Re-Reconsidering the Mariel Boatlift
It’s the academic dust-up that will never end. All the way back in September of 2015, Jason Richwine wrote in this space about a then-new study by Harvard’s George Borjas casting doubt on the common wisdom about the “Mariel ...
What in the World Is Going On with the Health-Care Bill?
Last night, Bloomberg came out with a heck of a scoop: The House’s American Health Care Act has not been sent to the Senate, and in fact, if the Congressional Budget Office scores the bill poorly, the House will ...
Mike Lee Wants to Stop America from Coming Apart
Things have been going wrong in America for some time. Men have been dropping out of the labor force for decades. Drug overdoses began their ascent in the 1990s. For as long as many of us have been alive, the ...
Does Race Play a Role When Police Kill Civilians?
Last week saw two black men killed by police in highly troubling circumstances. These incidents deserve the scrutiny they are receiving, and they also repeat a deeper question that Americans have asked frequently of late: In general, when police kill ...
Nowadays, We Marry Our Grad-School Sweetheart
No one is particularly surprised when two people with the same level of education — or even two people who graduated from the same college with the same degree, like my wife and I — become romantically involved. But what would it ...
Re: Embryos: Natural Death and Moral Obligations
Ramesh: “Tell me more about these drugs,” you write. I can’t, because they have not been developed yet. In fact, as I noted in my piece, even the scope of the problem remains a mystery: Hundreds of thousands of ...
Re: Conservatives Is Stoopid
Jay — I just wanted to plug my review (paywalled) of Gross’s book. I too picked up on a lot of condescension toward conservatives, but I also think the author makes a very serious attempt to answer the question of ...
Over on the homepage, I take a look at the controversial dissertation and the Heritage Foundation’s decision to accept the resignation of its author.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece has been amended since its original posting.
How Southern Whites Went Republican
Lately Kevin has been writing a bit about the South’s transition from the Democratic camp to the Republican one. I took some time today to run the numbers through the General Social Survey, a massive research project that has ...
Abortion and the Pill: The Numbers
Over on the homepage, Jillian Melchior makes the case for selling the pill over the counter. I couldn’t agree more; women should not need a doctor’s permission to take a birth-control pill (or just about any other pill, ...
Re: Re: Re: Rape Prevention
Nathan: I think we’ve both made our points and I don’t want to drag this out, but I would like to note a few things.
First, there’s a simple explanation for the statistical anomaly you point out: ...
80 Percent of Cops Say Background Checks Won't Reduce Crime?
The NRA has been running ads making that claim. Over at Slate, William Saletan takes a close look at the actual survey — which was not scientific, and which did not directly ask whether background checks would lower crime. One question ...
Supreme Court Won't Hear Gun Case
It declined to review Kachalsky, one of the cases in which a plaintiff sought to secure the recognition of Second Amendment rights outside of the home.
As SCOTUSblog notes, there is a split among lower courts on this issue, so ...
Re: Prosecuting Gun Criminals
Andy and Andrew: You both touch on the fact that very few people who fail background checks are prosecuted. Interestingly, though, conservatives have long made contradictory points about this: Some see the fact as evidence that we need to prosecute ...
Over at the Washington Post, two “researchers and consultants on social and political issues” argue that American mass shooters are overwhelmingly white males, and that consequently the opinions of white males on what to do about mass shootings should be ...
AmSpec Hosts Student Op-Ed Contest
Details here; the winner will be paid $1,000, and the essay will run in the magazine. Topic: “Binge Drinking: The Pros and Cons.”
Treasure this opportunity, college journalists, because $1,000 paychecks are hard to come by in real-world freelance work!
The Strange Case of Mark Kelly
Apparently Kelly, Gabby Giffords’s husband, is in the process of purchasing an AR-15 despite publicly supporting an assault-weapons ban. While Kelly says it’s a stunt to show how easy these guns are to buy, he chose a secondhand ...
Social Science, LA Times–style
A piece by editorial cartoonist and pundit David Horsey tries to reconcile the decline in gun ownership as measured by the General Social Survey with the fact that guns are selling well:
Who is buying all those assault rifles and ...
George Zimmerman Waives Stand Your Ground Hearing
George Zimmerman’s attorneys stunned court observers Tuesday when they waived their client’s right to a “Stand Your Ground” hearing slated for April that might have led to a dismissal of the charges in the shooting death ...
A Novel Defense of the Voting Rights Act
Akhil Reed Amar argues:
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is an obviously appropriate, and thus lawful, congressional enactment pursuant to section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which explicitly empowers Congress to “enforce, by appropriate legislation, ...
Frum on Guns, One Last Time
Apologies: When I wrote this post, I was not aware that his full response was already live. I have just a few things to add.
I’ll start with some points of agreement: Like Frum, I’m not a fan ...
He would like the surgeon general to release a “scientific study” warning against private gun ownership. The column is maddening, echoing the president’s ridiculous belief that a federal report — from a “public health” perspective, of course — will somehow end ...
York Arms Refuses Business from NY Law Enforcement
The company’s statement:
Based on the recent legislation in New York, we are prohibited from selling rifles and receivers to residents of New York.
We have chosen to extend that prohibition to all governmental agencies associated with or located ...
American Banker (where, full disclosure, my wife works) has the details:
Bank of America . . . reportedly wants to discourage some gun manufacturers from even having accounts at the bank. Largely neglected by the mainstream press, two particular firearms manufacturer cases represent ...
Starting August 1, the U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays as a cost-cutting measure. Your Netflix disc subscription just lost a sixth of its value. I think Matthew Yglesias gets it just right:
It’s a perfectly ...
The President's Shooting Stance
The president deserves all the mockery in the world for pretending to be Elmer Fudd all of a sudden, but I think some gun-rights supporters have been too eager to jump down his throat over the way he held the ...
New Report on Mass Shootings
Mayors Against Illegal Guns has a paper that’s worth reading here about the 43 incidents in which four or more people were killed with a gun between January 2009 and January 2013. A few notes:
In four incidents, the individual involved had ...
Dave Gilson of Mother Jones purports to debunk “pro-gun myths.” It’s too bad the piece is riddled with misleading statements:
Gilson claims it’s a “myth” that “they’re coming for your guns.” I agree it’s unlikely that ...
Lena Dunham to Critics: Drop Dead?
I haven’t paid much attention to Girls since writing about the ridiculous race debate it inspired (short version: the Brooklyn hipsters on Girls are white because Brooklyn hipsters are white), but I’ve enjoyed the media coverage of the ...
William Saletan: The NRA Supports Criminals
Over at Slate, he compiles a list of examples. Not one is convincing.
What Saletan misses is the distinction between convicted criminals and those simply accused of a crime. The Second Amendment confers a constitutional right. Constitutional rights may not ...
Background Checks: The Numbers
Yesterday I took at look at the claim that 40 percent of gun sales do not involve a licensed dealer. That claim came up in the president’s announcement.
He also claimed that the background-check system “kept 1.5 million of the wrong ...
I’ve written here before about the idea of having children pay for their own college, ideally by making a case to investors that their education will produce solid returns. Not only could this help get the government out of ...
New York Senate Passes Gun Law
In addition to banning “assault weapons” and expanding background checks, it caps magazine size at seven rounds. While existing assault weapons are grandfathered in, magazines that hold eight or more rounds will need to be retrofitted, turned in, or sold ...
The Washington Post reports that the White House is likely to push for universal background checks for gun buyers. This will be no panacea for gun violence, but it is probably the gun-control policy most likely to make a difference.
Bradley Manning Given 112 Days of Credit
A military judge has found that the alleged WikiLeaker’s pre-trial punishment was “excessive.” Any sentence he receives will be reduced by 112 days.
My previous thoughts on this case can be found here and here.
Gun Buybacks: Still Pointless
David Hardy visited one in Tucson that offered $50 gift cards, and here’s what he found:
I took it as an opportunity to get rid of two old, broken, and probably irreparable guns. In the parking lot, a fellow bought ...
Someone's Been Watching Too Much Numb3rs
From The Atlantic, by a man who’s done a lot of work with marketing data:
Big data might have stopped the massacres in Newtown, Aurora, and Oak Creek. But it didn’t, because there is no national database of ...
Earlier this year, Fareed Zakaria tried making the case for gun control. In the process he distorted virtually every fact he touched, and borrowed a little too much wording from a New Yorker article.
But in the wake of the ...
The Assault-Weapons Paradox
Whenever I compare so-called “assault weapons” with hunting guns, someone points out that assault weapons are designed for military use. How could it be that they’re often less dangerous than deer rifles?
The answer lies in the difference between ...
Re: Newtown and Gun Control
I agree wholeheartedly with Charlie, but I wanted to add a few notes about some of the specific policy proposals that are floating about.
In general, there are two ways to control access to guns: keeping all guns away from ...
Fast and Furious Sentencing
From Yahoo! News:
A man who purchased two rifles found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent north of the U.S.-Mexico border was sentenced Wednesday to nearly five years in federal prison.
J. D. Tuccille makes the case over at Reason:
I . . . consider the restrictions right-to-work laws impose on bargaining between unions and businesses to violate freedom of contract and association. So I’m not cheerleading for the right-to-work law just passed ...
As Mario Loyola and others have noted, Michigan seems poised to enact a right-to-work law, and union supporters — including the president — have been panicking. They’re justified in being worried: Right-to-work laws are a useful step in rolling back the ...
George Zimmerman Sues NBC
From the Los Angeles Times:
Murder suspect George Zimmerman has sued media giant NBCUniversal for defamation, alleging the company and its reporters tried to create a “racial powder-keg” by manipulating a tape of Zimmerman’s 911 call to authorities on the ...
Guns and Crime in Virginia
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The total number of firearms purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent from 2006 to 2011. When state population increases are factored in, gun purchases per 100,000 Virginians rose 63 percent.
But the total number of gun-related violent crimes fell 24 percent over ...
Lindsey — I think it’s worth noting that the judge’s ruling invoked not some grand constitutional principle, but the somewhat odd process that the state constitution requires for education funding.
The provisions the ruling rests upon (B and C) ...
Atlantic Writer Endorses Concealed Carry
Here, from Jeffrey Goldberg. Most of the ideas will be familiar to any longtime Second Amendment supporter, but it’s refreshing to see them in a left-leaning venue.
I think we see the center moving a bit here, thanks to ...
‘The essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident,” wrote Earl Warren in a 1957 Supreme Court opinion. Apparently, American universities themselves have come to disagree.
In Unlearning Liberty, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) president ...
Read my review over at the homepage.
A Dartmouth Official on Hooking Up
From The Atlantic:
I spoke to a woman who works at the Center for Women and Gender at Dartmouth (where I went to college) and acts as an advisor to female students. Her official line is that the point of ...
‘The Conceptual Penis’: The Sokal Hoax Returns!
Remember the Sokal Hoax? Back in 1996, the physicist Alan Sokal wrote a deliberately nonsensical article, steeped in postmodern jargon, arguing that quantum gravity was a “social construct” — and managed to get it published in Social Text, a prominent journal. Its ...
It’s odd that we mourn people we never met, but this morning I was saddened to hear that Chris Cornell, the singer and songwriter best known for fronting the grunge band Soundgarden, has passed away.
There is no replacing ...
Out of Work and Taking Pain Pills
Just a few months ago, hardly anyone was talking about American men leaving the workforce, even though more than 10 percent of males 25–54 are neither employed nor looking for work.
Now it seems like everyone is talking.
Nicholas Eberstadt of the ...
Americans are dying more. Not just poor white Americans — that we already knew — but Americans as a whole, according to preliminary data for 2015 that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released yesterday. That hasn’t happened since 2005, and the numbers ...
Would Cracking Down on Guns in the U.S. Really Reduce Violence?
The United States has a much higher homicide rate than just about any other highly developed country, and it also has much more civilian gun ownership. Further, within the U.S., the simplest analysis — the type journalists can do, using ...
Supremes: No Patents on Human DNA
Several years ago, a company discovered the locations of two genes that affect the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and for this it was awarded numerous patents. These patents gave the company the exclusive right to test for these ...
The Economist on Jason Richwine
The Economist’s Will Wilkinson has a rather perplexing article about the Jason Richwine affair — and the reactions of various conservatives including yours truly. There are so many different threads here that the piece is difficult to rebut, but here ...
As you no doubt have already heard, on Friday the Heritage Foundation accepted the resignation of one Jason Richwine, who in 2009 had completed a Harvard dissertation in which he probed the nexus between immigration and IQ.
The decision revealed a ...
Re: Re: Abortion and the Pill: The Numbers
I greatly appreciate Michael J. New’s comments about birth control and abortion, but I was struck by the claims that “a sexually liberated culture is never going to support significant restrictions on abortion” and that getting rid of the “...
In the weeks since its release, Bioshock Infinite has sold something like a million copies, touched off political controversy, and so offended at least one religious believer that he demanded a refund.
Not bad for a video game.
At first ...
Nathan, you concede that rape statistics are often exaggerated for political purposes, say the debate shouldn’t be about statistics . . . and then proceed to bolster your case with an unreliable statistic.
As I explained in 2011 when the study you cite ...
Lessons from Doing My Taxes
In 2012, my wife and I moved from New York to Virginia and bought a house. To make matters worse, our health coverage comes in the form of a health savings account, I started working from home full-time, and we both ...
Toomey-Manchin Regulates All Advertised Sales
The Toomey-Manchin compromise language is finally public. Here’s the relevant part:
It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed importer to complete the transfer of a firearm to any other person ...
Over on the homepage, Charlie Cooke has an excellent piece on the drive to force gun owners to pay for the externalities of gun ownership. A few months back mandatory gun insurance was all the rage; now it’s gun ...
Do Video Games Cause Aggression?
Researcher Brad Bushman says they do in the New York Daily News. As I’ve written before, I’m highly skeptical, and the article does nothing to address the obvious criticisms of this research.
We know that video ...
Will Congress Mandate Six-Day Mail Delivery?
Congress doesn’t quite know.
The House has passed a bill with language echoing current law — “6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue, at not less than the 1983 level.” When the bill passed, GOP leadership made it clear ...
Senate Committee Okays Background-Check Bill
So says the AP. The committee also put off action on assault weapons.
It’s gotten a lot of coverage, but this is basically a non-event. The bill will probably change significantly before the full Senate votes on it — it ...
PETA vs. Assassin's Creed 4
Just yesterday screenshots from Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag were released online and gave players a glimpse into the game. One of the screenshots even pictured a whale, hinting at the enormity of the game and it was ...
WaPo on School-Choice Tax Credits
It’s not often that I agree with the folks at the Cato Institute on anything having to do with this topic, but they are correct that the Washington Post doesn’t know how a tax credit works. The paper ...
Gun Background Checks and Prosecutions
Inspired by a debate that took place during a recent congressional hearing, Brad Plumer asks whether we should prosecute more people who fail background checks. Right now, very few people who fail the checks are prosecuted, but it’s not ...
He says he’s working on a full response to my earlier post, but he provides an “appetizer portion” here. He offers a new anecdote of a gun accident, the statistic that there are more than 600 fatal gun accidents per ...
Adam Winkler on Background Checks
I’m open to the idea of requiring background checks for all gun transfers. But as Adam Winkler points out, even if we start with the assumption that universal checks are a good idea, the president’s proposal for expanding ...
As Patrick Brennan notes below, most minimum-wage earners are young — they’re people with few skills who are just starting out. As they prove themselves in the job market, develop connections, accumulate raises, and so on, their earnings increase. But ...
Video Games and Violence Update
The New York Times has a balanced look at the evidence. As I’ve written before, there are ways in which video games might plausibly increase violence — but there are also ways in which video games might decrease violence, it’...
Razib Khan on Cultural Anthropologists
He rips into them and weighs in on on their criticisms of Jared Diamond (whose The World until Yesterday I reviewed in a recent NR):
It’s happening again, another issue of Jared Diamond vs. the anthropologists. Part of this ...
Guns from 'Surrounding Areas'
David Axelrod suggested on Morning Joe that Chicago’s high rate of gun crime can be blamed on the fact that “surrounding areas” have lax gun laws. What is true here is that the guns used in Chicago crimes come ...
What Are the Schools in Becoming Right?
I reveal the identities of “Eastern Elite” and “Western Flagship” — the universities at which two sociologists conducted a study of campus conservatism — over at the NAS blog.
NLRB Appointments Ruled Unconstitutional
From the Washington Times:
A federal appeals court has overturned President Obama’s controversial recess appointments from last year, arguing he abused his powers and acted when the Senate was not actually in a recess.
The three-judge panel’s ruling ...
The Meaning of ‘High-Capacity’
As John Rosenberg noted over the weekend, New York State’s new seven-round cap on magazine capacity is a disaster. Not only does it outlaw countless popular magazines, but it will render many guns basically inoperable unless and until manufacturers ...
What We (Supposedly) Don't Know about Guns
One of the president’s new executive orders will allow the Centers for Disease Control to conduct gun research again. The CDC is a horrible choice for this project, both because gun violence is has nothing to do with “disease ...
Private Gun Sales: The Numbers
As John Lott reports, the claim that 40 percent of gun sales are by private citizens rather than dealers — meaning no background check is required — is everywhere. Given that the president is going to push for universal background checks, it’s ...
It’s all speculation right now, but reportedly the president is considering 19 executive actions on gun control. Many of the ideas floating around are good ones, or at least benign ones, though there’s a separate question of where the ...
Biden Meeting with Video-Game Industry
The game site Joystiq reports.
This is going nowhere — and should go nowhere — for reasons I explained a few weeks back.
Julie and Betsy — the fat-acceptance movement and food nannyism are two very different phenomena; each is a threat to liberty, and thus deserving of NRO ink, in its own way.
The problem with fat activism is not that it asserts ...
Megan McArdle on Business School
It was a commonplace when I was applying to business school, way back in 1999, that there wasn’t much point in getting an MBA unless you could get into a top-tier school; the degree simply wouldn’t repay the ...
I’ve written before about the need for better copyright enforcement, and Jerry Brito covers an innovative new system over at Reason:
In January, Internet service providers will begin sending notices to subscribers suspected of illegally downloading music or movies ...
Feinstein's Assault-Weapons Proposal
You can read a summary here.
Like the 1994 ban, it would cap magazine size at ten rounds, ban a number of weapons by name, and also ban guns with certain cosmetic features. However, it would define as an “assault weapon” ...
The Folly of Blaming Video Games
Adam Lanza played violent video games for hours at a time. The Columbine killers loved Doom. And Anders Breivik told a court he played a Call of Duty game to practice his hand-eye coordination.
The fact of three young men ...
Yesterday in this space, I pointed out that Adam Lanza’s Bushmaster .223 is banned for deer hunting in many states on the grounds that it’s too weak. I thought the relevance of this fact was pretty clear: It wouldn’...
Via David Hardy, a check from the City of Chicago to the NRA for attorneys’ fees:
Michael Kinsley has far less standing to make this case than Reason’s J. D. Tuccille has to make the case that right-to-work is unlibertarian, but he gives it a shot.
Unsurprisingly, he dwells on the free-rider problem that right-to-work ...
Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner, who was no fan of the Supreme Court’s recent gun rulings, nonetheless has held that these decisions imply a right to carry a loaded gun in public.
As the Supreme Court has noted, bans ...
Re: Also Racist Now: Pronouns
Dan (and everyone else who piled on): It is pathetic that, in support of such an inflammatory thesis, all Sirota can do is “frigging count minorities.” What’s even more pathetic is that the count doesn’t show what he ...
It’s hard to read this from John Rosenberg without losing all hope for higher ed.
Try to follow the chain of reasoning here:
A new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Black Male ...
It's Double-Official: Video Games Are Art
I’m sympathetic to the idea that video games are capable of being artistic — as I explained recently in Academic Questions, many modern games feature stunning imagery, explore moral issues, and at least try to tell compelling stories. I think ...
In March of last year, I wrote about the case of Bradley Manning, a man accused of giving troves of classified documents to WikiLeaks. At the time, he and his lawyer were claiming that the Quantico Marine base was holding ...
Every video-game company dreams of owning a Money-Printing Annual Franchise — one of those series whose fans will turn out in droves to pay $60 for a fresh game every single year. There aren’t many members of this elite club: Call ...
Did Border Patrol Agents Give Guns to a Cartel?
The testimony of a Mexican hitman turned government witness has revealed some astonishing details of life inside Mexico’s criminal underworld. Most astonishing of all: claims that cartel assassins obtained guns from the U.S. Border Patrol.
A few years back, some white Duke lacrosse players were falsely accused of raping a black stripper, and much of the university’s faculty pounced on the players with cries of racism and woman-hating before all the facts came out. ...
Over at SCOTUSBlog. Most of it is the “dueling studies” kind of thing you expect to see whenever complex statistical work is at issue, but I did find this argument rather bizarre:
Comparisons of mean SAT scores are again misleading, ...