Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Guns - Waiting Times and School Zones

I have done a new podcast on waiting times for guns and guns in school zones

Direct Download:

Katrina Baum & Patsy Klaus, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Violent Victimization of College Students,
1995-2002, at 1 (2005).
Katrina Baum & Patsy Klaus, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Violent Victimization of College Students,
1995-2002, at 5 (2005).
U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, 2001 Household Survey on Drug Abuse, Chapter 3 (alcohol use), at
U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, Sub State Estimates of Substance Use, Tables 1, 4 (2006), at
Matthew Miller, David Hemenway & Henry Wechsler, Guns at College, 48 J. Am. College Health 7 (1999) (citing
Commission on Substance Abuse at Colleges and Universities, Rethinking Rites of Passage: Substance
Abuse on America’s Campuses (1994)).
Hemenway, David. Private Guns, Public Health. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2004.
Page 97
U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Services, Results from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National
Findings, chap. 9 (2003), at
Matthew Miller et al., Household Firearm Ownership and Rates of Suicide Across the 50 United States, J. of
Trauma, Apr. 2007, at 1029.
Gregory B. Morrison, Deadly Force Programs Among Larger U.S. Police Departments, Police Quarterly 331, 332

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On My Mind - Are term limits the solution to what ails politics?

Copied and revised from:

On My Mind - Are term limits the solution to what ails politics?
BY BILL TRAMMELL Special to the Independent-Mail

Public opinion of the United States Congress appears to be near an all-time low, with less than 20 percent approval rating.
Voter participation at all levels continues to decline, doubtless caused by failure on the part of legislators to come up with meaningful solutions to long-existing problems.
Our government appears to operate on the philosophy that preparation for possible impending calamities is unnecessary. Examples: Long-standing failure to repair levees before Katrina, virtually ignoring the first attempt to destroy the World Trade Center.
I am in no way inferring that the fault lies entirely with either of the two major parties.

Here is a partial list of unaddressed issues:
1. The ever-increasing national debt. This now amounts to trillions of dollars, the total probably unknown by anyone.
2. The energy crisis dating back to the early ’70s. The current solution is ethanol, which costs about as much in energy to produce as it delivers.
3. The impending bankruptcy of the social security system. So-called trust funds have been virtually stolen, transferred to the general fund and then frittered away.
4. Global warming. What if those who insist that we, the people in no way contribute to this phenomenon are wrong? Then what? The damage will have been done and cannot be rectified.
5. The rising cost of health care and cost of medications completely out of line with the cost of inflation and a Medicare system on the verge of going broke.
6. Congress’s apparent out-of-control spending. Earmarks, for example, now cost $40 billion annually, with no real oversight.
7. The farm subsidy dates back to the 1930s and was designed to help struggling farmers. This complicated law now primarily pours more than $40 billion per year into the coffers of largely huge farm combines, not the small farmers whose ranks continue to decrease.
8. The proliferation of registered lobbyists in Washington. Each legislator has more than 250. They put billions into the hands of our elected officials, from whom they expect preferential treatment.
9. Disintegrating infrastructure. The collapse of a major bridge 40 years ago (the “Silver Bridge” in West Virginia in 1967, killing 46) should have been a warning. Much of the federal gasoline tax is being spent on anything but road and bridge repairs. Proposed solution: More taxes.
10. The United Nations. This organization has proven to be an almost complete failure. We pick up 25 percent of the annual tab to run this travesty, with little to show for it.
11. Immigration. Why not observe the laws already in place? What is there about the definition of the word “illegal” that so many politicians and business owners don’t seem to comprehend?
12. Education. Apparently there seems to be a dumbing down of the system at the expense of the mentally gifted. Other countries encourage these students. We don’t, and the U.S. is falling far behind in an area that we once dominated.
13. Foreign aid. Several billion dollars annually is given to countries, about 80 percent of who regularly vote against the U.S. on proposed U.N. resolutions and oppose our every move in most every other area.
14. Terrorism. This didn’t start on 9/11. A major attack occurred in 1983, when 241 American servicemen lost their lives to terrorists as a result of the bombing of their barracks in Beirut. Anyone who thinks this problem is going away should do a little research.
15. A legislative body that seems to have lost its moral compass. Little or no attempt is being made to control unethical behavior. Witness convicted felons still drawing sizable pensions.
16. Absolutely no cap on campaign spending. The average House member must raise $500,000 (about $700 per day) and a senator $5 million (about $2,000 per day). When is there ever time to legislate? A large staff paid by us taxpayers does help.

Many Congress members have an understandable desire to stay in office as long as possible. The perks, amenities and retirement benefits are numerous, and generally superior to those offered in the private sector. Is there any wonder that they seek re-election time after time?
Seniority, regardless of ability, rules in both houses. As it stands now, a newcomer has little or no chance of getting the funds to send home — which always helps in a re-election bid or drawing a favorable committee assignment — without going along with entrenched leaders’ desires. Committee chairmanships automatically go to those who have been in office the longest.
And where do the bulk of campaign funds come from? Not from your average $100 contributor.
Enter the lobbyists with their unlimited PAC funds, which somehow manage to end up in the hands of legislators who just might pass legislation favorable to their wishes.
So, what can be done to change things for the better?

I offer one overriding solution: TERM LIMITATION.

We have many of the same problems today that have been with us for decades, with much being promised and not much being done.
Many legislators were in Congress then and are still there now, and still assuring us that the solutions are momentary.
With members constantly being replaced, new ideas and new concepts could be introduced. Obviously, what we have now isn’t working. We are past time to try a new approach.
If a member knew that he would only be in office for a set length of time (perhaps eight years), very likely he could spend more time legislating instead of soliciting funds to run another re-election campaign.
Ability rather than longevity could be exercised.
Surely, if the president and many governors are restricted to eight years in office, is there any reason to believe that members of Congress should stay any longer?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Case for Congressional Term Limits

I've released a new podcast looking at the incumbent advantages and why ethics reform short of term limits may be good but is insufficient

To directly download:
The Case for Congressional Term Limits

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Random Student Drug Testing

Hey all, I have published a new episode about randomly drug testing high school students. I look into the arguments for it, and better alternatives

Direct download: Random Student Drug Testing

or on iTunes: The Silent Consensus

Thursday, July 5, 2007

American Families

I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July!

My latest podcast is about American Families (marriage equality vs. domestic partnerships vs. nothing)

To download:

Or on iTunes: The Silent Consensus

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Choices - There Ought to be a Law?

A look at what's behind outlawing certain victimless acts

To listen on the website:

Directly download "Choices - There Ought to be a Law?"

e-mail me at

Monday, May 14, 2007


(originally posted on April 29, 2007)

Normally I stick to the issues themselves and don’t comment on specific legislation, but the following is too important that I’ll make an exception. This isn’t about politics, except that a few members of the U.S. Senate are playing politics with our lives and the lives of people we care about. This proposal is called the Safe Drug Compounding Act but it is no such thing. It should be called the Limit Medication and Increase Suffering Act. Compounded medication is medication that is customized by a doctor for a particular patient and then put together by the pharmacy where the patient picks it up. If you do not rely on compounded medication, it is likely a family member of yours does, a friend of yours does, and/or a family member of a friend of yours does. Just as our fingerprints are unique, so are our reactions to medications. You should have every right to purchase medication that is suited to YOUR needs. A few members of the U.S. Senate want to restrict our access to these medications. Whether you can take medication tailored to your reactions should be up to you and your doctor, NOT the government. So what can you do? Call the offices of these senators and tell them to LAY OFF! (of course a little nicer) Here are the phone numbers:

Senator Ted Kennedy: 202-224-4543
Senator Pat Roberts: 202-224-4774
Senator Richard Burr: 202-224-3154

You will probably get one of their staff members. Here is the sample script: “Hi [person’s name]. I am calling about Senator [Kennedy’s, Roberts’s, or Burr’s] authoring of the Safe Drug Compounding Act. Our doctors and ourselves should be the ones determining whether we receive compounded medication, not the government. Therefore, I ask that Senator [Kennedy, Roberts, or Burr] withdraw his name as a co-author and vote against this bill if it ever comes to the floor” They may ask you for your name and e-mail address, give it to them


Choices - Health Care

(originally posted on April 29, 2007)

I have released a new podcast about what we should do about the health care crisis

To listen on the website:

To download it:

AuctionAds: Increase the bid on your site's income!

Choices - Housing

(originally posted on April 7, 2007)

It has been a month and I'm back! We are kicking off a series of podcasts titled Choices. This one is about choices in housing. Rent controls (against) vs. public housing (less against) vs. housing vouchers (means-tested). If you don't even know what some of those things are, no worries, I give simple explanations of words people might not understand and this is no exception

Direct Download

Quick Correction

(originally posted on March 13, 2007)

I misspoke on the two property rights podcasts. John Locke was not a founding father, but was a philosopher who had a huge impact on our founding fathers<

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Property Rights - 2 for 1 special

(originally posted on March 7, 2007)

I have released two podcasts today, both dealing with property rights. One of them is about the government's ability to take private property (proper use vs. abuse), and the other is about taxation (punishment for tax evaders; and implementing tax reform)

To download the first one:
Property Rights

Second one:

First one:

Second one:

Fairness #2 - Death Penalty

(originally written on February 21, 2007)

This next podcast gives a fair look at the death penalty and responds to rhetoric from both sides

Fairness #2 - Death Penalty

The Silent Consensus


(originally written on February 5, 2007)
Today's topic is Fairness, encompassing whether Affirmative Action should be used and whether 'equal time' should be allocated in public school science classes for Creationism and/or Intelligent Design along with Evolution

Your comments are welcome


It is also now on iTunes. To access, click on your iTunes, go to "iTunes store", search "silent consensus", and subscribe (free)

Official Topic

(originally written on January 23, 2007)

The official topic of my first podcast is The Silent Consensus on the issues presented by the State of the Union speech given later today

State of the Union analysis

New Website

We have moved to this website for now on