Archive for December, 2011

Political Year In Review On Devil’s Advocate Tonight

Posted by on Dec 30 2011 | Idiot Box (TV Show), Politics, PPC

Were you too busy having a social life this year to follow political goings on in Colorado? Then catch up by tuning in to the Independence Institute’s public affairs television show Devil’s Advocate tonight as Denver Business Journal reporter Ed Sealover and Colorado Public Television’s Dominic Dezzutti join host Jon Caldara for the political year in review. That’s 8:30 pm tonight on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast Monday at 1:30pm.

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Are people with concealed handgun carry permits a menace to society?

Posted by on Dec 28 2011 | guns, Press, Right to carry

According to the New York Times, the answer seems to be “yes.” An article in yesterday’s Times by Michael Luo collects some anecdotes about misbehavior by a few licensees in North Carolina. The Times article has some numbers in it, and it provides the number of North Carolinians with carry permits (240,000). After a thorough search of North Carolina records, the Times finds that about 1% of permitees were convicted of something, other than a traffic offense, over the past five years. Of these 2,400 convictions, by far the largest group is “nearly 900 permit holders were convicted of drunken driving, a potentially volatile circumstance given the link between drinking and violence.”

“Drunk driving” (which, I would guess, the Times uses as a shorthand for lesser offenses such as driving while impaired) is a serious crime in itself. But just because a woman has three glasses of wine with dinner at a restaurant, and then gets caught in a police checkpoint, doesn’t make her some “potentially volatile” person who is going to murder somebody in an inebriated rage.

In any large population (e.g., 240,000) there will be at least a small percentage who over a period of time are found guilty of some crimes. This does not mean that that population as a whole is dangerous. It would have been useful to compare the conviction rates of North Carolinians who have carry licenses with the convictions rates of those who do not. I suspect that the non-licensee crime rate would be much higher, especially for violent gun crimes.

In a 2009 article in the Connecticut Law Review, I collected data from Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. (The state data begin on page 564 of the article.) The data show that concealed carry licensees are much more law-abiding than the general population, and that the rate of gun misuse of any sort (let alone having something to do with violence in  public place) is less than one in one thousand.

Instapundit collects some other responses to the Times‘ effort to foment hysteria and prejudice against the persons who exercise the constitutional right to carry firearms for lawful protection.

[This post was corrected in response to reader comments, including the fact that I wrongly wrote that the Times had not reported the total number of licensees.]

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Shawn Smith on Psychology and Mark Ferrandino on 2012

Posted by on Dec 27 2011 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

First up, psychologist Shawn Smith talks about his new book, “The Users Guide to the Human Mind” and helps me figure out which voice in my head I should listen to…

Then House minority leader Mark Ferrandino joins me to talk about the upcoming legislative session:

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Independence Institute Writers In The News

Posted by on Dec 26 2011 | energy, Environment, Health Care, health control law, Media, PPC, privacy

A massive medical privacy invasion in Colorado, another lame attempt to control the Internet by Congress, and the case in favor of fracking are all topics of recently published works by Independence Institute writers.

First Independence Institute intern and president of the Denver chapter of Liberty on the Rocks Donovan Schafer explains why hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is nothing to panic over. Writes Donovan:

In a recent report, the EPA linked groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) used to extract oil and gas. You can almost hear the collective “Hooray!” from anti-fracking advocates. But the actual data in the EPA report make it clear that fracking is safe.

Check out the whole thing here in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Also be sure and check out II’s Amy Oliver Cooke and Linda Gorman in the Summit Daily as they point out the huge threat to medical privacy from Colorado’s “All-Payer Claim” database. According to Cooke and Gorman:

Colorado state government, and local foundations and health policy elites, have become so ideologically invested in failed health reform policies that they now see nothing wrong with forcing Colorado citizens to give their medical records to a centralized repository, free from scrutiny by state auditors, open records requests and open meeting requirements.

Read the whole thing here.

And don’t miss Senior Fellow in Technology Barry Fagin writing for the Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board on the Stop Online Piracy Act, which Barry calls a “bipartisan pile of waste making its way through the bowels of Congress…”

Check it out here.

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Psychology with Shawn Smith, House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino

Posted by on Dec 21 2011 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

This week’s Devil’s Advocate is the usual half-hour of public affairs television excellence, but in two fifteen minute segments. First, Denver psychologist Shawn Smith sits down to talk about his new book, “The Users Guide to the Human Mind,” and helps me figure out just how many voices I have in my head. Then new Colorado House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino swings by to talk with me about the upcoming 2012 Colorado legislative session. That’s Friday, Dec. 23 at 8:30 PM on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast the following Monday at 1:30 PM.

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Free People, Free Markets: Principles of Liberty is BACK!

Posted by on Dec 20 2011 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Economic LIberties, Economics, Events, federalism, History, PPC, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

You may have heard about our Free People, Free Markets class, you may have even taken the course already. If not, I want to encourage you to learn more about something that is certain to enrich your life. Over the years, Free People, Free Markets: Principles of Liberty has taught hundreds of interested liberty lovers the fundamentals of economics, philosophy, and history regarding our country’s founding and economic foundations. If ever there was a time to deepen your love affair with liberty and freedom, THIS is it.

The class meets for 5 consecutive Saturdays, from 9am to noon, starting with the last Saturday in January, the 28th at Colorado Christian University’s business school, room 103 (8787 Alameda Ave, Lakewood). For more info, please call Andy Anderson at 303-829-9435.

Need more reasons why you should enrich your love of liberty? How about this:

You have a strong love of freedom. It’s a natural part of being human. But too few of today’s adults were taught the fundamentals of a free society. We have a wonderful seminar to offer you. It pulls together the basic principles of liberty and a free market, showing you that these cohesive fundamentals allow society to work well, and to honor the individual. The course material springs from the great thinkers and achievers who shaped America. It is designed for business and community leaders and the general public as well as for college students.

The course makes the moral and philosophic case for free-market capitalism. One of the most important concepts of Western Civilization is the acquisition of property as an unalienable right. The course develops the relationship between economic liberty and political liberty. Participants learn the principles behind wealth-creation. They are introduced to the philosophy of the Austrian School of Economics and its connection to the founding ideas of the American experiment. Participants are awakened to their heritage of economic liberty. It will be more than worth your time.

Classes held on five consecutive Saturdays. The course is designed for business and community leaders, college students, and the general public. If desired, you may obtain three college credits through the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs by paying the usual college per-credit fee.

Come if you love liberty. Come if you love collectivism, but need to understand the libertarian position. Come if you want to receive an inexpensive, thorough, and energetic exposure to the founding principles of economic and political liberty.

For more information about the course itself contact Penn Pfiffner at 303-233-7731 or For more information about registering and any other matters contact CRBC at 303-829-9435 or principlescourse@smallbizgop.

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Dan Caplis on Tebow Time

Posted by on Dec 19 2011 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Tough, tough game yesterday against the Patriots huh? Here’s a little Tebow talk with KHOW’s Dan Caplis to help lift your spirits:

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I’m Dreaming of a “Green” Christmas

Posted by on Dec 19 2011 | energy, Environment, Government Largess, PPC, Taxes

Christmas is the time of year for giving. For example, I’ve been giving myself seconds and thirds at all the holiday parties I’ve gone to. (I’m still accepting invitations through the rest of this week). Amy Oliver and Michael Sandoval have been hard at work the past month giving the world a much needed dose of reality when it comes to “green” energy. Remember this article and this one? Those were just the tip of the iceberg. Amy and Michael have no plans to stop their crusade to give every green energy advocate a headache for Christmas. Their latest piece on goes further into the wilderness of green energy fallacies with, “Green Technology that Pollutes the Planet.” Turns out, green energy is the gift that keeps on giving.

Keeping with the theme of green fallacies, another great enviro-lie is that hydraulic fracturing is a boogeyman that sneaks into your house at night and contaminates your drinking water. As with all distortions of reality, a lie repeated often enough eventually becomes “true.” The latest opportunity for anti-fracking fanatics to re-tell their scare story came from an EPA report on groundwater contamination in Wyoming. Predictably, the enviros jumped on this AP story and screamed to the heavens, “SEE! We told you fracking is dangerous!!!!”

Umm…. guys, did you read the report?

Unfortunately for the loony Left, our intern Donovan Schafer did. He found that the Wyoming report did not indict fracking as the Left would have you believe, but rather, exonerated fracking. In this op-ed published in the Colorado Springs Gazette last week, Donovan goes into detail how the Wyoming report concluded that fracking is safe. Here’s a snippet,

So was any drinking water contaminated, and is anyone’s health at risk? The results from the 51 domestic wells respond with a resounding “No!”

There you have it folks. A couple more green energy gifts from us at the Independence to you.

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Tebow Time and Founding Era Fallacies

Posted by on Dec 15 2011 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, U.S. Constitution

It’s Tebow Time on Devil’s Advocate public affairs television this Friday night as KHOW radio host Dan Caplis sits down with me to talk about Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and the passion and controversy the mixing of faith and football generates. Then constitutional scholar Rob Natelson swings by to explain how mainstream national media (Time and Vanity Fair magazines in particular) manage to so thoroughly misunderstand both the U.S. Constitution and the Founding Era. That’s 8:30 PM on Colorado Public Television 12.

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Teachers: Act NOW To Get Your Political Refund

Posted by on Dec 15 2011 | education, PPC

Today is the last day that Colorado teachers can get their political union dues back through the “every member option” mechanism. We got word that the CEA refund website was down earlier today, but that it is now back up again. (If you can’t access the electronic form, please send an email to Linda Lutz ( with a note that you are requesting the $39 Every Member Option refund.) In addition to the $39 EMO available from CEA, a number of other districts have additional EMO political refund options with additional opt-out requirements. Please see our Independent Teachers website for more information on these other districts.

If you have any questions at all about this process, please don’t hesitate to contact Ben DeGrow – or calling 303-279-6536 ext. 113.

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