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Why are gun control advocates so excited about Vivek Murthy’s confirmation when he promised that he wouldn’t push gun control?

by John Lott on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

This is article 117 of 117 in the topic Obama Appointments


Gun control groups are excited about Vivek Murthy’s confirmation’s, but before his confirmation his supporters were pointing to his promise not “use the Surgeon General’s office as a bully pulpit for gun control,” and instead would make his top priority “obesity prevention.”  So why should the gun control groups be so excited? Was it because he didn’t mean his promise to the Senate?

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Powerful interview of CIA interrogation "architect" where he reacts to Senate interrogation report

by John Lott on Monday, December 15th, 2014

This is article 35 of 35 in the topic CIA
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
The interview with Psychologist James Mitchell is very powerful (it is available here).  Really brings into question the Senate Democrats’ report.  Senate Democrats have publicly outed this man and have put his life in danger.  They also refused to talk to Dr. Mitchell or anyone else who was actually involved in these interrogations.  This is only two-thirds of his Mitchell’s interview tonight, but it is still very worthwhile.

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It probably isn’t very smart to rob a gun store, woman employee with a gun stops two armed robbers

by John Lott on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

This is article 594 of 594 in the topic Gun Rights
From Channel 5 TV News in Springdale, Arkansas:

Marcus Gould, 25, and Leon Roberson, 20, face charges of Attempted Capital Murder and Aggravated Robbery, according to police. Roberson was booked into the Washington County Detention Center at 1:55 a.m. and is set to appear in court for an 8.1 Hearing on Monday (Dec. 7th), according to the detention center’s website.

Police said the incident happened around 9 a.m. Saturday at the C & S Gun and Pawn Shop at 1208 South Thompson in Springdale.

Employees reported two men walked into the store, one wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and the other wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt, police said.

“They split up, they both pulled out hand guns that looked like black semi-automatic pistols and began to rob the store,” according to Lt. Derek Hudson with the Springdale Police Department. “One of the employees also pulled out a weapon and there were shots exchanged.” . . .

Sergeant Daniel Grubbs with the Fort Smith Police Department, said Gould arrived at Sparks Hospital with a gun shot wound to the forearm. . . .

A video is also available at the link.

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Two cases within a couple days where concealed handgun permit holders stopped robberies

by John Lott on Friday, December 5th, 2014

This is article 593 of 594 in the topic Gun Rights
One customer was killed here, but without the permit holder in this case, multiple customers might have been killed.  St. Louis (occurred on Tuesday night, December 2, 2014):
The ex-officer, who worked for the department for several years in the 1970s and has a concealed-carry permit, fired back, shooting Wade in the eye and Davis in the shoulder, police said.
Another male customer, 73, was shot in the ankle and was in critical condition; a fourth male victim, 66, was released from the hospital after receiving treatment for two shots to his buttocks.
Davis and a third gunman, whose identity was unknown, fled in a stolen Mazda, investigators said. Police found the wounded Davis at a hospital; he claimed he had been shot at a different place. A manhunt continued for the third man. . . . .
Las Vegas (occurred on Thursday, December 4, 2014):

Las Vegas police arrested a man after he allegedly tried to a rob a Red Lobster restaurant on Thursday night.

A call was made to police around 9:45 p.m., reporting a man had entered the Red Lobster . . . near U.S. 95, with a handgun.

The man, who has now been identified as 28-year-old Dillon Webb, allegedly threatened customers and employees and took the drawer from a cash register.

Witnesses said the man ran out the back. A customer from the restaurant, attempting to flee the area, was confronted by the suspect in the parking lot. The customer, who was armed with a handgun fired one round. Webb reportedly dropped the drawer and ran. . . .

Thanks for Tony Troglio for the first link.

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Newest piece at Fox News: "Ferguson: Obama contines to undermine police departments around the country"

by John Lott on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This is article 52 of 53 in the topic Police/Fire
My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

As a response to the police shooting of Michael Brown, President Obama proposes $263 million for police training and body cameras.  But more police training wouldn’t have prevented the Brown shooting and the president’s proposal plays into the hands of those who blame the police.

President Obama has continually undermined police departments around the country, and his demand for more training fits that pattern. In 2009, he jumped to the conclusion that Cambridge, Massachusetts police “acted stupidly” when they arrested Henry Gates.  He personalized the Trayvon Martin investigation in a way that to many implied the murder was radically motivated.  And yet again last week, he emphasized that the anger to the verdict was “an understandable reaction” and blacks’ distrust of police is “rooted in realities.”

Nevertheless, whatever Obama implies, there was absolutely no evidence Officer Darren Wilson was motivated by race and he did exactly what he should have done.  Brown’s robbery of the convenience store, his decision to reach into the police car and punch Wilson while trying to take his gun, and finally Brown’s decision to charge Wilson was what caused the teen’s death.

Under Missouri law, people can defend themselves with deadly force if they have a “reasonable belief” they need to use it to protect themselves against serious injury or death. Wilson claimed: “I felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right.”  When Brown later charged Wilson, despite repeated warnings to stop, Wilson worried that he no choice but to shoot Brown.

But we don’t have to take Wilson’s word for what happened. The forensic evidence is overwhelmingly consistent with his story.  There is no doubt that Brown reached in Wilson’s car and hit him.  Brown’s DNA was found on Wilson’s gun.  Despite strong social pressure, three black witnesses confirmed Wilson’s testimony.

Police officers in America have a more dangerous job than many people realize and they behave remarkably well under these circumstances.

In 2013, the assault rate for the general public in the United States was 229 per 100,000 people.  But the rate police were assaulted that year was 9,300 per 100,000 officers – a rate 41 times higher.  The only reason that police don’t die at as high of a rate as people in other professions is because of their training and the fact that they are armed. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

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Obamacare co-author says: "we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections"

by John Lott on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This is article 699 of 699 in the topic Healthcare
Apparently Democrats are reading the polls about Obamacare.  Even after the election are there many Democrats who say that Obamacare is working the way that they claimed it would work? From The Hill Newspaper:

Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the co-authors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill.

The Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laments the complexity of legislation the Senate passed five years ago.

He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress.

“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.

“What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added. . . .

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Obama’s Freudian Slip that he is breaking law on immigration?: "I took action to change the law"

by John Lott on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This is article 1014 of 1014 in the topic Obama


President Obama might be able to issue executive orders on a number of issues, but he doesn’t have the power to unilaterally change laws.

“Now, you’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations.  That’s true.  But what you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took action to change the law.  [Applause.]  So that’s point number one.”

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Newest piece in the New York Daily News: "Dangerous distortions about cops shooting black men: An oft-cited figure is based on incomplete data and questionable math"

by John Lott on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

This is article 341 of 341 in the topic Criminal Activity
My newest piece at the New York Daily News starts this way:

Exaggerations have poisoned discussions about relations between blacks and the police.

“Black men between the ages of 15 and 19 are 21 times as likely as whites to be killed by a police officer,” said Chuck Todd on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree echoed Todd. “The data is clear, that black boys are being killed by white police officers around the country.” The claim was repeated frequently on other shows.
But those numbers aren’t entirely accurate, and they are far from the whole truth.
There’s no denying that accidental deaths at the hands of police — like the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun in a public park — are horrible tragedies.
Nor is there any denying that blacks feel discriminated against. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 70% of blacks believed that the police treated whites better than blacks. By contrast, only 37% of whites agreed. Last week, President Obama emphasized how blacks’ distrust of police is “rooted in realities” and how the anger to the verdict was “an understandable reaction.”
But at least part of this feeling seems to stem from how the media covers the issue.
Todd and Ogletree relied on an analysis of FBI data by ProPublica and Slate. Slate’s headline read, “Black Teens Vastly More Likely to Be Killed by Police Than Whites Even After Adjusting for Crime Rates.”
If their claim is right — if police do unjustly shoot blacks at vastly higher rates — it is a serious indictment of the police. But, fortunately, these allegations are false.
One allegation is that 15-to-19-year-old black males die at the hands of the police 21 times as often as do white males of the same age. Another claim is that blacks commit violent crimes no more than two to three times as often as whites do.
By combining these two claims, some journalists conclude that police still kill young blacks at least seven to 10.5 times as often as they kill young whites.
But the original 21-fold claim is based on worse than unreliable data. ProPublica acknowledges that the data on justifiable police killings are “terribly incomplete. . . . Vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all.”
But they don’t make it clear that literally only a couple hundred police departments (217 in 2012, just 1.2% of all the departments in the country) report these numbers.
Even worse, the very few police departments that do report are predominately urban areas, which tend to have much higher concentrations of blacks. This skews the numbers to over-represent black deaths.  . . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

 

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So why did Rep. Ron Barber go to court to demand that 133 of the 240 ballots cast in the wrong precinct be counted?: Because those were the Democratic votes

by John Lott on Sunday, November 30th, 2014

This is article 46 of 46 in the topic 2014 Elections
This is really a hilarious legal argument.  I have read a number of news reports on this recount battle because Barber’s race was one that gun control advocates really pored a lot of money into.  But there is only one article that actually mentioned that Barber’s lawyers were only calling on 133 of the 240 ballots cast in the wrong precinct be counted.  Barber’s loss is a real blow for them.  From the Nogales, Arizona newspaper:

. . . Barber’s campaign is challenging 133 ballots it says were wrongly rejected because voters went to the wrong polling site. State law says that if you vote at the wrong site, your ballot will not be counted.
But Barber’s campaign says every vote should count – and blames the problem on poll workers who neglected to tell voters they were at the wrong site.
Last week, the Pima County Recorder’s office said 240 votes were rejected in the CD2 race because people voted at the wrong place. So why isn’t Barber’s campaign insisting all 240 be counted?
I asked Rodd McLeod, who works with Barber’s campaign, that last week.
After asking him if the 133 voters are known to be Democrats; he said no. “I assume they’re a mix of Democrat, Republican and Independent.”
Later in the conversation he said, “It wouldn’t shock me if they were mostly Democrats, obviously.” . . . .

Ron Barber’s campaign wants to count votes that will go his way and they do not want to count votes that will not go his way.

That’s why we have a battle over 133 ballots in court and not 240.
I can’t blame the campaign for making every effort for their candidate, but I resent them wrapping themselves in the flag and telling us “every vote must count” when they really don’t believe that at all. . . .

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The disaster of Taxi cab regulations in NYC, so few cabs that the medallions are $1m and the impact on service really shows

by John Lott on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

This is article 67 of 67 in the topic Business
I was in NYC yesterday to give a talk, and I had to get a taxi cab twice.  Once to go to the Grand Hyatt (traveling from 7th Ave & 28th St. to 109 E 42nd St, about 1.3 miles) and then another mile trip.  On the first leg of the trip, I flagged down several cabs, but I was told that the drivers were unwilling to travel to the hotel.  They wanted to go someplace else.  If I had said one of the airports, they would have been happy, but that isn’t where I wanted to go.  On the second leg of the trip, it took  40 minutes waiting for a cab.  Now this second trip was at 5 PM, so I wasn’t too surprised, but I had a big box of books and it was raining.  I have never previously run into so many cab drivers who simply refuse to take a ride because they apparently know that they can shop around until they get a bigger fare.

Yet, there are so few cabs that taxi medallions are now over $1 million each.  Can’t they have enough cabs so that the price of medallions would only be at, say, $500,000?

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