8/29/2015

The Latest Media Matters attack: CBS Evening News Allows me To "Falsely Connect Gun Laws To Higher Murder Rates"

Since Media Matters latest attack piece leads off with just referencing their list of all their attacks on me, let me start with this link.
Lott is technically correct that the D.C. murder rate in 1976 -- the year a ban on private ownership or possession of handguns in nearly all circumstances went into effect -- was 26.8 people per 100,000 residents, and was 31.4 in 2008, the last year the ban was in place. But those two data points don't tell the whole story. For example, the murder rate in the last full year in which D.C. did not have a gun ban, 1975, was 32.8  -- higher than the murder rate when the ban ended.
People can judge for themselves what I have written about the crime rates in DC.  DC's murder rate was falling relative to the other largest fifty cities prior to the ban and they rising relative to those cities afterwards.  
Data from Australia also casts doubt on Lott's premise that more restrictions on firearms equal more murders. Following a series of mass shootings that culminated with the 1996 Fort Arthur massacre of 35 people, Australia enacted extremely restrictive gun laws that placed strong limits on firearm ownership -- especially for handguns and semi-automatic rifles -- and confiscated 650,000 privately owned guns

My comment was about gun bans.  The Australian gun buyback reduced gun ownership dramatically, but after that people were allowed to go out and buy guns again (though they now had to get licensed in many cases).  The purchases eventually raised the gun ownership rate back to where it was before the buyback.  A full discussion can be seen in my testimony available here.

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8/28/2015

"Uber and the Great Taxicab Collapse"




The million dollar taxi cab medallions only came about from high taxi fees.  Should government protect certain business from competition?  Would the taxi cab fees been anywhere near as high as they have been without government protection?  Obviously, no.

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For those joining us from Coast-to-Coast AM, Please go to the Crime Prevention Research Center Website for information about gun control and crime

The Crime Prevention Research Center is available here.

8/24/2015

Yet another Obama administration official using a pseudonym to hide email accounts, Lois Lerner follows Lisa Jackson and many other Obama officials

Lisa Jackson and many others at the EPA used a pseudonym to hide their identities.  In Jackson's case, she pretended to be a man, Richard Windsor, who actually won real awards granted by the EPA.  Now it turns out that Lois Lerner also disguised herself as a guy to hide her emails from prying eyes. The Washington Times reports:
. . . “In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner‘ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case. 
It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.” . . .

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8/23/2015

Private contractor warned EPA about possibility of 'blowout' risk for tainted water at gold mine, EPA ignored warning

After weeks of badgering by the media, the EPA finally releases a very damaging report that they were warned about the likelihood of an environmental disaster in Colorado.  The EPA ignored the warning.  From the Associated Press:
. . . EPA released the documents following weeks of prodding from The Associated Press and other media organizations. EPA and contract workers accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater on Aug. 5 as they inspected the idled Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. 
Among the documents is a June 2014 work order for a planned cleanup that noted that the old mine had not been accessible since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed. The plan appears to have been produced by Environmental Restoration, a private contractor working for EPA. 
"This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse," the report says. "ln addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals." . . .

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Democratic pundits are publicly turning against Hillary Clinton

It has taken some time, but you know Hillary is in trouble when even the most stalwart Democratic pundits are saying that she is not being honest.
-- Mark Shields tells Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour that Hillary should have turned over everything over at the very outset.  Shields points out that the judge who reprimanded Hillary this past week was appointed by Bill Clinton.
-- Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post tells Hillary to "stop digging the hole."
you ought to stop — now! — with the unconvincing claim that you did nothing different from your predecessors as secretary of state. . . .
And wiping the server 
— you did work on Watergate for the House Judiciary Committee, didn’t you? . . .
-- A few days earlier, Eugene Robinson also at the Washington Post had a change of heart about Hillary's email problems. He had until that point been defending Hillary.
. . . It’s about basic respect — for us and for the truth. 
Why, when she took office as secretary of state, did she decide to route official e-mails through a server in her suburban New York mansion? There is just one plausible explanation: She wanted control.  
Clinton was no stranger to the rules of the federal government. . . .  
Even if your name is Clinton, you have no right to unilaterally decide what is included and what is not. 
So I wish Hillary Clinton would be respectful enough to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” I wish she wouldn’t insult our intelligence by claiming she only did what other secretaries of state had done. None of her predecessors, after all, went to the trouble and expense of a private e-mail server. . . .

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The unintended consequences of plastic bag bans

From Bloomberg:
When the city council in Austin, Texaspassed a single-use plastic shopping bag ban in 2013, it assumed environmental benefits would follow. The calculation was reasonable enough: Fewer single-use bags in circulation would mean less waste at city landfills. 
Two years later, an assessment commissioned by the city finds that the ban is having an unintended effect –- people are now throwing away heavy-duty reusable plastic bags at an unprecedented rate. The city's good intentions have proven all too vulnerable to the laws of supply and demand. 
What's true for Austin is likely true elsewhere. Plastic bag bans are one of America's most popular environmental measures of recent years . . . . 
plastic bags simply aren't that big of a problem. . . . . A more finely tuned litter survey in Fort Worth, Texas (reported in the Austin assessment) found that just 0.12 percent of the weight of litter in the city (which does not have a ban) comes from single-use bags. 
Nonetheless, . . . weight isn't the only measure of environmental impact. Single-use plastic bags pose outsized problems in the form of visual pollution on the landscape . . . . 
reducing the use of a product that's harmful to the environment is no guarantee of a positive environmental outcome. . . . To that end, the city encouraged residents to instead use reusable bags. Those bags have larger carbon footprints, due to the greater energy required to produce their stronger plastics, but the city figured the overall impact would be lower, as consumers got acquainted with the new, more durable product.  What the city didn't foresee is that residents would start treating reusable bags like single-use bags. . . .

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8/21/2015

Only 45% of electric vehicle owners this year have replaced their cars with a new electric vehicle


One measure of whether people liked their electric vehicles is whether they replaced them with a new one when they traded their old car.  By that measure, despite the massive subsidies, electric vehicles aren't holding up very well.  From Edmunds:
only 45 percent of this year's hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.  
"For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment," says Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. "Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today's gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn't make a very compelling case."  
To underscore the point, Edmunds calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today's national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same gap. . . .

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8/20/2015

Massive EPA spill in Georgia, happened before Colorado, EPA hid spill


So much for transparency by the Obama administration.  From Fox News:
Still reeling from a disaster it created at a Colorado gold mine, the EPA has so far avoided criticism for a similar toxic waste spill in Georgia. . . .  that accident took place five months ago, the hazard continues as heavy storms -- one hit the area Tuesday -- wash more soil into the creek.  
The sediment flows carry dangerous mercury, lead, arsenic and chromium downstream to the tourist destination of Lake Oconee, which then feeds into Oconee River -- home to many federally and state protected species. 
Lead in the soil is 20,000 times higher than federal levels established for drinking water, said microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during 31 years at the Environmental Protection Agency.  
He became a whistleblower critical of EPA practices . . . . 
"Clearly, the site is a major hazardous chemical waste dump, which contains many of the most dangerous chemical pollutants regulated by the EPA," Lewis wrote in a 2014 affidavit for a court case filed by local residents that failed to prevent the EPA project: creating a low-income housing development. . . .

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UN agrees to let Iranian inspectors look at military nuclear sites, Obama adm couldn't get agreement on this key part so they let UN negotiate


The most shocking part of this interview with Representative Ed Royce is the revelation that the Obama administration couldn't get agreement on this key part so they let UN negotiate it.

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8/19/2015

New op-ed at the New York Daily News: Donald Trump's big lie about 'buying' politicians

My newest piece, which is co-authored with Bradley Smith, starts this way:

For years, Trump was a major contributor to Democratic campaigns. From 1989 through 2011, Trump gave over $580,000 to Democrats, approximately $85,000 more than he donated to Republicans. He also contributed at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Since 2012, however, over 99% of his contributions have gone to Republicans.
Trump might have argued his political giving has changed simply because his views on health care, taxes and other issues have grown more conservative. But he has offered quite a different explanation. He says that he has given to politicians not out of conviction, but because then they “do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
These comments draw “amens” from both the angry American middle, which is furious at the political class, and knowing nods from the liberal political cognoscenti, which favors stricter campaign finance regulations that would make it easier for them to control political discussion through the elite media.
Trump’s claim to control politicians, however, appears to be nothing more than braggadocio. His one concrete example of puppetry, offered in the GOP debate: “With Hillary Clinton, I said, ‘Be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding . . . She had no choice, because I gave.” Leaving aside that this isn’t a pressing matter of government policy, attending a lavish Trump wedding hardly seems like something people that you have to pay people to attend.
Trump asserts that because he is financing his own campaign, he can “do what’s right for the people.” He attacks his political rivals as beholden to wealthy donors: “Bush is controlled by those people. Walker is controlled by those people.” . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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8/10/2015

New study on Concealed Carry

I hope that people will consider downloading a copy of our new study on concealed handguns available here.  The paper shows the huge changes that have been occurring in the number of concealed handgun permits and who have been getting those permits.  It also shows how changes in the crime rate have been related to changes in crime rates across states, and I think that the paper will serve as an important resource.  Finally, if we can get another thousand downloads on the paper, I think that it will force the academics who pay attention to the rankings on the Social Science Research Network to have to deal with the points that we have raised in the paper.

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8/09/2015

Hillary Clinton's nonexistent accomplishments in the US Senate


It has been hard for Hillary Clinton's supporters to identify anything that she accomplished while Secretary of State.  Well, it should be just as hard for people to identify any real mark she made while in the US Senate.   Fifteen of the twenty bills she passed involved designating names for government buildings, honoring events, or congratulating people on their accomplishments (show in red).  The five bills of more substance are marked in blue.  Two of those five designated land in Puerto Rico as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  A third bill renewed a grant program "to develop coordinated respite care programs."  A fourth "authorize assistance for individuals with disabilities in foreign countries, including victims of landmines and other victims of civil strife and warfare, and for other purposes."  A fifth was to extend unemployment insurance in 2001, but there was nothing unique about that bill and it appears as if it was a gift to her so that she could claim that she had something passed.

So after eight years in the Senate, Clinton's legislative accomplishments boil down to two relatively small grant programs.

Hillary Clinton's 20 bills that were passed while she was in the US Senate.
S.Con.Res. 39 (109th): A concurrent resolution to express the sense of Congress on the Purple Heart.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: May 26, 2005
Passed Senate: Jul 28, 2005
S. 272 (109th): Caribbean National Forest Act of 2005
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Feb 3, 2005
Passed Senate: Jul 26, 2005
S.Con.Res. 112 (108th): A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: May 21, 2004
Passed Senate: Jul 22, 2004
S. 2334 (108th): Caribbean National Forest Act of 2004
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Apr 22, 2004
Passed Senate: Oct 10, 2004
S. 1108 (108th): 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemoration Act
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: May 22, 2003
Passed Senate: Apr 7, 2004
S.Con.Res. 40 (108th): A concurrent resolution designating August 7, 2003, as “National Purple Heart Recognition Day”.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Apr 30, 2003
Passed Senate: Jul 25, 2003
S. 538 (108th): Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2003
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Mar 5, 2003
Passed Senate: Apr 10, 2003
S.Con.Res. 103 (107th): A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Better Hearing and Speech Month, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Apr 30, 2002
Passed Senate: May 1, 2002
S. 1777 (107th): International Disability and Victims of Landmines, Civil Strife and Warfare Assistance Act of 2002
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Dec 5, 2001
Passed Senate: Sep 13, 2002
S. 1721 (107th): A bill to designate the building located at 1 Federal Plaza in New York, New York, as the “James L. Watson United States Courthouse”.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Nov 16, 2001
Passed Senate: Apr 30, 2002
S. 1622 (107th): Extended Unemployment Compensation bill
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Nov 1, 2001
Passed Senate: Dec 20, 2001

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Panama moves to let citizens have guns: Public Safety Minister notes more guns "have allowed the US to reduce homicide"

panama
The Panama Post:
As Panama deals with increases in crime rates, forged gun permits, and rising gang activity, the government is set to lift the ban on firearm imports, in an effort to promote personal safety.
Public Safety Minister Rodolfo Aguilera said the country will follow in the footsteps of the United States and Switzerland, where the right to bear arms is believed to lead to fewer homicides.+
“Everything seems to indicate that there is no direct correlation in the aphorism that says more guns mean more crime,” said Aguilera, who explained that relaxed gun laws have allowed the United States to reduce the homicide rate over the last 20 years. . . .
Under the current law, in effect since 2012, only state security forces can import firearms. Meanwhile, the Central American Integration System (SICA) has called for a comprehensive review of Panama’s firearm-import ban before any action is taken by the National Assembly. . . .
Further information on Panama's gun laws are available here and here.

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8/08/2015

While Donald Trump claims he believes "strongly in just about all conservative principles." he has been a Democrat, Independent, Republican and flirted with Ross Perot's Reform Party

From CNN story in February 2011:
. . . In a recent interview, Trump declared that he believes "strongly in just about all conservative principles," is "pro-life" and against gay marriage. He has attacked President Obama's health care law and said that the United States has become the "laughingstock" of the world. 
This is the same Donald Trump who has changed party affiliation from Republican to Independent to Democrat and back to Republican, according to a report. 
Trump has said in interviews with CNN that he identifies more with Democrats than Republicans; that the party handles the economy better than Republicans; that President George W. Bush was "probably the worst president in the history of the United States"; and suggested that Bush should have been impeached for what Trump called "lies" over a "horrendous mistake": the Iraq war.  
In 1999, while flirting with running for president under Ross Perot's Reform Party, Trump told the New York Daily News that he supported abortion rights and universal health care.Trump and his representatives at the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. . . . 
In a Monday interview, Trump defended his conservative bona fides."I'm a very conservative person. I'm very big into the military. I'm a great guy for defense," Trump told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. "I am probably as conservative as anybody on your show, and that's going a pretty strong step." 
He added: "I'm a very conservative Republican. I believe strongly in just about all conservative principles." . . .
Does anyone believe that whatever Trump says that he believes today he will believe two years from now?

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Donald Trump: acts like 3rd grader calling everyone names, claims he can't remember calling women names

Trump calls women from all walks of life (including "Playboy Playmate, a new mom, a newspaper columnist") Fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.  What could possibly justify such childish comments?  There are a number of news stories now that confirm the facts in Megyn Kelly's question.  Trump claims that he doesn't remember making any of those comments.

In 2011, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote a column on Trump's financial problems.  So how does Trump respond?  He sends her back a copy of her column with "a circle drawn around Collins' face and these words: 'The Face of a Dog!'

Last year, Trump also called Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington as "a dog" in a tweet.

That is the way presidents should respond to critics?  If there is one thing that I learned a long time ago, you are unlikely to change someone else's position and convince them you are right if you make the discussion personal.  How is a president going to get Congress to go along with him if he is constantly insulting them?

The list of Trump's derogatory comments against women is incredibly long (see the Washington Post, New York Daily News, and here is a 2012 article in the left wing publication Jezebel).  People can read the long list of them for themselves.

But it isn't just obnoxious attacks on those he disagrees with.  As one of the contestants on "The Apprentice" noted: “I think it was most uncomfortable when he had one [female] contestant come around the board table and twirl around."  Or “He asked the men to rate the women — he went down the line and asked the guys, ‘Who’s the most beautiful on the women’s team?’ ”

After first saying he couldn't remember these comments, he was in complete denial: “The question on the women, I didn’t say many of those things."  One comment years ago is easy to forget.  Regular comments over a very long period of time?  That is much harder to believe.

That said, I agree with Mark Levin that context is important, especially in the case of Rosie O’Donnell.  In her case, Rosie O'Donnell had been mocking Trump before he mocked her.  I still would have responded differently.  However, I don't think that context will explain Trump's response to Gail Collins.  Collins has written very inaccurate pieces about me before, but I never thought of responding in the way that Trump did.

Just as strange, Trump has gone on a rampage with comments attacking Megyn Kelly since her question on Thursday.  He first started out saying that she was unprofessional and "really unfair."  So a guy who wants to be president, who lashes out regularly at others, spends days lashing out at Kelly after she asks him a tough question.

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8/07/2015

With all this money on a Facebook ad, Bloomberg's Everytown post on Kroger's Open Carry Policy gets just 292 likes


I have been seeing this ad from Bloomberg's Everytown for sometime, so I was pretty stunned when I noticed that as of this afternoon it still only has 292 likes.   The point of the link is to get people to sign a petition that will be delivered to Kroger.  The 279 comments also appear to be overwhelmingly by people who disagree with Everytown.  I have no idea exactly how much money Bloomberg spends on these ads, and I am sure that this is only a tiny amount of money to him.  But for a group that claims to have 2.5 million members, this is a very weak showing.  Of course, this membership number is pretty meaningless as these aren't dues paying members, just people who have agreed to be on Bloomberg's email list.  I assume that a number of those are those who support gun ownership and just want to see what Bloomberg is up to.

8/05/2015

"China to Embed Internet Police in Tech Firms," So these are the guys Obama wants to give control of the internet to?

It is good to know that these internet police will be able to stop the "spreading of rumors."  It obviously wound never be abused by the Chinese to stop people from saying true things about the government, right?  From the WSJ:
China’s government plans to embed cybersecurity police units at major Internet companies and websites to help prevent crimes such as fraud and “spreading of rumors,” state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday. 
It is an unusually hands-on approach by Beijing, which typically sets censorship standards and puts the onus on companies to comply. China’s Internet regulator has previously favored tactics such as threatening to shut down services that didn’t meet censorship requirements. . . . 

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