Internet IDs for everyone

More big brother? Could someone please explain to me why it is that Democrats thought that it was so horrible for public libraries to keep a log on who was using the computer terminal, but it is OK to require that everyone has to have a unique ID to use the internet? This claim that it isn't a national ID card because it is a government controlled system makes no sense to me.

President Obama is putting plans in motion to give the Commerce Department authority to create an Internet ID for all Americans, a White House official told CNET.com.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt told the website it is "the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government" to centralize efforts toward creating an "identity ecosystem" for the Internet.

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is currently being drafted by the Obama administration and will be released by the president in a few months.

"We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at an event Friday at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, according to CNET.com. . . .


Shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Information on the tragedy is still be obtained on the horrible attack on Rep. Giffords. News reports mention an automatic weapon (read a machine gun) being used in the attack. Given the large number of people hurt this is a possibility, but theses weapons are often called assault weapons by the press when they are not. There might have been some armed civilians at the scene, but that is also not clear yet. Armed civilians are referred to as security guards in the past even when that isn't the case.

According to the law enforcement official, the suspect began shouting something before shooting wildly with an automatic weapon. Shots then rang out from the crowd -- a security agent or someone else fired at the suspect who survived. . .

As is quite typical in these attacks, the killer anticipated that he would die during the attack.

On a Myspace page in Loughner's name, he said goodbye to friends just hours before the shooting . . . .

The NY Times has this information on the killer's possible political background.

“As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday. “I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive.” . . .

KTLA has a discussion over who the killer was. Among, his favorite books were "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf.{

Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged Tucson gunman, was described Saturday as a politically radical loner. Now an internet trail emerged in which he apparently railed against the US government and told friends: "Please don't be mad at me". . . .

Arizona court records show Loughner has twice been charged with previous offenses. The first, in October 2007, related to the possession of drug paraphernalia. It was unclear what the second, a year later, related to. Both charges were dismissed after Loughner completed a "diversion program".

. . . his favorite books "The Communist Manifesto," "Siddhartha," "The Old Man And The Sea," "Gulliver's Travels," "Mein Kampf," "The Republic" and "Meno."

One former high school friend Tweeted about knowing the accused gunman:

"He was a pot head and into rock, like Hendrix, The Doors, Anti-Flag," she wrote. "I haven't seen him in person since 2007 in a sign language class. As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal and oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy. He had a lot of friends until he got alcohol poisoning in 2006 and dropped out of school. Mainly a loner, very philosophical."

Given the attacks on the Tea Party and Sarah Palin by Paul Krugman and Senator Dick Durbin regarding this horrible case, this posting from the Daily Kos is interesting. The Daily Kos took down the original post.

Here is a bizarre discussion where CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin discusses Sarah Palin's responsibility for the attack, saying that the Palin map "allowed" the shooting to occur.
The Democrats have had there own target lists.

Rep. James Clyburn blames Republican Sharron Angle for the shooting.

Rep. Jim Clyburn on Sunday said Sharron Angle's endorsement of "Second Amendment remedies" in her losing Nevada campaign against Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid contributed to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Clyburn, the House assistant Democratic leader, said of Giffords' alleged assailant, Jared Lee Loughner: "It seems like this gentleman was not satisfied with the way the election came out. "There's no way you cannot make that connection (with Angle's rhetoric) unless you want to be stupid."
Angle, a tea party favorite, was the surprise Republican Senate primary victor in Nevada last year.
During the general election campaign, capped by Reid's narrow defeat of Angle on Nov. 2, she repeatedly condoned Americans preparing for "Second Amendment remedies" and urged supporters to "take out Harry Reid."
Clyburn, noting that some of his "most anxious moments" have come in airports, said lawmakers shouldn't be required to pass through magnetometers, which force them to wait in lines that he said expose them to greater threat. . . .

Glenn Reynolds has a nice piece summarizing all this in the WSJ.


Obama administration replacing words "mother" and "father" with "parent 1" and "parent 2"

The Obama administration claims that this change was not a political move.

The words “mother” and “father” will be removed from U.S. passport applications and replaced with gender neutral terminology, the State Department says.
“The words in the old form were ‘mother’ and ‘father,’” said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services. "They are now ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two.’"
A statement on the State Department website noted: “These improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description of a child’s parents and in recognition of different types of families.” The statement didn't note if it was for child applications only.
The State Department said the new passport applications, not yet available to the public, will be available online soon.
Sprague said the decision to remove the traditional parenting names was not an act of political correctness . . .

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Newest Fox News piece: Obama Officials Play Chicken Little With the Debt Ceiling

My newest piece starts this way:

Two years into the Obama administration and the overused tactic of claiming crises to push legislation is becoming tiresome.

Remember, immediately after President Obama came into office, we were warned that if the massive Stimulus program wasn't passed immediately, unemployment would go up above 8.1 percent. And the health care takeover had to be passed by August 2009 or public and private health care costs would spiral out of control.

Of course, it is now obvious that neither the stimulus program nor Obamacare had any prospect of accomplishing their stated goals. And then there was the start treaty with Russia which absolutely had to be passed quickly last month or real damage would be done to US-Russian relations. Yet, in what was widely seen as a slap against President Obama, the Russians didn't see any urgency in passing the treaty, and indeed they still haven't passed it.

Now the Obama administration is warning of disaster if Congress doesn't quickly pass an increase in the debt limit. . . .

UPDATE: More extreme rhetoric about the consequences from not raising the debt limit.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) warned lawmakers Thursday that refusing to raise the government's debt limit would amount to playing "Russian roulette with the world's economy."

"You've got to be careful with the debt limit," he said at a forum on small-business lending hosted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. . . .

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Robert Gibbs' modest $172,000 a year salary

Obama apparently announced today that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' salary of $172,000 is modest. So if Gibbs were to make just $28,000 more a year he would go from being modest to being "wealthy"? Gibbs is married to 37 year old Mary Catherine Gibbs and she is a lawyer. If she makes $78,000, a truly modest salary for a lawyer, the couple would be wealthy by Obama's standards.


Probably few posts for next few days

I will be attending the American Economic Association meetings in Denver and won't be back until Sunday.


My newest Fox News piece: "The Truth About Fox News Viewers"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Does watching Fox News rot your brain? According to a report released last month by WorldPublicOpinion.org at the University of Maryland, "Misinformation and the 2010 Election," the more people watch Fox News, the more they are "misinformed."

The allegation rapidly became a favorite topic for leading mainstream news outlets including The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, CBS News, Slate, The Atlantic. Even major newspapers in Canada and the U.K.covered the report. Of course, left-wing websites -- the Talking Point Memo, Media Matters, and the Daily Kos -- reveled in the findings.
The report asserted that Fox News viewers getting political survey questions wrong was not just the result of already wrongheaded Republicans watching Fox News: "The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it--though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican."

But the researchers themselves were clearly misinformed and frequently picked incorrect or left-wing biased answers as the "correct" ones, something the uncritical mainstream media apparently never examined. Take the first four questions of the eleven the report focused on. . . .

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The IRS under Obama: "'hard-core' collection tactics needlessly harm taxpayers"

So much for the Obama administration's sympathy towards those having a difficult time.

The Internal Revenue Service's increasing use of "hard-core" collection tactics "is inflicting unnecessary harm on financially struggling taxpayers," an in-house critic at the IRS said Wednesday.

The IRS routinely imposes liens on delinquent taxpayers, thereby damaging their credit scores and potentially jeopardizing their access to jobs, insurance and even rental housing, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson said in an annual report to Congress.

By making it harder for taxpayers to get back on their feet, the IRS might actually reduce long-term tax collections, Olson wrote.

Olson serves as an independent ombudsman within the IRS, and her office helps taxpayers resolve problems with the agency.

She has complained about indiscriminate use of liens in the past but emphasized the issue in her latest report, saying the IRS has refused to moderate its practices "despite the worst economy in at least a generation."

The IRS filed 1.1 million tax liens in the 2010 fiscal year, nearly double the 522,887 it filed in fiscal 2005. The number has risen sharply amid the high unemployment, recession and real estate crisis of recent years.

Though lien filings have soared over the past 11 years, revenue brought in through the IRS collection program "has remained flat," Olson wrote. . . .


US Constitution as "Propaganda"?

Prominent Democrat describes reading Constitution as "propaganda."

"They are reading it like a sacred text," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the outgoing chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties, who has studied and memorized the Constitution with talmudic intensity. Nadler called the "ritualistic reading" on the floor "total nonsense" and "propaganda" intended to claim the document for Republicans. "You read the Torah, you read the Bible, you build a worship service around it," said Nadler, who argued that the Founders were not "demigods" and that the document's need for amendments to abolish slavery and other injustices showed it was "highly imperfect." . . .


Banning Horse Slaughter hasn't worked out so well

Some are arguing that there have been some real unintended consequences to banning horse slaughterhouses.

Less than four years after the last equine slaughterhouses in the U.S. closed down, an unlikely coalition of ranchers, horse owners and animal-welfare groups is trying to bring them back.

The group, gathering in Las Vegas this week for a conference called Summit of the Horse, aims to map out a strategy for reviving an industry that slaughtered as many as 100,000 horses a year in the U.S. before it was effectively shut down by congressional action in 2007.

Advocates say the slaughterhouses could bring an economic boost to rural areas and give owners who no longer have the means or inclination to care for the horses an economical and humane way to dispose of them.

"We believe that humane processing is absolutely a moral and an ethical choice," said Sue Wallis, a Wyoming state lawmaker who organized the event.

Ms. Wallis is working on bringing a slaughterhouse to her state, but said her coalition first must overcome what she called "the 'ick' factor." . . .

Some discussions of the unintended suffering of animals from the ban is here.

It might be hard to change this ban as President Obama campaigned in support of the ban.


"Concealed-carry permits haven't caused problems"

Concealed carry permit holders are as law-abiding in Colorado as other places.

Since 2007, the number of concealed-carry permits in El Paso County has more than doubled, but there has not been a corresponding jump in gun violence by the permit holders.

You can believe whatever you want, but at some point it comes down to results, and nothing suggests that life here has become more dangerous because of concealed-carry permits.

There are 16,772 citizens in El Paso County who have permits to carry a concealed handgun.

In 2010, just six people had their permits revoked, and Sheriff Terry Maketa said not a single permit holder was arrested in any violent case.

Depending upon which side of the gun rights debate someone resides, Maketa’s numbers could be used to buttress any position.

You know: One side would say the sheriff doesn’t revoke many concealed-carry permits because he loves people who love guns. The other side would say that as a class, those who apply for a concealed-carry permit (see my blog) are a law-abiding lot, willing to undergo a background check, gun safety course, fingerprinting and the $60 fee for a five-year permit. . . .

Thanks to Jason Morin for the link.


University of Utah Officials are still trying to ban carry permits on campus

After losing in the state legislature and the state Supreme Court, University of Utah officials are still trying to ban permitted handguns from campus. Pointing to the Virginia Tech attack to justify the ban is almost surreal. The attack occurred there despite their ban. Indeed, I would argue that those bans actually encourage those attacks. My own belief is that concealed carry is much more important than open carry in stopping these attacks, but the law is still the law in Utah. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

A pair of University of Utah public safety officers are on paid administrative leave after internal guidelines that would ban the open carrying of firearms were made public.

Gun rights activists say such a policy violates state law, and legislators are getting involved in the dispute.

Zachary Wellman, a security guard at University Hospital, said he and another campus police officer were put on leave last week after Wellman shared the guidelines with a friend, who took the U. protocols to gun advocacy groups and state lawmakers.

Wellman said he did it because he believed U. lawyers were going around the Legislature to rewrite the law.

“They’re saying we don’t want [visible guns] on campus, but state law is they have to accept it because they’re a state university,” Wellman told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a huge issue because they’re circumventing the Utah law and the university president is now making the law, which they have no power to do.”

In a memo sent to U. Police Chief Scott Folsom last April, President Michael Young wrote that “having weapons in plain sight on this campus creates a fearful and intimidating campus environment.”

Young said that school shootings, including in 2007 at Virginia Tech — where 32 died — created safety concerns among students and faculty. Utah law doesn’t allow anyone to carry a weapon openly on campus, he said, whether or not they have a concealed-weapons permit, and the law allows the university to deal with issues that interfere with the school’s educational mission. . . .

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American Dad: Guns kill

I guess that I wouldn't argue this way. The argument that guns don't kill people, but people kill people is wrong. Guns do make it easier to kill people, BUT they also make it easier for people to protect themselves and protect others from killing them. The question is what is the net effect. Fortunately, there are a lot more good people out there than bad people.



Rahm Emanuel on gun control

Unfortunately, it looks as if Emanuel will pick right up where Daley has left off.

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Caught on Tape: Union workers caught not doing the job during NYC blizzard

From CBS2 in NYC:

One video is now in the hands of prosecutors. It shows two sanitation trucks driving down 155th Street in the Whitestone section of Queens after the blizzard without removing the snow.
Their plows were apparently raised and the snow was left untouched in their wake, apparent proof that some in the Sanitation Department engineered a work slowdown.
“[It’s a] tremendous shock,” said NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran, R-Queens. . . .

With people dying from the government unions not removing the snow, criminal charges look to be in store.


"National Debt Tops $14 Trillion"

When you read the word "might" below think "might not." Could the Federal government temporarily for a couple of weeks cut its spending in half? The biggest risk from a temporary government shutdown is that most people would see that life continues to go on without the government as deeply involved in their lives. From CBS News:
The latest posting today of the National Debt shows it has topped $14 trillion for the first time.
The U.S. Treasury website today reported that as of last Friday, the last day of 2010, the National Debt stood at $14,025,215,218,708.52.
It took just 7 months for the National Debt to increase from $13 trillion on June 1, 2010 to $14 trillion on Dec. 31. It also means the debt is fast approaching the statutory ceiling $14.294 trillion set by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last February.
The federal government would have to stop borrowing and might even default on its obligations if Congress fails to increase the Debt Ceiling before the limit is reached.. . .



Why Warren Buffett was wrong about his secretary paying a lower tax rate than he pays

Remember Warren Buffett's claim:

"The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

It is true that there is a 15 percent capital gains and dividend tax and that is lower than the marginal income tax rate paid by a lot of workers. Of course, this ignores that because of deductions the average tax rate is much lower than the marginal rate. But much more importantly Buffett's claim ignores why the capital gains and dividend tax rates are set at the level that they are set: corporate income has already been taxed once when the company earned it. In the US the combined federal and state corporate tax rate is 40 percent. So let's take a simple example. A company earns $1 and pays 40 cents in taxes. If the remaining 60 cents is paid as a dividend, the 15 percent tax rate leaves the stockholder with 51 cents, for a combined tax rate of 49 percent. The rate would be higher if there is a state income tax. It is highly doubtful that Buffett's secretary in Nebraska pays an effective 49 percent marginal income tax rate.

Something to remember when Obama talks about taxing millionaires and billionaires.

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Rep. Issa says Obama administration is 'one of most corrupt'"

The Obama administration has largely stonewalled requests for information over the last two years. Now that the Republican controlled House has subpoena power, it will be interesting to see what happens.

The Republican congressman who is taking over responsibility for congressional oversight called President Obama's administration "one of the most corrupt administrations" on Sunday and predicted that the investigations he is planning over the next two years could result in about $200 billion in savings for U.S. taxpayers.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was bullish in laying out his agenda for the new Congress with Republicans in control of the House.

Issa, who as chairman will have subpoena power, said he will seek to ferret out waste across the federal bureaucracy. While he used fiery rhetoric in describing the Obama administration in a series of television interviews Sunday, he said he will focus on wasteful spending, not the prosecution of White House officials.

Asked on "Fox News Sunday" about reports that the White House is staffing up on lawyers to prepare for his oversight hearings, Issa said: "They're going to need more accountants.

"It's more of an accounting function than legal function," Issa said. "It's more about the inspector generals than it is about lawyers in the White House. And the sooner the administration figures out that the enemy is the bureaucracy and the wasteful spending, not the other party, the better off we'll be." . . .

Some examples of corruption during the Obama administration are available here.


Concealed Carry Map in January 2011

Note: 99.4 percent of Montana is also unrestricted.
The year by year history is available here.


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides earning millions

When government has a lot of money to give out, companies and unions will spend a lot to get that money. So much for Obama's promises.

Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.

The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

As part of Geithner’s kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven’t faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury’s policies. . . .

While it isn’t unusual for Treasury officials to come from the financial industry, President Barack Obama has been critical of Wall Street, blaming its high-risk, high-pay culture for helping cause the financial-market meltdown. . . .

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Wasn't a major reason for health care regulation to control health care costs

It doesn't bother me that people want to spend more money on health care (any more than it bothers me that people want to spend more money on computers or cars) if it is their decision and it reflects what they value. Of course, government regulations that do everything from mandate what insurance must cover to regulate insurance rates to what and how doctors must provide service are a big problem with costs. That said, wasn't the goal of increased government control to reduce costs?

Four years after the health reform law passed, Massachusetts boasted record coverage: 98.1 percent among adults and 99.8 percent for children, according to statistics released in December. But less-heartening numbers loom in the background: the state’s health care costs continue to rapidly outpace general economic growth. . . .


Obama administration "Promoting Homosexuality Overseas"?

Democrats get upset about the promotion of US views regarding abortion, though that simply means that we wouldn't fund them. In this case, the Obama administration is taking a more activist stand regarding homosexuality.

signals emanating from the State Department indicate that the U.S. government may be engaged in its own evangelistic efforts -- to help legitimize homosexual practices in those socially traditional countries. . . .
At the event, which was organized by the group "Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies," Clinton said the State Department is supporting efforts to advance homosexual rights around the world. "We celebrate the progress of advancing the rights of LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] in our country, as we continue to advance the rights of all people around the world," Clinton gushed before the receptive audience, adding that the "struggle for equality is never, ever finished."
The State Department's increasing interest in homosexual rights comes as critics -- such as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom --have accused the Obama Administration of weakening their commitment to the freedom of religion in favor of a more narrowly defined "freedom of worship." The State Department's sudden focus upon homosexuality in sub-Saharan Africa is puzzling, as countries with far harsher policies towards homosexuals -- such as Iran and much of the Islamic world -- get an apparent pass on the matter. . . .
the Obama administration seems to have decided that policy initiatives including outreach to Muslim governments and advancing gay rights would be compromised by vigorous advocacy for religious freedom.
"In fact, such a decision would harm the victims of religious persecution, hamstring key Obama initiatives, and undermine U.S. national interests," Farr writes. . . . .

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Massachusetts windfarm plans could boast energy prices by 17 percent

Just think what good things that people living in Massachusetts could do with an amount of money equal to 17 percent of their energy bills. But the marginal cost is much higher than that 17 percent, indeed, it is three times the cost of fossil fuel. Suppose that you were to have a tax on fossil fuel to internalize any externalities would that tax be less than 200 percent?

Massachusetts electric ratepayers could get jolted by plans to open up huge swaths of federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for more offshore wind farms.
About a million National Grid ratepayers are already expected to get hit with a 2 percent hike in their electric bills due to the planned Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound.
But if 3,000 square miles of additional federal waters are fully developed, as envisioned by the U.S. Interior Department and the Patrick administration, then ratepayers could see double-digit rate hikes valued at tens of billions of dollars, business and industry experts warn. . . .
The 130-turbine Cape Wind project, which is expected to cost more than $2 billion to build, will have a maximum power capacity of about 468 megawatts.
Using the Cape Wind rate prices as a model, then full development of the designated area south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket could lead to a 17 percent rate hike for electric ratepayers, according to calculations by the Herald. . . .

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Almost two-thirds of Congress to vote for repeal of Obamacare?

If this is true, it would certainly be dramatic. Even 60 percent supporting repeal in both houses would be very amazing.

A top House Republican said Sunday that he expects "significant" bipartisan support for a proposed repeal of the health care overhaul -- a vote he said would be held before President Obama's State of the Union address.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who will take the helm of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would not go so far as to say Congress can muster enough votes to override a presidential veto. But he predicted Republican leaders would not "be that far off" from the two-thirds majority necessary to do so. . . .


Here we go again with the Obama administration declaring disaster if something isn't passed

One would think that people are getting tired of the Obama administration declaring the end of the world. Obviously, the government has certain obligations that it should meet -- Social Security checks, national defense, courts. But to go and argue that there can't be large (say a cut of a third to forty percent) or even moderate cuts (say 20 percent) in government spending seems silly. Haven't we seen enough incorrect predictions about the benefits from more spending to discount warnings against cutting spending? The only tax cuts that the Obama administration wants are those that distort investment decisions, where the government micromanages where investments should go. Of course, wasn't this the administration that promised to CUT government spending.

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers, said if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, the “impact on the economy would be catastrophic.”
“I don’t see why anybody’s playing chicken with the debt ceiling,” Goolsbee said today on ABC’s “This Week” program. “If we get to the point where we damage the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.”
The government is slated to hit the legal limit on borrowing, $14.3 trillion, early this year. Congress must agree to raise that ceiling or the U.S. could be forced to default on its obligations. After candidates supported by anti-deficit Tea Party activists were elected on pledges to rein in government spending, some lawmakers have said they would demand budget cuts in exchange for voting to raise the debt ceiling. . . .
Goolsbee said he anticipates Obama will find common ground with Republicans on legislation to benefit the economy, citing investment incentives and tax cuts for workers and small businesses, and warned against cutting back on spending needed for economic growth. . . .

Yet, take Obama's vote against raising the debt limit in March 2006. This was the last stand-alone debt limit vote on which then-Senator Obama voted. He was one of 48 members to vote against the increase, which passed with 52 votes.

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

Obama attacked Bush for the deficits and blamed them for the bad economy in October 2008. Here is something from the third debate:

SCHIEFFER: . . . We found out yesterday that this year's deficit will reach an astounding record high $455 billion. Some experts say it could go to $1 trillion next year. . . .

OBAMA: . . . But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. . . .

. . . What I want to emphasize, though, is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches. . . .

. . . When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus and the national debt was a little over $5 trillion. It has doubled over the last eight years. . . .

. . . So one of the things that I think we have to recognize is pursuing the same kinds of policies that we pursued over the last eight years is not going to bring down the deficit. And, frankly, Senator McCain voted for four out of five of President Bush's budgets. . . .

From the second debate:

OBAMA: . . . But I think it's important just to remember a little bit of history. When George Bush came into office, we had surpluses. And now we have half-a-trillion-dollar deficit annually.

When George Bush came into office, our debt -- national debt was around $5 trillion. It's now over $10 trillion. . . .

. . . we've also got to make spending cuts. And what I've proposed, you'll hear Senator McCain say, well, he's proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut. . . .

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Shania Twain pulls a Rosie O'Donnell

David Codrea writes:

“Shania Twain didn't exactly have a shotgun wedding yesterday in Puerto Rico ... but it sure was a pistol -- as in what the guards were packing on the beach during the ceremony,” TMZ.com reports.

We’re told there were “several armed security guards.”

Funny—the one we see with the pistol tucked in his belt appears to be in violation of Puerto Rico firearms law, unless slacks and a T-shirt are considered a “uniform”:

Provided, that in the case of private security guards who hold a permit to carry, are uniformed and in the exercise of their duties, they may carry the weapon in plain sight.

But here’s the thing about the privileged Ms. Twain employing armed guards (lawbreaking or otherwise) in the first place—she’s a big advocate of infringements against those of us who can’t afford an armed security presence and must rely on being our own first line of defense.

She was one of the signers (see item 6 for complete list) of the Handgun Control, Inc. (since changed to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, to help mask their intentions) “Open Letter to the NRA,” a full page ad published in USA Today. . . .


The Over criminalization of America

14 things that Americans have recently been arrested for.

#1 (December 2010) A Michigan man has been charged with a felony and could face up to 5 years in prison for reading his wife's email.

#2 (December 8, 2010) A 49-year-old Queens woman had bruises all over her body after she was handcuffed, arrested and brutally beaten by NYPD officers. So what was her offense? The officers thought that her little dog had left some poop that she didn't clean up.

#3 (December 22, 2010) A 56-year-old woman who was once a rape victim refused to let airport security officials feel her breasts so she was thrown to the floor, put in handcuffs and arrested.

#4 (December 26, 2010) In Milwaukee, one man was recently fined $500 for swearing on a public bus.

#5 (December 6, 2006) Several years ago a 12-year-old boy in South Carolina was actually arrested by police for opening up a Christmas present early against his family's wishes.

#6 [August 20, 2010] In some areas of the country, it is now a crime to not recycle properly. For example, the city of Cleveland has announced plans to sort through trash cans to ensure that people are actually recycling according to city guidelines.

#7 [February 5, 2010] A 12-year-old girl from Queens was arrested earlier this year and taken out of her school in handcuffs for writing “Lex was here. 2/1/10" and “I love my friends Abby and Faith" on her desk.

#8 Back in 2008, a 13-year-old boy in Florida was actually arrested by police for farting in class.

#9 [April 22, 2010] The feds recently raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law.

#10 [December 14, 2007] A few years ago a 10-year-old girl was arrested and charged with a felony for bringing a small steak knife to school. It turns out that all she wanted to do was to cut up her lunch so that she could eat it.

#11 [June 18, 2010] On June 18th, two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Islamic festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within three minutes 8 policemen surrounded them and placed them under arrest.

#12 [October 01, 2009] A U.S. District Court judge slapped a 500-dollar fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free. So what was his crime? Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed to call state authorities and wait for them to do it.

#13 [Nov 10, 2009] Once upon a time, a food fight in the cafeteria may have gotten you a detention. Now it may get you locked up. About a year ago, 25 students between the ages of 11 and 15 at a school in Chicago were taken into custody by police for being involved in a huge food fight in the school cafeteria.

#14 [2007] A few years ago a 70-year-old grandmother was actually put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for having a brown lawn.

Another example: "A 17-year-old student at Huntington High School has been arrested after allegedly bringing an unloaded BB gun onto the campus to show a group of students during a JROTC class."


Republican Presidential candidates who believe in man-made Global Warming

There are a few Republican candidates who have taken extreme positions on man-made Global Warming. I remember listening to CSPAN and hearing Romney give a talk in Iowa on man-made Global Warming. He was for everything from ethanol to cap-and-trade to stricter mile per gallon rules for cars. It was everything that environmental activities could want.

On the campaign stump, in books, speeches and nationally-televised commercials, aspiring GOP White House candidates such as Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have warned in recent years about the threats from climate change and pledged to limit greenhouse gases. Some have even committed the ultimate sin, endorsing the controversial cap-and-trade concept that was eventually branded “cap and tax.”
Now, as they prepare for a wide-open primary season, many of the Republicans are searching for ways to explain themselves to a conservative voting base full of hungry tea party activists and climate skeptics who don't take kindly to environmental issues so closely linked with Al Gore.
"They're in an odd place," Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told POLITICO. "They better have an explanation, an excuse or a mea culpa for why this won't happen again." . . .
"I support a reasonable cap-and-trade system," [Pawlenty] said. "I think it'd be good for the federal government to take that up rather than have states take it up as clusters of regions."
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, appealed to a New Hampshire audience in October 2007 on moral grounds by saying he backed a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases and faulted the Senate for its unsuccessful efforts to pass legislation. . . .
Romney worked for two years as Massachusetts governor to cap greenhouse gases from power plants as part of a regional pact. Although he pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for economic reasons, Romney continues to express concerns about rising temperatures.
"I believe that climate change is occurring – the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore," Romney wrote in his 2010 book “No Apologies: The Case for American Greatness.” "I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may have the hardest job explaining himself thanks to a 2008 TV commercial sponsored by Gore's Repower America campaign. Gingrich and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sit on a couch outside the Capitol and declare that while they don't often agree on issues, "we do agree our country must take action to address climate change." . . .
“I also support cap and trade of carbon emissions," Huckabee said during the Global Warming and Energy Solutions Conference in Manchester, N.H., a event which also drew appearances from McCain and . . .

Romney: Ethanol, energy efficiency regulations for cars and homes, subsidies for many "green" types of energy.

At the end for 2007, Pawlenty came out with this statement -- supporting a "80% [reduction in carbon dioxide] by mid-century."

In 2008 Romney was one person who had surrounded himself with advisers who wanted something significant done on man-made Global Warming.

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Iowa moves to concealed carry on January 1st

Iowa moved to concealed carry on January 1st.

There's new legislation that will change Iowa's gun laws. On January 1st a new Iowa law will aim to standardize the process for folks to get a permit to carry weapons.
But, many of the laws in place will remain unchanged. Iowans still need to have taken a gun safety course at some point during their lives.
Applicants can't have a felony or domestic violence conviction on their record. They can't have been convicted of any misdemeanor assault charges in the last three years.
Iowans, who want a permit to carry a concealed weapon, can't any mental impairments that caused an involuntary committal to an institution. They can't be addicted to drugs or alcohol or have any documented evidence suggesting they'll use a firearm to endanger themselves or others.
In the past, the process wasn't easy. In fact, there was no guarantee you'd get a permit even if you applied. You see, county sheriffs still had the final say and could deny your application.
But, things are about to change.
Come January first sheriff's will have lost that power. This new law means if you fit the qualifications listed you'll get a weapons permit. Even if your county's sheriff objects. . . .


Defensive gun uses

Concealed carry holder in Miami defends himself against drunk neighbor.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/video.

Homeowner in Owasso, OK defended himself against a burglar.

A homeowner in Owasso shot a burglar this morning who was trying to break in to his house.

In a report sent to ktul.com, Owasso police said around 4:30 Friday morning they were called to the 9300 block of East 93rd street north for the shooting.

21-year-old Cody Hurst was shot twice by the homeowner and was taken to a local hospital. . . .

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