Bin Laden dead? Doubtful, but if true, didn't Bin Laden even have access to antibiotics? How bad were the sanitary conditions he was living in?

The French newspaper l'Est Republicain printed what it described as a confidential document from the French foreign intelligence service DGSE citing an uncorroborated report from Saudi secret services that bin Laden died of typhoid last month. . . . .

While there is some doubt that this story is correct, if it is, Bin Laden would have been unlikely to have died if he wasn't on the constant run from allied troops. Didn't the guy even have access to antibiotics? Couldn't he even get antibiotics within a couple weeks? Talk about him being isolated. If all this does turn out to be true, it should be marked up as a kill by our side.

Classic typhoid fever is a serious disease. It can be life-threatening, but antibiotics are an effective treatment. The disease lasts several weeks and convalescence takes some time.

The disease is transmitted from human to human via food or drinking water, and it is therefore mainly hygiene and sanitary conditions that determine its spread. It is primarily for this reason that it is no longer so commonly seen in Europe. . . . .

Vote Fraud in Texas

Two interesting posts from Canada

Montreal Shootings . . . But I watch the press and I remain stunned at one key point. Had every individual at l'Ecole Polytechnique, or Concordia, or Dawson College, been packing a gun, and trained in using it in short order, the number of casualties would almost surely have been much smaller overall than it was. This is a point made perfectly sensibly in a Toronto Star Column.
I am not pretending that this would not create other problems, but the casualty rate in ALL those cases would likely have been reduced were more people carrying guns. The offenders could have been defended against and eliminated much faster than by waiting for the arrival of the police. Wild west? Yup! In these specific cases likely effective. Problematic - yes. Let us have an honest discussion and not pretend these explosions are a case for gun control - in many ways they are the opposite.

Of course, I would point to the evidence on how permit holders actually behave in the US to assure him that the dangers aren't what he fears that they might be. For information on this please go to this, this, and this posts.

2) For an interesting picture of a shopping bag, please see this blog.

21st Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference

For those in the Charotte area this weekend, this should be an interesting event to attend.

September 22-24, 2006
Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel — Charlotte, N.C.
2800 Coliseum Centre Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina 28217 USA
Phone: 1-704-357-1414


Yet another city modelling itself after Kennesaw, Ga

Greenleaf, Idaho -- All Americans have the right to bear arms. Some towns have even gone as far as to require each household to have a gun. Now a small Idaho town is contemplating a similar idea-- it's called the Civil Emergencies Ordinance. And although gun ownership is just one piece of this ordinance, it's the part that's getting the most attention.

"We've blessed to be a fairly rural area of the state, so we don't have a lot of crime and I think we'd like to keep it that way," said Lee Belt, Greenleaf city clerk.

Drive about 10 minutes west of Caldwell and you'll run into Greenleaf, Idaho, population 860. If city council member Steve Jett has his way, each head of household that can legally own a gun, will. Along with that they're encouraged to have ammunition and appropriate training.

"I think the city council is hoping it will happen and that it will be a deterrent to crime as the city and region increases in population," said Belt.

The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar plan that went into place in 1982 in Kennesaw, Ga. In that instance there was a dramatic decrease in criminal activity. Although crime isn't a huge problem for residents of Greenleaf, the growth in neighboring counties leads them to believe they too are in for some changes.

Thanks to Ivan Shapiro for sending me this link.

The Ottawa Citizen column: "Gun bans benefit the violent criminal"

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2006.09.22
PNAME: Editorial
COLUMN: John Robson
BYLINE: John Robson
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen

Gun bans benefit the violent criminal

Last week I thought it too soon to draw lessons from the shootings at Dawson College, the shock and grief too fresh. Now I want to try to draw them using old-fashioned "if/then" reasoning. I feel lonely on both counts.

So sit down and listen to a story from the Sept. 25 Maclean's: "Deron Johnson is in hospital in New York City after allegedly trying to snatch a gold chain from a wheelchair-bound woman. Margaret Johnson, 56, was on her way to a shooting range at the time, and when her chain was removed, Margaret pulled out a .357 pistol. Deron is now being treated for a gunshot injury and faces a charge of robbery. 'There's not much to it,' Margaret says plainly, 'Somebody tried to mug me and I shot him.' " You go, girl.

If you successfully ban guns, then life gets a bit scarier for all those not well-placed to engage in fisticuffs with the young and the ruthless. It's not a conclusive argument for concealed-carry laws. But it will not do to claim that gun bans enhance public safety, then shudder at the vulgarity of counter-arguments that if every fourth biddy packed heat then muggers would be more cautious.

A gun ban may have beneficial effects that outweigh such drawbacks. But to discuss the subject rather than emoting or posturing about it, we must weigh them. Especially since Johnson versus Johnson is not an isolated case. In Britain the Blair government's near-total ban on guns was followed by a dramatic rise in crime, including gun crime. It may be possible to argue that the two were unrelated, or related by factors not present in Canada. But if you refuse to discuss awkward issues then you're not actually arguing.

Some believers in gun control do argue that if the Dawson shooter had three legally registered weapons, including a pistol, then we need a complete ban because registration isn't enough. They should have to address the historical point that when the long-gun registry was brought in we were promised that it was not a prelude to confiscation. Perhaps that assurance was ill-advised, as policy or public relations. But if "It hoodwinked the rubes" is thought advantageous in a policy, then the country will suffer.

An even bigger problem for gun-ban advocates is the gap between legislating a ban and enforcing it. And here we must grapple with the role of incentives. Strict controls make it harder for everyone to obtain guns. But they also increase the advantages to criminals and psychos of evading controls. It's not much fun trying to shoot up a restaurant full of armed diners (or a school with armed teachers, a point not lost on Israelis). But if you know they're helpless ... well, ask Britain's increasingly brazen burglars
. . . .

Defensive Gun Uses over the last few days

Fox News: "Texas school kids forced to participate in Mexican pledge of Allegiance.

If true, this is disappointing: "Texas school kids forced to participate in Mexican pledge of Allegiance." One hope that the school is forthcoming with a video tape if it exists.


Voter ID Law passes House of Representatives

Voting almost completely along party lines, the House voted 228 to 196 for a bill that would require all who register to vote in federal elections to show photo identification that proves they are U.S. citizens. . . .

The rhetoric in the House yesterday was particularly heated, with a stream of African American and Latino Democrats taking to the floor to denounce a voter ID bill that they called a "modern-day poll tax" designed to disenfranchise minority, elderly and disabled voters who lean Democratic.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the bill "a tawdry attempt by Republicans to suppress the votes of millions of Americans."

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), a soft-spoken moderate who helped craft the legislation, angrily called the charges nonsense, saying the bill authorizes funds to help state and local governments cover the costs of helping the poor obtain identification cards.

Under the bill, all states would be required to check photo identification by the November 2008 elections. By the 2010 elections, states could accept only identification that shows proof of citizenship, a passport or a new federal "Real ID" card authorized by Congress but not yet implemented. . . . .

This claim of a poll tax is really amazing. If the costs of getting the ID are covered, how can it be a poll tax?


"[National Academies of Science] denies gender differences in math ability"

Canadia's Prime Minister Stephen Harper Vowing to Scrap Gun Registration

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper is accusing the previous Liberal government of not having done enough to prevent tragedies like the Dawson College shooting in Montreal.

"Today's laws did not protect us and we take no pleasure on this side of the House from having warned the previous government repeatedly over the past decade that the gun registry would not prevent this kind of occurrence," Harper said yesterday in the Commons.

The Prime Minister was speaking as Parliament revved up for the fall session against a backdrop of tragic, violent events — notably, more military deaths in Afghanistan and the Dawson College shootings last week that left one young woman and the gunman dead, and 19 injured.

The tragedies are now spilling over into federal politics and the charged, precarious atmosphere of the Commons, where the Prime Minister hopes to steer through some controversial moves on same-sex marriage, the environment and gun control.
Harper is saying that Liberal efforts at gun control have failed, so his government will proceed with its plans to wind down the firearms registry.

But the Prime Minister is also going one step further and charging the Liberals with failing to prevent the kind of tragedy that unfolded in Dawson College's corridors last Wednesday, when Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire on students before killing himself amid a hail of police fire.

"I take no pleasure from the fact that, I hate to say, `I told you so,' but we all knew that the registry would not prevent the kind of crime we saw at Dawson College," Harper said in an interview with CTV.

Harper, without elaborating, said his government was looking at ways to strengthen the law so that guns would be kept out of the hands of people like Gill, who appeared to be a seriously troubled young man, fixated on violence and death. . . . .

Elderly Jewish man in Russia uses weapon to defend himself, charged with crime

I found that these weapons are commonly used for defense interesting: "Mr. Vaysman then shot his assailant with a gas-powered pistol (a non-lethal weapon commonly used in Russia for self-defense)."

A 70-year old Jew is being charged with “hooliganism” after shooting an attacker in self-defense, according to a September 7, 2006 report in the national daily Moskovsky Komsomolets. Anatoly Vaysman, a journalist at the “Behind the Wheel” magazine, reportedly got out of his car near a Moscow store in January 2005 when he heard someone shouting at him “Stop, you kike!” He turned to see a middle aged man charging at him. The man allegedly gave him a hard shove to the chest and then reached into his pocket, possibly for a weapon. Mr. Vaysman then shot his assailant with a gas-powered pistol (a non-lethal weapon commonly used in Russia for self-defense). The alleged assailant was lightly wounded in the neck and filed a complaint against Mr. Vaysman with the local police.

Moscow prosecutors are aggressively pursuing the case, according to Mr. Vaysman's lawyer, who told Moskovsky Komsomolets that his client had been placed on a watch list three times, even though he had no intention of leaving the city before his trial. . . . .

Luby's restaurant shooting's impact 15 years later

Fifteen years ago next month, an armed man drove his truck through a Luby's restaurant in Killeen and opened fire upon the crowd, killing 23 patrons and wounding 20 others before turning the weapon on himself.

As a direct result of the Oct. 16, 1991, Luby's incident, in 1995, Texas lawmakers, led by Suzanna Gratia Hupp (whose parents were both killed in the massacre), passed a law that allowed Texans to obtain a concealed-carry handgun permit.

Concerns were raised that the new concealed handgun law would create more problems than it would solve, turning residents into armed vigilantes who would turn to weapons to resolve minor disputes.

For one Texan, that concern was not only unsubstantiated, but one that, to him, has been proven false time and time again.

"If everyone in this state qualified to hold a concealed handgun license," said Texas Department of Public Safety certified instructor Lloyd Leppo Jr., "no one would ever need a weapon in the first place."

To obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun, one must be at least 21 years of age, submit a photo and fingerprints for a background investigation and pay a fee, pass both a written test covering laws pertaining to deadly force and gun safety and a shooting accuracy test. . . . .

More reaction to the Pope's comments on Islam

Anne Applebaum hits it on the head as usual:

Already, angry Palestinian militants have assaulted seven West Bank and Gaza churches, destroying two of them. In Somalia, gunmen shot dead an elderly Italian nun. Radical clerics from Qatar to Qom have called, variously, for a "day of anger" or for worshipers to "hunt down" the pope and his followers. From Turkey to Malaysia, Muslim politicians have condemned the pope and called his apology "insufficient." And all of this because Benedict XVI, speaking at the University of Regensburg, quoted a Byzantine emperor who, more than 600 years ago, called Islam a faith "spread by the sword." We've been here before, of course. Similar protests were sparked last winter by cartoon portrayals of Muhammad in the Danish press. Similar apologies resulted, though Benedict's is more surprising than those of the Danish government. No one, apparently, can remember any pope, not even the media-friendly John Paul II, apologizing for anything in such specific terms: not for the Inquisition, not for the persecution of Galileo and certainly not for a single comment made to an academic audience in an unimportant German city. . . . .

University of Utah backs down on its gun ban

The University of Utah on Monday agreed to allow guns on campus, 10 days after the Utah Supreme Court ruled the school has no right to ignore a state law that allows the carrying of concealed weapons by permit holders.
    The showdown, though, is not over: The U. still believes it should be able to ban weapons and will pursue the question in federal court.
    A joint motion filed Monday by the U. and the Utah Attorney General's Office reopened the case in U.S. District Court, where the dispute first landed.
    The two sides are asking Judge Dale Kimball to delay any action in the case until March 31, in the hope they can reach an out-of-court settlement.
    "We're very pleased that the university has agreed to this course of action," Raymond Hintze, chief deputy at the A.G.'s Office, said. "We think it's the correct thing to do. We think the university and the Legislature need to get together to see if they can resolve the sensitive issue of the way the laws apply to campus." . . . .


A funny joke from Don Kates

From Don Kates:

One day, after 25 years of marriage, I took a good look at my wife one day and said, "Honey, 25 years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10 inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 25 year old blonde.
Now, we have a nice house, nice car, big bed and Plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 50 year old woman. It seems to me that you are not holding up your side of things."
My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 25 year old blonde, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed. Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve your mid-life crisis....

Swedish vote for letting citizens shoot wolves

Not only did the non-socialist parties win yesterday, but I have been told that there was an advisory initiative on the ballot regarding shooting wolves. There is apparently a real problem with wolves killing farm animals and attacking pets. By margins of between two-thirds and over 80 percent the different parts of the country that voted on the initiative, voters wanted to allow people to shoot the wolves when they posed a threat to these other animals.

Labels: ,

More on whether violent crime is increasing

The FBI UCR numbers were just released. I am sure that the normal academics who the media goes to on this will claim that violent crime is going up, but I hope that people will realize that there is no real change in the rates. There is a one year increase in murder and robbery rates but both are still below what they were in 2003.

. . . . . .violent crime rate . .murder rate . . robbery rate
1998 . . 567.6 . . . . . . . . . . 6.3 . . . . . . . . .165.5
1999 . . 523.0 . . . . . . . . . . 5.7 . . . . . . . . .150.1
2000 . . 506.5 . . . . . . . . . . 5.5 . . . . . . . . .145.0
2001 . . 504.5 . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 . . . . . . . . .148.5
2002 . . 494.4 . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 . . . . . . . . .146.1
2003 . . 475.8 . . . . . . . . . . 5.7 . . . . . . . . .142.5
2004 . . 463.2 . . . . . . . . . . 5.5 . . . . . . . . .136.7
2005 . . 469.2 . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 . . . . . . . . .140.7

I decided to look at the breakdown in the increase in states with and without state assault weapons bans. The states with AWB saw a 2.9 percent increase in murder rates and a 3.5 percent increase in robberies. The states without AWB saw a smaller increase of just 2.2 percent for murder rates and 2.7 percent for robbery. Thus going back to the sunsetting of the federal ban in September 2004, changes in murder and robbery rates have been worse in the states with the ban than those without the ban. The states with the ban are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Note that the previous numbers that I posted were from the NCVS.

Michael Steele putting up a tough campaign in Maryland

Encouraging people to get concealed handgun permits in Houston

HOUSTON — When the "Katricians" rise up in violence, Houstonians had better be packing some serious heat.

That's the inflammatory message of a new gun-shop commercial on the radio that gives Hurricane Katrina evacuees a vaguely alien-sounding name, and advises Texans to take up arms to defend themselves against crimes committed by the newcomers.

"When the 'Katricians' themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is gonna go up if they don't get more free rent, then it's time to get your concealed-handgun license," warns the radio ad by Jim Pruett, who co-hosts a bombastic talk-radio show and owns Jim Pruett's Guns & Ammo, a self-styled "anti-terrorist headquarters" that sells knives, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles and other weapons. As Pruett describes the dangers posed by "Katricians," glass can be heard shattering, and a bell tolling ominously.

The radio spot highlights what many gun-store owners say is a hot trend in Houston: trade in weapons amid a surge in the homicide rate that police attribute to the more than 100,000 hurricane evacuees still in the city. Though the gun sale reports are largely anecdotal, Texas officials said applications for concealed-weapons permits were up statewide: 60,328 from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1 this year, compared with 46,298 for the same period last year.. . .

Zogby on the battle for control of congress


Democrats campaign themes wandering all over the place

From the Washington Post:

Democrats have had more "New Directions" recently than MapQuest.

Among the party's campaign slogans this year: "Culture of Corruption," "Culture of Cronyism," "Do-Nothing Congress," "Rubber-Stamp Congress," "Together, We Can Do Better," "Together, America Can Do Better" and, most recently, "Six for '06."

For those keeping score at home, Democrats arrived at "New Direction" yesterday by downgrading one of the "Six for '06" issues (health care) and upgrading three others (honesty, civility and fiscal discipline), for a total of eight items on the contents page.

By contrast, Republicans have settled on a single, unofficial slogan, which essentially says: Vote Democrat and Die. And in politics, scary and scurrilous usually trumps elaborate and earnest -- something Pelosi has experienced firsthand in recent days. . . .

43 million people have died from Malaria since DDT was banned

The mosquito-borne disease infects as many as 500 million people a year and kills about a million. . . .

DDT, once hailed as a "miracle" pesticide, was first used widely during World War II to help control everything from typhus to the body lice on U.S. soldiers. Within a few years, the U.S. was free of malaria. In 1955, the WHO endorsed DDT use for a global campaign that within 12 years freed developed countries, along with parts of Asia and Latin America, from risk of infection.

But reports in the 1960s, launched by environmentalist Rachel Carson in the book "Silent Spring," that DDT was killing off bald eagles, in part by thinning their eggshells, and seeping into the food chain, raised concerns about the powerful chemical's heavy use. Environmental protest led the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of DDT in the U.S. in 1972. It currently is made by one company in India and two in China. . . .

Adding up the cost of this environmentalist mistake we find that: "At least 43 million people -- mostly black kids -- have needlessly died since DDT was banned . . . ."

Environmentalist groups still oppose any use of DDT.
"We must take a position based on the science and the data," Dr. Kochi said. "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual spraying."

While DDT is very effective, its use for malaria control alarms some environmental groups, which insist the pesticide poses dangers to humans and the environment. The Pesticide Action Network, a San Francisco group, disagreed with the WHO's stance that DDT is safe, insisting that the pesticide increases the probability of cancer and developmental delays in children.

In a speech Friday announcing the new plan, Dr. Kochi urged environmental groups who have expressed concern to "help save African babies as you are helping to save the environment."

Communist China under Mao is probably the only country responsible for killing more people than the environmental movement to ban DDT.