40 percent of Canadians will to pay for speedier health care, or travel abroad to get it

Apparently coming to the US for health care is good enough for Canadian politicians.

Two-in-five Canadians would consider paying or going abroad to seek medical treatment, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 40 per cent of respondents would be willing to pay out of their own pocket to have quicker access to medical services that currently have long wait times, and 42 per cent would consider traveling to another country.

In Canada, the universality criterion establishes that all residents of a province or territory must be entitled to the insured, public-run health services provided by their provincial or territorial health care insurance plan on uniform terms and conditions.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams traveled to the United States to seek treatment for an undisclosed heart condition. . . .

Note that only 30 percent said that would not be willing to pay out of their own pocket for quicker access and only 33 percent said that they would not be willing to travel abroad.


Is America ungovernable?

Democrats are saying that America is ungovernable. My response is that it is only reason it is claimed to be ungovernable is because they are pushing through a left wing agenda that was not part of their campaign. Who was campaigning in 2008 for a public option? Who was campaigning in 2008 for such a huge budget deficit? Isn't Obama the guy who kept on promising to cut net government spending?

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New Fox News Op-ed piece: "Fact Checking Team Obama's Stimulus Claims"

My newest piece fact checks some of the Obama administration's claims and starts of this way:

On Wednesday, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer interviewed Austan Goolsbee, the chief economist for the White House Recovery Board, on the one-year anniversary of the stimulus.

Here is a simple fact check of Mr. Goolsbee's claims:

Hemmer: "What does the White House predict a year from now?"

Goolsbee: Let’s remember, you’re citing the claim that the unemployment rate wouldn’t go above 8 percent, but if you remember in that same projection they said that if we didn’t pass the stimulus it would only go to 9 percent, and it was above that before the stimulus even came into effect. What the administration and everyone else missed was the depth of the recession that was in place at the end of 2008 and at the beginning of 2009 when the President came into office.

In April, President Obama was busy touting the stimulus as having "already saved or created over 150,000 jobs." Press releases from the administration were already being sent out claiming saved jobs on April 1. Even well before that, on January 25, Lawrence Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, promised that the benefits from the stimulus bill would be seen "within weeks" after passage. Yet, despite Mr. Goolsbee's claim, the unemployment rate did not rise above 9 percent until May, well after these claimed jobs were supposedly being created. . . .

The entire piece is here.

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Leaks about what will be in the new version of the health care bill

This bill will clearly be more costly than the Senate bill and more of the burden for paying for it will be borne by Medicare payroll taxes and additional Medicare cuts. Obama and Democrats keep promising that there won't be cuts in health care. But why is anyone taking this seriously when the Democrat plan is taking a big cut out of Medicare payments that already compensate hospitals and doctors for less than their costs? This should just be viewed as a tax on medical care providers (hint: further raising the costs for privately insured patients). Note also that the back door huge $60 billion payoff to unions is still in the bill. Why should union workers be subsidized relative to their competitors in non-unionized firms?

The changes to the Senate bill under consideration total about $200 billion and would increase affordability subsidies, change the Cadillac tax on high-end insurance plans to reflect a deal cut with labor unions and further fill the gap in seniors' drug coverage. The changes would be paid for primarily by increasing Medicare payroll taxes and additional Medicare cuts, Democratic insiders said. . . .

Here is the ultimate irony. Democrats are having the televised summit on February 25th to show how transparent they are, but at the same time they are putting together what will be the actual bill in secret. The summit is for show, but the bill being put together in secret is what counts.

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Joseph Stack: Manifesto in by leftwing nut who crashed small plane into Austin IRS building

Here are some quotes from the beliefs of the anti-business/anti-religion kook, Joseph Stack, who crashed his plane into the IRS building:

the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in. . . .

Could the above section be written by President Obama?

the monsters of organized religion . . .

thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706. . . .

This guy's first attack on the IRS is that the 1986 Reagan Tax reform act allowed companies to give workers a check without the companies paying the worker's taxes and benefits. Stack doesn't understand enough economics to understand that this wasn't away for companies to rip off workers. That if the companies had to pay these taxes directly, this guy would have gotten a smaller paycheck from the company. He is also upset because of a tax penalty that he had to pay for withdrawing money from his IRA. In that case, Stack doesn't seem to understand that he didn't pay tax on the income when it was put into the IRA.

The only politician that Stack attacks by name is George W. Bush. I should finally mention that the guy also hates unions, too.

By the way, it is probably also useful to mention the leftwing views of the biology professor at the University of Alabama Huntsville who shot others this past week. As the Investors Business Daily noted:

A gun-toting Obama extremist shoots six at the University of Alabama, killing three. But the media are curiously silent about the politics. Think it would be the same if the shooter were right-wing?

Buried in a report in the Boston Herald, a "family source" connected to Amy Bishop, the disgruntled Harvard neurobiologist accused of methodically gunning down several biology professors at Huntsville last Friday, said the woman "was a far-left political extremist who was 'obsessed' with President Obama to the point of being off-putting."

No media outlet other than the Herald noted that detail in its coverage. But you can bet that if Bishop were a right-wing gun nut and native of Alabama, the press would be all over it.

Bishop's politics are relevant because of growing evidence that left-wing Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., then a prosecutor, may have let her get away with a fatal 1986 shooting of her brother by declaring it "accidental" and halting charges.

Bishop's mother reportedly had the right political connections, raising the prospect that if Delahunt was loud about loving "social justice," he was selective about real justice. . . .

Compare this coverage to the media last year:

In Portsmouth, New Hampshire last week, a man carried a handgun a few blocks away from the site where President Obama was scheduled to hold a town hall a couple of hours later. . . .

Before the president's town hall meeting, an MSNBC host noted: "Apparently there is fairly significant, almost disturbing news, let us know what is happening there in New Hampshire." A reporter, Ron Allen, breathlessly responded: "There is a man in the crowd who has a gun, a handgun strapped on his lower leg. . . . And I suspect that he won't be here when the president gets here in a couple of hours time." . . .

On the "CBS Evening News," Katie Couric asked: "Are we really still debating health care when a man brings a handgun to a church where the president is speaking?" Kostric did bring a gun to the church, but Couric was plainly wrong about where the president was speaking. He spoke at the town hall at the high school down the street. She somehow linked Kostric's gun to the "fear and frankly ignorance drown[ing] out the serious debate that needs to take place about an issue that effects the lives of millions of people." . . .

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BACK FROM THE DEAD: Democrats plan on pushing health care bill through

From Reuters:

President Barack Obama is expected to publish his healthcare plan as early as Sunday or Monday, combining features of the two Democratic bills passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, congressional aides and healthcare advocates said on Friday.
The administration's bill will aim to jump-start the stalled healthcare overhaul and comes just days ahead of a planned televised White House summit with congressional Republicans, who are calling on Democrats to scrap the bills and start over with a far less sweeping proposal.
Democrats are struggling to push healthcare legislation over the finish line in the face of sagging public support and solid Republican opposition bolstered by recent election victories in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey.
The legislation the White House will post on its website is expected to reflect common ground negotiated over the past several weeks by House and Senate Democratic leaders.
Those agreements are likely to be combined as a privileged budget reconciliation bill, which only needs a simple 51-vote majority to pass the 100-member Senate instead of the 60-vote supermajority that has become routine in the Senate and gives Republicans power to block the healthcare bill.
"I believe that's the path we are going to take," a senior congressional Democratic aide said.
But it is not clear, even to congressional Democrats, what the White House will include in its legislation and whether Obama will try to add proposals aimed at attracting at least some Republican support. . . .

Reid has claims about the health care bill passing within 60 days.

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Ban on loaded guns in national parks ends on Monday

I don't think that this article is right about the 94-year-ban, but the point of the article is right (I believe that it occurred during the Reagan administration).

WASHINGTON - A new law will lift the 94-year-old ban on carrying loaded firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges when it goes into effect Monday.

The law, passed by Congress in May as an amendment to a credit-reform bill, will end the ability of the National Park Service to set its own gun-carry restrictions, making each park subject to the gun laws of its home state.

While the law will not give park visitors blanket permission to possess firearms, it will allow visitors to carry guns into any park, provided they follow all federal, state and local laws.

Current regulations allow park goers to possess firearms, but they must be unassembled, unloaded and stored away from ammunition. Starting Monday, specific rules will vary by location.

The new law does not give visitors permission or fire their weapons -- only to possess them.

David Barna, chief spokesman for the NPS, said firearms will still be prohibited in federal buildings such as ranger stations and visitor centers. Firearms will be permitted in facilities not directly owned and operated by the NPS, including many campgrounds and hotels.

"We will take the 'firearms prohibited' signs off at the front gate," Barna said. "A lot of the burden is on the public to know the laws of your state." . . .

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Corruption in Chicago

Cook County a "Dark Pool of Political Corruption"

NBC in Chicago has this:

Nearly 150 employees, politicians and contractors in the nation's second-largest county have been convicted on corruption charges since 1957, according to a report released Thursday by the university and the Better Government Association (.pdf). . . .

In the last 36 years, 31 sitting or former Chicago alderman have been convicted of corruption or other crimes. The last was Ike Carothers (29th), who earlier this month plead guilty to charges he accepted gifts in exchange for his votes on zoning issues. . . .


How much money did CNN and other media pay Levi Johnston?

Levi Johnston has been making lots of strange claims about Palin. Do you think that how much the media wants to have him on their shows depends on how crazy the statements that he makes are? If they are paying him to appear, do you think that they will pay him more if he claims that he has more dirt on her? I thought that the reason why the media wasn't supposed to pay for guests is that it would make them unreliable. TMZ has this:

The lawyer for Sarah Palin's kid is scoffing at legal docs filed by Levi's lawyer -- docs claiming Levi made but a pittance over the last few years and should not have to pay $1,688.42 a month in child support - which is what Bristol wants.

Levi says the best he's done in the income department so far is last year -- claiming he made approximately $101,000. Apparently Palin's not buying it, because her lawyer issued subpoenas today to CNN, Playgirl, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Star Magazine, and National Enquirer, asking for hard figures on how much they paid Levi.

And there's what Palin's lawyer believes is a smoking gun. Levi claimed in legal docs that he made no more than $10,000 a year prior to 2009. But in the new docs, Palin's lawyer attached Levi's pay stub from 2008, showing he raked in $18,594.50 from one employer - a construction company in Alaska. . . .

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Five Muslim soldiers may have tried to do a mass poisoning of other soldiers at US ARMY base

If this is true, there is a real question about whether the administration tried to coverup this incident. From Fox News:

The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that soldiers were attempting to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

The ongoing probe began two months ago, Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, told Fox News.

The Army is taking the allegations “extremely seriously,” Grey said, but so far, "there is no credible information to support the allegations."

Five suspects, detained in December, were part of an Arabic translation program called "09 Lima" and use Arabic as their first language, two sources told Fox News. Another military source said they were Muslim. It wasn't clear whether they were still being held.

Grey would not confirm or deny the sources’ information.

Here is a piece from January in the Washington Times entitled: "Obama won't connect terror dots"

When a man is apprehended with a cache of weapons, body armor, a map of a military installation and jihadist personal effects, the natural response of most Americans is to assume the situation is terrorist-related. The Obama administration says otherwise.

Lloyd R. Woodson was arrested Jan. 25 in rural New Jersey. He had been observed behaving strangely, wearing military-style fatigues and a bulletproof vest. He had a weapon modified to fire .50-caliber rounds from beneath his jacket. He had a hotel room full of weapons and ammunition. Despite all these warning signs, the immediate response from the government was that this was "not a terrorism thing."

Bureaucratic lack of concern raises a critical question: If this is not the behavior of a terrorist, what is?

It's not clear what the Obama administration thinks terrorism is, if it thinks it exists at all. The administration doggedly maintains that political, especially jihadist, violence by individuals with no international linkage is not terrorism. This definition might come as a surprise to the Unabomber, who for years was the most sought-after terrorist in America.

President Obama's knee-jerk response that the Christmas Day bombing plot was not terror-related was probably one of the factors that led Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to be Mirandized quickly and treated as a criminal suspect. It shouldn't matter that this was a domestic incident; he is a jihadist warrior, and the aircraft was his battlefield.

The same was the case with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged with killing 14 persons and wounding 31 in the Fort Hood massacre. America was assured that Maj. Hasan had no foreign terrorist links, and he was not charged with committing an act of terrorism. The Obama administration's report on the shooting, released three weeks ago, avoids mentioning radical Islam as a motivating factor in his rampage. However, both Maj. Hasan and Mr. Abdulmutallab had relationships with Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is a leading member of al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, and Mr. Abdulmutallab was trained by al Qaeda overseas.

Mr. Woodson also may have links to Islamic radicals. . . .

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Some pause over Scalia's views on applying the Second Amendment to the states

From the WSJ today:

In a 1997 book, "A Matter of Interpretation," Justice Scalia wrote that he viewed "the Second Amendment as a guarantee that the federal government would not interfere with the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

Yet, this next passage gives court watchers some pause. "Of course," Justice Scalia continued, "properly understood, it is no limitation upon arms control by the states."

Now a claim to the contrary—that the Second Amendment does limit arms control by the states—is pending. Justice Scalia declined to comment through a court spokeswoman. . . .

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Washington State Supreme Court Says that the Second Amendment Applies to the States

This case looks like Dicta to me, but it is still an interesting case. We will soon find out if the US Supreme Court confirms this opinion from the Washington State Supreme Court.

Law enforcement officers arrested 17-year-old Christopher Sieyes for possessing a loaded .380 semiautomatic handgun. The trial court found Sieyes guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm under RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii),1 which limits circumstances in which children under age 18 can lawfully possess firearms. We must decide whether the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to the states and, if so, determine whether RCW

1 "A person, whether an adult or juvenile, is guilty of the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree, if the person does not qualify under subsection (1) of this section for the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree and the person owns, has in his or her possession, or has in his or her control any firearm: . . . [i]f the person is under eighteen years of age, except as provided in RCW 9.41.042." RCW 9.41.042 enumerates nine exceptions which allow children under age 18 to possess firearms.

No. 82154-2

9.41.040(2)(a)(iii) unconstitutionally infringes on the right to bear arms protected by either the United States or Washington Constitutions. We hold the Second Amendment applies to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause; however, Sieyes fails to demonstrate on this record that RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii) infringes on his right to bear arms under either constitution.

Thanks to David Del Buono for the link.


New Washington Times pieces

Two men carrying guns deter robbery

Some are emphasizing this as a benefit from open carry. This shows that open carry can have some external benefits in that it protected others at the restaurant, though the external benefit isn't as large as that for concealed carry.

Two customers displaying holstered pistols deterred an armed robbery in a Kennesaw Wafflehouse recently.
There is some debate raging in Georgia about whether people should conceal their holstered handguns while in public. Some believe that wearing handguns openly will result in a loss of the element of surprise during a criminal attack, such as an armed robbery, while others believe that wearing handguns openly deters criminal attack. For Matt Brannan and J.P. Mitchell, who carry openly as a routine, the issue is no longer academic.
Matt Brannan and J.P. Mitchell were dining in the Wafflehouse on Barrett Parkway at I-575 in Kennesaw at 4:45 in the morning recently when a scout for an armed robbery crew entered the restaurant to case it. At the time, Matt and J.P. thought he looked a little suspicious, as he was wandering around the small restaurant like he was looking for someone. Unknown to Matt and J.P., two cars full of armed robbers where parked behind the restaurant waiting for the scout's report.
The scout saw that two of the customers were wearing holstered 1911 Springfield Mil-Spec .45 pistols, and he immediately turned and left the store.
Meanwhile, conscientious Cobb County Police Officer D. Lowe had noticed suspicious cars sitting behind the restaurant in the dark and decided to investigate. He caught men with masks and rifles who had been preparing to rob the Wafflehouse. The criminals informed the police that they had changed their mind upon discovering armed customers and were waiting for Matt and J.P. to leave. Ironically, the police car was pulling in to the parking lot just as Matt and J.P. were driving away. In other words, had Matt and J.P. not been armed, the robbery probably would have occurred before the police intervened. . . .

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Homeland security officers lose 243 over three years

This was pretty surprising to me.

Nearly 180 Department of Homeland Security weapons were lost -- some falling into the hands of criminals -- after officers left them in restrooms, vehicles and other public places, according to an inspector general report.
The officers, with Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "did not always sufficiently safeguard their firearms and, as a result, lost a significant number of firearms" between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2008, the report said.
In all, 243 firearms were lost in both agencies during that period, according to the January report from Inspector General Richard Skinner. Of those, 36 were lost because of circumstances beyond officers' control -- for instance, ICE lost a firearm during an assault on an officer. Another 28 were lost even though officers had stored them in lockboxes or safes. . . .

Thanks to Ken Mott for this link.



"Gun toting mom helps police nab punks . . ."

Here is a defensive gun use case in St. Louis.

Two down, one to go. Wellston police arrested two teens who they claim are linked to nearly 40 burglaries in their community.

A 15 and 16-year-old are in a holding cell at the St. Louis County Family Courts building in Clayton. Authorities credit solid police work, juvenile authorities, and a middle-aged mom who was not afraid to cooperate.

"I'm just an average house mom, but don't mess with me," said 57-year-old Geneva Benton of Wellston.

One week ago, three teens threw a brick inside her home, breaking in and getting away with a plasma TV, jewelry, money and a VCR.

"If I had been here and they would have come in, they would have found three juveniles dead in the house," Benton said. "I will shoot to kill because it's either me or them."

Geneva has two .38 Smith & Wesson Specials she has nicknamed 'Mikey' and 'Joe.' She only uses hollow point bullets.

"It goes in small and comes out large; kind of explodes, boom!" she explained

Authorities charged two teens with burglarizing Benton's home. Detectives said they are likely linked to dozens of other home invasions and burglaries. . . .

Thanks to Countenance Blogmeister for this link.



First time ever that there is snow in all contiguous 48 states and Alaska

Snow on the ground from the Florida panhandle and across all the Southern states.

Forty-nine states have snow now, from the Gulf Coast's Redneck Riviera to the skyscrapers of Dallas.
The lone holdout? Hawaii.

Although snow falls every winter on Hawaii's two tallest volcanoes, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said there was no snow in the state Friday.

Snow had even fallen in the Florida Panhandle and along the South Carolina coast. However, snow has been lighter than usual in New England. Forecasters say El Nino has driven many of this year's storms southward.

Weather service meteorologist Brian Korty says it's extremely rare to have so many states with snow.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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35% believe that human activity is causing global warming, 47% due to "planetary trends"

Rasmussen Reports has this new poll. The most interesting thing to me though is that the whole Climatagate controversy has had no detrimental effect of man-made global warming claims.

Questions continue to mount over the science behind years of studies that say humans are chiefly to blame for global warming. But reflecting a trend that has been going on for more than a year, just 35% of U.S. voters now believe global warming is caused primarily by human activity.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% think long-term planetary trends are mostly to blame, down three points from the previous survey in January. Eight percent say there is some other reason, and 10% aren't sure. . . .

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US census preparations have already wasted millions

Sp much for government's much vaunted efficiency.

The Census Bureau wasted millions of dollars in preparation for its 2010 population count, including thousands of temporary employees who picked up $300 checks without performing work and others who overbilled for travel costs.

Federal investigators caution the excessive charges could multiply once the $15 billion headcount begins in earnest next month unless the agency imposes tighter spending controls, according to excerpts of a forthcoming audit obtained by The Associated Press. . . .

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Senator Evan Bayh retiring because of "partisan gridlock"?

Is this really serious? Democrats have an 80 seat majority in the House and have had a supermajority in the Senate up until a week ago. So how can there be "partisan gridlock"? The media coverage on this is just too willing to accept this claim. See this discussion at the LA Times. If Bayh had wanted to claim that he was tired of Democrats bickering with each other, that would have been a different story.

Even the very left wing fivethirtyeight blog has Indiana with Bayh listed as the ninth most vulnerable seat out of 36 up this year. That by itself provides a good reason for Bayh not to run.

UPDATE: There are a couple of other points to make about Bayh's decision to retire.

From the Hotline:

no other Dem is expected to collect the required 500 signatures by then, meaning Dems will get the chance to pick their own nominee. Some DC Dems say the process is the best-case scenario short of having Bayh on the ballot for a 3rd term; allowing the party to pick a nominee will avoid a primary. . . .

From the Daily Kos:

Unlike Democrats, Republicans already have candidates vying for their party's nomination, including former Rep. John Hostetler and Senator-turned-lobbyist Dan Coats. Because the signature deadline is tomorrow, that pretty much sets the GOP field. Unless both Hostetler and Coats were to withdraw, Republicans won't be in a position to choose a nominee as will Democrats. The implication of that: Bayh's timing appears to make it nearly impossible for candidates like Rep. Mike Pence (who says he will not run despite Bayh's retirement) or Gov. Mitch Daniels to get on the ballot.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is confident that the Democrats will keep the seat:

I am also confident that the efforts of Senator Bayh along with those of the DSCC will keep this seat in the Democratic Caucus.”

UPDATE: Did it backfire?

Restaurant owner Tamyra d'Ippolito (D) has enough signatures to make the ballot in the race to replace Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), she told Hotline OnCall in a brief interview.
Reached at her home, d'Ippolito said she was on her way out the door to drop off more signatures at the county clerk's office. D'Ippolito's backers have until noon to submit 4,500 signatures, including 500 from each of the state's 9 districts, to the appropriate county clerks.

Apparently, Bayh (or someone speaking for him) is confirming that he was playing this game to help the Dems keep the seat.

It would be something close to a nightmare scenario for Democrats: were D’Ippolito to qualify for the ballot, she would be the likely nominee and the party would be left to face the GOP with a political neophyte who said she is running in part to take on a party establishment she said practices “sexism with a big S.”

It’s precisely what Bayh had hoped to avoid. By disclosing his retirement one day before the filing deadline, the idea was that no Democrat would qualify for the primary ballot and the party’s state central committee could tap their favored candidate. . . .

Bayh did have this interesting comment:

"But if I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months. If I could help educate our children at an institution for higher learning, that would be a noble thing. If I could help a charity, cure a disease or do something else worthwhile for society — that's what has motivated my life and that's what I think Congress needs to focus on, things that will help the American people meet the challenges they face in real ways in their daily lives. That's what I want to do with my life. And if you'll invite me back on your show in 11 months, I'll be able to tell you!"


The 100 Most Popular Conservative Websites

The ranking of the 100 most popular conservative websites is available here. I am not sure that Fox News would want itself classified as a conservative website, but the list is still interesting.


Animal Rights Activists Threaten Life of US Figure Skater

I am sure that this Olympic athlete has better things to do at this time than worry about death threats. He is also forced to move where he was planning on staying during the Olympics. As best as I can tell from the story, it looks like the animal rights activists were upset that he was wearing false fur anyway.

U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir says he received threats from anti-fur activists that made him fear for his safety, causing him to scrub any plans to stay at a hotel while in Vancouver for the Olympics.

"I felt very threatened," he said Saturday. "I'm not allowed to say how everything got through, but my agent got letters and faxes and e-mails. I got letters at the ice rink, somebody found my phone number.

"All these crazy fur people. Security-wise, to stay in a hotel would be very difficult. There have been threats against me. I didn't want to get hurt."

Weir is sharing a suite with U.S. ice dancer Tanith Belbin in the Olympic village. The longtime friends have their own bedrooms and bathrooms.

Belbin won Olympic silver in 2006 with partner Ben Agosto. A three-time national champion, Weir, who finished fifth in Torino, was third at this year's nationals to gain the final spot on the U.S. team.

The men's short program is Tuesday with the free skate set for Thursday.

"I'm just an easy person to pick on because I like fur," he said. "It's easy to put your case against an athlete who is going to the Olympics. It's a very good, easy thing for these activists.

"It's a very scary thing. I'm a figure skater, I'm not some huge politician who gets these things all the time."

Weir was criticized by animal-rights activists after he donned a costume in nationals with white fox fur on the shoulder. He said after the event that he would wear faux fur in the Games, but has since changed his mind.

"It was not because I was pressured to change it, but because I don't like faux fur," Weir explained. "I didn't change the costume, I'm just switching back to another costume."



Dennis Hopper, gun owner, in a messy divorce

Dennis Hopper really seems to be having a rough go of things, with cancer and a divorce both occurring at the same time. I feel sorry for him. One thing that I found interesting was his soon to be ex-wife's attacking on him for owning guns in the home.

Duffy shot back at her husband with claims that he often smoked pot, watched adult-themed shows on television in Galen’s presence and kept loaded guns in the house where she could potentially get to them. She also requested that the court ensure she is financially well taken care of should Hopper die before the divorce is finalized, given that their pre-nuptial agreement as it stands would leave her with very little of the actor’s earnings.

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'Climategate' Phil Jones interviewed by BBC

See the BBC interview here. BBC has a general discussion of the interview here.

This interview has some pretty amazing points. Jones has spent the better part of the past 25 years toiling to convince the world of CO2-forced 20th-century warming, but now admitting that the difference in warming rates for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-40 and 1975-2009 is statistically insignificant. Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.

Jones is now conceding some interesting facts, particularly that this recent warming period might not be particularly unusual.

There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented. . . .

The UK Daily Mail pointed to these three issues:

Data for vital 'hockey stick graph' has gone missing
There has been no global warming since 1995
Warming periods have happened before - but NOT due to man-made changes

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