The Obama administration keeps blaming others for the high unemployment rate

From CBS News:

Vice President Joe Biden gave a stark assessment of the economy today, telling an audience of supporters, "there's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession."

Appearing at a fundraiser with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) in Milwaukee, the vice president remarked that by the time he and President Obama took office in 2008, the gross domestic product had shrunk and hundreds of thousands of jobs had been lost.

"We inherited a godawful mess," he said, adding there was "no way to regenerate $3 trillion that was lost. Not misplaced, lost." . . .

Here is a piece from the Washington Times on the revisionist history of the Obama administration.

There's simply no legitimacy to Obama administration claims of being caught unawares of the seriousness of the economic downturn. The president routinely exaggerated how bad things were to push his massive spending programs. The 8.1 estimate was made 11 days after the $787 billion stimulus bill was signed into law, which occurred after the fourth quarter 2008 gross domestic product numbers were released. At that point, it was obvious the economy was headed down fast. . . . .

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American Military History through Stamps & Postal History (1775-1913)

My third son, Roger, is interning with the Smithsonian this summer and he put this collection together for their website.


Some notes on the Financial Regulation BIll

A marked up copy of the about 2,000 page bill is here.

Some aspects of the bill are here:

Lawmakers agreed to a provision known as the "Volcker" rule . . . which prohibits banks from making risky bets with their own funds. To win support from Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.), Democrats agreed to allow financial companies to make limited investments in areas such as hedge funds and private-equity funds.

The move could require some big banks to spin off divisions, known as proprietary-trading desks, which make bets with the firms' money. . . .

To pay for some of the new government programs, the bill would allow the government to charge fees to large banks and hedge funds to raise up to $19 billion spread over five years. . . .

Government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain a multibillion dollar drain on the U.S. Treasury, and largely untouched by this proposal. . . .

Democrats softened the bill's impact on community banks, auto dealers, and small payday lenders and check cashers. . . .

The bill also includes a provision, authored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark), which would limit the ability of federally insured banks to trade derivatives. This provision almost derailed the bill following vehement objections from New York Democrats. Ms. Lincoln worked out a deal in the early hours of Friday morning that would allow banks to trade interest-rate swaps, certain credit derivatives and others—in other words the kind of standard safeguards a bank would take to hedge its own risk.

Banks, however, would have to set up separately capitalized affiliates to trade derivatives in areas lawmakers perceived as riskier, including metals, energy swaps, and agriculture commodities, among other things. . . .

From the New York Times:

basically a 2,000-page missive to federal agencies, instructing regulators to address subjects ranging from derivatives trading to document retention. But it is notably short on specifics, giving regulators significant power to determine its impact — and giving partisans on both sides a second chance to influence the outcome.

The much-debated prohibition on banks investing their own money, for example, leaves it up to regulators to set the exact boundaries. Lobbyists for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and other large banks already are pressing to exclude some kinds of lucrative trading from that definition.

Regulators are charged with deciding how much money banks have to set aside against unexpected losses, so the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents large financial companies, and other banking groups have been making a case to the regulators that squeezing too hard would hurt the economy. . . .

From Politico:

Dodd, to reporters afterward: “The harmonization of our rules, particularly with those in the European community, Pacific Rim, I think will be awfully important. And the United States, having completed this work -- we hope in the next week -- can offer some leadership to the world …

Translation: If the rest of the world doesn't impose similar restrictive rules, the financial industry will leave the country.

So what did the administration do?

The administration was less involved than expected. But when the administration weighed in, it was to push toward TOUGHER language. An industry lobbyist says administration officials were on the Hill all day “and cornered Dems to know down pro-industry amendments at every turn.”

Now Obama wants a bigger $90 billion tax on banks.

Obama wants to slap a 0.15 percent tax on the liabilities of the biggest U.S. financial institutions to recoup the costs to taxpayers of the financial bailout.

"We need to impose a fee on the banks that were the biggest beneficiaries of taxpayer assistance at the height of our financial crisis -- so we can recover every dime of taxpayer money," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. . . .

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Sarah Palin discusses who funded all the lawsuits against her while she was Governor of Alaska

The lawsuits basically forced her to leave office as governor. They would have taken a huge amount of her time just dealing with depositions. For those who haven't been through a deposition, 28 cases would have taken one day for the deposition and easily at least two or three days to prepare. Add to that the legal bill that Palin would have had to pay based on her governor's salary. Even without more cases being filed (and more would be filed), Palin would have gotten little else done as governor.

So who funded the lawsuits?

The National Democratic Committee used its Alaska chapter, the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP), to create a website with one stated goal: "Keep Sarah Palin Out of Public Office." To this day, the Democrats use this website to publicly seek donations for funding bogus "legal challenges involving issues related to Sarah Palin."
The ADP's "Keep Sarah Palin Out of Public Office" campaign used our own legal system to sponsor more than two dozen ethics complaints against Governor Palin. Out of the 27 complaints, 26 were dismissed!
The so-called "independent counsel" who started this investigation was an attorney from President Barack Obama's law firm.


Charlie Crist's political drift over his whole political career

Hotline has a long article here. This is just the beginning of the piece:

FL Gov. Charlie Crist (I) has become adept at altering his policy positions to fit the current political circumstance. The media breathlessly reports every time Crist flip-flops on an issue. But the exact number of switches is hard to pin down, mostly because it's so hard to keep up with them.
Hotline OnCall has tallied up every major Crist position switch since his first statewide race, a '98 SEN bid against ex-Sen./ex-Gov. Bob Graham (D). Crist has definitely switched his publicly-stated opinion on 7 major issues, and there are 2 more that may have shifted, depending on how you look at it. There are 4 more issues where Crist's opinions may be open to change, but the exact history of his stances can't be traced or haven't been recorded.
Crist's opinions have largely traced his electoral path. He was more of a libertarian centrist in '98, but a tough FL GOV primary against CFO Tom Gallagher (R) in '06 led him to take more socially conservative positions as the campaign progressed. When Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) considered him for his VP short list in '08, Crist's positions changed to toe the GOP platform, and then edged further to the right during the early days of the '10 FL SEN primary against ex-state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R). After he left the GOP in late Apr., observers have marveled at the speed of his shifts to the left.
Some of his switches are infamous and much derided by his opponents -- his recent veto of an ultrasound anti-abortion bill is just the latest iteration of a complicated abortion record that began in '98, when he was ostensibly pro-choice.
By the end of '06, he was advocating for FL to pass a bill similar to a SD ballot measure outlawing all abortions. Now he says that gov't shouldn't be involved in such "personal" decisions. Offshore drilling is another much-chronicled Crist epic -- he was against it, then he was for it when he was up for VP, now he's against it. Other clear-cut flip-flops include gay adoption (against, now for), Don't Ask, Don't Tell (for, now against), easing Cuban travel restrictions (against, now for), an independent FL redistricting commission (against, now for), and whether he would remain a member of, and a candidate within, his own party. That adds up to 7 total flips. . . .


Sarah Palin libertarian?

She has always struck me as libertarian on some issues from taxes to energy to the right to keep and bear arms. Palin on Marijuana

"We need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts," said Palin. "If somebody's gonna to smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society."


How many people die each year in the US from firearms? Closer to 25,000 than to 30,000

How many people are murdered with firearms in 2008? 9,484

How many accidental deaths in 2007? 613

How many suicide deaths from firearms in 2005? 14,916

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CRN Radio at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT June 26th

Remember ruckus over boy shot by US Border Patrol?: among El Paso's most wanted juvenile immigrant smugglers

At least four arrests for smuggling and the worst that he got was a $50 fine?

A 15-year-old Mexican boy shot and killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent was among El Paso's most wanted juvenile immigrant smugglers, according to federal arrest records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The records show Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca had been arrested at least four times since 2008 and twice in the same week in February 2009 on suspicion of smuggling illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. Hernandez was repeatedly arrested along the U.S. side of the border near downtown El Paso, not far from where he was killed, but was never charged with a crime by federal prosecutors.

A Border Patrol agent shot and killed Hernandez June 7 while trying to arrest illegal immigrants crossing the muddy bed of the Rio Grande. Some witnesses said a group of people on the Mexican side were throwing rocks at the agents. Agents are generally permitted to use lethal force against rock throwers.

The records show that in at least one case Hernandez was to be paid $50 a person for smuggling four people into the U.S.

The records also show that in one case, federal prosecutors declined to charge Hernandez because there were no "extenuating circumstances or endangerment." . . .


Obama and golf

In about 74 weeks in office, President Obama has gone golfing 39 times. A rate of about once every 1.9 weeks. Apparently it takes him around 5 hours to do a round of golf. Since the oil leak in the Gulf he has gone golfing seven times in nine weeks, a rate of once every 1.29 weeks.

Yet, no matter the image of Obama being out of touch, the biggest problem seems to be that he shuts down golf courses for huge amounts of time as he slowly plays through them. Possibly the Bushes played quickly so that they didn't inconvenience everyone else (see quote at the bottom).

President Barack Obama is facing the same dilemma several of his Republican predecessors faced during times of national crisis: whether to golf.
His love of the game is clear from his willingness to play over successive weekends, even in sweltering heat.
But he has come under criticism from Republicans — and some in the media — for playing the country-club sport while millions of gallons of oil spew into the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama has played at least seven times since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, according to a compilation of media reports. He has reportedly golfed a total of 39 times since his inauguration, though some rounds came during vacations. . . .

Here is something from last year in the New York Times.

Bill Clinton was famous for the creative way he kept score. Both George Bushes would speed-golf through 18 holes as if they had to beat the clock, not the course.
And President Obama?
Long, slow rounds. A lot of time hunting for balls in the woods. All dished up with a dollop of trash-talking. . . .
He spent five hours on Monday afternoon playing 18 holes at the Farm Neck Golf Club here, two and a half hours on Tuesday playing nine holes at Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven, and several hours playing Thursday afternoon at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown. . . .
“His golf games are long because he’s not very good,” said Don Van Natta Jr., a reporter for The New York Times who wrote “First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters From Taft to Bush” (PublicAffairs, 2003). . . .
Mr. Obama shoots in the 90s on a good day . . . .


There is apparently still a small chance that the financial regulatory mess threatening us could still be derailed

It all depends on Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). He got in an exemption that fit what the banks in his states do.

For a senator from the minority party who has served for all of six months, Brown influenced the bill like he was an Old Bull. He solidified his standing as the go-to Republican moderate for the Democratic leadership, a coy and intermittently frustrating but increasingly important player in Capitol Hill negotiations.

“I’m probably the deciding vote again,” he boasted in an interview Thursday with the Boston Globe.

Talk about constituent service. Brown even managed to get one over on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker — by driving the effort to build exemptions into the Volcker Rule that helps State Street and other Massachusetts banks.

Volcker wanted to effectively ban banks from trading with their own money — because big losses could mean guaranteed taxpayer bailouts. Brown helped win the right for banks nationwide to invest three percent of their equity in hedge funds and private equity funds.

Now, Ted Kennedy’s replacement is once again hinting he could bail on the bill over a $19 billion levy on the financial industry added at the last minute. . . .

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New ICE appointee opposed checking immigration status of criminals

A supporter of sanctuary cities helping to run ICE? That is pretty bizarre.

The widow of a Houston police officer killed by an illegal immigrant was "shocked" to learn that the city's former police chief has landed a top immigration job with the Obama administration, her lawyer told FoxNews.com on Friday.

That's because Joslyn Johnson, whose husband, Rodney Johnson, was killed in 2006, is suing former Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt for failing to enforce federal immigration laws. She claims her husband would be alive today if the city had bothered to check up on the gunman's immigration status.

Now that Hurtt is taking a job to oversee partnerships between federal and local officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Johnson -- and other critics -- say they're concerned the official who resisted immigration enforcement in Houston will now be in charge of promoting it.

"She was shocked at the irony," Johnson's attorney, Ben Dominguez, said.

As a police chief, Hurtt was a supporter of "sanctuary city" policies, by which illegal immigrants who don't commit crimes can live without fear of exposure or detainment because police don't check for immigration papers. During his tenure as Houston police chief, he criticized ICE's key program that draws on local law enforcement's support. He said in 2008 that local police "don't want to be immigration officers." He described that as a burden on the force. . . .

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Something to remember when the Supreme Court releases its decision on the Chicago Handgun ban case on Monday

Here are the latest numbers on Chicago's crime rates over time. DC's crime rates are available here.

Mayor Daley's reaction to the Supreme Court striking down the DC handgun ban in Heller. From the Chicago Tribune June 28, 2008):

An angry Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday called the Supreme Court's overturning of the Washington D.C. gun ban "a very frightening decision" and vowed to fight vigorously any challenges to Chicago's ban.

The mayor, speaking at a Navy Pier event, said he was sure mayors nationwide, who carry the burden of keeping cities safe, will be outraged by the decision.

Chicago's handgun ban, which has lasted for more than a quarter-century, came under threat earlier in the day when the Supreme Court decided that Washington D.C.'s law against handgun ownership is unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court determined that Americans have the right to own guns for self-defense as well as hunting. The decision, which had been expected, is a win for gun-rights advocates and provides a better definition of the rights of Americans to own firearms.

Illinois gun-rights activists have said they expect to mount a quick legal challenge to the Chicago Weapons Ordinance.

Other city officials said they felt confidant that challenge would fail.

"We are confident that this does not invalidate Chicago's ordinance at this point," said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city Law Department.

Benna Solomon, deputy corporation counsel for the city, asserted that the Supreme Court decision only applies to the federal government. Washington D.C., she said, is part of the federal government, but Chicago is an independent home-rule unit of Illinois.

"The court notes that is not required to consider whether the 2nd Amendment also applies to state and local government, and therefore it does not consider that question," Solomon said. "The court had previously held on three occasions the 2nd Amendment does not apply to state and local government, and it does not reconsider or even address that issue in this opinion."

Nevertheless, the city expects to be sued, Hoyle said. "We are prepared to aggressively litigate this issue and defend this ordinance," she added.

Daley said the Supreme Court decision, by allowing guns in city streets but still banning them in the halls of federal power, further widens the gap between the country's elite and the common people.

"This decision really places those who are rich and those who are in power [to] always feel safe," Daley said. "Those who do not have the power do not feel safe, and that's what they're saying."

The press never mentions the many citizens who are maimed but not slain by guns, the ones who take the real toll on America's health-care and tax systems, Daley said.

"They're the forgotten souls, they're in the nursing home for the rest of their lives," Daley said. "They're the ones with spinal cord injuries, head injuries, costing the government millions of dollars to taxpayers."

"They can have all the guns we want in the fed building," Daley said. "They can have all the guns. But why should we as a city not be able to protect ourselves from those who want guns in our society?"

It was the first time in nearly 70 years that the court had taken up broad questions about the 2nd Amendment's protections of the right to bear arms. The city of Chicago, which has had its own ban on handgun ownership since 1982, had filed a brief with the court in support of the ban in January.

Daley stressed the danger of private gun ownership, not only to other Chicago citizens, but to the children of gun owners.

"We've shown time and time again how many children have been killed in their homes by guns," he said. "Parents are away, they get the gun. Parents are away, the child takes the gun, runs out in the street and has an argument, comes back and shoots somebody." . . .

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John Stossel on: "More Guns, Less Crime?""

If you are having trouble with the links above, go here.

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"Rolling Stone broke interview ground rules with McChrystal, military officials say"

This is pretty outrageous behavior by the Rolling Stone. I wonder what if any professional sanction there will be on the publication.

But the command has concluded from its own review of events that McChrystal was betrayed when the journalist quoted banter among the general and his staff, much of which they thought was off the record. They contend that the magazine inaccurately depicted the attribution ground rules for the interviews.

"Many of the sessions were off-the-record and intended to give [reporter Michael Hastings] a sense" of how McChrystal's team operated, according to a senior military official. The command's own review of events, the official said, gleaned "no evidence to suggest" that any of the "salacious political quotes" in the article were made during a series of on-the-record and background interviews Hastings conducted with McChrystal and others.

The official, one of many subject to a Pentagon advisory not to discuss the situation without authorization, spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he was motivated by what he described as untrue claims made by Rolling Stone. . . .


Orszag resigns in part because nothing is being done to control deficit

Apparently not every one in the Obama administration is happy with the massive increases in deficits produced by Obama.

US deficit key to Orszag departure
By Edward Luce in Washington
Published: June 25 2010 19:29
But the departure of Mr Orszag, who decided to resign partly in frustration over the absence of a tough plan to address America’s mounting national debt, may well come to be seen in retrospect as equally significant. . . .

“Peter Orszag is absolutely right in his emphasis on taking tough fiscal action sooner rather than later before the markets force us to take action. But the politics in Washington is as bad as it gets. You can’t blame that on Obama.”

Most Democratic strategists believe that Mr Obama’s intention will be to delay the tougher longer-term fiscal steps, such as reducing entitlement spending and imposing a value-added tax, which most economists now see as essential, until after his re-election. . . .


This is the type of growth you expect after a recession?

This is pretty slow growth. So much for the stimulus working.

Gross domestic product rose by an annual rate of 2.7 percent in the January-to-March period, the Commerce Department said Friday. That was less than the 3 percent estimate for the quarter that the government released last month. . . .

In normal times, 2.7 percent growth would be considered healthy. But it's relatively weak for a recovery after a steep recession. After the last sharp downturn in the early 1980s, GDP grew at rates of 7 percent to 9 percent for five straight quarters.

"It's what I call a halfhearted economic advance," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Inc. The economy is likely to grow at a similarly modest pace for the rest of the year, he said. That may reduce joblessness, but at a slow pace. He anticipated a slight reduction, from the current rate of 9.7 percent to about 9.3 percent by the end of the year. . . .

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Why the Supreme Court's Decision in the Chicago Handgun Ban case might accomplish little

If Chicago were to impose a tax just on newspapers, the courts would clearly strike it down. My guess is if the city tried to put a tax on abortions, the courts would strike it down also. But Chicago thinks it is OK to impose a big tax on having a gun. In addition, and quite importantly, unlike the Heller case, the Chicago case won't have the same impact on gunlocks.

If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Chicago's handgun ban, the city will likely do what Washington, D.C., did when its own ban was overturned two years ago: Put in place all sorts of restrictions to make it tougher to buy guns and easier for police to know who has them.

Prospective gun owners in D.C. now are required to take training courses that include spending one hour on a firing range and several hours in a classroom learning about gun safety. They also must pass a 20 question test based on D.C.'s firearm laws.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he's encouraged by what he sees in D.C. and vows not go down without a fight.

"We're not going to roll over," Daley told The Associated Press. . . .

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Welfare recipients in California using their welfare debt cards at casinos

Who said that welfare recipients don't spend their money on useful things?

Spurred by a newspaper's report that California's welfare debit cards can be used to withdraw cash in more than half the casinos in the state, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday issued an immediate ban on state-provided cash assistance at ATMs in gambling establishments.

The Los Angeles Times disclosed that Electronic Benefit Transfer cards work in automated teller machines at 32 of 58 tribal casinos and 47 of 90 state-licensed poker rooms. The report also found the state Department of Social Services published a list of useable ATMs where the EBT cards that work like debit cards could be cashed.

That list included the addresses of two Coachella Valley casinos — Spotlight 29 Casino, 46-200 Harrison St., Coachella, and Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, 49-500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon.

“I will use every available power I have to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse in government,'' Schwarzenegger said.

Spotlight 29 Casino spokeswoman Lisa Herman said the casino would not comment. . . .


Web-only Segment of Stossel's Show: More Guns, Less Crime?

The segment is available here.

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Cato discussion of Third edition of More Guns, Less Crime

General facts about the presentation are here:
More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws
(University of Chicago Press, 2010)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Featuring the author John R. Lott, Jr.; with comments from Paul Helmke, President, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and Jeff Snyder, Attorney and Author, Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control (Accurate Press, 2001). Moderated by Tim Lynch, Director, Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute.

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This may do more than anything else to cut the unemployment rate

Dems have loaded the bill with all sorts of unrelated issues. But the high unemployment rate and the long time that people are remaining unemployed is surely related to the unprecedented unemployment benefits that the government is giving out. My guess is that the improvement in unemployment will begin now.

Republicans in the Senate appear likely to kill legislation to provide continued unemployment checks to millions of people and provide states with billions of dollars to avert layoffs.

It would be a bitter defeat for President Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats, who have been trying to advance the measure for months as an insurance policy against a double-dip recession.

Despite another round of cuts to the measure aimed at pacifying GOP deficit concerns, the measure seems doomed to die by a filibuster in a vote expected as early as Thursday.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would pull the measure from the floor if Democrats lose the vote. Democrats hope that political pressure from voters and business groups might eventually revive the measure.

The latest version of the measure contains a variety of provisions sought by lawmakers in both parties, blending jobless aid averaging about $300 a week with the renewal of dozens of tax cuts sought by business groups and a host of other legislation. It is considerably smaller than a version that passed with GOP help just three months ago. . . .


Did Oil Companies Rely on Faulty U.S. Data about what would happen in an oil leak?


Federal Government stops sand berm dredging to protect Louisiana from oil

Louisiana Official Furious at Obama

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Is this serious?: Pelosi raising money to fend off investigations when Republicans take over the majority next year

This is pretty amazing. I am not sure that I still believe it, but it certainly shows a lack of confidence in the Dems keeping the House this year.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is asking supporters for contributions to help prevent the "subpoenas and investigations" that would result from a GOP majority.

In a fundraising letter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Pelosi says if Republicans take back the House, they'll initiate "endless investigations against President Obama" and "bring back the days of Ken Starr and the politics of personal destruction."

"Remember a Republican-controlled Congress that devoted more time to subpoenas and investigations than to solving our country's problems?" Pelosi asks. "There is far too much at stake for our country now to allow it to happen again." . . .

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Reporters on open mic caught bashing Palin

UPDATE: Politico has some of the quotes.

A group of reporters covering a Sarah Palin speech in California last week were caught on a hot microphone making fun of the former governor while covering the event.

“Oh my God, I feel like I just got off a roller coaster, going round and round, and up and down,” one journalist is heard saying of Palin’s remarks. “S—- flying out everywhere.”

Palin's speech was at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock. The comments were caught by a local Fox affiliate, and in a statement the station says the reporters were warned several times that a microphone was picking up their conversation. . . .

A second reporter is heard on the recording comparing Palin’s speech to a bad college paper.

“When you've got to write a report as a college student and you just try to jam as many quotes in as possible…That's what I got,” the male reporter said.

A third journalist later says, “She didn’t finish a statement,” to which another chimes in “Did she make a statement? Because I didn't catch that either.”

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Federal government joins boycott of Arizona

Has anyone ever heard of something like this happening before?

Two federal agencies have joined the "boycott Arizona" trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state's immigration law, a Democratic Arizona congresswoman said, calling the development "very troubling."

The cancellations by the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol may have been more out of a desire to steer clear of controversy than outright protest of the law. But Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who has written to dozens of cities and groups in a campaign to persuade them to end their boycotts, said it was disturbing to learn that the federal government would withdraw from the state over the issue.

"It is very troubling when the federal government becomes involved in a boycott against our state," Giffords said in a written statement. "Although I personally disagree with the immigration law, it came about because of growing frustration over the federal government's unwillingness to secure the border. The federal government's participation in this boycott only adds to that frustration."

FoxNews.com is awaiting response from both agencies. Giffords' office said the cancellations were confirmed by the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association.

According to Giffords, the Education Department canceled a convention set for October at a Tucson resort after the Mexican government said it would not send any representatives to the meeting. The department then moved the event to Minnesota. . . .

A Democratic Arizona Congresswoman has even charged the Feds with boycotting Arizona.

An Arizona congresswoman refused to back down from her allegations that two federal agencies moved their conferences from the state to boycott its new law cracking down on illegal immigrants despite the agencies' denial.

Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords told Fox News on Saturday that she has information that the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol canceled scheduled meetings in Arizona over the state's tough new law that has prompted at least two dozen cities or government agencies across the nation, including Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle, to pass resolutions to boycott the state or curtail economic activity.

"We have the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education that had planned for meetings, had then canceled those meetings with the reason given that it was because of the immigration law," she said on Saturday, repeating a charge she first leveled earlier in the week. . . . .


Democrats exempt Unions from new Campaign finance rules aimed at Corporations and other organizations

This just shows how campaign finance rules are used to shutdown the opposition.

A Democratic amendment tucked into campaign finance legislation Wednesday night appears to exempt big labor unions from proposed disclosure requirements.

The change, inserted by Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.), chairman of the committee charged with handling the bill and a key union ally, would also affect other groups funded by members who pay dues of less than $50,000. While the move may satiate liberal Democrats who had become uneasy with an exemption for the National Rifle Association, a union loophole will certainly cause big business to cry foul.

The bill could come up for a vote Thursday on the House floor.

The underlying bill is intended to blunt the impact of a January Supreme Court ruling overturning laws that had barred corporations and unions from airing certain types of election ads.

Democrats feared the ruling would pave the way for vast corporate-funded ad campaigns attacking them in the critical 2010 midterm elections, and Republicans have blasted the DISCLOSE Act as a Democratic effort to silence opponents. . . .


University of Colorado regents could face close vote on whether to let concealed carry guns on campus

The Boulder, Colorado newspaper has this:

The University of Colorado regents will vote Friday morning on whether the school should continue its legal battle to keep guns off its campuses.

A public comment period for the issue will begin at 10 a.m., prior to the board's vote. The board meeting will be held on the East Campus and Research Park, in the first-floor main conference room of 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder.

In April, judges with the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a gun-rights group that sued CU and argued that a 1994 university policy banning concealed weapons violates state gun laws.

CU leaders will meet with attorneys behind closed doors about the gun ban Thursday night, said CU system spokesman Ken McConnellogue.

Friday's vote could prove to be a litmus test for Republican board members, who hold a 5-4 majority.

Only two of the board's conservatives — regents Tom Lucero and Jim Geddes — have made strong statements in favor of lifting the ban to allow students and employees with concealed-carry permits to pack heat on CU's campuses. . . .


New Fox News piece: In Debate Over Gun-Carry Laws, Critics Are Quick to Shoot Down the Facts

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

People walking the streets armed with guns must be dangerous, right? A newly revised study by the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center found that even those individuals who have legally obtained permits to carry concealed handguns are extremely dangerous. With millions of Americans already having been issued such permits from the various states, this is an important issue.

The gun control organizations have frequently made these claims in the press, and Dennis Henigan, the vice president of the Brady Campaign, will likely make these claims again when he and I appear on John Stossel’s FoxBusiness show today. But the gun control advocates inaccurately describe many shooting cases, choosing to ignore that the majority of incidents involve people properly defending themselves.

Over the past three years, the number of active permit holders in the United States has gone from about 5 million to more than 6.2 million today. The numbers issued by the state regulatory agencies show time after time that these permit holders abide by the law.

Take Florida, which currently has the most concealed handgun permit holders in the country and is one of the two most populous states with right-to-carry laws. . . .

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John Stossel on: "Right to Carry Arms Reduces Crime?""


Radio Shows today

WMAL 7:35 to 7:42 AM
G. Gordon Liddy Show 12:05 to 12::20 PM
Thom Hartmann Show 2:06 to 2:15 PM
Steve Malzberg Show 5:34 to 5:45 PM

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Only talk on guns at a conference put on by Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.

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Obama administration is helping Illegal Aliens get higher pay

An unintended consequence of this "helpfulness" is that it will be harder for illegals to get jobs.

Republican lawmakers are expressing shock over a Labor Department ad campaign that offers government assistance to illegal immigrants who think they're getting shortchanged for their work -- and at least one of them is planning to write to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis for an explanation.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he wants to know why taxpayers are being asked to spend money to ensure that illegals get assistance for fair wages while millions of unemployed Americans struggle to find jobs.

"That's insane," Chaffetz told FoxNews.com on Wednesday. "That's just unbelievable."

But the Labor Department stood by the campaign, saying in a written statement to FoxNews.com that "through Democratic and Republican administrations, the Department of Labor has consistently held that the country's minimum wage and overtime law protects workers regardless of their immigration status."

In a public service announcement posted on the department's website, Solis says workers -- legal or not -- have the right to fair wages.

"You work hard, and you have the right to be paid fairly," she says. "And it is a serious problem when workers in this country are not being paid every cent they earn. Remember, every worker in America has the right to be paid fairly, whether documented or not. So call us." . . .


John Stossel on how "Guns Save Lives"

Stossel's piece starts this way (warning my oldest son works for Stossel):

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Keith Olbermann, who usually can't be topped for absurdity: "Organizations like the NRA ... are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country."

"Trying to?" Well, I admit that I bought that nonsense for years. Living in Manhattan, working at ABC, everyone agreed that guns are evil. And that the NRA is evil. (Now that the NRA has agreed to a sleazy deal with congressional Democrats on political speech censorship, maybe some of its leaders are evil, but that's for another column.)

Now I know that I was totally wrong about guns. Now I know that more guns means — hold onto your seat — less crime. . . .



Kindle version of More Guns, Less Crime third edition is now out!

The Kindle version of the book is now available for $9.99.


Mention of the Third Edition of More Guns, Less Crime in America's First Freedom

There is 184 pages of new material, though for Chapter 10 alone and the accompanying support material there is 140 pages. But that is minor, and I am quite happy that they ran the note.

Thanks very much to Marianne Mele for sending me a copy of this review.



Are even some Democrats getting sticker shock on Obama's spending

At least the Washington Post thinks that this might be the case:

Congress has delivered only about a quarter of the $266 billion in "temporary recovery measures" the president sought in his February budget request and ignored much of the rest. There is unlikely to be another "recovery" check for Social Security recipients. Come December, Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit -- the signature initiative he regularly touts as a tax cut for 95 percent of Americans -- will probably be gone.

Even the state aid that Obama last week called critical to preventing the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and other government workers is foundering. After days of talks, frustrated Democratic leaders in the Senate failed again Thursday to muster the 60 votes needed to approve the cash and left town for the weekend with no clear path forward. . . .

The article contains much of the normal garbage about the need for more stimulus, though they do mention: "Polls show most people don't think Obama's first stimulus package worked, and they are sending mixed signals about whether Washington should spend more on jobs or start minding the national debt."

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Radio Shows This Week

“The Scott Hennen Show” AM 1100 The Flag WZFG 11:30 a.m. EST hour
The Jason Lewis Show 8 to 9 PM

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"Woman kills ex-lover who broke into home"

This woman tried her best to scare her attacker off.

SOUTH BEND — Police say a South Bend woman fatally shot her ex-boyfriend after he broke into her home and attacked her.

The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit says in a news release that Anthony Echols broke a large window at the back of the home to get in Saturday.

Police say the woman had invited a male acquaintance to spend the night because she’d been having problems with Echols.

Police say Echols started to fight with the other man. They say the woman got her handgun and told Echols to leave, but he attacked her.

Police say she and Echols both sustained wounds, and she underwent surgery. . . .

Thanks to Darren Cooper for this link.


Val Kilmer, concealed carry permit holder

The actor Val Kilmer appears to carry a handgun with him for protection when he is traveling around Sante Fe, New Mexico.



Copies of briefs in Heller and McDonald cases

Just so it is handy here are sources for the Chicago handgun ban case is here.

The Heller case is here and here.

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Fannie and Freddie are going to cost the taxpayers many hundreds of billions of dollars

Congress is still not focusing on the problems created by Fannie and Freddie. In the discussion below, the issue is how they have been pushing for people who couldn't afford the mortgages to get them.

For all the focus on the historic federal rescue of the banking industry, it is the government's decision to seize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008 that is likely to cost taxpayers the most money. So far the tab stands at $145.9 billion, and it grows with every foreclosure of a three-bedroom home with a two-car garage one hour from Phoenix. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the final bill could reach $389 billion.

Fannie and Freddie increased American home ownership over the last half-century by persuading investors to provide money for mortgage loans. The sales pitch amounted to a money-back guarantee: If borrowers defaulted, the companies promised to repay the investors.

Rather than actually making loans, the two companies — Fannie older and larger, Freddie created to provide competition — bought loans from banks and other originators, providing money for more lending and helping to hold down interest rates.

"Our business is the American dream of home ownership," Fannie Mae declared in its mission statement, and in 2001 the company set a target of helping to create six million new homeowners by 2014. Here in Arizona, during a housing boom fueled by cheap land, cheap money and population growth, Fannie Mae executives trumpeted that the company would invest $15 billion to help families buy homes. . . .

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Is Thad Allen up to speed on the oil spill?

From NPR:

The head of the federal oil-spill response announced in a press conference Tuesday that a ship called the Development Driller II has now bored down 9,000 feet below the seafloor in its efforts to create a relief well. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the drilling ship should be able to tap into the ruptured well in three to four weeks -- that would be mid-July -- a month ahead of schedule.
Unfortunately, none of these statements appears to be true.
National Incident Commander Thad Allen has trouble keeping his facts straight. He comes across great on TV. He's poised, polished, authoritative in his Coast Guard uniform. But ever since the federal government told BP it was no longer welcome at the official news conferences, the admiral has had to stand on his own answering technical questions about BP's operations. This carries the symbolism that the government is in charge. But as a result, facts often end up garbled.
Thursday's briefing was a painful example. It ended up being an exercise in correcting the errors in Allen's opening statement.


"Illegal Immigrant Harvard Student Won't Be Deported"

It isn't exactly clear why the government isn't going to send Eric Balderas, who was illegally in the US, back to Mexico. Personally, I am all in favor of people who are able to go to Harvard staying in the US. Yet, it would be nice to have laws that were enforced equally.

An undocumented Harvard University student is no longer facing deportation to Mexico after being detained nearly two weeks ago by immigration authorities at a Texas airport, officials said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said late Friday that they would not pursue the deportation of Eric Balderas. The 19-year-old was detained in June after he tried to use a university ID card to board a plane from San Antonio to Boston.

Mario Rodas, a friend of Balderas, said Balderas was granted deferred action, which can be used to halt deportation based on the merits of a case. Rodas said Balderas learned the news Saturday morning from his lawyer.

"He's very excited and ready to live a normal life," Rodas said. "He's ready to move forward." . . .


Jeff Jacoby on the push for more gun laws in Massachusetts

One should read the entire piece by Jeff Jacoby that is available here:

The notion that urban gangs can be deprived of guns by laws limiting their legal sale to one a month is wishful thinking. Criminals can always get guns. They buy them on the black market; get them out of state; steal them. Almost by definition, the impact of gun-control laws falls primarily on the law-abiding. That is why gun bans don’t prevent murder, and why homicides decline when gun bans are lifted. John Lott, the economist and author of “More Guns, Less Crime," notes that the murder rate in Washington, DC, soared after the city banned handguns in 1977. Yet in the two years since the Supreme Court struck down that ban as unconstitutional, murders in DC have plummeted.

To be sure, a one-gun-per-month limit is not an outright ban, and though it’s unlikely to have much impact on criminal gangs, it’s also unlikely to hinder most honest gun buyers. Lott says he knows of no peer-reviewed study documenting a decrease in crime as a result of one-gun-per-month laws. The effect of enacting such a law in Massachusetts will be marginal at best. . . .