More Americans giving up citizenship to escape taxes and regulations

From the Dow Jones Newswire:

The number of American citizens and green-card holders severing their ties with the U.S. soared in the latter part of 2009, amid looming U.S. tax increases and a more aggressive posture by the Internal Revenue Service towards Americans living overseas.

According to public records, just over 500 people worldwide renounced U.S. citizenship or permanent residency in the fourth quarter of 2009, the most recent period for which data are available. That is more people than have cut ties with the U.S. during all of 2007, and more than double the total expatriations in 2008.

An Ohio-born entrepreneur, now based in Switzerland, told Dow Jones he is considering turning in his U.S. passport. Mounting U.S. tax and reporting requirements are making potential business partners hesitate to do business with him, he said.

"I still do dearly love the U.S., and renouncing my citizenship is not something I take lightly. But more and more it is seeming like being part of a dysfunctional family," said the businessman, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution.

"The tax itself is only a small part of the issue," the Swiss-based entrepreneur said. "It's the overall regulatory environment." . . .

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Kansas moving towards letting people carry concealed handguns in more areas

This bill seems to make some real sense. If you can't guarantee that bad guys can't carry guns into an area, don't ban law-abiding citizens from being able to carry a gun.

A bill that would allow concealed carry of weapons on campuses was passed in the Kansas House of Representatives 65 to 57 Wednesday.

According to the text of House Bill 2685, the only way weapons in state or municipal facilities could be prohibited would be if the building had adequate security measures to prove that no weapons could be brought into the facility.

“The concealed carry bill as passed would undermine campus safety and security efforts now in place,” said Jill Jess, university relations spokeswoman. “Allowing weapons on campus would significantly increase the risk of violence and harm to students, faculty and others, rather than making anyone safer.”

The amendment to the bill clarified that “adequate security measures” would include walk-through metal detectors and wands at entrances, along with additional staff at each entrance. According to the Kansas Association of Counties, these measures would cost $52,500 per entrance. University officials were not happy with the possibility of this expense.

“To keep weapons off campus, the University would have to install metal detectors at virtually every building entrance. Such security methods would be cost prohibitive and would not absolutely guarantee safety,” Jess said. . . .

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Arizona about to end permit requirement for concealed handguns in state

Arizona is about to join Alaska, Montana (virtually all of the state), and Vermont in not requiring that people get a permit to carry a concealed handgun. If you are able to legally own a handgun, you will be able to legally carry it. From Fox Phoenix:

A bill making its way to the Governor could change the way people in Arizona carry guns. As it stands now, if you want to carry a concealed weapon, you have to get a permit.

But the new bill will allow any Arizona resident over 21 to carry a concealed weapon, and they wouldn't have to take the training classes currently required.

Under this law proposal, the 8-hour training class would be optional -- only required if you want to take your concealed weapon to other states.

Victoria Johnson lives in Sun City. She never owned a gun until recently, when she got her concealed weapons permit. She took the 8-hour class required by law, which covered serious legal issues.

She says, "I think that there are things that people need to know, that wouldn't know if they didn't take the class."

Jim Gibbs with Shooter's World worries that if this law passes, there could be a whole group of people carrying concealed weapons who may not use them responsibly.

"Now all of a sudden you have a bunch of people carrying guns and they are going to be carrying where they are not supposed to be," says Gibbs.

The state Senator who introduced the bill is confident the Governor will sign it. Russell Pearce and other lawmakers have tried this before, and Napolitano vetoed it.

Pearce doesn't buy the argument that this bill could create problems. "It is illogical to assume that these laws will prevent bad guys from doing bad things. They restrict good people from defending themselves, from defending you." . . .

The Arizona Republic isn't happy:

Arizona is about to fling aside its concealed-weapon requirements. The Legislature passed a bill that would let anyone 21 or older carry a gun tucked into a waistband, purse or other hidden spot. No more training. No more background check. No more mandatory permit.

The only sanity check at this point is Gov. Jan Brewer. She should refuse to toss out the existing concealed-carry permit system. She should ignore the hysterical arguments that Arizona's rational requirements are an assault on gun rights.

Arizonans have long recognized a difference between carrying a gun openly, putting others on notice that you're armed, and carrying it out of sight.

The state didn't allow the general public to get permits for concealed weapons until 1994. The requirements adopted then included a course in handling it and the legal responsibilities when using it. (In fact, there's a good argument that all gun owners should have the same knowledge.) Arizona now has 153,765 active permits. . . .

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Media Bias perceived of as bigger problem than donations

Given that the power of the media becomes more important as campaign donations become more regulated, this finding seems of importance.

Voters agree that big money talks in politics but apparently not as loudly as big media.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of U.S. voters continue to think that media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions, identical to the finding in August 2008.
Thirty-two percent (32%) say big contributions are the bigger problem, but that’s down four points from the previous survey. Thirteen percent (13%) more are not sure.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters say they are more likely to contribute time or money to a political campaign this year compared to previous election years. . . .

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Obama's nonresponse to Palin's critique of Obama's Nuke Policy

His deep response is here.

"I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues," he said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

ABC summarizes Obama's promise this way: "the United States will not use nuclear weapons against any country that has signed and is abiding by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attack the United States with chemical or biological weapons." Apparently, if you sign the treaty, you don't even need to obey it to be covered. Palin pointed out the obvious: "It's kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.'" And Obama provides only an obnoxious response in return.

UPDATE: Here is a discussion on Fox News about the exchange between Obama and Palin.

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New Fox News piece: Our Bloated Goverment Is Already Much, Much Bigger Than You Think

My new Fox News piece starts this way:

How much money does it take for governments of sovereign nations to do their job? Different countries obviously have different answers. Countries run by social democratic or socialist parties will spend lavishly on cradle-to-grave social systems. On the other hand, citizens in non-socialist countries have more choice over how to spend their money. When Americans think of countries with really big governments, they probably think of Sweden or France or Finland. Most of Europe is thought to have much larger governments than the United States.

Unfortunately, this isn't true any more. Even after adjusting for differences in the cost of living and taking into account how many people live in the country, total U.S. government spending -- at all levels of government -- accounts for more real resources per capita than 95 percent of the countries in the world. In fact, 166 out of 175 countries have governments that spend less money than the United States [click here for Table 1]. Our government spends 276 percent more than is spent by the average government of another country around the world. That comes out to about $17,400 per person living in the United States -- almost $70,000 for a family of four. . . .

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Sunspot data

The raw data on sunspot activity is available here. Some diagrams are available here. The raw data shows how clearly the recent sunspot activity has been suppressed.

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"GM Loses $4.3B, Needs $12.3B to Fund Its Pension"

And after spending $100 billion and essentially eliminating GM's debt this is what we have to show:

General Motors is out of bankruptcy but the troubled car giant still can't turn a profit. The company lost $4.3 billion in its first six months since emerging from bankruptcy. GM Chief Financial Officer Christopher P. Liddell is confident the road ahead will be smoother, saying "there's a chance of achieving profitability in 2010."

Let's hope so. The U.S. government owns 61% of the company.

GM is also struggling with its pension obligations; a large portion of GM's loss was due to a settlement with the United Workers Automobile Workers union over retiree health care liabilities.

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, GM will need to add $12.3 billion into its pension fund by 2014. If GM and Chrysler (which is in the hole $2.6 billion) terminate their pensions, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation – funded by, you know who - would then become responsible for as much as $14.5 billion in unfunded liabilities. However, if GM starts making money the company will be able to pay into the pension, the GAO reports. . . .

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Utah and Wyoming support Montana's Right to Regulate Guns produced within its borders

From the AP:

State officials in Wyoming and Utah plan to enter a lawsuit pending in Montana to argue the federal government lacks authority to regulate firearms that are made and sold in the same state.

The attorneys general of Wyoming and Utah say they plan to file a brief in the Montana case this week. It's possible other states may sign on as well.

The states involved have adopted "firearms freedom" laws that seek to exempt guns manufactured and sold in the same state from federal regulations.

In Montana, pro-gun groups sued the federal government last year over its contention that federal guns laws still apply despite the state law.

The U.S. Department of Justice argues Montana lacked authority to exempt guns from national gun control laws.


Can teachers read? This one sure can't

I wonder whether teachers can read (or at least comprehend what they say they have read) after seeing something like this.

The plan would base teacher pay raises primarily on student learning gains on standardized tests, such as the FCAT, and eliminate tenure job protections for teachers hired after July. . . .

Helping sway Crist on the tenure bill: teachers like Marie Angel Welsh, who teaches at Nova Middle School in Broward and was among dozens of teachers to testify against the tenure bill in Tallahassee this week. She told legislators she's taught at high-scoring and low-scoring schools, and teachers were "no less talented" at the latter. . . .

The point of the bill isn't to pay teachers based on the level of student test scores, but on the change in test scores.

It is another question whether teacher salaries should be based on how good of a job they do as opposed to how many years that they have taught, but personally I find it hard to believe that you really want to pay any worker based on years at the job and the number of training classes on takes. The fact that Charlie Crist is vacillating on signing this bill probably tells most people all they need to know about Crist in his primary race against Marco Rubio.


Greenspan finally blames Congress for pressure to make bad loans

Why so long to make this argument? I could speculate that he thought that they would go easy on him if he didn't go after them.

Mr. Greenspan sought to lay blame for the crisis on international economic forces that were pouring money into the U.S. real-estate market, as well as on domestic political pressures to boost homeownership.

He singled out the congressionally chartered mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were major consumers of subprime mortgages. Republicans on the commission, particularly former Bush administration adviser Keith Hennessey, echoed that concern.

Mr. Greenspan suggested that Fed critics have lost sight of the political atmosphere that prevailed at the time. "I mean, I sat through meeting after meeting in which the pressures on the Federal Reserve—and on, I might add, all of the other regulatory agencies—to enhance lending were remarkable." . . .

Greenspan: "While the roots of the crisis were global, it was securitized US subprime mortgages that served as the crisis' immediate trigger. The surge in demand for mortgage back securities was heavily driven by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which were pressed by the Dept of Housing and Urban development and the Congress to expand affordable housing commitments."


Obama Economic Adviser Pushes National Sales Tax

What was that promise not to raise taxes on people making less that $250,000 per year? From Fox News:

Acknowledging it would be a highly unpopular move, White House economic adviser Paul Volcker said yesterday the United States should consider imposing a "value added tax" similar to those charged in Europe to help get the deficit under control.

A VAT is a national sales tax that, like state and city sales taxes, would be collected by retailers.

Volcker, at the New-York Historical Society, told a panel on the global financial crisis that Congress might also have to consider new taxes on carbon and energy.

The VAT suggestion was immediately met with outrage by Republicans.

"It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Obama White House would advocate a European-style tax to help finance their European-style government health-care plan," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. . . .

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18 states now ask courts to strike down government health care law

Given that most state Attorneys General and/or Governors are Democrats, there is a limit to how many states will do this, but this number is encouraging. When the case gets to the Supreme Court it will be interesting to see how many states will openly support the government health care bill. My guess is that it is a lot easier to do nothing than it is to actively support it.

The joint lawsuit led by Florida and now grouping 18 states was filed on March 23. It claims the sweeping reform of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system violates state-government rights in the U.S. Constitution and will force massive new spending on hard-pressed state governments.

South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, and South Dakota had previously joined Florida's lawsuit.

"We welcome the partnership of Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona as we continue fighting to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens and the sovereignty of our states," Bill McCollum said.

The lawsuit says the health overhaul law -- which expands government health plans for the poor, imposes new taxes on the wealthy and requires insurers to cover people with preexisting medical conditions -- violates the Constitution's commerce clause by requiring nearly all Americans to buy health insurance. . . .


How big is the US government?

How much money does it take for governments to do their job? This table compares per capita total government expenditures at all levels in different countries using purchasing power parity so as to ensure that each dollar has the same purchasing power in each country. Out of 175 countries, the US places 9th highest. This doesn't quite fit the notion of limited government that the US was founded on. Removing military expenditures only moves the US's rank down to 12th.


Breaking campaign promises about taxes yet again

How many times during the presidential campaign did Obama promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000? Those people were not supposed to see any of their taxes go up. Of course, the government health care bill was filled with taxes that will be paid by people at all income levels. Now under the notion that if you have broken a promise ten times already, why not break it a few more times?

The Obama administration has a plan to expand online innovation and boost national public safety. And it wants to do it with more taxes and higher fees.

The massive national broadband plan the Federal Communications Commission released last month proposes creating a national framework for the taxation of digital goods and services and imposing a fee to establish and maintain a national public safety wireless broadband network.

The FCC says the national tax would eliminate the headaches that come with varying state and local taxes on digital goods and services. And the public safety network would help avoid the communication failures among first responders to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

But the proposals are already drawing fierce criticism.

"Americans already suffering from a recession prolonged by Mr. Obama's policies are being asked to concur that raising – yes, raising – taxes on a nationwide basis will somehow 'reduce uncertainty and remove one barrier to online entrepreneurship and investment,'" Timothy Lee, vice president of legal and public affairs for the Center for Individual Freedom, wrote in an opinion article published in the Washington Times. . . .

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"Homeowner Killed Armed Assailant During Break-In, Police Say"


BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. -- A suspected burglar who was shot to death by the owner of the home he had broken into had served several years in prison.
Police said Marvin Cook Jr., 29, entered a house in the 4200 block of Chapel Road in Perry Hall at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday and pointed a handgun at 68-year-old William Bozman, who was asleep in his bed.
"He ordered Bozman to give him money. Mr. Bozman was able to get out of bed quickly and retrieve his own handgun and ordered the suspect to drop his handgun," said Cpl. Mike Hill of the Baltimore County police.
Officials said Cook advanced toward Bozman and, fearing for his life, Bozman fired several shots.
Hill said Cook continued toward Bozman and actually fell on top of the homeowner after being shot. Hill said Bozman was able to get up and call police. Bozman has not been charged with a crime.
Cook died at Franklin Square Hospital. . . .

Thanks to Robert Borden for the link.


Goodwin Liu "anti-gun" nominee that Obama wants to be a Federal Appeals Court Judge

Nominees such as this will undo the whatever protections that the recent Supreme Court decisions have acknowledged.

Imagine a judicial candidate that is so far to the left that even Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, is hesitant to push him forward.

Imagine a liberal law professor that not only fails to meet the ABA's basic requirements for a federal judge, but is so green behind the ears that it appears the only reason he is being nominated to the federal courts is because he served as part of President Obama's transition team. . . .

a law journal article of Liu's where he criticizes the Supreme Court for declaring two gun control laws as unconstitutional -- the Brady Law's unfunded mandate and the Gun-Free School Zones Act.

Liu said that Supreme Court cases like these did "damage" to civil rights and "upset settled understandings of congressional power." What?! Striking down gun control laws does damage to civil rights? Well, let's be clear: the Court did upset someone's "settled" understanding of things, but it was the LIBERAL'S misunderstanding of the Constitution.

By the way, Liu co-authored the 2002 law journal article with then-Senator Hillary Clinton . . .

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Goodwin Liu left out information on over 117 speeches, publications, and other materials from his judicial nomination materials

This appears to be an unprecedented attempt by a judicial nominee to hide his record.

Senate Republicans on Tuesday slammed one of the Obama administration's most controversial judicial nominees for failing to initially disclose more than 100 of his speeches, publications and other background materials -- an omission the Republicans called unprecedented and a possible attempt to "hide his most controversial work."

They said Goodwin Liu's nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is in "jeopardy" in light of the problem.

The complaint came after Liu, a Berkeley law professor, gave the Senate Judiciary Committee a bundle of supplemental material that contained 117 things he left out after his February nomination.

Among the items disclosed were several speeches on affirmative action and his participation at an event co-sponsored by the Center for Social Justice at Berkeley and the the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group.

In response to the new information, all seven Republicans on the Judiciary Committee fired off a letter to its chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., demanding that Liu's hearing be postponed again.

Liu's hearing already has been postponed twice, and Republicans have mounted somewhat of a campaign against him -- targeting him for his writings suggesting health care is a right and describing the Constitution as a document that should adapt to changes in the world.

The omissions didn't help his case.

"At best, this nominee's extraordinary disregard for the committee's constitutional role demonstrates incompetence; at worst, it creates the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his most controversial work from the committee," the Republicans wrote in the letter to Leahy Tuesday. "Professor Liu's unwillingness to take seriously his obligation to complete these basic forms is potentially disqualifying and has placed his nomination in jeopardy."

The letter said Liu only provided the extra material after committee staff had found a number of omissions in the packet he gave up front.

"These are not minor omissions," the letter said. . . .

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New Washington Times piece

Media Matters blows it again on describing whether congressional staff are covered by parts of health care bill

Media Matters claims: "Media falsely claim Obama and staff are 'exempt' from health care reform"

1) Politico and Roll Call and other publications did not claim that all congressional staff were exempt. What they reported was a discussion by the Congressional Research Service that some parts of the congressional staff were exempt. Media Matters quotes the text of the bill saying: "The term ''congressional staff'' means all full-time and parttime employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC." The problem is that "the official office" doesn't cover all the congressional staff.

As I wrote in my piece for Fox News: "the Congressional Research Service memo believes that courts will not require “professional committee staff, joint committee staff, some shared staff, as well as potentially those staff employed by leadership offices” to go through the exchanges. President Obama and his family are also exempt from the law."

My reading of the media was that they were discussing whether these staff were covered by the state exchanges.

2) Then Media Matters goes on to claim that this provision was inserted by Republican members of Congress. There appears to be some debate on this, but where ever the truth lay on that, one thing is clear: the Republicans put forward amendments to ensure that all congressional staff would have to abide by the health care regulations and Democrats voted down that amendment. At first the explanation was that the Senate wanted to keep the bill clean because they didn't want to make the House vote again on the bill. By even after it turned out that the reconciliation bill would be changed by the Senate and a House revote was necessary, no amendment was made to "fix" the bill. This would seem to imply that the Democrats, not Republicans, liked the wording the way it was.

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Obama throws the opening pitch very poorly

This guy is just too cute. Wearing a White Sox baseball hat so that they can blame the boos on the hat, but it is hard to see any change in boos after he pulls out the hat.

Here is a picture from the All Star game last year. Obama declined an invitation to throw out the opening day pitch for the Nationals last year.

Obama is a diehard White Sox fan.

The first fan was interviewed during the game's television broadcast by former Sox pitcher Rob Dibble, who asked the president about his favorite players on the South Side growing up.

This is was the point that the usually eloquent Obama began stammering.

Obama: "I want the Nats to do well. I love them, but I am a South side kid. . . ."

Dibble: "Who was one of your favorite White Sox players growing up?"

Obama: "You know uh ..... I ... I thought that ... uh .... you know ... The truth is a lot of the Cubs I like too! But, uh ... I did not become a Sox fan until I moved to Chicago. Because I uh .... I was growing up in Hawaii so I ended up actually being an Oakland A's fan. But when I moved to Chicago I was living close to what was then Cominskey Park and went to a couple of games and just fell in love. And the nice thing about the Sox's is that it is real blue collar baseball."

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"California lawmaker would outlaw 'open carry' gun right"

More talk about things that might go wrong rather than giving actual examples. From the Christian Science Monitor:

A California lawmaker has stepped into a growing gun rights debate by introducing legislation that would essentially outlaw what's called the "open carry" of unloaded weapons on public property.

The measure, which was first introduced last month but is not expected to have its first hearing until April, is meant to address the growing “open carry” movement, in which some gun owners have taken to meeting in coffee shops, parks, and restaurants while wearing holstered weapons to raise awareness about gun rights.

“People should be free from the fear and the potential for violence firearms represent,” said Democratic Assembly Member Lori Saldaña of San Diego, in a statement. “These displays of firearms can create potentially dangerous situations.” . . .

A copy of the bill is available here:


AB 1934, as introduced, Saldana. Firearms.
Existing law generally regulates firearms transfers, including the use of a register in connection with sales, as specified.
This bill would make a technical, nonsubstantive change to those provisions.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


SECTION 1. Section 12075 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
12075. The State Printer upon issuing a register shall forward to the Department of Justice the name and business address of the dealer together with the series and sheet numbers of the register. The register shall not be transferable. If the dealer moves his or her business to a different location he or she shall notify the department of such that fact in writing within 48 hours.


Obama starts $21 MILLION loan program for small businesses

The government will be involved in determining the businesses that deserve this money. But it is so trivial. This is worth significant news coverage?

In March 2009, President Obama vowed to address the drought of bank lending to small companies and announced an initiative to use $15 billion from the federal bailout to unfreeze the markets that finance Small Business Administration loans.

More than a year later, the program was finally launched -- as a $21 million effort.

The program is one of several small-business lending initiatives developed by the administration that have struggled to get off the ground. Meanwhile, lending to these companies has fallen. Federal data show that lending to small businesses by community banks declined by about $8 billion, or 2 percent, between September 2008 and September 2009.

Administration officials say helping small businesses get credit remains a top priority. It is a critical component of the strategy to address the nation's high unemployment. More than half of all U.S. workers are at companies with fewer than 50 employees. Without access to loans, many of these firms are laying off workers or shutting their doors altogether.

Obama's economic team has put forward several major programs to increase small-business lending.

The first, unveiled in March 2009, focused on helping the SBA get loans into the hands of small businesses. This initiative proposed spending $15 billion to aid the markets that provide the financing for SBA loans. But in the months after the government's announcement, these markets recovered on their own, administration officials say. As a result, there was no need for a more expensive program.

Officials at the Treasury Department decided to launch a tiny $21 million pilot version of the program last month, just in case SBA lending falls back into turmoil. If that happens, the Treasury could easily ramp up the initiative now that it is operational, officials said. . . .

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Stupak offers strange explanation for this health care vote

From the WSJ's Political Diary:

Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak is paying a price among his pro-life backers for throwing his support behind ObamaCare. He famously agreed to vote for the health-care bill only after the White House issued an executive order barring any federal funding for abortion -- an order so weak some pro-choice liberals promptly exulted that it couldn't pass legal muster.

Trying to shore up his wavering support, Mr. Stupak recently defended his vote to the Catholic News Agency, saying the legislation would have passed anyway because Speaker Nancy Pelosi "always carries a number of votes in her pocket." He further explained that, by voting "yes," he had allowed other more vulnerable congressmen to vote "no." "I had a number of members who thanked us after because they could vote no," Mr. Stupak said. . . .

See also this.

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Obama administration's pirate program: catch and release

This doesn't seem like a very well-thought out policy. If we are going to release the pirates if the country of the attacked ship doesn't want to prosecute,

A U.S. Navy ship has sunk a pirate "mother ship" in the Indian Ocean and captured 11 pirates, and then promptly let them go.

It was the second time within 24 hours that U.S. forces captured Somali pirates. Earlier Thursday, five pirates were taken into custody after they attacked a U.S. warship.

While those five pirates remain in custody, the 11 captured Thursday were allowed to leave in small skiffs after the mother ship was sunk. The action prompted a Pentagon spokesman to deny that the Navy had a "catch and release" policy regarding pirates.

A Naval official told ABC News that the practice of releasing pirates is not unheard of. While piracy is illegal according to international maritime law, it is considered a criminal issue, not a national security one.

If the country of the attacked ship does not want to prosecute the pirates, and if Kenya, which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Naval forces, does not agree to prosecute them, there are few options as to where the suspected pirates can be held and tried.

The latest confrontation occurred when pirates on three skiffs tried to hijack the Sierra Leone-flagged commercial ship MV Evita using rocket propelled grenades and rifle fire. . . .


"Indiana Attorney General Joins Health Care Fray"



Why Doesn't Obama acknowledge his White Heritage?

This is pretty strange. I guess that I don't understand why this is such a struggle. It also indicates to me a certain anger against whites that he won't even acknowledge his heritage. Is he worried that his black base will be upset if he acknowledges that he is half white? Why can't he even try bringing people together on this issue of race? Presumably it would be even more difficult for his children, though if a typical child were one-quarter asian or American Indian or I presume black, the child would be listed as having that racial background.

He may be the world's foremost mixed-race leader, but when it came to the official government head count, President Barack Obama gave only one answer to the question about his ethnic background: African-American.

The White House confirmed Friday that Obama did not check multiple boxes on his U.S. Census form, or choose the option that allows him to elaborate on his racial heritage. He ticked the box that says "Black, African Am., or Negro."

Obama filled out the form on Monday, supplying information for himself, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha, as well as for Mrs. Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, who lives with the family in the White House.

For Obama, whose mother Ann Dunham, a white woman from Kansas, married his father, Kenyan native Barack Obama Sr., the question of his racial identity has been a lifelong struggle. His first memoir, "Dreams From My Father," is an account of a difficult journey of discovery. . . .

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Pre-viewing Obama Government Health Care

So how have the pre-existing condition rules worked out in Massachusetts? I have pointed out multiple times how the CBO estimates have completely ignored the impact of changing pre-existing condition rules (not one mention of them in any report).

Thousands of consumers are gaming Massachusetts’ 2006 health insurance law by buying insurance when they need to cover pricey medical care, such as fertility treatments and knee surgery, and then swiftly dropping coverage, a practice that insurance executives say is driving up costs for other people and small businesses.

In 2009 alone, 936 people signed up for coverage with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts for three months or less and ran up claims of more than $1,000 per month while in the plan. Their medical spending while insured was more than four times the average for consumers who buy coverage on their own and retain it in a normal fashion, according to data the state’s largest private insurer provided the Globe. . . .

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Some really disturbingly large marginal tax increases in the Tax Code


Why does Obama need the power to take over state National Guards whenever he wants?

Up until now a president could only takeover a state's national guard during a time of war, isn't it a big change to say that the President can now take over the national guards at any time? Why is that part of the health care bill?
The constitution limits funding the military to two years at a time. This legislation sets up a domestic military that can be funded at four years at a time.
Judge Napolitano asks: Why do doctors in this new division that is being set up need to have uniforms and guns?


Palin summarizing Obama's Government Health Care Plan: How many other Republican politicians would say this?

Sarah Palin on Obama's health care plan. Time magazine adds in the editorializing with the word "taunted."

"I see Fidel Castro likes Obamacare, and we don't," she taunted. "Doesn't that tell you something?"

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Info on Justices Stevens and Ginsburg

Pancreatic cancer is very bad: "The overall five-year relative survival rate for 1995-2001 was 4.6 percent." From Fox News:

Stevens is the second-oldest justice in the court's history, after Oliver Wendell Holmes. He is the seventh-longest-serving justice, with more than 34 years on the court.

Another liberal, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had surgery last year for early-stage pancreatic cancer. While Ginsburg has been her usual energetic self, including frequent speaking engagements and a teaching stint in Europe, long-term survival rates for pancreatic cancer are low.

Ginsburg, 77, has said she intends to serve into her early 80s, and she has hired her clerks for the court term that begins in October 2010. . . .


Are people's political views changing this much over their lifetimes?

There is a very interesting post at OKCupid.com about how people's views supposedly change over their lifetimes. There might indeed be something to this, but I would have to see the data broken down differently before I believe it. We know that people raised in different eras have different political views. People who came of age during the 1980s tend to be more conservative than those who did so during the 1960s. The data in the above diagram is from a purely cross-sectional survey. What you really need to do is follow people over time, obviously a long period of time if you want a graph like the above one. For example, are people in their 60s more economically liberal because of their age or because they came of age in the 1960s or is it both? I suspect it is both, though I don't know how important the different factors are. If it is both, the figure above will tend to exaggerate the changes over time in a person's views.


Obama's 17 minute answer to whether there are taxes in the Health Care bill

Even the Washington Post was tough: "He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze." Of course, Obama filled his discussion with lots of buzz words and inaccurate claims.

Toward the end of a question-and-answer session with workers at an advanced battery technology manufacturer, a woman named Doris stood to ask the president whether it was a "wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care" package.

"We are over-taxed as it is," Doris said bluntly.

Obama started out feisty. "Well, let's talk about that, because this is an area where there's been just a whole lot of misinformation, and I'm going to have to work hard over the next several months to clean up a lot of the misapprehensions that people have," the president said.

He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer - more than 2,500 words long -- wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules passed by Congress, Congressional Budget Office reports on Medicare waste, COBRA coverage, the Recovery Act and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (he referred to this last item by its inside-the-Beltway name, "F-Map"). He talked about the notion of eliminating foreign aid (not worth it, he said). He invoked Warren Buffett, earmarks and the payroll tax that funds Medicare (referring to it, in fluent Washington lingo, as "FICA"). . . .

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