CSPAN 2 Showing Talk on Freedomnomics

CSPAN 2 Booknotes TV will show a presentation on my book on Saturday, August 18th at 7 PM EDT.

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Extensive interview with Bill Steigerwald at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Another Review of Freedomnomics

An Australian weighs in on Freedomnomics with a lengthy, thoughtful review. I particularly appreciated his conclusion:




Senator John Edwards asks if Cuba has a government health care system?

Is this really serious? It just shows the old saying that telling one lie can lead to many other ones.

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: When an Iowa resident asked former senator John Edwards Thursday whether the United States should follow the Cuban healthcare model, the 2004 vice presidential contender deflected the question by saying he didn't know enough to answer the question.

"I'm going to be honest with you -- I don't know a lot about Cuba's healthcare system," Edwards, D-N.C., said at an event in Oskaloosa, Iowa. "Is it a government-run system?"

But just three days earlier, the candidate was asked a question about the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" -- which focuses extensively on the Cuban healthcare system.

As Willie Nelson's classic "On the Road Again" blared, Edwards leaned out of a window of his campaign bus dubbed "Fighting for One America", to hear an off-camera voice howl, "I wanted to ask ya, is it required that everyone go see "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko"?

Edwards, in between autographs outside Dan's Pizzeria in Onawa, Iowa, replies, "I watched Sicko," later adding, "It's a great movie."

You can watch the moment captured by C-SPAN and spread to the world on YouTube by clicking here. . . . .


Regulating Prescription Drug Prices Will Cost Lives

Census Bureau Asks that ICE stops rounding up Illegal Aliens

Some simple economics here. If the Census Bureau is correct that the current round ups of illegal aliens is causing illegals to be fearful, eliminating these round ups would presumably increase the number of illegal aliens.

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau wants immigration agents to suspend enforcement raids during the 2010 census so the government can better count illegal immigrants.

Raids during the population count would make an already distrustful group even less likely to cooperate with government workers who are supposed to include them, the Census Bureau's second-ranking official said in an Associated Press interview.

Deputy Director Preston Jay Waite said immigration enforcement officials did not conduct raids for several months before and after the 2000 census. But today's political climate is even more volatile on the issue of illegal immigration.

Enforcement agents "have a job to do," Waite said. "They may not be able to give us as much of a break" in 2010.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman declined to say whether immigration officials would halt raids. "If we were, we wouldn't talk about it," Pat Reilly said.

"For us to suspend that enforcement would probably take a lot more than one meeting," Reilly said. "We would have to discuss this at the highest levels of both agencies." . . . .

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Most of the victims at Virginia Tech were over 21 years of age

Robert Tims writes me that "19 [of the victims at Virginia Tech this spring] were 21 yrs old or older." He provides five sources: here, here, here, here, and here.

Robert concludes by noting that "It is very significant to me that, if they had been allowed to carry on campus, there certainly could have been an individual who was responsible enough to insure their own and others safety."


Talk at the Cato Institute available here

A podcast from what I talked about at Cato this week on my book Freedomnomics is available here


More on Students Carrying Guns on Campus

The CNN program here reports that over 500 students at the University of Utah have concealed carry permits. I assume that there are probably about 30,000 students on campus. If that number is correct, that is only about 1.6 percent of the students being able to carry a gun. It would be nice to get that number somewhat higher. Still, 500 on students on campus must mean that there will often be multiple people around the school who are able to stop an attack. I would be willing to bet that there won't be any significant multiple victim public shootings at that university.

One professor, Barbara Nash, who is interviewed claimed that the idea that more guns would mean a safer place is a "stupid" idea. It would have been nice if the professor could have pointed to some evidence that students with a concealed handgun permit posed a danger. On the other hand, another professor in the Business School, Randall Boyle, said he actually felt safer now that some students in the class legally have concealed handguns.



George Mason Students Come Out for Carrying Concealed Handguns

A debate between a couple of students on a local TV show can be seen here. Andrew Dysart was the student from GMU who supported students being able to carry concealed handguns. The main answer that I would have given to the question about what might happen with students carrying concealed handguns is that where has there been a problem with people over age 21 who behave improperly with concealed handguns.


Some Los Angeles Police Discuss Letting Citizens Carrying Concealed Handguns

There is an interesting TV program segment on what police in Los Angeles felt about right-to-carry laws can be found here. It seems like right below the very top that there is a lot of support even in Los Angeles for concealed handguns. I have no idea how representative these interviews are, but it was interesting.

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Media Bias Revealed in Seattle TImes

No matter what you think of Karl Rove -- or anyone else in politics -- please keep it to yourself, or at least falrly quiet. That was the message in a note sent to staffers at the Seattle Times by Executive Editor Dave Boardman after what he called "an awkward moment at yesterday's news meeting."

What happened? According to Boardman in the latest email installment of what he calls "Dave's Raves" it was this: "When word came in of Karl Rove's resignation, several people in the meeting started cheering. That sort of expression is simply not appropriate for a newsroom....As we head into a major political year, now's a good time to remember: Please keep your personal politics to yourself."

The incident was described in a blog by chief political reporter David Postman. He comments: "I wasn't there, but I've talked to several people who were. It was only a couple of people who cheered and they, thankfully, are not among the people who get a say in news play. But obviously news staff shouldn't be cheering or jeering the day's news, particularly as Boardman points out, 'when we have an outside guest in the room.' . . . . (Emphasis added)

I emphasized the word "particularly" because why should it be that they should hide their political views "when we have an outside guest in the room."

Apparently, the reaction at the Seattle Times is not unique. Joe Scarborough witnessed a similar event at MSNBC:

Joe Scarborough has pulled back the curtain on the liberal bias at MSNBC, describing an incident in which people in its newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address.

The revelation came on "Morning Joe" today at 6:02 A.M. EDT. Joe was discussing a recent episode at the Seattle Times in which reporters and editors cheered the news that Karl Rove had resigned. Scarborough applauded Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman for issuing a memorandum reproving his colleagues. For more, read NB items by Brent Baker and Ken Shepherd.. . . . (Emphasis added)


More problems with Wikipedia

The main problem with these edits is just too obvious.


Mexico Deports Illegal Aliens in its Own Counrtry

The Slippery slope: Banning Twisting Balloons into the Shape of Guns

Reputations matter, even for China

In my talk at the Cato Institute today the claim that reputations don't seem to be important in disciplining China was very briefly raised. Anyway, talk about timing, here was a story that I just happened upon:

Whittle Shortline Railroad , a company in Louisiana, Mo., that makes wooden trains and trucks, posted a banner on its Web site several weeks ago: “100 percent kid-safe,” it read, “with lead-free paints.” Mike Whitworth, the company’s owner, said the recent recalls of Chinese-made toys found to contain lead in their paint has been good for his business. Very good. . . . .

Some evidence that it matters to consumers:

OTTAWA - Fears of shoddy and dangerous toys pouring into Canada from China are prompting parents across the country to seek safer alternatives following a large-scale recall announced by Mattel this week. But many are finding it's a nearly impossible task because the majority of the world's toys come from China.

"It's really difficult to find anything," said Keely Dennis, mother of a one-year-old boy in Vancouver. "It's really hard to find toys that aren't made in China that are age-appropriate, and are just cool, that your kid will play with."

For the second time in two weeks, the toy giant began recalling millions of Chinese-made toys over concerns that small parts could pose choking hazards and that excessive amounts of lead may be present. This is the latest in a string of problems that are raising doubts over the safety and quality of Chinese products, including toothpaste and pet food. . . . .

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Washington Post Article from 1922 Showing Early Signs of Climate Change

Have we been through this all before?

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."

As I have blogged before about the new NASA data, I believe that it is 5 out of 10 years with the highest temperatures were before WWII.

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For something a little different

Fox News has all the info on the Hog and Husband Calling Contest at the Illinois State Fair.


Video from C-SPAN performance can be seen here

This weekend C-SPAN's BookTV aired a presentation at the Heritage Foundation on my new book Freedomnomics. You can view the film here (real media required).

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Gun ownership drops further in Massachusetts

Well, the gun control laws accomplished exactly what they were supposed to do: reduce legal gun ownership.

According to the Boston Globe, the number of legal gun owners has declined by more than 25 percent in the past six years . . . .

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Students at Virginia Colleges Push to carry concealed handguns

The liberal imbalance in Academia

Seventy-six percent of the education industry's total federal contributions for '08 has gone to Democrats, on par with the industry's partisanship in the last two election cycles. Perhaps more surprising than the industry’s party split is its sheer size: Education was the eighth-largest industry in terms of all federal campaign contributions in 2004 and the 13th largest in 2006, meaning that in the last two election cycles, college employees contributed more to politicians than the oil and gas industry, which ranked 16th in both cycles. For 2008, CRP ranks the education industry as No. 14, still ahead of big-givers such as oil and gas, general contractors, the computer and Internet industry, electric utilities and the pharmaceutical industry.

My new book, Freedomnomics, tries to explain why academia is as heavily liberal as it is and, more importantly, how the tenure process works to keep it that way.

Thanks to Butch Browning for sending me the link to this study.

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One of the problems with survey data

Obese people underestimate the amount of sugar they eat, making studies into the condition based on self-reporting very unreliable, UK researchers say. . . . . In a study of hundreds of volunteers, researchers compared what people said they ate with data from urine tests.

The problem with this is that it produces a systematic bias in the survey data. The high end of the survey results are biased downward. The problem is probably even worse than might be claimed here if those being studied in this case understood why their urine samples were being taken. The reason is that the people may have been relatively more accurate in their answers if they thought that they were being checked for accuracy. As the article points out, claims that sugar intake are unrelated to health problems or obesity could simply be due to this bias in the data.


Freedomnomics on C-SPAN this Weekend

This Sunday, August 12, at 11:00 AM EDT; Sunday, August 12, at midnight EDT; and Saturday, August 18, at 7:00 PM EDT C-SPAN 2's Booknotes will have a presentation on my new book. The discussion each time will last an hour.

My appearance on CSPAN 2's Booknotes seems to have engendered some reaction:

On the positive side you can find this: "I almost forgot to mention that John will discuss his terrific book, Freedomnomics, on C-SPAN at 11:00 am EDT. The interview repeats at midnight and the booktv site has the full schedule for subsequent replays.

Go see it, the book is wonderfully ingenious, clearly written, and the balance of evidence and analysis makes John one of the formidable economists in the public policy arena."

On the negative side you can find this: "John Lott is scary. He's on CSPAN2 right now, giving talk on his book. What's scary about the guy is that he has no concept of the idea that human beings might be less than rational in the way they go about making life decisions. He really thinks everybody is hyper-rational. And, he's the chief economist for the US Sentencing Committee." I did put in a reply to his post on his website. It will be interesting to see if he has any response. Update: Well, there wasn't a substantive response, just some name calling.