December 2013

Gun control nuts and the NRA – but I repeat myself – love to point to Chicago as a town with tough gun control laws and a high homicide rate. There, they sententiously declare, is an example of what happens when you do not let law-abiding citizens arm themselves to the teeth.

It is pathetically bad reasoning.

If your argument against gun control is based on the murder rate in a city vis-a-vis its gun laws, intellectual honesty demands that you look at every city.

Take New York – the  city with the nation’s toughest gun control laws. In 2013 (with 2 days to go) there have been 332 murders. The year will see the fewest murders since 1923 (as long as records have been kept) – down from a high of 2254 1n 1990.

New York is so safe that, even before 2013’s decline, it was 53rd on the list of cities by murder rate.

Even Chicago is losing its luster as the NRA’s poster child for the negative effects of gun control. Indianapolis has surpassed the Second City’s murder rate.

In fact, as bad as the murder rate in Chicago is, in 2012 it trailed that of 12 other cities with populations over 250,000 – seven of which where in states with permissive gun laws.

In fairness, it must be noted that these statistics – while they completely undermine the logic of the NRA’s position – do not, by themselves, “prove” that gun control lowers the murder rate. That would take a far longer analysis.

I mention this to point out that the NRA can only make its argument sound reasonable by cherry-picking the facts.

new york


You Have To Be High To Support Our National Drug Policy.

December 29, 2013

Starting on January 1, 2014, Coloradans will be able to legally buy pot for recreational use. Meanwhile, in other states, huge numbers of non-violent drug offenders will continue to rot in prison. What a colossal waste of money and human capital. There are direct costs to locking up these drug offenders – correction officer salaries […]

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Christmas Survives.

December 27, 2013

Christmas survived another attack by rapacious atheists determined to crush it under their jackbooted heels. Or so some conservative pundits would have you believe. It has become as traditional as Santa Claus and his elves to see a “War on Christmas” – which is equally fictional. In fact Christians had a pretty good year. The […]

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Merry Christmas – Do You Really Know the Nativity Story?

December 24, 2013

The story of Jesus’s birth and early days is one that all Christians think they know – but few actually do. The Crèche displayed in churches and homes is actually a mash-up of two completely different nativity stories. Jesus’s life is told in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Mark and John are […]

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To Be Against Gay Marriage Is To Be Against Love.

December 21, 2013

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13.  Defending someone’s right to marry the person they love is not anti–Christian, or anti-Muslim, or anti anything. It is only the recognition that all of us have the right to find our other half, to embrace […]

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Conservatives Believe That Free Speech Is Only For Conservatives.

December 20, 2013

By now it is widely known that TV’s “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson, gave an interview in which he called gays sinners in pretty graphic language. And in which he claimed blacks lead an idyllic life in Louisiana pre-civil rights only to have their existence ruined by welfare and big government. And that A&E consequently […]

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Defending Free Speech Means Defending Speech You Don’t Like.

December 19, 2013

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire “Duck Dynasty” star, Phil Robertson, expressed his bemusement over homosexuality in a very direct manner, saying, “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than […]

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Science Shows that Multivitamins Are a $16 Billion Boondoggle. The Industry Disagrees.

December 18, 2013

Why do we buy stuff we do not need and which is often bad for us? The answer lies in part because of our innate susceptibility to marketing. A facet of human nature that the consumer products  industry has spent the last century and a half exploiting in ever more sophisticated ways. The nutritional supplements […]

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A Preview of 2016 – For Those Who Have an Unhealthy Addiction to Politics

December 16, 2013

“There is a garbage culture out there, where we pour garbage on people. Then the pollsters run around and take a poll and say, do you smell anything?” – Bob Woodward  It is almost 2014. So it is time to start looking at the 2016 presidential election. Actually, it is time, only if you are the most […]

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