Stimulus dollars spent on anti-obesity campaign

So much for the claim that the Stimulus was being spent on what the Democrats called jobs programs.

A stimulus-funded anti-obesity campaign has spread throughout the country. And the $650 million Recovery Act program called Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is funding not just anti-obesity campaigns in New York City, but campaigns throughout the country.

Thirty-one localities — from cities in Hawaii to Maine to South Carolina — have received grants to combat the effects of sugary drinks and trans fats on residents’ waistlines.

The state of California was by far the biggest beneficiary, receiving $55.1 million to do things like “reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and promote healthy eating” and “implement physical education policies in schools.” Of that grant, $32.1 million went to Los Angeles, $16.1 million went to San Diego, and $6.9 million went to Santa Clara. Yet California is one of the country’s slimmest states.

Washington State received $25.5 million in taxpayer dollars to fight obesity. The grant went directly to the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health. However, according to Forbes rankings, Seattle is one of the top ten fittest cities in America. Nonetheless, in 2010, Seattle announced a campaign to reduce consumption of sugary drinks, modeled after “materials developed in New York City.”

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health received $25.4 million to “make healthy foods more available and affordable” and remove “unhealthy food” from schools.

Cook County and the City of Chicago in Illinois received $15.9 million and $11.6 million, respectively, to promote healthy living and anti-smoking campaigns.

Pima County in Arizona received $15.8 million. And in Texas, San Antonio got $15.6 million while the city of Austin, which is ranked as one of the fittest cities in America, got $7.5 million.

The affluent city of Boston, Massachusetts, where lawmakers are considering a ban on soft drinks, received $12.5 million in grants. In return, the city promised to decrease consumption of sugary beverages, increase active transit, and infuse more physical activity and health education into the school system. . . .

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Appearance on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch

My segment starts at about 8:15 into the clip.

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"Public Unions Force Taxpayers to Fund Dems"

Michael Barone describes the motivations behind the debate over collective bargaining by government workers.

[Obama] did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state's public employee unions. Walker was staging "an assault on unions," he said, and added that "public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."
Enormous contributions, yes -- to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign. Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.
Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.
So, just as the president complained in his 2010 State of the Union address about a Supreme Court decision that he feared would increase the flow of money to Republicans, he also found time to complain about a proposed state law that could reduce the flow of money to Democrats.
And, according to The Washington Post, to get the Democratic National Committee to organize protests against the proposed Wisconsin law. Protests that showed contempt for the law, with teachers abandoning classrooms, doctors writing phony medical excuses, Democratic legislators fleeing the state and holing up in a motel. The lawmakers played hooky without losing any salary, which is protected by the state constitution.
It's true that Walker's proposals would strike hard at the power of the public employee unions. They would no longer have the right to bargain for fringe benefits, which are threatening to bankrupt the state government, and they would no longer be able to count on government withholding dues money and passing it along to them. . . .

Union members much more supportive of Obama than others.

Female voters think the president is doing a better job than male voters do. Fifty percent (50%) of government employees say Obama is doing a good or excellent job, compared to just 35% of those who work in the private sector.
A solid majority of GOP voters (65%) and a plurality of voters not affiliated with either political party (43%) rate the president’s leadership as poor, a view shared by only 13% of Democrats. Seventy percent (70%) of Democrats view his performance as good or excellent.
Most of the Political Class (91%) rates Obama’s leadership favorably, while 51% of Mainstream voters give him poor marks.
Deficit reduction was a key part of Obama’s recent State of the Union speech, but few voters expect him to hit his goal of cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term.
Most voters (55%) don’t think the president’s proposed $3.7 trillion federal budget includes enough spending cuts. . . .

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Illinois becomes haven for politicians on the lam

Besides having a reputation for corruption and massive deficits, Illinois apparently has gotten another reputation: "Illinois becomes haven for Democrats on the run."



Another dimension of the Obama recovery

Readers of my op-ed pieces know the last couple of points in this list, and given that permanent jobs are being replaced with temporary service sector jobs, the first few are not really surprising, even if they are depressing.

In the private sector, there is a striking imbalance between where the recession’s job losses occurred, and where the growth of the past 12 months was concentrated:
 Lower-wage industries constituted 23 percent of job loss, but fully 49 percent of recent growth
 Mid-wage industries constituted 36 percent of job loss, and 37 percent of recent growth
 Higher-wage industries constituted 40 percent of job loss, but only 14 percent of recent growth
The current recovery looks worse than the “jobless” recovery of the 2001 recession, on several fronts:
 After a year of positive job growth, the private sector after the 2001 recession had recovered almost half (47 percent) of the jobs it had lost. By contrast, to date the private sector has recovered only 14 percent of the jobs it lost during 2008 and 2009.
 The early job growth following the 2001 recession was more balanced than the early job growth following the 2008 recession, with significantly more growth in higher-wage industries.


Mitt Romney loves "RomneyCare"

I am not surprised that Romney couldn't back away from his signature health care bill in Massachusetts, that is even though it was largely designed by the same economist who designed ObamaCare. Romney's response that "he feels it was a net positive for his state, but that works at the state level doesn't work nationally" doesn't make a lot of sense. The economic problems with ObamaCare are the same as those in Romney care.

Mitt Romney rejected Mike Huckabee's call for him to admit that the "RomneyCare" health care program failed, instead saying he's "proud" of "getting everyone covered" when he was governor of Massachusetts.

"Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered,” Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, told the Boston Globe, in the first direct response Team Mitt made to Huckabee's criticism of the health plan in his new book.

Fehrnstrom also put daylight between the Romney health care bill and President Obama's reform package, which is unpopular among voters and is the subject of several lawsuits by different states.

“What's important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare," Fehrnstrom added. "A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn't work.” . . .

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Appearing on Fox Business's Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano at 8 PM and 11 PM today

I will be on Fox Business's Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano at 8 PM and 11 PM today to discuss letting students and faculty carry guns on college campuses.

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The "mental activity" standard for what the Federal Government can regulate

From John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary.

Two federal judges have ruled that Congress cannot, under the Commerce Clause, demand that citizens buy a consumer product from a private company. But another, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, has just joined two other federal judges in upholding ObamaCare. Her logic in doing so is, shall we say, creative.
According to Judge Kessler, Congress has the power not only to regulate "economic activity" but also "mental activity." "It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not 'acting,' especially given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every individual of that choice," she wrote. "Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality."
This is breathtaking legal reasoning: Anyone's thoughts are actually actions that can be dictated by the federal government. "By the same reasoning, I am engaged in the mental economic activity of not buying a GM car, so surely that activity can be regulated by forcing me to buy one," says legal analyst Aaron Worthing. "To be blunt, I think this 'mental activity' argument is so specious it harms her case." . . .

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A moving piece by Dr. Manny Alvarez about Canadian medical case

For those who have been following the Canadian case of little Joseph Maraachli this is a must read.


Obamacare's destruction of health care quality

Here is a useful piece on the damage that Obamacare is already doing to health care in the US.

The Republicans who now control the House of Representatives hope to repeal or defund ObamaCare, but the law has already yielded profound, destructive changes that will not be undone by repeal or defunding alone. Active steps and new laws will be needed to repair the damage.

The most significant change is a wave of frantic consolidation in the health industry. Because the law mandates that insurers accept all patients regardless of pre-existing conditions, insurers will not make money with their current premium and provider-payment structures. As a result, they have already started to raise premiums and cut payments to doctors and hospitals. Smaller and weaker insurers are being forced to sell themselves to larger entities.

Doctors and hospitals, meanwhile, have decided that they cannot survive unless they achieve massive size—and fast. Six years ago, doctors owned more than two-thirds of U.S. medical practices, according to the Medical Group Management Association. By next year, nearly two-thirds will be salaried employees of larger institutions. . . .


Google search results easily manipulated?

So much for Google's denial that its search results can't be manipulated.

Google Inc. is penalizing Overstock.com Inc. in its search results after the retailer ran afoul of Google policies that prohibit companies from artificially boosting their ranking in the Internet giant's search engine.
Overstock's pages had recently ranked near the top of results for dozens of common searches, including "vacuum cleaners" and "laptop computers." But links to Overstock on Tuesday dropped to the fifth or sixth pages of Google results for many of those categories, greatly reducing the chances that a user would click on its links.
The incident, according to Overstock, stemmed in part from its practice of encouraging websites of colleges and universities to post links to Overstock pages so that students and faculty could receive discounts on the shopping site. Overstock said it discontinued the program on Feb. 10, before hearing from Google, but said some university webmasters have been slow to remove the links.
Internet search experts say that sites associated with educational institutions, which come with ".edu" in their Web addresses, are often considered by Google's search algorithm to be more authoritative than commercial sites. Experts say educational sites rarely link to commercial sites, so a shopping site can surge in Google rankings if an .edu page links to it. . . .

Another article is available here. Of course, Google previously denied that this had been occurring.

Google said Thursday that it had made a major change to its algorithm in an effort to improve the rankings of high-quality Web sites in its search results — and to reduce the visibility of low-quality sites. While the company did not say so explicitly, the change appears to be directed in part at so-called content farms like eHow and Answerbag, that generate articles based on popular search queries so they will rise to the top of the rankings and attract clicks.

Google has been facing criticism from some users for allowing articles that aren’t useful to appear prominently in search results. That has now changed, according to the company. . . .


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explains his position


Obama's Panel on Small Businesses filled with CEOs of large business and unions

Gooslbee seems to always be willing to say anything for this administration.

. . . Hours after the White House released a list of members appointed to the panel, Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, was asked to explain why most of Obama’s appointments to the 22-member board are executives at big companies.

Goolsbee began his response by instead mentioning the names of Obama’s newest nominees to the CEA. “Carl Shapiro himself started a small business that he grew and sold to a larger business,” Goolsbee said of the deputy assistant attorney general nominated by Obama on Wednesday.

He then cited the January nomination of Katharine Abraham, reminding reporters that back “in the ’90s,” she had worked for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“I think they have good knowledge about small business,” he said of Shapiro and Abraham.

Finally, on the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness: “Many of those names are CEOs of larger companies, but there are several small business members of that council,” Goolsbee said, not naming anyone specific. (There is one: Darlene Miller.)

The list of members also includes “union labors,” “academics” and “people representing many different industries,” he added. . . .

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Another broken Obama promise: White House has Lobbyists meetings off-site to hide them

Great, so the administration releases the names of lobbyists who visit the White House, but then meets the lobbyists someplace else. Really useful.

Caught between their boss’s anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds – and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident.

It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs collected on visitors to the White House and later released to the public.

“They’re doing it on the side. It’s better than nothing,” said immigration reform lobbyist Tamar Jacoby, who has attended meetings at the nearby Jackson Place complex and believes the undisclosed gatherings are better than none.

The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place – and off the books – so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.

Obama’s administration has touted its release of White House visitors logs as a breakthrough in transparency, as the first White House team ever to reveal the comings and goings around the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building.

The Jackson Place townhouses are a different story.

There are no records of meetings at the row houses just off Lafayette Square that house the White House Conference Center and the Council on Environmental Quality, home to two of the busiest meeting spaces. The White House can’t say who attended meetings there, or how often. The Secret Service doesn’t log in visitors or require a background check the way it does at the main gates of the White House. . . .



CBS News investigates the "Gunrunner" Scandal

Here is what my son Maxim wrote on this topic a few weeks ago. BATF probably can't be trusted on whether the US government supplied the guns used in the agent Brian Terry's death. Here is CBS's write up.

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"Gun Laws Behind The News"

Here is a very low key interview that I did with Malia Zimmerman while I was in Hawaii. Malia was nice enough to be my tour guide while I was in that beautiful state.

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Should U.S. Agents be armed in Mexico?

If the Mexican government can't protect US agents in Mexico, it seems that there are two options: 1) don't allow US agents in Mexico or 2) let the agents be able to defend themselves. From Fox News:

U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are weighing actions to allow U.S. agents working in Mexico to pack heat after a drug gang killed an unarmed U.S. immigration agent and wounded another.
U.S. agents have not been allowed to carry weapons in Mexico since a 1990 agreement. But their safety has been increasingly in jeopardy ever since Mexican President Felipe Calederon declared war on the drug cartels when he took office in December 2006.
"It is essential that the U.S. government conduct a comprehensive threat assessment to protect U.S. government personnel working in Mexico," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "We must also talk to the Mexicans about their prohibition against U.S. personnel carrying weapons and determine the extent to which security details must be expanded."
A Homeland subcommittee led by Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, is planning a hearing next month to probe the U.S. role in Mexico's war on its drug cartels.
"The Mexican government doesn't allow our law enforcement to carry weapons in Mexico. It seems to me we're assisting them in this war against the drug cartels. Our law enforcement should be armed," McCaul told Fox News. "These two agents were sitting ducks and sitting targets in what was an intentional ambush. . . .

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Obama administration misspells "Libya"

Pundit Press has the story available here.


Will Democrats shutdown the government over $2 billion cut in spending?

This seems like a pretty good strategy. How will Democrats explain that they are going to shutdown the government over cutting a trivial $2 billion?

House Republicans plan to pass a two-week stopgap spending bill next week that would keep the government running past March 4 at reduced levels, GOP aides told POLITICO Wednesday.
The measure comes on the heels of last week’s seven-month appropriation bill that would have slashed $61 billion from federal accounts but has no chance of passage in the Senate.
Republican aides say the cuts in the two-week spending bill would be proportional — or pro-rated — to reflect the levels in the first measure. That means cutting about $4 billion over two weeks. The plan is tentative and the contours of the measure are still being crafted.
It’s House Republicans’ opening bid in a war of attrition that pits their promise to slash spending against Senate Democrats’ refusal to allow any cuts on a short-term bill. If no one backs down by March 4, the government will shut down. House Republicans want to leave the hot potato in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hands.
Reid’s office released a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the proposal, calling it another non-starter.
“The Republicans’ so-called compromise is nothing more than the same extreme package the House already handed the Senate, just with a different bow,” Reid spokesman Jon Summers said. “This isn’t a compromise, it’s a hardening of their original position.” . . .


Does the Saudi Policy of giving out Large Amounts of Money to Quell Unrest Make Sense in the Long Run?

This seems like a pretty short sighted policy to me (see the Financial Times here). Giving out this much money not only gives people an incentive to threaten revolt, but it also creates bad incentives for the behavior that is being forgiven (e.g., forgiving those in debt).

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced financial support measures, worth an estimated SR135bn ($36bn), in a bid to avert the kind of popular unrest that has toppled leaders across the region and is now closing in on Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi.

The measures include a 15 per cent salary rise for public employees to offset inflation, reprieves for imprisoned debtors, and financial aid for students and the unemployed.

Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has thus far been spared the type of popular discontent that has toppled presidents in Tunisia and Egypt and brought Libya to the brink of civil war.

The announcement of the Saudi relief measures coincided with King Abdullah’s return to the country after three months. He had been abroad for medical treatment. Among those on hand to greet him was King Hamid bin Isa al-Khalifa of neighbouring Bahrain, which is struggling to contain a surging opposition movement. . . .


Comparing Corporate Income Tax Rates Across Countries

These numbers just look at Federal Tax Rates. The study by the Cato Institute reporting these numbers also notes:

A number of countries are initiating or phasing-in further corporate tax-rate cuts in coming years, including Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. In some countries, such as Israel and Japan, these are straight rate cuts. In other countries, such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, rate cuts are being paired with base-broadening measures. When these reforms are in place, the average effective tax rate in 2014 will be 18.0 percent in the OECD and 17.4 percent among all 83 countries. . . .


Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) backs concealed carry on Campus

From WDBO in Central Florida:

Governor Rick Scott says he backs a new bill to allow licensed gun owners to bring their weapons on college campuses.

But the law is getting some serious push back.

"I believe in the right to bear arms," Scott said Tuesday when asked about Senate Bill 434. . . .

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The first concern of teacher unions is about "employee rights and collective bargaining"

National Education Association’s retiring top lawyer, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA’s annual meeting in July, 2009: “This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.

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Newest Fox News piece: The Stimulus, Not Oil Prices, Is Hammering Consumers

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

U.S. crude oil prices soared by 8.5 percent Tuesday, stunning financial markets. The financial media fretted that the oil price shock from the Middle East turmoil would slow or stop the fragile economic recovery. Crude oil prices soared even though gas prices at the pump are already the highest in any February since 1990. The reaction was swift, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 178 points (1.4 percent) and NASDAQ and S&P 500 both also falling by more than 2 percent. This morning, with Libya teetering on the brink of civil war, gas prices continued rising.
While the media clearly and instantly understands the detrimental impact that higher oil prices have on the economy, the impact is really no different than President Obama's stimulus or his deluge of new government regulations, from the EPA to health care to financial markets.
The logic for how higher oil prices will harm economic growth is pretty simple. . . .

UPDATE: Now "Obama Blaming Israel for Rising Fuel Prices"

From Israel National News:

The Obama administration is blaming Israel for the recent rise in global crude oil prices, according to a Sunday report in The World Tribune. The rise in fuel prices is deemed as harming the U.S. economy and has also hurt Obama in the polls as he seeks re-election in November.
The report cited a leading U.S. analyst, Robert Satloff, who returned from talks with Israeli officials.
Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, according to The World Tribune, that the Israeli leadership sawWashington as attributing the higher gas prices to “Israel’s posturing” on Iran.
“They think the Iranians should be held responsible for the higher gasoline prices,” Satloff was quoted as having said.
He added that the officials told him the Obama administration was staging a campaign to undermine Israel.
“I cannot underscore how deep and visceral the [Israeli] comments of the leaking that came out of Washington were,” Satloff said, noting Israel is alarmed by what officials determined were leaks by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama of purported Israeli preparations to attack Iran. . . .

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Democratic Congressman: Time for unions to get "bloody"

If a Republican had said this, all heck would break loose.

A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.
Capuano’s comments come at a time when there is heightened sensitivity to violent rhetoric in the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-Az.) shooting in January. . . .

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Housing prices fall in December, nearly back to its lowest level since the crash began

Well, house prices rose again in DC, but prices fell for houses in 18 of the 19 other markets being tracked. All this shows that the federal government is able to do a good job taking money from the rest of the country and bringing it to DC. The index for the entire country shows that most of the drop in housing prices last year occurred in the fourth quarter.

Real estate prices slid in just about every part of the country in December, pushing a housing market that once seemed to be rebounding nearly back to its lowest level since the crash began.

At this dismal point, some economists and analysts say that the damage has been done, and there is nowhere to go but up. Many others argue that the market has still not finished falling.

And then there are those who maintain that, possibly, things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Robert J. Shiller, the Yale economist who is the author of “Irrational Exuberance” and who helped develop the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, put himself in this last group. Mr. Shiller said in a conference call on Tuesday that he saw “a substantial risk” of the market falling another 15, 20 or even 25 percent.

The 20-city Case-Shiller composite is already off 31.2 percent from its peak, according to data released Tuesday. Average home prices in Atlanta, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Detroit are below the levels of 11 years ago. A drop the size that Mr. Shiller says he thinks could happen would put Chicago, Dallas, Charlotte and Minneapolis there, too. It would create a lost decade for housing in much of the country even before the effects of inflation.

Mr. Shiller said several political trends indicated a dreary future, including the uncertainty over the mortgage holding companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and proposals to reduce the mortgage tax deduction.

Mr. Shiller’s colleague, the economist Karl E. Case, a professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley College, says he does not think the outlook is so dire. He said in the conference call on Tuesday that he thought the housing market was at “a rocky bottom with a down trend.” . . .

Most analysts seem to fall between Mr. Shiller and Mr. Case in their forecasts. . . .

Also released Tuesday was the Case-Shiller quarterly index that covers all homes in the country. It showed prices fell 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter and 4.1 percent for all of 2010. . . .

This is hardly good news. It would have been nice if Fox had put the discussion here on the slight increase in sales in context with the drop in house prices.



Roger Lott: On Concealed Carry on Campus

I think that people will appreciate this. Roger's newest piece starts this way:

A few hundred yards from where I’m writing this column, just across the river in Vermont, 16-year-olds are allowed to purchase and carry a loaded handgun without needing anyone’s permission. Here in New Hampshire, an 18-year-old can openly carry a pistol without a concealed carry permit. Dartmouth’s campus, with its strict ban on privately-owned handguns, stands out amidst these “wild” lands of gun-toting teenagers.

Before you start worrying about your next trip into downtown Hanover, however, consider that in 2009 there was just one handgun murder in New Hampshire and zero in Vermont. New Hampshire, which last year was named the safest state by the Congressional Quarterly for the third year running, has had great success with permissive firearms policies. When concealed carry is allowed even in such places as the New Hampshire Capitol building, it’s worth considering whether there’s really a legitimate reason for Dartmouth to have more stringent restrictions than state law. Already, 71 college campuses in the United States allow concealed carry. Texas is poised to add to that list 38 public universities attended by more than 500,000 students.

If letting people pack heat makes you nervous, adding handguns to the already volatile stew of drugs, alcohol and hormones on college campuses probably sounds extremely unwise. . . .

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11-year-old arrested over 'inappropriate' stick figure drawing

Arrested for a drawing? Pretty sad, but not too surprising over the mindless zero tolerance rules.

ARVADA, Colo. -- An 11-year-old Arvada boy was arrested and hauled away in handcuffs for drawing stick figures in school - something his therapist told him to do.

His parents say they understand what he did was inappropriate, but are outraged by the way Arvada Police handled the case. The parents did not want their real names used.

They say "Tim" is being treated for Attention Deficit Disorder and his therapist told him to draw pictures when he got upset, rather than disrupt the class. So that’s what he did.

Last October, he drew stick figures of himself with a gun, pointed at four other stick figures with the words "teacher must die."

He felt calmer and was throwing the picture away when the teacher saw it and sent him to the principal's office.

The school was aware that the boy was in treatment, determined he was not a threat, notified his parents and sent him back to class. His mother, "Jane" was shocked when Arvada Police showed up at their home later that night. . . .


Democrats want a government shutdown because they think that they can blame the Republicans for it

From Politico.

For all the effort Democrats have put into portraying Republicans to be hot on the idea of a shutdown, it’s really Democrats who are talking much more about it — almost incessantly.

Why? It’s quite simple: The last time budget fighting let to shutdowns, in late 1995 and early 1996, a new Republican majority tested a Democratic president entering the stretch run of his first term. Gingrich lost the public relations war to Clinton — and badly. Many Republicans aren’t anxious to reprise that history.

Every time a Democratic leader says Republicans want a shutdown and that it would be bad for the country, listen closely for the clause that follows: Often it’s a veiled mention of 1995.

By talking about a shutdown — and saying it’s Republicans who want one — Democratic leaders are making sure to position themselves for the blame game that would surely ensue. . . .


The Gunwalker story continues

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7-year-old faces criminal charges after bringing a nerf gun to school

Wow, what a relief! There is no evidence of the 7-year-old with a Nerf gun threatening anyone with violence! I was absolutely sure that he had brought the gun to school to knock off his fellow students.

A 7-year-old child allegedly shot a Nerf-style toy gun in his Hammonton, N.J., school Jan. 18. No one was hurt, but the pint-size softshooter now faces misdemeanor criminal charges.
Hammonton Police began an investigation into the “suspicious activity” at the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center Jan. 18 after school officials alerted them to the incident.
The "gun" the child brought to school was a $5 toy gun, similar to a Nerf gun, that shoots soft ping pong type balls, according to the school's superintendent.
Officials also say that there was no evidence of anyone being threatened. . . .


Pizza Delivery Man Stops a Robbery with a Permitted Concealed Handgun

Note that the manager of this pizza shop says that "many of his other drivers" have concealed handgun permits. If that gets coverage, do you think that Papa’s Pizza delivery men will get robbed as often in the future?

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A Detroit pizza delivery man turned the tables on three would be crooks Sunday night.

The driver for Papa’s Pizza shot and killed one of the men who attempted to ambush and rob him around 10 o’clock. The address provided was a vacant home on the 20000 block of McCormick on Detroit’s east side, one block from the border of Harper Woods.

A neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, said she heard “4, 5, 6 shots.” Once she mustered up the courage to look out her window, she said she saw a man holding a gun and talking on his cell phone. She also noticed what she described as a “lump” on the ground. She learned later that was the body of the one of the suspects and the man with the gun was the pizza delivery man.

The manager at the pizza shop told Action News his employee has a concealed weapons permit along with many of his other drivers. He was not hurt but was shaken up over the incident, according to the manager. . . . .

Thanks to Countenance Blogmeister for the link.

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"Texas Poised to Pass Bill Allowing Guns on Campus"

The Associated Press reports:

Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.
More than half of the members of the Texas House are co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns.
The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, says he supports the idea.
Texas is one of about a dozen states considering the idea and has become a prime battleground because of its gun culture and
size. . . .

Here is another story in the Daily Mail, though it is hardly balanced.

Students in Texas could soon be allowed to bring their guns into class under new legislation the notoriously gun-friendly state is poised to adopt.
More than half the state's senators have signed the bill, which is widely expected to be passed.
If the law goes through, it will add weight to a growing national campaign for students to carry firearms as a defence against college shootings like the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. . . .

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I give a talk today at Kenyon College in Ohio at 5:30pm in Pierce Hall Lounge. Tomorrow at 3 PM I give a talk at Dayton University, though that is to a class by Tony Caporale and Marc Poitras in the economics department and not open to the public.

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