Reviews of "24"

Here are a couple of reviews. As unbelieveable as it seems, apparently this season promises to be the best one yet. I confess that I regularly tried to watch this show. It is usually great.

-- Review by Stephen King.

--Review by DOROTHY RABINOWITZ in the WSJ.

Review by the Toronto Star for an idea of what some Canadians think of the show..

Review by the New York Times.



Major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district exempted from minimum wage increase

At least when it comes to her constituents, Pelosi seems to understand that the law can put people out of work.

House Republicans yesterday declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.
"I am shocked," said Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and his party's chief deputy whip, noting that Mrs. Pelosi campaigned heavily on promises of honest government. "Now we find out that she is exempting hometown companies from minimum wage. This is exactly the hypocrisy and double talk that we have come to expect from the Democrats."
On Wednesday, the House voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.
The bill also extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws. . . .

Twice in week that crimes stopped by armed shop owners in Las Vegas

Jan. 12, 2007, Las Vegas Review-Journal: A would-be robber was shot and killed by a North Las Vegas furniture store owner Thursday night, police said. . . . North Las Vegas police spokesman Sean Walker said the owner considered it suspicious that someone was seeking to enter through the back door and armed himself. Upon opening the door, the owner was confronted by a man wearing a mask and carrying a metal pipe, Walker said. The robbery suspect swung the pipe at the owner, who fired his weapon back at the suspect, police said. . . .

Jan. 06, 2007, Las Vegas Review-Journal: A convenience store manager shot and killed a robbery suspect and injured another Friday after the men entered his North Las Vegas store and took the manager and several customers hostage. . . .

Thanks to L.J. O'Neale for both stories.



Judge Castillo issues decision on Lott v. Levitt

A copy of the judge's decision can be downloaded here. A Copy of Levitt's Correction Letter can be obtained here.

1) The Judge has found that one of the two counts of defamation involving Levitt can proceed.

p. 15: ". . . Levitt's email sounds as if he was "in possession of objectively verifiable facts." In his email Levitt states: 'It was not a peer refereed edition of the Journal. For $15,000 [Lott] was able to buy an issue and put in only work that supported him. My best friend was the editor and was outraged the press let Lott do this.' First, it would be unreasonable to interpret Levitt's unqualified statement that the journal edition was not 'peer refereed' as Levitt merely giving his opinion on the 'peers' chosen to review,or referee, the Special issue. Indeed, the editor of the Journal might be able to verify the truth or falsity of whether the Special Issue was reviewd by peers. Furthermore, while Levitt argues that one person's "'peer' in the academic realm may be another person's 'hack'," this distinction is not reasonable when discussing the review process at a top university's academic journal. Second, a reasonable reader would not interpret Levitt's assertion that "For $15,000 [Lott] was able to buy an issue and put in only work that supported him" as simply a statement of Levitt's opinion. Levitt's email appears to state objectively verifiable facts: that Lott paid $15,000 to control the content of the Special Issue. . . . Levitt's motion to dismiss Count II of Lott's Complaint is denied."

2) p. 7: "The applicable standard, however, is not that of the 'world of academic research and scholarship' that Lott describes. Rather, the critical question is how a 'reasonable reader' would interpret the phrase. The reasonable reader in this case is the general population . . . . In everyday language replicating results does not necessarily mean analyzing identical data in identical ways . . . ."

Response: I think that the market for the book was also aimed at academics. The book is apparently marketed to a large number of economics classes and is read by academics.

Levitt's correction letter

Many comments have been posted on this letter based upon the news story written on it in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but few have seen Levitt's actual correction letter. Among those commenting on the original news stories please see Ted Frank, Ben Zycher, John Palmer, Craig Newmark, Robert Wallach, Clayton Cramer, Larry White, Steve Sailer, Xlrq, Jonathan Adler, Michael Munger, Steve Sailer again, Glenn Reynolds, Say Uncle, Jode Shoo, Singular Values, and
The Corner. Unfortunately, at this point, I am not allowed to really comment on this. One part of Levitt's letter that has not gotten any attention is the one that I think was his most important, his statement that:
"I also was aware at the time of the May 2005 emails to you that in connection with the preparation of conference issues for the JLE that the organizer of each conference issue needs to provide funding to the JLE to cover publication and mailing expenses. I did not mean to suggest that Dr. Lott did anything unlawful or improper in arranging for the payment of the publication expenses for the Conference Issue."

The Chronicle of Higher Education has had a couple of articles on all this:

See this from the Chronicle.

See also this:

According to the motion, new facts have come to Mr. Lott’s attention since last year that significantly alter the character of his complaint. For one thing, he says, new information has come out about what he calls Mr. Levitt’s malice toward him. The motion alleges that Mr. Levitt has publicly referred to Mr. Lott as “the anti-Christ” and that Mr. Levitt “offered publicly to pay colleagues if they would humiliate” Mr. Lott. (Mr. Levitt did not immediately reply to a request for comment today.)

One point that wasn't directly mentioned by anyone is that Levitt's response when asked to backup is claim that others hadn't replicated my research was that the research papers were not refereed. Not only is Levitt acknowledging that the papers backed up and replicated my research, but he is admitting that the papers that did so were refereed.

The date on this letter does not match when I received it.
Update: See also this follow up filing


The Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke on why violent crime has gone up in 2005 and part of 2006

Violent crimes are rising. Do you think there is any connection between crime rates and changing gun legislation?

A. During the 1990s the federal government helped cities like Fort Wayne fight crime by providing COPS grants to hire more police and by adopting common-sense gun legislation like the Brady bill (establishing background checks for guns sold by licensed dealers) and the assault weapons ban. In recent years, there has been less federal money for local communities to hire police, and the gun laws have been weakened. Crime rates rise and fall for a number of reasons, but I certainly think that the change from the approach in the 1990s of “more police, less guns” to the approach now of “more guns, less police” has not helped. . . .

Why not more police and more guns? My research showed that police were the single most important factor in reducing crime, but I also believe that the police themselves realize that they almost always arrive on the crime scene after the crime has been committed. Police are extremely important and help in certain ways and so does letting private citizens defend themselves.

As to the Brady Act, how has the Bush administration weakened it? What did they do in 2005 and 2006 that weakened it?

I believe that the reduction in the number of police is associated with part of the reason for more violent crime, but that has nothing to do with the COPS programs which really didn't do anything to effectively increase the number of cops on the street. I have written on this enough, but the COPS program did not do anything about fungibility of money.


Miami, Florida: "Liquor store owner shoots, kills a robber"


Democrat uses "Assault Rifle" to defend family

Former Democratic Congressional and Senate candidate uses an "assault rifle" to defend his family. "Indian Hill lawyer and former congressional candidate Paul Hackett says he was woken up by 'criminal activity'on November 19 and 'took affirmative action to protect his wife and family from an unknown disturbance at his house.'" There is a certain irony here. Assuming that this gun is a real "assault rifle," it is interesting that the leftwing HuffingtonPost is giving the case such positive coverage. Of course, they face a certain tension. On the one hand, two of their columnists are Josh Sugarman and the Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke. On the other hand, Hackett is a liberal Democrat who they supported when he ran for office.

INDIAN HILL - Indian Hill lawyer and former congressional candidate Paul Hackett - armed with a loaded assault rifle - chased down three men in a car after it crashed into a fence at his home in the early morning hours of Nov. 19.

The driver was charged with failure to maintain reasonable control, driving under suspension and carrying a concealed weapon - a pair of brass knuckles found in his pocket - according to the Indian Hill police.

Indian Hill Rangers consider the matter closed, but a Hamilton County grand jury two weeks ago took testimony from the three men in the car and the ranger who investigated the incident, according to an Indian Hill police report.

Indian Hill Police Chief Chuck Schlie said police don't plan any further investigation. . . .

The discussion on the leftwing HuffingtonPost is pretty entertaining. Many are condeming Hackett, saying that what he did was unjustified. It seems to me that when dealing with three men like that, there is nothing wrong about being careful, and in addition the news story doesn't contain a lot of detail about what happened so the conclusions that are being drawn seem strained.

UPDATE: As expected, it turns out that this "assault rifle" was a civilian version of the AR-15, meaning that it is a semi-automatic rifle. A .223 caliber rifle can't even be used for deer hunting in most states because the bullet is not big enough to ensure that you will kill, as opposed to wound the animal.


One more cost to government regulation: Apple's iPhone

Apple apparently didn't want to reveal the iPhone yesterday, but it couldn't keep the project secret any longer because of government regulations!

In the end, Apple decided to reveal the iPhone several months ahead of its official June launch because it could not keep the secret any more. Apple has to file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the permits needed to operate the iPhone, and once those public filings are made, Apple has no control over the release of that information. So, Jobs said, he made the decision to have Apple tell the world about its new phone, rather than the FCC.

Pillow talk was a challenge at the other end of the spectrum. Keeping secrets from loved ones is especially hard. Those stresses were amplified by the frantic race over the past half year to get the iPhone ready for launch. As Macworld approached, dinners were missed, kids were not tucked in properly, and family plans were disrupted, especially over the holidays. And for what? "Sorry, that's classified" is not considered a satisfactory answer in many households when Mom or Dad misses the school play or the big wedding anniversary dinner.

Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing and one of the few Apple executives involved with the project from the start, said he had to keep the iPhone development secret even from his wife and children. When he left home for the official unveiling yesterday, Schiller said, his son asked, "Dad, can you finally tell us now what you've been working on?" Jobs paused during the keynote to acknowledge the strain and sacrifices that the past months have brought not just for the employees who kept the secrets so well, but also for their families. "We couldn't have done it without you," he said, with obvious sincerity. . . .

Economists Opposed to Pharmaceutical Price Controls

If you click on the link, you will see the list of economists who signed this letter. I guess that we will find out if it helps the fight. The surprise to me is that this debate keeps on having to take place. (Ben Zycher at the Manhattan Institute did all the heavy lifting on this.)

We are deeply concerned about proposed legislation that would lead to negotiation of pharmaceutical prices by the federal government for the new Medicare Part D drug benefit.

Under current law, negotiations over prices are conducted between the pharmaceutical producers and private firms administering drug benefit programs for Medicare beneficiaries. With federal spending on pharmaceuticals is projected to grow to about $100 billion in 2007 — over 40 percent of the U.S. total —some policymakers now advocate federal negotiation of prices with the pharmaceutical producers, in order to use the large size and bargaining power of the federal government to achieve sharply lower prices.

Federal price negotiations would represent a policy change carrying significant risks for research and development investment in new and improved medicines. A substantial body of research shows that similar federal drug programs impose prices substantially lower than those negotiated in the private sector, and that such lower prices inevitably will reduce research and investment in new and improved medicines. This slowdown in pharmaceutical innovation will yield highly adverse effects upon future patients in terms of reduced life expectancies.

We urge Congress not to support negotiation of drug prices by the federal government.


Case Where Gun Free Zone Law Endangered Life?

So what was this woman supposed to do? More bizarre is what is the motivation for these letters to constantly be sent to all the school childrens' parents whenever anything happens at school. In this case, why not send a note to other school teachers? It almost smacks as a type of indoctrination.

(The Olympian, September 26, 2006) LACEY - A 33-year-old teacher at Nisqually Middle School is on administrative leave after school officials discovered she brought a .38 Special handgun - along with bullets - on school grounds Thursday, according to the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.

Teacher Mary Catherine Roe, who lives in Shelton, told deputies she was fearful of her husband and that he used a gun while assaulting her, according to a sheriff's report. Roe also has a domestic violence protection order against her husband, according to Mason County records.

No decision was made Monday about whether Roe will face criminal charges, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dave Ryan said.

Roe is under investigation for the charge of unlawfully carrying a firearm, which was in her purse, on school grounds. The law says no one except law enforcement officers can bring a firearm onto school grounds. The charge is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Nisqually parents received a letter from the school Friday explaining that a staff member brought a weapon to school and was placed on leave. The letter reminded parents that it is against state law to bring any firearm to a school campus. The letter did not name the staff member. . . .

Follow up. This woman's life has essentially been ruined because she took the only really reasonable action to ensure her safety.

(The Olympian, October 24, 2006) LACEY -Teacher facing gun accusation has resigned A North Thurston middle school teacher accused of bringing a gun to school earlier this year has resigned from North Thurston Public Schools. The North Thurston Public Schools board accepted the resignation of Mary Catherine Roe, who taught language arts at Nisqually Middle School. . . . .

(The Olympian, December 13, 2006) LACEY -Teacher with gun might not face charges Gun possession charges might be dropped after a year of probation for a former Nisqually Middle School teacher caught on campus this year with a pistol in her purse, the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday. Mary Catherine Roe of Shelton faces charges of violating the state law banning firearms from school campuses in most cases, a gross misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a year in jail or a fine of . . . .

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So What Does the iPhone mean for the Blackberry and Palm?

Blame game on crime increasing

Crime rates went up in 2005 after falling almost continually since 1991. The small increase in 2005 and the "3.7 percent increase in violent crime" for the first half of 2006 has gotten a lot of attention. Some want to put the blame on the 1 billion in cuts for Federal government aid since 1998. I am not sure of the exact theory why it is only showing up now, but the main point is that the federal money was a real waste. The hundred thousand more cops was largely more computers and other things that substituted as cops. The cops that were hired were largely people who would have been hired anyway or were used for things that didn't have anything to do with crime.

"If you talk to police, they'll tell you that fighting crime is like cutting the grass, you have to keep up with it. We didn't do that," he said. "We're seeing the results of that and I think the time has come where the wake up call takes place." . . . . .

Thanks to Keith Rasmussen for sending me this link.



Ex-Education Secretary in Britain in Trouble for Sending Son to Private School

This is depressing that equality is so deeply engrained in Britain that this woman is attacked for doing what is best for her learning disabled son. The worse aspect of this is that even she is unwilling to entertain the possibility that argument over quality applies to other types of schooling as well.

Ex-Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has defended her decision to send her son, who has "substantial learning difficulties", to a private school.

She said she removed her son from a state school after professional advice recommended he be placed in a school "able to meet his particular needs".

Ms Kelly said the local authority accepted the advice, but she had not asked for any help in meeting the cost.

She said: "I, like any mother, want to do the right thing for my son."

"I appreciate that some will disagree with my decision. I understand why, but we all face difficult choices as parents." . . . . .