Are Panhandlers Telling the Truth?: One study says no
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New Haven (WTNH) _ Citizen bike patrols may soon be canvassing the Elm City with more than just bikes. They may take to the streets packing guns again.
Folks living in Edgewood Park area say the sound of summer is back.
"In this neighborhood we've had quite a few of the shootings," one neighborhood resident said.
Now one neighborhood activist is asking for better police protection. "Visible presence means visible presence. Two offices on bicycles from four to midnight," Eli Greer of the Edgewood Park Defense Patrol said.
Greer is best known for organizing controversial armed bike patrols last summer, which were mostly comprised of Orthodox Jews on bikes, some which carried guns while pedaling around the neighborhood.
The so-called Edgewood Park Defense Patrol gave up its guns in November. Now they say that if the city doesn't assign police bike patrols to the neighborhood that their armed patrols will return. . . .
In Norway, sexist advertising has been banned since 2003. The ban forms part of a much broader package of legal limits on advertising, protecting the depiction of religion, sexuality, race and gender.
"Basically, if something is offensive or it makes the viewer feel uncomfortable when they look at it, it shouldn't be done", explained Sol Olving, head of Norway's Kreativt Forum, an association of the country's top advertising agencies.
"Naked people are wonderful, of course, but they have to be relevant to the product. You could have a naked person advertising shower gel or a cream, but not a woman in a bikini draped across a car." . . .
Box Office Mojo: What's the project's status?
Michael Burns: It's in active development—I'm reading the script. The challenge has been whether it's one or two movies. We're finding consolidation, trying to get set pieces and other moving parts working together, trying to get the essence of the book. . . .
Michael Burns: We have a talented director, a producing team, we have the rights and we have a woman who's arguably the biggest movie star in the world who wants to play Dagny Taggart—probably one of the greatest heroines of literature. . . .
Box Office Mojo: The novel is divided into three parts, Non-Contradiction, Either-Or and A is A—?
Michael Burns: —But I think it's really in two parts. There's a great moment in the book where Dagny basically steals back her own train—and certainly that would be a great place to break the movie up. It's hard to make one movie from 1,200 pages. . . .
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has perpetuated a “genocide on the black community,” says a group of African-American pastors who claimed Thursday the birth control and abortion provider has had a racist agenda since its beginnings in 1921.
If there are too many guns in Chicago, it's not because of any statutory oversight. The city has long outlawed the sale and possession of handguns. It also forbids assault weapons. If prohibition were the answer, no one would be asking the question ... Gun control hasn't worked as a remedy for crime. So what makes anyone think the answer is more gun control?
It has done so despite the alleged problem cited by Weis, which is the availability of guns, and particularly one type of gun. "There are just too many weapons here," he declared at a Sunday news conference. "Why in the world do we allow citizens to own assault rifles?"
Actually, in Chicago, "we" don't allow citizens to own assault rifles. Elsewhere, they are allowed for the same reason other firearms are permitted. The gun Weis villainized is a type of semiautomatic that has a fearsome military appearance but is functionally identical to many legal sporting arms.
And its bark is worse than its bite. As of March 31, there had been 87 homicides in the city. When I asked the Chicago Police Department how many of the murders are known to have involved assault rifles, the answer came back: One.
Meanwhile the most recent government data shows food inflation for the average American household is now running at 4.5% a year.
And some prices are rising even more quickly. The latest data show cereal prices rising by more than 8% a year. Both flour and rice are up more than 13%. Milk, cheese, bananas and even peanut butter: They're all up by more than 10%. Eggs have rocketed up 30% in a year. Ground beef prices are up 4.8% and chicken by 5.4%. . . .
"maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food."
And if you are hoping [food price increases] will pass, here's the bad news: They may actually accelerate.
The main reason for rising prices, of course, is the surge in demand from China and India. Hundreds of millions of people are joining the middle class each year, and that means they want to eat more and better food.
A secondary reason has been the growing demand for ethanol as a fuel additive. That's soaking up some of the corn supply.
The results stoked concern that corporations are tightening their belts as the U.S. economy cools, even after a report from researcher IDC showed PC sales exceeded forecasts in the quarter. PC shipments rose 15 percent, Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC said this month. Microsoft had forecast as much as 11 percent.
. . . . Barack Obama's campaign says Mr. Obama has won 14.4 million votes compared to 13.9 million for Mrs. Clinton, a 49% to 47% lead. But yesterday in Indianapolis, Mrs. Clinton hauled out her New Math.
"As of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anybody else, and I am proud of that," she told a rally. "It's a very close race, but if you count, as I count, the 2.3 million people who voted in Michigan and Florida, then we are going to build on that." Indeed, if you count the Florida and Michigan results, she leads Mr. Obama by 15.1 million votes to 15. million.
The status of the rogue Michigan and Florida primaries continues to bedevil Democrats. Delegates from both states have been stripped of their votes at the Denver convention because their state parties held primaries too early. In Florida, no one campaigned and Mrs. Clinton won a 50% to 33% victory. In Michigan, Mr. Obama's name didn't appear on the ballot and Mrs. Clinton won 55% of the vote. An uncommitted slate of delegates favoring Mr. Obama won 40% of the vote.
Mr. Obama didn't put up a big fuss about Mrs. Clinton's numbers. "I guess there have been a number of different formulations that the Clinton campaign has been trying to arrive at to suggest that somehow they're not behind," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I'll leave that up to you guys. If you want to count [Florida and Michigan] for some abstract measure, you're free to do so." His point was simple: He has more delegates and that's what will count in choosing the nominee.
But at least until Indiana and North Carolina vote in two weeks, Mrs. Clinton has a new rhetorical talking point to make with voters and superdelegates -- if you count every vote cast so far in a recognized or unrecognized primary, she is the temporary leader.
Sen. Obama's comments about bitter voters and their guns didn't do him any good with nearly four in 10 voters who own a gun or live with someone who does. They sided with Sen. Clinton by a sizeable majority.
One in four Clinton supporters said they would vote for Sen. John McCain if Sen. Obama is the Democratic nominee. Sixteen percent of Obama backers said they would choose Sen. McCain over Sen. Clinton.
Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.
All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.
There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.
It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.
This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.
It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.
The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.
Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.
That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern. . . .
Nathan Robinson is a lone ranger walking the University of Tennessee campus this week with nothing but a gunless leather holster on his side. UT students are split over whether the holster should be filled.
Robinson, a 30-year-old aerospace engineering student, heard last week that pro-gun advocates would be holding the silent protest this week across the U.S. and Monday he said he's the only person he knows of carrying the message at UT.
He plans to pass out pamphlets and to correct the misconception that "Western-style" shootouts would break out if students carried handguns. "We don't want to do this to police the campus," he said. "We're not police. We want to do this to protect ourselves."
State law forbids private citizens to carry firearms on university campuses in Tennessee and other states, even if they have a carry permit.
Freshman Drew Quinn, 19, doesn't think carrying guns around campus is a good idea. He said he thinks it would only lead to more violence. "If you have it, there's a better chance you're going to use it," he said.
UT senior Nick Bishop recently got his handgun carry permit and agrees with Robinson, however. He doesn't see the difference between having a gun on campus or at Wal-Mart. Bishop said there's nothing to stop someone from bringing a gun onto campus and shooting people, but if gunmen knew others could be armed, they might think twice about their plan. . . .
A man buying gas in South Memphis early today surprised an armed carjacker by pulling a gun and firing at least two shots at him.
The carjacker ran away from Haile’s BP, 563 E. Mallory, leaving behind a gold Acura that police said had been carjacked earlier.
“He tried to hijack me and rob me,” said Charles Todd, 64, who had arrived at the station just before 6 a.m. to fill a gas can. “I had to defend myself. He had a rifle.”
Shortly before 8 a.m., Todd sat quietly by his black Toyota Tacoma, a lawn mower in the bed, as police investigated the scene. Customers came and went, filling their cars with gas and buying cigarettes and snacks, despite the police cars lining the parking lot
A clerk at the BP, Berkhanu Fekadu, 38, was inside the store when the shooting occurred.
“I heard the sound of guns, somebody shooting,” he said. “I just heard, ‘Boom! Boom!’”
Fekadu ran outside in time to see the carjacker running away as Todd hurried to ask Fekadu to call police.
Security video from the store shows the carjacker pulling the gun from the Acura, then confronting Todd at the gas pumps.
Todd takes cover behind the pumps as he fires at a dodging suspect, who then runs out of the frame after he’s had enough.
Police found no blood at the scene and didn’t believe the carjacker was hit by the shots. Officers searched the area nearby but found no sign of the suspect.
Todd has a permit to carry the gun, police said.
The BP’s owner, Tsegaye Haile, 42, took the incident in stride, saying he’s gotten used to the unusual at the store at East Mallory and Lauderdale.
“This is a hard corner,” he said.
Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis said all but three of the 26 shootings were gang-related.
Seven victims were juveniles, five of whom were out after the city curfew of 11 p.m. So he's also asking parents to be more vigilant about where their children are after hours.
Weis also supports Mayor Daley in his call for tougher legislation that will make it more difficult to get and own guns.
"You just have too many guns and too many gangs, and too much drugs on the street," Weis said. "There's just too many weapons out here." . . .
Tech's chapter is home to several dozen of the more than 3,600 SCCC members from over 600 campuses participating in the protest this year, according to the organization's Web site. . . .
ABC News reported that the Obama campaign sent out an automated phone call message yesterday featuring a gun owner claiming that the Illinois Senator "respects our traditions" while "Senator Clinton voted to allow guns to be confiscated." The call refers to the fact that Mrs. Clinton was one of 16 senators to vote against an amendment barring police from confiscating guns from homeowners during an emergency, as was done with abandon in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Hillary Clinton quickly responded with her own "robocall" that attempted to tar Mr. Obama as an elitist, anti-gun liberal. The call featured a narrator deploring the fact that as an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama "supported a ban on all handguns, and he even personally filled out a questionnaire saying he supported the ban. Now instead of telling you the truth about that, he's trying to cover it up, saying he never saw the questionnaire -- even though his handwriting was on it." . . .
It's well known that Democrats decided to soft-pedal the gun issue after being hurt in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. But this year the gun question has come back with a vengeance, with the unusual twist that both major Democratic candidates now are competing to see just how pro-gun each can portray themselves as being.
Americans' fears over the safety of schools continues.
Last Monday, three colleges and four K-to-12 schools were shut down by threats of violence.
This week over 25,000 college students at 300 chapters in 44 states belong to a group, Students for Concealed Carry on College Campuses, that will carry empty handgun holsters to protest their concerns about not being able to defend themselves.
With the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech attack last week and the discussions that it created, we clearly have not been able to put that and other attacks behind us. There are good reasons why the safety measures adopted over the last year to speed up response times or hiring more police haven't eliminated the fear people feel. . . .
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has worked to assure uneasy gun owners that he believes the Constitution protects their rights and that he doesn’t want to take away their guns.
But before he became a national political figure, he sat on the board of a Chicago-based foundation that doled out at least nine grants totaling nearly $2.7 million to groups that advocated the opposite positions.
The foundation funded legal scholarship advancing the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect individual gun owners’ rights, as well as two groups that advocated handgun bans. And it paid to support a book called “Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.”
Obama’s eight years on the board of the Joyce Foundation, which paid him more than $70,000 in directors fees, do not in any way conflict with his campaign-trail support for the rights of gun owners, Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign, asserted in a statement issued to Politico this week.
LaBolt stressed that the foundation, which has assets of about $935 million, doesn’t take “detailed policy positions,” but rather uses its grants to “fuel a dialogue about how to address public policy issues like reducing gun violence.” . . . .
Author: Guns receive unfair news coverage
If you knew someone was stalking your family, would you post a sign in your yard that said "This house is a gun-free zone?"
With policies that ban carrying concealed weapons on campus, universities are doing essentially the same thing, said the author of "The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard about Gun Control is Wrong" in a speech last night.
"We all want to get guns away from criminals. I think the question is: Who is going to obey the laws taking guns away?" said John Lott, a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Lott spoke last night as part of an event organized by UK's chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Capt. Kevin Franklin of UK police also spoke as part of the event.
Lott emphasized that owning guns and having them on campus is a cost-benefit analysis. While people may commit violent acts using guns, people also use guns to prevent violent crimes from happening, he said. . . .
A Republican state lawmaker called on Iowans Friday to boycott Pizza Hut restaurants after the company fired a Des Moines delivery driver who shot an armed robber last month.
"You tell me any Iowan that was in his situation, that had a gun put to his head, how they would've reacted differently," state Sen. Brad Zaun of Urbandale said. "I think it's the wrong decision by Pizza Hut and I will not be buying any more Pizza Hut products."
James William Spiers III, 38, fired multiple shots at a man who accosted him March 27 and demanded money at the Sutton Hill Apartments, 2100 S.E. King Ave.
Spiers said Pizza Hut officials asked for his resignation in exchange for at least two months' pay and counseling.
"I was terminated, but they're not going to kick me to the curb," he said Friday. "When they terminated me, I had asked if they could provide me with counseling. That's all I asked for."
Pizza Hut officials confirmed that Spiers was offered a severance package, counseling services and job search help but declined to comment further. . . .
Spiers, who has a valid handgun permit, said it was the first time in 10 years on the job that he had been a robbery victim. Public reaction was immediate and overwhelmingly in favor of Spiers.
Pizza Hut officials made it clear after the incident that employees are not allowed to carry guns. Fuller said Friday the policy is in line with the food delivery industry and will not be altered. . . .
A STRIPPER'S truncheon is an offensive weapon even though he uses it as a prop in his policeman act, prosecutors claimed yesterday.
Student Stuart Kennedy was hauled into court after two female plain-clothes cops spotted him in a fake police uniform.
They followed him into the Paramount Bar in Aberdeen and watched him perform as "Sergeant Eros" before charging him with carrying offensive weapons, which also included a fake CS cas canister
He was cleared at the city's sheriff court - but yesterday the Crown challenged the ruling at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh.
Sheriff Kenneth Stewart had ruled Stuart's baton and a fake gas spray were "props in an act".
But advocate depute Brian McConnachie, QC, said that was not a "reasonable excuse" as it would allow people dressed up as neds to carry flick-knives.
Judge Lord Johnston said the Crown case "raises points of some importance".
Mr McConnachie said Stuart could have used a toy or replica baton.
He said: "For the purposes of his act, he doesn't require a real police truncheon. . . .
According to the 2006 General Social Survey, which has tracked gun ownership since 1973, 34% of American homes have guns in them. . . . .
Who are all these gun owners? Are they the uneducated poor, left behind? It turns out they have the same level of formal education as nongun owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than nonowners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden group.
Nor are they "bitter." In 2006, 36% of gun owners said they were "very happy," while 9% were "not too happy." Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy.
In 1996, gun owners spent about 15% less of their time than nonowners feeling "outraged at something somebody had done." It's easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group. But it just isn't true. The data say that the people in the approximately 40 million American households with guns are generally happier than those people in households that don't have guns.
The gun-owning happiness gap exists on both sides of the political aisle. Gun-owning Republicans are more likely than nonowning Republicans to be very happy (46% to 37%). Democrats with guns are slightly likelier than Democrats without guns to be very happy as well (32% to 29%). Similarly, holding income constant, one still finds that gun owners are happiest.
Why are gun owners so happy? One plausible reason is a sense of self-reliance, in terms of self-defense or even in terms of the ability to hunt their own dinner.
Many studies over the years have shown that a belief in one's control over the environment dramatically adds to happiness. Example: a famous study of elderly nursing home patients in the 1970s. It showed dramatic improvements in life satisfaction from elements of control as seemingly insignificant as being able to care for one's plants.
A bit of evidence that self-reliance is at work among gun owners comes from the General Social Survey. It asked whether one agrees with the statement, "Those in need have to take care of themselves." In 2004, gun owners were 10 percentage points more likely than nonowners to agree (60% to 50%).
That response is not evidence that gun owners only care about themselves, however. In 2002, they were more likely to give money to charity than people without guns (83% to 75%). This charity gap doesn't reflect their somewhat higher incomes. Gun owners were also more likely to give in other ways, such as donating blood. Are gun owners unsentimental? In 2004, they were more likely than those without guns to strongly agree that they would "endure all things" for the one they loved (45% to 37%). . . .