Another type of concealed weapon

Readers can find more on the "BeltSword" here. Curtis Koehler, the inventor who sent me this link and information, claims that various law enforcement agencies are interested in using his product. Obviously, the usefulness of this weapon is more limited than that of a gun in most circumstances (e.g., against someone who has a gun or against someone who is much stronger than you are), but it still can be useful in some circumstances.


Sudden drop in Antarctic Temperatures 14 million years ago

Scientists have documented what must have been a "sudden" unexplained drop in temperature 14 million years ago. Equally interesting, more recent warm temperatures were not associated with any significant melting of the polar ice sheets. Science Daily has this:

An abrupt and dramatic climate cooling of 8 degrees Celsius, over a relatively brief period of geological time roughly 14 million years ago, forced the extinction of tundra plants and insects and transformed the interior of Antarctica into a perpetual deep-freeze from which it has never emerged. . . .

The mean summertime temperatures would have dropped in that period by as much as 8 degrees Celsius. On average, the summertime temperatures in the Valleys during this temperate period would have been as much as 17 degrees warmer than the present-day average. What caused the change, Marchant said, "Is really a big unknown", though theories abound and include phenomena as different as the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and tectonic shifts that affected ocean circulation. . . .

This conclusion suggests that even when global atmospheric temperatures were warmer than they are now, as occurred--approximately 3.5 million years ago during the Pliocene Epoch--and as might occur in the near future as a consequence of global warming, there was no significant melting of the East Antarctic ice sheet inland of the Dry Valleys, nor were there dramatic changes in environmental conditions in the fossil region.


How Canadians are solving the problem with long waiting lists for Doctors

From Pierre Lemieux in Canada:

Some Canadian doctors are using lotteries to cut their waiting lists (National Post, August 6, 2008). The patients who draw the short straw will have to find another family doctor — which one Canadian out of eight lacks. This phenomenon illustrates some interesting aspects of the Canadian health care system. . . .

From Tom Blackwell writing in the National Post:

In the latest jarring illustration of the country's doctor shortage, a family physician in Northern Ontario has used a lottery to determine which patients would be ejected from his overloaded practice.

Dr. Ken Runciman says he reluctantly eliminated about 100 patients in two separate draws to avoid having to provide assembly-line service or extend already onerous work hours, and admits the move has divided the community of Powassan.

Yet it was not the first time such methods have been employed to determine medical service. A new family practice in Newfoundland held a lottery last month to pick its caseload from among thousands of applicants. An Edmonton doctor selected names randomly earlier this year to pare 500 people from his heavy caseload. And in Ontario, regulators have heard reports of a number of other physicians also using draws to choose, or remove, patients.

"It was just my way of trying to minimize the bias ... rather than going through the list and saying 'I don't like you, and I don't like you,' " said Dr. Runciman. "It wasn't something that I wanted to do."

The unusual practice seems to be a symptom of the times, said Jill Hefley, spokeswoman for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. A paucity of medical professionals has left an estimated five million Canadians without a family doctor.

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TSA may allow bans of permitted guns outside secure areas of airports

I assume that these airport officials would ban the carrying of permitted concealed handguns anywhere if they had the chance. Disappointingly, with people still waiting for the Interior Department to reconsider its ban on permitted concealed handguns in national parks, we now have to face a greater infringement from the TSA:

The Transportation Security Administration may allow airports to ban firearms from terminals, parking lots, roads and other airport areas where many states currently allow passengers to carry lethal weapons.
Airport officials and lawmakers are watching closely as the TSA weighs a request by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to modify its security program to impose an airportwide ban on guns. It is the first such request to TSA from an airport.

"Any decisions we make that affect (Atlanta) could affect every other airport in the country," TSA spokesman Christopher White said Thursday.

Federal law bars passengers from bringing weapons to or past airport checkpoints. But in many airports, state law allows passengers to carry guns and knives in unsecured areas such as a main terminal — often to airport officials' dismay. . . .

As a reminder:

Gun-rights advocates are challenging the U.S. Interior Department to reverse a long-held regulation banning loaded firearms in most national parks. The department is reviewing its policy, which officials said deters illegal hunting and makes the parks more attractive to families. . . .


Tiananmen Square Massacre Map


Outrageous Federal regulations close Idaho bone-marrow registry

Regulations designed to help some people mean that no one is helped. This story from Idaho is outrageous:

Treasure Valley will lose bone-marrow donor registry
St. Luke's program can't meet a racial diversity goal, so future potential donors likely will have to pay to be signed up in Spokane.

BY COLLEEN LAMAY - clamay@idahostatesman.com
Edition Date: 08/07/08

The Treasure Valley's last bone-marrow donor registry is closing because it is too white.

St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute says it can't meet a new national goal to add 1,000 racial minorities a year to its list of people willing to donate bone marrow to patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening blood diseases.

The new requirement was created to help give minorities a better chance of finding a match that could save their lives.

But it means Caucasians in the Valley who could be swabbed and typed for free with the local list, will now have to pay $52 to register their marrow type and their willingness to share it with someone in need.

The Boise program, which now adds about 1,000 total people each year, likely will be absorbed into a bigger registry based in Spokane by Oct. 1.

"It wasn't something we wanted to do," said Mark Allen, marrow donor center coordinator at MSTI. "If it was up to us, we would keep it open."

Idaho's population is 96 percent white, according to 2006 state statistics.

"I certainly understand that the goals are a stretch," said Dr. Ellen Klohe, director of the marrow program at Inland Northwest Blood Center in Spokane. "Everybody will admit that."

Minorities will continue to get on the list for free, but Caucasians will need to pay. . . .


When suicide endangers others

Suppose that this guy had simply driven his car into oncoming traffic or into a wall or a tree. All good ways to kill one's self, but surely some of these ways endanger bystanders. Yet, if this guy hadn't been so obvious with a rope, his suicide would likely have been recorded as an accident. It is something to keep in mind when people talk about suicide with guns. Fox News has the story here:

In a grim attempt at revenge against his young estranged wife, a British businessman committed suicide by decapitation in his Aston Martin sports car, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported Friday.

According to the Mail, Gerald Mellin, 54, had been consumed with dark thoughts surrounding his 34-year-old wife, Mirrielle's decision to leave him.

The day before his death, a court had granted Mirielle Mellin additional alimony, the Mail reported.

Following the decision, in the last contact with his wife, Mellin sent a text message reading, "Congratulations, XXX."

The businessman then reportedly tied one end of a rope he kept in is Aston Martin convertable to a tree and then wrapped the other end of it around his neck in the driver's seat. He then drove the car at a high speed onto a busy road, forcing other drivers to witness his violent suicide, the Mail said.

Phillip Rogers, the coroner assigned to the case ruled the cause of death as decapitation.

"I'm satisfied this was a deliberate attempt by Mr. Mellin to kill himself," Rogers said.



Mitch McConnell and Ken Salazar spar over when off shore oil drilling would be allowed


"Boys with toy gun cause scare near school"

Despite the statement that these guns are "designed to look like real firearms," it is not quite true. These Airsoft guns have the orange ends required for toy guns to indicate that they are toys. In addition, I assume that school is out for the summer. Overall, a bit of an over reaction. The story from San Diego can be found here:

Police officers and sheriff's deputies were called to an elementary school in the 4S Ranch area after it was reported that someone was seen nearby with a rifle.

A call came in about 12:45 p.m. saying that a person carrying the weapon was spotted behind the Stone Ranch Elementary School on 4S Parkway, said sheriff's Lt. Larry Nesbit.

It turned out to be two boys with an Airsoft rifle playing in a yard that backs up to the school and a park, Nesbit said.

According to various Web sites, Airsoft is a toy gun used in combat-simulation games and police training that fires a 6-millimeter or 8-milimeter pellet. Although they are toys, they are designed to look like real firearms, including pistols, rifles, combat shotguns and light machine guns.


The problem with T. Boone Pickens' energy advice

This gets to the basic problem with Pickens' advice:

What we like least about [T. Boone Pickens'] grand scheme is that to pursue the parts of it he personally prefers, Mr. Pickens would rely on government's heavy hand. Without government subsidies, mandates and rights-of-way acquisitions, America's switch from reliance on foreign oil to natural gas and wind-generated power won't happen fast enough to suit him . . .



Chinese Government Denying Visas to Former Olympic Champions

One would think that the International Olympic Committee would get a commitment from the host country to let in people with a legitimate connection to the Olympics when the hosting decision is made. ABC News has this story:

China's last minute decision to deny a politically active 2006 Olympic gold medalist a visa to attend the Beijing Games is not unique. Chinese authorities have also denied a bronze medalist, a respected New York-based journalist and a Danish sculptor entry to China in recent months -- a sign that Beijing is still cracking down on freedom of expression in the lead up to the Games.

The visa denials highlight how Chinese authorities are worried that human rights activists will bring international attention to politically sensitive topics -- such as press freedom, the Tian An'Men crackdown, and China's problematic role in Africa -- during the Olympics, according to China experts. "By denying visas and entrance into China, the government is choosing to lose face in a small way," said Sharon Hom, director of the New York-based non-profit organization, Human Rights in China. "If these people do protest and garner international attention, [China] would lose face in a big way. There's a lot of anxiety about that." . . .


Obama doesn't understand economics

As if it weren't already obvious, here is some additional proof that Obama doesn't understand economics.

"Let me make a point about efficiency, because my Republican opponents - they don’t like to talk about efficiency. You know the other day I was in a town hall meeting and I laid out my plans for investing $15 billion a year in energy efficient cars and a new electricity grid and somebody said, 'well, what can I do? what can individuals do?'

"So I told them something simple, I said, 'You know what? You can inflate your tires to the proper levels and that if everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level, we would actually probably save more oil than all the oil we'd get from John McCain drilling right below his feet there, or wherever he was going to drill.' So now the Republicans are going around - this is the kind of thing they do. I don't understand it! They’re going around, they're sending like little tire gauges, making fun of this idea as if this is 'Barack Obama's energy plan.'

"Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

"You know, they think it is funny that they are making fun of something that is actually true. They need to do their homework. Because this is serious business. Instead of running ads about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears they should go talk to some energy experts and actually make a difference."

Obviously, there are simple factual mistakes (e.g., the saving from air tires is up to 3 percent of gas used by cars, not of all oil consumption; the up to 11.2 million gallons saved of oil per day (about 267,000 barrels of oil) is just a fraction of the 1.25 million barrels of oil produced from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that McCain is discussing (even if you expand it to included all things that could be done to improve gas mileage)).

So what is the problem with Obama's notion of efficiency? He only includes some costs and not others. There are 250 million cars in the US. Suppose that you would have 150 million cars having their tires checked once a week. Suppose that it takes on average 5 minutes to check the pressure on all the tires (remove the stem covers, check the pressure, fill up the tires with air when needed, put the covers back, clean your hands). If that is done once a week, it would take 750 million minutes a week, or 12.5 million hours. The average hourly wage in the US is now $18 per hour. Including workers not paid on an hourly rate, the number would be much higher. But at $18 per hour time costs on average, that comes to $225 million, $32.5 million per day. If gas prices are $4 a gallon, you would save $44.8 million (11.2 million gallons saved * $4 a gallon). Not a huge difference in the numbers.


Alabama county has about 9 percent of adults with permits

Lauderdale County in Alabama reported has about 6.67 percent of all residents and 9.1 percent of adults with concealed handgun permits. (Second number based on assuming that the share of population below 21 is about 26 percent.)

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Concealed carry in Florida, and Jacksonville in particular

Here is a nice story on people getting concealed handgun permits in Florida and the increasing rate that women are applying.



University of Georgia Policy on Firearms

Thanks to David Mustard for sending this to me. He just received it via email today.


TO: UGA Faculty, Staff, and Students

FROM: Jimmy Williamson, Chief of Police

RE: Possession of Weapons on Campus

In regards to weapons on campus, the University of Georgia has a Firearms, Weapons, and Explosives policy. The policy conforms to Georgia statutes which address the possession of weapons on University property. The policy follows in its entirety:

University of Georgia
Firearms, Weapons, and Explosives Policy

The University has deemed the following actions to be prohibited by state law and/or University policy. Violation of this policy will result in appropriate action, including but not limited to termination, dismissal and/or criminal prosecution, if it finds that a student, employee or visitor to campus engages in any of the following:

Using, possessing, manufacturing, distributing, maintaining, transporting or receiving, in a residence hall, any location on University property or at any University sponsored event, any of the following:

(a) firearm or weapon whether operable or inoperable as defined in Georgia Code Section 16-11-127.1 or any object of like character, including but not limited to paintball guns, BB guns, potato guns, air soft guns or any device which propels a projectile of any kind;

(b) any dangerous weapon, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, shotgun or silencer as defined in Georgia Code Section 16-11-121;

(c) any bacteriological weapon, biological weapon, destructive device, detonator, explosive, incendiary, over-pressure device or poison gas as defined in Georgia Code Section 16-7-80;

(d) any explosive materials as defined in Georgia Code Section 16-7-81; or

(e) any hoax device, replica of a destructive device or configuration of explosive materials with the appearance of a destructive device, including but not limited to, fake bombs, packages containing substances with the appearance of chemical explosives or toxic materials.

The possession of a valid firearms permit, or a valid license to carry a concealed weapon, does not exempt students from the provisions of this policy or provisions detailed in Georgia Code Section 16-11-127.1. Under these provisions, students are prohibited from possessing, manufacturing, etc. weapons as defined above anywhere on University property.

These provisions do not prohibit the possession by non-students (i.e. faculty, staff, and visitors to campus) of weapons or devices which are legal to possess, provided such a device is kept in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle, or a locked container or locked firearms rack within a motor vehicle.

Under Georgia Code Section 16-11-127.1(c)(5)(E), campus police officers are not prohibited from carrying weapons on the University of Georgia campus

Georgia Packing has this information:

I wonder if the UGA regulations can be challenged.


Stunning change in Rasmussen poll on who voters trust

The Rasmussen Reports has this new survey:

John McCain is now trusted more than Barack Obama on nine out of 14 electoral issues tracked by Rasmussen Reports. The latest national telephone surveys find that McCain has the biggest advantage on the war in Iraq, by a 51% to 39% margin.

Perhaps the most interesting finding of these polls is that McCain has expanded his leads on nearly every issue he had previously had the advantage on, while Obama’s leads have diminished over the past two weeks. . . .

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"At-risk Dems back drilling"

Pelosi has apparently told Dems to publicly oppose her on oil drilling at the same time she will keep any vote from occurring. The strategy is to let the Dems oppose her so that they will be protected from voter anger. Here is the story from the Politico:

Rahall spent more than an hour last week talking to the president about energy. Bush spent the entire flight aboard Air Force One, and much of a subsequent limousine ride, grilling the West Virginia Democrat about legislative solutions to the high price of gasoline, Rahall said last week.

So, does the president think Congress can get anything done this year?

“No,” Rahall replied in a short interview with Politico. “He’s realistic about it.”

Asked if Congress will produce a comprehensive energy bill in September before Congress adjourns again for elections, Rahall replied, “This year? No.”

Instead, the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources believes Democrats are all about 2009. . . . .

It is nice to know that the Dems don't mind waiting until 2009 to deal with this issue. The question is can the Republicans educate people on the game that is being played here.

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From Alexander Solzhenitsyn speaking at Harvard in 1978

From today's WSJ:

the most cruel mistake occurred with the failure to understand the Vietnam war. Some people sincerely wanted all wars to stop just as soon as possible; others believed that there should be room for national, or communist, self-determination in Vietnam, or in Cambodia, as we see today with particular clarity. But members of the U.S. antiwar movement wound up being involved in the betrayal of Far Eastern nations, in a genocide and in the suffering today imposed on 30 million people there. Do those convinced pacifists hear the moans coming from there? Do they understand their responsibility today? Or do they prefer not to hear? The American Intelligentsia lost its [nerve] and as a consequence thereof danger has come much closer to the United States. But there is no awareness of this. Your shortsighted politicians who signed the hasty Vietnam capitulation seemingly gave America a carefree breathing pause; however, a hundredfold Vietnam now looms over you. That small Vietnam had been a warning and an occasion to mobilize the nation's courage. But if a full-fledged America suffered a real defeat from a small communist half-country, how can the West hope to stand firm in the future?

Obviously, this seems to also apply to today.


The "First Black President" now has to proclaim that "I am not a racist"

Is Bill Clinton a racist? Not as far as I can tell. It is just sad that political correctness these days has gotten to the point that it makes it necessary to defend against even the most innocent comments. However, Clinton does have something to do with making this worse. But there is one question that I have: why did Clinton pick this time to make this assertion? Was it to cause trouble for Obama? After all, the race issue had just surfaced as a bone of contention between McCain and Obama where McCain had just accused Obama of making race an issue. Instead, Clinton said this:

“I am not a racist,” Clinton said Monday in a testy interview with ABC News in Monrovia, Liberia, in response to a question that wasn’t quite related to that subject. "I've never made a racist comment, and I never attacked [Obama] personally."



New Fox News Op-ed: Where There's Smoke, There's Government Intrusion

The new piece is available here:

This is still a free country, right? Last week, the US House of Representatives passed legislation to more closely regulate the wages that firms pay workers and more strictly regulate tobacco products by putting them under FDA supervision.

The Los Angeles City Council also approved a one-year-moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a 32 square mile low-income area in the city, the poor after all have “above-average rates of obesity” and must be protected from themselves.

Perhaps the government may just want to ask people if they are poor before we let them enter certain restaurants.

Barack Obama promises a national ban on smoking in public places. Such micro-managing of peoples’ behavior will likely to only get worse, as anyone who has been to countries such as Sweden can attest. . . .

While I would appreciate people adding their comments here, you can see some other comments here.

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Another C-SPAN Broadcast on Monday

CSPAN2 4:00 p.m. Dr. John Lott, bestselling author of Freedomnomics
Topic: The Second Amendment, post Heller decision
The talk will be for the Young Americans Foundation.

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Homeowner stops armed attacker in Los Angeles

From the LA Times:

A man fatally shot one of three armed intruders who broke into his Woodland Hills home Friday in an apparent home invasion robbery, police said.

The dead intruder, a man in his 20s whose name has not been released, was found with a handgun, said Officer Jason Lee, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department. . . .

Thanks to CM Ross for the link.


Violent environmentalist types attack car driver in Seattle: Critical Mass hogs road

The Seattle PI has this story:

Police spokesman Mark Jamieson said the driver is not considered an aggressor, but a victim, in the chaos that broke out during the Critical Mass protest.

While acknowledging that the driver did strike some of the bicyclists, Jamieson said it appeared the man did so trying to get away from the large crowd.

"It's completely understandable, if you've got a mob surrounding you, trying to get to you," he said.

The disturbance happened at around 7:15 p.m. near East Aloha Street and 14th Avenue East. The driver was in a white Subaru with a female companion and was trying to pull out of a parking space.

At that moment a large group of riders, described to police as anywhere from 100 to 300 bicyclists, were participating in a Critical Mass demonstration.

For years, bicyclists involved with Critical Mass have gathered monthly to ride through Seattle streets in a show of support for the rights of bicyclists. For the most part, Seattle police have taken a hands-off approach to the riders, although the protest tactics include filling the streets with bikes, putting a stop to vehicular traffic.

The riders were employing this tactic just as the motorist and his companion were about to drive off, Jamieson said.

"The bicyclists were using both sides of the roadway, effectively blocking traffic," he said.

According to what some witnesses told police, an altercation with the driver ensued and some of those on bikes began sitting on his car and hitting the vehicle, Jamieson said.

The driver tried to back up, he said, and struck a bike.

That's when bicyclists really began attacking the vehicle.

"They broke his windshield and they broke the rear window and did some additional body damage," Jamieson said.

The driver told officers he feared for his safety and that of his girlfriend, so he sped off, hitting other bikes and riders. . . .

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