Being able to keep your gun in your car at work would presumably have a big impact on carrying rates

I haven't checked the Brady Campaign info that was published in the WSJ here.  But that is largely beside the point here.  My guess is that the rate that people carry their concealed handguns with them will vary a lot depending on whether they can keep their guns locked in their cars at work.  If you can't have your gun locked in your car, you won't have your gun with you on anyplace that you go to or from work.  It would thus be expected to make a difference in the impact that concealed carry has on crime rates across the states.  The WSJ article gives one take on the debate to pass these laws.

Thanks to Nikki for sending me this link.

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Obama administration: "'Deeply Irresponsible' To Demand Spending Cuts To Match Debt Limit Increase"

The Obama administration keeps making the false claim that hitting the debt limit will cause default.  Of course, it is a nutty claim.  Default only occurs when you can't pay the monthly interest bill and that won't occur as long as revenue covers that.
Jay Carney: Asking that a political price be paid in order for Congress to do its job to ensure that the United States of America pays its bills and does not default for the first time in its history is deeply irresponsible. It was deeply irresponsible in the summer of 2011 and it would be deeply irresponsible if we were to see that kind of approach taken again. The President absolutely expects Congress to do its job, and one of the jobs that Congress has is to make sure the United States government pays its bills as the greatest economy and the greatest country on earth -- we pay our bills. . . .


With cuts in police department budget, City Attorney Tells San Bernardino Residents To ‘Lock Their Doors,’ ‘Load Their Guns’

Why is it so inappropriate for the San Bernardino City Attorney to tell people to protect themselves when the police aren't able to do it?
The city attorney of San Bernardino is under scrutiny for telling residents to “lock their doors and load their guns” during a city council meeting. 
The official explained that because the city is bankrupt and slashing public safety budgets people will need to start protecting themselves. 
City Attorney Jim Penman said he doesn’t regret what he said. 
“You should say what you mean and mean what you say,” Penman said. . . .
Besides the politically correct outrage, the other sad thing about this advice is that it is essentially telling people that they have to be locked up inside their homes.  It would be nice if California joined the rest of the country and let people defend themselves when they are outside their homes.

I was just on Coast-to-Coast AM to discuss these statements.

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Wyoming attack in yet another gun-free zone

Another gun-free zone:
Casper police say three are dead stemming from an attack at Casper College this morning. 
Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said two are dead at the school's Wold Physical Science Center and one dead at another location in Casper, although he wouldn't identify the dead or the other location. 
No suspects are at large and nobody else was injured, Walsh said. 
Asked about speculation that a bow and arrow were used in the attack, Walsh wouldn't identify what weapon or weapons were involved, although he said no firearms were used. . . .
This might have been a bow and arrow attack, that would make it quite different and I bet it won't get as much attention as normal.
Wyoming Statute  6-8-104 (t) “No permit issued pursuant to this section or any permit issued from any other state shall authorize any person to carry a concealed firearm into any college or university facility without the written consent of the security service of the college or university . . .
As almost always happens around the US, when a college gets this power to decide whether law-abiding citizens can carry concealed handguns on their campuses they do not allow it.  That is no different in the case of Casper College.

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Gallup: "U.S. Small-Business Owners Pessimistic Post-Election"

From Gallup:
U.S. small-business owners are pessimistic post-election, with the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index plunging to -11 in November from 17 in July. This is the most pessimistic that owners have been about their operating environment since July 2010, when the index stood at -28. . . .

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Michael David Dunn shooting of Jordan Russell Davis

I don't know yet what exactly happened with this recent shooting in Florida and I don't know if Mr. Dunn even has a concealed handgun permit.  At the very least, what I can say is that Mr. Dunn was incredibly stupid to shoot his gun and then leave the scene.  Even it were true that he left the scene because he somehow still felt threatened (and I am not saying that was the case), he should have gone someplace safe and then contacted the police.

It appears as if the police are doing what they should have done and arrest Mr. Dunn. 

I also agree with University of Miami Law School Professor Tamara Lave:
"I don't see how he is going to prevail under `stand your ground,"' Lave, a former public defender in San Diego for 10 years, said of Dunn. "You're allowed to own a gun. Even if there was a gun in the car, that doesn't mean the gun was used to threaten him in any way." . . .
Dunn apparently claimed that there was a shotgun pointed at him from Jordan Davis' car.  No gun was apparently found there.  If there was a gun and someone else in the car hid it after the incident, it just goes to provide a significant reason why Dunn shouldn't have left the scene or why at the least he should have contacted police immediately.

At this point, there is not enough information to draw any real conclusions.  What I will say is that if it turns out that Mr. Dunn was a permit holder, some background is probably in order.  Between October 1, 1987 and July 31, 2011 Florida had issued permits to over 2 million people, with the average person having had a permit for over a decade.  Out of those individuals, 168 had their permits for any firearms violation.  That is a revocation rate of 0.01%.  From January 2008 on the revocation rate is 0.0003%.  Most of these revocations appear to be due to people accidentally carrying their concealed handguns into gun-free zones.



Germany is not taking Paul Krugman's attacks seriously

I have previously noted how far off Krugman's predictions have been about Germany and other countries.  So is it surprising that German's haven't really taken his critiques seriously?  From the New Republic:
And yet, it’s equally apparent that Germans aren’t cowed by his vitriol—nor are they much persuaded by what he has to say. Merkel is still enjoying record popularity and Steinbrueck recently received a birthday greeting from an ordinary German citizen thanking him for sticking up to the New York Times columnist. When Krugman suggested the international community impose “sanctions” against Germany for its monetary policies, a number of notable German economists publicly, and sternly, pushed back. When Krugman accused Wolfgang Schaueble, the country's current finance minister, of “just making stuff up” when discussing the Euro crisis, Schaueble told the press that he had “no use for” economists with Nobel prizes. And when Krugman received a major award from one of Germany’s most prestigious economic research centers in 2010, the organizers made sure to pair his remarks on the European crisis with a speech by Schaeuble that undermined everything he had to say. . . .

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With Obama pushing hard to increase taxes on corporate dividends companies are trying to quickly give out a lot of money in dividends

A long list of companies are trying to quickly give out dividend payments before the end of the year.  With the tax rate on dividends possibly going from 15 percent to as high as 40 percent, is it any surprise that companies are responding?  What do you think that this will do to the incentive for people to invest.
Companies are racing the clock to hand out billions in special dividends before year end—and some of them are taking on debt to do it. . . . .
UPDATE:  Here is an announcement from Apple.
If Apple took all the money earmarked to pay out dividends over the next three years and paid it out now, shareholders would get $31.88 per share. If taxed at the current 15% rate, that would leave investors with $27. If that same money is paid out after January 1, it would leave shareholders in the highest tax bracket with $18 after taxes. 
This has nothing to do with "fair" or the 1%. The money belongs to shareholders, and the option is either to take $27 in the next month or $18 spread out over the next 3 years. It's not a trick question; the only rational choice is to take the money now. 
A company and its board are obligated to attempt to efficiently invest shareholder money. If Apple does anything other than pay shareholders a minimum of $30 per share in a one-time dividend, they are ignoring their fiduciary responsibility for reasons they can't or won't explain. . . . 
Here's a quick primer for those of you new to the dividend conversation. The current tax rate on dividend income is 15%. Set in the Bush-era, this rate is set to expire in January unless lawmakers intervene. Under President Obama's proposed plan, dividends would be taxed inline with wages and salaries in 2013. That would mean dividend taxes will increase to as much as 39.6% for high-income earnings. With the kicker of a 3.8% additional tax on all investment income, the effective tax for dividends could be as high as 43.4% for anything paid out next year. . . .

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Does Krugman understand that there is both Supply and Demand?

Low interest rates can be due to two reasons.  Either people don't find the US an attractive place to invest (demand has shifted down) and/or the supply of funds is increasing.
Far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have continued to pile in, driving interest rates to historical lows. . . .
So Krugman's solution?  With massive debt, the solution is yet more debt.
Beyond that, suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy isn’t that we’ll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we’ll reduce the deficit too much. For that’s what the “fiscal cliff” — better described as the austerity bomb — is all about: the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick in at the end of this year are precisely not what we want to see happen in a still-depressed economy. . . .
Does anyone notice what a failure these policies have been for the countries that have adopted them (see here)?

UPDATE: Michael Tanner has some notes on Krugman here.

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Defensive gun use stories from Texas and Florida

Florida has a case where a resident "turns the tables on would-be robber."

The case from Texas is here.

A Grand Prairie homeowner was on the phone with 911 operators when he shot a knife-wielding intruder who was later identified as a neighbor, police said.
It happened about 2:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of Clark Trail. The resident heard a side window shatter and armed himself with a .40 caliber handgun, police said.
The suspect, Gilberto Balderas, 21, was shot in the stomach. He lives just blocks away -- on the same street.
"I'm still in shock," said neighbor Lena Tinajero. "I can't believe it. You know, you don't think, you never never think it's your neighbors -- especially if you know them, so I'm still in disbelief." . . .


Newest Fox News piece: Powerball odds

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:
The $550 million Powerball jackpot sure sounds tempting. And you may be even more tempted to participate in Powerball madness when I tell you that inspired to learn that there is a 63 percent chance at 10:59 ET on Wednesday night that one or more people will be screaming with delight or fainting. 
It seems like such a great deal, too. For a very small investment, with a $550 million jackpot, and odds of 1 in 175 million, it looks like a $2 ticket will on average pay $2.84. Even if you don't win the Powerball jackpot, you might win a consolation prize. That adds another 35 cents to the value of each ticket, for a total of $3.19.  Not a bad return for a $2 investment.  How can you go wrong? 
You might be wondering how state governments can afford to pay out so much money even when they keep 50 percent off the top of the prize. That's because the unclaimed winnings from 15 previous Powerball drawings are kept in the pot. . . .
I definitely wouldn't have picked the title for this piece. 

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"Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50% tax rate"

People are so much more mobile now than they used to be.  With the internet, you can often do work any place in the world.  Other countries also used to have much higher tax rates so there wasn't the same ability to avoid the high rates.  This shows what happened when Britain's top tax rate was raised from 40 to 50 percent and then again when it was lowered back to 45 percent.
In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. 
This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election. 
The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government. 
It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes. 
George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget earlier this year that the 50p top rate will be reduced to 45p from next April.
Since the announcement, the number of people declaring annual incomes of more than £1 million has risen to 10,000. . . .
Paul Krugman seems to seriously argue that we could raise today's tax rates to what they were in the 1950 and everything would work fine.
But the ’50s — the Twinkie Era — do offer lessons that remain relevant in the 21st century. Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich. 
Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth. Remember that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, charged with producing a plan to curb deficits, nonetheless somehow ended up listing “lower tax rates” as a “guiding principle.” 
Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today. 
Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders. . . . 

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Obama waits until after the election to ban Intrade.com accounts by Americans


Unqualified public school teachers cheated on tests to get teaching jobs

It would be interesting to see if the teachers who cheated to get these jobs did as well career wise as those who didn't.  How could 60 some teachers being admitted over a 15 year period of time effect only  hundreds of students?  Surely, the number must be in the many thousands.  Take a high school teacher.  Even if the person only had three classes with 20 each per semester, that would come to a minimum of 120 students per year.  Just 10 high school teachers for only one year would be over 1,200 students.  Without trying very hard it seems as if you would easily be in the 5-digit range.  From Fox News:
. . . For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. -- himself a longtime educator -- to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said. Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam. In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis. 
Authorities say the scheme affected hundreds -- if not thousands -- of public school students who ended up being taught by unqualified instructors.  
Mumford faces more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges that claim he created fake driver's licenses with the information of a teacher or an aspiring teacher and attached the photograph of a test-taker.  . . . 
The hired-test takers went to testing centers, showed the proctor the fake license, and passed the certification exam, prosecutors say. Then, the aspiring teacher used the test score to secure a job with a public school district, the indictment alleges. . . .

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"Churches offering concealed-carry weapons training to attract members"

Here is a novel way to increase church attendance.  It seems like a way to interest men in the church.  From The Daily:
. . . In an effort to increase membership, a number of U.S. churches — including the Church of Christ congregation in this rural village 30 miles north of Columbus — are offering an unconventional public service: Concealed weapons training. 
“Church has done a good job with coffee klatsches or whatever, but we haven’t really reached out to guys,” said Jeff Copley, a preacher at the church. “And guys in Morrow Country, they shoot and they hunt.” 
Hundreds of students have enrolled in the 10-hour course, which meets the state requirements for earning a concealed weapons permit. The training includes two hours on a church member’s private shooting range. 
“I grew up going to church, but hadn’t attended in a number of years,” said David Freeman, 52, a local engineering manager who attended a firearm safety class at the church. “Always considered myself a Christian. I came for the gun classes and have been coming back for two years. . . .
A number of examples of individual churches doing this are provided in the article.

Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link.

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"Gun-related violent crimes drop as sales soar in Va."

This study seems to have gotten some national attention.  I find the different headlines in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Gun-related violent crimes drop as sales soar in Va) and the San Francisco Chronicle (Gun violence in Va falls, firearms sales up) interesting.   The two titles imply the opposite causalities.  I assume that the SF Chronicle title is the one put on the story by the AP since the exact same title is appearing in other papers (Seattle PI, WNCT North CarolinaHampton Roads Daily Press), though not everyone used that AP headline (WJLA).

I generally find it better to examine panel data rather than what seems like purely time-series data, but I haven't had a chance to look at this research.
Gun-related violent crime in Virginia has dropped steadily over the past six years as the sale of firearms has soared to a new record, according to an analysis of state crime data with state records of gun sales. 
The total number of firearms purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent from 2006 to 2011. When state population increases are factored in, gun purchases per 100,000 Virginians rose 63 percent. 
But the total number of gun-related violent crimes fell 24 percent over that period, and when adjusted for population, gun-related offenses dropped more than 27 percent, from 79 crimes per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 crimes in 2011. 
The numbers appear to contradict a long-running popular narrative that more guns cause more violent crime, said Virginia Commonwealth University professor Thomas R. Baker, who compared Virginia crime data for those years with gun-dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 
"While there is a wealth of academic literature attempting to demonstrate the relationship between guns and crime, a very simple and intuitive demonstration of the numbers seems to point away from the premise that more guns leads to more crime, at least in Virginia," said Baker, who specializes in research methods and criminology theory and has an interest in gun issues. . . . 
Thanks very much to Paul Blumstein for this link. 

UPDATE: I contacted Tom Baker and he was nice enough to very quickly respond to me.  His work can be obtained here.  He has put together a few very simple graphs.

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More political correctness in movies?: "Red Dawn" movie changes villain from China to North Korea

I guess that it just isn't politically correct to make the Chinese look like the bad guys.  China was the original bad guy, but after the movie was shot it had to be redone to make the North Koreans look bad. As the discussion at Box Office Mojo makes clear, this change hurts the plot and has made selling the movie more difficult "since the central conflict is blatantly absurd."  From Box Office Mojo (emphasis added):
Nearly three years after completing principal photography, the Red Dawn remake is finally reaching theaters (2,679 theaters, to be exact). The lengthy delay is being blamed on producer MGM's bankruptcy issues, though there was also the minor issue of having to change the invading force from China to North Korea in post-production. In comparison, the 1984 original (which earned $38.4 million, or $90.7 million adjusted for ticket price inflation) featured Russians as the villains, which brings to mind the biggest issue with this remake: in 1984, the notion of Russia invading the U.S. was far-fetched, but they were at least a global power, and the Cold War was still technically going on. While North Korea has been antagonistic towards the U.S., they don't even have the wherewithal to cause much trouble in Asia, much less stage an invasion of the U.S.  
Since the central conflict is blatantly absurd, the marketing has instead relied on vague patriotism, which just isn't as compelling. It's also emphasized the presence of Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Huntsman) and (to a lesser extent) Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), though star power tends to be an overrated indicator of box office potential. Distributor FilmDistrict is hoping for a debut in the high-teen-millions for the five-day weekend. . . .


"Bloomberg banned food donations to homeless shelters"

Mayor Michael Bloomberg in March instituted a ban on food donations to homeless shelters. Not because of food contamination, but because the city can’t properly assess salt, fat and fiber in donated food and thereby ensure starving people are getting what he deems to be appropriately healthy meals.
. . . In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans. 
For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife, Lenore, have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side Orthodox congregation. 
They’ve brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood. (Disclosure: I know the food is so tasty because I’ve eaten it — I’m an OZ member.) The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city. 
DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond says the ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers. A new interagency document controls what can be served at facilities — dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations. . . .
More more recent nuttiness from the New York Daily News.
. . . Bobby Eustace, a firefighter out of Ladder 27 in the Bronx, has been serving free hot food to the homeless and displaced and to relief workers and volunteers in Breezy Point, Queens, since two days after the hurricane hit. 
On Sunday, Eustace and dozens of fellow firefighter volunteers served 800 free hot meals from a steamy Army tent in this hemorrhaging beach community, where there are no longer stores or restaurants, where most people have no gas to cook with, no heat or hot water and no hot food. 
That afternoon, a freon-blooded inspector from the city’s Department of Health issued Eustace a notice of violation for not meeting the same food-handling standards as, say, the Four Seasons. . . .
Some comments are of interest are available here.

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