One of the more novel aspects of campaign finance regulations?

If one really believes campaign finance advocates, this has to be counted as a campaign expenditures.

According to people familiar with the grand jury investigation, prosecutors are considering a complicated and novel legal issue: whether payments to a candidate’s mistress to ensure her silence (and thus maintain the candidate’s viability) should be considered campaign donations and thus whether they should be reported. When Mr. Edwards was running for president, and even later when he still held out hope of a senior cabinet position in the Obama administration, two of his wealthy patrons, through a once-trusted Edwards aide, quietly provided Ms. Hunter with large financial benefits, including a new BMW and lodging, that were used to keep her out of public view. . . .

But how much was this action by Mr. Andrew Young worth? Was it worth more than $2,300? Should it also be counted as a donation to the campaign?

The notion that Mr. Edwards is the father has been reinforced by the account of Andrew Young, once a close aide to Mr. Edwards, who had signed an affidavit asserting that he was the father of Ms. Hunter’s child. . . .


"A childishness to this organization [the Obama admin.]" when the news media doesn't cover Obama the way that they think that he should be covered

Chris Wallace has some interesting views on the behavior of the Obama administration relative to other administrations. Wallace talks about "a pettiness to this White House." This administration doesn't have the professionalism of past administration.

By the end of the day tomorrow, Obama will have granted 124 interviews to TV and newspaper journalists. Bush had 40 and Clinton 44.

For another similar discussion by Chris Wallace see the youtube video below. "“They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington,” Wallace said in the interview below.

For those interested, here is Chris Wallace strongly defending Obama back in March 2008.

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One third of people registered by ACORN were rejected by election officials?

In an article generally defending ACORN against the recent five films released on biggovernment.com, there was this interesting fact.

Last year, ACORN was forced to acknowledge that election officials rejected 400,000 of the 1.3 million people the group had tried to register. . . .

The article does have some other interesting facts about problems with the ACORN sting.

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(Slightly) Rolling back restrictions on free speech

When will campaign finance regulation advocates that it is futile to restrict campaign expenditures? A new federal appeals court decision in DC has come to slightly acknowledge that.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government’s only legitimate interest in restricting political donations is combating the appearance or reality of corruption that could arise from allowing unlimited contributions directly to a candidate or political party.

The court has held that, on the other hand, a desire to level the playing field or limit the power of moneyed interests is not a permissible reason for the government to limit the amount a rich person might spend on independent efforts to elect or defeat a candidate. In this case, the appeals court held that nonprofit groups are essentially like rich individuals, so the government cannot restrict their independent spending either.

“Donations to nonprofit groups cannot corrupt candidates and officeholders,” Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote for a three-judge panel. “And to the extent a nonprofit then spends its donations on activities such as advertisements, get-out-the-vote efforts and voter registration drives, those expenditures are not considered corrupting, even though they may generate gratitude from and influence with officeholders and candidates.”

To regulate the political activities of nonprofit groups in order to ward off such potential gratitude and influence was overkill, Judge Kavanaugh wrote. He quoted Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the opinion overturning certain restrictions on corporate political spending two years ago in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life: “Enough is enough.”

The Emily’s List case came about in the aftermath of the 2004 presidential election, when both major-party candidates complained about the free spending by 527 groups. In response, the Federal Election Commission established new rules, including a $5,000 limit on the amount of money from each contributor that a group could spend trying to influence federal elections. Emily’s List, which raises money for the election of Democratic women who support abortion rights, argued that the rules violated the First Amendment. The appeals court agreed.

Though the groups are prohibited from coordinating with candidates, political operatives say it is still usually easy enough to execute a strategy that a campaign manager has described in the news media. Or outside groups simply mimic the content and targeting of a campaign’s own commercials.

Advocates for stricter campaign finance rules said the appeals court decision would only encourage similar efforts around the 2010 midterm elections or the 2012 presidential race.

“This opinion, if it stands up, is going to make it harder to constrain the role of influence-seeking money in federal campaigns,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21.
. . .


The Swiss Gun Debate

There is an interesting video here.

Switzerland is grappling with a question and it’s a loaded one: should its citizens be allowed to keep military rifles at home? The shooting traditions are deep-rooted in this country where basic military training is mandatory and so is storing weapons at home. It’s estimated that over 500,000 military rifles are kept in Swiss cellars and cupboards. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went to the Tiro Federale in Campagna (also called the Feldschiessen in German or Tir fédéral en campagne in French) the largest shooting festival in the world, to witness this 83-year-old tradition.

Someone should really do some serious research on the questions raised here.

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Obama says that opposition to him is about race

Obama says that race is "not the overriding issue here." That seems to imply to me that while he doesn't think that race is the top issue, it is one of the reasons that he has opposition to his policies.

As to Obama doing five talk shows on Sunday, why do I think that none of the networks are going to ask him about his inaccurate claims during his talk? It is interesting that he wants to do all the shows with the exception of Fox News.

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NY Times Upset about Allowing People to Check Guns Onto Trains

This goes for logic with the New York Times:

In a shocking genuflection to the gun lobby, the Senate has voted to deny Amtrak its indispensable $1.6 billion federal subsidy unless it allows passengers to transport handguns in their checked luggage. The budget support would be stripped in six months unless Amtrak scraps the gun ban that it wisely adopted five years ago after the terrorist railroad atrocities in Madrid.

The majority vote was bipartisan and not even close, with 27 Democrats and one independent (the ultraliberal Bernie Sanders from gun-friendly Vermont) joining all 40 Republicans versus 30 opponents. The hope is that the House or President Obama will ultimately reject the Amtrak measure, but security-wary citizens cannot count on that as the gun lobby choreographs political cravenness. . . . .

Amtrak has none of the hermetic procedures where airport passengers are screened shoeless at detectors while their checked baggage is separately secured. Trains stop at stations and passengers come and go. Amtrak presently has a system of checking passengers and screening baggage at random, much the way New York police monitor mass transit.

If the Senate wants to pass a bill on Amtrak, it should provide the money to hire more security guards and create a real passenger rail system. Generally, it should just stop its demeaning homage to the gun lobby.

Now why does letting people check their guns on a train require that trains have "hermetic procedures where airport passengers are screened shoeless at detectors while their checked baggage is separately secured"? It seems that letting people check in their guns would actually lower the probability that they would try to take them on the train, not increase it.

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FCC apparently doesn't believe that Apple can determine what applications run on its iPhone

There are so many new regulations coming down the pike. Apparently Apple can't tell the app developers even that they meet any particular guidelines.

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to propose a new so-called net neutrality rule Monday that could prevent telecommunications, cable and wireless companies from blocking Internet applications, according to sources at the agency.

Genachowski will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute. He isn't expected to drill into many details, but the proposal will specifically be for an additional guideline on how operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast can control what goes on their networks. That additional guideline would prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services.

The guidelines in place today have been criticized by applications developers like Google and public interest groups for not going far enough to clarify what is defined as discriminatory behavior. Comcast is fighting in federal court an FCC ruling that it violated the guidelines by blocking a video application last year. AT&T and Verizon have said existing rules are sufficient, and more regulation is unnecessary. However, they have also said they wouldn't fight against an additional guideline that focuses on discriminatory behavior. . . .

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Neighbor uses gun to save woman from pit bull

The story with video is available here:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- A St. Petersburg man shot and killed a pit bull that attacked and critically injured his neighbor Thursday afternoon.

Investigators say Patricia Thiel walked into the backyard of her home at 2012 Bonita Way and was attacked by Jake, a 100 lb. pit bull owned by another man who lives in the same home.

As she cried out for help, a neighbor looked over the privacy fence surrounding the yard. Jake charged the fence, causing the neighbor to retreat, police say.

That neighbor ran door to door, eventually finding Joseph Wharton, who lives several doors down. Wharton got his 9mm handgun and fired three shots at the animal, hitting it twice and killing it.

"It was a scary scream. A scream "somebody help me! Help me!"" said neighbor Jackie Williams, who called 911 for help while Wharton went back in his home for his pistol.

"Even if she hadn't scooted over, I would've taken the shot. 'Because you were scared for her life?' Yes. She was going to die." said Wharton.

Williams said, "And blood everywhere. I thought "oh my God! oh my God!" I got in my car and went to the country club and got Rob (the dog's owner)."

Thiel, whose left arm was shredded with the bone exposed, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center. She also suffered injuries to her head, neck, right shoulder and right arm. . . . .


Michelle Obama goes shopping for "certified organic Tuscan kale"

The Washington Post has this:

Let's say you're preparing dinner and you realize with dismay that you don't have any certified organic Tuscan kale. What to do?

Here's how Michelle Obama handled this very predicament Thursday afternoon:

The Secret Service and the D.C. police brought in three dozen vehicles and shut down H Street, Vermont Avenue, two lanes of I Street and an entrance to the McPherson Square Metro station. They swept the area, in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs, with bomb-sniffing dogs and installed magnetometers in the middle of the street, put up barricades to keep pedestrians out, and took positions with binoculars atop trucks. Though the produce stand was only a block or so from the White House, the first lady hopped into her armored limousine and pulled into the market amid the wail of sirens.

Then, and only then, could Obama purchase her leafy greens. "Now it's time to buy some food," she told several hundred people who came to watch. "Let's shop!" . . . .

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Did Obama lie about not giving health care benefits to illegals?

The president claimed: “There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false.” Yet, even the Congressional Research Service's evaluation of HR 3200 – the main Democratic health care bill in the House – points out that some illegals are already eligible for some types of government-paid health care and expanding the programs will make more eligible. Many illegals already get government health care for which they are ineligible because enforcement is lax. But the Washington Times has this other loophole that Obama was thinking of.

President Obama said this week that his health care plan won't cover illegal immigrants, but argued that's all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage.

He also staked out a position that anyone in the country legally should be covered - a major break with the 1996 welfare reform bill, which limited most federal public assistance programs only to citizens and longtime immigrants.

"Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don't simply believe we can simply ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken," Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. "That's why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else.

Mr. Obama added, "If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all." . . .

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Are women are programmed to tattle?

Is this one reason that women shouldn't be in law enforcement or intelligence?

Researchers found that women are overcome by a burning desire to share gossip as soon as they hear it.
They will typically spill the beans to at least one other person in 47 hours and 15 minutes.
Depending on who the gossip is about, their boyfriend, husband, best friend or mother are most likely to be the initial recipients of the information.
The study of 3,000 women aged between 18 and 65 also found that four out of ten admitted they were unable to keep a secret – no matter how personal or confidential the news was. . . .
"We were really keen to find out with this survey how many secrets people are told. What we didn't bank on was how quickly these are passed on by those we confide in.
"No matter how precious the piece of information, it's often out in the public domain within 48 hours. . . .

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Selling your kid's old toys could get you up to $15 million in government fines

With ridiculous standards now applying to any product that may have been in your home for years, you could face bankruptcy if you sell them. It might make some sense if the products were actually dangerous.

Americans who slap $1 pricetags on their used possessions at garage sales or bazaar events risk being slapped with fines of up to $15 million, thanks to a new government campaign.

The "Resale Round-up," launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, enforces new limits on lead in children's products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don't meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason.

The strict standards were set in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after a series of high-profile recalls of Chinese-made toys.

The standards were originally interpreted to apply only to new products, but now the CPSC says they apply to used items as well.

"Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Resale stores should make safety their business and check for recalled products and hazards to children."

In order to comply, stores, flea markets, charities and individuals selling used goods — in person or online — are expected to consult the commission's 24-page Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers (pdf) and its Web site for a breakdown of what they can't sell.

Violators caught selling anything on the enormous list face fines of up to $100,000 per infraction and up to $15 million for a related series of infractions.



"Social Security Sent More than $40 Million in Checks to Dead People"

This is comforting.

Security Administration (SSA) has issued benefit checks totaling $40.3 million to an estimated 6,100 beneficiaries for months – and in some cases for decades -- after receiving notification of their deaths, according to a June audit report from the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

Approximately 1,760 of the 6,100 listed as deceased actually were dead, the government auditor estimated. The rest were alive, but had been wrongly listed as deceased.

During a sample audit in 2008, the inspector general uncovered 228 cases where beneficiaries had been receiving payments from SSA when they were already listed as dead. Of those, 88 were verified to have died. Another 140 were found to still be alive.

“SSA improperly paid these 88 deceased beneficiaries approximately $2.0 million,” the OIG report noted.

The remainder were alive, but had been reported as deceased in the federal agency’s Numident master file, a database of Social Security information tied to person’s Social Security number.

In one case, Social Security sent a deceased beneficiary monthly checks of $1,185 for 18 years until October 2008, even though she died in April of 1990. SSA had listed the New York City death certificate number on the Numident records one month after her death, but her name was not removed from the Social Security payment roll and SSA continued to send her approximately $210,000 in 222 improper payments. . . . .

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75 Democratic Congressmen who voted to keeping Housing funding for ACORN

By a 345 to 75 vote, the House today voted to stop ACORN from getting federal housing funds. Here is the list:

Brady (PA)
Brown, Corrine
Carson (IN)
Castor (FL)
Davis (IL)
Edwards (MD)
Green, Al
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Johnson, E. B.
Kilpatrick (MI)
Larsen (WA)
Lee (CA)
Lewis (GA)
Markey (MA)
Meeks (NY)
Moore (WI)
Moran (VA)
Nadler (NY)
Neal (MA)
Polis (CO)
Price (NC)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Thompson (MS)


President inaccurately claims that insurance companies have dropped people's coverage

The inaccuracies here that Scott Harrington points to are pretty breathtaking.

"More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won't pay the full cost of care. It happens every day."

Clearly, this should never happen to anyone who is in good standing with his insurance company and has abided by the terms of the policy. But the president's examples of people "dropped" by their insurance companies involve the rescission of policies based on misrepresentation or concealment of information in applications for coverage. Private health insurance cannot function if people buy insurance only after they become seriously ill, or if they knowingly conceal health conditions that might affect their policy. . . .

To highlight abusive practices, Mr. Obama referred to an Illinois man who "lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found he hadn't reported gallstones that he didn't even know about." The president continued: "They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it."

Although the president has used this example previously, his conclusion is contradicted by the transcript of a June 16 hearing on industry practices before the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The deceased's sister testified that the insurer reinstated her brother's coverage following intervention by the Illinois Attorney General's Office. She testified that her brother received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the desired three- to four-week "window of opportunity" from "one of the most renowned doctors in the whole world on the specific routine," that the procedure "was extremely successful," and that "it extended his life nearly three and a half years."

The president's second example was a Texas woman "about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne." He said that "By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size."

The woman's testimony at the June 16 hearing confirms that her surgery was delayed several months. It also suggests that the dermatologist's chart may have described her skin condition as precancerous, that the insurer also took issue with an apparent failure to disclose an earlier problem with an irregular heartbeat, and that she knowingly underreported her weight on the application.

These two cases are presumably among the most egregious identified by Congressional staffers' analysis of 116,000 pages of documents from three large health insurers, which identified a total of about 20,000 rescissions from millions of policies issued by the insurers over a five-year period. Company representatives testified that less than one half of one percent of policies were rescinded (less than 0.1% for one of the companies). . . .

A related story on this can be found here.

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"The Stimulus Didn't Work"

Democrats use Stimulus to advertise

Fox News has this:

Across the country, motorists are being greeted by signs advertising President Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill, and Republicans aren't happy about it.

The large green-and-white highway signs declare, "Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H describes them as the "signs to nowhere" and tried in vain Wednesday to stop the advertising.

Democrats were nearly unanimous in voting to defeat an amendment by Greg that would have prohibited the use of stimulus funds for signs that advertise taxpayer spending on stimulus projects.

Only five Democrats crossed the aisle in the 45-52 vote, joining all 40 Republicans in support of Greg's amendment. . . .

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Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and now Argentina are taking over their media

South America has really moved away from press freedom over the last half dozen years.

Argentina's lower house debated Wednesday President Cristina Fernandez's broadcast reform bill . . .

Fernandez says her reform of decades-old media regulations will bolster democracy by allowing smaller players and nonprofits more access to frequencies and putting restrictions on the number of licenses big media players can have.

But critics say her main motive is to crush the powerful Grupo Clarin conglomerate, and opposition politicians also question elements of the reform such as the way the state will be able to assign frequencies in small cities and towns.

Fernandez and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, have been locked in a bitter dispute with Grupo Clarin since its news outlets criticized their handling of a farming crisis last year.

Fernandez smoothed the passage of the law by removing a controversial clause that would have allowed telephone companies to enter the cable television business.

She said eliminating that element of the bill should dispel opposition concerns that telecommunication companies would form new monopolies.

But dissident Peronists, center-right parties and even the center-left Civic Union opposition party were not swayed by the changes to the law and made a failed attempt to delay the vote until December when a new Congress will be seated.

Fernandez's bill comes against a backdrop of leftist leaders in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela strengthening state media outlets and warring with traditional newspapers and broadcasters that have given their administrations deeply negative coverage.

In Venezuela, Socialist President Hugo Chavez has shut down radio stations and denied renewal of broadcast licenses. But Fernandez's reform is not seen as so radical.

"Approval in the senate will be difficult but, at this point, we believe the senate will likely end up approving the bill, perhaps after further concessions from the government," said Daniel Kerner, a Latin America analyst for the Eurasia group.


New Fox News Op-ed: Lott's Numbers: Obama's Top 2 Most Outrageous Health Care Myths

My newest piece starts this way:

"Consumers do better when there is choice and competition. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down...an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange..."

-- President Barack Obama, September 9

Two claims are made all the time in the health care debate: 1) that there is little competition among those providing health insurance and 2) that it is important to take the profit motive out of providing health insurance. Both are myths. It turns out that claims about too little competition are based on a misinterpretation of the data and that non-profit insurers are so abundant that the largest insurer in virtually every state is a non-profit. . . .

I think that this is one of my important pieces. Some discussions at other websites are here, here, here, here, and here.

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Senate passes "Wicker Amendment" requiring that Amtrak let people be able to check guns on trains

By a 68 to 30 vote the US Senate passed an amendment to a spending bill today requiring Amtrak to allow passengers to check their firearms in the same manner passengers are able to with airlines.

This amendment only lets guns in as checked baggage, which is a long way from the way things used to be. How For some reason I don't think that the bad guys here would have followed a gun ban even if it had been in place at the time.

Among the "no" votes:
Brown (D-OH)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harkin (D-IA)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Specter (D-PA)
Wyden (D-OR)

The Pryor and Specter votes seem particularly strange. Pryor might have revealed his true colors on the gun issue when he switched his vote back and forth on the Thune concealed carry amendment. Specter used to vote consistently in favor of protecting people's ability to own guns and now he is voting consistently the opposite way. It is a huge change that coincides with his switch from being a Republican to a Democrat.


State Unemployment rates in January and July


The data is available from here.

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Why the media hasn't been covering the ACORN and Van Jones stories

Politico has this discussion in the media on why they haven't been covering the ACORN and Van Jones stories.

On his radio show Tuesday, Scarborough debated the media’s coverage of ACORN and Van Jones with NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who said he believed these stories can be a “crutch” for conservatives looking to highlight instances of media bias.

“If the Christian Coalition, in 1995, had a sting operation carried on against it by a liberal group, I guarantee you it would have been front page, New York Times, the next day, “ Scarborough said, “and people like me would have been called out, people saying, ‘how could you ever, ever justify supporting a group that would teach people how to violate the tax code and promote prostitution.’”

Even Jon Stewart gets this:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Audacity of Hos
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

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Inaccuracies in Matt Latimer's new book — Speech-less

From the Politico:

Dana Perino, writing on the National Review's website said: "I knew Matt only a little bit. Now that an excerpt of his book is out, I'm reminded of what a veteran of three White Houses told me:

Beware of the quiet guy in the room. ... For example, he writes that President Bush didn't know who Sarah Palin was. That's rubbish — Bush had just met Palin the previous month in Alaska, and he mentioned that to me literally two seconds after McCain made his announcement. So much of what Latimer claims the president said don't ring true to me.

I was with the president for whole days at a time, through thick and thin, and I never heard him say things like that about others. ...I'm pretty sure that almost everyone who worked in the White House could not pick Matt out of a lineup, and I doubt that'll change much after this book. Speechless should have been called 'Shameless.'" . . .

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary more positively discusses part of the book:

A new book by Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer, "Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor," describes a conversation that Mr. Latimer had before the president addressed the annual CPAC conference, the largest gathering of conservative activists in the country. Mr. Bush objected to language in the draft of his remarks that attempted to identify the president with the conservative "movement."

"What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?" the president asked Mr. Latimer. His aide explained that he meant the conservative movement, but quickly realized the president didn't understand. So Mr. Latimer launched into an explanation, only to meet silence from the president.

"Let me tell you something," the president finally said. "I whupped Gary Bauer's ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement."

Mr. Latimer said he found it surprising that the president seemed to equate the conservative movement, which has a proud pedigree stretching back to Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, with the candidacy of Mr. Bauer, a second-tier figure who had little impact on the 2000 presidential primaries. Mr. Bush, sensing his speechwriter was perplexed, finally filled in the blanks. "Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say," Mr. Bush said, "but I redefined the Republican Party."

That may have been true, but how well did that work out for the Republican Party?

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Consequences of "Buy American" provisions

Obama is succeeding in making both the US and Canada poorer. Great job.

WASHINGTON -- On paper, Tom Pokorsky would seem to be a clear beneficiary of the government's $787 billion economic-stimulus package.

Mr. Pokorsky runs Aquarius Technologies Inc., a company in Port Washington, Wis., that makes equipment to treat sewage. The stimulus plan earmarks some $6 billion for municipal wastewater projects that are right in his company's sweet spot.

But the bill's Buy American provisions -- meant to give U.S. companies a leg up on foreign competition -- are causing Aquarius and other U.S. companies a lot of grief with both suppliers and clients in Canada.

Now that grief has boiled over into a major diplomatic row with the largest U.S. trading partner. Canadian communities angered by perceived American chauvinism have started a Buy Canadian campaign to exclude U.S. bidders from municipal contracts.

"If that sticks, well, there goes 25% of my business," said Mr. Pokorsky. "To me, Ontario may as well be Indiana."

Halton Hills, a town of 50,000 people about 25 miles west of Toronto, is one of about a dozen Canadian communities forging ahead with plans to amend their procurement policies to freeze out American companies. "We won't be taking any products from any country that is discriminating against us," said Mayor Rick Bonnette.

Officials in Washington and Ottawa are scrambling to avoid an all-out trade war. Even so, Buy American guidelines are complicating life for American companies, muddling municipal bidding procedures and blunting the overall effect of the stimulus. . . .

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Wikipedia's leftwing bias

Newsrealblog has a useful discussion on Wikipedia's biases.

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Dems don't have the 60 votes they need in the Senate

When Arlen Specter jumped ship and became a Democrat, he gave the Dems a filibuster proof Senate. But unless Democrats can change the law in Massachusetts, they won't be able to replace Ted Kennedy until next year. They don't want to wait that long -- mainly because the more people get to look at the legislation the more problems they will see with it. So to push it through, the Dems needed one single Republican vote. You would think that with the Republican Senators in Maine and a couple other possibilities, they could get it easily. After all, these Senators have voted with Dems on other health care proposals. Snowe seemed the most obvious person they could get. Her announcement on Tuesday is causing Dems to move to Plan B.

Senate Democrats are going to have to move forward on healthcare without a single Republican supporter after Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she could not back the Finance Committee’s bill.

Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) failed to win any Republican backer despite weeks of intense negotiations behind closed doors to strike a deal.

Snowe (Maine), who was one of three Republicans who backed the $787 billion economic stimulus package, was being lobbied heavily by the White House, and some centrists view her refusal to strike a deal with Baucus as troubling. But concerns about how the plan would be paid for prompted her to back away in the hours before its release.
“I do have concerns and I’m not sure they can be addressed before he issues [legislation] tomorrow,” Snowe said.

Faced with the prospect of having to pass legislation without Republican votes, Obama’s chief political adviser David Axelrod met with Senate and House Democrats on Tuesday to stress the importance of party unity on healthcare reform — a message most directly aimed at centrists who now are critical to its passage. . . . .

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The Names of the Seven Democrats who voted against preventing ACORN from getting government housing funding

Dick Durbin - IL
Roland Burris - IL
Patrick Leahy - VT
Bernie Sanders - VT
Kristen Gillibrand - NY
Sheldon Whitehouse - RI
Robert Casey - PA

If these guys can't hold up some of the funding going to a group that is giving advice on child prostitution, tax evasion, and other activities, one wonders what they would find sufficiently objectionable. If they were instead calling for an investigation, that would be something valuable, but they are not doing that either.


New Fox News Op-ed: Who do Democrats trust more for News?

My newest posting at Fox News starts this way:

Who do Democrats trust more for news: FOX News or The New York Times? With all the vitriol directed against FOX News, one would think that it is a no brainer. But a new Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that it is FOX News. While 43 percent of Democrats have a positive view of FOX News, 39 percent of Democrats feel the same way about The New York Times. . . .

After seeing the above poll results it is interesting to read this in Politico.

Isham said that CBS has been “batting around” an ACORN story, and expects it to soon be covered on the evening newscast. Although the sting videos quickly went viral, Isham said that “you have to be very careful” when it comes to such reporting, and “learn as much as you can about the circumstances” before putting them on the air.

“Clearly, Fox is going to be more aggressive on a story like that, initially, then other media organizations,” Isham said.

A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, but the network has been criticized in the past for running more favorable coverage of conservative protests than demonstrations against the Iraq war —from the April 15 tea parties to this past weekend’s rally in Washington—or stories that could be expected to be more detrimental to Democrats.

Karl Frisch, a senior fellow at Media Matters, a group founded to counter what it regards as the media’s bias toward conservatives, said that if anything, the mainstream media too often follows the lead of Fox. “Mainstream publications and networks take the Fox News bait of sensationalistic, delusional, partisan reporting far too often,” he said.

“To Fox News,” Frisch continued, “outlets that don’t share its single minded obsession with Obama conspiracy theories and one-sided reports designed to weaken progressives, have some sort of shadowy liberal media bias. Much like its self-serving cries of bias, it is a myth that Fox News has any interest in journalistic integrity or responsibility.” . . .

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Van Jones is now unimportant

New Fox News Op-ed: What does the new Baucus Health Care Bill mean?

My newest part starts this way:

Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will make one more attempt this week to get Republicans to join the Democrats health care reform plans. Some breathed a sigh of relief that his health care bill does not include a government-run insurance program. Those who listened to President Obama's health care address to Congress last week noted that much. But the proposed regulations will destroy private insurance, guaranteeing another debate in a couple of years to fix the disastrous shape that these regulations will leave health care in.

The most striking part of the plan is that it is partially paid for it with taxes on different health care companies. Health insurance is thus taxed at the same time Democrats are claiming they want to encourage more people getting private insurance. Democrats seem to think that taxes (or "fees" as the bill calls them) won't raise costs and thus prices for insurance. But of course it does. Yet, an anonymous source in the Senate told Politico: "If insurance companies pass this fee along to customers, they run the risk of losing out in a newly competitive environment." Unfortunately, taxes would raise prices no matter how competitive insurance markets are. Furthermore, the proposed regulations will reduce competition by driving insurance companies out of business.

Regulations would eliminate any caps on the benefits insurance companies provide. It sounds wonderful, whether your health care costs total a million or ten million dollars, insurance companies will be required to cover it. Right now people have a choice over how much coverage they want. The more they pay in premiums, the more coverage they receive. But Democrats are promising that we can get these unlimited benefits as well as tax the insurance companies and enjoy lower insurance premiums at the same time. . . .

UPDATE: A copy of the new Baucus bill released on Wednesday morning is available here.

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Pregnant Mom holds robber at gunpoint: "You will do anything to protect your kids"

Randi Fairley's story on Fox News can be seen here.

A TV station from Alabama has this:

Pregnant woman holds intruder at gun point
Reported by: Mike Rush
Email: mrush@local15tv.com
Last Update: 9/10 6:59 pm

(MOBILE, Ala.) Sept. 10 - The lesson here is never threaten an expecting mother, especially if she's armed with a shotgun.

"I was angry," Randi Fairley says. "I was really mad that he was in my house."

At around 4 A.M. Sunday, Fairley was wide awake, because her unborn daughter was kicking. That is when she heard a noise; it sounded like someone touching a potato-chip bag downstairs.

"I came and looked over the stairs," Fairley says. "I saw this kid, down at the bottom of the stairs. He was about to grab my computer."

Fairley is six and a half months pregnant. So, she says she yelled down at Justin Delhomme, he walked out of the house and she grabbed a shotgun. In the street, Fairley confronted the 18 year old. "He pulled a gun on me, and I told him, 'You know, you need to put that away before I shoot you because mine's bigger,' and he put it back in his pocket." . . . .


How the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate in Virginia made his decision on gun show regulations

The proposed law had nothing to do with the crime, but Deeds was "moved" by the parents "appeals." My question is: why were the parents even talking about gun show regulations? I know that the Brady Campaign was pushing for this, but who would even think of bringing up a regulation that was unrelated to the crime.

For years, Deeds had opposed gun show restrictions. His perspective changed after the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech massacre when a student with two handguns shot 32 people dead on campus then killed himself as police closed in.

Although neither of the guns Seung-Hui Cho used to carry out the worst mass killing on a college campus in U.S. history was purchased at a gun show, Deeds said he was moved by the appeals of parents, relatives and friends of the slain. . . .

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New York Times completely ignores ACORN controversy

Every knows how the New York Times didn't cover the Van Jones controversy until the Monday after he resigned and even then the coverage was at best incomplete. As a rough first look, I did a Google News search to check about coverage. Now after five days of ACORN being caught in Baltimore advising people pretending to be engaged in child prostitution/slavery on how to break the law, there is still no coverage. This morning the NY Post even has a piece on ACORN doing this now in NYC. The ACORN problems in DC were revealed on 9/11.

Since these particular stories broke, the NY Times website has a very short AP story about the Census dropping ACORN, but there is NO MENTION about the videos and the advice that ACORN was giving out on breaking the law. What is even worse is that the NY TIMES CUT OUT THE PART OF THE AP ARTICLE THAT DISCUSSED THE ACTUAL BEHAVIOR OF ACORN.

Up to now, the Census Bureau had defended ACORN's involvement, explaining it was one of 80,000 unpaid volunteer groups that the bureau hoped would be able to raise local awareness. But in his letter, Groves said it no longer had confidence that ACORN was effectively managing the partnership.
ACORN fired two employees who were seen on hidden-camera video giving tax advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman who pretended to be a prostitute. Fox News Channel broadcast excerpts from the video on Thursday. On the video, a man and woman visiting ACORN's Baltimore office asked about buying a house and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. An ACORN employee advised the woman to list her occupation as "performance artist."
In a statement, ACORN Maryland board member Margaret Williams said the video was an attempt to smear ACORN, and that undercover teams attempted similar setups in at least three other ACORN offices. Williams said no tax returns were filed and no assistance was provided.

While his numbers are over a longer time period, Glenn Beck has a useful breakdown of coverage here.

See the newest Pew Poll on media bias here.

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"News media's credibility plunges to new low"

The AP has this on the new Pew Research Center poll:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the news stories they read, hear and watch are frequently inaccurate, according to a poll released Sunday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. That marks the highest level of skepticism recorded since 1985, when this study of public perceptions of the media was first done.
The poll didn't distinguish between Internet bloggers and reporters employed by newspapers and broadcasters, leaving the definition of "news media" up to each individual who was questioned. The survey polled 1,506 adults on the phone in late July.
The survey found that 63 percent of the respondents thought the information they get from the media was often off base. In Pew Research's previous survey, in 2007, 53 percent of the people expressed that doubt about accuracy.
The findings indicate U.S. newspapers and broadcasters could be alienating the audiences they are struggling to keep as they try to survive financial turmoil. Pew Research didn't attempt to gauge how shrinking newspapers, reduced staffs and other cutbacks at news organizations are affecting people's perceptions, although the reductions probably haven't helped, said Michael Dimock, an associate director for the center. . . .

More Democrats view Fox News positively than they view the NY Times positively.

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When the value of the dollar falls, investments in the US become more attractive and stock prices tend to rise

The US dollar has been falling a lot this year. This is just something to keep in mind when watching the changes in the stock market this year.



NBC: "Hundreds of Thousands" of people at Protest; UK Daily Mail say "A million march to US Capitol"

The Daily Mail has their story here.

A screen shot from this segment on NBC can be seen here:

Here is a time elapse shot of the same section of the city.

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Is Obama moving towards a trade war with China?

Sure the steel workers' union members and Goodyear will benefit from these tariffs, but other companies and consumers as a whole will be hurt. Why should the government subsidize jobs for those making tires, but make jobs for workers at Ford who have to now sell somewhat more expensive cars more difficult? From the Financial Times:

A full-blown trade row erupted on Sunday night between the US and China after Beijing accused Washington of “rampant protectionism” for imposing heavy duties on imported Chinese tyres and threatened action against imports of US poultry and vehicles.

Trade relations between two of the world’s biggest economies deteriorated after Barack Obama, US president, signed an order late on Friday to impose a new duty of 35 per cent on Chinese tyre imports on top of an existing 4 per cent tariff.

In his first big test on world trade since taking office in January, Mr Obama sided with America’s trade unions, which have complained that a “surge” in imports of Chinese-made tyres had caused 7,000 job losses among US factory workers.

Chen Deming, China’s minister of commerce, condemned the decision, saying that it “sends the wrong signal to the world” at a time when Washington and Beijing should be co-operating to deal with the worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

“This is a grave act of trade protectionism,” Mr Chen said in a statement. “Not only does it violate WTO rules, it contravenes commitments the United States government made at the [April] G20 financial summit.” . . . .

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The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's list of the seven worst schools

A more in depth discussion of these seven schools can be found here.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Bucknell University
Michigan State University
Colorado College
Brandeis University
Tufts University
Johns Hopkins University

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Washington Times: Baucus bill would destroy private health insurance

Baucus bill would destroy private health insurance: Increased regulations undermine competitiveness

Some breathed a sigh of relief that a new health care bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus does not include government insurance. This solace is premature. The Montana Democrat's bill proposes new regulations that would doom the private insurance industry. . . .

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How big is the App market for the iPhone compared to Google's Android?

I was pretty stunned when I read this interesting article.


Estimated number of illegal aliens

Here is one estimate:

According to the most recent estimates by the Public Policy Institute of California, 2.8 million illegal immigrants lived here in 2006 — one-fourth of the nation's total. . . .

This implies that the total number of illegals is 11.2 million.


Obama Denies Flyover of 'GOD & Country Rally'—1st Time In 42Yrs Because of Its 'Christian Nature'

Democratic presidents Johnson, Carter, and Clinton allowed this to occur.

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Guess what: Obama administration is conceding that Congressman Joe Wilson was right

As was obvious to most people, illegal aliens would have gotten help unless there was some documentation required for getting the benefits. Today for the first time the administration has come out in favor of some type of documentation.

The White House tonight is providing the below clarification on what the president's health-care proposals would mean when it comes to the issue of illegal immigrants.

The question, as we all know, arises from the Wilson "You lie" outburst, and the core claim that notwithstanding specific bill language barring illegal immigrants from participating in the "exchange," as a practical matter, there is no way of verifying the citizenship of applicants -- which is the current state of play. Republicans say that then means illegal immigrants would end up being enrolled in plans -- bill language or no bill language.

Today, for the first time as far as we know, the administration is backing a provision that would require proof of citizenship before someone could enroll in a plan selected on the exchange. . . .

Strangely the Obama administration keeps on pushing the 46.3 million claimed uninsured that they want to cover even though that number has lots of problems including the fact that it includes 10 million illegal aliens.

Obama and Democrats in Congress are trying to extend coverage to the 46.3 million uninsured Americans and curb health-care costs that account for about 18 percent of the U.S. economy. . . .

Why say that they want to cover 46.3 million when 10 million of that number are illegal aliens?

It is useful to also mention how much money is already being spent by state governments on health care.

Obama insisted that the legislation would not give government subsidies to the nation's millions of undocumented residents. But if immigrant-rich California is any indication, considerable numbers of undocumented immigrants participate in taxpayer-supported health plans.
Although most federal benefit programs bar those who cannot prove their citizenship, California has been more generous than other states. Its taxpayers contribute more than $1 billion annually to cover the health care costs of illegal residents.
The state Department of Health Care Services estimates 768,400 undocumented immigrants will receive coverage this fiscal year through Medi-Cal, the health program funded by state and federal tax money. The cost: $1.2 billion.
Although people without documentation are ineligible for the comprehensive health care other low-income residents receive, the state pays the costs of those who seek emergency room care for life-threatening circumstances and childbirth, based on the presumption that the child will be a citizen. . . .

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