Virginia has 152,000 permit holders

The Washington Post has these numbers here:

The number of Virginians who obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon jumped 60 percent last year over 2006, an increase that many gun experts say was a reaction to the fatal shootings of 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech.

In Northern Virginia, the numbers were much the same. In Fairfax County, there were 2,471 concealed-carry permits issued in 2007, a 64 percent increase. In Prince William County, the number rose to 1,636, a nearly 59 percent gain. In Loudoun, the number of permits issued was 962, a 52 percent increase. . . .

The number of people approved to carry concealed weapons in Virginia has gone up and down in recent years. In 2002, a year after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the number of permits granted went up almost 100 percent, from about 15,000 to more than 30,000. But the annual number soon drifted down into the 20,000s until 2007, when it shot up to 43,927. The rise was first reported yesterday in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

State police said that more than 152,000 people currently hold valid concealed-carry permits. In addition to concealed carrying, openly carrying a weapon is legal in Virginia and is done regularly by gun rights activists. . . .

Thanks to Janet Fallon for alerting me to this.

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"Obama on small-town PA: Clinging religion, guns, xenophobia"

Ben Smith at the Politico has this from a talk that Obama gave at a fundraiser this past Sunday in San Francisco (emphasis in Ben Smith's piece):

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. . . .

This is the same guy who is trying to convince Pennsylvanians that he is pro-gun?

Thanks to Bruce Moon for the link.

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Difference in women and men believing politicians

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary:

The Walter Mitty-like fantasies of Hillary Clinton dodging sniper fire prompted pollster Scott Rasmussen and the Washington Times to ask Americans just how much they think political candidates fudge the truth.

Not surprisingly, 71% of those surveyed believe that politicians "embellish the truth" when discussing their past exploits. A mere 10% think politicians are routinely truthful. Mr. Rasmussen found the most skeptical subgroup to be men under the age of 40 -- 83% thought politicians exaggerated. By contrast, women under the age of 40 were most prone to accepting the statements of candidates at face value -- only 64% were suspicious of their claims. . . .

NY Times' Leibovich does hatch job on Chris Matthews

I have been on Matthews' show only four times, but he always struck me as a basically nice guy. Even though he obviously disagreed with me on the gun issue, I remember the first time I was on his show he mentioned how his brothers had given him a hard time to get me on the show and during a break he leaned over and told me that he thought that I was doing a good job. He was just a nice, decent guy each time I was on the show.

In any case, NY TImes reporter Mark Leibovich is a vicious guy and really must have had an ax to grind against Matthews.

When I asked Matthews about the bloviator stigma, he dismissed it as jealousy or at the very least ignorance among those who don’t know him or who don’t regularly watch his Sunday show or who have not read his books or who are not aware that he is a student of history and film or that he is on the board of trustees of the Churchill Center or that he has received — did he mention? — 19 honorary degrees. (Breaking honorary-degree news: Matthews told me in late March that he expects to be up to at least 22 later this spring.) . . .

Other times it just makes Chris appear like a sad figure:

[Matthews] urged me repeatedly to call the Pennsylvania governor’s office and “talk to Eddie Rendell about me.”

Making it appear as if he was trying to use the NY Times reporter to ingratiate himself with Rendell.

Matthews has an attuned sense of pecking order — at MSNBC, at NBC, in Washington and in life. This is no great rarity among the fragile egos of TV or, for that matter, in the status-fixated world of politics. But Matthews is especially frontal about it. In an interview with Playboy a few years ago, he volunteered that he had made the list of the Top 50 journalists in D.C. in The Washingtonian magazine. “I’m like 36th, and Tim Russert is No. 1,” Matthews told Playboy. “I would argue for a higher position for myself.”

So much of how this comes off depends upon context and tone. If Matthews is saying these things with a smile and as a joke, it doesn't have anywhere near the level of desperation implied by the reporter. A good friend of mine noted the possibility that the reporter was probably telling Matthews what a good pall he was of his in order to get Matthews to open up. I have seen reporters do this all too often, and it is quite believable to me.

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The Academic version of Steroids

The journal Nature reports fairly wide spread use by academics of drugs to stimulate cognitive abilities:

We asked specifically about three drugs: methylphenidate (Ritalin), a stimulant normally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder but well-known on college campuses as a 'study aid'; modafinil (Provigil), prescribed to treat sleep disorders but also used off-label to combat general fatigue or overcome jet lag; and beta blockers, drugs prescribed for cardiac arrhythmia that also have an anti-anxiety effect. Respondents who had not taken these drugs, or who had taken them for a diagnosed medical condition were directed straight to a simple questionnaire about general attitudes. Those who revealed that they had taken these drugs, or others, for non-medical, cognition-enhancing purposes were asked several additional questions about their use. Here's what they had to say:

One in five respondents said they had used drugs for non-medical reasons to stimulate their focus, concentration or memory. Use did not differ greatly across age-groups (see line graph, right), which will surprise some. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Bethesda, Maryland, says that household surveys suggest that stimulant use is highest in people aged 18–25 years, and in students.

For those who choose to use, methylphenidate was the most popular: 62% of users reported taking it. 44% reported taking modafinil, and 15% said they had taken beta blockers such as propanolol, revealing an overlap between drugs. 80 respondents specified other drugs that they were taking. The most common of these was adderall, an amphetamine similar to methylphenidate. But there were also reports of centrophenoxine, piractem, dexedrine and various alternative medicines such as ginkgo and omega-3 fatty acids.

The most popular reason for taking the drugs was to improve concentration. Improving focus for a specific task (admittedly difficult to distinguish from concentration) ranked a close second and counteracting jet lag ranked fourth, behind 'other' which received a few interesting reasons, such as “party”, “house cleaning” and “to actually see if there was any validity to the afore-mentioned article”. . . .

Just like in baseball and football regarding steroids, the response here was the same:

The US National Institutes of Health is to crack down on scientists 'brain doping' with performance-enhancing drugs such as Provigil and Ritalin, a press release declared last week.

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Obama is just too funny: the public financing of campaigns joke

Senator Obama promised last fall that he would take public financing for his presidential campaign if the Republican nominee did so also. McCain promises that he will. So what is Obama's response? He defines public financing as occurring when you raise money from the public, not as taking campaign money from the government. Here is the WSJ's editorial on this:

Barack Obama declared this week that he has created a "parallel public financing system." Come again? Let him explain: Under parallel public financing, "the American people decide if they want to support a campaign, they can get on the Internet and finance it."

Up to this moment, "public" financing has meant taking money from the federal government for the general Presidential election. Senator Obama's new system is public, because "the public" sends him the money. . . .

From the Washington Post:

But those with wealth and power also have played a critical role in creating Obama's record-breaking fundraising machine, and their generosity has earned them a prominent voice in shaping his campaign. Seventy-nine "bundlers," five of them billionaires, have tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. They have helped the campaign recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed. Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama's total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million. . . .

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Florida passes guns at work bill

The Tampa Tribune has this story:

TALLAHASSEE - In a major victory for the gun lobby, lawmakers have approved legislation that would allow Floridians to bring a gun to work as long as the owners have a permit and the gun is locked inside their car.
The Senate's vote Wednesday follows last month's House's approval, sending the guns-at-work bill to Gov. Charlie Crist, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
Like the House, the Senate's Republican majority was forced to choose between the right to bear arms and private property rights, each supported by powerful special interests. The bill was approved in a 26-13 vote along party lines. . . .

Thanks to Scott A. Davis for the link.

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So much for campaign finance regulation

From the Politico:

Wealthy Democrats are preparing a four-month, $40 million media campaign centered on attacks on Sen. John McCain. And it will be led by David Brock, the former investigative reporter who first gained fame in the 1990s as a right-wing, anti-Clinton journalist. . . .

But after a dinner Tuesday night at the Manhattan apartment of liberal megadonor George Soros, at which Brock and consultant Paul Begala laid out the group's plans, Brock said his group now has commitments worth $7.5 million — almost twice what the Fund for America is expected to report raising in the first quarter of this year. He said the group would begin running ads before it meets its $40 million goal. . . .

Just again shows that the donations just take another form.


Stuart Taylor Jr., on the controversial remarks of Michelle Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Stuart Taylor has this week's piece here:

"Also disturbing is the bleak picture of America painted by Obama's closest adviser, his wife, Michelle, in highly newsworthy comments, most of which the media have chosen to ignore... All this from a woman whose own life doesn't seem so rough: She went from a working-class background to Princeton, Harvard Law School, and a $1.65 million mansion in Chicago. That's the mansion that the Obamas bought with a little help from their friend Tony Rezko, now on trial on unrelated corruption charges, months after Obama's 2004 election to the Senate. Meanwhile, Michelle's salary at the University of Chicago hospitals soared from $122,000 to $317,000.... But it also appears that [husband Barack] Obama shares the unfortunate tendency of many liberals to see far-left extremists (and of many conservatives to see far-right extremists) as kindred spirits. And there may be some resonance between [Obama pastor Jeremiah] Wright's angry vitriol and Michelle Obama's bleak vision of America"

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Some amusing commercials

You can find them here.


Online Petition effort to ban handguns in Canada draws a mere 16,000 signatures

Just curious, but if an internet petition in Canada got a mere 16,000 signatures to end gun control, would it get similar positive news attention? Here is the story from the Globe and Mail:

Urbanites' call for ban on guns hits a deaf ear in Ottawa
John Barber
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
More than 16,000 people signed his Internet petition to ban handguns since he first made the appeal on Monday, Mayor David Miller told a Scarborough business audience yesterday. "Letters of support for this long-overdue action have also been pouring into my office from the moment the public became aware of this cause," he added.

The cause also captured attention at Queen's Park, with both Premier Dalton McGuinty and Attorney-General Chris Bentley voicing support.

"We'll take a look at what more we might do," the Premier said. "But obviously, when the feds have got responsibility for criminal law, there are some severe restrictions in terms of how far we can go and what we can do." . . .

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FAA's rigid rules that have grounded American Airlines have nothing to do with safety

From Marketplace Radio

American Airlines became the latest Tuesday to cancel flights to inspect wiring so it complies with FAA regulations -- not for safety issues. Airlines are losing money from those canceled flights.

From the WSJ:

The Federal Aviation Administration's antiquated and politicized priorities were on full display yesterday as regulators bullied American Airlines into scrapping more than a thousand flights, or nearly half of the airline's daily schedule.

By all accounts the disruptions, which could continue through today and already have affected tens of thousands of passengers, have nothing to do with flight safety. Instead, the issue is American's compliance with technical federal rules regarding wiring on its MD-80 jets. As a spokesman for the company put it, "These inspections – based on Federal Aviation Administration audits – are related to detailed, technical compliance issues and not safety-of-flight issues."

Last month, the FAA fined Southwest $10.2 million for flying planes that missed inspections, and it understandably got the attention of politicians and other carriers. But it's worth keeping in mind that the airline industry is largely self-regulating, a system that works because airlines have every incentive to be safe. The economic costs of an accident have been known to put airlines out of business. It's no wonder that maintenance-related commercial plane crashes in the U.S. are almost unheard of.

"The impression in the press is that the airlines aren't meeting high FAA standards," says Clifford Winston, who follows the industry at the Brookings Institution. "But that's ridiculous. It's the airlines who teach the FAA about these aircraft and what has to be done to maintain them." . . .

UPDATE: Here is the pressure from the Congress on the FAA to regulate:

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Federal Aviation Administration continued to take a drubbing from lawmakers over alleged lapses in its oversight of airline maintenance practices.

"The FAA is an agency that's spiraling downward and approaching the losing of the confidence of the American people," Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on aviation operations, said during a hearing on FAA oversight practices.

Rockefeller and other lawmakers said they were concerned over revelations from whistle-blowing FAA inspectors that a supervisor improperly allowed Southwest Airlines to operate planes in need of important safety checks last year. The supervisor, who worked in the FAA's Dallas office, which oversees Southwest, has been transferred to other duties, as has a top official in the agency's Washington headquarters. Lawmakers said the incident proved that the FAA was too cozy with the airlines.

But it wasn't really a safety problem:

However, as part of a second audit of the airlines, FAA inspectors recently found that 15 of 19 MD-80s did not meet the wiring requirements. The MD-80 was built by McDonnell Douglas, which later merged with Boeing.

Inspectors found slack wires, clamps in the wrong position, insulation that was too thick and ties that were spread too far apart, the airline has said.

The FAA then denied American's request to space out inspections and repairs over several days while continuing to operate the fleet.

Airline industry representatives have expressed surprise at the FAA's stance toward American. In the past, they said, the agency would probably have allowed the carrier to make the fixes over a period of days or weeks. They noted that the 2006 directive on the MD-80 wiring gave airlines 18 months to comply. That means that regulators, while concerned about the wiring, didn't believe that making the changes was a pressing safety matter.

"I think it would be fair to say the FAA is stepping up surveillance," Arpey said at a news conference.

Safety experts said other carriers should be conducting in-depth reviews of their records and planes to ensure they do not suffer the same problems as American when FAA inspectors begin poking around.

"The airlines are all in this business to make money, and certainly they have gotten the message now that they need to clean up their act," said Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. "If they tend to those problems and adhere to the regulations, hopefully this is just a limited amount of turbulence. . . . I think you will see the airlines pay attention."

Bottom line:

American Airlines canceled another 595 flights today

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Missouri "Woman holds burglar at gunpoint" -- concealed handgun permit

The woman had a concealed carry permit and was house sitting her sister's house:

DADEVILLE, Mo. -- A burglar in southern Cedar County found himself in a standoff this week -- not with police but with a 57-year-old woman armed with a pistol and training for a conceal-and-carry permit. She held the burglar at bay until police could arrive to arrest him at the rural home where whe found him in the closet.

The great video can be seen here.

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What do prominent scientists think about global warming?

I was listening to the Dennis Miller Show, a great radio program for those who haven't gotten caught up in Miller's great sense of humor, and he was discussing this new book, The Deniers (as in denying global warming). The most interesting thing in Miller's interview with Lawrence Solomon was the UN wouldn't give Solomon the list of the 2,000 scientists behind the IPCC UN report on global warming. Even better, the UN admitted that these individuals had not actually endorsed the IPCC report. Anyway, in the discussion on the book, here was something interesting:

Dr. Edward Wegman--former chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences--demolishes the famous "hockey stick" graph that launched the global warming panic.

Dr. David Bromwich--president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology--says "it's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now."

Prof. Paul Reiter--Chief of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the famed Pasteur Institute--says "no major scientist with any long record in this field" accepts Al Gore's claim that global warming spreads mosquito-borne diseases.

Prof. Hendrik Tennekes--director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute--states "there exists no sound theoretical framework for climate predictability studies" used for global warming forecasts.

Dr. Christopher Landsea--past chairman of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones--says "there are no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity."

Dr. Antonino Zichichi--one of the world's foremost physicists, former president of the European Physical Society, who discovered nuclear antimatter--calls global warming models "incoherent and invalid."

Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski--world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in climate research--says the U.N. "based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false."

Prof. Tom V. Segalstad--head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo--says "most leading geologists" know the U.N.'s views "of Earth processes are implausible."

Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu--founding director of the International Arctic Research Center, twice named one of the "1,000 Most Cited Scientists," says much "Arctic warming during the last half of the last century is due to natural change."

Dr. Claude Allegre--member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science, he was among the first to sound the alarm on the dangers of global warming. His view now: "The cause of this climate change is unknown."

Dr. Richard Lindzen--Professor of Meteorology at M.I.T., member, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, says global warming alarmists "are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right."

Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov--head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science's Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station's Astrometria project says "the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations."

Dr. Richard Tol--Principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie Mellon University, calls the most influential global warming report of all time "preposterous . . . alarmist and incompetent."

Dr. Sami Solanki--director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, who argues that changes in the Sun's state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming: "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."

Prof. Freeman Dyson--one of the world's most eminent physicists says the models used to justify global warming alarmism are "full of fudge factors" and "do not begin to describe the real world."

Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen--director of the Danish National Space Centre, vice-president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, who argues that changes in the Sun's behavior could account for most of the warming attributed by the UN to man-made CO2.

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News piece up at Fox News: Abortion Rate Among Black Women Far Exceeds Rate for Other Groups

I have a news piece on Fox with Sonya here:

The revelation a few weeks ago that Planned Parenthood employees had encouraged telephone donations from callers hoping to facilitate abortions of black babies — money that was "offered" from members of an anti-abortion group at UCLA — led to a quick apology from the family planning organization. Planned Parenthood said its employees made a "serious mistake" in encouraging the donations.

The callers contacted Planned Parenthood's vice presidents of development and marketing in Idaho and Oklahoma, other officials at their Ohio and New Mexico offices and officials in three other (so far) unnamed states because the UCLA group suspected that Planned Parenthood was specifically targeting minorities and minority neighborhoods for abortions.

The donor and a representative of New Mexico Planned Parenthood were recorded as saying: . . .

Some discussions of the piece can be found here.

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"Left has uglier women"?

Well, this is something that I have noticed for a while:

Italian opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi has claimed that right-wing female politicians are better looking than their left-wing counterparts.
Mr Berlusconi, the centre-right's candidate in elections this weekend, was quoted as telling local media that the left had "no taste" in women.
The conservative leader has a long record of making outlandish comments.
His remarks provoked an angry reaction from the centre-left, which accused him of being sexist.
Mr Berlusconi was quoted as saying that when he looked round parliament, he found that female politicians from the right were "more beautiful".
"The left has no taste, even when it comes to women," the 71-year-old was quoted as saying.
Last year, Mr Berlusconi was forced to apologise to his wife for flirting with other women after she demanded a public apology. . . .


Investor's Business Daily on Obama and Guns

IBD has a useful take on Obama and gun control here.


"Bridgewater College To Host Firearms Debate"

A discussion of the debate is provided here:

BRIDGEWATER - As Virginia nears the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre on April 16, Bridgewater College is tackling the issue of gun control.

Today, the college will host a debate featuring two professors and authors to discuss whether guns incite violence or promote self-protection.

The debate falls in line with the college's tradition of discussing topics like gay marriage, religion and other issues important in today's society, said Randall Young, the school's director of convocation programs and an associate professor of psychology.

"With the recent school shootings, it seems like this is a topic on a school campus that's very important," Young said. "[It's also pertinent] given the state of Virginia is a strong Republican state with lots of gun supporters."

An intellectual debate, he said, would elevate the "level of discourse" by focusing on the facts as opposed to an emotional response.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Debate

The debate at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall will feature two professors who have authored books on gun control.

Franklin E Zimring, the William G. Simon Professor of Law and Wolfen Distinguished Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, will speak in favor of more control on guns.

Zimring has co-authored 20 books, most recently "American Youth Violence" and "Crime is Not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America." According to Zimring, guns are a small part of total crime, but add up to 70 percent of lethal violence.

Zimring also will discuss the decrease in violence in New York City resulting from a policy focusing on handgun scarcity, according to Bridgewater College.

John R. Lott Jr., a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, will be arguing against increased gun control. Lott is the author of the books "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws" and "The Bias Against Guns," and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton and Rice.

Lott also was the chief economist for the U.S. Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989.

At the event, Lott will discuss whether crimes decrease when people are granted the right to carry concealed weapons, according to the college.


Does Imprisonment Deter Crime?: James Q. Wilson sure thinks so

His piece in the LA Times is here:

Do we have too many people in prison?

If you read a recent report by the Pew Center on the States, you would think so. As its title proclaimed, more than one in 100 American adults is in jail or prison. For young black males, the number is one in nine.

The report's authors contend that the incarceration rate represents a problem because the number of felons serving time does not have a "clear impact" on crime rates -- and that all those inmates are costing taxpayers too much money to house. But nowhere in the report is there any discussion of the effect of prison on crime, and the argument about costs seems based on the false assumption that we are locking people up at high rates for the wrong reasons.

In the last 10 years, the effect of prison on crime rates has been studied by many scholars. The Pew report doesn't mention any of them. Among them is Steven Levitt, coauthor of "Freakonomics." He and others have shown that states that sent a higher fraction of convicts to prison had lower rates of crime, even after controlling for all of the other ways (poverty, urbanization and the proportion of young men in the population) that the states differed. A high risk of punishment reduces crime. Deterrence works.

But so does putting people in prison. The typical criminal commits from 12 to 16 crimes a year (not counting drug offenses). Locking him up spares society those crimes. Several scholars have separately estimated that the increase in the size of our prison population has driven down crime rates by 25%. .. . .

Here was my take a few months ago.

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All the warnings an Australian Academic got for questioning Global Warming claims

From the Australian newspaper:

RESPECTED academic Don Aitkin has seen the ugly side of the climate change debate after being warned he faced demonisation if he challenged the accepted wisdom that global warming poses a danger to humanity.

Professor Aitkin told The Australian yesterday he had been told he was "out of his mind" by some in the media after writing that the science of global warming "doesn't seem to stack up".

Declaring global warming might not be such an important issue, Professor Aitkin argued in a speech to the Planning Insitute of Australia this month that counter measures such as carbon trading were likely to be unnecessary, expensive and futile without stronger evidence of a crisis.

The eminent historian and political scientist said in a speech called A Cool Look at Global Warming, which has received little public attention, that he was urged not to express his contrary views to orthodox thinking because he would be demonised. . . .

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Five simple things to make your brain work better

Fox News has an interesting discussion here.


Virginia Tech blocks plans Brady Campaign April 16th Plan

The Richmond Times-Dispatch writes:

Virginia Tech said yesterday that it will not allow a national gun-control advocacy group to hold a campus demonstration on April 16 while the school commemorates last year's massacre.

Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said neither the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence nor the co-sponsor of the planned demonstration, ProtestEasyGuns.com, had applied for an assembly permit, and even if they had, Tech only issues permits to student groups.

Tech's position threw the Brady Campaign's plans into disarray yesterday: The noon demonstration at Tech was supposed to be the centerpiece of a nationwide series of events on April 16 in more than 70 cities and towns.

"I think we'll have to figure out what's going on," said Brady Campaign spokesman Doug Pennington. He added that students and friends of last year's shooting victims are among those who want to participate in the demonstration, "so, I'm sure where there's a will, there's a way without breaking any rules."

The planned demonstration at Tech called for individuals to lie down on the Drillfield in groups of 32 -- to recall the 32 victims of gunman Seung-Hui Cho -- for a few minutes. The brevity of the "lie-in" is meant to highlight how quickly a gun can be purchased in the United States. The Brady Campaign is calling on Congress to mandate background checks of buyers at gun shows.

Tech is marking the shootings on April 16 with a ceremony that begins in the morning and is expected to run past noon. The daylong memorial ends with an evening candlelight vigil.

Hincker said no student group will be given an assembly permit for the Drillfield at noon. . . .

Apparently, the Brady Campaign is still going ahead with their protest even without the permit:

BLACKSBURG — Gun control advocates are sticking to plans to protest April 16 on Virginia Tech’s Drillfield despite the fact that the university has said it will not issue permits for groups to assemble there that day.

Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence, said the group has been working with Tech students. Their protest involves a 32-person "lie in" at noon April 16, the one-year anniversary of shootings on campus that left 32 death plus the shooter. The Brady Campaign sent out a media advisory last Thursday announcing the event, planned in conjunction with the gun control group ProtestEasyGuns.com.

Hamm said today that the gun-control groups had not discussed the event with the university.

Permit or no permit, the event will go forward, Hamm said. He said the organization would be happy to discuss an appropriate change of plans for that day with the university, but he’s not encouraged by what he’s heard through the media. . . .

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Record Snowfall for New Hampshire in 2008

Bob Hansen notes what this winter's record snow fall means for climate change predictions.



Charlton Heston on Global Warming

You can listen to him here. The discussion is from Michael Crichton's book, "State of Fear."

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New Op-ed up at Fox News: Obama and Guns: Two Different Views

The new Fox News piece starts with this:

Something happens to Democrats on the gun issue when they run for president. For John Kerry during 2004, it was awkwardly posing in brand new hunting gear at a seemingly endless series of hunting photo-ops.

But in what will probably be the most improbable change, the Politico reported on Saturday that Barack Obama was making a big play for gun votes in Pennsylvania. It is not particularly surprising that this change is occurring with the crucial Pennsylvania primary soon approaching.

With about one million of the country’s 12.5 million hunters, Pennsylvania is number one in the nation in the amount of time its citizens spend hunting. With about 600,000 people with permits to carry concealed handguns, Pennsylvania also has more permit holders than any other state.

Others, such as Jim Kessler, vice president for policy with Third Way, a progressive think tank, view Obama as starting to position himself for the general election.

Yet, it should be a hard sell. . . .

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Political Bias at Starbucks

The WSJ has the op-ed by David Boaz here:

Laissez-faire. It's a policy that made Starbucks vastly successful. But don't try to put that phrase on a customized Starbucks Card.

The cards are supposed be personalized to reflect customers' tastes and uniqueness. They are available in a range of colors, often given as gifts and used by regular customers who prefer to prepay for their java.

But when my friend Roger Ream, president of the Fund for American Studies, received a Starbucks gift card for Christmas, he found there was a limit to how personalized a card could be. His card required him to customize it on the company's Web site. So he went to the site and requested that the phrase "Laissez Faire" be printed on his card. A few days later he was informed that the company couldn't issue such a card because the wording violated company policy.

Starbucks's company policy is this: "We review each Card before printing it to make sure it meets our personalization policy. We accept most personalization requests, but we can't honor every one. Some requests may contain trademarks that we don't have the right to use. Others may contain material that we consider inappropriate (such as threatening remarks, derogatory terms, or overtly political commentary) or wouldn't want to see on Starbucks-branded products."

Is the phrase "laissez-faire" threatening? Only to officious bureaucracy, I would think. So, it must be that the phrase is considered to be "inappropriate" by corporate Starbucks. . . .

And so, at my suggestion, my friend went back to the Web site and asked that his card be issued with the phrase "People Not Profits." Bingo! Starbucks had no problem with that phrase, and the card arrived in a few days. . . .


Ohio Supreme Court to hear Home-rule Gun Law Case

The Toledo Blade has the story here:

COLUMBUS — In 2005, Bruce Beatty openly defied Toledo’s ordinance prohibiting guns in city parks, throwing a well-publicized “birthday party” to mark the anniversary of passage of Ohio’s concealed-carry law.

He carried a 45-caliber handgun into West Toledo’s Ottawa Park, and was arrested, tried, and convicted. He was ordered to fork over $129 in fines and court costs that he steadfastly refuses to pay. And despite his protests, Toledo’s law remains on the books.

Three years later, the Ohio Supreme Court will wade into a thorny issue that has the National Rifle Association, Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, and Ohioans for Concealed Carry aligned against cities. The court must decide whether the state can tell local governments whether they can regulate guns on their own property, the latest battle in the wider war over local home-rule authority.

No matter what the court decides, Mr. Beatty’s misdemeanor conviction will stand. The high court refused more than a year ago to hear his appeal of a lower-court ruling upholding Toledo’s law and his conviction.

But Mr. Beatty will watch from a distance Wednesday as the all-Republican court considers a challenge brought by Ohioans for Concealed Carry against a very similar ordinance in the Sandusky County city of Clyde.

“I’m claiming victory,” Mr. Beatty said. “Clyde is going to lose this.” . . .


Rush Limbaugh Predicts that 80 percent chance that the Dems will have 60 seats in Senate this November

Rush just mentioned this on his show. I have heard others make a similar claim. Even if it is a few seats less than this, Republicans will not be able to block anything in the Senate.

There's an 80% chance the Democrats are going to have 60 seats in the Senate following the November elections, eighty percent chance. But, folks, even if they don't get 60 seats, there are enough liberal Republicans that if they only get 56, 57 seats, there are enough liberal Republicans to give them 60 votes on any issue, which means that let's say Senator McCain does win, doesn't matter what judges he appoints. Not going to matter what he does on tax cuts. Not in the Senate. They're going to have 60 votes and be able to defeat any legislative initiative he wants unless it's something they want. . . .


John Fund on Charlton Heston

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary:

Charlton Heston, who died over the weekend at age 84, once had impeccable credentials for acceptance in Hollywood circles. In addition to his acting talent, Mr. Heston served as a six-term president of the Screen Actors Guild and chairman of the American Film Institute. He backed John F. Kennedy for president in 1960 and three years later accompanied Martin Luther King on his famous March on Washington.

But Mr. Heston began to feel that liberalism lost its moorings in the turbulent '60s and in 1972 he broke with his fellow actors and attended his first Republican convention, explaining to reporters he wanted to be at a place where they "didn't spell America with a 'k.'" He later became a staunch supporter of Ronald Reagan and told Britain's Daily Telegraph in 1989: "Today, I am about as right-wing as a man can be." But he spurned appeals to enter politics, saying: "I'd rather play a senator than be one."

In Hollywood his political conversion did not go unnoticed. He was shunned in many circles when he became president of the National Rifle Association, a job he said was consistent with his "record of supporting civil rights." Blogger Ed Morrissey notes the irony of how "Hollywood turned its back on one of its biggest icons for the sin of supporting gun rights" at the same time the industry was churning "out more and more films dedicated to mass shootings and indiscriminate violence."

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John Fund on the real reason Mark Penn left the Clinton Campaign

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary:

In reality, Mr. Penn had to go because the Clinton campaign needs a new strategy. The latest polls show Barack Obama's massive saturation ad buys in Pennsylvania are working. He is now tied with Mrs. Clinton in that state's April 22 primary. Hillary has perhaps one more Hail Mary pass in her and Mr. Penn wasn't the man to execute it.

That job will now go to Geoff Garin, a respected pollster and a man with a reputation for digging candidates out of holes they've put themselves in. In 2001, he helped craft the message that enabled Mark Warner to be elected governor of Virginia, a state that hadn't voted Democratic for president in a quarter century. Many of the leading Democrats in the Senate, from Dick Durbin to Chuck Schumer, have relied on Mr. Garin's advice. . . .

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Some More Environmental Hypocrisy

This information was sent to me by Dan Gifford (including pictures) and he referred to this website that claimed to confirm what he wrote here.

House #1 A 20 room mansion ( not including 8 bathrooms ) heated by
natural gas. Add on a pool ( and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400. per month. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern 'snow belt' area. It's in the South.

House #2
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every 'green' feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet ( 4 bedrooms ) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground.

The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.�

HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville, Tennessee; it is the abode of
the 'environmentalist ' Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas

It is the residence the of the President of the United States
George W. Bush.

Personally, I don't care how much energy either house uses nor how large the houses are, but it is interesting given how much Gore talks about this issue. Note also that this is only one of Gore's houses. He apparently owns several other houses.

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Shirley Jones on Charlton Heston

Shirley Jones remembers Charlton Heston here.



Interview this morning with BBC Radio

Weekend Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sunday, April 6, 2008, 2:05 AM EDT. The interview was on Heston passing and guns. I don't normally say this, but, to put it mildly, the hosts of the British show were jerks. For at least a few days, the interview can be heard here.

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Charlton Heston has died

Heston was always very nice to me when I talked to him. He always impressed me as a really decent person.

Some of Heston's movie clips.

The Ten Commandments - Moses Parts the Red Sea

Original I Am Legend Trailer Omega Man

Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape

Ben Hur

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"Convenience Store Clerk Kills Robber"

Channel 2 in Houston has this story from April 4th:

HOUSTON -- Cash scattered inside and out of a southeast Houston convenience store was a clear sign that a robber may have gotten the money, but he didn't get far, KPRC Local 2 reported.
Houston police said Peter Quang Dan, owner of the Colony Express Market in the 2500 block of Broadway Street near the South Loop, pulled the trigger during the robbery at about 11:50 p.m. Thursday.
"Two suspects walked in the store and attempted to rob, or did rob the convenience store," Sgt. J. Rubio said. "The store clerk discharged a firearm and hit one of the suspects, and one suspect fled the scene."
Police said Dan was pistol-whipped and forced to put his hands on the floor and lie down. Dan opened fire on the men as they left the store, investigators said.
The man who was shot died out in front of the convenience store, officials said. His name was not released.
Police said they found a stack of cash and a handgun near the body. . . .

Thanks to Scott Davis for sending me this link.


Obama Finally Corrects Supporter Who called McCain a "Warmonger"

I don't think that the title on this Fox News piece gets across the real story: "OBAMA CAMP CHIDES HOST WHO CALLED MCCAIN A ‘WARMONGER’." You would never know that the McCain campaign had to pressure Obama to do the right thing here (emphasis added):

Barack Obama’s campaign distanced itself Saturday from a liberal talk show host who called John McCain a “warmonger” while introducing the Illinois senator at a North Dakota campaign stop the night before, after the McCain campaign called on Obama to denounce the comment.

Local talk show host Ed Schultz used the term to describe the Arizona senator while warming up the crowd in Grand Forks, N.D., before Obama’s arrival at the state’s Democratic convention.

“John McCain is not a warmonger and should not be described as such,” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday. She added, “He’s a supporter of a war that Senator Obama believes should have never been authorized and never been waged.”

The campaign stressed that Obama was not present when the “warmonger” comment was made and that Schultz is not a campaign surrogate.

That wasn’t enough for the McCain campaign, which pressed Obama to personally repudiate Schultz

“Barack Obama promises a new brand of politics, but today refused to directly denounce Ed Schultz and his vicious smear attack on John McCain. John McCain is committed to a civil debate worthy of the American people and has a record of standing by that commitment,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Senator Obama must personally and publicly repudiate his campaign supporter’s attacks — rather than give tacit approval to this blatant smear — or his rhetoric of change will be exposed as nothing but words.”. . . .

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