Democrats and Unions launch major effort to recall Wisconsin state senators

I suppose that the one positive the Republicans have is that the unions can't unseat those who were just elected for the first time this past November. Republicans who won office in 2006 or 2008 would have survived Democratic years. Democrats are much less likely to face recalls because there will be no where near the resources devoted for their recalls.

. . . Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that allows voters to unseat sitting lawmakers. Under state law, an elected official can be subjected to a recall campaign only if he or she has been in office for one year.

Republicans control the Wisconsin Senate with 19 of 33 seats. If Democrats successfully recalled three of the eight Republicans they are targeting, they would retake control of the chamber. Tate pointed out that one was elected by a margin of just 184 votes, another by just over a thousand.

"Make no mistake, these Republican senators are vulnerable to recall for their radical partisan overreach," he said.

Recall efforts have already been launched against sitting Democrats who have fled the state to forestall a vote on Walker's proposals. The new effort against Republicans, however, has the support of not just the state Democratic Party but also local and national labor unions. . . .

That organizing power is key, given the requirements that come with a recall effort. Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, said each individual recall effort requires verified signatures of no fewer than 14,733 registered voters, depending on the district.

The party now has 60 days to collect those signatures. Magney estimated that if the petition drives are successful, a recall election could be held by July. The incumbent being targeted is automatically on the ballot, and an individual seeking to challenge him or her must get 400 signatures to qualify. If multiple challengers emerge, a primary recall would be held as well. . . .


So the US spends more per student in K-12 than any other OECD country, but they

The US sure spends a lot on education per student.

But it is pretty hard to see much of a return from that money. Education test data for 2006 is available here and the raw data for 2009 is available here. Data for 2000 and 20003 are available here.


Americans see Democrat agenda as more extreme than Republican agenda

Rasmussen Reports finds:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that just 32% describe the agenda of Democrats in Congress as mainstream. Most (53%) say it is more accurate to describe that agenda as extreme, down slightly from 57% last August. Another 15% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Forty percent (40%) view the congressional Republican agenda as extreme, while the same number (40%) sees it as mainstream. Another 20% are not sure. The number who see the Republican agenda as mainstream is down from 42% in January and 45% in August. . . .

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FOX Chicago Sunday: John Lott & Tom Vanden Berk on Illinois Gun Issues

This is definitely not one of my better debates, but here it is in any case. Because the host of this program declared that Chicago's murder rates had fallen after the ban had gone into effect I have added this link. Here is some information on how Chicago's murder rates have changed after the Supreme Court decision last year.

FOX Chicago Sunday: John Lott & Tom Vanden Berk on Illinois Gun Issues: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

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Obama claims credit again on the economy

Remember "recovery summer" last year? Remember how the recover had started in May 2009? It is pretty funny how Obama is taking credit for the drop in unemployment.

“The tax deal that the president enacted in December with investment incentives with pay roll tax cuts and his emphasis on business is really starting to pay off,” Goolsbee said on MSNBC. “We’re setting the stage and the conditions for the private sector to stand up.”

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Oklahoma House Committee passes bill letting faculty carry permitted concealed handguns on campus

So much for the arguments against concealed carry on campus being about concerns over the behavior of students. Apparently, there is significant opposition to even faculty carrying permitted concealed handguns.

A legislative panel has narrowly approved legislation that would allow faculty and administrators at Oklahoma colleges and universities to carry concealed weapons on campus.

The House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday also approved legislation that call for a public referendum on whether to allow Oklahomans to openly carry a holstered firearm.

Committee members voted 9-8 Wednesday on a measure by Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore that would permit college faculty members and administrators to carry firearms. Terrill said colleges can still adopt local rules to ban them.

Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson says college presidents oppose the bill and believe it would make their campuses ore dangerous. . . .

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Why does Obama refuse to label the Ft. Hood or Germany attacks as terrorist attacks?

The administration anger and public discussions on the Tucson, AZ shooting seems much greater than for either the Ft. Hood or Germany attacks. Why won't Obama label these two attacks where the attacker is screaming "God is Great" as Muslim terrorist attacks? Here is a discussion at Fox News.

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Legislation to limit magazine size advances in New York

Let's hope that there is some accurate information that gets into this debate at some point. From the New York Daily News:

New York lawmakers called for an outright ban Wednesday on extended gun magazines that hold as many as 30 bullets.

"Obviously, when you look at the magnitude of these magazines, you're not talking about for hunting purposes," said City Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan), who Wednesday offered a Council resolution backing a federal ban.

The proposal came just hours after the Daily News and state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) exposed a glaring loophole in a 1994 state law that was supposed to abolish the large clips. . . .

Note as a bonus the newspaper is running a poll on "Should private ownership of guns be banned completely?" Those interested can vote.


Despite Obama administration denials, evidence piles up that they were letting US guns into Mexico

Where is the rest of the media on the Obama administration first complaining about US guns in Mexico (inaccurately), then putting guns into Mexico, then lying about the whole thing? From CBS News:

Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief.
He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico?

"Yes ma'am," Dodson told CBS News. "The agency was."

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson's job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen.

Investigators call the tactic letting guns "walk." In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States.

Dodson's bosses say that never happened. Now, he's risking his job to go public.

"I'm boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we've been doing it every day since I've been here," he said. "Here I am. Tell me I didn't do the things that I did. Tell me you didn't order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn't happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn't happen."

Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico.

ATF named the case "Fast and Furious."

Surveillance video obtained by CBS News shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at a Phoenix gun shop. The long boxes shown in the video being loaded in were AK-47-type assault rifles.

So it turns out ATF not only allowed it - they videotaped it. . . .

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Huge percentage of college students in New York unprepared for college classes

Quite a depressing change in necessary remedial instruction over just the last five years. From the New York Times:

About three-quarters of the 17,500 freshmen at the community colleges this year have needed remedial instruction in reading, writing or math, and nearly a quarter of the freshmen have required such instruction in all three subjects. In the past five years, a subset of students deemed “triple low remedial” — with the most severe deficits in all three subjects — has doubled, to 1,000.

The reasons are familiar but were reinforced last month by startling new statistics from state education officials: fewer than half of all New York State students who graduated from high school in 2009 were prepared for college or careers, as measured by state Regents tests in English and math. In New York City, that number was 23 percent. . . .


Anemic job growth

From Investors' Business Daily:

Twenty months after the worst recession in decades, job creation remains anemic, weighing on economic growth and making it even harder for the long-term jobless to find work.

Don't blame layoffs. They spiked in 2009 but have returned to pre-slump levels, according to Labor Department data. But job openings remain 30% below their level when the downturn hit in December 2007. Gross hiring is down by 843,000 jobs.

While the economy has grown modestly in recent quarters, hiring remains depressed due to uncertainty about future demand, concerns about government policies and efficiency gains that have let companies do more with less.

"It's the drop in job openings, not the increase in job losses that is responsible for so much of the increase in unemployment," said James Sherk, a labor policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Labor is expected to report Friday that the U.S. added a net 183,000 jobs in February, the most since last May. The jobless rate is seen ticking up 0.1 point to 9.1% as more people entered the labor force. Many of those new or returning job-seekers will likely find only disappointment. . . .


Wyoming drops permit requirement for concealed carry

The AP keeps ignoring that Montana allows concealed carry without a permit in 99.4% of the state. There are a lot of pro-self-defense laws being passed by states this year. Anyway, here is the AP piece on Wyoming.

Wyoming on Wednesday became the fourth state to allow citizens to carry concealed guns without a permit, with Gov. Matt Mead signing a bill into law as several other states considered similar action.
The law allows state citizens legally entitled to own guns to carry them concealed starting in July. The guns still wouldn’t be allowed in schools, bars and government buildings.
“We have heard from both sides on this, this bill has attracted a lot of attention,” Mead said at a signing ceremony at the State Capitol. “But as written, I thought it was an appropriate bill for Wyoming, and an appropriate law for Wyoming.”
Similar bills are pending in states including Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Utah. A bill has been introduced in Kentucky but hasn’t advanced while another was introduced for discussion in Idaho. . . .

In Colorado, the state House overwhelmingly passed a similar bill.

The Colorado House has approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
The House voted 40-25 to pass the bill Wednesday.
It wouldn't change laws governing who is allowed to carry a concealed weapon, but the people who do meet the legal requirements would no longer need a county permit. . . .

A similar bill is advancing in Utah.

After failing to win approval by the committee last time it was heard, Wimmer’s bill passed on a 7-6 vote and goes to the floor for consideration.

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My Newest Fox News piece: Illinois Gun Info Plan Is Misguided and Dangerous

My newest Fox News piece starts off this way:

Suppose you or your family are being stalked by a criminal who intends to harm you. Would you feel safer putting a sign in front of your home saying "This home is a gun-free zone"? Would it frighten criminals away?

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. But, despite strong opposition from the Illinois State Police, Democrat Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan seems determined to publicly identify gun and non-gun owners across the state. For some unknown reason, The Associated Press made a Freedom of Information Act request to the police.

One would think that people in Illinois of all places would understand this problem. . . .

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10 percent of Medicare payments are fraudulent

The estimate of fraud leaves out certain obvious instances of fraud from the nearly 10 percent claim.

Nearly 10 percent of all Medicare payments are fraudulent or otherwise improper, and the government isn’t doing enough to stop them.

That’s the conclusion of a Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday. The report, issued at the request of a House subcommittee investigating Medicare and Medicaid fraud, estimates that the federal government is losing $48 billion on the improper payments – a significant amount for a program that “is fiscally unsustainable in the long term” unless action is taken.

The report, prepared for a House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee hearing, said “CMS needs a plan with clear measures and benchmarks for reducing Medicare’s risk for improper payments, inefficient payment methods and issues in program management and patient care and safety.”

CMS estimates that $48 billion of estimated Medicare outlays of $509 billion in fiscal 2010 went to improper payments, including fraudulent ones. “However, this improper payment estimate did not include all of the program’s risk since it did not include improper payments in its Part D prescription drug benefit, for which the agency has not yet estimated a total amount,” said Kathleen King, director of GAO’s health care team. . . .

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People who live in colder states exercise more

The article in The Economist is available here.


Obama failing to obey Medicare law?

The Obama administration's statement that this law simply isn't binding on them is pretty shocking.

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is continuing to press the White House to take on entitlements, this time accusing President Obama of failing to follow a provision of a Medicare law.

Ryan claims the White House owes Congress a plan for shoring up Medicare funding because the federal government is covering more than its targeted share of the program. Ryan points to a provision of the 2003 Medicare law that requires the president to act.

“The president has failed to lead, again, on entitlement reform. By ignoring their legal requirement to submit a plan that would rectify Medicare’s funding imbalance, the Obama administration threatens the sustainability of this critical program for current and future Medicare beneficiaries,” Ryan said Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget brushed off Ryan’s latest criticism, dismissing the law’s requirement as a misleading framework for determining whether Medicare is solvent. She also raised constitutional questions about whether Congress can make such a demand of the executive branch. . . .

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Is Our Government Seeing Double?: Consolidating federal programs

My discussion of a piece that I had at FoxNews.com.



Audio of appearance on WMAL's Grandy Show this morning

Did government regulation prevent the iPad2 from using 4G networks?

Not surprisingly, it looks like Google claim for "open access" is a sham. Google apparently got the FCC to force Verizon to accept rules that prevent it from letting Apple products use their 4G network. Google is using government regulations to harm its competitors.

In 2008, after much protest, Verizon accepted openness conditions attached to valuable spectrum being auctioned off by the FCC, and spent $4.7 billion to buy nationwide capacity that would ensure it could build a robust 4G network for the next generation of mobile devices.

But in doing so, Verizon may have screwed itself out of ever being able to offer a 4G-capable iPhone.

The problem is that the “open access” rules attached to the so-called 700 Mhz C block require the carrier to allow the use of any hardware or software that it can’t prove won’t damage the network.

The rules were inserted at the behest of Google, which was bidding for the spectrum but who some cynics contended got involved not to win but to ensure that whoever got the spectrum couldn’t hamper its business, which requires a free and robust internet.

Google’s idea was to create an open space for innovation where a person could buy any device (including one from Google) and run any app that met open standards with no interference by the carrier.

And depending upon how you interpret the rules, which Verizon fought in court before the auction, they also required that the wireless carrier only offer devices that are open and able to run any app. That interpretation would clearly rule out the iPhone, which is locked down by design, and only apps approved by Apple can be loaded onto the device without breaking the device’s warranty. . . .

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Illinois police resist turning over the names of FOID card holders

I think that the police have it right that disclosure of who has a permit to own a gun in Illinois would endanger those who do not own a gun. Someone intent on harming an individual would now be able to look up whether the potential victim is able to defend themselves. From the Chicago Tribune.

State police officials have long held that releasing information about the holders of Firearm Owners identification cards would be an unwarranted invasion of privacy prohibited by the state public records law and that disclosure would automatically endanger the lives of gun owners or those who don't have firearms.

In its letter, the attorney general's office disagreed, saying the public has "a legitimate interest" in having the information about who has the right to possess a gun.

Despite the decree, the names likely won't be uncloaked soon. A state police lawyer indicated in a letter Tuesday the agency planned to ask a judge to decide the matter. And Republican lawmakers have filed legislation to make names permanently private.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, The Associated Press requested in September the names of each FOID cardholder in the state and the expiration date of each card. State police denied the request, prompting the public access counselor's intervention. . . .

Thanks to Tony Troglio and Chris Klemm for the link.


Gov. Scott Walker provides a devastating response

On Monday Pres. Obama attacked Republicans in Wisconsin over the changes to union bargaining rights.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: But let me also say this, I don't think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified, or their rights are infringed upon. We need to attract the best and the brightest to public service. These times demand it. We're not gonna attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make.

Walker responded as follows:

"I'm sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I'm sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts.

"Furthermore, I'm sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.

"I'm sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn't acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another." . . .

It would be very interesting to hear Obama's response to the Governor's statement.

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GOP Lawmaker Gets Death Threat From Wisconsin Democrat

Democrats call Republicans "Nazis." A prominent Democrat politician calls for "blood in the streets." Death threats. When will the media really start going after all this "hate."


Appearing on Fox News Live at 12:20 PM to discuss my piece on the GAO report

Why politicians shouldn't be in charge of giving out awards

If one ever needed an example of how politicians can't leave politics out of their decisions, you can look at this.

The then-Prime Minister refused to knight Mr Jobs in 2009 because he turned down an invitation to speak at the Labour Party conference, a former senior Labour MP said.
Mr Jobs was put forward for the honour by the MP for services to technology. Apple is credited with revolutionising the industry in recent years with its iPhone and iPad devices, which have unleashed a boom in mobile internet usage.
The former MP, who left Parliament at the last election, said: “Apple has been the only major global company to create stunning consumer products because it has always taken design as the key component of everything it has produced.
“No other CEO has consistently shown such a commitment.”
Apple was aware of the proposal, he said, and it reached the final stages of approval, but was rejected by Downing Street. . . .


Appearing on The Rick Roberts Show at 8 PM EST/5 PM PST

The link for his show is available here.

UPDATE: I will also be on Greg Garrison's show on WIBC in Indianapolis from 9:30 to 10 AM EST.

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Newest Fox News piece: GAO Report and Government Waste -- Can You Spell O-U-T-R-A-G-E?

My newest piece starts this way:

We are used to hearing about fraud and government programs that fail to accomplish their goals. It now appears that yet another category might be important: duplication. Hundreds of major government programs have been discovered to duplicate what other government programs are doing. If we are to believe a new Government Accountability Office report, consolidation of programs could easily save up to $200 billion over the next decade.

Call it "press release government." For politicians, the best way to be seen as being actively involved and to viewed as caring about a problem is to set up a new government program and then claim credit for it. It doesn't seem to matter if there are already 17 other programs that help people get nutritious food or 79 other programs to provide transportation for the disadvantaged, adding another program shows that the politician really cares. It is the equivalent of building on another living room to a house when there are already several of them.

Creating new additional government programs spread across different government agencies also means that additional congressional committees can try claiming oversight. Government housing programs are spread across every place from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, Federal Housing Finance Board, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thus, when there is a housing problem, congressmen and Senators from a range of different committees can claim legitimate reasons to run before the television cameras and hold committee hearings. . . .

My pieces are number 1 and 2 on the most read list.

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Newest Fox News piece: So How Much Do Public Union Workers Really Make?

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

President Obama lashed out at Republicans Monday for having "denigrated or vilified" public union employees. Without collective bargaining and the ability to go on strike, he said we wouldn't be able to attract "the best and the brightest to public service." Are public employees simply the best and the brightest? Or are we simply lavishing them with much better employment deals than their private counterparts?
To measure how attractive a job is, economists study how employees vote with their feet -- that is, comparing the rate at which different categories of employees voluntarily quit their jobs.
Over the last six months, private workers have been 3.4 times more likely to quit their jobs than either state and local or federal workers. Indeed, no private industry comes close to the low "quit rate" for government employees. Manufacturing, which has the lowest rate, still faces twice the quit rate as the government. . . .

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Consumer Reports says that the GM Volt is a dud

Consumer Reports doesn't always get things right (e.g., on the iPhone), but I think that they are dead on regarding the GM Volt.

Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.'s flagship vehicle makes economic "sense."The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue — the influential magazine's annual survey of vehicles — but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.
"When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer."
The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.
GM spokesman Greg Martin noted that it's been an extremely harsh winter — and as a Volt driver he said he's getting 29-33 miles on electric range. But he noted that in more moderate recent weather, the range jumped to 40 miles on electric range or higher.
Champion believes a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, may make more sense for some trips.
"If you drive about 70 miles, a Prius will actually get you more miles per gallon than the Volt does," Champion said. . . .

I had these discussions earlier here and here.

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Now even Illinois seriously considering concealed carry law

With a likely veto from the governor, things will unlikely go anywhere, but still these are positive developments. There is also the hand writing on the wall with the fact that soon Illinois will be the only state that bans concealed carry of handguns.

Illinois lawmakers are taking aim at some new legislation that would make it legal for gun owners to carry concealed weapons.

House Bill 148, named the Family and Personal Protection Act, is seen as giving gun rights advocates their best chance at getting the legislation passed.

Already 48 other states have some form of this law and proponents say HB 148 levels the playing field between criminals and law abiding citizens in Illinois.

"Criminals don't follow the law and law abiding citizens who follow the law should be able to protect themselves, their property and their family so it's a question right now of the fact that a lot of citizens are disarmed and really sitting ducks for criminals," said Attorney Walter Maksym, who has represented numerous plaintiffs, including the man challenging Chicago's handgun regulation. . . .


Hundreds of billions in Federal Government Waste

With House Republicans battling Obama and Senate Democrats over $61 billion in spending cuts, a new GAO report indicates that the Federal government may be wasting hundreds of billions of dollars each year. From the WSJ:

The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending. The GAO didn't put a specific figure on the spending overlap.

The GAO examined numerous federal agencies, including the departments of defense, agriculture and housing and urban development, and pointed to instances where different arms of the government should be coordinating or consolidating efforts to save taxpayers' money.

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Instances of ineffective and unfocused federal programs can lead to a mishmash of occasionally arbitrary policies and rules, the report said. It recommends merging or consolidating a number of programs to both save money and make the government more efficient.

"Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services," the report said. . . .

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So how much more are public school teacher paid over private ones?

Click on figure to make it bigger and more readable.
With over 41 percent of state and local workers working in public education, if there is going to be any attempt at controlling government spending, it is going to have to be in public K-12 education. The National Center for Education Statistics is the source of the data. The smallest difference between public and private teacher salaries exists for those with a Ph.D. (about 13%) and the largest difference appears for those who are black or who work in towns (public teachers make about 57 or 58 percent more).


Even liberal corporate executive says that Obama is anti-business, anti-science

When even someone such as George Buckley warns about Obama being "anti-business" I hope that the media pays some attention. Obama's current rhetoric won't change what is actual policies are.

The head of one of the US’s biggest industrial groups has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama’s attempts to repair relations with companies, dubbing him “anti-business”.

Manufacturers could shift production out of the US to Canada or Mexico as a result, warned George Buckley, chief executive and chairman of 3M.

“I judge people by their feet, not their mouth,” he told the Financial Times. “We know what his instincts are – they are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business.”

The Obama administration has struck a more conciliatory tone towards business since the Democratic defeat in November’s midterm elections.

Last month, the president created a jobs and competitiveness council, chaired by Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of GE, and including chief executives such as American Express’s Kenneth Chenault, DuPont’s Ellen Kullman, Antonio Perez of Kodak and Southwest Airlines’ Gary Kelly. Mr Obama also convened a meeting this month with technology chief executives, including Steve Jobs of Apple, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

Mr Buckley, who has run the diversified manufacturer since 2005, said: “There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.”

He added: “Politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada and Mexico – which tend to be pro-business – or America.” . . .

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Atlas Shrugged Trailer

This looks interesting. I really hope that it is as good as the trailer looks.

Reviews can be found here and here and here.


Comparing Reagan's Recovery to Obama's

During the first six quarters of Obama's recovery, GDP growth has averaged just 2.9 percent. During Reagan's, it averaged 6.55 percent. This diagram tells the story.

The GDP numbers for the last quarter were revised down from the previous 3.2 percent estimate to 2.8 percent. Interestingly, there have been multiple downward revisions over the last couple of years.

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Obama breaks promise to unions

Another broken Obama promise.

MR. GREGORY: Kim Strassel, I want, I want to bring you in on this. And the president said this was an assault on unions.
MR. GREGORY: He's then gone quiet. Back in 2007 on the campaign trail, this is what he said, if this were to ever come to pass.

(Videotape, November 3, 2007)

PRES. OBAMA: And understand this. If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody's standing in their corner.
(End videotape)
MR. GREGORY: So here he said it was an assault on unions. In the past he said, "I'll be out there walking with you." He's now gone silent. Meantime, he's trying to move to the center politically and try to create jobs. He's put himself in a difficult political situation here.
MS. STRASSEL: Well, as the governor says, he needs to have a pair of shoes on picketing around Washington, D.C., because federal workers are not allowed any of these collectively bargaining rights that he's talking about there.
Look, one of the problems here is that I think the problem for Democrats and unions in this is that it's not necessarily a winning issue here. What's going on in the states is a microcosm of the federal debate, and that is about fiscal responsibility right now. What these governors are saying--and it's Chris Christie in New Jersey, it's Scott Walker in Wisconsin, it's John Kasich in Ohio...

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Head of AFL-CIO refuses to say that comparing Gov. Walker to "Hitler and dictators" is inappropriate

Will there be outrage in the media over the answer to this question by the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka?

MR. GREGORY: I want to, I want to get to a break. Richard Trumka, I want to ask you one thing, again, about the tone of the debate. You're one of the leading labor voices in the country. Do you condemn the hyperbole, the overstatements, comparisons to Hitler and dictators? Do you think that's wrong on the part of pro-union supporters?
MR. TRUMKA: We want to--I--look, we ought to--pro, anti-union, it doesn't matter.
MR. GREGORY: It's inappropriate.
MR. TRUMKA: We should be sitting down trying to create jobs. When--and look, if you think that the argument that you're doing in Wisconsin is winning, as you said, Kim, the polls show that every--Wisconsin, vast majority of the people think this governor has overreached. His popularity has gone down. They're saying to him, "Sit down and negotiate. Don't do what you've been doing." So he's losing. If that's the argument you're going to do this year or next year, it's a loser for, for anybody who advocates it. . . .

Note that when Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) was asked this question in the same interview on "Meet the Press" today he said: "Absolutely. It's inappropriate. It should be condemned, not only by people close to the governor, but by those of us who are observers."

UPDATE: On a related matter you can see how the union members are attacking a Fox News reporter, Mike Tobin.

Slightly more detail is available here, though it isn't as dramatic as Mr. Tobin reporting that he had been hit in the above video.

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So what difference did eliminating collective bargaining make in Indiana?

Note that none of the Federal workers under Obama have the rights that are currently given public workers in Wisconsin.

So what happened in Indiana under Gov. Mitch Daniels after unions there lost collective bargaining power? Do unions protect workers with the most experience because they are the best workers? Did contracting out government services really "eliminate" jobs? Hardly. As to eliminating jobs, obviously the private companies that bid on the government contracts had to hire people. Lower taxes probably encouraged more companies to hire. The New York Times reports:

The experience of a nearby state, Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels eliminated bargaining for state employees six years ago, shows just how much is at stake, both for the government and for workers. His 2005 executive order has had a sweeping impact: no raises for state employees in some years, a weakening of seniority preferences and a far greater freedom to consolidate state operations or outsource them to private companies.
Evaluating the success of the policy depends on where you sit.
“It’s helped us in a thousand ways. It was absolutely central to our turnaround here,” Mr. Daniels said in an interview. Without union contracts to slow him down, he said, it has been easy for him to merge the procurement operations of numerous state agencies, saving millions of dollars. One move alone — outsourcing and consolidating food service operations for Indiana’s 28 prisons — has saved the state $100 million since 2005, he said. Such moves led to hundreds losing their jobs.
For state workers in Indiana, the end of collective bargaining also meant a pay freeze in 2009 and 2010 and higher health insurance payments. Several state employees said they now paid $5,200 a year in premiums, $3,400 more than when Mr. Daniels took office, though there are cheaper plans available. Earlier in his tenure, Mr. Daniels adopted a merit pay system, with some employees receiving no raises and those deemed to be top performers getting up to 10 percent.
Andrea Helm, an employee at a children’s home in Knightstown, Ind., said that soon after collective bargaining was ended and the union contract expired, coveted seniority preferences disappeared. “I saw a lot of employees who had 20, 30 years on the job fired,” she said. “I think they were trying to cut the more expensive people on top to make their budget smaller.” . . . .
Bob Ziegelbauer, county executive of Manitowoc County and an independent state assemblyman, said Mr. Walker’s legislation would give him far more flexibility. For instance, it would eliminate union rules that have made it hard to close a children’s detention center that holds just one youth, a move that would save about $300,000 a year.
Union seniority rules can be especially confounding, Mr. Ziegelbauer said. He said that when he eliminated one clerical position in the county courthouse, the person who held that job bumped another person because she had more seniority. Ultimately four other workers bumped less senior workers, forcing the county to spend weeks retraining everyone involved.
“With collective bargaining in the public sector, it’s, ‘You can’t make me,’ ” he said. “It’s hard to change anything unless the union lets you.” . . .