This is a useful graduation talk


Results for Canadian Health Care Survey

Here are some interesting results of a survey on how happy Canadians are with their health care.

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Wacky Movies: "The Happening"

The movie "The Happening" is about plants releasing a toxin that causes people to commit suicide. The reason for this is that the plants are turning against us because of all the pollution that we have emitted -- apparently read "global warming."

In these days of melting ice caps and wild weather, Shyamalan poses an interesting question: What happens if the environment, spurred by centuries of pollution and disregard, turns against us?

Plants turn against us? Ugh? OK, it just can't be because of evolution that plants happen to emit a particular toxin. They are doing it to strike back at the evil humans. Well, I had better talk to the plants in the house here before it is too late for me.

Here is a listing of five reasons the movie is filled with junk science:

1. Plants Can Talk to Each Other -- "the foliage gets furious at the mere presence of humans"
2. Plants Can Sniper Enemies -- "the film seemed to imply that the plants were purposefully, knowingly going directly after humans"
3. Plants Can Wage War With Genetics
4. Plants Can Breathe Poison
5. Plants Can Hear Us

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Former “American Idol” contestant has concealed handgun permit

American idol contestant, "Baby V," apparently forgot that she had her handgun with her when she went into the airport in Southwest Florida:

Gun found in luggage of ‘Baby V’ at Southwest Florida International Airport
Former “American Idol” contestant and Fort Myers resident Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon, 24, was detained Tuesday after security at Southwest Florida International Airport discovered a gun in her luggage.

Lee Port Authority spokeswoman Barbara-Ann Urrutia said the gun was not loaded, and Solomon had reportedly forgotten she had it in her luggage. The weapon was found as Solomon was making her way through the TSA checkpoint on a U.S. Airways flight around 12:15 p.m.

The gun was confiscated, and Solomon was issued a notice to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a weapon into an airport. Solomon does have a concealed weapons permit, but carrying it into an airport is a violation of that permit.

It is not clear whether the weapon will be returned to her upon completion of the case, Urrutia said. . . . .

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"I never thought I'd ever get a question like this": What to do about a delegate to the national Democratic Convention who is voting for McCain?

The story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is here:

FRIDAY, June 13, 2008, 3:08 p.m.
By Craig Gilbert
Clinton delegate to vote for McCain
As an avid supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries, Debra Bartoshevich is not alone in her frustration over Clinton's defeat.

She's not alone in refusing to support Barack Obama.

And she's not entirely alone in saying she'll vote this fall for Republican John McCain instead.

But what makes her unusual is that she holds these views as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

"I'm sure people are going to be upset with me. I don't want to lose my national delegate status," says Bartoshevich, a 41-year-old emergency room nurse who is a convention delegate, pledged to Clinton, from Waterford in Racine County.

Joe Wineke, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, reacted with disbelief when first told Friday afternoon that one of his state party delegates is now a McCain supporter.

"Not a delegate? To the national convention?" asked Wineke, who was getting ready for the start of the state party convention Friday in Stevens Point.

"We have a Clinton national (convention) delegate who says she's voting for John McCain?" Wineke repeated, for clarification. "I've never heard of such a thing."

Wineke said "almost everybody I know who was for Hillary" is solidly behind Obama now. As for Bartoshevich, he said, "my suspicion is she doesn't know what she's getting into" because "the delegates to this convention will be very upset."

Asked if publicly supporting the other party's presidential nominee could affect a delegate's convention status, Wineke said, "I never thought I'd ever get a question like this." . . .

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Store Owner saves life with gun, other store owners thinking of getting a gun

WJZ reports the story:

Didn't Want To Shoot Would-Be Robber
Mike Hellgren
Jun 13, 2008 4:25 pm
BALTIMORE (WJZ) ― Some Charles Village business owners are considering getting gun permits. They say they fear for their safety.

Mike Hellgren reports the new concerns follow a merchant shooting a would-be-robber who pulled a knife on him inside his store earlier this week.

The store owner who pulled the trigger has told Eyewitness News it was a matter of survival. The same man had robbed him again and again and became more aggressive each time.

It's rattled many store owners in Charles Village who are now focusing on their own safety.

The owner of the dry cleaners on 32nd and Saint Paul Streets says he faced the terrifying prospect of losing his own life when a man trying to rob his store pulled a knife on him.

"If I could ask him something, I would ask him why. Why did it have to come to this," said the shop owner.

The merchant made a split-second decision to grab his gun and shoot. He asked that his name remain anonymous.

He says the same man tried to rob him four times in the past two years. The would-be robber did not die from the wounds. . . . .


US Regulators Trying to Cripple Foreign Commodity Markets

American regulators don't seem to understand that if you put limits on how much prices can move that you increase the riskiness of those investments. You make markets less efficient for many reasons. People are unable to make trades that they want to make. Traders who want to get in or out of an investment are stuck and can't do what they want. Anyway, here is the US CFTC trying to mess up the London commodities exchange.

A rift has opened between regulators in Washington and London after the Americans called for restrictions on oil trading in the City.

It is understood that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is resisting calls by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to introduce daily price limits on some oil futures contracts.

The Americans also want to cap the amount of particular oil contracts that a trader can hold. The moves would limit the ability of a trading firm or individual trader to corner the market in one type of futures oil contract.

The price cap measure, which exists in American energy markets, has been devised to stem sharp rises in the price of a particular commodity. However, London regulators believe that the market should determine the price of an asset, rather than it being limited by a daily price cap. . . .


Other Dems got special loans from Countrywide Financial

John Fund points out that the problem with Countrywide Financial extends beyond Jim Johnson.

. . . The kind of sweetheart mortgage deals that forced Washington fixer Jim Johnson to resign as Barack Obama's vice presidential vetter are now haunting other leading Washington figures.

Both Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget committee, also got special below-market mortgages from Countrywide Financial, all arranged by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Other recipients of a "Friends of Angelo" program that waived points, lender fees and company borrowing rules were former Bush HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, and former Clinton cabinet officers Donna Shalala and Richard Holbrooke.

Conde Nast Portfolio says Senator Dodd received two loans through the program in 2003, saving him about $70,000 in fees. His wife told Portfolio that two other lenders had also offered comparable interest rates. Senator Conrad borrowed money to refinance his vacation home and saved at least $10,000. He told Portfolio: "I never asked for, expected or was aware of any special treatment." . . .

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Founder of Weather Channel Gives Talk on Global Warming "Scam"

John Coleman's recent speech in San Diego can be found here:

You may want to give credit where credit is due to Al Gore and his global warming campaign the next time you fill your car with gasoline, because there is a direct connection between Global Warming and four dollar a gallon gas. It is shocking, but true, to learn that the entire Global Warming frenzy is based on the environmentalist’s attack on fossil fuels, particularly gasoline. All this big time science, international meetings, thick research papers, dire threats for the future; all of it, comes down to their claim that the carbon dioxide in the exhaust from your car and in the smoke stacks from our power plants is destroying the climate of planet Earth. What an amazing fraud; what a scam.

The future of our civilization lies in the balance. . . .

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Irish reject new EU Treaty

The Irish were the only people allowed to vote on the new EU treaty (their constitution mandates it), and they have apparently rejected it. Personally, I think that this is good for the EU because the treaty was centralizing power even more than it otherwise is and that allowing competition between the different governments over policy is good. The BBC has an article here:

Under Irish law, any amendment to an EU treaty requires an amendment to the Irish constitution and all constitutional amendments require approval by referendum.

The official result is not yet in, but Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern says substantial vote tallies around the country show the Lisbon Treaty has been rejected.

"It looks like this will be a 'no' vote," Mr Ahern said. "At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken." . . .

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who campaigns for Britain's exit from the EU, said: "The only people to have a say on the treaty have kicked it into the long grass." . . .

This vote was supposed to finish the treaty, but you get this response from the EU president.

Despite pronouncements that the treaty would be shelved if the Irish voted against it, European Union President Jose Manuel Barosso said it is still up for discussion.

"Our position is this one; 18 member states have already approved the treaty. One, Ireland, voted no. We should go on now with the process. At the same time, the leaders should meet should meet and see what possibilities are there for a collective response to this issue, because there is a collective responsibility," he said. . . .

The final votes was 53 percent "NO" and 47 percent "YES."


Question: Are brain cancer rates higher in Europe than in the US?

If Cell phone radiation causes brain cancer, this evidence would indicate that the rate should be higher in Europe than the US.

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), specific absorption rate, or SAR, is "a way of measuring the quantity of radiofrequency (RF) energy that is absorbed by the body." For a phone to pass FCC certification, that phone's maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6W/kg (watts per kilogram). In Europe, the level is capped at 2W/kg while Canada allows a maximum of 1.6W/kg. The SAR level listed in our charts represents the highest SAR level with the phone next to the ear as tested by the FCC. Keep in mind that it is possible for the SAR level to vary between different transmission bands and that different testing bodies can obtain different results. Also, it's possible for results to vary between different editions of the same phone (such as a handset that's offered by multiple carriers).

Yet, it appears to me from this data here, that the brain cancer rates are the same or lower in Europe than the US. Of course, all this could mean that there are much more important factors at work in the opposite direction.

There should also be differences by the type of phone:

Manufacturer and model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SAR level(digital)
1 Motorola V195s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.6
2 Motorola Slvr L6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.58
3 Motorola Slvr L2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.54
4 Motorola W385 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.54
5 RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 (Sprint) . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.54
6 RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 (Verizon Wireless) . . . . 1.54
7 Motorola Deluxe ic902 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.53
8 T-Mobile Shadow (HTC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.53
9 Motorola i335 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.53
10 Samsung Sync SGH-C417 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.51

For an earlier discussion that I had on this issue, see here.


One Reason Congressional Approval Ratings Might be So Low: Earmark Promises Broken

The Washington Post reports:

More than a year after Congress pledged to curb pork barrel funding known as earmarks, lawmakers are gearing up for another spending binge, directing billions toward organizations and companies in their home districts.

Earmark spending in the House's defense authorization bill alone soared 29 percent last month, from $7.7 billion last year to $9.9 billion now, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. The Senate bill has not been approved, but the proposal includes an increased number of earmarks, although for a slightly lesser total cost.

Lawmakers had promised to cut back on earmarks and mandated better disclosure of them after steady criticism that they were funding programs with little debate or oversight. The promises led to an initial decline in earmarks last year that was trumpeted on Capitol Hill. But the new data show that they are surging again, at least in the proposed Pentagon authorization budget, which sets out priorities to be funded in a later appropriations bill. . . . .


Congress is much more unpopular than President Bush, but the poll doesn't make clear that people know that the Dems are running Congress

The HarrisInteractive survey is here:

President Bush’s latest ratings are 24 percent positive and fully 75 percent negative. Previously, his worst numbers were 26 percent positive and 72 percent negative in April of this year. His ratings are substantially worse than those of any president, except for Jimmy Carter (22%-77% in July 1980), since Harris first started measuring themin 1963. . . . .

However, this dismal news for the administration has done nothing to help the Democrats. Most people seem to wish "a plague on all your houses". Congress, which of course is controlled by the Democrats, gets its worst ratings ever, only 13 percent positive and fully 83 percent negative. Its previous low point was in December of last year when it was rated 17 percent positive and 79 percent negative. And, Speaker Pelosi’s ratings have fallen to 24 percent positive, 57 percent negative compared to her previous low of 25 percent positive and 61 percent negative in February.

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Brady Campaign concedes the battle over the Second Amendment, but claims this will help it win the war

I have heard this argument before. Without the fear that gun control will be used to ban guns, gun control advocates think that they can have all sorts of regulations without generating much fear. Possibly. Obviously the Supreme Court would throw out a tax on newspapers as violating the first amendment. Where will they draw the line on the Second Amendment? I would like to think that it won't change the debate if the debate is framed as: who will gun control primarily disarm and the issue of self-defense.

The ABC piece on what the Brady Campaign hopes will happen is here:

The nation's leading gun control group filed a "friend of the court" brief back in January defending the gun ban in Washington, D.C. But with the Supreme Court poised to hand down a potentially landmark decision in the case, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence fully expects to lose.

"We've lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means," campaign president Paul Helmke told ABC News. "Seventy-five percent of the public thinks it's an individual right. Why are we arguing a theory anymore? We are concerned about what we can do practically."

While the Brady Campaign is waving the white flag in the long-running debate on whether the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms or merely a state's right to assemble a militia, it is hoping that losing the "legal battle" will eventually lead to gun control advocates winning the "political war."

"We're expecting D.C. to lose the case," Helmke said. "But this could be good from the standpoint of the political-legislative side."

The D.C. ban prohibits residents from keeping handguns inside their homes and requires that lawfully registered guns, such as shotguns, be locked and unloaded when kept at home.

If the Supreme Court strikes down the D.C. gun ban, the Brady Campaign is hoping that it will reorient gun control groups around more limited measures that will be harder to cast as infringements of the Second Amendment.

"The NRA [National Rifle Association] won't have this fear factor," Helmke said.

Brady Campaign Attorney Dennis Henigan said there are multiple gun control measures that would not run afoul of a Supreme Court decision striking down the D.C. gun ban. . . . .

I don't think that the Brady Campaign is correct on the next point. Illinois does have a "safe storage" law, which while it is not as restrictive as DC's, still requires that people lock up their gun. The Brady Campaign is also hoping that the Court says a handgun ban is fine as long as you have some other type of gun. I hope that they are also wrong on that point.

Although the Brady Campaign expects the Chicago ordinance to be challenged, it thinks that it may survive because it does not have the restrictions on long guns like the ones found in Washington, D.C.

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Brad DeLong calling Thomas Sowell a racist?

William Sjostrom over at the AtlanticBlog has a discussion about Brad DeLong's unbelievable "over the line" attack on Thomas Sowell (disclosure: Sowell was a professor of mine). What is it about Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, and others that have them engage in such mean destructive attacks on those with whom they disagree?

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Government Regulation Prevents Turning on Air Conditioning in Home for Elderly despite 94 degree weather

From Worcester, Massachusetts comes this story:

An ambulance was pulling out as I pulled into the parking lot of the Seabury Heights Apartments yesterday. It isn’t an infrequent sight at a housing complex for the elderly, but on a day like this when the temperature reached 94 degrees it tends to put a little edge on things.

The faint breeze that idled by as I exited the car was as soothing as a blast from an exhaust pipe. Still, it was welcome relief for the half dozen or so tenants sitting outside on benches or in their wheelchairs.

Inside one apartment building, on the first floor near the elevators, I ran into John M. Ford, a Fire Department captain and director of the city’s Emergency Management Team. Other city officials —one with the Board of Health and another from the Code Department — were touring the building.

They were there because the residents had called to complain that management was refusing to turn on the air conditioning, despite the high temperatures.

“It’s the perfect storm,” Mr. Ford said.

I didn’t ask him to explain. I figured he was talking about the combination of the heat, the frailties of the elderly and the inflexibility of state regulations that the heating system in housing for the elderly must remain operational until June 15. . . .


Reviewing some things that we have learned about Obama

Kimberley Strassel on what we have learned about Obama:

We've learned Mr. Obama was so good at his message that we still don't know much about the man. It was March before the press excavated his longtime pastor, and only last week when it dug up Father Pfleger. Their ugly black-vs.-white preaching, deeply at odds with the candidate's transracial message, has left some voters wondering if Mr. Obama shares these views. It's left others suspicious he allied himself to these powerbrokers for Chicago political gain, but has now cynically thrown them over. Mr. Obama created these question marks for himself, and they're not going away before November. Mr. McCain need only watch. . . .

We've learned Mr. Obama has a shifting definition of reform. He deplored big money in elections, but is now sitting on big money and backing out of a pledge to accept public financing. He rails against special interests, but supports bloated farm bills while he does union bidding on trade. One of Mr. McCain's strengths is his reputation for bucking interest groups; this is an opening.

We've learned that on domestic policy, Mr. Obama is as liberal as any Democratic nominee. But he's also a decent populist. He'll raise taxes, but promises to give back to middle-class voters. He'd like government-run health-care, but for now promises simply to help pay soaring private doctor's bills. He'll punish companies that take part in the global economy, but reward those who stay at home. . . . .

Review of some of these positions of Obama's can be found here:

campaign finance
Economic issues
One could also add gun control


Alex Kozinski is in some hot water

First let me say that I know Alex Kozinski and that I like him a lot. That said, he is understandably in some hot water over what the LA Times describes as "Obscenity trial suspended after judge said he posted sexually explicit materials." Personally, while disappointing, I don't think that this is a huge deal no matter how strange the film clips that were found on his computer were. He has offered to resign from the case and it is up to the prosecution and defense to make that decision. The same issue can be raised in future cases if it again proves to be relevant. Personally, I think that Alex can divorce his personal opinions from what the law is. Second, I take him at his word that he merely kept on his computer some of the weird things that people sent him over time. After all, it seems only natural for someone who is having to deal with the bizarre and disturbing case that is before him to investigate these issues on his own somewhat. (Obviously, he must keep his opinions based only on the material presented to him in court.) While I suppose that people are likely to draw the worst possible conclusions, it is possible that he only kept these strange pictures for curiosity reasons. I guess that I can't understand anyone really finding pictures of women dressed as cows sexually interesting, so because of that I am willing to give his claim more weight. He is correct to refer to those pictures as "degrading." I just hope for him that this recedes into the background quickly.

UPDATE 1: Above the Law has this email exchange with Kozinski:

David: I can't comment on the trial.
As for the other matter, the server was maintained by my son, Yale, for the entire family. Pictures, documents, music, audio and other items of personal and family interest are stored there so various family members can reach them from wherever they happen to be. Everyone in the family stores stuff there, and I had no idea what some of the stuff is or was -- I was surprised that it was there. I assumed I must have put it there by accident, but when the story broke, Yale called and said he's pretty sure he uploaded a bunch of it. I had no idea, but that sounds right, because I sure don't remember putting some of that stuff there.

I consider the server a private storage device, not meant for public access. I'd have been more careful about its contents if I had known that others could access it.

UPDATE 2: Another website, the South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog, has this take:

After actually seeing the photos that this is all about, I think it has been blown far out of proportion.
I think that this is correct.



There must be Global Warming: Aspen reopens skiing in June

The Aspen Times reports:

ASPEN — With more than 3 feet of snow coating the hills, Aspen Skiing Co. officials will open the top of Aspen Mountain to midday skiing and riding this weekend. . . . .

Newsbusters asks the question: "Will Media Report Cold Spells This Summer or Only the Heat waves?"

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Ohio set to pass "Castle Doctrine"

An editorial on the topic can be seen here:

Both houses of the Ohio General Assembly have passed a “Castle Doctrine” bill similar to those in place in many states. Gov. Ted Strickland, who supported the measure, is expected to sign the bill into law.

Opponents of the bill had warned that it could grant criminals licenses to kill in some situations. Their criticism sounded much like that voiced over another measure, the so-called “concealed carry” law, enacted four years ago.

But that law, fine-tuned to some extent by the new bill, did not result in the havoc that critics predicted. They had warned that the “concealed carry” law would make it easier for criminals to carry guns and to use them against police officers. But during the four years the law has been in existence, we have heard of few problems relating to it.

The same will be true of the “Castle Doctrine,” we believe. It merely codifies what many Buckeye State residents probably believed was the law anyway — that Ohioans have a right to kill attackers in self-defense, or in defense of their homes. Current law actually requires that those facing such attackers must “retreat” before responding with deadly force.


"Dems digging up votes in Louisiana"

ED MORRISSEY has some of the dirt here.


More views on Open versus Concealed carry of handguns

The Daily Herald in Utah has their take here.


US Life Expectancy Rate Reaches new record

WebMD has the new numbers. A four month increase in just one year is pretty amazing.

U.S. life expectancy has hit a new record: 78.1 years for babies born in 2006, says the CDC.

What's more, the death rate for 11 of the top 15 causes of death -- including heart disease, cancer, and stroke -- slowed in 2006.

That's what the CDC's preliminary data show, based on some 2.4 million deaths in 2006. Here are the highlights from the CDC's report. . . .

Life expectancy in 2006 is about four months longer than it was in 2005, according to the CDC.


CBS News anchor Katie Couric on Media Bias

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary points to this by Katie Couric:

"However, you feel about her politics, I feel that Senator Clinton received some of the most unfair, hostile coverage I've ever seen," she commented. And she wasn't finished. She said latent sexism helped stop Mrs. Clinton's candidacy and she singled out one "prominent member of the commentariat" who said he "found it hard to be objective when it came to Obama." Ms. Couric made short shrift of that argument. "That's your job," she remembered thinking upon hearing that confession. She said she felt like suggesting the speaker "find another line of work."

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Some Democrat Congressmen Refusing to Endorse Obama

John Fund has this at the WSJ's Political Diary:

David Boren, the only Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, told reporters yesterday he's not ready to endorse Mr. Obama. "Unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion," he told reporters. Mr. Obama's designation by the non-partisan National Journal magazine as the Senate's most liberal member may be catching up with him.

Then there is Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida, who says he will remain an uncommitted superdelegate and may not even attend the party's convention. Asked how he felt about running with Mr. Obama as his party's nominee, he told the Palm Beach Post: "I'm a Democrat, but am I going to have a pep rally or something like that? No I'm not going to do that."

Another potential dissident is Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia. He has refused to tell reporters if he thinks Barack Obama would make a better president than John McCain. Finally, Rep. Lincoln Davis of Tennessee has been outed by his state's governor, Phil Bredesen, who told the Philadelphia Inquirer that a Democratic congressman from this state, who could only be Rep. Davis, had told him both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were "poison" politically to him. . . .

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New Op-ed up at Fox News: The Big Picture Behind Abortion

New op-ed at Fox News The Big Picture Behind Abortion:

On abortion, a large gap exists between John McCain and Barack Obama. The National Right to Life Committee as well as Pro-choice America agree that Obama has a perfect 100 percent pro-choice voting record. McCain is pro-life, and the two groups respectively claim that he votes that way at least 75 percent of the time. It should make for a lively debate this fall.

But the question of abortion usually centers only on the morality of the act (choice versus life), and McCain and Obama so far look to frame the question no differently. Morality surely is important, but its emphasis misses out on the much wider impact that these laws have.

Liberalizing abortion rules from 1969 to 1973 ignited vast long-term social changes in America. This discussion might finally provide a chance to evaluate how Roe v. Wade has changed the U.S. . . .

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Science Daily: Sun inactive for relatively long period of time

Science Daily notes that the sun has been inactive for a relatively long period of time:

Today's sun, however, is as inactive as it was two years ago, and scientists aren't sure why. . . . .

they have observed a longer-than-normal period of solar inactivity. In the past, they observed that the sun once went 50 years without producing sunspots. That period, from approximately 1650 to 1700, occurred during the middle of a little ice age on Earth that lasted from as early as the mid-15th century to as late as the mid-19th century.

It is interesting to note the very cold winter that we had this past year.



Defensive gun use in Oakland, Ca.

Apparently, there have been numerous defensive gun uses in this neighborhood recently:

OAKLAND — An armed East Oakland homeowner who tried to dissuade a burglary suspect with several warning shots ended up shooting the man in the leg Monday in the most recent in a string of incidents in which victims have shot suspects.
Neighbors of the home on the 2200 block of 100th Avenue said the house had been broken into before.

"The guy is exasperated because they target his house," said the shooter's next-door neighbor, who declined to give her name. "There's got to be somebody watching him, because the minute he leaves the house it's targeted to be broken into. It's between five and six times, quite a few attempts at it, no matter what he does."

Police said the 37-year-old homeowner, who has lived in the house most of his life, was home a little before 11 a.m. Monday when he saw someone walk toward his garage, then reappear and try to pry open a back window with a garden tool. The homeowner walked to his deck and fired warning shots with a pistol, which seemed to drive the man away.

But when the homeowner stepped out his front door, the suspect reappeared and began moving toward the house, as if determined to get in, according to a statement the man gave police. The homeowner fired two more warning shots into the ground, but the suspect kept coming forward, at which point the homeowner shot the suspect in the upper leg. . . .

Police identified the burglary suspect as Marcus Holoman, 51. He did not have a gun.
Officials said he has a criminal record that includes arrests and convictions for burglary. He was under police guard at Highland on Monday and was being detained on suspicion of burglary.

The homeowner's handgun is legally registered, and police did not arrest the homeowner or charge him with anything. . . .


Radio in Seattle

The David Boze Show, Producer
770 KTTH Seattle
3:35 PM PDT
On the Seattle mayor trying to ban permitted concealed handguns on city property



Senate Democrats support privatization when their own money is at stake

Senate Democrats support privatizing food services rather than facing a 25 percent increase in prices. See the video here. The House side was privatized and is cheaper, better quality, and turns a profit.


Interview with man who used a gun defensively

This 73 year old man used his gun to stop two armed criminals who were trying to rob him and his wife. The criminals were threatening to kill him and his wife. You can watch the interview here. The events took place in Louisville, Kentucky.

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the link.

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John Fund on Perceived Media Bias by Voters

John Fund has this today at the WSJ's Political Diary:

. . . . If objectivity and balance are the goals, not well at all. A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 68% of Americans "believe most reporters try to help the candidate that they want to win." Not surprisingly, a majority of voters also thought that Barack Obama received the most favorable coverage during the primary season.

The belief that news reporters are often news twisters isn't confined to cranky ideologues. It cuts across all racial, gender and income groups. A full 82% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats and 69% of independents believe reporters try to give an assist to the candidate they prefer. Only 17% of all voters believe most reporters actually attempt to deliver unbiased coverage.

Barack Obama is likely to be the beneficiary of this favoritism come the fall campaign. During the primaries 54% of those surveyed by Rasmussen thought he received the most favorable coverage vs. 22% for John McCain and only 14% for Hillary Clinton.

This fall, a full 44% of voters think the media will try to make Senator Obama look good while only 13% think most reporters will tilt in Senator McCain's direction. Even Democrats believe that the news media will be part of the Obama cheering section -- 27% believe reporters will shape coverage in Mr. Obama's favor, 16% think they will want Mr. McCain to win, while 34% think reporters will be largely unbiased. . . .

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A movie about why everyone probably shouldn't vote

Here is a movie that is coming out on August 1st starring Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, and Nathan Lane.


Property values set to soar in California

No notion of trade-offs in protecting animals. There is a cost to protecting them. There might be a benefit. But the benefit isn't infinite. The story is here:

PERRIS, California: As California faces one of its worst droughts in two decades, building projects are being curtailed for the first time under state law by the inability of developers to find long-term water supplies.

Water authorities and other government agencies scattered throughout the state, including here in sprawling Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, have begun denying, delaying or challenging authorization for dozens of housing tracts and other developments under a state law that requires a 20-year water supply as a condition for building.

California officials suggested that the actions were only the beginning, and they worry about the impact on a state that has grown into an economic powerhouse over several decades. . . .

a U.S. District Court judge last year issued a curtailment in pumping from the California Delta - where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet and provide water to roughly 25 million Californians - to protect a species of endangered smelt that were becoming trapped in the pumps. Those reductions, from December to June, cut back the state's water reserves this winter by about one-third, according to a consortium of state water boards.

The smelt problem was a powerful indicator of the environmental fallout from the delta's water system, which was constructed more than 50 years ago for a far smaller population. . . . .

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Violent and Property Crime Rates Fall the First Half of Last Year

This doesn't seem to be getting much attention:

WASHINGTON — The FBI reports that both violent and property crimes declined in 2007.

In preliminary figures for crimes reported to police, the bureau says the number of violent crimes declined by 1.4 percent from 2006, reversing two years of rising violent crime numbers. Property crimes were down 2.1 percent last year from the previous year.

The largest declines were in vehicle theft, down 8.9 percent and in rape, down 4.3 percent and murder, down 2.7 percent.

The crime trends were not uniform. Murders, for instance, were down an enormous 9.8 percent in cities of more than a million residents. But murders rose by 1.9 percent in towns of 10,000 to 25,000.

Violent crimes dropped most in the Northeast, down 5.4 percent. But it rose 0.7 percent in the South.



Justifiable homicides in Right-to-carry and non-right-to-carry states

Howard Nemerov has this useful discussion here:

Justifiable Homicides By Private Citizens

About three-quarters (73.0%) of civilian justifiable homicide occurred in RTC states, while non-RTC saw about one-quarter (27.0%). Considering population distributions, these JH percentages are close to average for both state groups. However, when compared to police justifiable homicides, an interesting trend appears: In RTC states, for every 100 citizen JH there were 116 police JH, closer to a one-to-one ratio. In non-RTC states, for every 100 citizen JH there were 282 police JH, nearly a three-to-one ratio. In RTC states, civilian justifiable homicides were relatively more common when compared to the number of police justifiable homicides.

For private citizens, 40.7% of all justifiable homicide occurred in self-defense and defense of others. More than three-quarters (76.5%) of these occurred in RTC states, while less than one-quarter (23.5%) occurred in non-RTC states. Citizen self-defense comprised 31.1% of all civilian justifiable homicides in RTC states but only 9.5% in non-RTC states.

In RTC states, a firearm was used in 86.9% of all civilian JH, compared to 64.6% in non-RTC states. Private citizens in RTC states defended themselves with a firearm in over one fifth (21.2%) of the total of justifiable civilian homicides, over 5 times the 4.1% for non-RTC states.[5]

Criminals were 27.3% more “successful” in completing violent crime, and 33.3% more “successful” in completing murder attempts, in non-RTC states which highlights the effectiveness of employing a firearm as a self-defense tool (as opposed to becoming a violent crime statistic).

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Proof that Al Gore was right about Polar Bears

People who have seen Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" will remember the animation of the poor polar bear who drowned having to swim up to 60 miles trying to find ice. Critics pointed out that the four polar bears that drowned in the "scientific study" had actually died from a storm. Now comes news of a polar bear who died after a long swim. Some of the points in the story are slightly different than in Gore's piece, but the basic point is the same as the polar bear did die after the swim. In this case, the polar bear swam 200 miles. The other difference is that the polar bear didn't drown, it was shot to death because people in Iceland thought that the bear posed a threat to people. One should also note that the ice cover at the top of the world has increased a lot over the last year. But Gore is correct that these long swims do endanger poler bears.

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Barack Obama on what Whites think

Barack Obama describing his first meeting with Rev. Wright:

"Reverend Wright shrugged. 'Some of my fellow clergy don't appreciate what we're about. They feel like we're too radical.'"

You can find a long set of his quotes here.

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Multiple Victim Public Stabbing Deaths in downtown Tokyo

Here is an AP story from today (emphasis added). If seven people had been shot dead anyplace in the US (with at least another 11 wounded), it would have gotten extensive worldwide news coverage.

7 dead in stabbing spree in downtown Tokyo
By SHINO YUASA, Associated Press Writer
TOKYO - A man who police said "was tired of life" drove into a crowd of pedestrians Sunday and then went on a stabbing rampage in Tokyo's top electronics and video game district, killing seven people and wounding 10, authorities said.

The deadly lunchtime assault paralyzed the Akihabara neighborhood, which is wildly popular among the country's youth. The killings were the latest in a series of grisly knife attacks that have stoked fears of rising crime in Japan.

A 25-year-old man, Tomohiro Kato, was apprehended in the attack, authorities said.

"The suspect told police that he came to Akihabara to kill people," said Jiro Akaogi, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. "He said he was tired of life. He said he was sick of everything."

News reports said the man crashed a rented, two-ton truck into pedestrians, then jumped out of the truck and began stabbing the people he'd knocked down before turning on horrified onlookers.

The attacker grunted and roared as he slashed and stabbed at his victims on a street crowded with Sunday shoppers, reports said.

"He was screaming as he was stabbing people at random," a witness told NHK.

A witness told NHK the suspect dropped the knife after police threatened to shoot him. An amateur video filmed by a mobile phone showed policemen overpowering the bespectacled suspect. . . .

The piece also notes some history:

In March, one person was stabbed to death and at least seven others were hurt by a man who went on a slashing spree with two knives outside a shopping mall in eastern Japan.

In one of the worst attacks, a man with a history of mental illness burst into an elementary school in Japan in 2001 and killed eight children. The killer was executed in 2004.

UPDATE: Killer apparently announced his attack on blog before rampage.

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Britain cracking down on people carrying knives

Well, at least for knives and guns the British Labor party seems to think that law enforcement is a deterrence. Not that knives are that great of a deterrence compared to guns since you have to come into physical contact with the attacker to use them defensively, the question is what do the authorities expect victims to do when they are attacked by someone who is stronger than they are? Anyway, the Washington Post has this story here:

LONDON, June 5 -- Leila Shire stood outside her central London apartment block, where a 15-year-old girl was stabbed to death this week, the 11th teenager killed with a knife in London this year.

"A lot of people are carrying" knives, said Shire, 24, a family friend of Arsema Dawit, who police say was the unarmed victim of a 21-year-old man charged with stabbing her repeatedly in an elevator. . . .

Knife crime among young people has sparked a widespread debate in recent weeks in Britain, where police say they have seen "a worrying trend" toward more severe knife attacks involving younger attackers and victims.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday announced a crackdown on teenagers carrying knives, saying that those as young as 16 will be prosecuted for knife possession on the first offense. Previously, anyone younger than 18 generally received only a warning.

"Young people need to understand that carrying knives doesn't protect you, it does the opposite -- it increases the danger for all of us, destroys young lives and ruins families," Brown said after meeting with top police and government officials at his 10 Downing Street office. "Recent tragic events have reminded us of that." . . .

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, the government official in charge of public security, said the government has also doubled the maximum sentence for knife possession to four years. And she said the government plans to spend about $6 million on an advertising campaign to steer young people away from knive. . . .

Thanks very much to Ron Oglesby for sending me this link.

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Obama on Guns

According to an email sent around by Don Kates, the NRA has apparently released a statement about Obama's views on guns.

The presidential primary season is finally over, and it is now time for gun owners to take a careful look at just where apparent nominee Barack Obama stands on issues related to the Second Amendment. During the primaries, Obama tried to hide behind vague statements of support for "sportsmen" or unfounded claims of general support for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

But his real record, based on votes taken, political associations, and long standing positions, shows that Barack Obama is a serious threat to Second Amendment liberties. Don’t listen to his campaign rhetoric! Look instead to what he has said and done during his entire political career.

FACT: Barack Obama voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry.

FACT: Barack Obama wants to re-impose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban.

FACT: Barack Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting.

FACT: Barack Obama has endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.

FACT: Barack Obama supports local gun bans in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities.

FACT: Barack Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense.

FACT: Barack Obama supports requiring law-abiding gun owners to register their firearms.

FACT: Barack Obama refused to sign a friend-of-the-court brief in support of individual Second Amendment rights in the Heller case.

FACT: Barack Obama wants to eliminate your Right to Carry.

FACT: Barack Obama was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and "research."

FACT: Barack Obama supported a proposal to ban gun stores within 5 miles
of a school or park, which would eliminate almost every gun store in

FACT: Barack Obama voted not to notify gun owners when the state of Illinois did records searches on them.

FACT: Barack Obama voted against a measure to lower the Firearms Owners Identification card age minimum from 21 to 18, a measure designed to assist young people in the military.

FACT: Barack Obama favors a ban on standard capacity magazines.

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory micro-stamping.

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory waiting periods.

FACT: Barack Obama supports repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits information on gun traces collected by the BATFE from being used in reckless lawsuits against firearm dealers and manufacturers.

FACT: Barack Obama supports "one-gun-a-month" sales restrictions.

FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on inexpensive handguns.

FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on the resale of police issued firearms, even if the money is going to police departments for replacement equipment.

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory firearm training requirements for all gun owners and a ban on gun ownership for persons under the age of 21.

Thanks to Don Kates for this list.

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