Chinese Government on what Chinese people should say to foreigners during the Olympics

The BBC has this report here:

Beijing citizens have been told not to pick their noses, yawn or scratch their heads when talking to foreigners during the Olympics.

They have also been given a list of things not to ask overseas visitors - a list so exhaustive it could make conversation difficult.

Ordinary people have also been given detailed instructions on how to talk to disabled people during the Paralympics. . . .


UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler interviewed on the Heller Case's "Fallout"

I strongly recommend that people read the entire interview here. Here is one part that I found particularly interesting.

Q: Much of the literature on Heller talks about this case being a triumph for "originalism" or an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Can you talk a little bit about the concept of originalism and how it applies in this case?

Winkler: Well, originalism is basically the idea that you'll define the meaning of a constitutional provision by reference to the original public understanding of the provision -- what the ordinary person would have understood that provision to mean in its time -- in contrast with living constitutionalism, the idea that these provisions evolve and keep up with changes in the underlying society.

Certainly, in one sense this case marks the triumph of originalism. There were over 70 amicus briefs filed in the case. Almost all of them employed originalist methodology to define what the right protected by the Second Amendment was. The Supreme Court goes on for pages and pages and pages parsing the history of the Second Amendment and what the framers and the American people might have understood the provisions to mean at the time. And even the dissent talks in originalist terms about what the intention of the framers was.

However, I think that the majority opinion by Justice [Antonin] Scalia departs radically from originalism where it really counts and where it really matters. The real question about the Second Amendment is what laws are prohibited and what laws are allowed under that constitutional provision. That's where the Second Amendment rubber hits the road. And on this question the court eschews originalism and focuses on what seems to me like living constitutionalism. The court says, 'Well, we don't mean to call into question longstanding bans on felons in possession of firearms or bans on guns in sensitive places or restrictions relating to the purchase and sale of weapons.' And the court also refers to an earlier opinion that bans on dangerous and unusual weapons are not barred by the Second Amendment. But all of these things are stuff that comes not from the original public meaning of the Second Amendment but from the traditions of American law since then. These kinds of laws are products of later generations, not of the founding generation.

And the court, even with regards to this handgun ban... says the ban involved in the District of Columbia case was unconstitutional in part because this was a very commonly used weapon, in contrast to, say, a machine gun, which is not commonly used or commonly possessed. But that's completely a function of changes in society, not the original public meaning. Handguns are popular because they've not been banned in very many places. Machine guns have been banned almost everywhere in America, so they are much more unusual. It's the very fact that law has restricted the market for machine guns that makes them so unusual. So, what is common and what is unusual is not a function of the original public meaning for Scalia, but a function of what America has allowed in the years since.

I guess that I always wondered what the people who wrote the Second Amendment would have to have written if they really meant the phrase "shall not infringe."

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The History of the Heller Case

James Taranto has a nice history on Alan Gura's involvement in the Heller case here:

For decades the Second Amendment might as well have been called the Second-Class Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court spent the late 20th century expansively interpreting the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments, not to mention unenumerated rights ranging from travel to sexual privacy. But not until last month did the court hold that the Second Amendment means what it says: that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

What took so long? I put the question to Alan Gura, the 37-year-old wunderkind lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in District of Columbia v. Heller.

A native of Israel, he grew up in Los Angeles and never owned a firearm until after that city's riots in 1992. That summer, before he enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center, "I bought a gun in Los Angeles. I did not have it with me in law school, of course -- that was illegal."

After law school, he worked for California's attorney general and the Senate Judiciary Committee before settling into private practice in this gun-friendly Washington suburb. As we talked last week, we exercised our rights under the 21st Amendment, sipping cocktails at a speakeasy-style bar across the street from his office. . . .

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Hardball union politics

Here is an interesting segment from Fox News. A river boat switches to not using unionized workers. In response, congressional Dems switch positions. Previously they had supported not having safety regulations will shutdown the boat. Now they want to make it so that the boat can no longer carry passengers at night.


Al Gore in trouble again over not practicing what he preaches

Hannity & Colmes has an interesting segment here. Gore tells those who come to the event to take bicycles to come to an event Gore was having, but Gore was coming in limos and had the air conditioning going the entire time while the cars were waiting outside the event. I personally don't care what Gore does with his energy use, but that is not what he is telling others to do.

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More on "Dispute Over the Economics of File Sharing Intensifies"

David Glenn has a long discussion about the paper published in the Journal of Political Economy by Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman S. Strumpf on file sharing. Glenn has a useful and well-done discussion of the debate. For example, he notes:

Mr. Strumpf replies that most of Mr. Liebowitz's criticisms are trivial, even if correct. "Almost every point raised in Liebowitz's various pieces," he says, "involves incidental points which are not central to our conclusions."

Mr. Liebowitz, however, says his objections cast doubts over the entire study. Because he has not been able to scrutinize the OpenNap data at the heart of the study, his criticisms are largely aimed at a few non-OpenNap-based auxiliary tests that are presented at the end of the paper. But those tests are so weakly constructed, he says, that they call into question the validity of all the work.

One of the tests has to do with seasonal variations in record sales. "The number of file-sharing users in the United States drops 12 percent over the summer ... because college students are away from their high-speed Internet connections," Mr. Oberholzer-Gee and Mr. Strumpf write. Because of that seasonal dip, we might expect to see higher CD sales during the summer. But summer CD sales, as a proportion of the full year's sales, have not risen during the file-sharing era. Ergo, there doesn't seem to be much relationship between file sharing and CD sales.

That all sounds logical enough. But Mr. Liebowitz points out that one of the argument's premises—"the number of file-sharing users in the United States drops 12 percent over the summer"—is profoundly misleading.

The authors' citation is to a report on monthly file-sharing usage prepared by BigChampagne, a company that measures traffic on peer-to-peer networks. Mr. Liebowitz has a copy of the same report, which covers the period from August 2002 through May 2006. It's true that summer file sharing drops by an average of 12 percent (11.7 percent, to be precise) during the three summers—2003, 2004, 2005—covered in that report. But all of that effect comes from a severe drop in the summer of 2003, during a much-publicized wave of industry lawsuits against file sharers. During the summer of 2004, file sharing was flat, and during the summer of 2005, it actually rose slightly. So the test Mr. Oberholzer-Gee and Mr. Strumpf have set up—which is based on the ratio of summer-to-full-year CD sales—tells us nothing, Mr. Liebowitz says.

"If one my undergraduates did that, I would fail him," says Bruce D. McCullough, a professor of decision sciences at Drexel University who became interested in the dispute because he is a proponent of data transparency in economics publishing. "To take one decline, one flat, and one advance, and to suggest that it always goes down in the summer is just wrong." . . .

As too often seems to be the way of academic debate from people in part of the academy, this has a personal attack on Stan Liebowitz:

In an e-mail message to The Chronicle, Mr. Strumpf defends his work and suggests that Mr. Liebowitz's zeal stems from the fact that an academic center he directs, the Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation, receives grants from the Recording Industry Association of America and other commercial interests. "One might ask why Professor Liebowitz has remained so engrossed with our study," he writes.

I agree with Craig Newmark that Stan Liebowitz's concern that he couldn't redo their results and that they wouldn't share their data is enough to motivate many academics, including Liebowitz.

Other comments by CaveatBettor, Peter Klein, Josh Wright, and sivacracy.

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The American Physical Society Questions IPCC Report

Well, it was a nice story while it lasted. The APS discussion is here:

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors"

In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says, "I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central 'climate sensitivity' question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method."
According to Monckton, there is substantial support for his results, "in the peer-reviewed literature, most articles on climate sensitivity conclude, as I have done, that climate sensitivity must be harmlessly low."

Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming. "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth." . . .

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Part of the American Physical Society Questions IPCC Report

Well, it was a nice story while it lasted. The APS discussion is here:

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors"

In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says, "I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central 'climate sensitivity' question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method."
According to Monckton, there is substantial support for his results, "in the peer-reviewed literature, most articles on climate sensitivity conclude, as I have done, that climate sensitivity must be harmlessly low."

Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming. "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth." . . .

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Some break in ACLU ranks over the Second Amendment

It has always been surprising to me that the ACLU, the group that supposedly defends even unpopular parts of the Bill of Rights, won't defend the Second Amendment. Here is a story about the Nevada ACLU:

CARSON CITY — Everyone loves guns in Nevada. Ducks Unlimited, the National Rifle Association, Republicans, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ...

Wait. The ACLU?

The Nevada ACLU has declared its support for an individual’s right to bear arms, apparently making it the first state affiliate in the nation to buck the national organization’s position on the Second Amendment.

The state board of directors reached the decision this month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals to own handguns.

“The Nevada ACLU respects the individual’s right to bear arms subject to constitutionally permissible regulations,” a statement on the organization’s Web site said. “The ACLU of Nevada will defend this right as it defends other constitutional rights.”

“This was the consensus,” said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for ACLU of Nevada. “There really wasn’t a lot of dissent.”

But the state affiliate’s position puts it at odds with the national organization. . . .


A new Heller lawsuit on the way?

Classifying a semi-automatic handgun as a machine gun? I know that I saw this coming, but still this is banning the vast majority of handguns owned by Americans.

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- District residents can start registering their guns today. But at least one very high profile application was already rejected.

Dick Heller is the man who brought the lawsuit against the District's 32-year-old ban on handguns. He was among the first in line Thursday morning to apply for a handgun permit.

But when he tried to register his semi-automatic weapon, he says he was rejected. He says his gun has seven bullet clip. Heller says the City Council legislation allows weapons with fewer than eleven bullets in the clip. A spokesman for the DC Police says the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to their interpretation, all bottom-loading guns are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.

Besides obtaining paperwork to buy new handguns, residents also can register firearms they've had illegally under a 180-day amnesty period.

Though residents will be allowed to begin applying for handgun permits, city officials have said the entire process could take weeks or months.

Thanks to many readers for sending me this type of article, including Todd P, Gus Cotey, and Jason Mullner.

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Tony Snow's Funeral

This was by far the most moving funeral that I have been to. The Cathedral was packed. It would be almost easier to tell you who wasn't there. So many people who I saw leaving the service had tears in their eyes. I lost count how many times I got choked up during the service. President Bush gave an amazing talk about Tony. Tony's brother and a neighbor also gave talks. His son, Robbie, read a very moving section of something that Tony wrote after the cancer had reoccurred. His son is so young, yet he had such confidence and assurance in talking before the giant crowd. Here are a few pictures from the service.

Debate about Profits in the Oil Industry with Air America Radio Host Thom Hartmann

Chuck Norton sent me this link from the WSJ about the 68 million acres of leases that the oil companies are supposedly refusing to drill on.


The imbalance in news coverage between Obama and McCain

The International Herald Tribune has this:

The imbalance has appeared in various analyses of the news coverage. The Tyndall Report, a news coverage monitoring service that has the broadcast networks as clients, reports that three newscasts by the traditional networks — which have a combined audience of more than 20 million people — spent 114 minutes covering Obama since June; they spent 48 minutes covering McCain. . . .

But the imbalance seems destined to get even larger:

As for the heavy coverage planned for Obama's upcoming trip, news executives said in interviews that, once again, the Democratic candidate was potentially benefiting from being a newer, untested politician. To that end, his first visit overseas since becoming the party's presumptive nominee would be an opportunity for voters to see how Obama handles one of their major concerns: his ability to handle national security matters and foreign affairs. . . .

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Free police or traffic hazards?

Here is an amusing story about an 11-year-old junior cop who has drivers hitting the brakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Police can't be everywhere, so 11-year-old Landon Wilburn is on patrol in the Stone Lakes subdivision in Louisville. Landon told The Courier-Journal he used to shout at speeders to slow down — then had a better idea.

Dressed in a reflective vest, wearing a bicycle helmet and armed with a Hot Wheels brand radar gun, he points and records the speed of passing traffic.

The boy also carries a flashlight with a built-in siren.

Subdivision resident George Ayers said he has seen drivers lock up their brakes when they saw Landon clocking them. . . . .

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Andrew Breitbart has a quite amusing column in the Washington TImes

Here is Andrew's piece on closeted conservatives in Hollywood:

LOS ANGELES — The conventional wisdom is that Hollywood has never before been so gaga over any candidate as she is now for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. In addition to raking in Oprah-level campaign cash, Mr. Obama is making Sen. John McCain, despite the Republican's comedic turns on "Saturday Night Live" and in "The Wedding Crashers," look like an out-of-it grandfather.

While it is true that the ratio of Obama-to-McCain bumper stickers in West L.A. is about 250-to-1, there are untold closet Republicans in the entertainment industry who dare not advertise their beliefs in movie studio parking lots. (Unfortunately, car keying is a tactic wielded liberally by the self-described "tolerant.")

But in this land of superficiality and augmented assets, the inconvenient truth is that, in Hollywood, absolute conformity to the Democratic Party is a well-constructed facade. The environment is not so much unfavorable to the Grand Old Party as it is utterly totalitarian. There's simply no lifestyle choice that receives a worse response at dinner parties. . . .


Dick Morris on Obama's Flip-flops

Morris' column is here:

Obama has carried flip-flopping to new heights. . . . modified his positions on at least nine key issues:

After vowing to eschew private fundraising and take public financing, he has now refused public money.
Once he threatened to filibuster a bill to protect telephone companies from liability for their cooperation with national security wiretaps; now he has voted for the legislation.
Turning his back on a lifetime of support for gun control, he now recognizes a Second Amendment right to bear arms in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Formerly, he told the Israeli lobby that he favored an undivided Jerusalem. Now he says he didn’t mean it.
From a 100 percent pro-choice position, he now has migrated to expressing doubts about allowing partial-birth abortions.
For the first time, he now speaks highly of using church-based institutions to deliver public services to the poor.
Having based his entire campaign on withdrawal from Iraq, he now pledges to consult with the military first.
During the primary, he backed merit pay for teachers — but before the union a few weeks ago, he opposed it.
After specifically saying in the primaries that he disagreed with Sen. Hillary Clinton’s proposal to impose Social Security taxes on income over $200,000 and wanted to tax all income, he has now adopted the Clinton position.


Al Franken in trouble in Minnesota over gun control?

You would think that this would be an issue in Minnesota.


Medical publication asks question: "Is gun regulation a public health issue?"

Here is a typical question in a medical publication called "Medpage Today":

Is gun regulation a public health issue?

Obviously a "yes" vote is taken as meaning that guns are bad. A "no" vote the reverse. Do I think that gun regulation is a "public health issue"? Sure. But I believe that because they on net save lives.

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Obama denies flip-flopping on guns

Obama claimed this yesterday on Newshour with Jim Lehrer:

"You mentioned the gun position. I’ve been talking about the Second Amendment being an individual right for the last year and a half. So there wasn’t a shift there."

To see Obama's flip-flop on the gun issue read this.

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Gov. Sonny Perdue says permit holders can take guns into parts of airports

The Atlanta Journal Constitution notes:

Gov. Sonny Perdue said Monday that he believes guns should be allowed in the nonsecure areas of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but said the issue is likely to be settled in court.

Perdue said his "lay opinion" is that a new state law allows guns in the airport's parking lots, atrium and all areas before the security gates.

Asked whether it was his opinion that it was a good idea to allow guns at the airport, Perdue said yes.

"If my wife wanted to carry a gun, if she was walking from one of those far parking lots to pick up a grandchild or something like that, I think that's a good idea, yes," he said.

A state law that took effect July 1 allows people who pass background checks to carry concealed weapons on public transportation, in state parks and in restaurants that serve alcohol. . . .

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NRA calls DC's new gun law 'a joke'

The Washington Times has this:

The D.C. Council will vote Tuesday on emergency legislation that will require handgun owners to keep their weapons disassembled or under lock and key in what gun rights advocates see as direct defiance of the Supreme Court ruling.

That ruling said the District could not bar residents from "rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

Some interpreted that language at the time as prohibiting any requirement for gun locks. . . .

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Evolution in action, Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian devils start breeding earlier after being hit by new disease.

A disease that threatens to wipe out the wild population of Tasmanian devils has triggered an abrupt change in their breeding habits, a study shows.

Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has led to the animals mating at an unusually young age and females having just one litter, say scientists.

The observed changes in the creatures' life cycle could affect the chances of saving the iconic species, they added.

The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A team of Australian scientists said they believed it to be the first known case of an infectious disease leading to increased early reproduction in a species of mammal.

The researchers, lead by Dr Menna Jones from the University of Tasmania, analysed data from five sites where devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) populations had been studied before and after the arrival of the disease.

"Devils have shown their capacity to respond to this disease-induced increased adult mortality with a 16-fold increase in the proportion of individuals exhibiting precocious sexual maturity," they reported. . . . .


Vote today by DC City Council on new gun rules

Fox News has this story:

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia Council planned to vote Tuesday on emergency legislation to allow handguns, but only if they are used for self-defense in the home and carry fewer than 12 rounds of ammunition.

The legislation announced Monday comes as officials try to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month striking down the city's 32-year-old weapons ban.

The proposal, which maintains some of the city's strict gun ownership rules and adds more regulations, was immediately criticized by gun rights advocates. They threatened more legal action.

The note about 12 rounds makes me believe that they may allow semi-automatic handguns. I guess we will see tomorrow what they are planning on doing.

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The uselessness of campaign finance reform

The Wall Street Journal has how much large donors have made to so-called 527s.

George Soros $4.5 million
Steven Bing $3.4 million
Sheldon Adelson $3.3 million
Fred Godley $1.1 million

It also has some information on how far behind the Republican congressional candidates are in fundraising, though the Republicans in the senate are holding their own and are almost exactly equal.


"College Students Push for Guns on Campus"

Fox News has a video on the question here.



New Op-ed at Fox News: Gun Debate Is Hardly Over

My new piece begins this way:

The Supreme Court may have confirmed that Americans have the right to own guns for protection, but the gun debate is hardly over. The District of Columbia, whose handgun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court, is still planning on banning most handguns. And the court decision has spurred the media into overdrive to paint guns as dangerous to their owners.

No one who has taken even a quick glance at the crime data can seriously argue that the DC gun ban lowered murder or violent crime rates. The concerns being raised are not the threat from criminals, but that guns poise a risk to their owners. In particular, buying a gun and having it in your home is said to increase the likelihood of suicide.

Mike Stobbe for the Associated Press emphasized the problem by pointing out that the majority of gun deaths are suicides. He also noticed that Supreme Court Justice Breyer mentioned his concerns about gun suicides 14 times in his dissent. By contrast, he mentioned accidental gun deaths rated only three times. That is not surprising given that the accidental death rate from guns is so low, not only absolutely but in comparison to other common household items.

A nationally syndicated article by Shankar Vedantam, a Washington Post columnist, has a similar concern. . . .

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People much more concerned about oil prices than climate change

IBD has a new poll out:

Contrary to claims by Al Gore and others that global warming is the greatest challenge of our time, Americans by better than 3-to-1 say the price of gasoline is a bigger problem now, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll. . . .

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Robert Levy on Where We Go After Heller

Bob Levy has a piece up at Cato on what is in store after the Heller case.

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Woman with gun fights off two violent armed criminals

The Ocala Star-Banner has this dramatic story:

Woman, .357 blazing, chases intruders from home

Published: Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 5:52 p.m.
OCALA – Firing a .357-caliber handgun until it was empty, an Ocala woman chased two intruders from her home in the 3800 block of Southeast 68th Street on Wednesday morning.

Later Wednesday, Marion County sheriff's detectives had one home invasion suspect in custody and were looking for the second. Aaron Scott Beardsley, 25, was charged with armed home invasion robbery. Deputies were still looking for a heavy-set Hispanic male, about 6-foot-1 or 6-feet-2, who was wearing black shorts at the time, a dark T-shirt and a bandana.

Sheriff's Detective Art King, in his report, gave the following account of the crime:

Shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, 29-year-old Jennifer Ann Hunley; her 27-year-old boyfriend, Michael Joseph Nash; and Hunley's 11-year-old daughter were inside their home when two men entered through the garage door. Nash, who was coming out of a bathroom at the time, saw one of the intruders holding a nail gun near the television set in the living room.

The man demanded money. At the same time Nash saw that the second suspect, armed with a handgun, was also in the living room. The one with the nail gun hit Nash on the head, and when he fell down both men began beating him.

Hunley came into the living room, saw what was happening, returned to her bedroom for a .357-caliber handgun and fired a warning shot into the ceiling.

The intruder with the nail gun ran outside, while the other one ran into a nearby bedroom. He then pointed his weapon, believed to be a small-caliber handgun, and fired at least one shot at Hunley.

Then Hunley, who is 5-foot-3, emptied her handgun, firing four shots at the intruder. The gunman ran out the front door. Neither Hunley nor her daughter were hurt during the exchange of gunfire. . . .

Thanks to CM Ross for this link.


Regulators blame Schumer for Bank's Collapse

The Wall Street Journal had this today about Schumer:

But the Office of Thrift Supervision has been critical of Sen. Schumer for alarming IndyMac depositors, saying that in the 11 days following release of the letter, depositors withdrew more than $1.3 billion. OTS Director John Reich said Friday that Mr. Schumer sparked a deposit run that "pushed IndyMac over the edge." Publicizing the June 26 letters was "an unprecedented act," Mr. Reich told reporters Friday. He said Sen. Schumer should have privately addressed his concerns with regulators. . . .

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Tony Snow's last interview on CNN


Democrats: No Senate vote on allowing more drilling

The Hill newspaper has this news:

Reid: No drilling votes in debate over oil speculation
By Manu Raju
Posted: 07/14/08 04:07 PM [ET]
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that he would not allow a vote on an amendment giving states new authority to seek oil off their coasts when he brings a Democratic energy bill to the floor later this month. . . .

“We want oil and gas companies to drill on the leases they’ve been given,” Reid said.

He added that oil companies should report to Congress their activities on their leased land and said Congress will invest in renewable energy by pushing through a stalled package of expiring tax incentives.

Democrats blame market speculators on oil industry futures for playing a role in propping up energy prices, and are drafting a bill targeting the practice, which will be unveiled Wednesday. When the Senate votes on that bill, as soon as this month, Reid said he would not allow amendments dealing with oil drilling, which the Republicans will almost certainly seek.

"I said and was very clear that we need to focus on issues of specific matters," Reid said.

The reaction puts Democrats in line with their presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), who opposes lifting the offshore-drilling ban. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reversed his longstanding support for the ban, and has said that boosting supplies will help bring down soaring gas prices. . . .

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NY Times claims that Lieberman "could be approaching divorce" with the Democratic Party

This is likely to be hyperbole, but you can judge it for yourself.

Clearly, Mr. Lieberman’s already precarious marriage with the Democrats has reached a new level of discord and could be approaching divorce, if not necessarily a remarriage into the Republican Party. The strain has been rooted largely in Mr. Lieberman’s steadfast support for the Bush administration’s engagement in Iraq and his hawkish views on Iran. He has not ruled out switching parties but has stopped short of saying he has moved so far from the Democratic Party — or, in his view, the other way around — that he is at a point of no return. . . .

Presumably a break could occur if one is going to take place if Lieberman addresses the Republican Convention in September.


Anheuser-Busch will be sold to InBev

The deal appears to be final. As noted before, InBev, the company that is acquiring Anheuser-Busch, has a history of anti-gun activity.


Some Feedback on the Recent Conference that I attended in Bodrum, Turkey

A discussion of the conference and the presentations is available here. A video of my talk is available here.



Illinois State Police advice to women who are attacked by criminals

This is from a talk that Suzanna Hupp gave in Chicago.

Thanks to Lou Berardi for the link.

Of course, the Chicago media just wouldn't cover this event. NewsBusters as a discussion on the lack of coverage here.

Thanks to Ronald Oglesby for the link.


Should anyone pay attention to Newsweek Polls?

Has anyone else noticed the huge, massive swings in the Newsweek poll results. In the newest Newsweek poll (7/09 to 7/10), Obama is up by three points. In a poll a few weeks ago, Newsweek got all sorts of publicity for having Obama up by 15 points. I just noticed this huge swing in looking at RealClearPolitics. Newsweek asks if Obama's "Glow Fading?" and states "What a difference a few weeks can make." Well, it turns out the new poll assumes that 32 percent of Americans are Republicans, 32 percent are Dems, and 36 percent are Independents. The previous survey assumed that 26 percent of Americans are Republicans, 38 percent are Dems, and 36 percent are Independents. Do you think that difference in weighting might explain the change? Do you think giving more weight to Republican preferences and less to Democrats would raise McCain's showing and lower Obama's? I seem to remember that Newsweek's polls were all over the place during 2004. Possibly this type of polling gets more attention and gets people to talk, but it is also pretty sad that Newsweek can't explain the changes with the cause that they obviously know explains the result.

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McCain and Obama tied in latest Rasmussen Tracking Poll, Obama up by three in Latest Gallup poll

The Rasmussen poll results are discussed here:

For the second straight day, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that the race for the White House is tied. Sunday’s numbers show Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 43% of the vote. When "leaners" are included, the two candidates are tied at 46%. For most of the past month-and-a-half, Obama has led McCain by approximately five percentage points. It will take a few more days to determine whether this recent tightening of the race reflects real change or is merely statistical noise. (see recent daily results). Tracking Polls are released at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time each day (see recent demographic highlights). . . . .

McCain is now viewed favorably by 57% of voters and unfavorably by 40%. For Obama, the numbers are 54% favorable and 44% unfavorable.

McCain earns favorable ratings from 32% of Democrats while Obama is viewed favorably by 23% of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, McCain is viewed favorably by 58%, Obama by 53%.

Opinions are more strongly held about Obama than McCain--30% have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama while 26% have a Very Unfavorable view. For McCain, those numbers are 17% Very Favorable and 17% Very Unfavorable (see recent daily favorables). Among unaffiliated voters, 18% have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama and 16% say the same about McCain. . . . .

Gallup has Obama up by three percentage points, 46 to 43.

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Vote fraud in Washington State

A prominent Democrat in Washington State is charged with vote fraud:

Todd Stuart McGuire, a longtime Jefferson County Democratic Party supporter, was charged July 2 with voter fraud.

He's accused of either repeating a vote or impersonating his wife, Rebekah, by casting her ballot in a Feb. 6, 2007, special election. Both charges are Class C felonies and carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine, according to charging documents.

Neither the McGuires nor Todd McGuire's attorney Ben Critchlow could be reached for comment last week or Monday.

Todd McGuire is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 18.

The McGuires have been prominent in local Democratic Party activities. Todd McGuire is a former treasurer for current Democratic County Commissioner David Sullivan. Rebekah McGuire is currently a Democratic precinct committeewoman. . . .


Texas Demand for Concealed Handgun Permits Up

The Dallas Morning News has the article here:

Texans' demand for concealed handgun licenses rises
09:31 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 8, 2008
By DANIEL MONTEVERDE / The Dallas Morning News
Mrs. Denman is one of more than 52,000 people in the state who have submitted an application for a first-time concealed handgun license or renewal since the beginning of the year, according to figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety. That is an almost 5 percent increase over the first six months of 2007.

The crunch – which some say is spurred by concerns about rising crime, the state's new castle law and uncertainty about future gun laws – has created a ballooning backlog of applications for the department and angered gun proponents. . . .

On average, new applicants are waiting between 80 and 90 days for their licenses; renewals are taking about 70 to 80 days to process, said Tela Mange, a DPS spokeswoman.

By law, new applications should take no more than 60 days and renewals 45 days to process unless a required background check raises any flags. . . .

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