When other scholars have tried to replicate his results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don't bring down crime.” This statement is false under any reasonable interpretation of the words.
In our understanding, and in the understanding of colleagues we consulted, what is generally meant in economics by replicating someone’s work is gathering the same data and analyzing them in the way that the original researcher had analyzed them. We took an interest in the issue of guns and crime when Lott’s work was first published. We gathered the data that he had used, analyzed it in the way that he described and got essentially the same results. Thus we replicated Lott’s work.
In some circumstances, what is meant by replicating someone’s work is to gather similar data and analyze it in the same way. But that interpretation would not be relevant here, because (as often happen in economics) the data that Lott used were all of the data that were available.
Should “replicate” be stretched to mean “undertake similar analyses and reach similar results”? Well, we analyzed the guns and crime data in additional ways that we regarded as interesting and reached results that were broadly in agreement with those that Lott had reached.
Is there any reason why our work (“Does the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns deter Countable Crimes? Only a Count Analysis Can Say,” Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001, Volume 44, Number 2, Part 2, pp.771-798), should not count as a replication of Lott’s work? Wiener quotes in apparent endorsement Levitt’s assertion that, “for $15,000 [Lott] was able to buy an issue [of the Journal of Law and Economics] and put in only work that supported him.” This is not what happened. We presented our work at a conference that Lott organized. At Lott’s invitation, we submitted our work for a special issue of the Journal of Law and Economics that Lott arranged. A letter from an editor (Sam Peltzman, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago) informed us that we would need to address the concerns of a referee who had reviewed our work before a decision would be made as to whether it would be published. A later letter for Peltzman informed us that our revision in response to the referee’s comments was accepted. Thus our work was not “put in” the Journal of Law and Economics by Lott but rather accepted for publication after scholarly review.
The basic issue between Lott and Levitt is not whether the results of either scholar can be replicated, but rather what statistical analyses are appropriate to make inferences about the effect on crime of allowing more citizens to carry guns. It is not unreasonable to require Levitt to find a way to express his analytical disagreement with Lott without implying that others who analyze the data in the way that Lott did do not get the same results. While lawyers are better suited to opine on what legal measures are appropriate to achieve this end, it seems to us not unreasonable, prima facie, to require a publisher to revise a sentence for future sales if the existing sentence is false and defamatory.


Florenz Plassmann
Associate Professor of Economics, Binghamton University
Nicolaus Tideman
Professor of Economics, Virginia Tech


Edwards edges out Clinton in Iowa Poll

The fact that Democratic heavy weights such as Tom Daschle and Al Gore are toying with entering the Democratic primaries indicates to me that there is a lot of doubt about Hillary being a strong candidate.

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina leads a list of potential Democratic presidential candidates while Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack holds fourth place, trailing Edwards by 20 points in an early test of support among likely Iowa caucus participants.

A new Iowa Poll conducted for The Des Moines Register shows that Edwards, the runner-up in the Iowa Democratic caucuses two years ago and a frequent visitor to the state since then, is the choice of 30 percent of Iowans who say they are likely to take part in the January 2008 caucuses.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York follows on Edwards' heels with 26 percent in the Iowa Poll.

Experts say it's the first poll showing anyone besides Clinton as the preferred Democrat in the race for the White House.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who used his victory in the 2004 caucuses as a springboard to the Democratic presidential nomination that year, is a distant third in the Iowa Poll with 12 percent.

Vilsack, despite getting good marks in previous polls for the job he's done in two terms as governor, receives relatively tepid support from his home state in the Register's new presidential poll, taken May 29 to June 1. Ten percent of likely caucus participants say that if the caucuses were held today, they would vote for him. . . . .

Here is a heading about Daschle: "Daschle says he is energized by campaign trip"

Gun Crime in Scotland

Guns replacing knives at the sharp end of city gang culture (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Note the connection to illegal drugs. Thanks to John Williamson for sending the link.

Only 26 percent of Canadians support their current medical care system

Wal-Mart Quickly Going Nutsy Politically Correct

Recently I noted how Wal-Mart had stopped selling guns at 1,000 stores. Now it is giving away free gun locks, moving away from free trade (at least on items that are not politically correct), and supporting minimum wage laws. With the Sam Walton family dying off, the new people who have taken control don't have the same values. On the so-called "fair trade coffee" issue, my rule is simply to buy the cheapest coffee, just as it doesn't make much sense to have customers of steel in the US pay higher prices just to protect jobs in some industries at the expense of jobs in others (e.g., cars and other companies that make things out of steel). If it turns out that Brazilian cooperatives produce the cheapest coffee, fine. But if that is the case, I don't understand why anything special needs to be made of the term "fair trade."

Gun locks available for free at Wal-Mart

For Wal-Mart, Fair Trade May Be More Than a Hill of Beans

Wal-Mart calls for minimum wage hike


The Unintended Consequences of a Government Fix

Thousands of pounds of armor added to military Humvees, intended to protect U.S. troops, have made the vehicles more likely to roll over, killing and injuring soldiers in Iraq, a newspaper reported.

"I believe the up-armoring has caused more deaths than it has saved," said Scott Badenoch, a former Delphi Corp. vehicle dynamics expert told the Dayton Daily News for Sunday editions.

Since the start of the war, Congress and the Army have spent tens of millions of dollars on armor for the Humvee fleet in Iraq, the newspaper reported Sunday.

That armor - much of it installed on the M1114 Humvee built at the Armor Holdings Inc. plant north of Cincinnati - has shielded soldiers from harm.

But serious accidents involving the M1114 have increased as the war has progressed, and the accidents were much more likely to be rollovers than those of other Humvee models, the newspaper reported. . . . .

Reviewing Self-defense cases in Florida after stand your ground law put into effect

Michael Brady didn't think about his rights when he shot and killed a stranger in his front yard. He says he was just scared.

Brady is one of at least 13 people in Central Florida who pulled the trigger this year under a new law that loosens restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense.

They killed six men and wounded four more. All but one of the people shot were unarmed. So far, three of the shooters have been charged. Five have been cleared; the other cases are under review.

It is too early to tell whether the law makes Floridians safer or puts them at greater risk. There are no statistics on the number of self-defense claims statewide before or after the law took effect Oct. 1.

But an Orlando Sentinel review of five months of court records in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties shows widespread differences in the way claims are investigated and prosecuted. . . .

Whether the new law has added too much gray area for investigators is unclear. But there is a wide range in how investigations of self-defense claims have been conducted. Some have involved more than 20 hours of detectives' time, while other cases were never reviewed by detectives.

In one case, for instance, an off-duty Maitland police officer was arrested after shooting and wounding his host and another guest at a Jan. 15 party near Casselberry.

Despite claiming he feared for his life, Daniel Metevier was jailed by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office on two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

The charges were dropped two months later, after Metevier, 30, underwent a lengthy tape-recorded interview with prosecutors. . . . .

As Robert points out in the comment section beating me to the punch, none of these cases obviously took place because of the new rules. No comparison is made to previous years. No evidence is provided that any of these individuals even claimed that they behaved differently because of the law. Despite the anti-gun nature of the piece, no cases are actually pointed to saying that the new law has resulted in any different out come, legally or otherwise.