Ronald Reagan on Socialized Medicine


When is a speed trap not a speed trap?

The Texas Department of Transportation has a little mess on its hands. This is a small stretch of highway where the wrong speed limit was posted. Apparently, one sign along the route had a different speed limit posted.

TXDOT knew it was wrong. In June 2008, they put the wrong sign up. The 40mph sign should be 50mph sign. TXDOT told crews to fix it in August, but even with the help of photos and fancy word balloons, the road crew couldn't figure it out.

It was still there, still wrong, when this ticket was written in May 2009, over 10 months later. While TXDOT apologizes, they say their mistake doesn't really matter.

"Whatever the speed limit is posted is what drivers should follow. Even if it's wrong," said Baker.

Wow. I wasn't really sure if I got that, so I asked again and sure enough TXDOT says even if they get it wrong, twice, they aren't really wrong.

"The speed limit is what is posted along the roadway. It doesn't matter if it's the correct speed limit or incorrect speed limit," said Baker.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office agrees with TXDOT that, wrong sign or not, the cops are right.

"Those officers on the street go by what is posted," said Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Not to be deterred, Gadus unearthed records showing at least 600 tickets were written in the area of the wrong sign, maybe as many as 1500. For Gadus, a 30-year veteran cop by the way, that's way too many. Unless officers had a sinister motive.

"It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a speed trap," said Gadus.

When asked about a possible speed trap, Lt. Norris replied, "No, not at all."

For all his work, a judge recently dismissed Gadus' wife's ticket. Now he's worried about the hundreds of other people who got tickets in the same place, but paid the fine because they never saw what he saw. . . .

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Is Obama losing support among some Democrats?

From the AP:

NEW YORK — Could it be that President Barack Obama's Midas touch is starting to dull a bit, even among members of his own party?
Conservative House Democrats are balking at the cost and direction of Obama's top priority, an overhaul of the nation's health care system. A key Senate Democrat, Max Baucus of Montana, complains that Obama's opposition to paying for it with a tax on health benefits "is not helping us."
Another Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, tells his local newspaper that Obama is too liberal and is "very unpopular" in his district.
From his first days in office, Obama's popularity helped him pass the landmark $787 billion stimulus package and fueled his ambitious plans to overhaul the nation's health care system and tackle global warming.
Obama continues to be comparatively popular. But now recent national surveys have shown a measurable drop in his job approval rating, even among Democrats. A CBS news survey out this week had his national approval rating at 57 percent, and his standing among Democrats down 10 percentage points since last month, from 92 percent to 82 percent. . . .

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Republican takes lead in Virginia Gubernatorial Polls

It is a very tight race, but McDonnell has a slim lead right now.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell leading Deeds 44% to 41%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and 12% are undecided.
A month ago, just after Deeds beat two other gubernatorial candidates in the state Democratic Primary, he posted a six-point lead over McDonnell, 47% to 41%. . . .

Another poll puts him slightly farther ahead.

Republican Bob McDonnell has opened a six-point lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the race for governor, according to a survey of likely November voters released today.

The Public Policy Polling analysis finds McDonnell ahead of Deeds 49-43 percent, within the poll's 4 percent margin of error. . . .

The PPP findings also indicate that McDonnell's six-point lead is identical to one Republican Jerry Kilgore held over Kaine, a Democrat, at this stage of the 2005 gubernatorial campaign (Kaine went on to win the race, a point emphasized by Democrats).

Public Policy Polling is a Democrat-affiliated outfit based in North Carolina, noted one Republican who rejects the firm's analysis of parallels between polling of Kilgore's 2005 race and McDonnell's 2009 contest. . . . .

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What a difference a few days makes for CBO

Was it all the yelling by Democrats on the Hill? In any case, CBO's estimated increased deficit over the 2010 to 2019 period fell from health care reform went from $1,042 billion on July 14th to $239 billion on July 17th. Some closer examination is required.


Some serious financial problems with Massachusetts health care system

This should be getting more news coverage. Fox News Liveshots has this:

This week Boston Medical Center, one of the city’s largest metropolitan hospitals, filed a lawsuit against the state claiming its being shortchanged by a whopping $181 million annually. BMC claims the state is not adequately covering the costs of Medicaid, Commonwealth Care and the uninsured, saying reimbursement rates have dropped to just 64 cents on the dollar to cover the poor.

The plan to cut tens of thousands of legal immigrants from the state’s universal plan will save an estimated $130 million a year- A difficult choice, say legislators, but one based on dollars and sense. . . . .

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Larry Summers' bogus Google search method

The question is what impact that Obama had on these searches by exaggerating that there was a problem (see here). Here is Politico's report on Summers here:

Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.

The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.

Searches for the term were up four-fold when the recession deepened in the earlier part of the year, and the recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher, Summers told the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Summers continued the administration’s push-back against critics of President Barack Obama’s handling of the recession, defending the economic stimulus package against Republicans who have tried to paint the program as a failure because it hasn’t stemmed the unemployment rate.

“We pledged at the time the Recovery Act became law that some of the spending and tax effects would begin almost immediately.,” Summers said in prepared remarks. “We also noted that the impact of the Recovery Act would build up over time, peaking during 2010 with about 70 percent of the total stimulus provided in the first 18 months. Now, five months after the passage, we are on track to meet that timeline. “ . . . .


10-year-old boy successfully uses gun to defend family

From WAFB in Port Allen, Louisiana.

Child shoots intruder during home break-in
Posted: July 16, 2009 09:15 PM
Updated: July 17, 2009 02:51 PM

By David Spunt - email

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - A ten-year-old boy left home alone with his sister used his mother's gun to shoot an intruder in the face, police said.

Late Tuesday, West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies received a call to a Port Allen apartment complex after several shots rang out from inside one of the apartments. "You are out here trying to work and for someone to come and do that and invade your home is very hard," the children's mother said. She asked to not be identified.

Deputies say Dean Favron and Roderick Porter knocked several times on the apartment door. The two young children, a ten-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl, stood on the other side, terrified. "He told his sister to be quiet and seconds later, they started kicking on the door and finally kicked the door in," said Sheriff Mike Cazes. The two children ran to their mother's bedroom closet.

In a panic, the ten-year-old grabbed his mother's gun for protection. "He did what I told him to do. I never told him to get the gun, but thank God he did," she said. Once the two suspects opened the door, threatening the kids, deputies say the boy fired a bullet into the lip of Roderick Porter. The two men were taken to the hospital by a third suspect, who is a 15-year-old juvenile. Once they got to the hospital, they were later arrested. "It's just hard. I don't understand why they would do that. I know they have little brothers and sisters and they wouldn't want anyone to break into their house," said the mother.

Each man is held on $150,000 bond. The juvenile, was taken to a local detention center. One of the suspects, Dean Favron, just finished serving almost seven years in prison for aggravated assault on a Baton Rouge police officer and two carjacking charges. He was released on June 6th.

Both men will appear before a judge next month.

Thanks very much to Gus Cotey for the link.



White House's $50B foreclosure plan not working

With record foreclosures, what gave them a hint that their policy wasn't working? Politico has this:

The Obama administration’s $50 billion program to curb foreclosures isn’t working, and the White House knows it.

Administration officials blame the mortgage servicers charged with carrying out the mortgage modifications and refinancing under the federal program. Many of their Democratic allies on Capitol Hill back them up, but others are criticizing the White House for fumbling the execution. Whatever the reason, the program hasn’t stopped the rising tide of foreclosures: Experts predict that at least another 2 million homes will be lost this year, and the administration’s plan has so far reached only about 160,000 of the 3 million to 4 million homes it was supposed to protect over the next three years.

That’s bad news for the economy — and bad news for the Democrats.


Sotomayor's radical base isn't happy that she is changing her beliefs for the hearings

Here is an editorial from the Washington Times:

Even some liberals are not enamored with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

It turns out that many on the left are insulted that Judge Sotomayor has run away from her radical record to appear more moderate during her Senate confirmation hearings.

Georgetown University Law Center's liberal professor Louis Michael Seidman couldn't constrain his anger. "I was completely disgusted by Judge Sotomayor's testimony today," he posted on Tuesday. "If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally unqualified ... . Perhaps Justice Sotomayor should be excused because our official ideology about judging is so degraded that she would sacrifice a position on the Supreme Court if she told the truth. Legal academics who defend what she did today have no such excuse."

Dahlia Lithwick, a contributing editor at Newsweek, complained on MSNBC Wednesday night that Democratic senators and Judge Sotomayor "are promising us that Sotomayor is going to be tough on crime, loves guns, is a strict constructionist, is a minimalist. It is just bizarre." Ms. Lithwick also was very upset that Judge Sotomayor and the Democrats had publicly "bought into [Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s] notion that judges call balls and strikes" without introducing their own personal opinions. . . . .

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CBO: federal budget is on an unsustainable path

An "unsustainable path" means that if something isn't done, trends just go off the chart. Here is the discussion from CBO:

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Although great uncertainty surrounds long-term fiscal projections, rising costs for health care and the aging of the population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly under any plausible scenario for current law. Unless revenues increase just as rapidly, the rise in spending will produce growing budget deficits. Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress economic growth in the United States. Over time, accumulating debt would cause substantial harm to the economy. The following chart shows our projection of federal debt relative to GDP under the two scenarios we modeled.

Keeping deficits and debt from reaching these levels would require increasing revenues significantly as a share of GDP, decreasing projected spending sharply, or some combination of the two. . . . .

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Defensive gun use: "3 charged in Craigslist-linked robbery"

From Lafayette, Indiana:

Investigators here plan to contact authorities in northwest Indiana to help locate three suspects in a Craigslist exchange that turned into an armed robbery earlier this month.

Eugene A. Hall, 49, of Gary; Edward D. Mercer, 27, of Hammond; and Jarrod E. Rodriguez, 26, of Gary were each charged today with six felony counts.

Warrants were issued out of Tippecanoe Superior Court 2 for their rearrest.

The criminal allegations stem from a shooting July 1 outside a Subway restaurant at 3990 Indiana 38 E. in Lafayette. No one was injured, though at least six rounds were fired.

Here's what took place, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the charges:

Hall, Mercer and Rodriguez had arranged to meet in the Subway parking lot to purchase tires and rims listed on Craigslist from two Indianapolis men.

But after agreeing upon a purchase price of $3,100 and handing over the cash, two of the buyers pulled handguns and demanded the money back.

Guns were held to both victims' heads. One of them, Kyle Delord Bostic, also was armed.

Shots were then fired by both parties.

The Lafayette Police Department stopped a van that Hall, Mercer and Rodriguez were in shortly after on Indiana 38 East. Tires and rims allegedly taken during the exchange were in the back seat.

Officers found a revolver and ammunition near the road that a witness said the three men had discarded there.

Detective Mark Pinkard said today criminal charges will not be pursued against Bostic or the other victim, Courtney Robinson, because their shots were fired in self defense.

Bostic also was properly licensed for his firearm. . . . .

Thanks to Darren Cooper for the link.


DC Police Chief says that iPhone users who use radar detector app are cowards

The Washington Examiner has this:

Area drivers looking to outwit police speed traps and traffic cameras are using an iPhone application and other global positioning system devices that pinpoint the location of the cameras.
That has irked D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier, who promised her officers would pick up their game to counteract the devices, which can also help drivers dodge sobriety checkpoints.
"I think that's the whole point of this program," she told The Examiner. "It's designed to circumvent law enforcement -- law enforcement that is designed specifically to save lives."
The new technology streams to iPhones and global positioning system devices, sounding off an alarm as drivers approach speed or red-light cameras.
Lanier said the technology is a "cowardly tactic" and "people who overly rely on those and break the law anyway are going to get caught" in one way or another.
The greater D.C. area has 290 red-light and speed cameras -- comprising nearly 10 percent of all traffic cameras in the U.S., according to estimates by a camera-tracking database called the POI Factory. . . . .


Obama has claimed we have to pass government health care to control costs, so what happens now?

It is pretty basic economics. If you increase spending, prices will go up. I would also argue that government is less efficient, but that doesn't appear to be one of CBO's points. From Fox News:

The director of the Congressional Budget Office issued a warning to Democrats Thursday that their health care proposals would raise costs, not lower them.

One day after a Senate panel approved its version of the health care reform plan, the first committee to do so, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf gave a dose of bad medicine to a separate committee.

Asked by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., whether costs would be lowered -- also known as "bending the curve" -- Elmendorf responded: "The curve is being raised."

Subsidies to help uninsured people would raise federal health care spending, which is already growing at an unsustainable rate, Elmendorf explained at the hearing. The Medicare and Medicaid cuts that lawmakers have offered to pay for the coverage expansion aren't big enough to offset the cost trend, particularly in the long term, he said.

House Republican Leader John Boehner seized on the comments, calling on Democrats to scrap their plans in light of the assessment.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called it a "wake up call" for Democrats.

"The director of the Congressional Budget Office confirmed today what we have been saying for weeks -- the health care spending plan that some are trying to rush through Congress would actually make things worse," McConnell said.

CBO's numbers come at an inopportune time for Democratic leaders who are trying push through and merge several different health care reform plans in the coming weeks, on orders from President Obama. . . . .

Here is Biden making the claim that government taking over the rest of health care is necessary to save money.

Vice President Joe Biden told people attending an AARP town hall meeting that unless the Democrat-supported health care plan becomes law the nation will go bankrupt and that the only way to avoid that fate is for the government to spend more money.

“And folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable,” Biden said at the event on Thursday in Alexandria, Va. “It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially.”

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden said.

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.” . . . .

This might produce problems with the so called Blue Dog Democrats.

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., a leader of fiscally conservative House Democrats, said Wednesday a House plan to overhaul the U.S. health-care system is losing support and will be stuck in committee without changes.

"Last time I checked, it takes seven Democrats to stop a bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee," Ross told reporters after a House vote. "We had seven against it last Friday; we have 10 today."

Three House committees are slated to begin considering the $1 trillion-plus bill this week, but the Energy and Commerce looms as the biggest challenge. That's because it counts among its 36 Democratic members seven members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a fiscally conservative bloc that is opposing the House Democrats' effort.

Ross said the bill, introduced Wednesday by House Democratic leaders, doesn't include provisions adequate to curb rising health care costs, including what the government spends on healthcare.

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Appearing on WBAL with Ron Smith at 5:35 PM

I will be on Ron Smith's show again today. It is always fun.

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Man carrying gun stops robber who had opened fire on people in a store

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has this story:

Published: July 12, 2009 A gunman who had wounded a shopkeeper and opened fire on several customers was stopped yesterday when another man shot him at the store in South Richmond, authorities said.

The violent attempted robbery took place shortly after 1 p.m. at the Golden Food Market at 2701 Jefferson Davis Highway, the same store where another man was shot last month -- and only three blocks from the scene of another robbery in June that left a shopkeeper dead.

Owners of as many as a dozen Jefferson Davis-area businesses flocked to the scene of the shooting, and many were rattled by such a brazen daylight attack, said Councilwoman Reva Trammell, whose 8th District includes the Jefferson Davis corridor.

Trammell, who arrived outside the store shortly after yesterday's shootings, described a frenzied scene. One man told Trammell that the man who had shot the robber was a guardian angel.

"Whoever did it probably saved their lives in there," Trammell said of the shooter.

Police did not identify anyone involved in yesterday's shootings.

The man who shot the robber is a friend of the store owner, and he was wearing a holster with a Western-style revolver, said Managing Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland.

After the suspect shot the store owner and opened fire on patrons, the owner's friend shot the suspect once in the torso, took his gun and called police, Thorne-Begland said.

Thorne-Begland said it appeared that the shooting of the suspect was justified, although he emphasized that the investigation was in the early stages.

Police said they expect to file charges against the suspect.

The store owner's injuries did not appear life-threatening, authorities said, but the gunman's injuries were said to be life-threatening. No one else was hurt. . . . .

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the link.

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New Fox News Op-ed: "Did Sotomayor Lie to Senators?"

This is how the new Fox News piece starts off.

"Is there anything the Senate or Congress can do if a nominee says one thing seated at that table and does something exactly the opposite once they [are on the Supreme Court]?" Senator Arlen Specter asked Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday. When Sotomayor promises her "fidelity" to the rule of law the Senators simply have to trust that she is telling them the truth. Unfortunately, there is significant evidence that Sotomayor has been less than honest in private meetings with the Senators.

This past Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported on a series of interviews it had done with Senators about their private meetings with Sotomayor. Incredibly, every one of Sotomayor's private statements to the Senators, as reported by The Journal, were not only false, but she should also have known that they were false when she made them. Each inaccurate statement to the Senators involved speeches the judge had given numerous times and that she had clearly reviewed before meeting with the members of the Judiciary Committee.

For instance, shortly after Sotomayor's nomination, her now infamous Berkeley law school speech began to receive public scrutiny. Understandably, many Senators asked her about her statement that: "a wise Latina woman with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white man."

Sotomayor apparently told Republican Senators in private meetings that those words were "inadvertent" and "inartful," -- implying that her statement was an accident. President Obama himself tried to explain this statement as just a one-time utterance that she would have worded differently if she had the chance to do it all over again.

But after these private meetings with Senators it was revealed that Sotomayor had used the equivalent phrases during at least seven different speeches over a period of a decade. It is one thing for Obama to explain this as an accidental, single occurrence; it is something quite different for Sotomayor, especially now that we know that she repeatedly made such statements. . . . .

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"Foreclosures at record high in first half 2009 despite aid"

I have written this many times, but the government's actions under Obama have made this much worse. From Reuters:

U.S. home foreclosure activity galloped to a record in the first half of the year, overwhelming broad efforts to remedy failing loans while job losses escalated.

Foreclosure filings jumped to a record 1.9 million on more than 1.5 million properties in the first six months of the year, RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

The number of properties drawing filings, which include notices of default and auctions, jumped 9.0 percent from the second half of 2008 and almost 15 percent from the first half of last year.

"Despite everybody's best efforts to date we're not really making any headway against the problem," Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac in Irvine, California, said in an interview. . . . .



Senator Coburn gets Sotomayor to reveal that she doesn't believe in a right to self defense

People have a right to privacy that people can determine what they want to do with their bodies with respect to abortion, but they apparently don't have the right to self-defense to protect your body. Here is a portion of the questioning:

COBURN: Thank you.

Let me follow up with one other question. As a citizen of this country, do you believe innately in my ability to have self-defense of myself -- personal self-defense? Do I have a right to personal self- defense?

SOTOMAYOR: I'm trying to think if I remember a case where the Supreme Court has addressed that particular question. Is there a constitutional right to self-defense? And I can't think of one. I could be wrong, but I can't think of one.

SOTOMAYOR: Generally, as I understand, most criminal law statutes are passed by states. And I'm also trying to think if there's any federal law that includes a self-defense provision or not. I just can't.

What I was attempting to explain is that the issue of self- defense is usually defined in criminal statutes by the state's laws. And I would think, although I haven't studied the -- all of the state's laws, I'm intimately familiar with New York.

COBURN: But do you have an opinion, or can you give me your opinion, of whether or not in this country I personally, as an individual citizen, have a right to self-defense?

SOTOMAYOR: I -- as I said, I don't know.

COBURN: I'm talking about your...

SOTOMAYOR: I don't know if that legal question has been ever presented.

COBURN: I wasn't asking about the legal question. I'm asking about your personal opinion.

SOTOMAYOR: But that is sort of an abstract question with no particular meaning to me outside of...

COBURN: Well, I think that's what American people want to hear, Your Honor, is they want to know. Do they have a right to personal self-defense?

Do -- does the Second Amendment mean something under the 14th Amendment? Does what the Constitution -- how they take the Constitution, not how our bright legal minds but what they think is important, is it OK to defend yourself in your home if you're under attack?

In other words, the general theory is do I have that right? And I understand if you don't want to answer that because it might influence your position that you might have in a case, and that's a fine answer with me.

But I -- those are the kind of things people would like for us to answer and would like to know, not how you would rule or what you're going to rule, but -- and specifically what you think about, but just yes or no. Do we have that right? SOTOMAYOR: I know it's difficult to deal with someone as a -- like a judge who's so sort of -- whose thinking is so cornered by law.

COBURN: I know. It's hard.


COBURN: Kind of like a doctor. I can't quit using doctor terms.

SOTOMAYOR: Exactly. That's exactly right, but let me try to address what you're saying in the context that I can, OK, which is what I have experience with, all right, which is New York criminal law, because I was a former prosecutor. And I'm talking in very broad terms.

But, under New York law, if you're being threatened with eminent death or very serious injury, you can use force to repel that, and that would be legal. The question that would come up, and does come up before juries and judges, is how eminent is the threat. If the threat was in this room, "I'm going to come get you," and you go home and get -- or I go home.

I don't want to suggest I am, by the way. Please, I'm not -- I don't want anybody to misunderstand what I'm trying to say.


If I go home, get a gun, come back and shoot you, that may not be legal under New York law because you would have alternative ways to defend...

COBURN: You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do.

SOTOMAYOR: I'd be in a lot of trouble then.

But I couldn't do that under a definition of self-defense. And so, that's what I was trying to explain in terms of why, in looking at this as a judge, I'm thinking about how that question comes up and how the answer can differ so radically, given the hypothetical facts before you.

COBURN: Yes. You know...

SOTOMAYOR: Or not the...

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Government aid playing favorites?: How could that happen?

Now that it looks as if another company might win Opel, the German government is making its aid offer more explicitly tied to which company has the winning bid. So much for the impression of there not being any bias. From the WSJ.

Germany's government sent a message to General Motors Co. on Wednesday: If GM sells its European car business to anyone other than Magna International Inc., then Germany might withdraw its offer of state aid.

The warning comes as German politicians grow increasingly nervous about who will win the auction for GM's European operations, centered on its Opel brand, a major employer in Germany and several other European countries.

Germany's strong hint could bolster Magna's chances, despite intense interest from other parties. Without government help, investors would struggle to finance the money-losing Opel and GM's Vauxhall in Britain.

Six weeks ago, Germany thought GM was on course to sell control of Opel to Magna, a Canadian-Austrian automotive supplier that has promised to keep Opel's German factories running. German politicians, facing national elections Sept. 27, pledged to support Magna's plan with €4.5 billion ($6.3 billion) in loan guarantees.

Since then, the divergent interests of Detroit and Berlin have become clear, and the auction is turning into a game of chicken between GM and Germany.

A newly confident GM, emerging faster than expected Friday from bankruptcy proceedings, is growing cool on Magna after failing for weeks to bridge differences with Magna over issues including access to GM technology and world markets.

GM's preliminary, nonbinding accord with Magna in late May was "a shotgun wedding" under political pressure from Germany, said one person close to GM. . . . .

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Obama's first pitch at All Star Game

Obama's opening pitch at the All Star Game bounced off the ground in front of home plate before it was caught (you have to go here to see it bounce off the ground, but the first baseman who was catching clearly had to go well out in front of home plate to trap it off the ground). It was somewhat strange that Fox's coverage of the pitch had an angle that made it so you couldn't see where the pitch went. It looks to me as if Obama has some type of three finger throw and let's just say he doesn't throw the ball the way most guys would throw it.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Which brings us to his ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night at the All-Star Game. How best to put this? He throws like a ... wait, I'm not going to say it. It's not worth the protests by the U.S. women's national softball team that inevitably will blossom outside Tribune Tower.

Let's just say he throws like someone who hardly has played sports. If the Cardinals' Albert Pujols hadn't stepped up and made a catch, Obama's pitch would have bounced in front of the plate, the ultimate humiliation. . . . .


Living Together First Raises Probability of Divorce

I have real questions about this study and whether it accounts for whether those who lived together first were different, but still the results are interesting.

Couples who shack up before tying the knot are more likely to get divorced than their counterparts who don't move in together until marriage, a new study suggests.

Upwards of 70 percent of U.S. couples are cohabiting these days before marrying, the researchers estimate.

The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, indicates that such move-ins might not be wise.

And it's not because you start to get on one another's nerves. Rather, the researchers figure the shared abode could lead to marriage for all the wrong reasons.

"We think that some couples who move in together without a clear commitment to marriage may wind up sliding into marriage partly because they are already cohabiting," said lead researcher Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver. . . . .

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Mark your calendars: Obama talks about unemployment probably increase for just three more months

AP, among others, has the prediction here:

"My expectation is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months."

So with the release of the November numbers we should be seeing a drop in unemployment?

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Appearing on the Jason Lewis show from 8 to 9 PM EDT tonight

I assume that we will cover a range of issues from economics to Sotomayor on Jason's Show.

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Appearing on Mancow's Show on Thursday at 8:35 AM EDT

It is always fun to be on Mancow's show. We are supposed to talk about Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.

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Democrat Oberstar explains why the stimulus hasn't worked out as promised

I agree that the tax cuts were worse than useless -- after all, they raised the marginal tax rate that people faced even for those that they lowered the average rate. But that is surely not the reason that Oberstar gives. From the Hill News:

Congress cut taxes by too much and did not include enough money for transportation projects when it passed a $787 billion stimulus bill this year, the Democratic chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Monday.

Rep. Jim Oberstar (Minn.) stopped short of saying Congress should move a second stimulus, as some Democrats have recently suggested. But he told The Hill on Monday that lawmakers could create jobs by passing his own big-ticket public-works legislation: a $500 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill. . . . .


Helping people on the "cheap"

It is nice to see that the administration is recognizing that there are perverse incentives created by changing these mortgage rules (though it hasn't stopped them before), but they are still not recognizing that allowing people to forestall their payments makes it riskier to loan money and reduces the number of loans. From Reuters:

President Barack Obama is mulling new ways to delay foreclosure for jobless homeowners who are unable to keep up with monthly payments, an administration official said on Monday.

The official told Reuters it was reasonable for policymakers to consider options for loan forbearance -- allowing borrowers to delay, defer or skip payments -- that are more effective than those currently available in the private sector.

The number of failing home loans has been climbing for three years as risky borrowers have defaulted on their easy-to-get loans, property values have sunk and the unemployment rate has climbed.

But the official said the idea, which is still evolving, was difficult from a policy perspective and carries potential hazards. It could help more people struggling with economic difficulty, but it also could create perverse incentives that distort the housing market, said the official, who did not want to speak on the record about internal administration debates. . . .


Guess what: Raising the minimum wage increases unemployment

Who would have guessed? Minimum price controls creates unemployment.

Here's some economic logic to ponder. The unemployment rate in June for American teenagers was 24%, for black teens it was 38%, and even White House economists are predicting more job losses. So how about raising the cost of that teenage labor?

Sorry to say, but that's precisely what will happen on July 24, when the minimum wage will increase to $7.25 an hour from $6.55. The national wage floor will have increased 41% since the three-step hike was approved by the Democratic Congress in May 2007. Then the economy was humming, with an overall jobless rate of 4.5% and many entry-level jobs paying more than the minimum. That's a hard case to make now, with a 9.5% national jobless rate and thousands of employers facing razor-thin profit margins. . . .



Multiple Victim Car Attack

This guy hit 14 people with his car.

A man walking his young son across a street was mowed down and killed by a driver who bashed into seven cars as he tore through a New York neighborhood, police said.

The driver reportedly got into a fight with his wife in the parking lot of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Baychester, got in his car and erratically drove through the parking lot and streets.

The driver slammed into the 36-year-old man, who was not identified, as he tried to push his 6-year-old son out of the way, police told MyFOXNY.com.

The father died at the scene. The boy wasn't hurt.

Police say the driver kept going, hitting six more cars and a total of 14 people before his mangled car came to a stop. . . .

I should also include this case that apparently was an act of terrorism:

A recent University of North Carolina graduate was charged with nine counts of attempted murder Saturday, a day after authorities say he drove through a popular campus gathering spot in an attempt to avenge Muslim deaths.

Derek Poarch, chief of the university police department, confirmed Saturday that Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a 22-year-old Iran native, told investigators he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” Poarch would not provide any other details on the motive.

Taheri-azar also is charged with nine counts of assault. . . .

The area has broad walkways that can be used as fire lanes, but it has no streets. Taheri-azar drove a Jeep Cherokee from a parking lot in almost a U-shape through a cluster of off-street buildings, looping past the dining hall and veering between it and one of the libraries before he reached a side road and sped away, Poarch said.

Five students and a visiting scholar were treated at and released from hospitals, the university said in a statement. Three other people declined treatment, police said. . . .


We have heard for years that there are no differences between men and women, but we need a woman on the Supreme Court because the are different

I have had numerous arguments over the years where liberals have insisted that there are no differences between men and women. But liberals also argue that you need to have women or some other group on the courts because they are different.

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DC City Council Wants Vouchers

I have to check to see if DC contributes any of its own money to education, but if it does, why don't they just allocate some of that to vouchers. Given that per pupil spending in DC is something around $14,000, they can save a lot of money with vouchers for poor people of only $7,500. The WSJ has this:

The life and death saga of the D.C. voucher program for low-income families continues. A majority of the members of the D.C. Council recently sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressing solid support for continuing the program. "We strongly urge you to stand with us in supporting these children and continuing the District's Opportunity Scholarship Program," says the letter. "We believe we simply cannot turn our backs on these families because doing so will deny their children the quality education they deserve."

Earlier this year Illinois Senator Dick Durbin added language to a spending bill that phases out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program after next year. The program provides 1,700 kids $7,500 per year to use toward tuition at a private school of their parents' choosing. Mr. Durbin's amendment says no federal money can be spent on the program beyond 2010 unless Congress reauthorizes it and the D.C. Council approves.

The D.C. Council's letter shows that support for these vouchers is real at the local level and that the opposition exists mainly at the level of the national Democratic Party. Mr. Durbin has suggested that he included the D.C. Council provision in deference to local control. "The government of Washington, D.C., should decide whether they want it in their school district," he said in March. Well now we know where D.C. stands. We will now see if the national party stands for putting union power and money above the future of poor children.



Different topics

Biden explains the difference between private meetings that are closed to the press and private meetings that are closed to the press

From the LA Times:

And we've wondered aloud how this Democratic VP's private meetings with unnamed people on unnamed subjects differs from the private meetings with unnamed people that his evil predecessor had that got so many Democratic senators and representatives worried about nefarious secrets. . . . .

According to the White House schedule, Biden will not spend the remainder of the workday in private meetings that are closed press.

Instead: "The Vice President will spend the remainder of the day in meetings that are closed press."

You get the difference, right?

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