Land O Links

"We owe almost all our knowledge not to those who have agreed but to those who have differed" -- Charles Caleb Colton, 19th century English writer.

* Bridge's media partner,, is publishing an impressive series this week on self-defense shootings in Michigan. First major point: There are far more of these shootings than the official stats would lead you to believe:

* The changing trends involving fire safety received extensive coverage in Bridge recently. Blogger Matt Yglesias notes, "It's genuinely plausible to argue that fire-fighting services are less socially valuable than they were 10 or 40 years ago when the state of the built environment made fires a more pressing problem":

* The Mackinac Center for Public Policy takes a dim view of a proposal in the Michigan House to deal with the school employee pension crisis by prefunding retiree health-care benefits. "The cost of this insurance coverage will not decrease if the state begins prefunding them. Prefunding only allows the state to make accounting assumptions that cause the future costs to appear smaller," writes Mackinac's James Hohman.

* There's been plenty of discussion in the Bridge comments about the need for/value of a college education or training past a high school diploma. This chart lends support to the argument that anyone who stops with just a high school diploma these days is asking for big trouble:

* This chart puts an interesting spin on the question of how best to use money to enhance public health in the United States:

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Thu, 06/14/2012 - 11:43am
Matt Yglesias' take on the need for fewer fire fighters in ludricrous.If there is a decline in fire-related deaths, that is a testiment to the role that firefighters play in keeping us safe. Using that decline as a justification to have fewer firefighters on the job defies logic. If one decreases the number of firefighters on the job, wouldn't one conclude that there would be an uptick in fire related deaths. Who would want to take that risk? And the fact that building construction is allegedly more fire resistant, that is good news. But we still have the lion's share of old buildings in place. Why would one use newer building standards to justify fewer firefighters when the bulk of the buildings are still quite old and less fire resistant. If we really want to reduce public jobs, let's go to a uni-cameral legislature, and make it a part-time job. Fewer politicians can do less damage, and we save money.