With the third year of his administration looking at another deficit around $1.5 trillion, Obama to push more spending?

Obama certainly doesn't understand that it is private sector, not the government, that should be making things. Obama is just pushing the deficit problems farther down the road.

President Obama, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, will call for new government spending on infrastructure, education and research to help boost job creation and remain competitive with other powerful nations, Fox News has confirmed.
Obama is also expected to call for some budget cuts although nothing close to the amount Republicans are demanding.
White House aides told Fox News the best preview of Obama's remarks can be found in a Dec. 6 speech he made in North Carolina where he said this is the nation's Sputnik moment. He called for more spending on American innovation and American products with the same enthusiasm that the country had right after the Russians beat the U.S. into space.
"We need to do what America has always been known for: building, innovating, educating, making things," he said in last month's speech. "We don't want to be a nation that simply buys and consumers products from other countries. We want to create and sell products all over the world that are stamped with three simple words: 'Made In America.' That's our goal." . . .

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Letter published in today's New York Times, responding Nicholas D. Kristof's op-ed on the Arizona shooting

With all the recent articles and editorials calling for gun control, the New York Times ran letters responding to their pieces today. Of the five letters, four supported more gun control and mine took the other side (that is 503 words versus 162). Mine was the fourth in the list. It is strange that the New York Times has set this up so that Google searches don't show people the page when they search on (Kristof John Lott gun) (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/opinion/l22guns.html).

To the Editor:

Nicholas D. Kristof attacked my research in his Jan. 13 column. While conceding that “concealed weapons didn’t lead to the bloodbath that liberals had forecast,” Mr. Kristof asserted that “many studies have now debunked” my finding that more guns lead to less crime.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of studies support my results. Among peer-reviewed studies in academic journals by criminologists and economists, 18 studies examining national data find that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime, 10 indicate no discernible effect and none find a bad effect from the law. Among non-refereed studies, three find drops in crime and two say either no effect or possibly small temporary increases in crime.

Mr. Kristof cites a public health professor’s suggestions for one-gun-a-month sales limits, gun safes and further background checks, but I know of no academic criminologists or economists who have found that these laws reduce any type of violent crime. No gun ban has reduced murder rates.

John R. Lott Jr.
Alexandria, Va., Jan. 17, 2011

The writer is the author of “More Guns, Less Crime.”

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More of Google's disrespect for property rights: Android using Java code

I have note many times about Google's lack of respect for property rights, but it seems that Google is in more trouble now regarding its Android operating system.
"Somewhere along the line, Google took Oracle's code, replaced the GPL [licensing] language with the incompatible Apache Open Source License, and distributed the code under that license publicly," Patel said. "That's all it takes -- if Google violated the GPL by changing the license, it also infringed Oracle's underlying copyright."

Even outside of the contested code, Oracle has already pointed to more direct examples that it contended were direct copies of the Java technology it owns following the Sun buyout. Google has accused Oracle of misrepresenting code to artificially strengthen its lawsuit, but the discoveries on Friday of raw details could leave it with few defenses.

Oracle in its lawsuit against Google has been pushing for royalties from every Android phone shipped and could significantly hike the prices of each unit sold. The findings could also damage Google's reputation if it's thought to have created its open-source code by using material without permission. . . .

UPDATE: Even those defending Google seen to concede an important point here. Take this defense from a non-lawyer at ZDNET (thanks to Chris Graue for this link).

Sun published those files on its web site to help developers debug and test their own code. For some reason, the Android or Harmony developer who was using them decompiled and rebuilt them instead of just using the ones from Sun. Later an Apache license got incorrectly pasted to the top of the files, perhaps by some automated script. The solution to this earth shattering conspiracy? Replace them with the original files from Sun which have the correct comments. Or just delete them. . . .


Interview on Fox News about increasing the debt ceiling

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NICS checks by state by month by year from 1998 to December 2010

Click on figures to make them readable. The entire data set is available here. One interesting part of the data is the huge increase in the number of people buying guns in some states. Take Kentucky. Up through 2005, around 220,000 to 240,000 transactions for guns occurred in Kentucky (multiple guns could be purchased in any one transaction). Then in 2006 that increased to 791,599, then in 2007 to 1,587,850, then 1,881,101 in 2008, and by 2010 it was 2,385,579. After 2005 the yearly increases were sometimes twice as large as the total who had been buying guns during earlier years.

What happened starting in 2006 and kept on changing after that? One change I know of is that after July 12, 2006 those with concealed handgun permits no longer had to go through the NICS checks. That change would cause a drop in NICS checks not the massive increase. Indeed, the importance of this exemption has been increasing nationwide as more people have concealed handgun permits and this implies that the increase in gun sales shown by the NICS data actually underreports gun sales by an increasing margin over time.

But there is a solution to this mystery.

At least one state, Kentucky, appears to have recently started doing monthly NICS checks on its concealed carry permits in the summer of 2006. These monthly checks have dramatically inflated Kentucky’s NICS check numbers. Also, there are some states that that use the NICS system for background checks on gun purchases in the secondary market, such as at gun shows. In short, there are some inconsistencies in how NICS checks are used by states. For all these reasons, NICS data serves as only a rough proxy for the gun sales occurring in each state.

But on the other hand, it looks like Kentucky is not allowed to make these monthly checks.

Access to the NICS Index for purposes unrelated to NICS background checks required by the Brady Act. Access to the NICS Index for purposes unrelated to NICS background checks pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(t) shall be limited to uses for the purpose of:

(1) Providing information to Federal, state, or local criminal justice agencies in connection with the issuance of a firearm-related or explosives-related permit or license, including permits or licenses to possess, acquire, or transfer a firearm, or to carry a concealed firearm, or to import, manufacture, deal in, or purchase explosives; or

(2) Responding to an inquiry from the ATF in connection with a civil or criminal law enforcement activity relating to the Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C. Chapter 44) or the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. Chapter 53).

Something more to think about. An additional point is the 8 percent of NICS checks are "not resolved immediately" (with 5 percent presumably up to 3 days) and 3 percent take longer than three-business days. In addition, 99.9+% of those denied (about 0.8%) are false positives. At some point these costs imposed on gun transactions should be counted up. For example, a gun show may only take place over three day weekends. To have 8 percent of the NICS checks "not resolved immediately" could prevent those sales from occurring. That could be a significant effect on the cost of doing business for gun shows.


Permits in Wyoming

With the debate going on over whether to drop the permit requirement in Wyoming for concealed carry, I did note the significant number of permit holders in the state. There are about 412,000 adults over age 18 in Wyoming. That implies about 5 percent of adults have a concealed handgun permit.

the state already has issued about 21,000 concealed-carry permits and has only rejected about 1 percent of applications. . . .

It looks like Wyoming will soon get rid of the requirement for law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry concealed handguns.

Wyoming residents would be able to carry concealed guns without state permits under a bill that received preliminary approval in the state Senate Thursday.
Senators voted 21-8 in favor of the bill, Senate File 47, sponsored by Sen. Kit Jennings, R-Casper. It faces two more votes in the Senate before heading to the House for debate. . . .

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Weren't Chicago's murder rates supposed to soar after the Supreme Court Decision?

The data are available here, here, here, here, and here.

In June this last year, people were worried that Chicago's murder rates were going up:

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis released sobering statistics on city crime Sunday morning, announcing that homicides were higher through May 2010 than they were to that point last year.
The results were more encouraging in other areas, as total crime was down nearly 6 percent and other violent crimes fell 12 percent.
But the murder rate was particularly troubling to Weis. "Homicides have continued to challenge us," he said.
"This is still a work in progress," Weis said of the city's effort to reduce murders. "We study it and are working to get officers in the right place to stop acts of violence."
Across Chicago, 164 homicides were recorded through May of this year. That's a 4 percent increase over the 158 homicides in January through May of 2009, according to figures reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. . . .

In late April last year with murders outpacing the rate over the same time during 2009, one headline read: "Ill. State Reps Ask Gov. For National Guard to Cut Murder Rate."

Mayor Daley was using the higher murder rate to call for even more gun control.

The homicide rate in Chicago has jumped in the past month, and the city is grappling with how best to respond.
At least two weekends in a row have been marred by multiple killings. For many Chicagoans, the breaking point was last Wednesday, when a 20-month-old girl was shot in the head while in a parked car on the South Side. The alleged gunman, who turned himself in, was reportedly aiming for the girl’s father.
As of last Sunday, Chicago tallied 113 homicides for 2010, compared with 101 for the same period last year.
The city’s mayor, state lawmakers, and the Chicago Police Department, among others, are weighing in on what should – and shouldn’t – be done.
On Sunday, state Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford, both Democrats, suggested that the National Guard should be dispatched to curb the recent rise in violence. They made the proposal to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). . . .

Among the predictions about what would happen after the court's decision, you have this:

Justice John Paul Stevens, who warned that the McDonald ruling "could prove far more destructive - quite literally - to our nation's communities" than the precedent case, Heller. He was hardly alone. The ruling is "bad news for democracy and public safety," warned the Kansas City Star. "Today's decision will only add to" the firearms death toll, wrote the Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarman, who insisted that "more guns means more gun death." The McDonald ruling "moves us toward anarchy," shrieked The Washington Post's David Ignatius. "Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts and other enthusiasts for our newly-created universal right to bear arms should take a trip to Beirut or Baghdad and see how this idea works out in practice." . . .

Now what a difference six months makes. This month the Chicago Tribune's headline read: "Chicago homicides in 2010 fell to lowest level since 1965."

Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis largely credited computerized research that helps police determine where violent crimes are likely to occur for what he called a historic drop in homicides in 2010.
Homicides fell to 435, the city's lowest total in almost half a century and a 5.4 percent drop from 460 in 2009. That marked the fewest murders since Chicago recorded 395 homicides in 1965, Weis said at a news conference Monday. . . .

Note that Chicago enacted a new gun control law that went into effect two weeks after the Supreme Court decision in McDonald.

Bucking a national trend toward more tolerance for firearms, Chicago today begins enforcing the toughest gun law in the nation -- and it's already under fire.
Two lawsuits have already been filed against the ordinance, which bans gun shops in the city and limits permit holders to one ready-to-fire weapon inside the home -- excluding the porch, the garage or the yard. People are allowed to own more guns, but they cannot be loaded.
Legal experts say the law is not bulletproof and could be headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June that Americans have the right to possess handguns for self-defense. That ruling made the Chicago's existing gun ban, which had been in effect for 28 years, unenforceable. In its place Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City Council created the new law that goes into effect today. . . .

Some anecdotal evidence of increased gun sales.

After a Supreme Court decision affirming the right to bear arms was handed down in June, the owners of Midwest Sporting Goods, just outside of Chicago, started noticed something any retailer would find encouraging – an increasing number of customers. . . .
"It's not like sales suddenly went through the roof," he said. "There are still restrictions and waiting periods. But we are anticipating a major increase in sales going forward. It's not going to happen overnight, but it's going to happen."
Others in the industry agree that sales of firearms, particularly pistols and revolvers, could explode. . . .

My discussion on the new law is here.

For a discussion of the rate that new permits have been issued see here.

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Newest Fox News piece: Most Americans Don't Want the Health Care Law That Was Passed and Efforts to Repeal It Must Continue

My newest piece starts this way:

Americans are unhappy with ObamaCare. The House’s 245-189 vote to repeal ObamaCare on Wednesday was never really in doubt. In fact, The latest Rasmussen survey shows that 55 percent of Americans want ObamaCare repealed, the same number that showed up in polls when people voted in early November. Seventy five percent of Americans want the law changed.

The repeal measure now goes to the Senate. But despite holding a majority in the Senate, Democrats are refusing to hold a vote and publicly support the law. The public opposition shouldn't come as a surprise as the health care law signed by President Obama bears little resemblance to the one he promised during the 2008 campaign. The law broke multiple different promises on taxes and costs twice as much as what Obama said that it would cost during the campaign. ObamaCare was sold to Americans as an essential law to reduce health care costs.

"Then there's the problem of rising costs. . . . Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing," President Obama warned . . . .

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Arizona and Florida considering bill to let law-abiding citizens carry concealed on college campuses

From the Arizona Republic:

. . . Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, said he decided to sponsor House Bill 2001,which would allow community college and university instructors to carry a concealed weapon after an Arizona State University professor told him he feared for his safety.
"He said he felt like a sitting duck," Harper said. "After what happened at Virginia Tech . . . I think it's clear that . . . there needs to be more responsible, law-abiding individuals that can protect themselves on college campuses."
The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting left 32 people dead. In 2002, a University of Arizona nursing student failing classes shot three of his professors to death and then killed himself. In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, records have been released documenting the fears students and faculty at Pima Community College had that alleged shooter Jared Loughner would harm someone on campus.
Harper filed his bill before this month's shooting in Tucson.
"I'm not trying to capitalize on other people's grief for political gain," he said.
Harper said his bill is needed because the current Arizona law, which allows university administrators to ban firearms on their property, gives criminals unchecked powers.
"University or college police officers are few and far between," he said, adding that many lives can be lost in the time it takes officers to respond to a shooting.
If the law passes, Arizona would be the second state after Utah to allow faculty members to carry concealed guns on campus, while 24 states have bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. . . .

From Florida:

The proposal comes in the wake of a mass shooting in Arizona and the accidental shooting death of a Florida State University student. The police chiefs of Florida's state universities, including UF Police Chief Linda Stump, have come out in unanimous opposition to the measure.
"I don't think you're going to find anybody in higher education in law enforcement who is going to want guns on their campus," Stump said.
State Sen. Greg Evers, R-Crestview, is proposing the change in a bill that would allow residents who have concealed weapons permits to openly carry those guns. The measure also would lift the state's prohibition on having the weapons at colleges and universities, while leaving it in place for K-12 schools.
"I think it's just a good idea that people be allowed to carry firearms wherever they feel the necessity to protect themselves," Evers said. . . .

Note: Both pieces incorrectly mention only Utah has prohibiting the banning of permitted concealed weapons on campuses. Obviously, Colorado should be included, though an appeal from the University of Colorado is going to the state Supreme Court.

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How Congress has changed on the gun issue

Overall the piece is quite upset that those who believe people have a right to selfdefense have gotten more votes in Congress, but it did mention this one fact.

Referring to its rating system that scores members of Congress, the NRA added, “In the 111th Congress, there were 226 A-rated and 151 F-rated Representatives. The 112th Congress will contain 262 A-rated (+32) and 133 F-rated (-18) Members.There were pro-gun election upgrades in 27 House districts.” . . .


Bizarre zero tolerance case: "Gun Gesture Gets 1st-Grader Suspended"

This is too bizarre:

Lydia Fox says the principal at Parkview Elementary called her earlier this month to say her 7-year-old son had misbehaved during a school assembly by pretending he was shooting a gun.

Fox says the principal told her the boy would be placed in in-school suspension for the rest of that day and threatened a longer suspension if it happened again.

Midwest City-Del City Schools spokeswoman Stacey Boyer confirmed the incident and says the district's policy is to "address the disruption of the learning environment." Boyer says Fox's son "has repeatedly used his hands to simulate a gun." . . .


Another member of congress plans to carry a concealed handgun

This is my type of nurse.

In the wake of a mass shooting that critically injured one of her fellow lawmakers, Republican 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said Thursday that she plans to carry a gun when making public appearances.

"We have to protect ourselves. We know that. That is something we have always been cognizant of,” Ellmers said. "There have been times in the past I have carried my weapon, and I will probably continue to do so. Some days I might have it. Some days I might not."

The longtime nurse and Dunn resident obtained a concealed-carry permit in February after passing a state-certified firearms training course and a background check.

She said the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in which six people were killed and Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, steeled her resolve to be armed.

“I feel safe with it, and I think we should all be able to defend ourselves as we need to,” Ellmers said. . . .

Here is another article.

In the wake of the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., two members of the N.C. congressional delegation plan to carry concealed weapons more often in their home districts, while a third is considering getting a permit to do so.
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a Waynesville Democrat, told reporters right after the shooting that he would start carrying his weapon more often in the 11th District, which covers the far western mountain counties. He obtained his current permit in early 2009, according to Haywood County records.
Shuler was among a handful of House members who said publicly that they will be armed back home. But others will be, too.
U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a freshman Republican from Dunn, has had a concealed carry permit since February 2010, according to Harnett County records.
"I have one. And I'll be carrying," she said recently when asked.
A Charlotte Observer review of N.C. county records for the entire delegation shows that Shuler and Ellmers are the only two members with permits. U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Charlotte Republican, doesn't have a permit now, but said she had been thinking even before the shooting in Tucson of obtaining one.
"I've been thinking of it for some time and haven't gotten around to it," Myrick said. She said she used to own a handgun but sold it, and didn't know when she might find the time to take a firearms course and get a concealed carry permit. . . .

See also this:

Rep. Renee Ellmers says she has a concealed carry permit and plans to carry a handgun at public events.
However, even in light of the shootings she said she will not support restrictions on certain ammunition.
"I think it was an isolated incident and has more to do with the individual who committed the crime than the actual ammo he was using," Ellmers said. . . .


Home sales fall to 13 year low in 2010, foreclosures are expected to rise this year

It is hard to believe that things could get worse in the housing market.

The number of people who bought previously owned homes last year fell to the lowest level in 13 years, and economists say it will be years before the housing market fully recovers. . . .
The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that sales dropped 4.8 percent to 4.91 million units in 2010. That was slightly fewer than in 2008, which had been the weakest year since 1997.
The poor year for sales did end on a stronger note. Buyers snapped up homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million units in December, the best sales pace since May and the 12.8 percent rise from November was the biggest one-month surge in 11 years. . . .
Last year, a record 1 million homes were lost to foreclosures, and foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc. predicts 1.2 million more will be lost this year. . . .

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Interview on the size of magazine clips on KPCC

The interview on Southern California Public Radio KPCC on "Gun debate extends to restricting the size of ammunition magazines." As expected on a public radio station this was not exactly a fair debate, but I hope that I got some useful points across.

Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
John Lott, author of More Guns Less Crime

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"2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Hosts the Man Who Has Imprisoned the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner"

There is an irony here that won't be mentioned by the mainstream media. Here is an interesting take on this.

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Democrats who voted against ObamaCare are now explaining why they voted for it

John Merline has done a real service getting the explanations offered by Democratic Congressmen for why they voted against ObamaCare and have now this week voted for it. My problem is that only a couple of these statements really explain the change in their positions. If you take their statements as true, they should have voted for ObamaCare the first time around. For example:

John Barrow, D-Ga.: "We need to keep the parts that prohibit folks from getting denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and extend health coverage to kids just out of college. ... There are a lot of good things in the bill," he said Saturday at a meeting with constituents. "I don't believe in voting against the parts that are good. ... We need to amend it, not end it."

If Barrow doesn't believe in voting against the good parts of the law now, why did he vote against them previously?


"House GOP Lists $2.5 Trillion in Spending Cuts"

"Eye-popping" is correct.

Moving aggressively to make good on election promises to slash the federal budget, the House GOP today unveiled an eye-popping plan to eliminate $2.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. Gone would be Amtrak subsidies, fat checks to the Legal Services Corporation and National Endowment for the Arts, and some $900 million to run President Obama's healthcare reform program.

What's more, the "Spending Reduction Act of 2011" proposed by members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, chaired by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, would reduce current spending for non-defense, non-homeland security and non-veterans programs to 2008 levels, eliminate federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cut the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and cut some $80 billion by blocking implementation of Obamacare.

Some of the proposed reductions will surely draw Democratic attack, such as cutting the Ready to Learn TV Program, repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, the elimination of the Energy Star Program, and cutting subsidies to the Woodrow Wilson Center. . . .


Newest Aol News piece: Gun Control Emotions vs. Gun Control Fact

My newest piece at AOL News starts this way:

Just 24 hours after the shooting in Tucson, politicians were calling for more gun control. And the drumbeat has continued.

On Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for using the information supplied on people's applications to join the military to determine whether they will be banned from buying guns. Sens.Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., promised a new push for renewing at least part of the federal assault weapons ban. The previous week had been filled with calls for everything from gun show regulations to a thousand-foot gun-free zone around politicians.

But while the emotional reaction to a mass shooting is understandable, the fact is that some of the proposals would at best only make people feel better and at worst make them less safe.

Schumer's proposal, for example, would try to pick up criminal activities included in military applications for which there are no criminal convictions. But the military has a good reason to maintain confidentiality when it interviews new recruits: It wants to get the most honest answers it can. . . .

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CNN uses the term "crosshairs" frequently in month before Tucson Shooting

This all makes all the moralizing at CNN pretty embarrassing.

A look at transcripts of CNN programs in the month leading up to the shootings shows that the network was filled with references to "crosshairs" -- and once even used the term to suggest the targeting of Palin herself. Some examples:

"Palin's moose-hunting episode on her reality show enraged People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and now, she's square in the crosshairs of big time Hollywood producer, Aaron Sorkin," reported A.J. Hammer of CNN's Headline News on December 8.

"Companies like MasterCard are in the crosshairs for cutting ties with WikiLeaks," said CNN Kiran Chetry in a December 9 report.

"Thousands of people living in areas that are in the crosshairs have been told to evacuate," Chetry said in a December 21 report on flooding in California.

"He's in their crosshairs," said a guest in a December 21 CNN discussion of suspects in a missing-person case.

"This will be the first time your food will be actually in the crosshairs of the FDA," business reporter Christine Romans said on December 22.

"The U.S. commander in the East has Haqqani in his crosshairs," CNN's Barbara Starr reported on December 28, referring to an Afghan warlord.

"We know that health care reform is in the crosshairs again," CNN's Joe Johns reported on January 3.

Seven uses of "crosshairs" in just the month before the Tucson attacks, and just one of them referring to an actual wartime situation. And one reference to Sarah Palin herself as being in "crosshairs."

And not just Palin. On September 14, Mark Preston, CNN's senior political editor, referred to another controversial politician, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, as being "in the crosshairs." "Michelle Bachmann is raising lots of money, raising her national profile," Preston said on September 14. "She is in the crosshairs of Democrats as well." . . .


With all the discussion about a new tone: Democrat claims Republicans like Nazis propogandists

From ABC News:

The newfound civility didn’t last long. Political rhetoric in Congress doesn’t get much nastier than the words of one House Democrat during the debate on repealing the health care law.

In an extraordinary outburst on the House floor, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) invoked the Holocaust to attack Republicans on health care and compared rhetoric on the issue to the work of infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. . . .

Here is the same Congressman referring to the Tea Party as being similar to the KKK.

UPDATE: After repeatedly saying that Republicans are like Nazi who used propaganda to run the Nazi death camps, he now says that he was never referring to Republicans as Nazi. Leave aside the point that I think that it is Democrats who are lying when they say that Obamacare doesn't involve a further government take over of health care, his explanation for what he said is bizarre. Karl Rove gets this one right.

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27 states now asking for challenge Constitutionality of ObamaCare

With the additions of Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming, the total rises to 27 states.

More than half of the states—27 out of 50—are now challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare in federal court.
Six additional states--Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming--petitioned in federal court on Tuesday to join Florida’s law suit challenging the constitutionality of the health care law President Barack Obama signed last March. Nineteen states had previously joined with Florida in this suit, making the total number of states that are now a party to the suit 26.
Virginia, which has filed its own lawsuit against Obamacare, is the 27th state challenging the constitutionality of the health-care law in federal court. (A complete list of all 27 states appears at the bottom of this story.) . . .

UPDATE: With the addition of Oklahoma, 28 states are challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a legal challenge against the federal health care overhaul President Barack Obama signed into law last year.

Pruitt's filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Muskogee makes Oklahoma the 28th state to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the federal health care act.

The petition questions whether Congress has the power under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to require citizens to purchase health insurance coverage or be penalized for not doing so. . . .



Another outrageous gun case in New Jersey

David Codrea has this:

“A late flight landed Utah gun owner Greg Revell in jail for 10 days after he got stranded in New Jersey with an unloaded firearm he had legally checked with his luggage in Salt Lake City,” the Associated Press reports.
Because of a late flight, Revell missed his connecting flight. His luggage had been erroneously routed to Newark. He collected it.
And he was then arrested, going through a nightmare that included “10 days in several different jail”—and think about that, and the type of terrifying population they had this man immersed in. He had charges hanging over his head for months, and his private property confiscated for years. . . .

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Wisconsin and Concealed Carry

Pretty soon Illinois will be the only state that forbids people being able to carry concealed handguns.

Wisconsin, one of two states in the nation that prohibits citizens from carrying a concealed weapon, is expected to reverse this law during the upcoming state legislative session, according to a local newspaper.

Only Illinois and Wisconsin forbid carrying concealed weapons. A Republican was elected governor and Republicans won majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature in November, bringing many more supporters of gun rights to the state government.

"You're going to see a concealed carry bill pass the Legislature, I have no doubt," Chris Danou, a Democratic legislator from Trempealeau, Wisconsin, told the LaCrosse Tribune newspaper. "The question is what kind of bill it's going to be." . . .


Rusty Humphries Show at 4:35 PM

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Poll: political rhetoric and lack of gun control not to blame for Tucson shooting

A Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll finds this.

A minority of Americans believe the Arizona shooting last Saturday was because of heated political rhetoric, according to a poll released Friday.

The poll, conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, found 15 percent of Americans believe the shooting was because of unusually angry and aggressive political rhetoric. Forty percent of the Americans poll believe the shooting was unavoidable and another 23 percent think it was due to an inadequate mental health system. The poll found a slim 9 percent think the shooting was because of lenient gun control laws. . . .

A CNN/Opinion Research Poll also has some questions.

Sixty-nine percent of those polled said the shooting that left six dead and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), has not changed their opinion on gun control. Twenty-eight percent said the shooting has made them “more likely” to support stricter controls on the sale of firearms, while 3 percent were “less likely.” . . .

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Some Notes for the Health Care Repeal Vote

Some poll results.

1) Rasmussen Reports: 75% Want Health Care Law Changed
Voters overwhelmingly want to see last year’s health care law changed, but there is substantial disagreement about how best to do it.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely U.S. Voters want to change the law, while only 18% want it left alone. Those figures include 20% who want the law repealed and nothing done to replace it, 28% who want it repealed and then have its most popular provisions put into a new law and 27% who say leave the law in place but get rid of the unpopular provisions.
It is worth noting that a majority (55%) take one of the middle ground approaches—repeal and replace or leave it and improve. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Overall, 48% take an approach that starts with repeal. That’s lower than support for repeal measured generally in Rasmussen Reports weekly tracking polls on the subject. It is likely that some people who prefer repeal when there are no other options for change are drawn to the idea of leaving the law in place and removing the unpopular provisions. . . .

2) People oppose the law because they believe it will raise costs, increase the deficit, and lower quality. These poll results from Rasmussen Reports probably explain why Democrats are arguing that repeal will increase the deficit.

Support for repeal of the national health care law passed last year remains steady, as most voters continue to believe the law will increase the federal budget deficit.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 55% of Likely Voters favor repeal of the health care law, while 40% oppose repeal. Just 40% Strongly Favor repeal, matching the lowest level found since the health care bill became law. Thirty percent (30%) Strongly Oppose repeal. (To see survey question wording, click here.) . . .
Sixty percent (60%) of voters say the legislation will likely increase the federal deficit, while just 17% say it will reduce the deficit. Another 13% believe the law will have no impact on the deficit. Since the laws passage, the number of voters that expect the plan to increase the deficit has ranged from 51% to 63%.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) expect the cost of health care to go up under the new plan, which has also remained steady since the law's passage. Only 13% expect the cost of care to decrease under the plan while 22% say health care costs will remain about the same as they are now.
When it comes to quality of care, 50% say it will get worse under the new plan. That number has also shifted little since the plan's passage. Twenty-one percent (21%) say the quality of care will get better, while 24% say it will remain about the same. . . .

3) A CBS Poll has a different slant.

The poll finds that 40 percent of those surveyed said they support the law, while 41 percent oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, opposition stood at 47 percent and support was 38 percent. . . . Fewer than one in five say it should be left as it is. . . .

4) A copy of the Republican examination of Obamacare on the deficit is here.

5) Claims about deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) opines in a January 6 letter to Speaker Boehner that repeal of Obamacare would increase the projected federal deficit by $230 billion through 2021, with detailed technical analysis to follow. . . .

Here’s a closer look at the CBO projections. The $230 billion consists of $145 billion projected for 2010-2019 (updated from the CBO’s $143 billion budget score when the legislation was passed) plus an additional projected deficit reduction of $85 billion (or “roughly $80 billion to $90 billion”) during 2020-2021.

Of the $145 billion for 2010-2019, approximately $70 billion is due to inclusion in the legislation of the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) program, a federal long-term care insurance program that is projected to generate significant revenue and little cost during the next 10 years. But, as an allegedly budget neutral program over the long run, this excess of revenues over expenditures will be reversed in later decades. As I described in a December 2009 WSJ op-ed, Congress’s Long-Term Care Bomb , the CLASS program will “yield substantial reductions in the CBO’s 10-year deficit projections, thus helping the Democrats’ health care reform bills to appear fiscally responsible. But the proposals would significantly increase deficits in subsequent years, when pressure on the federal budget from Medicare and Medicaid spending is already projected to be enormous.” . . .

6) Paul Ryan on Health care spending and the deficit (February 25, 2010) (a transcript is here)

7) More than half the states have decided to challenge the constitutionality of ObamaCare.


Across the political spectrum, Americans' views of Palin improve after her speech on Tucson tragedy

WIth many in the media saying that Palin's political career is over after her speech after Tucson, NewsBusters has this:

Media outlet after media outlet panned Sarah Palin's video response to last Saturday's Tucson shootings with some going so far as claiming it ended any chance she might have of becoming president assuming that's even her goal.

Destroying this myth was a new poll published by Media Curves that actually found Americans seeing the former Alaska governor as more likeable, sincere, and believable after watching her speech:

Respondents were asked to rate Sarah Palin on a scale from 1-7 regarding likeability, believability and sincerity, with 1 representing “not at all strong in this attribute” and 7 representing “extremely strong in this attribute.”

With the exception of likeability among Democrats, Palin’s attribute ratings increased among all parties after viewing her speech. The most notable increase was her sincerity ratings, which increased from 2.62 to 2.69 among Democrats, from 5.25 to 5.45 among Republicans and from 3.68 to 3.85 among Independents.

The poll also found:

An increase in the number of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents that see her as a positive figure in the United States after viewing the speech
40 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of Republicans, and 56 percent of Independents feeling the speech helped her image
37 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of Republicans, and 54 percent of Independents feeling the speech helped her potential run for president . . .


E-Book version of More Guns, Less Crime (Third Edition) is now available starting at $7.00

The University of Chicago Press is offering E-Book versions of More Guns, Less Crime (Third Edition) are available starting at $7.00. You can purchase the book here.

You can conveniently and quickly download e-books directly to your computer or handheld device and read them using Adobe® Digital Editions software, a free download from Adobe available for PC and Mac, as well as for e-book devices such as the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Kobo eReader, the Sony E-reader, and other devices. (But please note that other devices, including Amazon’s Kindle devices, are locked to their own stores and won’t be able to load e-books bought at our site. We do sell many of these e-book titles at Amazon as well, and encourage all Kindle device owners to check the Amazon site for Chicago titles to put on your Kindle.)



More censorship in Venezuela

Is there any question that more totalitarian countries try harder to control the information that their citizens receive?

Venezuela has told a private TV company to stop showing a Colombian soap opera it says is insulting to the country.

Chepe Fortuna stars a character called Colombia and her sister Venezuela, who owns a dog called Little Hugo, the same name as Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

In one episode Venezuela loses Little Hugo, prompting Colombia to tell her she is better off without him.

The spat comes as the countries are making efforts to improve their historically strained relationship.

They restored relations last August, shortly after President Juan Manuel Santos took office in Colombia.

Venezuela's telecommunications regulator Conatel said the secretary character named Venezuela was "repeatedly characterised as associated with crime, interference and vulgarity".

Her gossipy and unscrupulous manner, it said, showed "the shameless manipulation of the plot to demoralise the Venezuelan people".

Conatel ordered the Televen channel to take the programme off air on Thursday night. The channel has not yet commented on the demands. . . .

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Past Videos of 28 times that I have appeared on CSPAN

It is nice of CSPAN to put together all the old appearances that people have done for them in the past. They have put my past appearances here.


More laws being threatened after Tucson Attack

On the size of magazines:

[Sen. Dianne Feinstein] said in an interview Friday that she was exploring the idea of reviving a law to limit the size of ammunition clips. The assault weapons ban of 1994, of which Feinstein was the principal sponsor, limited clips to 10 bullets, a third of the size of the one Loughner used to kill six people and injure more than a dozen, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, his intended target. . . .

On expanding scope of background checks, because Loughner had been using marijuana for a couple of years. The question is: why does the military guarantee privacy to those who answer their questions?

If someone admits to a federal official that he's used illegal drugs, that information should be sent to the FBI so that person can be disqualified from purchasing a gun, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday. . . .

A military official told Fox News last week that Loughner was rejected from enlisting in the Army in 2008 because he admitted he had used drugs. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because privacy laws prevent the military from disclosing such information about an individual's application. . . . .

"But the law doesn't require the military to notify the FBI about that, and in this case they didn't. So I --this morning -- I'm writing the administration and urging that that be done, that the military notify the FBI when someone is rejected from the military for excessive drug use and that be added to the FBI database," Schumer said. . . . .

Others have called for regulating what can be said on the radio.

When some liberals called for reining in harsh political rhetoric after the Arizona shootings, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) took it one step further. He called for bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, in what was widely considered an attempt to clamp down on talk radio. . . .

UPDATE: Lugar pushes for renewing assault weapon ban.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) this weekend called on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Lugar is the first GOP senator to call for increased gun control following the Tucson tragedy that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But Lugar, who supported the initial 10-year-long assault weapons ban when it passed in 1994, said he's not optimistic about the chances for passing gun control legislation this Congress.

“I believe it should be, but I recognize the fact that the politics domestically in our country with regard to this are on a different track altogether,” Lugar told Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt Jan. 14.

Lugar also noted the increase in ammunition sales since the shootings, which he suspected was out of fear that Congress might pass far-reaching gun control legislation in wake of the tragedy.

A couple of lawmakers floated gun control legislation last week in wake of the tragedy, including one of Congress's fiercest gun control advocates, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.). Her bill takes the assault weapon ban slightly further by banning the sales and transfer of high-capacity magazines that the Arizona gunman used.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) suggested legislation making it illegal for anyone to knowingly carrying a loaded gun within 1,000 feet of certain high-ranking public officials, including members of Congress. . . .