The "ugly truth about [UK] National Health Service"

The British government suppressing information on problems with bad patient care. What this article indicates is that the waiting time is reduced only by lowering the quality of service even further.

DAMNING reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed.

One report, based on the advice of almost 200 top managers and doctors, says hospitals ignored basic hygiene to cram in patients to meet waiting-time targets. . . . .

Labels: ,

EU anti-trust laws hurt their economies, make markets less competitive

From the WSJ:

Europe's highest court ruled Thursday that setting minimum retail prices for tobacco in Ireland, France and Austria is against European laws.

The three countries all argued that minimum prices protect public health by making sure tobacco isn't too cheap.

The European Court of Justice ruled that setting minimum retail prices was against the law as it hindered competition. The court also said that the countries had other ways of battling the health effects of smoking, for example by raising excise duties on the products. . . .

Suppose you want to buy a new digital electronic camera. You go to a store and have the store spend lots of time let you look at the different cameras and answer your questions. People do that and then they go and try to find the cheapest price they can find for the camera that they want. The problem that creates is that the store doesn't spend the money to teach customers about the different cameras. Consumers are hurt and fewer cameras are sold. How to solve this problem? Have minimum retail price regulations on the retailers that sell your cameras.

Labels: ,

Radek Sikorski for Poland's President!

Radek Sikorski is a great guy and would make an amazing president for Poland. I got to know him some when we were both at AEI.

Radek Sikorski and Bronislaw Komorowski held his first pre-election rally, Sunday, aimed at securing the nomination as Civic Platform‘s candidate in this year‘s presidential elections.

At his first election rally for Civic Platform’s primaries Foreign Minister Sikorski promised a new style of leadership if he was chosen to stand in the elections, probably scheduled for this autumn. Taking a shot at President Lech Kaczynski, who will almost certainly be running as candidate for the Law and Justice party, Sikorski said:

“The presidency does not have to look like it does now. In place of […] dozens of bodyguards and advisors all over the place everything, I promise simplicity: fewer jobs in the office, and less interference in matters for which someone else is responsible,” he said, referring to President Kaczynski’s incursions into areas of policy which the government sees as its responsibility.

\Meanwhile, speaking to party activists in Bialystok, Sikorski’s rival for the Civic Platform nomination, Bronislaw Komorowski, launched an attack on Lech Kaczynski’s presidency, which he believes “is blocking or at least not to encouraging the modernization of the country." He promised that after the elections he "will end the practice of blocking modernization in the name of the interests of [the Law and Justice] party."
Asked at a press conference whether the primary elections by party activists will not lead to divisions within Civic Platform, Komorowski said that "there is always such a risk” but assured that he and his opponent will try to do everything to avoid this.

"I think we are both trying to present a candidate that has the backing of the conservative-liberal. mainstream of the party,

Radek Sikorski promised the party faithful not to "insult to Europe", but instead engage in dialogue with EU partners.

He promised that as president he would "allow the government to govern," and will focus on promotion of Polish in the world. . . .

Since then it looks as if the election campaign has heated up.


Ezekiel Emmanuel on how health care should be rationed

Here is Emmanuel's explanation for the probability that people should receive medical treatment.

Because none of the currently used systems satisfy all ethical requirements for just allocation, we propose an alternative: the complete lives system. This system incorporates five principles (table 2): youngest-first, prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value. As such, it prioritises younger people who have not yet lived a complete life and will be unlikely to do so without aid. Many thinkers have accepted complete lives as the appropriate focus of distributive justice: “individual human lives, rather than individual experiences, [are] the units over which any distributive principle should operate.” Although there are important differences between these thinkers, they share a core commitment to consider entire lives rather than events or episodes, which is also the defining feature of the complete lives system.

Consideration of the importance of complete lives also supports modifying the youngest-first principle by prioritising adolescents and young adults over infants (figure). Adolescents have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments. Similarly, adolescence brings with it a developed personality capable of forming and valuing long-term plans whose fulfilment requires a complete life. As the legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin argues, “It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies and worse still when an adolescent does”; this argument is supported by empirical surveys. Importantly, the prioritisation of adolescents and young adults considers the social and personal investment that people are morally entitled to have received at a particular age, rather than accepting the results of an unjust status quo. Consequently, poor adolescents should be treated the same as wealthy ones, even though they may have received less investment owing to social injustice.

Human capital investments are important except where Emmanuel and friends don't think that they matter. There is one thing that is obviously left out: what the patients think their lives are worth.

Labels: ,

Lawyers for animals

This is bizarre on so many levels. Should fishing be outlawed because it harms fish? So much for eating healthy. Could one imagine what the implications this would be for eating animals?

Last month, Antoine Goetschel went to court here in defense of an unusual client: a 22-pound pike that had fought a fisherman for 10 minutes before surrendering.

Mr. Goetschel is the official animal lawyer for the Swiss canton of Zurich, a sort of public defender who represents the interests of pets, farm animals and wildlife. He wound up with the pike as a client when animal-welfare groups filed a complaint alleging animal cruelty in the fish's epic battle with an amateur angler.

The case emerged after a local newspaper photo showed the fisherman proudly showing off the four-foot-long fish—a scene that, to Mr. Goetschel, was reminiscent of a safari hunter with his foot perched on the head of a dead lion. "It is this Hemingway thinking," he says. "Why should this be legal when other animals have to be slaughtered in a humane way?"

Mr. Goetschel is the only official animal lawyer in Switzerland, but that may be about to change. On Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a referendum that would compel all of Switzerland's cantons to hire animal lawyers. The rationale: If people accused of mistreating animals can hire lawyers, the victims of such abuse are also entitled to representation. . . .



CBO claims that deficits will add up to $1.2 trillion more than Obama claims over coming decade

Remember that this estimate is by the Democrat controlled Congressional Budget Office. There are a lot of claimed spending control that will never occur to even get to the CBO number.

A new congressional report released Friday says the United States' long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama's grim budget submission last month.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama's budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total $9.8 trillion. That's $1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration. . . .

Labels: ,

Kindergartner EXPELLED for making a gun with his hands

This is pretty bizarre.

"He didn't know did they talk to him about it what actions were taken to tell him this isn't allowed," Lorena Hurtado, Manuel's mother. . . .

Manuel's mom doesn't see anything wrong with her son putting his hands like this and shooting down at the ground. She doesn't think it poses an immediate threat to the school or Manuel's classmates. We took the issue to School District employees and asked them about their policy.

"When students are at school they should be concerned about learning….safety shouldn't be a concern at school, we have a zero tolerance policy," said Dr. John Irion, from the Yakima School District. . . .

"A five-year-old shouldn't be held to the same policy as a 12th grader...he is in kindergarten," said Hurtado.

Lorena Hurtado is appealing the expulsion and wants to try to clear her son's record. She says she doesn't want her five-year-old to be labeled as a troublemaker.

I don't understand the statement: "A five-year-old shouldn't be held to the same policy as a 12th grader...he is in kindergarten." This is a crazy rule for even a 12th grader. Death threats might be one thing, but playfully going "bang" should not be a punishable offense.

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the link.


Just 25% of adults think city governments have the right to ban guns

This new Rasmussen Poll says that more Americans oppose stricter gun control. It is interesting that so few Americans support Chicago's gun control law.

The Supreme Court is wrestling with a major case questioning whether Chicago’s handgun ban violates the Second Amendment, but 69% of Americans say city governments do not have the right to prevent citizens from owning such guns.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 25% of adults think city governments do have that right.
These findings are unchanged from June 2008 just before the Supreme Court overturned a Washington, D.C. law banning handguns in that city. That decision also prompted an increase in the high court’s favorability ratings. Sizable majorities of Americans across virtually all demographic lines, including age, income, gender, race and political affiliation, share the belief that cities do not have the right to ban handgun ownership.
In part, that’s because 70% of all adults believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of an average citizen to own a gun. That’s down five points from a year ago but consistent with findings last October. Generally unchanged from those surveys is the 14% who say there’s not a constitutional right to gun ownership. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.
Americans have decidedly mixed feelings about the need for stricter gun control laws, however. Forty-two percent (42%) say tougher anti-gun laws are needed, but 49% disagree and say stricter gun control is not necessary. . . .

Labels: , , ,

"Military leaders oppose overturning 'don't ask, don't tell' policy"

No matter what one thinks of the policy, the media apparently isn't doing a very good job of covering this issue.

While President Barack Obama and his administration are calling for an end to the Bill Clinton-initiated "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays and lesbians in the U.S. military, most Americans are being told only half the story.
Contrary to the news media's applause for so-called military leaders who support allowing openly gay soldiers, sailors and Marines, there are several top commanders who oppose rescinding the current policy.
This week, several senior military leaders came forward to oppose repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military until a one-year study can be completed. This opposition contrasts significantly with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen's expressed "personal belief" that the current policy should be overturned.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway expressed his fear that the repeal effort will distract from the military's mission of protecting the nation. He explained, "My concern would be that somehow that central purpose or focus were to become secondary to the discussion."

Army Chief of Staff General George Casey agreed, saying, "I do have serious concerns about the impact of a repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars." He added, "We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness."
Meanwhile, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz argued that now is not the time to repeal. "This is not the time to perturb the force that is, at the moment, stretched by demands in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere without careful deliberation," he said.
"Shortly after the State of the Union Address, President Obama sent Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to Capitol Hill to argue for a repeal of the military's ban on homosexuals. Clearly, this hearing was politically timed in order to suppress opposition within the military to the President's proposed new policy," claims Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. . . .

Labels: ,

Editorial in the Washington Times


Number of Concealed Handgun permit holders in Virginia

From the Washington Post:

more than 214,000 Virginians with concealed-weapons permits . . .

Labels: ,

Palin's Comedy Routine on Jay Leno's Show

This segment contains her first stand up comic routine.


ABC News discussion on Open Carry

John Donvan of ABC News has a nice story on people who open carry guns. I meet Donvan at the Intelligence Squared debates and I thought that he was an extremely fair guy. This piece is extremely friendly to the topic.

Labels: ,


A futures market of Movies?: Art DeVany's dream becomes a reality

All this sprung from the mind of economist Art DeVany. It is pretty neat to see when an academic's ideas impact the real world.


More on Starbucks letting customers wear guns

28,000 signatures nationwide that oppose Starbucks' policy to serve customers who wear guns? Is that it? Just 28,000 nationally?

SEATTTLE (AP) — Coffee chain Starbucks said Wednesday it's sticking to its policy of letting customers carry guns where it's legal and is asking not to be put in the middle of a larger gun-control debate.
The company's statement, issued Wednesday, stems from recent campaign by some gun owners, who have walked into Starbucks (SBUX) and other businesses to test state laws that allow gun owners to carry weapons openly in public places.
Now, gun control advocates are protesting the policy. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, launched a petition drive demanding that the company "offer espresso shots, not gunshots" and declare its coffeehouses "gun-free zones." And Wednesday, that group planned to deliver 28,000 signatures to the coffee giant's headquarters in Seattle. . . .

Labels: , ,

Stupak says that 12 congressmen who voted for government health care takeover will vote against it with Senate abortion funding

Who knows how many of these guys will cave after pressure, but there seems to be at least 15 votes that could flip. From the Hill newspaper.

The Senate's healthcare bill would lose 12 Democratic votes in the House, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Wednesday.

Stupak, the sponsor of an amendment to the House healthcare bill which barred federal subsidies for health plans covering abortion, said that 12 lawmakers who had previously supported healthcare reform legislation in the House.

"It's accurate to say there are at least 12 of us who voted for healthcare that have indicated to the speaker and others that unless you change this language, we will vote against it," Stupak said during an appearance on MSNBC.

Stupak and other Democrats who oppose abortion-rights have threatened to fell the healthcare effort before Congress over the issue of abortion. They say the Senate's provision, which had been demanded by centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), does not go far enough in preventing federal money from going to support abortion.

The congressman's comments come on the heels of his claims last week, when he said he knows of 15-20 Democratic lawmakers who are witholding support for the bill because of "other problems." But it is not clear if or how many overlap between the two groups. . . .

UPDATE: Pelosi makes the health care debate about abortion.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi got exasperated when asked at her weekly news conference about the unwillingness of some Democrats – including Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) – to support the health bill because of abortion language.

“Let me say this: This is not about abortion! This is a bill about providing quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” she said, more eager than ever to stay on message as her legacy becomes increasingly tied to what happens in the next few weeks.

The speaker had just talked about areas of disagreement between the House and Senate bills that are being worked on as leaders iron out legislative language for a comprehensive package that Congress can pass. But she omitted abortion.

“I will not have it turned into a debate on (abortion),” she said, when asked a follow-up question about Stupak. “Let me say it clearly: we all agree on the three following things. … One is there is no federal funding for abortion. That is the law of the land. It is not changed in this bill. There is no change in the access to abortion. No more or no less: It is abortion neutral in terms of access or diminution of access. And, third, we want to pass a health care bill.” . . .

UPDATE2: Stupak optimistic

Personally I don't see how they can reconcile the two positions. The Senate surely won't agree to a change. The question is really whether Stupak will stand his ground. He is facing huge pressure.

Earlier in the day, Stupak once again claimed that at least 11 fellow Democrats were planning to vote against the broader bill if the abortion language wasn’t change. But hours later, he expressed optimism that the two sides could work things out after a Thursday session with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a principal author of the bill.

Later that day, Hoyer acknowledged that this issue could be make or break for the broader bill. He said party leaders have considered assembling a third bill that would incorporate changes, like a fix to abortion.

"I talked to Mr. Stupak today and I am going to be talking to him next week. And he indicated he wanted to have some discussions with people, and I will do that. So there are a number of different ways that can be addressed."

Labels: ,

A lot of "stimulus" money is going for overseas purchases

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone and it would have risked trade wars if there had been some broader prohibitions, but it produces a sticky situation for the anti-trade Democrats. With Democrats completely controlling everything, it will be interesting to see how they talk their way out of this one.

Senate Democrats are furious that the vast majority of grants from the clean-energy program from last year’s stimulus have been awarded to foreign companies.

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana announced Wednesday a new initiative to require the "Buy America" provision of the stimulus to all programs, not just the government ones. A study done by the Investigative Reporting Workshop found that 79 percent of the $2 billion in clean-energy grants allocated since Sept. 1, 2009, has gone to foreign wind companies.

"We are demanding the Obama administration suspend this program immediately ... [and] indefinitely," Schumer said. "We are sending a letter to Secretary [Timothy] Geithner asking him to halt all payouts for this program until we in Congress can go back and fix this law."

The senators highlighted a wind farm project in west Texas, which received stimulus aid and is projected to create 3,000 jobs in China and a tenth as many in the United States.

"Some of us complained about this to the administration back in November when this project was first announced, so it's not that they don't know about it, but the Energy Department in their reply said they were powerless to stop it because projects like this are automatically eligible for the grants. That answer is not good enough," Schumer said. . . .

Labels: , , ,

Radio interviews today

I will be on the Mark Levin Show at 7:30 PM EST for about 12 minutes this evening.

Sandy Rios Radio Show at 4:20 PM EST.

Al Kresta Show 4:40pm Eastern to discuss the Chicago case

Labels: ,

Appearance on Judge Napalitano's Freedom Watch Yesterday

Obama noting that he is not going to pass a government takeover of health care with a "fifty plus one strategy"

LA Times and NPR don't understand Conservative's arguments in Supreme Court Chicago Handgun Ban Case

Not having a strong argument it appears as if liberals only have the argument that conservatives are supposedly being inconsistent.

CONAN: And isn't this you would think that some of the more conservative justices would say wait a minute, don't the states have rights here? States' rights? Haven't we heard that argument from people like Antonin Scalia?

Mr. SAVAGE: This is a game of musical chairs where everybody is reversed. The liberals talk about deferring to state and local governments. We don't want federal judges to make all these decisions. Shouldn't we let city...

CONAN: (unintelligible) localities know their own situations best.

Mr. SAVAGE: Correct. And the conservatives say wait a minute, the Constitution has individual rights, and it doesn't matter what state and localities think. Those rights are there in the Constitution, and they mean something. . . .

Don't these media people understand that conservatives support the constitution and defending the rights that are spelled out there? There is a big difference between protecting rights that are in the constitution and those that aren't. Conservatives value protecting state rights when liberals are making up rights and imposing them on states. When rights are properly adopted and in the Constitution, Conservatives will protect those rights.


A small part of Palin's Appearance on Leno



Eugene Volokh hasn't followed the debate over concealed handgun laws very closely

Radio interviews today

Lou Dobbs Radio Show at 4:20pm Eastern for 10 minutes to discuss the Chicago case. He has this nice discussion of my piece here.
Lars Larson Radio Show at 8:20pm Eastern for 10 minutes
Jason Lewis Radio Show at 8:35pm Eastern until 9 PM

Radio interviews tomorrow

Sandy Rios Radio Show at 4:20 PM EDT.

Labels: ,

A couple of interesting Editorials in the Washington Times

New Fox News piece: What Do the Supremes Think of Chicago's Gun Ban?

My new Fox News piece starts this way:

Does a ban on guns constitute a "reasonable regulation"? Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago sure thinks so. "We have the right for health and safety to pass reasonable laws dealing with the protection and health of the people of the city of Chicago," Daley said. Despite the push by Chicago to make McDonald v. City of Chicago about crime, a majority on the Supreme Court today appeared to want nothing to do that argument. Justice Anthony Kennedy described the right to self-defense as being as "fundamental" as the right to freedom of speech. The question the court faces is how many of Chicago’s regulations beyond the ban should survive.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court said a ban wasn't a "reasonable regulation" when it came to regulations that the federal government can impose-- that there is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to individuals allowing them to own handguns for self defense. They also ruled that people's guns cannot be required to be locked up and unloaded, since that would make it difficult for people to use them for self-defense.

The question that the Supreme Court addressed today in oral arguments is whether the same reasoning can be applied to state and city regulations. The Bill of Rights was originally passed to make clear that there were limits on what the federal government could do. It was only after the Civil War that Republicans in Congress passed the 14th Amendment to apply those same restrictions to states to protect citizens' freedom. Even more important, much of the Congressional debate focused on stopping Southern states from banning newly freed blacks from owning guns. . . .

Labels: , , ,

Transcript of McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court Oral Argument

New Fox News piece: Will the Supreme Court Recognize the Truth About Chicago's Handgun Ban?

My new piece starts this way:

In the 2008 “Heller” decision, the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and gunlock requirements. Unsurprisingly, gun control advocates predicted disaster. They were wrong. What actually happened in our nation’s capital after the Heller decision ought to be remembered today as the Supreme Court hears a similar constitutional challenge to the Chicago handgun ban.

When the Heller case was decided, Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned: "More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence." Knowing that Chicago's gun laws would soon face a similar legal challenge, Mayor Richard Daley was particularly vocal. The day that the Heller decision was handed down, Daley said that he and other mayors across the country were "outraged" by the decision and he predicted more deaths along with Wild West-style shootouts. Daley warned that people "are going to take a gun and they are going to end their lives in a family dispute."

But Armageddon never arrived. Quite the contrary, murders in Washington plummeted by an astounding 25 percent in 2009, dropping from 186 murders in 2008 to 140. . . .

Labels: , , ,

New Fox News piece: What Gore Missed When He Broke His Silence

My new piece starts this way:

Despite one Climate-gate revelation after another, Al Gore has been remarkably silent. Indeed, since the Copenhagen Climate Summit he hasn't said anything. That is until now. He broke his silence on Sunday in the New York Times with his 1,900+ word op-ed piece. Although some of the piece responds to recent scandals involving the "e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain" and the errors found in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, much of the response is filled with snide remarks about "climate deniers."

Gore concedes "at least two mistakes" in the UN’s IPCC 2007 report – the predictions about Himalayan glaciers melting and the percentage of the Netherlands that is below sea level -- but he avoids addressing the other serious problems. Take three of the claims that have been widely used to promote the need to quickly adopt an international climate treaty: . . .

IBD's take on Al Gore's op-ed is available here.

Labels: , , ,

Nine Democratic Congressmen who have indicated that they may switch their votes from "no" to "yes" on Government Health Care Takeover

Well, with Dems willing to go for reconciliation, the problem (if there is one) is in the House. This certainly brightens the Democrats chances.

In interviews with the AP, at least nine of the 39 Democrats (who voted "no" earlier) -- or their spokesmen -- either declined to state their positions or said they were undecided about the revised legislation, making them likely targets for intense wooing by Pelosi and Obama. Three of them -- Brian Baird of Washington, Bart Gordon of Tennessee and John Tanner of Tennessee -- are not seeking re-election this fall.

The others are Rick Boucher of Virginia, Suzanne Kosmas of Florida, Frank Kratovil of Maryland, Michael McMahon of New York, Scott Murphy of New York and Glenn Nye of Virginia. Several lawmakers' offices did not reply to the AP queries. . . .

On the other side of the ledger:

The political math in the House is daunting. Many lawmakers expect further defections, especially members who oppose legalized abortion and feel the Senate language is too permissive in regulating federal funds for those operations. . . .

Supposedly there are nine or ten claim that they will switch from "yes" to "no" because of the abortion issue, but that remains to be seen.


Phil Jones says that it was not "standard practice" to release data to other researchers

We have gone through a lot of different stories on why this data hasn't been provided. Now we find that since others weren't providing their data, Phil Jones didn't think that he had to provide his data.

But Phil Jones, of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, yesterday defended his decision not to release the data about temperatures from around the world, saying it was not "standard practice" to do so.

"I have obviously written some pretty awful emails," Prof Jones told British lawmakers in response to a question about a message he sent to a sceptic in which he refused to release data saying he believed it would be misused.

The admission from the scientist, who has stood aside as director of the climate centre while investigations take place, came at a parliamentary hearing in Britain into the scandal.

The leading research centre came under fire ahead of key climate talks in Copenhagen in December, after more than 1000 emails and 3000 other documents were hacked from the university's server and posted online.

Sceptics claimed they showed evidence scientists were manipulating climate data in a bid to exaggerate the case for manmade global warming as world leaders met to try to strike a new accord on climate change. . . .

This last point is simply not credible. Once you have the data put together for one person, the cost of getting it to someone else is essentially zero. Computers make it easy to provide data.

The academic also said the unit struggled after being hit by a "deluge" of requests for data last July, made under freedom-of-information legislation. . . .

Labels: , ,

The person in line to take over the Ways & Means Committee if Rangel has to step down

California's Pete Stark has a few ethical problems of his own. From Politico:

During the interview with OCE, which refers cases to the House ethics committee, Stark was a bundle of contradictions, according to the report.

Stark initially said he didn’t know what the tax credit was but later said he did not want to discuss what he knew. Then he said he knew the application specified one must be registered to vote in Maryland to apply. He acknowledged that neither he nor his wife is registered to vote in Maryland.

Stark originally said he did not recall completing the application online. Later in the interview, the memorandum said, he said he knew he had completed the application.

OCE investigators wrote that Stark “certified to Maryland that he is registered to vote in Maryland, while in fact he is registered to vote in California. Stark later changed his certification.” He later denied such a situation occurred.

According to the report, Stark provided the OCE with a handwritten reproduction of the application he submitted to Maryland, on which he indicated he told taxation officials that he was not registered to vote in the state. OCE later obtained a version from the state, which indicated Stark said he was registered to vote in Maryland. . . .

Labels: ,

Appearing on Coast-to-Coast AM at about 4:05 to 5 EDT AM

It should be fun as always talking to George Noory. We will very briefly be discussing the Supreme Court oral arguments to be held Tuesday on the Chicago gun ban case.

Labels: ,


Global warming predicts fewer hurricanes?

If you believe that temperatures will be rising, for whatever reason, it means fewer hurricanes. At least so says a new study published in Nature Geoscience:

the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, paints a very different picture.

It suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline.

Looking to the future, it also draws on computer modelling to predict that the most likely impact of global warming will be to decrease the frequency of tropical storms, by up to 34% by 2100.

It does, however, suggest that when tropical storms do occur they could get slightly stronger, with average windspeeds rising by 2-11% by 2100. A storm is termed a hurricane when wind speeds exceed 74mph, but most are much stronger. A category 4 or 5 hurricane such as Katrina generates speeds in excess of 150mph.

“We have come to substantially different conclusions from the IPCC,” said Chris Landsea, a lead scientist at the American government’s National Hurricane Center, who co-authored the report. . . .

Labels: , ,

Ohio issuing more and more concealed handgun permits

The Ohio Attorney General just released these numbers.

2004: 45,497
2005: 22,487
2006: 18,781
2007: 22,103
2008: 33,864
2009: 56,691

A copy of the report is available here. I wish that they would report the number of active permits. There were 378 revocations in 2009. That is about 0.66 percent of newly issued permits, but obviously the number of permits currently active is much higher. I am told that the current number of active permits is 178,000 (see comments). (378/178,000)*100=0.21%. It is also important to note that revocation can occur by moving out of state.

Labels: ,

"Bill Could Allow College Faculty to Carry Concealed Guns on Campus"

I met Rep. Murphy back at the first Students for Concealed Carry Conference a couple of years ago. It is hard to see what can be the argument against faculty carry concealed handguns.

The scare of a possible gunman at Oklahoma City Community College Friday is shedding light on one Oklahoma lawmaker's bill.

Representative Jason Murphy from Guthrie wants to allow faculty and those who are CLEET certified to be able to carry concealed guns on college campuses.

Representative Murphy said by allowing teachers who are trained to carry concealed guns, it could put enough doubt in someone's mind who may want to come to a campus like OCCC to do harm.

Murphy also said should the incident that happened at OCCC on Friday been real, than a teacher with a gun could have been the one deterrent to keep students safe.

"If there is a teacher there who has a carry concealed license and is able to defend themselves and others on the campus than the element of doubt is put in the criminals mind and so they don't want to run across that teacher who can defend themselves," Representative Murphy. . . .

Labels: , ,

Reconciliation and Biden's Role

During the Vice Presidential debate in 2008, Joe Biden claimed:

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive, and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

Obviously, Biden got this wrong. Some though have caught on and realize that it could have important implications for the health care debate.

Most people think all the Vice President does is break ties, but a former Senate parliamentarian has just delineated a job that could be FAR more controversial and important: the Vice President can override the Senate's nonpartisan arbiter of the chamber's rules, the parliamentarian.
Talk about the real nuclear, heck - kamikaze, option, the specter of Vice President Joe Biden (former long time senator) overruling the current parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, during the upcoming healthcare debate, as Democrats work to get around a GOP filibuster.
"It is the decision of the Vice President whether or not to play a role here," former Senate parliamentarian Robert "Bob" Dove told MSNBC. Dove said the parliamentarian is merely dispensing advice, and the Vice President can overrule that advice, even though "not since Hubert Humphrey" has this happened. . . .

Labels: ,

Democrats posturing on health care bill votes

A loss of Dem credibility seems on the line.

Health care: Pelosi and other top House Democrats say publicly that they have the votes to push through a comprehensive package, but privately, they know they don’t. . . .

Labels: ,

"Green fuels cause more harm than fossil fuels, according to report"

This piece is funny.

Using fossil fuel in vehicles is better for the environment than so-called green fuels made from crops, according to a government study seen by The Times.

The findings show that the Department for Transport’s target for raising the level of biofuel in all fuel sold in Britain will result in millions of acres of forest being logged or burnt down and converted to plantations. The study, likely to force a review of the target, concludes that some of the most commonly-used biofuel crops fail to meet the minimum sustainability standard set by the European Commission.

Under the standard, each litre of biofuel should reduce emissions by at least 35 per cent compared with burning a litre of fossil fuel. Yet the study shows that palm oil increases emissions by 31 per cent because of the carbon released when forest and grassland is turned into plantations. Rape seed and soy also fail to meet the standard.

The Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation this year requires 3¼ per cent of all fuel sold to come from crops. The proportion is due to increase each year and by 2020 is required to be 13 per cent. The DfT commissioned E4tech, a consultancy, to investigate the overall impact of its biofuel target on forests and other undeveloped land.

The EC has conducted its own research, but is refusing to publish the results. A leaked internal memo from the EC’s agriculture directorate reveals its concern that Europe’s entire biofuels industry, which receives almost £3 billion a year in subsidies, would be jeopardised if indirect changes in land use were included in sustainability standards. A senior official added to the memo in handwriting: “An unguided use of ILUC [indirect land use change] would kill biofuels in the EU.” . . . .

Labels: , ,

Obama's visit to Nevada hurt Harry Reid's poll numbers

I wonder what impact that this will have on the health care debate. At least Obama raised a lot of campaign dollars for Reid, but it isn't clear how much that will help him.

During his whirlwind visit to Las Vegas two weeks ago, President Barack Obama mentioned U.S. Sen. Harry Reid by name four dozen times, gave him a big hug and talked him up as if he was a long-lost brother.

In remarks that could not have been more laudatory, Obama repeatedly characterized the veteran Democratic leader as a man "made of very strong stuff" who was making the right decisions for the state back in the nation's capital. . . .

A larger percentage of voters surveyed (17 percent) said they would be less likely to vote for Reid following the president's visit than said they would be more likely to vote for him (7 percent). Seventy-five percent said Obama's visit would have no effect on how they vote.

"Reid was not helped, and Obama was not any more popular than he was before he came to the state," said Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Obama's day in Vegas "did not have much of an effect" on Reid's re-election chances, notably among independent voters, Coker said.

"The independents hold the key to Reid, and for Reid there is no sign he is cracking them right now," he said.

Mason-Dixon researchers spoke over the phone with 625 likely Nevada voters Monday through Wednesday. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

A political boost for Reid "wasn't the intent of the visit," Reid spokesman Jon Summers said. . . .

Labels: ,

Warren Buffett says to start over on health care, but the Obama proposal does even less of what he wants done to control costs

Of course, Obama's proposal revealed last week provides even less to do with reducing costs (e.g., putting off the tax on high quality insurance until 2018). From Politico:

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett advised President Barack Obama on Monday to scrap the health care bill and start over.

In an interview with CNBC, Buffett said the current bill does not focus on controlling costs, which he sees as the central problem that must be addressed to reform the system. He added that while he does not like the Senate bill, he’d vote for it in preference to doing nothing. . . . .

But while Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, applauded Obama for taking up the reform effort, he said that “unfortunately, we came up with a bill that really doesn't attack the cost situation that much.”

Asked if he would be in favor of scrapping the Senate health care bill, Buffett responded: “I would be.”

If the president were to start over, Buffett would advise him to “just show this chart of what's been happening and say this is the tapeworm that's eating at American competitiveness. And I would say that one way or another, we're going to attack costs, costs, costs, just like they talk about jobs, jobs, jobs.” . . .

Labels: , ,


More problems with the CRU Climate data

Dr. Roy W. Spencer has re-examined some of the University of East Anglia CRU climate data and found that even without making the heat island effect adjustment that Dr. Phil Jones claims that he has made with the data, Spencer's temperature trend is 20 percent below that claimed by Jones.

Labels: , ,

Why are Democrats so worried about getting a vote on health care before politicians go home for Easter Break?

You would think that if Democrats really believed that this is what people wanted, they wouldn't be so worried about talking to their constituents.

John Lawrence, chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told health care activists in a conference call Friday that Congress needed to act before the Easter recess, or they could see a repeat of the tumultuous August break. Only this time, Republicans will use reconciliation to characterize the party as “shoving it down our throats,” Lawrence said, according to notes provided by a person on the call. . . .


"Pelosi: Lawmakers Should Sacrifice Jobs for Health Care"

This is easier for Pelosi than a lot of her colleagues given that she is representing San Francisco. Overall this indicates that the Dems don't have the votes to pass the bill in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue's massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program "This Week."
"We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress," she said. "We're here to do the job for the American people."

It took courage for Congress to pass Social Security and Medicare, which eventually became highly popular, she said, "and many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill."

It's unclear whether Pelosi's remarks will embolden or chill dozens of moderate House Democrats who face withering criticisms of the health care proposal in visits with constituents and in national polls. Republican lawmaker unanimously oppose the health care proposals, and many GOP strategists believe voters will turn against Democrats in the November elections. . . .


Democratic Senators back away from "vows" to oppose reconciliation for health care bill

Evan Bayh has gone from vowing to oppose reconciliation in January to been open to using it now.

Similarly for Ben Nelson who warned against reconciliation and now is also open to using it now.

Labels: , ,

Is there a reason why some men's races seem to be so closely contested and women's aren't or vice-a-versa?