Iowa State University campus police start carrying guns

Iowa State University campus police apparently started carrying firearms on Monday.

Thanks to Mike Miller for sending this to me.


An argument for the Supreme Court to Review the DC gun ban

Robert Levy in today's LA Times:

Later this month, the Supreme Court will decide whether to review the circuit court's blockbuster opinion in Parker vs. District of Columbia, the first federal appellate opinion to overturn a gun control law on the ground that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals. If the high court takes the case, oral arguments likely will be held this spring, with a decision expected before June 30. . . . .

The stakes are immense. Very few legal questions stir the passions like gun control. And this round of the courtroom battle will be fought during the heat of the 2008 election. Further, Washington is home to the federal government, making it an appropriate venue to challenge all federal gun laws, no matter where an alleged 2nd Amendment violation might have occurred. Thus, Parker could have an immediate effect not only on D.C. gun regulations but on federal regulations. . . . .

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Students sure demand a lot for their right to vote

According to the report, a survey of 3,000 students conducted by an NYU undergraduate journalism class found that an overwhelming majority of those polled said their right to vote could be for sale; in addition to the 66 percent who said they'd trade their vote for a free year of college, 20 percent said they'd exchange their vote for an Ipod Touch. Half of the students polled said they'd forfeit their right to vote forever for $1 million.

The probability that a person's vote will effect the outcome of an election is so tiny that the value of a vote (that probability times the value of the difference in outcomes) is probably measured in fractions of a penny. So why do people demand so much in exchange for losing their right to vote? Altruism. They want to show that they are good people. Since I just published an op-ed on this yesterday, I will simply point to it here.

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Huckabee concerns me a great deal, part II

I think that just the rhetoric that someone who opposes government intervention in health care "doesn't care about that kid" is enough to concern me. Doesn't he understand the long term harm caused by more and more government intervention in health care? My own belief is that those who want the government to provide for all these problems are the ones who really aren't effectively caring for others. The increased government intervention means that the health care system will not work as well and that a lot of people's health will be harmed as a result.

former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee accused the Club for Growth of advocating "an economic policy that doesn't care about that kid," a line that highlighted the fundamental problem with Mike Huckabee's "conservatism." Much like the Democratic candidates, Mike Huckabee believes the only way to help an asthmatic child is by increasing the size of government and raising taxes to pay for it. That is how he governed in Arkansas, and that is how he will govern if elected president, his anti-tax pledge notwithstanding.

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New Rules for Learning Names of Concealed Handgun Permit Holders In Ohio

Around "50,000 Swedes own handguns"

Ted Nugent on why people should be able to own guns

My friend Ted Nugent discusses the need for the Second Amendment here.

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Week 3 of Roger's Eagle Project

Well, he finished! These are pictures from the last day of Roger's Eagle Scout project. It went well, but in contrast to the two previous outings we had few people show up. Still it was fun and it was nice to spend some time with Roger while he was finishing up the project.


New Op-ed: Why do we care if people tip a waitress?

Jason Lewis Gives Inspired Commentary on Private Property and Smoking Bans

Jason Lewis commentary on KTLK can be listened to here. The discussion is from yesterday. This segment is an hour long, but it is worth it. Jason's other shows can be found here.

His discussion on the enforcement of smoking bans by relying on neighbors reminded me of a trip to Sweden in 1979. There was a public campaign against people getting drunk and neighbors were asked to turn in neighbors who were getting drunk in their home. I was stunned at the time to see police forceably removing people from their homes based on being informed on by their neighbors, but the Swedes that I was with thought that it was all entirely reasonable because people didn't have the right to harm their own bodies when others had to foot their healthcare bills.

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Some not so close fans of Huckabee

Apparently some people don't think to highly of Huckabee

Even editorialists and columnists at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state's dominant (and Republican-friendly) daily paper, use words like "petty" and "thin-skinned" to describe Huckabee. Then again, he's compared hard-hitting (and accurate) news reporters for the Democrat-Gazette to the press fabulists Jayson Blair and Janet Cooke. He called liberal columnist John Brummett of Stephens Media "constipated" when that early admirer commenced some gentle criticism. His administration paid $15,000 to settle a suit filed by Roby Brock, the host of a public TV news show whom Huckabee's people tried to force off the air for his critical commentary. . . . .

More important, Huckabee revealed an enduring weakness as glaring as that other Arkansas governor's fondness for women. Huckabee seems to love loot and has a dismissive attitude toward ethics, campaign finance rules and propriety in general. Since that first, failed campaign, the ethical questions have multiplied. . . . .

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No announcement on whether the Supreme Court will Hear the DC gun ban case

So much for Campaign Finance Regulations

Let me get this straight. You can't give soft money directly to political parties, but you can give it to this group being run by close associates of Hillary Clinton and they will give the money they raise to progressive groups that will help her win next year. Boy, I am sure glad that we passed those regulations to close those loopholes.

So what, exactly, is the Fund for America? According to its filing, the group's purpose is "to accept and disburse funds in order to create a lasting progressive majority voice in public affairs." . . .

Fred Wertheimer, a campaign finance advocate who has fought for years to end the use of soft money in political campaigns, said he has strong suspicions about what the group plans to do: "This is the organizing vehicle for the Democrats efforts to inject soft money into the 2008 presidential election." . . . .


Radek Sikorski: shaking up the world

I got to know Radek some when I overlapped being at AEI with him. He is an awesome speaker. When discussing his travels through Afghanistan and fighting the Soviets during the 1980s, I wanted to go sign up and I would guess everyone else in the room felt the same way. This article will give you some rough idea of the type of person Radek is. I will confirm this: Radek will always do what it think is the right thing to do and there is no stronger supporter of freedom.

The people of Poland have spoken. Thankfully, they have dumped Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his xenophobic Law and Justice Party, or PiS, for Donald Tusk. Tusk is the head of the centrist, free-market Civic Platform, or PO. A bone of contention is former Defense Minister Radek Sikorski, now nominated to be Poland's foreign minister, whose appointment Kaczynski has been attempting to block. . . . .



Huckabee Not Exactly Tough on Keeping Taxes Low

There have been a lot of claims that Huckabee was not exactly very tough on keeping taxes low in Arkansas. Well, if you had any doubts about it you should see the video here.

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Relatives running for office a consequence of campaign finance laws?

The United States, however, considers itself to be a more mature democracy. Grover Norquist, one of America’s most influential Republican activists, aims to turn the question of dynasty into a campaign issue.

“It will be ridiculous to have Mr President and Madam President in the White House,” he said. “We’re the United States of America. How can we say to President Mubarak [of Egypt], ‘You can’t hand off the presidency to your son, it’s got to be your wife’ or, ‘Hey Syria and North Korea, you’ve got to knock this stuff off and be like us’.”

Norquist has commissioned lawyers to draw up a constitutional amendment that would ban family members from succeeding one another to elected and appointed office. If passed, it would not apply to the Clintons as a Bush was elected in between them. But Norquist believes that it will alert voters to the perils of dynasty. “Americans don’t like to go back,” he said. . . . .

The notion of relatives holding the same office doesn't bother me by itself, but I think that the problem is related to campaign finance regulations. Just as campaign finance regulations benefit incumbents, they also benefit someone such as Hillary Clinton or George W. Bush because of the publicity that they get from their spouse or father are in office (though this particularly applies to Hillary) as well as the benefits that they have from having the well known name. In my book, Freedomnomics, I discuss how it is that the children of politicians are so likely to follow their parents into politics compared to children in other professions. Here is just a brief part of that discussion:

Because a politician’s reputation can’t be transferred outside his family, a politician’s child who doesn’t go into politics simply loses the benefits of this reputation. It’s not like inheriting a family business, where a son or daughter could sell it off and use the proceeds toward some other line of business. Since going into politics is the only way a politician’s child can exploit his parent’s political reputation, it should come as no surprise that politicians’ children follow their parent’s careers at higher rates than most other professions: about 30 percent of politician’s children follow their parent’s profession, second only to the children of farmers. By contrast, about 15 percent of sons of fathers from all self-employed licensed occupations follow that path themselves.

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We could know by Tuesday Whether the Supreme Court will take up the DC Gun Ban Case

The court apparently made their decision on November 9th regarding granting cert and could announce the decision this coming Tuesday.

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The Mafia's Ten Commandments

The Mafia's Ten Commandments makes a lot of sense to economist. See a brief Fox News segment on it here. I would guess that my friends who do the economics of religion who be able to explain some of these reasons. Here are some of them:

No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it. (Essentially always having someone vouch for the person being introduced.)
Never look at the wives of friend
Never be seen with cops.
Don't go to pubs or clubs.
Wives must be treated with respect. (I suspect is that they know a lot and you don't want them going to the police.)
You must be available at all times to the Mafia.

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The King of Spain puts Hugo Chavez temporarily in his place

The King of Spain gives Hugo Chavez a tongue lashing here. I would guess that this is something that a lot of people wish they could have done. Spain's Socialist Prime Minister comes across as too gentle on Chavez.

UPDATE: Well, "temporary" was certainly the right term here. Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has tried to calm things down by saying:

"We want to have good relations with everyone, but always with respect for institutions. If we are not shown respect, we must react," he said.

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The 10 highest paid public employees in Iowa work for the Public Universities

While university professors command some of the best salaries in state government, officials say paying those salaries is a good investment.

They argue that medical professors and other faculty members with six-figure salaries earn a premium because of their skills and experience.

In return, their research often brings in money from the federal government and other sources. . . . .

Well, I would feel more comfortable with this claim if these were private universities. Then I at least would be much more convinced that people had the right incentives deciding how much money to pay these guys. It is also interesting that the Federal government subsidies creates such distortions in professor salaries.