Los Angeles to try banning Open Carry of Guns in February

A discussion of the proposal is available here.

ITEM NO. (26)
MOTION (GARCETTI - KORETZ - ET AL.) relative to feasibility and legality of banning the open carry of handguns in the City.

Recommendation for Council action:
REQUEST the City Attorney to report on the feasibility and legality of banning the open carry of handguns in the City.

Presumably, the City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is still negotiating with the City Council. After all, the city did cut his office by 30%, he is going to want something in return for signing off on a blatantly unconstitutional (both State and Federal) ordinance.

Item number twenty-seven was passed unanimously, by members present. It reads as follows:

ITEM NO. (27)
MOTION (KORETZ - GARCETTI) relative to requesting the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) and City
Attorney to report to Council to share their legal understandings concerning current federal, state
and local parameters concerning gun issues.
Recommendations for Council action:

1. REQUEST the CLA and City Attorney to report back to Council, within 30 days, to share their
legal understandings concerning current federal, state and local parameters and projected
outcomes concerning gun issues and actual or likely gun and ammunition-related legislation,
and to share any information, insights, advice and ideas deemed to be pertinent and helpful by
the CLA and City Attorney.

2. REQUEST the local community organizations aimed at stemming gun violence, including
Women Against Gun Violence and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, be invited to
attend any such presentation and discussion, and to share their information, insight, advice and


Obama administration stops program that allowed airports to have private employees do passenger screening

Obama administration sees no "clear or substantial advantage" to private employees screening passengers. I assume that the Obama administration sees no advantage to seeing private companies doing anything that the government does. So much for any rumors that the Obama administration is ending its hostility towards private companies. This is basically a public union protection scheme.

A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was "neutral" on the program.
TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.
Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have "opted out" of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.
The push to "opt out" gained attention in December amid the fury over the TSA's enhanced pat downs, which some travelers called intrusive. . . .
But on Friday, the TSA denied an application by Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri to privatize its checkpoint workforce, and in a statement, Pistole indicated other applications likewise will be denied.
"I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time," Pistole said. . . .

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Both Democrats and Republicans fault Obama for failing to address deficit

The Headline in The Hill newspaper: "Dem, GOP suggest at hearing that Obama is failing to lead in budget crisis"

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Thursday that his panel might have to take the lead in solving the nation’s long-term budget problems.
Conrad's comment that solutions “may fall to this committee” came shortly after Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Budget panel, ripped President Obama’s State of the Union speech for failing to tackle the nation’s budget problems.
“I don’t think he rose to the occasion … it was a timid speech,” said Sessions, who criticized the president for not being honest with the public about the kinds of dramatic measures needed to balance the budget.
Significantly, Conrad, who has announced he will not seek reelection in two years, did not defend Obama when he spoke. He said his panel might have to take the lead on the budget if the White House did not conduct a budgetary summit with lawmakers.
“It may fall to this committee … if there is not going to be a summit, if there is not going to be some kind of negotiation,” Conrad said. . . . .


Crime rates at Colorado State University fall after Concealed Carry on Campus

From Inside Higher Education:

According to the Colorado State University police department, campus crime has declined since concealed carry was first allowed in 2003, although that may not be a direct result of the policy. . . .

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$288,700 per "green" job

Boy, talk about a UN "anti-poverty" program. Wouldn't it have just been better to have given the poor people $288,700 each?

according to documentation obtained by Fox News, the projects that generated those jobs have a total cost of about $1.68 billion—which would work out to a much more staggering average figure of about $288,700 per job.
The wildly differing size of those price tags for a fairly trivial amount of employment emerged as part of a muted rebranding effort at UNDP. Top management is trying to burnish some of its credentials in the face of internal critics who feel that when it comes to merging environmental management and economic development to solve poverty problems, UNDP is not very good at its job.
The stakes for UNDP are high. UNDP spends about $570 million a year on implementing environmental programs and projects, mostly on behalf of outside donors. . . .

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The Obama administration goes back to the Assault Weapon Ban

Reading this report it appears as if the Obama administration wants to have stricter gun control regulations for imported guns than existed under the Federal Assault Weapon ban. The conclusion of this BATF report is ominous. Obviously the Obama administration can't be trusted with determining what a "true" sporting gun is.

The purpose of section 925(d)(3) is to provide a limited exception to the general prohibition on the importation of firearms without placing “any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms....”51 Our determinations will in no way preclude the importation of true sporting shotguns. While it will certainly prevent the importation of certain shotguns, we believe that those shotguns containing the enumerated features cannot be fairly characterized as “sporting” shotguns under the statute. Therefore, it is the recommendation of the working group that shotguns with any of the characteristics or features listed above not be authorized for importation.

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British Police told that it is too dangerous to go to playgrounds at night

From the UK Mail:

In the line of duty, police officers routinely risk life and limb in all sorts of dangerous situations to protect and serve.
So patrolling an area plagued by teenage yobs should be child’s play by comparison.
But constables and PCSOs have been banned from keeping the peace at an adventure playground at night because it is considered dark and dangerous.
A senior officer told stunned councillors there would be no patrols after 8pm at newly-built Waterlees Park in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for health and safety reasons. . . .

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Move to end more gun-free zones in Michigan

From the Detroit News:

State Sen. Mike Green is looking to abolish the limitations concerning concealed weapons and allow those with licenses to carry a firearm essentially anywhere in the state. Green, R-Mayville, said he introduced the bills today in order to prove "there are no places that should be gun free."
"The problem is when you have a gun-free zone, you have people able to use their gun knowing there's no one that can stop them," he said. "The issue is, if it's constitutional to carry outside a building, why wouldn't it be constitutional to carry inside the building? We just feel we need some debate on that and it needs to be talked about."
The proposal would eliminate the "no carry zones" — currently defined as schools and school property, day care centers, sports arenas, bars and restaurants where alcohol is the primary revenue source, churches and other places of worship, stadiums with seating for 2,500 or more, hospitals, casinos and college campuses.
Rick Fitzgerald, University of Michigan spokesman, pointed out there is already a board of regents' ordinance on the books prohibiting concealed carry on campus, which encompasses the medical facilities.
"The reality is, at this point this is a very early proposal and we'll just have to wait and see how it develops," Fitzgerald said.
People with concealed pistol licenses are exempt from the no carry zones providing they carry the weapon in full view. . . .

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NYC Snow Records

From even the New York Times. Al Gore blames the snow storms on global warming. However, 10 years ago man-made global warming advocates predicted the opposite ten years ago.

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said. . . .

Of course, before Democrats in the US were warning about no snow from global warming.

Now we get this prediction from AccuWeather: Bastardi: Three of Next Five Winters Could be as Cold or Colder


The disaster of American education: "B Minus Time Traveler"

Very amusing. On the serious side, this reminded me about how the AP History test doesn't test of knowledge about dates any more.

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Tucson killer researched many ways to kill Congresswoman

So are they going to call for banning the internet?

A man accused in the deadly Tucson shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded 13 others including Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords researched lethal injections, solitary confinement and political assassinations in the days before the attack, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
A source close to the investigation into 22-year-old Jared Loughner told The Washington Post that a review of his computers turned up the Internet searches. Officials with the FBI and Justice Department contacted by The Associated Press declined to comment Wednesday on the Post's story or verify any part of it
Loughner's alleged actions could help prosecutors as they begin the process of pursuing charges that could lead to the federal death penalty.
He was indicted last week on federal charges of trying to assassinate Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides -- Ron Barber and Pam Simon -- in the Jan. 8 shootings outside a Tucson supermarket during a meet-and-greet event with the three-term Democratic congresswoman's constituents. . . .



Medicare actuary says that Obamacare will raise national health care costs by $311 billion through 2019

From the Hill newspaper:

The Obama administration on Wednesday rekindled a feud with the Medicare program's chief actuary after he again questioned the healthcare reform law's savings.

In his analysis of the law last April, and again during testimony before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, Rick Foster said the law would increase national healthcare spending by $311 billion through 2019 and questioned whether Medicare savings called for in the law are sustainable. . . .

Here were some other bombshells dropped during the hearing today:

Foster was asked by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for a simple true-or-false response on two of the main assertions made by supporters of the law: that it will bring down unsustainable medical costs and will let people keep their current health insurance if they like it.
On the costs issue, "I would say false, moreso than true," Foster responded.
As for people getting to keep their coverage, "not true in all cases." . . .

The number of unions and companies granted temporary waivers under the new health care law has grown to 729.


Sen. Harry Reid Vows Earmarks Will Return

So will Obama veto legislation that includes earmarks in it? If Democrats in the Senate hold firm, he might have to.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News that earmarks will return to Capitol Hill despite President Obama's vow in last night's State of the Union to veto any spending bill that includes them.
In an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl, Reid launched a vigorous defense of pork, the pet projects that members of Congress insert into bills to benefit their home states.
"I think it's taking power away from the legislative branch of government and giving it to the executive branch of government," Reid said of the president's plan. "The executive branch of government is powerful enough and I think that I know more about what Nevada needs than some bureaucrat down on K Street."
"So you think the president is wrong about this?" Karl asked.
"Without any question," Reid replied.
"I understand it's great for an applause line, but it's really not solving anything to do with the deficit. It's only for show."
"So you're saying that earmarks will be back?" said Karl.
"Of course they'll be back," said Reid.
In addition to blasting Obama's anti-pork plan, the Nevada senator also sounded less than impressed with the president's proposed five-year spending freeze on discretionary spending.
"I'm not enthusiastic about it because it's not broad enough," Reid said. "We have to make sure that defense is included in that because certainly defense spending is getting bigger and bigger and bigger." . . .


Oak Park's crime rates fall after handgun ban is ended

This article is from the January 18th issue of the Wednesday Journal, the weekly newspaper for Oak Park and River Forest. Burglaries feel by 34 percent. Do you think that making it easier for people to own handguns in the home might have had some impact of this crime category? A brief history of Oak Park's gun ban is available here. On July 19, 2010, Oak Park amended its town ordinance "to allow registered owners to use handguns for protection in their homes."

Thanks very much to George Sandersfl for sending me this copy of the newspaper article.

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Just for the record: Before House Republicans have been able to do anything, projected budget deficit this year is $1.5 trillion

Remember that not only has there been a Democratic president, but Democrats had massive majorities in the House and the Senate up until the end of last year. The CBO has this:

A new estimate predicts the federal budget deficit will hit almost $1.5 trillion this year, a stunning new record.
The latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office are up from previous estimates because Congress and President Barack Obama teamed up in December on bipartisan legislation to extend Bush-era tax cuts that were due to expire. The new estimates will only add fuel to a raging debate over cutting spending and looming legislation that's required to allow the government to borrow more money.
The nonpartisan budget agency predicts the deficit will drop to $1.1 trillion next year.
Legislation passed in December to extend tax cuts, unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and provide a 2 percent payroll tax cut this year adds almost $400 billion to this year's deficit. . . .

Of course, as the AP reported after the speech: "But Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything."


After lunch with Obama, MSNBC's Matthews says Obama will push for more gun control in near future

Matthews- There's going to be a special Presidential address on gun control. It has not been scheduled, but there's going to be one. In the near future.

Lawrence O'Donnell- Breaking news from Chris Matthews.

Matthews- Yes you can take it from me... So he's (Obama) not over-looking it, they must have made a tactical decision that it would be the headline tonight and they're looking for a economic/jobs headline tonight.

O'Donnell- I see what you're saying, you're saying it would have stolen what they wanted to deliver tonight.

Matthews- Well, a lot of the country it is the issue. It makes no sense to some people in the suburbs and in the cities and perhaps someplace in the rural areas, but in other areas in Western Pennsylvania, guns are it and I don't think he wanted to depress the news that he's trying to make about jobs tonight. . . .

Note Lawrence O'Donnell is simply wrong about the clip being what allowed the attack in Tucson to occur. People were out of the gate so quickly about this attack, but they only find out later the facts. In this case, the gun jammed precisely because such a long clip was used.

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The Associated Press is actually critical of Obama's State of the Union Speech

The Associated Press article was actually unusually critical of the president.

Obama spoke ambitiously of putting money into roads, research, education, efficient cars, high-speed rail and other initiatives in his State of the Union speech. He pointed to the transportation and construction projects of the last two years and proposed "we redouble these efforts." He coupled this with a call to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."
But Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything. . . .

OBAMA: Tackling the deficit "means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit."
THE FACTS: The idea that Obama's health care law saves money for the government is based on some arguable assumptions.
To be sure, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the law will slightly reduce red ink over 10 years. But the office's analysis assumes that steep cuts in Medicare spending, as called for in the law, will actually take place. Others in the government have concluded it is unrealistic to expect such savings from Medicare.
In recent years, for example, Congress has repeatedly overridden a law that would save the treasury billions by cutting deeply into Medicare pay for doctors. Just last month, the government once again put off the scheduled cuts for another year, at a cost of $19 billion. That money is being taken out of the health care overhaul. Congress has shown itself sensitive to pressure from seniors and their doctors, and there's little reason to think that will change. . . .

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Pelosi's composting program was costing taxpayers $475,000 a year

What a waste of money.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., announced this week that he's ordered an end to the Pelosi-championed composting program in the House of Representatives. The chairman of the House Administration Committee said an internal review of the program showed it wasn't living up to expectations.
"After a thorough review of the House's composting operations, I have concluded that it is neither cost-effective nor energy-efficient to continue the program," Lungren said in a written statement, claiming the composting was costing taxpayers $475,000 a year.
The decision is a symbolic but disappointing one for Democrats who pushed the composting as a pillar of Pelosi's "Green the Capitol" initiative. Under Pelosi, Styrofoam and plastic materials were discontinued in House eateries, replaced by biodegradable alternatives. The House then shipped its biodegradable waste to a composting site in Maryland. . . .



Wyoming Senate passes bill to eliminate need to have permit to carry concealed

It looks as if the state House and Governor will go along with the Senate vote.

Wyoming residents would be able to carry concealed guns without a permit under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Monday.
The Wyoming Senate voted 20-10 in favor of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Kit Jennings, R-Casper.
If the bill ultimately becomes law, Wyoming would join Alaska, Arizona and Vermont as states that don't require citizens to have permits to carry concealed weapons.
Supporters of the Wyoming bill note that the state and federal constitutions guarantee the people's right to carry guns. They also say criminals are already carrying concealed weapons illegally.
Opponents, however, said they're worried about putting more guns into hands of people who shouldn't have them.
Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, voted for the bill. "In my heart, it just comes down to responsible people following the law and carrying a gun are not a threat," he said after the Senate hearing.
"It's people not following the law, or who are mentally over the top, they're not going to be deterred by a law that says you can't carry it," Case said. "To me, in the end, it's pretty clear." . . .


Roger Lott: On the lost traditions at an Ivy League School

My son Roger discusses the impact of political correctness on traditions at Dartmouth College. His piece starts this way:

While listening to a ’62 reminisce over Christmas dinner about the spirited traditions and rustic lifestyle he had known at Dartmouth, I couldn’t help but share in some of his nostalgia. It was saddening to appreciate that while Dartmouth has made great strides, it has also thrown away much of what made it special.

In 1993, Dartmouth ended a more than century-old tradition in which graduating seniors would smash long clay pipes on the stump of the old pine tree in the BEMA. The custom, based on the smokers’ habit of breaking off part of the pipe’s stem after it had become befouled through use, symbolized students’ “clean break” from the College. However, Native American students complained that the tradition was disrespectful of Native American rituals involving sacred pipes, and in ’93 mugs were substituted, only to later be done away with after seniors incurred minor injuries from clay shards.

The demise of the pipe-breaking tradition is a reflection of a broader over-vigilance for anything potentially offensive to Native Americans, and the undebatable nature of Dartmouth’s Indian mascot propagates a false notion that all indigenous peoples are offended by it and similar symbols. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. . . .

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Typical emotional rant about the risks of letting law-abiding citizens carry permitted concealed handguns, this time regarding college campuses

Darren Bush, an associate law professor at the University of Houston, wrote an op-ed this past weekend for the Salt Lake Tribune (available here). What is most disappointing is that I debated Bush at the University of Houston last fall. He made hypothetical claims about armed students fighting over parking spaces, but I challenged him then to provide some examples among young permit holders off of campus and he couldn't. For the obvious reason that such a case doesn't exist, he has still not been able to refer to an example. But he still uses it as a serious concern.

-- "No proof exists that concealed weapons deter crime in any setting." -- This statement is simply inaccurate. I debated Bush last fall where I went through 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 increases in crime. For a list is available here, though I would also add my book, More Guns, Less Crime, and another recent paper in the Journal of Law and Economics.

-- The risk of students carrying concealed handguns. As the third edition of my book MGLC shows, permit holders generally are extremely law-abiding and there is no evidence that even in those states where people 18 to 20 can carry that they behave any differently. During my debate with Bush, he could not provide a single example in Utah or Colorado where a younger permit holder on campuses behaved in the manner that you hypothesize nor in the period prior to the early 1990s before universities in right-to-carry states had these prohibitions on students or faculty or staff carrying these guns.
I wrote up a discussion on Utah for the third edition of MGLC (University of Chicago Press, 2010). One can look up more recent information for Utah here.
Also take Arizona. which has been in the news recently. As of December 1, 2007, there were 99, 370 active permits. During 2007, 33 permits were revoked for any reason — a 0.03% rate — cases that did not involve using the gun to harm others. And this is true in state after state. Between October 1, 1987 and December 31, 2010, Florida issued permits to 1.9 million people. 168 permit holders had their permits revoked for any firearms related violation, a rate of 0.009%. During the last 36 months the revocation rate has been 0.0003%.

-- The claim is that "contentious campus parking dispute if students are armed," but Bush provides not one single example in Texas where you live or any other place where such an event involving a student type person has occurred off campus. With about 6.5 million current permit holders, Bush can't come up with even a few examples for a reason.

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"Legally packing heat" in NYC

From the New York Post.

What's with the South and their guns?
A middle-class enclave on the South Shore of the city's southernmost borough is the gun capital of New York, with 509 residents -- or about one in every 57 males -- legally packing heat.
Guns are "a beautiful thing to own," said Peter Bruno, 73, who lives in the pistol-packing 10312 ZIP code, which cover's Staten Island's Annadale, Arden Heights and Eltingville sections.
The neighborhood is filled with single-family homes on 40-by- 100-foot lots and attached town houses, largely populated with conservative-leaning civil servants like cops and firefighters, as well as Wall Streeters.
"That's the quintessential group that owns guns for their home and family protection," said the area's city councilman, Vincent Ignizio.
Many of those gun-toting residents practice their aim at two private gun ranges on the island, and many also head upstate to unload.
"There are a lot of hunters," said longtime resident Guido Cadunzi, a gun-safety instructor.
The well-armed area is also one of the city's safest. The 123rd Precinct has seen a 27 percent decrease in major crimes over the past 10 years, and there were just two homicides there in 2009 and 2010. . . .

Thanks to Gus Cotey for the link.


CSPAN Appearance discussing US Gun Laws

This interview was done last year, but I recently found a link to it at CSPAN.

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Rahm Emanuel says the residency rules for running for office be damned if they don't work for him

Apparently there is an exception in the residency law if the president gives you a job offer.

"Fundamentally, when a president asks you to serve the country as his chief of staff, you do it," Emanuel said. “Fundamentally, when a president asks you to serve the country as his chief of staff, that counts as part of serving your country," Emanuel said. "I have no doubt that in the end we will prevail at this effort. As my father always used to say, nothing is ever easy in life. This is just one turn in the road.

“The Supreme Court has an obligation -- not an obligation -- to hear the case, to make a decision quickly, so both not only voters have a clarity they need, but there’s a clarity to the issues we are discussing in front of the voters as it relates to the challenges that we have as a city for our future," Emanuel said. . . .

The law isn't as important as what Emanuel decides that the end goal should be. You know that there is a reason why there are residency requirements.
"I do believe that the people of the city of Chicago deserve the right to make a decision on who they want to be their next mayor,” Emanuel said. . . .

The judges were pretty clear and what they say seems obvious.
The judges panel said it had concluded that Emanuel “neither meets the Municipal Code’s requirement that he have ‘resided in’ Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement.” . . .

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Obama appointees threaten to sue four states over their attempt to guarantee secret ballots for union elections

The Obama appointees who control the NLRB are threatening lawsuits against states that want to guarantee the secret ballot for union elections. This whole thing is strange because as of right now there is no conflict. This conflict will only occur if the Obama administration changes the current rules.

The National Labor Relations Board today advised the Attorneys General of Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah that recently-approved state constitutional amendments governing the method by which employees choose union representation conflict with federal labor law and therefore are preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The states were also advised that the Board has authorized the Acting General Counsel to file lawsuits in federal court, if necessary, to enjoin them from enforcing the laws.
Under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, private-sector employees have two ways to choose a union: They may vote in a secret-ballot election conducted by the NLRB, or they may persuade an employer to voluntarily recognize a union after showing majority support by signed authorization cards or other means. . . .

The NLRB claims that unions can already be certified without a secret vote.

The agency's acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the amendments conflict with federal law, which gives employers the option of recognizing a union if a majority of workers sign cards that support unionizing. . . .
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he believes the state is on solid ground. He plans to coordinate a response with the other three states.
"If they want to bring a lawsuit, then bring it," Shurtleff said. "We believe that a secret ballot is as fundamental a right as any American has had since the beginning of this country. We want to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens." . . .


Robert Gibbs indicates that Obama might raise the gun control issue

Politico has this:

Here's a somewhat substantive answer: Gibbs hints that Obama might mention gun control in his State of the Union address. "I don’t doubt that, as a result of the impact -- or the issues of what happened in Tucson, that there will be a number of proposals that this White House and the Congress will evaluate, and we'll wait until tomorrow to see what’s in the State of the Union." . . .

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Terrorist attacks in US don't use guns very much compared to other countries

Tthe National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at the University of Maryland put this report together. When the Assault Weapon Ban sunset in 2004, there were predictions that it would lead to more terrorist attacks, but this data suggests the percentage of attacks with guns has fallen, not increased. The low rate of terrorist attacks using gun in the US raises the question of whether it is just more difficult for US terrorists to get a hold of guns or whether there is just a lower return to using them.

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With a third year of around $1.4 to $1.5 trillion deficits, Republicans are not thrilled about Obama promising even more spending

What Mitch McConnell had to say on Fox News Sunday.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that, because the White House says while the president will call for budget cuts, that he's also going to call for some new spending in areas like education and research and infrastructure. Will you support any of that?
MCCONNELL: Well, look, when you hear, with all due respect to our Democratic friends, any time they want to spend, they call it investment, so I think you will hear the president talk about investing a lot Tuesday night.
We've got a huge spending problem here. We've had over $1 trillion annual deficit each of the last two years. Our friends on the other side a couple of years ago passed a budget that will double the national debt in five and triple it in 10. I mean, most of us think, and most American -- of the American people think that we need to do something about this and start doing it now.
We'll take a look at his recommendations. We always do. But this is not a time to be looking at pumping up government spending in very many areas.
WALLACE: Well, I mean, let me ask you again, specifically, as he says, and you're exactly right, they're calling it investments, in education, in research, things like renewable energy, in infrastructure. How does that sound to you?
MCCONNELL: Well, I don't think anything ought to be off-limits for the effort to reduce spending. And I've said to my constituents over the last couple of weeks, as they brought up particular areas of interest, don't assume that we can tackle this without impacting something you like.
So I don't think we ought to start out with the notion that -- that a whole lot of areas in the budget are exempt from reducing spending, which is what we really need to do and do it quickly. . . .


So how did the Obama stimulus do?

The Republicans in House have put this fact sheet together on how the stimulus worked.

(1) The unemployment rate is far higher than Administration officials predicted it would be if their stimulus plan passed, leading to at least 3.7 million more unemployed people;
(2) There are now 6.8 million fewer jobs than the Administration predicted there would be if their stimulus plan passed;
(3) A total of 47 out of 50 States have lost jobs since Democrats’ February 2009 stimulus;
(4) Instead of creating millions of private sector jobs as promised, key industries have lost millions of jobs since Democrats’ stimulus. Overall, the private sector has shed 1.8 million jobs, including over 1.5 million jobs lost in construction and manufacturing alone;
(5) Instead of the current official unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, the unemployment rate would be 11.3 percent if it included all the “invisible unemployed” -- American workers who have simply given up looking for work or didn’t even bother to try to enter the labor market; and
(6) The staggering 70 percent combined rise in debt and unemployment during President Obama’s term has created an enormous “Obama Misery Index.”

The now Republican controlled Ways & Means Committee is proposing:

Streamline the tax code, pass pending free-trade agreements so American companies can easily sell goods overseas, repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that actually lower insurance costs, and get spending under control so the national debt doesn't threaten the economy. . . .

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Schumer: warns of 'crisis' in Judiciary

This isn't something that he would have said 2.5 years ago.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, already exercising his expanded authority in the new Congress, says he is helping broker a bipartisan push to confirm a slew of federal judges and has kicked off plans to empower younger senators.

“There is a crisis in the judiciary,” Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democrat, said in an interview for the POLITICO video series “What Lies Ahead.”

“I’m even hopeful, maybe, that the president could mention this in the State of the Union, to talk about getting these judges put on the bench.” . . .


"Consumers downbeat on job, inflation worries"

The US is above Ireland, but that isn't saying very much.

A reading below 100 signals pessimism about the outlook. . . .
Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index in the fourth quarter, 2010 (Change from Q3 survey in brackets):

Top 10 index readings Bottom 10 index readings

India 131 (+2) Ireland 65 (-3)

Philippines 120 (+6) Hungary 59 (+5)

Norway 119 (+18) S. Korea 58 (-1)

Indonesia 116 (+1) Latvia 58 (-5)

Australia 112 (-3) Lithuania 57 (-6)

Switzerland 110 (+10) Japan 54 (+2)

Singapore 109 (-4) Romania 54 (-1)

Brazil 108 (+5) Greece 48 (-9)

Malaysia 107 (+4) Portugal 45 (+1)

Saudi Arabia 107 (-8) Croatia 45 (-13)


Global consumer confidence average 90 (90)

United States 81 (0)

China 100 (-4)

Germany 83 (-4)

Source: The Nielsen Company


Ted Cruz for the US Senate in Texas

If you want to support a very smart, very free market, incredibly strong supporter of people having the right to defend themselves, I can't think of a better person than Ted Cruz for the US Senate. I have known Ted for years, and for those interested in learning about Ted, you can see his record here. If you want to contribute, even $25, you can do so here. Please let's see if we can give him a big start in numbers and donations. Where it says "If you were referred by someone, please enter their name:" if you could put my name down, it would be appreciated.


The Federal Government Destroys the Return to Pharmaceutical developing new drugs and now the government wants to develop new drugs

Big surprise. The continuing threat of price controls has destroyed the incentives to invest in new research. So now the socialist Obama is having the government take over the Pharmaceutical company's role of developing new drugs. Not "intended to be competitive with private" firms? Be serious. Where "private industry has failed"? Here is the bottom line: Can government create as many new drugs for the same amount of money as private companies? If they can, that will be the first for the government. If not, rather than forcing the companies to charge low prices so that the government can "save money" and then have the government have to pay to get the research done. Why not just let the private companies keep their money and let them do the research?

The Obama administration has become so concerned about the slowing pace of new drugs coming out of the pharmaceutical industry that officials have decided to start a billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines.

The new effort comes as many large drug makers, unable to find enough new drugs, are paring back research. Promising discoveries in illnesses like depression and Parkinson’s that once would have led to clinical trials are instead going unexplored because companies have neither the will nor the resources to undertake the effort.

The initial financing of the government’s new drug center is relatively small compared with the $45.8 billion that the industry estimates it invested in research in 2009. The cost of bringing a single drug to market can exceed $1 billion, according to some estimates, and drug companies have typically spent twice as much on marketing as on research, a business model that is increasingly suspect. . . .

“None of this is intended to be competitive with the private sector,” Dr. Collins said. . . .

Whether the government can succeed where private industry has failed . . .

UPDATE: "“Startup America,” the administration's new campaign designed to put the focus on jobs and inspiring Americans to think like entrepreneurs." Is this ironic?

As much of Washington kept its gaze on protests in Egpyt on Monday, President Obama's Cabinet sought to turn attention to “Startup America,” the administration's new campaign designed to put the focus on jobs and inspiring Americans to think like entrepreneurs.

“It’s quite clear that some of the biggest employers in the nation ... started in somebody’s garage as just an idea that they had,” economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said at the White House along with Cabinet secretaries and other members of the administration. “And whether you look at innovation itself and new ideas, if you look at employment, if you look at the growth that gives people careers – all of those things are tied to entrepreneurial ventures in a quite ... direct way.”

Gene Sperling, Obama's new director of the National Economic Council, said a bill for small businesses signed by Obama was “just the start,” calling the new policy measures a “top priority” for the president.

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