Fred Thompson in Second Place Among Republicans

Given that Thompson has yet to announce that he is officially running for president, this is pretty amazing news.

Public support for Rudy Giuliani fell slightly among Republican Party supporters in the United States, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 23 per cent of respondents would vote for the former New York City mayor in a 2008 presidential primary, down two points in a week.

Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is second with 17 per cent, followed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 15 per cent, and Arizona senator John McCain with 14 per cent. . . . .

Matthew Mosk in the Washington Post says that Thompson poses the most danger to McCain. Possibly, but my guess is that Thompson's entry is pulling down the poll numbers for everyone. If Thompson is now really in second by only six percent, all the publicity surrounding his official entrance will put him into first place.

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Guest workers v. Illegals on worker wages

Dorgan said that "the main reason that big corporations want a guest worker program is that it will drive down U.S. wages." . . . .

Here is the puzzle. Democrats say that they are against a guest worker program because it will lower the wages of American workers. OK, fine, that is indeed the effect of letting in more workers. The puzzle is that the Democrats don't have any problem passing other laws that encourage more illegal immigration which would also reduce the wages of those same workers. To put it differently, making it harder for illegals to stay would also increase wages. It is interesting that the arguments regarding wages are only raised for guest workers and not the rest of the issues in the debate.


Funny letter in the LA Times

I recently came across this amusing letter that was published in the LA Times. While it was published a few years ago, I still think that the letter is worth pointing to.

Los Angeles Times

July 16, 2004 Friday
Home Edition

SECTION: CALIFORNIA; Metro; Editorial Pages Desk; Part B; Pg. 10

LENGTH: 199 words

HEADLINE: Ban on Assault Guns Misses the Target


If you must resort to such hyperbole as dubbing common, semiautomatic firearms "weapons of mass destruction," then the least you could do is run that editorial on a different day from the one that claims Saddam Hussein didn't haveany.

Jeff Bishop

Rancho Santa Margarita

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How to get your jail sentence reduced by almost 90 percent: Cry

This is almost too funny. Paris Hilton was supposed to serve something like 23 days in jail (the sentence was 45 days, but with good behavior she was expected to get out in 23 days). Hilton still must serve home detention and it will be for the full 45 days.

On the heels of reports that Hilton had been crying in jail and receiving visits from her psychiatrist, reporters at the press conference seemed to think that the heiress had manipulated her jailers.

Whitmore didn't fully deny this accusation. When one reporter asked him, “What’s your comment to people who say she played you like a puppet on a string — she came in here, didn’t like it, it was hard and she got out?” he replied, “Once again, I just think that’s a different way of saying it, only the language is a little more — liquid. I would simply say that I understand that."

The sheriff's spokesman would not elaborate on Hilton's medical issues, nor would he say if they were physical or psychological. He added that the decision to send Hilton home was based on dozens of consultations and discussions over a period of three or four days.

I could write a defense of this for Ms. Hilton given that a day in jail for her must represent much more of a penalty in terms of forgone income than a day for most others, but I will not press the point in this case.

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More Reviews of Freedomnomics

1) But as economist John Lott argues in his new book, Freedomnomics (Regnery, a Human Events sister company), today’s soaring prices are actually a good thing. They mean our free market is working to deliver a product many people want at a price they’re willing to pay. “Temporarily high prices result in increased gas supplies, ultimately leading to a faster reduction in gas prices,” he writes.

The alternative to the free market, Lott notes, would be for the federal government to impose price controls on gasoline. Washington has done this in the past, specifically during the oil crises in the 1970s.

Instead of making things better for consumers, though, these price controls led to gas shortages in 1973 and again in 1978. “Americans waited in lines for hours to fill up their tanks due to chronic shortages” in the 1970s, Lott writes, shortages that “instantly disappeared as soon as the price controls were removed.” When it comes to setting gas prices, Lott writes, “the free market is working, and it’s ultimately working far more efficiently than any government-mandated controls would.” . . . .

2) Riding to the rescue is John Lott, another economist from academia, including the University of Chicago current home of Steven Levitt. Lott takes the position in his book “FREEDOMnomics, that not only is FREAKonomics a pile of rubbish, it is a veiled attack on the free market and business in general. Lott points out that the assertion that the Klan is like a group of Real Estate agents who use “fear” to take advantage of others is beyond the rhetorical boundaries of taste if not accuracy. In fact Lott dissects the example used by Levitt and Dubner and demonstrates that while it might have been an actual example, their analysis of the motivation and result is a simplistic view of the data and a more detailed analysis would show their conclusions to be incorrect. . . . .

3) A critical review post on a web site called Shalom Bayit claims that among other things that free markets don't increase income: see here.

4) Michael Medved was nice enough to put the book first on his web page here

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More bad advice on gun safety

A Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center survey claims that 70 percent of gun owners do not store their firearms "safely." A doctor associated with the study claims: "This concerns us a great deal because having guns in the home increases the likelihood that they will be used in a suicide or unintentional injury.” Of course, there is no discussion about who accidentally fires these guns (hint not law-abiding citizens and not children in those homes) and no mention of the fact that locked guns lead to even more deaths because people are unable to use guns to defend themselves. I don't even see a discussion of how rare accidental gun deaths are or that with suicide there are so many other methods available.

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National Radio Shows on Freedomnomics

I have 22 radio interviews scheduled for this week. Of some of the national shows I have:

11:30 AM-12:00 PM Radio G. Gordon Liddy Show
2:10 PM-2:40 PM Jerry Doyle Show (rescheduled for next week)
11:00 PM-11:30 PM Radio Alan Colmes Show
8:10 AM-8:30 AM Radio Mancow's Morning Madhouse
5:00 PM-6:00 PM Michael Meved Show
10:33 AM-10:50 AM Radio Accent Radio Network
11:15 AM-11:25 AM Radio Laura Ingraham (rescheduled for next week)

Note: All times are EDT.


Discussions of Freedomnomics

David Hardy has a nice discussion of my new book here.

Spontaneous Order includes the book on its suggested summer reading list here.

Betsy Newmark also mentions the book here.


Sample audio of Freedomnomics

Sample audio of Freedomnomics is available here. This is particularly nice because it starts with the dedication to Milton Friedman. It is also my first book that rated an audio version of it.


The tiny rate that people are wrongfully convicted

There is an interesting discussion of compensation to criminals who have been wrongfully incarcerated here. There are multiple interesting points in this discussion, but one of the more interesting is that there have apparently been only 200 cases exonerated through DNA evidence. Given that there are about 2.19 million people in prison just today and that we are talking about cases over many years, this seems to me like an amazingly small number. Off the top of my head I don't how many of these people were in prison for murder or other serious crimes such as rape or robbery, but suppose that in any given year that it is conservatively 400,000. A rate of 20 per year or even 40 per year or even a total of 200 being exonerated seems remarkably tiny. Even the worst possible and obviously wrong number would imply that only .05 percent were wrongfully convicted. The normal saying is that it is better to let 10 guilty men go than wrongfully convict one. Well, in this case the DNA evidence alone shows you would rather let 2000 guilty go rather than wrongfully convict one. I have lots of problems with overly aggressive prosecutors and would have thought that alone would imply that many more cases would be overturned via DNA evidence, but this evidence on exonerations through DNA evidence, despite the publicity that it receives, is pretty meager.



At least this will keep the police busy

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More on Parker Case

David Hardy gives his legal insights on the DC Parker gun control case here.

David makes many good legal points in the interview, though I do disagree with him on the costs of losing the case at the Supreme Court. I do think that it would have a devastating effect on those who support the right to protection to have the Supreme Court say that the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual right. Right now the vast majority of people believe that there is an individual right to gun ownership and I think that would change with such a ruling. My guess is that there is a somewhat better than a 50 percent chance that won't happen, but if it did, it would be a big cost.

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Robbery Victim Protects Himself With Permitted Concealed Handgun

In yet another case a legally licensed citizen in Ohio has successfully used their concealed handgun to stop an attack.

Akron man with concealed gun shoots at robbers
Posted by Donna J. Miller June 01, 2007

A man legally carrying a concealed handgun shot at an armed robber in Akron.

Four teenagers approached 24-year-old Raphael L. Owens at about 11:30 Wednesday night near the corner of Elmore Avenue and South Portage Path. One pointed a chrome-plated gun at Owens and demanded his cell phone. Owens gave up the phone.

The robber then asked, "what else do you have?"

Owens tried to run, but the robber grabbed his arm. Owens broke free, pulled out his own gun and fired one shot, missing the teens, who took off running.

They ran south on Elmore while Owens ran toward a pay phone. When he got to Grand Avenue at West Exchange Street, he saw the suspects up the street, at Grand and South Portage Path. Again, one teen leveled a gun at him. Again, Owens fired a shot and missed.

The suspects fled as Owens called police from the pay phone at West Exchange and Dodge Avenue. ...

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