Sunday, June 30, 2013

The power of science

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the video of a man with Parkinson's disease who shows what his life would be like without a neurostimulator. Once again, humanity wins when science defeats nature.


Friday, June 28, 2013

A law can be bad without being unconstitutional

I've been reading through the different Supreme Court rulings handed out this month and there's one ongoing discomfort I can't shake. As our judicial branch weighs the legality of various laws, the only attention seems to be on the merits of the laws, not the constitutionality of the laws.

That is exactly backwards. For example, I oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, but I am still agnostic if the Supreme Court was justified in declaring it unconstitutional. Many of the arguments written by Justice Anthony Kennedy focus on human dignity, such as how DOMA stigmatizes gay couples and humiliates their children. His stance depends on a broad reading of the fifth amendment that the government can not deprive a person of liberty without due process of law.

So does that mean not allowing gay couples to marry deprives them of liberty? If so, wouldn't banning gambling be another example of depriving someone of liberty? Wouldn't banning large sodas sales? Yes, I would like that broad interpretation, but it seems grossly inconsistent.

I have failed to find the complete text written by Kennedy, or Antonin Scalia's dissent so I can't take a firm stance, but there is one thing had that I do find intriguing:

As [libertarian political scientist Stephen] Macedo put it, “When conservatives like Bork treat rights as islands surrounded by a sea of government powers, they precisely reverse the view of the Founders as enshrined in the Constitution, wherein government powers are limited and specified and rendered as islands surrounded by a sea of individual rights.” 
The controversy over DOMA rests on a very similar philosophical split. According to Justice Kennedy, “though Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” According to Justice Scalia, “even setting aside traditional moral disapproval of same-sex marriage (or indeed same-sex sex), there are many perfectly valid—indeed, downright boring—justifying rationales for this legislation.” 
A sea of individual rights or a sea of government powers? Kennedy chose the former, Scalia endorsed the latter.

I'm going to wait and see what the substance of the arguments turn out to be. While I'm glad DOMA is out and the federal government is respecting states rights in the form of gay marriage, I also know that that's not the point. The Supreme Court can only tell us if a law is forbidden, not if it is wise.

Update: They are contained in one document here, thanks Mario:

Also, I have been pondering, if one believes the fifth bans the federal ban on gay marriage, why doesn't it legalize gay marriage nationally?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wendy Davis's filibuster and its aftermath

After a lot of reading this is what I've pieced together as the substance around Texas state Senators Wendy Davis's 11 hour filibuster:

The New York Times wrote that the bill: "...Sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers and mandate that a doctor who performs abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital."

The vote was held during a special session which had to end at midnight and it's implied it can not be brought up again until the next legislative session.

Texas rules say a filibuster can be stopped if the speaker sits down or wanders off topic three times. Republicans argue Davis went off topic for the third time when she spoke about sonogram requirements, which were not part of the bill but have been used elsewhere. They also said it was against the rules when someone fitted her with a back brace to make standing easier.  Using that procedure it appears the GOP stopped her filibuster at about 9:45 p.m.

Democrats then asked procedural questions to delay for an additional two hours.

With 15 minutes to go, an unruly mob in the gallery started a constant roar of screams and shouts to make it so no officials could vote on the issue and be heard. This was referred to by protesters as a "people's filibuster." The officials tried to vote anyways and were not able to finish their vote until a few minutes after midnight, which means it didn't count. 

GOP lawmakers then appeared to change the computer records to show the vote took place before midnight.

I'm against legislature disguised as safety regulations that try to shut down abortion clinics, but I'm also against rioters and angry mobs overruling elected officials. The filibuster was a legitimate tactic. The procedural delay was a legitimate tactic. The mob disruption was not and those people deserve to be jailed for disrupting the vote.

The Republicans deserve criticism for trying to change the computer records, but it pales in comparison to what the angry mob did.

The disturbing thing is I expect we will see widespread accolades for Davis, major criticism of the Republicans for trying to manipulate the time stamp, and dead silence about the people who disrupted a legitimate legislative session to cheat the democratic process.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The last thing we need

I saw a link this morning claiming to be five strong economics articles for beginners. Reading through the list, I was happy with each entry, but disappointed in the aggregate. There was Leonard Reed's "I, Pencil," a piece on price signals from Russ Roberts, Frederic Bastiat's famous "That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen," Mike Munger's piece against price gouging laws and the short version of Friedrich Hayek's "Road to Serfdom."

All five are great essays, but all five are essays from the free market perspective. Even though that is my view, I'm off put at attempts to introduce someone to economics and steer them to one of the two rival camps. While I am not Keynesian, I respect that view and believe someone should learn from both camps before choosing a side.

Anyone new to economics would benefit from reading one of Paul Krugman's Pop Internationalism essays, his piece Ricardo's Difficult Idea on free trade or J. Bradford DeLong's Cornucopia essay on comparing standards of living across time periods.

It was at this point I glanced to see the source of the list. No doubt it was going to be a free market educational group.

I wish it had been.

Instead, it was from The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. The opening paragraph to the article I was reading said (with added emphasis by me):

IFWE’s mission is to build a framework of faith, work, and economics for the purposes of living out whole-life stewardship. Sound economics is grounded in biblical truths, and helps each of us to be better stewards.

This is exactly what I don't need. There are far too many anti-capitalist bottom feeders claiming that the invisible hand described by Adam Smith is a religious concept that requires a belief in God. People like Glenn Beck just add fuel to the fire when they declare that the free market is God's creation.

I'm repulsed by the suggestion that "Sound economics is grounded in biblical truths." The Bible declared many times that making people pay interest for loans was a sin. This led to economic stagnation through the medieval church's ban on usury.

Good economics comes from science and reason, not from religious texts.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Buzzfeed fails to correct bad science piece

The popular Internet trend/Pop culture website Buzzfeed screwed up an opportunity to correct a bad article last week, opting instead to double down on its flawed premise.

Buzzfeed, which isn't above mocking bad science when it's creationism or climate change denial, posted a textbook example of chemophobia with the piece 8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries. Writer Ashley Perez lifted the meat of the article from the book Rich Food, Poor Food and did some brief Googling to find what appeared to be other sources that support its conclusions.

The entire premise is that some chemicals in foods we eat are dangerous, and since other countries have banned them we should too.

Of course, that assumes the other countries were wise to ban them. As you may guess, they were not.

Organic chemist Derek Lowe tore the entire things to shreds with a widely-read blog post. Here's a sample with Perez's original wording reproduced as the first paragraph:

"Bromine is a chemical used to stop CARPETS FROM CATCHING ON FIRE, so you can see why drinking it may not be the best idea. BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss."

Again with the caps. Now, if the author had known any chemistry, this would have looked a lot more impressive. Bromine isn't just used to keep carpets from catching on fire - bromine is a hideously toxic substance that will scar you with permanent chemical burns and whose vapors will destroy your lungs. Drinking bromine is not just a bad idea; drinking bromine is guaranteed agonizing death. There, see what a little knowledge will do for you? 
But you know something? You can say the same thing for chlorine. After all, it's right next to bromine in the same column of the periodic table. And its use in World War I as a battlefield gas should be testimony enough. (They tried bromine, too, never fear). But chlorine is also the major part, by weight, of table salt. So which is it? Toxic death gas or universal table seasoning? 
Knowledge again. It's both. Elemental chlorine (and elemental bromine) are very different things than their ions (chloride and bromide), and both of those are very different things again when either one is bonded to a carbon atom. That's chemistry for you in a nutshell, knowing these differences and understanding why they happen and how to use them. 
Now that we've detoured around that mess, on to brominated vegetable oil. It's found in citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks, at about 8 parts per million. The BuzzFeed article claims that it's linked to "major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss", and sends readers to this WebMD article. But if you go there, you'll find that the only medical problems known from BVO come from two cases of people who had been consuming, over a long period, 4 to 8 liters of BVO-containing soda per day, and did indeed have reactions to all the excess bromine-containing compounds in their system. At 8 ppm, it's not easy to get to that point, but a determined lunatic will overcome such obstacles. Overall, drinking several liters of Mountain Dew per day is probably a bad idea, and not just because of the BVO content. 

Lowe called Perez out on her chemophobia, her ignorant preference for "natural" forms of chemicals, her glossing over of dosages and her failed attempt to masquerade as someone who knows what they're talking about. Lowe's response got passed around a lot and eventually Perez added something to the bottom. Unfortunately, this was it:

CORRECTION: Some studies linked in the original version of this article were concerning unrelated issues. They have been replaced with information directly from the book Rich Food, Poor Food (6/22/12)

Notice there was no mention of Lowe's piece. OK, I understand her reluctance to link to something that was critical of her competence. However, even though it was spelled out to her that her entire premise was wrong, that she simply yanked bad information from know-nothings, her "correction" was to double down and just change her links directly to the know-nothings.

What an absolute disgrace. Ashley Perez and Buzzfeed need to set their egos aside and admit they were wrong.

I'm going to let Lowe get the last word in with the final paragraph from his post:

Finally, I want to return to something I was saying way back at the beginning of this piece. The author of the BuzzFeed article knows painfully little about chemistry and biology. But that apparently wasn't a barrier: righteous conviction (and the worldview mentioned in the above three paragraphs) are enough, right? Wrong. Ten minutes of unbiased reading would have served to poke holes all through most of the article's main points. I've spent more than ten minutes (as you can probably tell), and there's hardly one stone left standing on another. As a scientist, I find sloppiness at this level not only stupid, not only time-wasting, but downright offensive. Couldn't anyone be bothered to look anything up? There are facts in this world, you know. Learn a few


Friday, June 21, 2013

Did Sony change video game sales forever?

It was looking like the Xbox One was going to be a flop because of unpopular restrictive policies, such as requiring discs be soulbound to consoles, which prevents both used game sales and loaning games to friends. There was also a system that will lock down the console if it goes for 24 hours without Internet access. The Playstation 4 has no such policies and the public gravitated to Sony immediately.

So cleverly, Microsoft dropped those policies this week. Preorder sales flooded in. It's still up in the air which console, if any, will dominate the market, but now the Xbox One has a fighting chance.

Personally, I'm still annoyed that there is no backwards compatibility.

But what would have happened if Sony had decided to block used game sales for the Playstation 4 as well? I'm not entirely sure, but most likely the Xbox One would have kept its anti-sharing policies and consoles in the next few generations would have blocked sharing and reselling.

That's because there's a prisoners dilemma situation. Both companies believe they will benefit from higher game sales if they block used game purchases, but consumers don't like the limitation and would prefer an unrestricted console. If one console has the restriction and the other doesn't, the customers will go with the unrestricted console.

Like I said, I'm not entirely sure what would have happened. Since the Playstation 4 was announced first, it's possible if Sony announced a restricted console Microsoft could have tweaked its presentation and made the Xbox One unrestricted from the start.

It's also possible that the frequently-discounted Steam digital distribution computer game system from Valve could upset the next generation and the personal computer would be the dominant "console." The funny part of this (likely) scenario is that Steam doesn't allow used game sales or game lending either and requires users to be online any time they want to play.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An unsatisfying victory

Last month I wrote a brief post in support of Ronald Lindsay, CEO of the Center for Inquiry, who was caught criticizing privilege-invoking discussion killers. Well, the board of the CFI met to decide if they would give in to demands to fire Lindsay. They released a statement this week declaring they did not.

Sort of.

The actual statement is reproduced below:

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. 
The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, and this was the motivation for its sponsorship of the two Women in Secularism conferences. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2. 
CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. We appreciate the many insights and varied opinions communicated to us. Going forward, we will endeavor to work with all elements of the secular movement to enhance our common values and strengthen our solidarity as we struggle together for full equality and respect for women around the world.

This purposely-unspecific language is what George Orwell warned us about in his essay Politics and the English Language. It has a point to make, but it hopes to soften the blow of that point with cowardly dodges and demands that the reader navigate a maze of innuendos and hints.

Was the intention to keep the Easily Offended Community from flipping out the moment they deciphered the message? If so, that plan failed miserably. Of course. Did anyone think they wouldn't?

This statement is an example of how not to make an important announcement. Would it have killed them to add a sentence where they spell out their actual position? I can understand being diplomatic, but they did so in a way that no one can support.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Limited justice for Brian Banks

Brian Banks was in high school when he fooled around with a girl who later told police he raped her. His lawyer told him if he didn't plead guilty he could get 40 years in jail, and being a young black man practically guaranteed a guilty verdict.

Wanetta Gibson accused Banks in 2002 when the two attended Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, where Banks was a star prep prospect. Banks was convicted of rape, lost his USC scholarship and landed in jail, and Gibson sued the Long Beach Unified School District for being unsafe and won a $1.5 million judgment. 
Gibson later confessed that she lied and Banks was released in 2012. Gibson must repay a $750,000 settlement to the LBUSD plus attorney fees, interest and more than $1 million in punitive damages. 
Banks, 27, got several NFL tryouts last year and played in the UFL before he signed with the Atlanta Falcons in April. 
Lawyers were unable to locate Gibson, who has a history of civil litigation claims by and against her, including temporary restraining orders and domestic abuse charges. It's reported she also is being sued by the county for child support after receiving public assistance. The ruling allows the school district to get the money through her future wages and property.

All too often women escape all legal punishment after they are caught destroying a person's life with a false rape accusation. Even after Banks got Gibson to admit on video that she fabricated the entire story prosecutors still wouldn't touch the case.

Thankfully, Banks was able to win back his good name through help from the California Innocence Project, and the school district won a $2.6 million civil case against Gibson, even though prosecutors have been unable to find her and she has already burned through the $1.5 million she took from them and has been on welfare. But is that really enough? Letting someone like this escape justice and live the life of a child of the state isn't justice, it's tolerance of evil.

If prosecutors won't go after Wanetta Gibson, who will they go after?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Console war isn't over yet

A lot has been written about how Microsoft has screwed up already with its presentation for its upcoming Xbox One console, which has a series of restrictions on it while the Playstation 4 does not. The most obvious one is that the new Xbox limits used game sales.

What has gotten far less attention is the new "Family Sharing" feature that allows one friend on a special 10-person friends list to use one of the users games. That is to say, people will be able to loan games to friends while blocking both used sales and illegal copies.

I haven't made up my mind if I will ever buy the Xbox One. I may very well not. The lack of backwards compatibility is a major turn-off and there isn't much the new one does that I can't do with my Xbox 360 now. Still, this is a major revelation that could give the new Xbox a fighting chance.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Another angle against consent

I'm a critic of consent-based rape laws and ordinances, as they monstrously assume that all sex is rape until proven otherwise. I recently stumbled across an essay from Jeremy Stangroom that defuses consent requirements from a different angle. He asks what about a sober person who says they will only want to engage in sexual activity if they become intoxicated:

Look, Aeneas, I want to want to have sex with you, but I never actually want sex unless I'm drunk. It's the only way I can relax, and if I can't relax, then I can't get aroused, which means I won't enjoy it. But hey, I'll start drinking now, and hopefully there will come a point where I'll be relaxed enough to allow us to go ahead. But you must realize that I'm not consenting right now to have sex with you later. I'm simply telling you that I'm choosing to drink now in the hope that I will come to want sex later on, and I'm letting you know that my intoxicated consent - if I come to give it - will be genuine consent. 
Dido starts drinking, and eventually tells Aeneas that she's ready to have sex with him. Aeneas, though, is worried, because although Dido is cogent enough, and appears to know her own mind (which means there is no legal impediment here), there's no doubt she's more than a little drunk. Normally, he would decline to have sex under such circumstances, but he wonders whether it makes a difference that she has deliberately ingested alcohol in order to get in the mood for sex. In other words, should he take Dido's consent to be valid even though she is intoxicated?

There is something obviously puritanical about forbidding two adults from engaging in a private sexual act with one another simply because it upsets your own personal morals. Yet, that is exactly what consent crusaders are doing, whether they realize it or not.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Inner beauty pageant

It took me a few days, but I finally saw the video of the obnoxious woman who harassed Dunkin Donut employees that everyone was talking about. Most of the early articles about it lead to dead links, but I found a mirror tonight.

I haven't seen someone so unlikable since Big Red at the University of Toronto.

Is it possible for one to actually be worse than the other. I honestly couldn't watch the Big Red video all the way through. There's just something automatically repelling about her that I didn't get from the doughnut bully. Does anyone else have any thoughts on ranking the two?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Snowden and Manning

Now that there are two current whistleblowers in the news comparisons will be made between them, but I believe one deserves punishment and the other does not.

The new one, Edward Snowden, leaked details about the CIA's National Security Agency's listening in on private conversations. NSA Defenders claim that this is justified because it can prevent terrorist attacks, but that is a sickening logic. I fully stand behind Snowden's opposition to secret domestic spying and oppose punishing him in any way.

The well-established one, Bradley Manning, is different. Manning did something courageous and just when he leaked footage of American troops killing civilians by mistake, an incident that had been covered up. If that was all he did I would stand behind him.

But that's not all he did. He revealed gigabytes of data, including the names of our informants in Afghanistan, who were then targeted for death by the Taliban. His lawyer is saying there is no evidence any of them were killed, but that is irrelevant. He still put them at risk, the same way a drunk driver who doesn't kill anyone put people at risk.

Snowden deserves to be listed alongside great whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg and A. Ernest Fitzgerald while Manning belongs in prison.


Friday, June 7, 2013

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

A dozen years ago I took a public speaking class where the instructor told us not to use "sexist" language in speeches. By this she meant gendered terms like "waitress" and "waiter" or "mailman," not language that trivializes a person based on accidents of birth.

Prejudice is so reviled today that talentless political hacks know they can score cheap points by twisting something an enemy said into a vestigial organ of racism or sexism.

This week we were treated to two beautiful examples. One was MSNBC's Martin Bashir who is claiming that Republicans trying to tie President Barack Obama to the ongoing IRS scandal makes the word "IRS" a secret code for "nigger." The other is a brainless post from a gender studies graduate who is accusing a gay rights advocate of being a racist when she didn't like First Lady Michelle Obama's response when she tried to steal the stage from her.

When interviewed after being escorted out of the fundraiser, Sturtz said of the First Lady, “She came right down in my face. I was taken aback.” 
...Notice the language Sturtz uses to describe the encounter. Rutgers Anthropology Ph.D student Donna Auston emphasizes that Sturtz’s word choice of “taken aback” is one of distinct privilege; Sturtz sees herself as above reproach in this situation. As Auston inquires, why was Sturtz surprised at Obama’s response? “Is it because you did not expect her to exercise agency? Did you not expect her to assert that she is your equal?” Auston asks. Either black women are supposed to tacitly accept maltreatment and disrespect, or when they do exercise their agency, they are branded as the “Angry Black Woman.”

Issues like this are obvious examples of false flags, where racism is invoked for a situation just because one of the participants was black. What I find more troubling is the expanded definition of words like racism and sexism for issues of insensitivity.

For example, it's insensitive to assume that all black people like hot sauce. There is a stereotype that most black people enjoy putting hot sauce on food. There's nothing degrading or unworthy about enjoying food with a little kick to it, but it's still a stereotype.

Say I had a few people over and we were eating French fries and one of them was black. It would be insensitive for me to ask only the black person if he would like some Sriracha sauce. It would also be somewhat insensitive if I only thought  to get the Sriracha bottle out for everyone to use because there's a black person present.

Both of those are examples of acting on stereotype, but there's nothing hostile or malicious about it. While we still need to address those issues, it's deceitful to compare a host who wants to make their guests feel welcome with a KKK member who wants to harm other people and thinks of them as inferior.

This could be part of a vast spectrum, as a host who offers fried chicken to a guest is clearly acting on a stereotype in a way, but there is also a different context here. Taunts about fried chicken and watermelon have been used maliciously for years. That's not true for hot sauce.

By blurring the line between acts of malice and hate and insensitive acts that may even be kind, we are watering down the term "racism" to the point it is useless. This vague use of language allows some progressives to declare that no major advances have been made in terms of race relations over the past 50 years because "racism" is still alive, even though things are clearly better. We no longer tolerate rhetoric and attitudes that were socially acceptable two generations ago.

But notice how quickly the rhetoric snaps back to the original definition when needed. Suddenly, "racism" means the old definition again and anyone guilty of the modern definition of racism  is going to hate rallies and burning crosses on lawns. It's just like how anyone critical of third-wave feminism is painted as opposing the first-wave.

We have two reasonable choices here. Either use new terms such as "racial insensitivity" or declare that racism isn't that bad.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reasons for skeptics to try economics

There are many long discussions about if economics is truly a science. I am firmly in the "yes" camp, but I know many of my fellow skeptics are not and have no interest in it. This isn't my first post about economics for skeptics, but I hope it will be enough to draw some interest.

Point number one, Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics, wrote this in 1776:

Poor David Hume is dying fast, but with more real cheerfulness and good humor and with more real resignation to the necessary course of things, than any whining Christian ever dyed with pretended resignation to the will of God

Point number two, while it's true that other sciences have cool things, like astronomy visuals, biology's impressive cast of exotic beasts and geology has the ring of fire, but economics does too. We have virtual water. Let that phrase roll around your brain for a minute. Virtual. Water.

Point number three, Bertrand Russell, who created the famous cosmic teapot analogy, had this to say about economist John Meynard Keynes:

Keynes's intellect was the sharpest and clearest that I have ever known. When I argued with him, I felt that I took my own life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool.

Point number four, economics provides another tool to destroy myths. Take the one about medieval cooks using spices to cover up the taste of spoiled meat. It falls apart when you learn that spices were expensive and meat was cheap:

In the early 14th century, a pig cost the same price as a pound of pepper, which was the cheapest spice. John Munro, an economics historian at the University of Toronto calculated the price of spices in England in 1439 and used a skilled craftsman's wages of that date as a yardstick. 
The craftsman earned 8 pence a day. One penny bought him a gallon of milk, a pint of butter of lard, or quarter bushel of coal. 7 yards of good quality wool cloth would cost him 7 shillings, about 10 days' wages, but the same quantity of velvet would cost him between 200 and 300 days' wages. (note, only put your highest status characters in velvet if writing about this period!). A pound of sugar cost 16pence, so equivalent to 2 days' wages. Pepper cost slightly more and ginger slightly less. A pound of cloves would cost four and a half days' wages and the same of cinnamon 3 days'. He would have to work for a month to earn enough to buy a pound of saffron.

Point number five, economists know things. If a nation prints a bunch of money to pay its bills, economists know what will happen. If that nation shuts down international trade, economists know what will happen. If a nation abandons the rule of law, economists know what will happen. It's good to know things.

Point number sixwhen a christian conservative wrote to Milton Friedman about his agnosticism and asked where his values come from, Friedman wrote this:

I do not know where my values come from, but that does not mean (a) I don’t have them, (b) I don’t hold them as strongly as you hold your belief in God. (c) They turn out — not accidentally, I believe — to be very much like these held by most other people whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, or abstract. (d) Which leads me to believe that they are a product of the same evolutionary process that accounts for the rest of our customs as well as physical characterizations.

Point number seven, if you follow economics you will get to make inside jokes about The Ben Ber Nank:


Monday, June 3, 2013

Sky-high fears

Not much of a stretch:


Saturday, June 1, 2013

The fear of bullet gouging

As part of a project at work I've been speaking with a lot of gun owners and I talked to a few of them about the ongoing ammunition shortage.

The basic idea is that across the board ammunition is hard to find right now. It flies off the shelves as soon as it comes in. Shooters openly declare that they are hording ammo because they are concerned about potential increases in gun control legislation.

Some manufacturers are making capital investments so they can produce more but parts like the primer for each round need precise equipment that take a long time to create so markets have been unable to respond to the demand quickly.

What I asked the shooters is why sellers don't charge more for ammo. It would discourage hording and divert the ammo to the people who want it the most. The answer I received was frustrating:

The shooters call that "bullet gouging" and would boycott sellers who "take advantage" of them by letting the price rise wit the demand. This resentment would continue after the ammo shortage ends.

Apparently there has been a limited price increase, but clearly it wasn't enough. It's obvious that the same irrational resentment of "price gouging" that holds back post-emergency recoveries is making this ammo shortage worse.