Crazy school rules: Terrorism v. a completely innocent statement

Can't the school differentiate these different types of statements?

KATY, Texas — Writing "I love Alex" on a school gymnasium wall brought a 12-year-old the same punishment as if she had made terrorist threats.

The Katy Independent School District rated the message, written with a baby blue marker by sixth-grader Shelby Sendelbach, as a Level 4 infraction — the same as for threats, drug possession and assault.

Only murder, gun possession, sexual assault and arson are considered more severe by the suburban Houston district.

For her punishment, Shelby was assigned to an alternative school from Aug. 27 through Dec. 21.

School district spokesman Steve Stanford said the district was just following a state law, saying it requires assignment to an alternative school for graffiti.

Her parents have appealed and a hearing is set for this month. Lisa and Stu Sendelbach said they don't condone what Shelby did but think the punishment is overly harsh.

"We are shocked that the school district rules as they are written make no distinction between what Shelby is accused of and what a gang member does with a can of black spray paint," Stu Sendelbach said. . . . .


Possibly this explains why Hillary was recently Attacking Fred Thompson

It is amazing to see that Hillary's negatives are at 48 percent. Will her campaigning cause them to rise back up above 50 percent? My guess is that this means that 2008 will be one of the all time nastiest presidential campaigns. If she can't get above a certain level, the best thing to do will be to tear down the other guy.

Front-running Democrat Hillary Clinton can do no better than tie unannounced Republican candidate Fred Thompson in the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Asked whom they would vote for in a head to head match-up, 45 percent said Sen. Clinton and 45 percent chose former Sen. Thompson, with 5 percent saying they would vote for another candidate and the remainder unsure.

Clinton also outpolls Mitt Romney in a head to head race, 46 percent to 42 percent. But Clinton has lost a net five points against both Thompson and Romney since a survey conducted in early June.

In the latest Rasmussen survey, 49 percent of voters said they have a favorable opinion of Hillary, and 48 percent have an unfavorable opinion – including 30 percent who have a "very unfavorable” opinion of the former first lady.

That’s more than 10 points higher than any other current candidate.

"Because Clinton generates such strong feelings, all general election match-ups involving her are competitive,” a release from Rasmussen stated.

Curiously, that’s true even if the Republican candidate is unknown. Clinton’s support stays between 45 percent and 50 percent when matched against any of seven potential Republican candidates.

And Clinton’s GOP opponent earns between 41 percent and 46 percent of the vote regardless of who the Republican is.

Rasmussen adds: "If Clinton is the nominee, third party candidates could make the difference. It is hard to see Clinton winning a majority of the vote, but it is also hard to see her falling much below the mid-40s in terms of popular support. . . . .

UPDATE: Yet another apparent attack by Hillary on Thompson is discussed here:

The AP, taking their cue from the new because-she-said-so story offered by the L.A.Times, has run with a short clip on a story that claims Fred Thompson was working as a lobbyist for an abortion agency in 1991, giving the hearsay evidence against him but not offering the meat of his against the claim. The result is that the AP offers more "evidence" against Thompson than it does for him making it too easy to conclude he is "guilty" of the charge of lobbying for an abortion advocacy organization.

The AP did a wonderful job making this story seem more cut and dried than it really is, of course, but the fact is, this claim of Thompson's supposed lobbying for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association is nothing but an unproven (and maybe unprovable) claim against Thompson made by people who are well-known, far left activists and heavy contributors to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Naturally, neither the AP nor the L.A.Times wastes any time to detail the history of those making these claims against Thompson, leaving their relevant backgrounds completely out of the story. . . . .

Labels: , ,

Man with concealed handgun permit comes to wife's rescue

A follow up to the piece that I posted about the concealed handgun permit holder who stopped a robbery in Fort Worth can be found here.

The Dallas Morning News writes:

Fort Worth police praise man who shot at Albertsons robber
FW: Suspect in crime at store left at hospital; 2 others sought in case
12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, July 5, 2007

By MARISSA ALANIS / The Dallas Morning News
A Fort Worth man who only wanted to protect his wife stuck in an Albertsons store during a robbery is being hailed for his heroics by police.

The retired man may have shot one of the robbers early Wednesday at the store in the 3500 block of Sycamore School Road.

Three men armed with guns robbed the store shortly after midnight and stole wallets and purses belonging to customers, said Lt. Dean Sullivan, a Fort Worth police spokesman.

The man, whom police didn't identify because he is a witness, saw two of the men walking around nervously before they entered the store. The witness said he called 911 when one of the men pulled out a gun and fired as he walked into the store.

About 20 seconds later, the witness's wife tried to call him from her cellphone inside the store. But he never got to talk to her.

"I just heard her saying, 'There is nothing in my purse,' " he recalled. "And there was a 'pow.' The phone went dead."

The man, who has a concealed handgun license, sprang into action. He walked into the store with his .45-caliber pistol under his shirt.

"I really thought I'd find her in the store shopping and get her out the back door," he said. "That was my intention. ... I had no intention of confronting these armed bandits."

But in the store, one of the robbers pointed the gun at the man. The man then fired twice. The robber ran away, and it's unknown whether he returned fire, Lt. Sullivan said. Outside the store, the retired man fired again. . . . .

Read the entire piece.

Labels: ,


Concealed Handgun Permit Holder Stops Robbers in Texas, video included

FORT WORTH -- Police released surveillance video Friday that shows a witness shooting at two grocery store robbers.

The video shows two robbers entering Albertsons, 3525 Sycamore School Road, Tuesday night. Armed with semiautomatic weapons, they took wallets and purses from customers and employees, police said.

The witness, a 56-year-old Fort Worth man, then walks into the store with a cellphone to his ear. He walks out of camera range, then returns, firing his Beretta at the fleeing robbers.

The witness is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, police said. Blood found at the scene led officers to believe he wounded a robber.

A short time later, Ramsez Hall, 21, of Fort Worth, was dropped off at a south Fort Worth hospital with gunshot wounds to the buttocks and foot. He could face aggravated robbery charges, police said.

Thanks to Andrew B for the link.

Labels: ,

Interview about book at FrontPageMagazine

Bernard Chapin has a discussion with me about Freedomnomics here.

Labels: ,

Freedomnomics makes the 60 range on Amazon.com


Among College Students Men and Women talk about the same

Some more discussions of Freedomnomics

Some more discussions of Freedomnomics can be found here, here, and here.



Fox New Interview on whether crime is increasing

ANGLE: Are you safer on the streets today than you were a decade ago? How about a generation ago? We have heard some scary-sounding statistics about the U.S. crime rates, but what are the real numbers? National correspondent Catherine Herridge spoke with one expert who has undertaken a close study of the subject.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, thank you for being our guest. Let's lay out a foundation for people. When we look at crime statistics over the last two or three decades, are we safer today than we were in the 1960's?

JOHN LOTT, AUTHOR, FREEDOMNOMICS: Well, early 1960's, murder rates were roughly similar to what they are now. Violent crime rates are still much higher now. But during the late 1960's they we want up and they pretty much stayed high during the 70's and 80's. And it was only in the beginning of the 90's that we began to see the drop.

Since the beginning of the 90's, murder rates are about half of what they were at that time. And finally, crime rates are down nearly a third. So we have seen big drops in crimes over the last decade and a half or so.

HERRIDGE: If that is the case, why is it, when we look at big newspapers, like the "New York Times" or "USA Today" and the headlines say that violent crime is up for the second or third year in a row, and they almost suggest that it is almost some sort of a spike in violent crime in this country?

LOTT: Right, well, there has basically been a couple waves of this publicity. We had some stories the very end of last year and the beginning of this year, and they were mainly motivated by studies that were put out by something called the Police Executive Research Foundation, which is kind of police chiefs mainly for large cities in the United States. And it was kind of picking data. So they would go and pick some cities to report. They would pick some crime numbers.

So, for example, they would exclude rape rates, because rapes were falling. And they would look at the number of crimes, rather than the crime rate. . . . .

(Click through to read the rest)


Jodie Foster might have an interesting movie about a crime victim who takes on crime in NYC


Ann Coulter reviews my new book Freedomnomics

Happy Birthday America

I got to spend a little time with a couple of my kids today. Here is a picture of my youngest, Dagny, eating a hot dog.

More from the local July 4th parade where my kids live.

By the way, the pictures were taken with my new iPhone. This cell phone is amazing. It is a really amazing computer. You get real email and web browsing. The integration with the address book is fantastic. The telephone is crystal clear. It is better than some land lines that I have used recently. Everything from being able to look at maps for traveling to getting local weather at the push of a single button is great. As far as the Edge network goes, I think that it is plenty fast enough for email and getting most data. The one place where it is slow is the web browser, but getting emails is much more important to me. I had to settle for a 4 GB version because I just couldn't find the 8 GB in stock, but I am still happy with the memory for the 4 GB version.

Labels: ,

Allerca cats, firms capturing the benefits from innovation

My book Freedomnomics has a paragraph on the fact that patens may not always be enough to capture the return to innovations, but that companies have still figured out ways to capture the benefits. One case that I pointed to regarding Allerca cats, which were neutered so that those who bought the cat wouldn't be able to breed them for resale. A picture of one of the first cats can be seen here. By the way, it is a very cute cat.

UPDATE: Science Blogs has pictures of multiple cats up. They also note that Time magazine found that this was one of the best inventions of 2006.

Labels: ,


Dennis Prager's Interview of me on Freedomnomics

For those interested, Dennis Prager's interview with me can be found here. I have to say that I have been a regular listener of Dennis' since I was in graduate school at UCLA in the early 1980s.


Canadians oppose stiffer gun control laws

Steve Sailer reviews Freedomnomics for the Washington Times

Steve Sailer is nice enough to have a review of my new book in today's Washington Times. Personally, I think that the review contrates too much on controversies outside the book and is a little to vague on its critiques of my book, but it is nice that he has written the review.

Mr. Lott is an even more fecund generator of plausible explanations than is Mr. Levitt. For instance, he suggests in "Freedomnomics":

* The big mark-up on restaurant drinks stems from customers tending to lingerlonger over beverages than food, tying up valuable tables.

* The introduction of secret ballots lowered voter turnout. Why? They reducedvote-buying and thus voting. Crooked political operators could no longer be surethey got the votes they paid for.

Mr. Lott offers so many fascinating theories that the "Freedomnomics'" ideas-per-page ratio is more daunting than that of the frothy "Freakonomics," which Mr. Levitt's writing partner, journalist Stephen J. Dubner, optimized to not tax tired travelers' oxygen-deprived brains at 35,000 feet. . . .


So why are such a large percentage of British doctors trained abroad?

Question and Answer posed on Dennis Prager's radio show: The simple reason is: Socialized medicine. Medicine pays so poorly in Britain, most doctors come from abroad.


"Americans Oppose Signing Kyoto Protocol"

Given all the massive doses of incorrect information on global warming, this poll is pretty amazing. Possibly things are better than we think.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many people in the United States would disagree with their government ratifying an international treaty seeking to reduce global pollution, according to a poll by Zogby Interactive released by UPI. 47.9 per cent of respondents think the U.S. should not sign the Kyoto Protocol.

In 1998, several countries agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, a proposed amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement commits nations to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The U.S. has not ratified the treaty, which is due to expire in 2012.

The term global warming refers to an increase of the Earth’s average temperature. Some theories say that climate change might be the result of human-generated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Earlier this year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report which states that global warming has been "very likely"—or 90 per cent certain—caused by humans burning fossil fuels. . . .

Labels: ,


New Op-ed on the Connection between Minimum Wage Laws and Illegal Immigration

Government indoctrination of kids here

An example of government indoctrination can be seen here.

Labels: ,


Eagles and DDT: I hope that the Pacific Legal Foundation Fixes this

The Pacific Legal Foundation had an important role in finally getting the Bald Eagle off the endangered species list. Unfortunately, their website also perpetuates some myths:

Q. Why has the eagle recovered?
A. Perhaps one of the most important reasons is the banning of DDT in the early 1970s. DDT is believed to have contributed to reproductive failure of eagles by thinning their eggshells.

Here is something to think about the next time you hear this claim:

the Associated Press reached into its file of bald eagle folklore and reported, “DDT poisoned the birds, killing some adults and making the eggs of those that survived thin. The thin eggs dramatically reduced the chances of eaglets surviving to adulthood. DDT was banned in 1972. The next year, the Endangered Species Act passed and the bald eagles began their dramatic recovery.”

While the AP acknowledged the fact that bald eagle populations “were considered a nuisance and routinely shot by hunters, farmers and fishermen” – spurring a 1940 federal law protecting bald eagles – the AP underplayed the significance of hunting and human encroachment and erroneously blamed DDT for the eagles’ near demise.

As early as 1921, the journal Ecology reported that bald eagles were threatened with extinction – 22 years before DDT production even began. According to a report in the National Museum Bulletin, the bald eagle reportedly had vanished from New England by 1937 – 10 years before widespread use of the pesticide.

But by 1960 – 20 years after the Bald Eagle Protection Act and at the peak of DDT use – the Audubon Society reported counting 25 percent more eagles than in its pre-1941 census. U.S. Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagle productivity from 51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970, according to the 1970 Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attributed bald eagle population reductions to a “widespread loss of suitable habitat,” but noted that “illegal shooting continues to be the leading cause of direct mortality in both adult and immature bald eagles,” according to a 1978 report in the Endangered Species Tech Bulletin.

A 1984 National Wildlife Federation publication listed hunting, power line electrocution, collisions in flight and poisoning from eating ducks containing lead shot as the leading causes of eagle deaths. . . .


More rationing of health care in socialized medicine

Hillary seems most worried about facing Fred Thompson

Is this the first Hillary Clinton attack on a Republican presidential candidate? If so, is it to help her with Democrats? Hurt Thompson (her distortion of what he was saying doesn't seem to go very far)? Or actually help Thompson by making him standout relative to other Republicans? Given that I think that Thompson is the strongest Republican candidate, I guess that I vote for hurting Thompson.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Taking a swipe at a potential GOP presidential rival, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday criticized Fred Thompson for suggesting Cuban immigrants pose a terrorist threat.

"I was appalled when one of the people running for or about to run for the Republican nomination talked about Cuban refugees as potential terrorists," Clinton told Hispanic elected officials. "Apparently he doesn't have a lot of experience in Florida or anywhere else, and doesn't know a lot of Cuban-Americans." . . . .

Responding to a query Saturday, one Thompson press aide, Burson Snyder, referenced that post Thursday in which Thompson said, "Our national security is too important an issue to let folks twist words around for a one-day headline. Cuban-Americans are among the staunchest opponents of illegal immigration, and especially so when its sponsored by the Castro regime." . . . .

Labels: , ,

Defending Oneself in England can lead to fines or prison

This ought to really dissuade criminals from attacking people. Here is a guy who gets in trouble even though he was already being physically attacked. Even more bizarre is that he apparently faced prison if he hadn't pleaded guilty.

A shopkeeper has been fined £250 and given a criminal record because he fought back when he was attacked by shoplifters.

Jacob Smyth chased three youths out of his hardware shop in Penzance, Cornwall, when he was set upon. When he was kicked in the groin by one of the hooded youths who had stolen cans of spray paint Mr Smyth hit back.

Police issued fixed penalty tickets to the shoplifters but charged Mr Smyth and a colleague with assault.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to assault at Truro Magistrates’ Court. He claimed after the hearing that he had been advised to plead guilty because otherwise he could have faced a six month prison sentence.

The court was told that Mr Smyth, a father of three, caught the youths stealing the spray cans in October last year. Two of them turned on him and he was kicked in his groin just weeks after a vasectomy operation. He retaliated and punched 18-year-old Craig Spiller to the ground.

Paul Gallagher, defending, said: “The court can only imagine what they intended to do with that spray paint. He could see the cans poking out of their pockets. He leant forward to get them and at that stage he was set upon.

“He did punch one of them to get him off. In the heat of the moment he kicked him once or twice. Initially he was acting in self defence. Frustration at the situation took over. The lads were interviewed and given fixed penalty notices by police but unfortunately for Mr Smyth ended up in court today.

“He was the one who was trying to do the right thing and get his stolen property back.”

Julian Herbert, prosecuting, said the “aggravating factor” of the case was shop staff “taking the law into their own hands”. Fining Mr Smyth £250 and ordering him to pay £43 costs, Angy Haslam, chairman of the magistrates, said: “The act was aggravated by the fact you kicked the victim on the ground. We feel it has been mitigated because you acted in self defence.”

Speaking outside court, Mr Smyth said: “I did nothing wrong. I was getting a good beating from this lad. I had no choice but to defend myself. . . . .

Labels: ,

"11-Year-Old Arrested For Using Rubber Band Gun"

How can someone really honestly confuse a rubberband gun with a real gun?

OCOEE (Florida), June 7: An 11-year-old Ocoee boy was arrested for playing with a toy gun. Police said the arrest was necessary, because it was a safety issue.

The boy was using a rubber band gun and his father said the kid did nothing wrong, but police said they take it as a serious threat and the 11-year-old is facing felony charges.

The crime isn't very common, but Ocoee police said it is serious. It centers on an 11-year0old boy and his toy short-barreled shotgun.

The incident started Sunday afternoon, when the 11-year-old was riding in his dad's pickup near Clarke Road and White Road in Ocoee. Someone driving nearby called police after they said the boy pointed what looked like a real gun out the window. The victim told police she was afraid for her life. . . . .

Labels: ,