Oklahoma man shoots man who broke into his home

This incident occurred in Tulsa County, Oklahoma:

The incident happened at a home in the 6000 block of North Owasso just after 10 p.m.

According to Tulsa County sheriff's deputies, a couple was entering the home through the back door when they heard a noise in the master bedroom.

Deputies say the homeowner went to the bedroom and confronted the intruder.

"He walked in until he got close to the master bedroom, at that time he saw a burglar in the house, the burglar was carrying a sword that belonged to a homeowner, approached the homeowner, the homeowner told him to stop, pulled out his gun, guy didn't stop, and shot him," said TCSO Captain John Bowman.

Bowman says the intruder then reached for a gun in his pocket, so the homeowner fired two more shots, striking the man in the chest, killing him.

Detectives from the sheriff's office found Tiffey dead in a hallway of the home, and besides the sword by his side, say he did have other weapons with him.

"He had a .38 caliber handgun in his pocket, he had the homeowners 9mm handgun, a stun gun and a knife," said Sgt. Shannon Clark, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. . . .


Can anyone count how many times Obama promised a tax cut for those making less than $250,000 per year, and that there would be no tax increases

This is yet another broken promise from Obama. When will the media start viewing this guy as having no mandate for the policies that he is pushing?

Cap and trade is the tax that dare not speak its name, and Democrats are hoping in particular that no one notices who would pay for their climate ambitions. With President Obama depending on vast new carbon revenues in his budget and Congress promising a bill by May, perhaps Americans would like to know the deeply unequal ways that climate costs would be distributed across regions and income groups.

Politicians love cap and trade because they can claim to be taxing "polluters," not workers. Hardly. Once the government creates a scarce new commodity -- in this case the right to emit carbon -- and then mandates that businesses buy it, the costs would inevitably be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher prices. Stating the obvious, Peter Orszag -- now Mr. Obama's budget director -- told Congress last year that "Those price increases are essential to the success of a cap-and-trade program."

Hit hardest would be the "95% of working families" Mr. Obama keeps mentioning, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with the caveat "unless you use energy." Putting a price on carbon is regressive by definition because poor and middle-income households spend more of their paychecks on things like gas to drive to work, groceries or home heating.

The Congressional Budget Office -- Mr. Orszag's former roost -- estimates that the price hikes from a 15% cut in emissions would cost the average household in the bottom-income quintile about 3.3% of its after-tax income every year. That's about $680, not including the costs of reduced employment and output. The three middle quintiles would see their paychecks cut between $880 and $1,500, or 2.9% to 2.7% of income. The rich would pay 1.7%. Cap and trade is the ideal policy for every Beltway analyst who thinks the tax code is too progressive (all five of them). . . .

Labels: , ,

Football Player accidentally carries concealed handgun into airport

It would be nice if people used some intelligence in enforcing these laws. Someone accidentally carries a gun with them and no harm is done. It would be nice if some perspective was used in enforcement.

Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers pleaded not guilty to a concealed weapons charge after authorities say he tried to carry a loaded handgun through airport security in a carry-on bag.

Rogers' attorney, Patrick D'Angelo, says his client entered the plea Saturday in Cleveland Municipal Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison.

The 31-year-old apologized to his fans and his team Friday after spending a night in jail, saying he didn't mean to take the gun into Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Rogers told police he forgot the gun was in his bag when he attempted to fly to Texas on Thursday.

D'Angelo says Rogers planned to fly to Houston later Saturday to spend Easter with family and will make sure "to check everything."

Labels: ,

Government "do good" will eliminate a lot of internships

No one is forcing these young people to do internships. They get training and experience in jobs that they very frequently love. My kids have done internships that they wouldn't have had a chance at otherwise. Raise the price to the companies that provide these internships, and you reduce the demand for interns. When a young person works in an internship for just a few months, there is usually not a lot that a company gets out of these young people. The government warns: "Growth of Unpaid Internships May Be Illegal."

With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor.

Convinced that many unpaid internships violate minimum wage laws, officials in Oregon, California and other states have begun investigations and fined employers. Last year, M. Patricia Smith, then New York’s labor commissioner, ordered investigations into several firms’ internships. Now, as the federal Labor Department’s top law enforcement official, she and the wage and hour division are stepping up enforcement nationwide.

Many regulators say that violations are widespread, but that it is unusually hard to mount a major enforcement effort because interns are often afraid to file complaints. Many fear they will become known as troublemakers in their chosen field, endangering their chances with a potential future employer.

The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships. . . .

Labels: ,


Palin's Show Does Well in the Ratings

Possibly Palin's numbers are artificially high because people wanted to tune in the first time just to see what the show was like, but she beat out of Glenn Beck.


Is Apple pulling away from Android?

Where do developers think that the mobile smart phone market is going? After all, they might have the most accurate guesses since they have their money on the line. This new report from Flurry shows that Android and Blackberry are in for a tough battle, though I don't think that Flurry's conclusion that "In short, more developers are building more apps" quite gets the full effect. First one thing that needs to be understood is that the market is growing so Android's 10 percent over the past 60 days actually represents more development than the 18 percent in 2009. That said, I think that the best comparison is to compare the relative ratios. In 2009, iPhone development is 4.3 times greater than for Android. Over the past 60 days, that ratio is now 6.7 times. That is a 56 percent growth in Apple's relative share of developers.

If you include iPhone and iPad together, the ration rises to 8.9 times. Going from 4.3 to 8.9 times is a doubling of Apple's relative share. Given that iPad and iPhones have very similar operating system, it seems reasonable to add them together. But whether it is iPhone or iPhone plus iPad, Apple is pulling away from Android.

Meanwhile, if things are looking difficult for Android, Apple is crushing Blackberry. In 2009, Apple's share was 19.5 times the share for Blackberry. Over the past 60 days, it was 67 times greater. Obviously, if you include iPad, the change is even more lopsided.

Possibly developers had already accurately guessed iPad's strong sales. But headlines such as USA Today saying "Could iPad be sold out by early afternoon Saturday?", this looks like the perfect set up to snowball further.


The EPA's new global warming regulations

From Fox News:

The battle over global warming escalated this week with the Environmental Protection Agency issuing its first rules ever on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions even as more states lined up to legally challenge the new regulations.

On Thursday, the heads of the Transportation Department and the EPA signed final rules setting fuel efficiency standards for model years 2012-2016, with a goal of achieving by 2016 the equivalent of 35.5 miles per gallon combined for cars and trucks, an increase of nearly 10 mpg over current standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The rules come after 12 states joined petitions filed by Virginia, Alabama and Texas against the EPA for ruling in December that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide endanger human health -- a ruling that cleared the path for the agency to start issuing mandatory regulations to reduce them.

"While we made the decision to intervene based on what was in the best interests of Virginia and her citizens, it is gratifying to have the support of so many other states," Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli said recently in a written statement.

The lawsuit seeks to force the EPA to reopen hearings on its December finding or block the regulations. . . .

Labels: ,

Note how Democrats often don't even try to explain why the government health care bill is constitutional

Congressman Phil Hare is a Democrat from Illinois' 17th district (western Illinois that borders Iowa and Missouri and from Davenport, Iowa to St. Louis).

OK, he says that the above discussions, despite being three minutes long, was taken out of context. The discussion takes place starting at 0:52 into the tape. So here is his answer now about why the government health care bill is constitutional.

The congressman control the video this time and besides saying that the constitution is important to him, he makes no attempt at explaining why the bill is constitutional.

By the way, if he did read the Senate bill three times (assuming that this doesn't include the reconciliation part of the legislation), that is indeed 8,100 pages. If he read it at a page a minute (doubtful that it could be anywhere near that fast given the dense legal language at places and some time to understand what was begin read) and he did it for eight hours a day, that would take 16.9 days. If it took two minutes a page, that is 33.75 days of doing nothing else for those eight hours a day. One can judge for themselves about the congressman's claim about reading the bill.

Labels: ,

Obama's versus Bush's deficits

Note that even the CBO is run by Democrats. The graph is from the Washington Post. My son, Maxim, put together this second graph for John Stossel. The Heritage Foundation has this discussion.


Do Dems have the votes to push through more government financial regulations?

The quite left wing Talking Points Memo talks about how cocky Dems are about getting this passed.

This confidence manifests itself in many ways.

Congressional Dems are taunting Republicans, daring them to stand in the way.

"They need to be reminded that actions have consequences," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said the whole thing could be over by May. And in at least one private meeting, President Obama has let it be known that he doesn't want the legislation to become terribly watered down in the Senate--and thinks that's a reasonable goal.

The House has passed its version of the legislation, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd has drafted a package of his own, and all Democrats have to do at this point is peel off one or two Republicans make a few tweaks and bring the thing up for a vote, right? . . .

The same piece however notes that things might not be so easy.

A number of Republicans have predicted that a bill will pass the Senate, but thus far, not a single one of them has indicated that they'll break with their party and help Democrats pass the bill they want. In fact, experts and consultants say Republicans will almost certainly stand together to block a bill unless one element of the bill--the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency--is scaled back. At the very least.

Right now, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd is sounding out his Republican counterpart Richard Shelby to see if he can reach an agreement on a compromise bill that has guaranteed Republican support. But bipartisan negotiations have broken down repeatedly on this issue in the past several months, and much of the good will is gone.

If the two parties can't reach agreement, Democrats and Republicans will find themselves in a game of chicken over a politically charged issue, with Democrats insisting Republicans are standing with bankers to block Wall Street reform, hoping that enough moderates join them to break a filibuster. . . .

Labels: ,

New Fox News piece: Unemployment Numbers Are a Mixed Bag

My new piece starts this way:

The new unemployment numbers released today are decidedly mixed news. On the one hand, the unemployment rate remained constant at 9.7 percent in March and the share of the workforce taking part-time jobs because they couldn't find full time unemployment rose by a tenth of the percentage point.

For the second straight month, the broadest measure of unemployment rose, this time to 16.9 percent. This measure includes people who have left the labor force because they can't find a job as well as part-time workers who couldn't find a full-time job.

On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of households shows that 264,000 people got jobs. Yet, the number unemployed also rose by 134,000. So how can you have both more people getting jobs and being unemployed? There is a simple reason for it. Over the last year, a lot of workers got discouraged, stopped looking for a job, and were no longer counted as being in the labor force. . . .

UPDATE: Apparently, the Census only hired 48,000 of the 100,000 they were supposed to hire in March. That implies a significant built in increase for next month in the number of people working for the government. It there hadn't been that 48,000 job increase, the number of government jobs would have declined by about 10,000. These are short term jobs, and it will be interesting to see what happens when they end.

Some other info on unemployment is here.

Labels: , , ,

"Feds Approving Bogus Products as 'Energy-Efficient,' Investigation Finds"

This is pretty funny. Too bad that it were such a sad example of government's inability to determine worthwhile products. If your money isn't at stake, why do a good job? And we want these guys to tell us where health care dollars will be efficiently spent?

The federal government has been slapping "energy-efficient" ratings on products that don't even exist -- including a bogus space heater with a duster stuck to it and an alarm clock supposedly powered by gasoline.

These fake products were submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy for approval as part of an undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office.

The office wanted to see how easily the feds could be duped, since the Energy Star program used to identify products as energy savers serves as a guide to businesses looking for such modern marvels and the basis for millions of dollars in incentivizing tax credits -- including $300 million from the stimulus.

The products fooled the federal government three out of four times. Of the 20 products submitted for approval, 15 were given the thumbs up. GAO reported that the federal government generally did not ask for critical evidence to back up its claims about how energy-efficient -- or real -- its bogus products were. . . .

With Obama's talk today down in North Carolina to tout stimulus funds:

When President Barack Obama comes to Charlotte today to tour Celgard, a battery-parts maker that has received $49 million in stimulus money, he's sure to tout how government money will put people to work.

He's visiting a company that hasn't yet spent any of its stimulus money, according to federal documents. But his visit highlights the administration's focus on using stimulus money to create green jobs and push energy efficiency.

Celgard wouldn't talk Thursday about its plans or the specifics of its grant. The governor's office has said the money will help create about 300 jobs over the next five years. . . .

Labels: ,

Democratic Congressman worries that Guam will "Tip Over and Capsize"

Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson worries: "my fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize."

The Admiral responded by saying "We don't anticipate that." The Admiral noted that there are about 200,000 people living on the island. 25,000 of that total are U.S. Marines and their families. WIth 212 square miles or 135,680 square acres, that comes to about 1.47 people per square acre. Eliminating all the Marines and their families still will leave about 1.29 people per square acre.

Labels: ,

Another strange part of the Health Care bill

If employees wanted this more than the cost of providing this, don't you think that firms would supply this? A law firm has a description here:

As part of the recent Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide breaks for nursing mothers. Under section 4207 of the PPACA, which appears to be effective immediately, employers must provide a “reasonable break time” for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child. The requirement applies for one year after the child’s birth. The PPACA places no limit on the number of the breaks to be provided, and does not contain any guidance with respect to the duration of such breaks.

In addition to providing reasonable breaks, the employer must also provide a place where the employee can express breast milk. The place must be somewhere other than a bathroom and must be “shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.”

The law exempts any employer with fewer than 50 employees if providing the break (or the place to express breast milk) would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer. For the purposes of the PPACA, “undue hardship” is defined as “causing the employer significant difficulty or expense” when considered in relation to relevant factors. . . .


Did Obama health care bill hide $30 billion in Medicaid costs?

Even more accounting tricks in the bill?

Call it Doc Fix 2.0.

The federal government already has the “Doc Fix,” an annual shortfall of about $20 billion that must be paid to maintain current payment rates to physicians under Medicare.

Now, it looks like President Obama’s health-care bill created another funding cliff, costing an additional $5.5 billion or so each year.

Critics say the costs were hidden from view in the $940 billion health-care bill to lower the price tag by about $30 billion, and also as a way to gain the support of doctors and hospitals without angering governors.

The recently passed bill mandated that, starting in 2013, state governments must pay primary care physicians the same amount for Medicaid recipients, who are mostly poor, as it does for Medicare recipients, who are mostly elderly.

Low Medicaid reimbursement rates have cut down on the number of physicians that will even see poor and indigent recipients in the first place.

Some states pay doctors and hospitals about the same rates for Medicaid as they do for Medicare. But states with some of the largest Medicaid populations – New York, New Jersey and California – pay some of the lowest rates for Medicaid. . . .


Democrat Attorney Generals refusing to bring a lawsuit against the new health care bill

From the Politico:

They played almost no role in crafting or passing the new federal health care legislation, but Democratic attorneys general have suddenly emerged as prominent actors in the post-passage drama over the constitutionality of the landmark law.

Until recently, the Democratic attorneys general have largely sat on the sidelines as more than a dozen of their GOP counterparts banded together to pursue a lawsuit against the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s domestic policy agenda. Like many in their party, they dismissed the suit as a naked political play without any legal grounding — an opinion based on the fact that many of the Republicans advancing the cause are seeking higher office. . . .


Baltimore City Council President gets one of the rare Concealed Handgun permits issued in Maryland

Few people get concealed handgun permits in Maryland. At least important politicians understand the benefits from permits and are able to get one for themselves.

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young revealed this week that he has a conceal carry permit for a gun after drug dealers threatened his family.

Maryland State Police confirm to WBAL Radio that Young has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

But spokesman Greg Shipley says no information will be released to explain why Young was granted the permit. That he says is considered investigatory information.

The revelation from Young came during a media tour of his two homes in the City.

Young's full time residency has been called into question after a WBAL TV report of his water bills showed that he owed the same amount for one of his home's as properties that are vacant in the city.

The Council President told reporters on Wednesday he splits his time between two homes in the city. One is on Madison Street and the other on Central Avenue. Young says he needed to find another home to live in after the drug dealers threatened his family because they were angering he was talking to police about their activities. . . .


400 percent increase in permits issued in 2009 in at least one North Carolina County

From WECT in Wilmington, NC.

On average, about 240 people apply each year for a permit. In 2009, over 1,000 people got a applied for and received their concealed carry permit. . . .

"We don't have a problem of people going through all the time and expense of the permit process, then going out and robbing a bank or assaulting someone," said Wright. "It's usually the other way around." . . .

Labels: ,


Utah tries to get back the land that was promised to it at statehood

This is an interesting case where the state of Utah is trying to get the Federal government to live up to the promises that the Federal government made to Utah when it became a state.


Remember Gore's Prediction about Ice disappearing, After brief drop, Arctic Sea Ice levels return to long term average

Steven Goddard and Anthony Watts:

Barring an about face by nature or adjustments, it appears that for the first time since 2001, Arctic Sea ice will hit the “normal” line as defined by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) for this time of year. . . .

An example of the hysteria that had existed can be seen here.

UPDATE: UK Daily Mail: "Increase in Arctic ice confounds doomsayers"

The scientists who released the data stressed that last month's rise was part of yearly variations in ice cover and could not be taken as a sign that global warming is coming to an end. . . .
The unusual trend last month is revealed in figures published by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.
In a typical year, Arctic ice cover peaks in mid-March and starts to fall as milder weather arrives.
But this year, levels continued to grow in the second half of March. Dr Mark Serreze, of the NSlDC, said parts of the Arctic were going through an unusually cold spring - but that other areas were warmer than normal.
He added: 'What this doesn't show is any indication that global warming is over. If you look at the Arctic as a whole we might get to average amounts of sea ice for the time of year. But the ice is thin and quite vulnerable and it can melt very quickly.'
The best measure of the health of the Arctic was not only the amount of cover, but also the thickness of ice, he said.
But Dr David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank, said: 'The recent observations make the 2007 projections that the region would be ice free by 2013 look very unrealistic.'

UPDATE: From Bret Stephens at the WSJ.

As recently as October, the Guardian reported that scientists at Cambridge had "concluded that the Arctic is now melting at such a rate that it will be largely ice free within ten years." This was supposedly due to global warming. It brought with it the usual lamentations for the grandchildren.

But in March came another report in the Guardian, this time based on the research of Japanese scientists, that "much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is [due] to the region's swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming." It also turns out that the extent of Arctic sea ice in March was around the recorded average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The difference between the two stories has little to do with science: There were plenty of reasons back in October to suspect that the Arctic ice panic—based on data that only goes back to 1979—was as implausible as the now debunked claim about disappearing Himalayan glaciers. But thanks to Climategate and the Copenhagen fiasco, the media are now picking up the kinds of stories they previously thought it easier and wiser to ignore. . . .

Labels: ,

Democrats make Corporations that have taken cost write-offs from health care bill testify before them

From Fox News:

The CEOs of some of the country's biggest companies are being summoned to Washington to defend claims that the health care reform law would cost them millions -- a move Republicans say amounts to intimidation.

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on Friday fired off letters to the heads of Caterpillar, Verizon, AT&T and Deere after they and other firms reported that the health care overhaul would dig deep into their bottom lines.

Caterpillar claimed it would raise costs by $100 million in the first year and imperil coverage for its 150,000 employees and retirees. Deere estimated it would raise expenses by $150 million.

Waxman, in his letters, called these estimates a "matter of concern" and said they "appear to conflict with independent analyses" showing the law would lead to a decrease in premium costs for large companies.

Waxman called the CEOs to Washington to testify at an April 21 hearing and requested full documentation from the firms detailing how they arrived at their estimates.

But Republicans said the committee was trying to "bully" companies for speaking out against the legislation. . . .

The expected losses by the companies are likely to be larger than these increased costs that the companies will post.

When Congress approved the Medicare prescription drug program in 2003, it included government incentives for employers to provide drug benefits to retirees so the public system wouldn't be overwhelmed. Employers that provide prescription drug benefits for retirees can receive subsidies covering 28 percent of eligible costs; those subsidies totaled $3.7 billion in 2008.
Under the 2003 law, companies could deduct the entire amount they spent on the drug benefits from their taxable income — including the government subsidy, an average of $665 per retiree.
The health care law signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday prohibits companies from writing off the subsidies starting in 2011, meaning they will no longer be able to deduct them from their taxable income.
For example, if a company spent $100 on benefits, including a $28 government subsidy, it could write off the full $100 on its taxes under the old rules. The new rules would allow the same company to write off only $72.
The follow-up health care bill to reshape parts of the overhaul would delay the changes until 2013.
As many as 1.5 million to 2 million retirees could lose the drug benefits provided by their former employer because of the tax changes, according to a study by the Moran Company, a health care consulting firm.
James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, said between 6 million and 7 million retirees currently get the benefits. But the number of companies offering them has been dwindling for years.
Generally, retirees would prefer to stay with prescription drug coverage provided by their companies as opposed to enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan, said Marilyn Moon, a health care economist with the nonpartisan American Institutes for Research. . . .

Labels: ,


Krugman finally acknowledges that there is a "Death Panel" in the Health Care bill

Here is an interesting discussion here.


Stretching what the federal government can do beyond anything that it has previously done.

Jonathan Turley has this in today's USA Today.

Though strong arguments can be made for health care reform and the individual mandate, these are matters that should not be decided by mere fiat of Congress but rather by the courts. Federalism was already on life support before the individual mandate. Make no mistake about it, this plan might provide a bill of good health for the public, but it could amount to a "do not resuscitate" order for federalism.

Labels: , ,

Voters see Obama as political partisan

To be honest, I am surprised that this percent isn't higher. Some context is also helpful, as "Fifty-six percent (56%) of all voters say Republicans in Congress are acting like partisan Republicans."

Less than a week after President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law, more voters than ever say he is governing like a partisan Democrat.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 56% of likely voters believe the president is governing like a partisan Democrat, up three points over the past month and the highest level measured since he took office in January 2009.
The week after his inauguration, just 39% of voters felt that way.
Only 28% now say the president is governing on a bipartisan basis, tying the lowest level measured reached last month. Another 16% are not sure.
Not surprisingly, Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say the president is governing on a partisan basis. Half (50%) of voters not affiliated with either party say the president is governing like a partisan Democrat, but 31% disagree. . . .

Labels: , ,

Legislation moving at state level

Missouri House OKs expansion of concealed gun rules

Legislative staff members with a permit to carry a concealed weapon could bring them into the state Capitol under legislation given first-round approval Tuesday by the House.

The measure was included in broader gun legislation that loosens Missouri’s restrictions on carry concealed weapons and expands the right of potential crime victims to use deadly force against their attackers. The legislation was approved 125-19 and needs another vote before moving to the Senate. . . .

Arizona: Concealed-gun permit is closer to its demise

Guns: By a 20-10 margin, the Senate voted Monday to remove the permit requirement for those who want to carry a concealed weapon.
Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, sponsor of SB 1108, said all adults are permitted to carry weapons openly in Arizona. He said there is no reason for otherwise law-abiding residents to have to attend a class and go through a background check just to put a weapon under a jacket or in a purse.
The House already has given preliminary approval to an identical measure and should have a final vote later this week, sending the measure to Gov. Jan Brewer. . . .

Nebraska: Lawmakers Move To Stop Omaha Gun Rule

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska lawmakers want to force the city of Omaha to stop requiring those with concealed-carry gun permits to register their firearms with the city.
On Monday, they passed an amendment that would stop the practice in Omaha.
The approval of the amendment follows an opinion from Attorney General Jon Bruning's office on Friday that Omaha has been violating state law by forcing people who have permits to carry concealed guns to also register their guns.
The formal opinion said Omaha's rule isn't allowed under a law that bars cities from preventing concealed-carry permit holders from carrying concealed guns inside city limits. . . .


Obama supports college admissions based on race

Obama administration hopes to delay a court case long enough until it is able to appoint more left wingers to the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to uphold a race-conscious admissions system at the University of Texas at Austin, aiming to stymie a lawsuit that conservatives hope will spur the Supreme Court to limit affirmative action at public colleges.

The Texas case tests a 2003 Supreme Court decision that upheld a race-conscious admissions system at the University of Michigan Law School. That ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger said the law school had "a compelling interest in attaining a diverse student body." By a 5-4 vote, the court prohibited "outright racial balancing," but said race could be a "plus" factor to build a "critical mass" of minority students.

But the Grutter opinion's author, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, retired in 2006, and her successor, Justice Samuel Alito, has helped solidify a five-justice conservative majority that has been highly skeptical when government classifies people by race, even for assertedly benign purposes. . . .



New Fox News piece: A Gun Ban By Any Other Name...

My new piece starts this way:

On Friday, a federal District Court judge tried to indirectly reinstate the D.C. handgun ban. Judge Ricardo Urbina, a Clinton appointee, wants to make it so difficult for people living in DC to use a handgun defensively that few will get one.

Last September, a Washington Post reporter, Christian Davenport, found out just how difficult it still is to get a handgun in D.C. even after the Supreme Court struck down the city's handgun ban. Excluding the price of the gun, the reporter spent $558.69 in various fees to get through the approval process. But that was only part of the cost. It took him "a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam."

So when do these types of regulations constitute just as much of a ban on handguns as an outright ban? A dollar tax solely on newspapers would clearly be struck down as unconstitutional. The power to regulate can destroy both the First and Second Amendments. Despite the costs, about a thousand people may have gotten handgun permits. That is only about 0.2 percent of adults living in D.C. The big change from the 2008 Heller decision might have simply been that D.C. law now requires that gun owners (primarily those owning long guns) only have to store their guns locked and unloaded if minors might have access to them. And it is probably this change that helps explain why D.C.'s murder rate fell by 25 percent the year after the handgun ban was struck down as unconstitutional. . . .

Labels: , , , ,

Weird attacks on my gun research, also Scienceblogs censoring responses

Defenders of climate researchers who have refused to release their data, are claiming that I delayed releasing the data used in my book, More Guns, Less Crime. There are multiple inaccuracies in the posting, but let's just deal with what the poster claims is his core point for this post.

Conservative economist John Lott's 1998 book More Guns, Less Crime concluded based on the results of his own statistical analysis that more permissive hand gun laws reduced crime rates in counties and states that had adopted such laws. In a feat of statistical one-upmanship, Lott had compiled the largest data set on gun laws and crime statistics in the field. Naturally, conservatives and gun rights advocates immediately argued that Lott's empirical research was definitive reason to repeal gun laws across the country, since the result would be a decrease in crime rates.
In response, contending experts ranging from sociologists to law professors argued that before any policy was adopted based on Lott's research, that they should be able to examine Lott's raw data and the decisions that he made in conducting his analysis. Lott further stoked the fires of the controversy by being slow to release his data--which made it appear as if he had something to hide . . .

They have yet to publish my comment on their post, so here is my response:

This piece makes inaccurate claims about my work. The data in my original paper with David Mustard was released even before the paper was published. Our paper was published in the January 1997 of the Journal of Legal Studies. We provided our data to critics such as Dan Black and Dan Nagin as well as Jens Ludwig in August 1996. In fact, the Brady Campaign put on a panel at the National Press Club on December 9, 1996 where I debated them on their analysis of our data.

The first edition of More Guns, Less Crime was published in 1998. All the data for all the regressions and all the tables and figures in the book was again released to others even prior to the book being published. Most of that research involved the same data from 1977 to 1992 that was in my original paper with Mustard, but the additional data in the book that extended to 1994 was also released.

Ironically, I had a computer crash in July 1997 where I lost the data that I had already provided to the critics to whom we had already provided the data. David Mustard and myself asked these individuals to get back a copy of our data, but they declined to do so. I know that David asked them several times. Because we realized that we had an obligation to make our data available to others, David and I spent more than several months putting the data together again. (David spent significantly more time than I did putting that data back together again.)

Since then the data used in More Guns, Less Crime has been provided to over 200 hundred people at universities around the world. Dozens of papers have been published using the data. The paper by Black and Nagin was published in the Journal of Legal Studies in January 1998 (which was four months BEFORE More Guns, Less Crime was published). Given the lead-time in refereeing and publications, it should be fairly obvious that they had submitted their paper a year earlier in late 1996. How could they have submitted their paper for publication in the Journal of Legal Studies before my paper with Mustard was published if we hadn't shared the data?

So your story is backwards. Our data was given out immediately. When the data was lost in a hard disk crash, our critics refused to give us a copy back of our own data. David and I redid the data a second time. It was not something that we had to do (especially given the many months of work involved), but it was the right thing to do. It would have been better if our critics had simply given us back a copy of our own data.

It is easy enough for you to check out when the Black and Nagin paper was published. Another critical paper was published by Jens Ludwig in May 1998 in the International Review of Law and Economics. An entire issue of the Journal of Law and Economics in 2001 published papers on gun control, most of those papers using the data in my book.

UPDATE: This post was eventually put up, but I had sent in a second post at the same time as the first one that never seems to have gotten approved. That second piece pointed to articles that I have written on climate researchers from the pro-manmade global warming side who have refused to provide their raw data even well after their research has been published.

In any case, the original post on scienceblog was changed so I made this response (we will see if it gets put up):

As to the claim about "they should be able to examine Lott's raw data and the decisions that he made in conducting his analysis" it is easy for people to evaluate that also. For example, if they look at the Black and Nagin paper, people will see that Black and Nagin replicate the research that Mustard and I had done and they were able to do that because I provided them with all the raw data as well as the "do" file that contained the regressions. There was nothing else there to provide them. They didn't replicate most of the empirical work in the original paper with Mustard, but that was their choice. If you think that there was something else, please indicate what it would be. A response to the Black and Nagin paper is available here.

As to the Mother Jones interview, I gave two interviews to someone who was obviously hostile (not all of our discussions were transcribed). I offered to go off the record to explain things in depth because I wanted to provide a detailed discussion without worrying that he would take some small part of what I was saying out of context and distort it. The point was to take the time to give him a detailed response, but he wasn't interested in doing that. When you do interviews with hostile individuals you learn very quickly that people can take things out of context and you give a different interview than in situations where you are sure that the entire transcript is going to be made available. It was my understanding that we were doing the first type of interview.

UPDATE: Of course, only one of my posts have been put up at the website that is criticizing me. I made two posts (they put up one) and they then rewrote their post. I respond, but they don't put it up either.

Labels: , ,

Legal cases after Heller

From the WSJ's law blog.

These are the offspring of Heller:

A woman contends her small stature makes her an appealing target for criminals but says she was turned down for a concealed-carry handgun permit by the Sacramento County sheriff.

A Californian man, born without an arm below the right elbow, argues that the state’s roster of “approved” handguns precludes him from being able to buy a left-handed Glock.

An American man who now lives in Canada would like to purchase guns in the U.S. to store at his relatives’ home in Mount Vernon, Ohio, to use for sporting and self-defense.

All are now plaintiffs in suits that were filed in the wake of the June 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms at home, but left the door open to certain types of gun restrictions, many of which are currently being challenged.

The Second Amendment Foundation, a Bellevue, Wash., nonprofit, that took in $3.6 million in revenue in 2008, is paying for their legal challenges. Their cases are being handled by its attorney, Alan Gura, who won the Heller case. . . .

Labels: ,

When regulations just get too nutsy: Outlawing selling a goldfish to children under 16

Apparently this UK law is an animal rights effort motivated by concerns that children will not properly take care of animals. But even if one thinks that is a general justification, it is hard to see how that applies to goldfish. What percent of 14 year olds who buy a goldfish harm the fish? What is the happiness that children get from having these pets? And a criminal penalty seems out of all proportion to any harm.

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.
At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.
Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew - and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.
The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.
The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.
Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins - who has run the pet shop for 28 years - said the family's eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.
She added: 'It's ridiculous. I mean, what danger am I that I have to wear an electronic tag? These last few months have been a very stressful time.'
The seven-week curfew imposed by the court means she is unable to babysit her great-grandson at his home or go to bingo sessions with her sister, and will be unable to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her nephew, actor Will Mellor. . . .

Labels: ,

USA Today reporter doesn't report problems with NASA climate data

So why didn't the USA Today reporter think that this was worth mentioning in 2007?

NASA was able to put a man on the moon, but the space agency can't tell you what the temperature was when it did. By its own admission, NASA's temperature records are in even worse shape than the besmirched Climate-gate data.

E-mail messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that NASA concluded that its own climate findings were inferior to those maintained by both the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) -- the scandalized source of the leaked Climate-gate e-mails -- and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA's data "was more accurate" than other climate-change data sets, NASA's Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said "the National Climatic Data Center's procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate," admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.

"My recommendation to you is to continue using NCDC's data for the U.S. means and [East Anglia] data for the global means," Ruedy told the reporter.

"NASA's temperature data is worse than the Climate-gate temperature data. According to NASA," wrote Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who uncovered the e-mails. Horner is skeptical of NCDC's data as well, stating plainly: "Three out of the four temperature data sets stink."

Global warming critics call this a crucial blow to advocates' arguments that minor flaws in the "Climate-gate" data are unimportant, since all the major data sets arrive at the same conclusion -- that the Earth is getting warmer. But there's a good reason for that, the skeptics say: They all use the same data.

"There is far too much overlap among the surface temperature data sets to assert with a straight face that they independently verify each other's results," says James M. Taylor, senior fellow of environment policy at The Heartland Institute. . . .

Labels: ,

Iowa moves towards liberalizing state concealed handgun law

With overwhelming votes in both the state House and Senate, it seems doubtful that the Democrat Governor can stop this bill from becoming law. The proposed appeals process appears to move this to essentially being a right-to-carry state.

The Iowa House voted Monday to overhaul the way concealed weapons permits are issued.

Currently, the decision on issuing a concealed weapons permit rests with local sheriffs, who have broad latitude to make decisions and aren’t required to explain why a request for a permit is denied.

Under the measure approved Monday, sheriffs would still make the decision but there would be guidelines that must be followed and a decision to deny a permit would have to be explained in writing. The measure also includes an expedited appeals process when a permit is denied.

The House approved the measure on an 80-15 vote, returning it to the Senate where a similar measure has already been approved.

Supporters said they have been negotiating a compromise for years.

“I think we do have a reasonable compromise here,” said Rep. Jim Lykam, D-Davenport.

But critics said the current system leaves a patchwork of separate policies on concealed weapons. Many also see the effort as weakening controls on concealed weapons.

“We’re safer in here because people aren’t carrying weapons,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines. “This is a bill that will make Iowa less safe.”

Along the way, lawmakers rejected an effort to simply let people carry concealed weapons without a permit. Some said they could support the more modest effort.

Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a retired Iowa State Patrol trooper, was a main supporter of the bill.

“This is a public safety issue,” said Baudler. “More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens leads to fewer deaths by handguns.”

Rep. Paul Bell, D-Newton, a retired police officer, said the measure requires training for those getting a concealed weapons permit and includes background checks.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Bell.

When a permit request is denied, it can be appealed to the Department of Inspections and Appeals, a process that some critics said adds a price tag to the measure.

“There’s a cost to this bill, however we decided in this instance we’ll overlook that little fact,” said Hunter. “This is a bad fix on a bad law for a problem that doesn’t exist.” . . .


NY Times seems to accept that CNN's hosts have no partisan viewpoint

CNN's "hosts not aligned with any partisan point of view"? The leading questions from Larry King don't demonstrate a political viewpoint? Well, this article is from the NY Times. The NY Times is quoting CNN executives, but it would be nice if they thought about asking a critique for an alternative viewpoint.

The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.

CNN had a slightly worse quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, but the last three months have included compelling news events, like the earthquake in Haiti and the battle over health care, and CNN, which emphasizes its hard news coverage, was apparently unable to benefit.

The losses at CNN continued a pattern in place for much of the last year, as the network trailed its competitors in every prime-time hour. (CNN still easily beats MSNBC in the daytime hours, but those are less lucrative in advertising money, and both networks are far behind Fox News at all hours.)

About the only break from the bad news for CNN was that March was not as bad as February, when the network had its worst single month in its recent history, finishing behind not only Fox News and MSNBC, but also its sister network HLN — and even CNBC, which had Olympics programming that month.

CNN executives have steadfastly said that they will not change their approach to prime-time programs, which are led by hosts not aligned with any partisan point of view. . . .


Only 4 percent of voters want to solve deficit by just increasing taxes, 49 percent by cutting spending

The Quinnipiac University poll is available here.

Looking at ways to reduce the deficit, 49 percent of voters want all budget reductions through spending cuts, while 4 percent want it done only through tax hikes, and 42 percent favor a combination of the two, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. . . .

Labels: ,


The Washington Times on the Newest DC Gun Case

Patient dies in British Hospital after being denied water

This is one reason why you don't want the government to control everything. If a private hospital messed up like this, it would likely go out of business.

A patient desperate for a drink of water had to telephone the switchboard of the hospital he was being treated in to beg to see a doctor.

Derek Sauter, 60, used his mobile phone to request medical attention after his pleas for help were ignored.

But when the doctor arrived he was turned away by ward nurse Caroline Lowe, who said Mr Sauter was 'over-reacting' and threatened to confiscate his phone.

Eight hours later the grandfather-of-three, who was suffering with a chest infection, was dead.
Rather than offering sympathy to Susan, Mr Sauter's wife of 41 years, Miss Lowe later told her that he could have been prosecuted for harassing the doctor on call. . . .

Labels: ,

So-called Pro-Life Democrats switched health care vote for Earmarks?

I would have put this data together differently. First one would want to know how much earmarks were asked for by everyone in 2010 and 2011. Then compare that change for the Democrats who switched. Did it fall on average for all congressmen between the two periods.

Here are the earmark amounts requested by the 11 House Democrats in the 2011 bill:

Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois.: $1,418.7 million ($256.4 million in 2010)

Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Texas: $618 million ($726.1 million in 2010)

Stupak of Michigan: $578.9 million

Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio: $332.2 million

Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio: $294 million ($305.7 million in 2010)

Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania: $236.8 million ($54 million in 2010)

Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota.: $207 million ($226 million in 2010)

Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana.: $115.4 million ($82.3 million in 2010)

Rep. Charles Wilson of Ohio: $84 million ($62.3 million in 2010)

Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania.: $67.1 million

Rep. Joseph Donnelly of Indiana: $19.8 million ($11.65 million in 2010)

Labels: ,

Apple Computer won't advertise on Fox News as protest over Glenn Beck

This is very disappointing. Apple is certainly within its right to do this, but it is still disappointing.

More than 200 companies have joined a boycott of Beck's program, making it difficult for Fox to sell ads. The time has instead been sold to smaller firms offering such products as Kaopectate, Carbonite, 1-800-PetMeds and Goldline International. A handful of advertisers, such as Apple, have abandoned Fox altogether. Network executives say they believe they could charge higher rates if the host were more widely acceptable to advertisers. . . .

Labels: ,


Another land mine in the health care bill that will dramatically raise its costs

Yet another reason why the costs of the health care bill are going to be much bigger than claimed.


Government Health Care Bill will cost AT&T $1 billion

One of the many unimagined costs of the health care bill. How many fewer employees will this mean?

AT&T Inc. will book $1 billion in first-quarter costs related to the health-care law signed this week by President Barack Obama, the most of any U.S. company so far.
A change in the tax treatment of Medicare subsidies triggered the non-cash expense, and the company will consider changes to the benefits it offers current and retired workers, Dallas-based AT&T said today in a regulatory filing.
AT&T, the biggest U.S. phone company, joins Caterpillar Inc., AK Steel Holding Corp. and 3M Co. in recording non-cash expenses against earnings as a result of the law. Health-care costs may shave as much as $14 billion from U.S. corporate profits, according to an estimate by benefits consulting firm Towers Watson. AT&T employed about 281,000 people as of the end of January.
“Companies like AT&T, that have large employee bases, are going to have higher health-care costs and, therefore, lower earnings unless they can negotiate something or offer less to their employees,” said Chris Larsen, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York, who rates AT&T shares “overweight” and doesn’t own any himself. . . .

UPDATE: More announcements.

3M sees 1Q charge of $85M-$90M for health reform
(AP) – 3 days ago
NEW YORK — 3M Co., which makes a myriad of products including Post-Its and Scotch Tape, said Friday it expects to take a one-time noncash charge of $85 million to $90 million due to changes in tax deductions relating to the newly enacted health care law.
3M, which is based in Maplewood, Minn., is one of a number of major companies that have had to take a charge on their books to account for a change in the tax treatment of Medicare Part D reimbursements in the future.
The charge is equivalent to 12 cents per share. The company's earnings forecast for this year, which it released in January, did not include the impact of the change.
Earlier this week, AK Steel Corp., Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co. and Valero Energy announced similar accounting charges, saying the health care law that President Barack Obama signed Tuesday will raise their expenses. . . .

Prudential $100 million
Valero Energy $15 to $20 million.

National Public Radio provides a lame defense.

SCOTT GURVEY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: These look like scary numbers: $1 billion at AT&T, $150 million at John Deere, $100 million at Caterpillar, $85 to $90 million at 3M and $31 million at AK Steel. Critics of the new health care law say these numbers prove it will hurt business and the economy. But as Chris Cornett of Credit Suisse explains, that argument fails to put the numbers into perspective.

CHRISTOPHER CORNETT, ANALYST, CREDIT SUISSE: Some of the numbers that have come out have been pretty eye popping, right? But what you have to understand is that what the accounting rules are forcing these companies to do is take cash costs that are occurring in the future, well out into the future and cram them into the current quarter. Now that has the effect of coming up with a large number, but that number doesn't represent the cost this period. . . .

The problem here is the direction of the effect.