Political correctness strikes Super bowl ads

How the Hurley ad could offend environmentalists is beyond me. It seems that they give attention to their issue. The sad thing is that Groupon has given into this political correctness.

The ad featured Timothy Hutton, who talks about how the Tibetan culture is in jeopardy. ”But they still whip up an amazing fish curry, and since 200 of us bought at Groupon.com, we’re each getting $30 worth of Tibetan food for just $15…in Chicago.” In other commercials, Cuba Gooding Jr. saves half on a whale-watching expedition, and Elizabeth Hurley pays half for a bikini wax after talking about deforestation in Brazil.

Viewers were offended that Groupon was exploiting and making light of three serious issues. . . .

Here is Hurley's ad.

Here is Timothy Hutton's ad.


Fannie and Freddie bailout at $153 billion and heading to someplace between $220 and $363 billion

The most expensive federal government bailout ever:

When the dust settles, the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be the most expensive government rescue of the financial crisis -- it already stands at $153 billion and counting. . . . .

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government body that oversees the two mortgage giants, has estimated that losses through 2013 will require Treasury to pour another $68 billion to $210 billion into the firms on top of the money already used to prop-up the firms and the housing market. . . .


Charges "rare" against those who shoot intruders

At least in Virginia, the castle doctrine is the de facto standard. What is the law differs from what juries are going to do.

. . . . The Virginian-Pilot reviewed reports of several similar cases in recent years. In most, prosecutors did not file charges against people who shot intruders. When prosecutors do file charges, the cases go to juries that often are sympathetic to the shooters.

"You can instruct juries all you want to on what the law is, but juries have the ultimate power to acquit for any reason they want," said Ronald Bacigal, a professor at the University of Richmond's law school.

In Virginia, prosecutors say, citizens can use deadly force to defend their lives, but not solely to defend property.

For years, including this year, the General Assembly has considered proposals to make the so-called "castle doctrine" part of state law, which would extend more protection to those who defend themselves from intruders.

Del. Bill Cleaveland, a Botetourt County Republican, who introduced the proposal this year, said it's important for people to know they can use deadly force when their lives are threatened because the police won't always be there.

"When you codify the case law as it is now," he said, "it has an extra exclamation point, that, 'This is recognized in Virginia.' "

Still, for practical purposes, the castle doctrine already is in effect when cases involve home intruders. . . .

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Pistol-packing pastor stops church burglars

A copy of the news report is available here.



So where is the more extreme weather?

Man-made global warming advocates have predicted over and over that man-made global warming should lead to more severe storms. This piece in the WSJ asks: "is it true?"

To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.
As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."
In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher.
We do know that carbon dioxide and other gases trap and re-radiate heat. We also know that humans have emitted ever-more of these gases since the Industrial Revolution. What we don't know is exactly how sensitive the climate is to increases in these gases versus other possible factors—solar variability, oceanic currents, Pacific heating and cooling cycles, planets' gravitational and magnetic oscillations, and so on.
Given the unknowns, it's possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change—as it always has. . . .

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New Chinese edition of Freedomnomics

Of all the books that I have written, this is still my favorite one. If anyone knows how to find the order link for the Chinese version, I would appreciate finding out. The English version can still be found here.

The Chinese version is available here.

Thanks to Charles Stone for the link to the Chinese edition.


Obamacare and health care access

This doesn't even deal with all the costs of the law, such as the cost shifting to private patients. In addition, Obama's appointee, Donald Berwick, refused to answer most Republican questions.

A main Republican concern about the law is that the $575 billion it requires in Medicare reductions will make it hard for seniors to find doctors and other providers.
"Medicare actuaries predict that because of the cuts in the Democrats’ health care law, 725 hospitals, 2,352 nursing homes and 1,587 home-health agencies will become unprofitable," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp noted in questioning Berwick Thursday.
Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, says 300 doctors in his state have already dropped Medicare patients.
"The Medicare actuary warned that the half-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts in the Democrat health care law are so drastic that providers might end their participation in the program," Johnson said.
But Democrats rushed to the defense of the law, arguing that Republican efforts to repeal it would cause even more problems.
"Repeal would do more then turn back the clock. It would rip off its hands," Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., said.
Berwick was pressed on several of his previous statements, such as saying that competition doesn't help in health care, that he loved the British state-run health system, and another quote in which he said a single-payer system, meaning government-administered health care, is "the only sensible approach."
Camp asked him if he still feels that way, and got a lengthy treatise on the benefits of the new law. . . .



Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf says Obamacare will reduce employment by 800,000

Rep. [John] Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we'll -- and Dr. Elmendorf -- and we'll continue this conversation right now. First on health care, before I get to -- before I get to broader issues, you just mentioned that you believe -- or that in your estimate, that the health care law would reduce the labor used in the economy by about 1/2 of 1 percent, given that, I believe you say, there's 160 million full-time people working in '20-'21. That means that, in your estimation, the health care law would reduce employment by 800,000 in '20-'21. Is that correct?

Director Elmendorf: Yes. The way I would put it is that we do estimate, as you said, that...employment will be about 160 million by the end of the decade. Half a percent of that is 800,000.

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With the country facing a $1.5 trillion deficit, Obama wants $53 billion in high-speed rail

There is a reason why private companies aren't putting up the money to create these rail lines. Take a hint. Some much for Obama's oft repeated promise during the 2008 campaign to cut government spending.

Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday proposed that the US government infuse $53 billion into a national high-speed rail network. The announcement was met immediately by deep skepticism from two House Republicans that could be crucial to the plan's success, raising questions about whether it can clear Capitol Hill.
House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. John Mica (R) of Florida said previous administration grants to high-speed rail projects were a failure, producing "snail speed trains to nowhere." He called Amtrak a "Soviet-style train system" and said it "hijacked" nearly all the administration's rail projects.
Meanwhile, Railroads Subcommittee Chair Rep. Bill Shuster (R) of Pennsylvania said Mr. Biden's plan was "insanity," adding: "Rail projects that are not economically sound will not 'win the future' " – coopting the slogan President Obama coined in his State of the Union address. . . . .

More on investments. President Obama: “we can’t expect tomorrow’s economy to take root using yesterday’s infrastructure." Here is the problem: if it pays to make these investments, people will make them. Why is the government involved at all?

“This isn’t just about a faster Internet or being able to find a friend on Facebook,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at Northern Michigan University here, after viewing a demonstration on long-distance learning over the Internet.

“It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age,” the president said. “It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers can monitor weather across the state and markets across the globe. It’s about an entrepreneur on Main Street with a great idea she hopes to sell to the big city. It’s about every young person who no longer has to leave his hometown to seek new opportunity — because opportunity is right there at his or her fingertips.”

In his State of the Union address last month, Mr. Obama called for securing high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans within five years. On Thursday, the White House released details of how he would spend billions of dollars for the plan, which also includes a high-tech wireless public safety system that would tie cities and towns together in the event of a national emergency like the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. . . .

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Milton Friedman on The Free Lunch Myth

Blumenthal again rewrites his biography

Blumenthal gets caught again embellishing his background to help win political points.

"I'm new to the Senate but I'm not new to this battle," Blumenthal said at a Capitol Hill news conference, his first since taking office. "Since the days of Roe v. Wade, when I clerked for Justice Blackmun, as a state legislator, as attorney general, I have fought this battle."

The problem is, Blumenthal clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in 1974, the year after Blackmun wrote the Roe v. Wade decision. . . .

But the news may be how Blumenthal's staff threatened the press for covering this false statement.

Warning Mirror reporter Deirdre Shesgreen to stay away from writing an "incendiary" story, Rubiner left the Mirror scribe with the sort of dubious threat that can become infamous among journalists and political junkies:
"This is a very unfair route you are going down," she said. "We'll remember this."

Perhaps this is what happens when newspapers such as the Courant, New Haven Register and the Day abandon Washington coverage. Bossy senate staffers get used to managing the news.



Bias in academia

As the article says, these types of numbers don't come about by randomness. I have a discussion of this bias in my book Freedomnomics.

It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three. . . .
“I consider myself very middle-of-the-road politically: a social liberal but fiscal conservative. Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work,” one student wrote. “Given what I’ve read of the literature, I am certain any research I conducted in political psychology would provide contrary findings and, therefore, go unpublished. Although I think I could make a substantial contribution to the knowledge base, and would be excited to do so, I will not.” . . .

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"Job openings fall for second straight month"

OK, people leaving the labor force and job openings dropping.

Employers posted fewer job openings in December, the second straight month of declines. That's a sign hiring is still weak even as the economy is gaining strength.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs that month, a drop of almost 140,000 from November. That's the lowest total since September.
Openings have risen by more than 700,000 since they bottomed out in July 2009, one month after the recession ended. That's an increase of 31 percent.
But they are still far below the 4.4 million available jobs that were advertised in December 2007, when the recession began. . . .


Discussing the Obama Administration’s effort to create jobs in the United States

I was on Fox News Live to discuss my recent op-ed.

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With Chicago Public Schools suffering a $700 million budget shortfall, some teachers travel to Las Vegas on school money despite travel restriction

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Appearing on Fox News Live at 11:20 AM to discuss the recent unemployment numbers

You can watch the segment tomorrow by clicking here.
"11:20am John Lott explains his take on the Obama Adminstrations effort to create jobs in the United States."

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Newest Fox News piece: Why Can't Obama Do the Math On Jobs?

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

President Obama has a message for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today: You have an obligation to start creating jobs. The government has done what it needs to do and any failure lies with the private sector.
Indeed, the job numbers are bleak. Unemployment fell last month, but only because Americans have given up looking for work in record numbers. On net, 319,000 quit looking for work and left the work force in December. In November, it was even worse, 434,000. Over 1.5 million American have left the workforce since August.
Just 36,000 net jobs were added in December. -- That is far fewer than the about 150,000 needed just to keep up with the growth in the population.
This is a strange "recovery." Recoveries almost always add people to the labor force. As more jobs open up, recoveries are supposed to mean that people who had previously left the labor force during the recession hope they now have a chance to get a job and start looking again. Thus, they officially rejoin the labor force.
It is simply unprecedented that 19 months into the recovery, more and more Americans keep on quitting the labor force. (Here is a diagram that compares the growth in the number of people "not in the labor force" during the recoveries that started in 1982 and 2009.) . . . .

Fact checking Obama's speech to the Chamber of Commerce.

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Percentage Change in People "Not in Labor Force": Comparing the 1982 to 2009 recoveries

The data is available here.


Yet more Moderate Democrats becoming Republicans

Even more politicians switch from being Democrats to Republicans.

Reporting from Atlanta-- For Democrats, Ashley Bell was the kind of comer that a party builds a future on: A young African American lawyer, he served as president of the College Democrats of America, advised presidential candidate John Edwards and spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
But after his party's midterm beat-down in November, Bell, a commissioner in northern Georgia's Hall County, jumped ship. He joined the Republicans.
Bell, 30, said he had serious issues with the healthcare law and believed that conservative "blue dog" Democrats in Congress who shared his values had been bullied into voting for it.
Bell's defection is one of dozens by state and local Democratic officials in the Deep South in recent months that underscore Republicans' continued consolidation of power in the region — a process that started with presidential politics but increasingly affects government down to the level of dogcatcher.
"I think the midterms showed you really can't be a conservative and be a member of the Democratic Party," Bell said.
Since the midterm election, 24 state senators and representatives have made the switch in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Texas.
In some cases, the ramifications have been profound: In Louisiana, defecting Democrats gave Republicans a majority in the state House for the first time since Reconstruction; in Alabama, they delivered the GOP a House supermajority. Republicans have 65 votes to the Democrats' 39, enough to pass constitutional amendments over Democratic opposition.
The trend continued through late January — when nine officials in Lamar County in northeastern Texas left the Democratic Party — and into last week, when Louisiana Atty. Gen. James D. "Buddy" Caldwell switched parties, leaving the GOP in control of every major state office in Baton Rouge. . . .


Is Obama serious about not raising taxes?

Here is the transcript from O'Reilly's interview with Obama last night.

O'REILLY: Do you deny the assessment? Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: You deny that?

OBAMA: Absolutely. I didn't raise taxes once, I lowered taxes over the last two years.

No new taxes in ObamaCare? Isn't the Obama administration in Federal court right now that arguing that the health care taxes are taxes? Doesn't Obama pay attention to what his own administration is arguing in court?

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