Random, CK. I think I may have seen you at Public House around 5pm on Saturday. Does that sound about right?
I was in a rush or otherwise I would’ve introduced myself. I’ve only met bloggers in real life a couple of times, so I was surprised when I thought I saw you.
Oh well. Just figured I’d ask.
It may seem small, but according to former Navy SEAL Dom Raso, who’s also an NRA commentator, that number makes a big difference for concealed carry permit holders, especially in Florida.
“Since 1987, the state of Florida has issued 2.5 million concealed-carry permits,” Raso says in hislatest opinion piece for the NRA News network. “Of those, only 168 people have committed firearms crimes. That’s .0000672 percent of the total amount issued.”*
Raso’s point is part of a larger message to businesses: if you make your establishment a “gun free” zone, you’re actually endangering yourself and your customers, as well as making yourself a target. Permit holders, he says, “are the last people you should be trying to keep out of your business.”
Fail: MSNBC uses 20+ year-old map to explain Ukraine crisis.
Czechoslovakia hasn’t been around since 1993.
“I wanted to find out how modern anti-Semites think, feel and communicate,” Schwarz-Friesel told Haaretz.
The study concluded that a majority of the messages – 60 percent – were sent by educated Germans, including university professors and priests.
That finding shattered the research team’s initial assumptions.
“At first, we thought that most of the letters would be sent by right-wing extremists,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “But I was very surprised to discover that they were actually sent by people from the social mainstream – professors, Ph.D.s, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students.”
There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.
It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.
CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.
Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is taking heat for his call to lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba — the latest episode in which Democrats and Republicans have attacked him for flip-flopping on everything from policy to his choice of political party.
Crist, now a Democrat, was squeezed from both sides earlier this week after saying he was in favor of lifting the 52-year-old embargo on communist Cuba, calling it an obviously “failed” policy that needs revamping.
The 57-year-old Crist took to social media to better explain himself after his remarks on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
“After more than 50 years of hoping the embargo would bring freedom to Cuba, it’s time to admit that it has failed,” he posting on his Facebook account. “We should replace it with a policy that facilitates more trade and more exchange of ideas and values, while simultaneously keeping the pressure on the regime for their human rights violations.”
However, the flood gates had already opened.
“It is not the time to unilaterally go in and lift the embargo until we see some iron-clad guarantees that freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of the assembly is being allowed inside Cuba by the police state that is still run by the Castro brothers,” said Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
The Florida Republican Party said Crist’s position was “so far out the mainstream” that he’s gone to the left of Nelson, who voted last year with President Obama 100 percent of the time.
Among the first Washington Republicans to attack was Florida’s junior Sen. Marco Rubio.
“It’s just the latest in a series of flip-flops that he’s undertaken on public policy,” Rubio, who parents immigrated from Cuba in 1956, told The Miami Herald on Monday. “My interests in Cuba are about the freedom and liberty of the Cuban people. I wish he’d make that a priority.”
Florida Reps. Illena Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart were among the other Republicans to hammer Crist.
While serving as Florida governor from 2007 to 2011, Crist, then a Republican, signed into law a bill that forced travel agencies to post a $250,000 bond to book flights to Cuba. A federal court eventually struck down the law.
And in 2010, while Crist was running as an Independent for U.S. Senate seat in Florida, he agreed with other candidates that the embargo should remain.
“Democrats have to be wondering, will [Crist] use us to be something else next year,” Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, a Republican, recently told Reuters.
Though Crist’s shift might appear like a political misstep, it could be an astute political move.
The older generations of Cuban exiles in Florida vote overwhelmingly Republican. But Crist could be trying to win votes from their children and grand-children, who lean Republican but are more open to ending the embargo, according to 2012 general election data.
President Obama eased travel restrictions Cuba in January 2009 but is opposed to lifting the embargo.
The conservative-leaning magazine The National Review compiled a list several years ago of Crist’s apparent flip-flops including him suggesting that as a senator he would have voted for ObamaCare, then saying within hours the legislation was too big and expensive.
Crist also denounced offshore drilling when running for governor in 2006, then embraced the “drill baby, drill” mantra when the possibility arose that he might be 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate, according to the magazine.
Conservatives often point out that laws, no matter how benign they may appear, have unintended consequences. They can reverberate in ways that not many people foresaw and nobody wanted: Raising the minimum wage can increase unemployment; prohibition can create black markets.
The efforts in many cities to discourage the use of plastic bags demonstrate that such unintended consequences can be, among other things, kind of gross.
San Francisco has been discouraging plastic bags since 2007, saying that it takes too much oil to make them and that used bags pollute waterways and kill marine animals. In 2012, it strengthened its law. Several West Coast cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, have also adopted bans for environmental reasons. The government of Washington, D.C., imposes a 5 cent plastic-bag tax. (Advocates prefer to call it a “fee” because taxes are unpopular.) Environmental groups and celebrity activists, including Eva Longoria and Julia Louis- Dreyfus, support these laws.
The plastic-bag industry, predictably, wants to throw them away. It says that the making of plastic bags supplies a livelihood to 30,000 hard-working, law-abiding, patriotic Americans, many of whom have adorable children to support. It cites a 2007 report by San Francisco’s Environment Department that said plastic bags from retail establishments, the target of the ban, accounted for only 0.6 percent of litter.
Most alarmingly, the industry has highlighted news reports linking reusable shopping bags to the spread of disease. Like this one, from the Los Angeles Times last May: “A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls’ soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday.” The norovirus may not have political clout, but evidently it, too, is rooting against plastic bags.
Warning of disease may seem like an over-the-top scare tactic, but research suggests there’s more than anecdote behind this industry talking point. In a 2011 study, four researchers examined reusable bags in California and Arizona and found that 51 percent of them contained coliform bacteria. The problem appears to be the habits of the reusers. Seventy-five percent said they keep meat and vegetables in the same bag. When bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, the bacteria grew tenfold.
That study also found, happily, that washing the bags eliminated 99.9 percent of the bacteria. It undercut even that good news, though, by finding that 97 percent of people reported that they never wash their bags.
Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright, who are law professors at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, respectively, have done a more recent study on the public-health impact of plastic-bag bans. They find that emergency-room admissions related to E. coli infections increased in San Francisco after the ban. (Nearby counties did not show this increase.) And this effect showed up as soon as the ban was implemented. (“There is a clear discontinuity at the time of adoption.”) The San Francisco ban was also associated with increases in salmonella and other bacterial infections. Similar effects were found in other California towns that adopted such laws.
Klick and Wright estimate that the San Francisco ban results in a 46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses, or 5.5 more of them each year. They then run through a cost-benefit analysis employing the same estimate of the value of a human life that the Environmental Protection Agency uses when evaluating regulations that are supposed to save lives. They conclude that the anti-plastic-bag policies can’t pass the test — and that’s before counting the higher health-care costs they generate.
The authors argue, not completely convincingly, against the idea that regular washing and drying of reusable bags would solve the problem. They point out that the use of hot water and detergent imposes environmental costs, too. And reusable bags require more energy to make than plastic ones. The stronger argument, it seems to me, is that 97 percent figure: Whatever the merits of regularly cleaning the bags, it doesn’t appear likely to happen.
The best course for government, then, is probably to encourage people to recycle their plastic bags — or, maybe, just let people make their own decisions. Plastic-bag bans are another on a distressingly long list of political issues where I cannot see eye to eye with Eva Longoria.
(Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor at National Review. The opinions expressed are his own.)
A day after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told an audience of college students that the country focuses too much on race, an Alabama State Representative took to the House floor to first criticize Thomas’ interracial marriage, and then call him “Uncle Tom.”
Thomas, the second black justice to serve on the court, told students at Palm Beach Atlantic University that people people are much more hyper race- and difference-conscious today than they were in the pre-Civil Rights era in Savannah, Georgia. He said he has experienced poorer treatment and discrimination on account of his race in the North than in the South.