Anonymous Reporting System for Reporting Bias at William & Mary
The Bias Reporting System was created several weeks ago by the College Diversity Committee and exists “to assist members of the William and Mary community who have been affected by incidents involving bias related to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other protected conditions.”
Sam Sadler, vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the Bias Reporting Team, said that “showing a willingness to look at issues is the best way I know to let people know that the community cares. I think it’s really the ultimate statement of community.”
Critics worry that the system is open to abuse because it allows anonymous reports. A full-page ad in The Flat Hat last week, paid for by FreeAmericasAlmaMater.org, brings up the possibility that students could make up allegations to get back at professors who gave them a bad grade or significant others who had broken up with them. . . . .
My son Maxim wrote this story up.
What is behind the push for Driver Licenses for Illegals?
The next day she took a firmer stand (sort of) by offering general support for Gov. Spitzer's approach, but adding that she hadn't studied his specific plan. She should, and so should the rest of us. It stops just short of being an engraved invitation for people to commit voter fraud.
The background here is the National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as "Motor Voter," that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993. It required all states to offer voter registration to anyone getting a driver's license. One simply fills out a form and checks a box stating he is a citizen; he is then registered and in most states does not have to show any ID to vote. . . . .
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has its own take on this here.
What if Hillary's Campaign Implodes?
Another Review of Freedomnomics
Freedomnomics, translating economics into regular English, shows that bureaucratic and judicial attempts to correct the market restore feudalism and hurt the poor. Corporate scandals that lower a firm's reputation create disincentives to cheat and thus become part of a self-correcting market mechanism. Lott also discerns the true link between legalized abortion and crime: In opposition to the best-selling book Freakonomics, he shows that easy access to abortion leads to change in attitudes to premarital sex, more out-of-wedlock children, family breakdown, and thus to more crime. . . . .
New Op-ed: DEATH PENALTY'S DEADLY VACATION
This is just the latest example of the whittling away of the death penalty - the courts have already cut executions by over a third since 1999. But this latest suspension of executions is likely to demonstrate yet again that the death penalty deters crime. . . . .
Some comments are coming in on this piece. See this by Art DeVany, Clayton Cramer, Free Republic, and Prairie Pundit.
I got this email from someone who read my piece.
The problem is that the gap between blacks and their share of executions and murders has gotten larger over time. This was originally in the op-ed, but got cut for space constraints. (The numbers before 1980 are pretty meaningless because even when an execution took place, there was only one execution a year.)
There are two points. 1) The point of the piece was to address some of the general arguments that have been presented agains the death penalty. 2) There are so many issues that one can get into in 700 words. I figured most people know this claim you point to and can judge for themselves whether lethal injection is so cruel.
Does the moratorium increase the chances that the death penalty through lethal injection will be ended? If lethal injection is found to be "cruel," would hanging or a firing squad be cruel? In any case, does it then lower the cost of criminals committing murder?
Thanks for you thoughtful comments. But I must confess that I don't know what "jack story" means.
A further discussion of these issues can be found in my book, Freedomnomics.
An Analysis of Concealed Permit Holders in Tennessee
The actual TV report can be seen here. One county apparently had 11 percent of people with permits. The survey that they are referring to about the US having the highest gun ownership rate in the world is wrong. The study paid for by George Soros confused total guns with gun ownership rate.
Thanks to SayUncle and Clint Kritzer.
The Brady Campaign gets some examples of bad uses of guns wrong
Roberts and Hanson Rounds II and III
No Roberts tries to impose the obiligation on those who might know the empirical literature better.
Such cynicism can come cheap. It also seems to leave us with anecdotes. Well, there's also common sense, intuition and general lessons gleaned from experience and empirical work that is less prone to manipulation.
So again, my question to my better-read colleagues in the profession--give me an example of a statistical analysis that relies on instrumental variables, for example, that is done well enough, that is so iron-clad, that it can reverse the prior beliefs of a skeptic.
OK, let me give Russell a response. These points and other similar ones are in my book Freedomnomics. The second point below is also in More Guns, Less Crime. I realize that Russell hasn't had time to read either book, but before he comments more on these types of empirical work, he might benefit from reading them.
1) I don't put a huge amount of weight often on instrumental variables, but let me give one example from my own work on giving women the right to vote. The instrument there is whether states voluntarily or were forced to give women the right to vote. We found that both types of states experienced a similar increase in government growth after women were given the right to vote. If it was simply increased liberalism by men that caused both suffrage for women and government growth, you should see that in states that reached a critical mass to voluntarily give women the right to vote, but not in others where states were forced to given them a vote.
2) Regarding correlation and causation that is precisely why some research try to provide many qualitatively different empirical tests. For example, with right-to-carry laws: 1) violent crime falls, 2) the size of the drop increases over time the longer the law is in effect because more permits are issued, 3) there are differences between violent crimes where a criminal comes in contact with a victim who might be able to defend herself and a property crime where there is no contact (violent crimes fall relative to property crimes), 4) there are differences between different types of violent crimes (e.g., between murder generally and multiple victim public shootings because the probability that someone will be able to defend themselves with multiple victim public shootings is much higher than the case where there is only one or two victims present), 5) a comparison between adjacent counties on opposite sides of a state border, and 6) differential benefits across different types of victims.
Russell, try to come up with an alternative explanation for these different findings.
As a general comment, I am disappointed how vague Roberts' discussion is and how filled it is with platitudes.
Finally, Robin Hanson summarizes where Russell might be coming out on all this: "Russ finally answers as I'd originally expected: he relies on simpler clearer data and theory. " I think that there is a lot of regression and empirical work that uses very simple approaches (see the above reference to women voting or I would even argue many issues involving concealed handguns such as permit holders being extremely law-abiding and not posing a risk by themselves), So Russell, what do you have to say to that? In addition, Russell, I don't think that Ayres conceded anything to you on Friedman's Monetary History.
Christmas gift ideas for little ones
Backlash by Women Because They Feel People have been Attacking Hillary?
I am not sure that Obama or Edwards would have had a chance with these voters in the first place.
Mascot Violence in College Sports: A Growing Problem?
Fox News' Greg Gutfeld is pretty funny
Endangered Species Act Help Cause California Fires
We need only look to the wildfires raging in California at the present time as an example.
No doubt some of the homes still going up in flames are lost as a result of protection for an endangered species.
ESA regulations prevented homeowners from clearing highly flammable brush from around their homes in San Bernadino and San Diego counties. The very brush that brought the flames that destroyed their homes was the protected habitat of an endangered species, the kangaroo rat. . . . .
UPDATE: I don't think that there was anything "new" here, but I thought that this newspaper editorial put things together very well:
But the Nobel-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the 1 F increase in the average Southern California temperature since 1900 was accompanied by an increase in precipitation. The U.S. Forest Service and National Climatic Data Center, not exactly global-warming skeptics, say changes in the frequency and intensity of the wildfires defy explanation. Tom Wordell of the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho said it most succinctly: "That's a fire-prone environment regardless of whether we are in a climate-change scenario."
It turns out the wildfires had an anthropic element: Police say one was touched off by a kid playing with matches and several others were sparked by arsonists. Nice try on that global-warming twaddle, though.
More Limits Coming On Death Penalty?
There were two dissenters, Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr., but neither they nor the majority gave reasons for their positions. Because only five votes are required for a stay of execution, it is not clear whether all the remaining seven justices supported it. . . .
Finally, Iowa Campus Police Allowed to be Armed
The Iowa Board of Regents voted 6 to 2 this morning to change its security policy to include the measure.
Until today, campus officers were allowed to carry firearms only with prior approval from the university president or his or her designated authority, and only in assignments of extreme danger. . . .
Thanks to Allen Forkner fro sending me this link.
Some New York City Council Members Who Own Guns
Mr. Ignizio, a Republican, said he wants to buy a rifle or a handgun for protection in his home. When he was growing up on Staten Island his father owned a gun for protection and he said he always knew he would do the same when he had a family. His first child, a girl, was born earlier this month.
If approved Mr. Ignizio would join a small group of elected officials known to own guns. A council member who is a Democrat and represents parts of Queens, Peter Vallone Jr., owns a rifle and said he is not aware of any other council members who own firearms. Mr. Ignizio's plan to arm himself was reported by the Staten Island Advance and picked up on the politics Web log of the New York Observer. . . .
Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act Does Not Stop Gary, Indiana Lawsuit Against Gun Makers
The court ruled 3-0 that a provision in the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 does not bar the case from going forward in state court. The federal law grants the industry broad protections from municipalities and victims seeking damages for gun-related violence.
Gary's lawsuit, filed in 1999, alleged that 16 gun makers and six Northern Indiana gun dealers sold guns they knew would end up in criminals' hands.
The Court of Appeals cited a prior ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court that said Indiana's public nuisance laws could apply to the city of Gary's claims and found that the federal law did not bar the city from taking legal action.
The federal law seeks to prevent lawsuits that try to use the judicial system to circumvent the legislative branch. But Gary's claim rests on state law passed by the Indiana legislature, the court noted.
It also cited an exception to the immunity provisions of the federal law that allows certain cases to go forward if plaintiffs can show that the manufacturers knowingly violated a statute applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms.
A Lake County judge dismissed the Gary case in 2001, saying the city cannot fault businesses beyond its jurisdiction for others' crimes. . . .
Russell Roberts and Robin Hanson on the value of Empirical work
Russell Roberts makes a pretty disappointing claim here that empirical data really only demonstrates the researcher's prior beliefs. Roberts then cites work on concealed handguns and lojack devices as evidence for his claim. Even more interesting, he references Ed Leamer (a former professor of mine) whose work has largely been set up to take out some of researcher's biases from the research that they present. Roberts fails to note that in More Guns, Less Crime I used Leamer's approach for both the sensitivity of specifications as well as bounding measurement error. As an aside, I also think that it is important that people share their data as an important check on the quality of research, even if others do not behave similarly.
Unfortunately, Russell isn't familiar with much of the debate over concealed handgun laws. I think that the refereed academic research on concealed handgun laws by economists has had an impact. For example, how many refereed academic papers by economists or criminologists claim that right-to-carry laws have statistically significantly raised accidental shootings, suicides, or violent crime rates? I know of none. If Roberts can point to one paper, he should do so. Even most of the relatively few papers that claim to find no statistically significant effects have most of their results showing a benefit from right-to-carry laws. For example, Black and Nagin's 1998 piece in the JLS shows that even after they elminate about 87 percent of the sample (dropping out counties with fewer than 100,000 people as well as Florida from the sample), there are still two violent crime rate categories (as well as overall violent crime that they don't report) that show a statistically drop after right-to-carry laws are adopted. Mark Duggan's paper in the JPE is a similar example. Once the admitted typos in his Table 11 are fixed, most of the estimates show a statistically significant drop in violent crime. All but one of the results for murder show a statistically significant drop. There is only one of the 30 coefficient estimates that show a statistically significant increase, and even that is because he is looking at just the before and after averages and not trends.
My question is this: before this research, how many academics would have believed that at least some refereed research would show that right to carry laws did not increase accidents, suicides, or violent crime rates? I think that most would believe that some would find these results.
Robin Hanson gets to the central question: What Roberts would use to make decisions if he isn't going to use empirical work?
Russell tries to respond here. In particular he states:
Anyone can make such broad claims and many frequently have. Be specific. You have gotten into a debate over particular laws. What is it that you think should have been done regarding right-to-carry laws? What should have been controlled for that wasn't? What combination of control variables should have analyzed that wasn't?
Footnote: In Duggan's main estimates in the above discussed paper, it is interesting that the magazine he uses in much of his paper, Guns & Ammo, is the only one that shows the effect that he claims and that is because the magazine bought many copies of its issues in increasing crime areas (places where it thought there was a demand for defensive guns) when sales failed to meet promises to advertisers.
Video of Puget Sound Federalist Society Talk on Freedomnomics
Britain travel abroad to avoid long waiting lists and hygiene concerns
In the first major survey of medical tourism, figures show that British citizens have travelled to 112 hospitals in 48 countries for safe, quick and affordable treatment. NHS hospitals in Britain face long waiting lists and hygiene challenged by superbugs. . . . .
One Vote Hillary Probably didn't Want to Win
About one-third of independents, nearly half of whites and just over half of conservatives selected her.
Senator John Edwards asks for 2 Year Ban on all New Drug Ads
Heck, why should customers know about a new drug for the first two years that it is out? If these new drugs are beneficial (presumably why the FDA approved them), what is the loss in poorer health that results from not letting people learn about these drugs? Many years ago there used to be bans on all sorts of advertising such as for optometrists. There have been studies that showed that when advertising was allowed the prices for that type of care went down substantially.
If ads are so misleading, why allow them to be advertised when they have been out for 2 years and one day?
Well, in some sense all this might not really matter very much since the price regulations that the Democrats want to impose on drugs will mean that very few new drugs will be being made.
Who was at fault with Hurricane Katrina?
Some pictures from Roger's Eagle Scout Project
Some News Coverage for Students for Concealed Carry
"At Virginia Tech, if someone would have stopped that student from going into those classrooms, or from shooting the very first kid, we could have stopped a lot of murders," said Michele Connole.
Connole is a recent University of North Texas graduate who is still active with her alma mater. In 2004, she was pushing for the rights of students to carry concealed weapons. She had little sympathy back then, but today support is growing.
"As we saw with Virginia Tech, laws that prohibit people from carrying weapons on campus didn't really stop the shooter," said Shawn Griffiths, a member of the UNT Young Conservatives of Texas. . . . .
Here is a negative editorial:
We unequivocally support these protesters' right to express their opinions peacefully, and we are glad to see students exercising their First Amendment rights. But UK should not change its firearms policy.
UK is currently a deadly-weapons-free campus, a fact that UK's Students for Concealed Carry on Campus hopes to change. Students at Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University and Northern Kentucky University, along with local gun shops, are also participating in this event, according to a Kernel article on Tuesday.
The protesters are just trying to raise awareness of the policy prohibiting concealed weapons on campus, said Dave Burnett, a member of SCCC at UK, in the article. . . . .
The following artcle has a small mistake about the number of people killed at Virginia Tech (32 not 33), but it is still useful. (I blame this mistake on the media usually including the killer's death in their numbers so it isn't surprising that some people would think that all 33 were killed.)
This protest is just a small part of a larger national movement - Students for Concealed Carry on Campus - of more than 5,000 people started by a student at the University of Cincinnati who used Facebook to rally support for the issue.
Evan Peck, a senior in sociology and math, is one of the OSU students participating in the protest and lent holsters to students who did not have one of their own. . . . .
This next article is more than a little biased. I know more than several students at just one school, let alone
They are protesting the prohibition of firearms on college campuses.
The group, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, is organizing the protest on more then 100 Ohio campuses this week.
Cleveland State University Junior Joe Rodriguez is attracting attention around campus with his holster.
Rodriguez says gun free zones are an invitation to those who would do harm to a disarmed student population.
The Virginia Tech ambush was just one example Rodriguez says where a student with a license to carry a concealed weapon, could have saved lives. . . . .