"Norway Gunman Fired For 1.5 Hours On Island"

Well, I guess that this article explains why so many people were killed. Unfortunately, no one was around for 1.5 hours with a gun to stop this. From Fox News:

A gunman who opened fire on an island teeming with young people kept shooting for 1.5 hours before surrendering to a SWAT team, which arrived 40 minutes after they were called, police said Saturday.
Survivors of the shooting spree have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape the gunman, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted -- and how long victims waited for help.
When the SWAT team arrived, the gunman, who had two firearms, surrendered, said Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim.
"There were problems with transport to Utoya" island, where the youth-wing of Norway's Labor Party was holding a retreat, Sponheim said. "It was difficult to get a hold of boats, but that problem was solved when the SWAT team arrived."
At least 85 people were killed on the island, but police said four or five people were still missing. Divers have been searching the waters around the island. . . .

Google Maps indicates that the distance from the shore to this island is less than 2,000 feet, less than 4 tenths of a mile. From the Associated Press:

Police arrived at an island massacre about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards (meters) offshore. The assailant surrendered when police finally reached him, but 82 people died before that.
Survivors of the shooting spree have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape the gunman, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted — and how long victims waited for help. . . .
A SWAT team was dispatched to the island more than 50 minutes after people vacationing at a campground said they heard shooting across the lake, according to Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim. The drive to the lake took about 20 minutes, and once there, the team took another 20 minutes to find a boat.
Footage filmed from a helicopter that showed the gunman firing into the water added to the impression that police were slow to the scene. They chose to drive, Sponheim said, because their helicopter wasn't on standby.
"There were problems with transport to Utoya," where the youth-wing of Norway's left-leaning Labor Party was holding a retreat, Sponheim said. "It was difficult to get a hold of boats." . . .

So why couldn't they have sent over four or five people at a time go over to the island? Reuters has this story here:

The near-sinking of a police boat and a decision to await a specially armed unit from Oslo some 45 km (28 miles) away delayed the Norwegian police response to an island where a gunman killed 86 people.
"When so many people and equipment were put into it, the boat started to take on water, so that the motor stopped," said Erik Berga, police operations chief in northern Buskerud County.
"The boat was way too small and way too poor," he said, referring to a police vessel that had been transported to the scene from nearby Hoenefoss for crossing to Utoeya island. . . .

Apparently the attack was planned for two years in advance.

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KRAUTHAMMER: Obama as demagogue

KRAUTHAMMER: This is Obama at his most sanctimonious, demagogic, self-righteous and arrogant. And given the baseline it wasn't a pretty sight. Look, he started out by summoning the leaders of Congress -- summoning them -- at 11:00. Who does he think he is? In the American system, the executive and Congress are coequal. In a banana republic, the caudillo will summon the members of the Congress. The way he demanded their appearance in the Oval Office I thought was disgraceful. The branches are coequal.

Second, on this issue he said "We have set forth a plan." He has set forth nothing. Nor has the Democratic controlled Senate. The Republicans offered a detailed plan. The Ryan plan in the House, and they offered Cut, Cap and Balance this time around. The President has offered nothing except he says if you go in the back room now my staff will give you a tick-tock of everything I'm supposed to have given. He has never once spoken about real cuts.

And lastly, what was interesting is even at this late date where he says that the fate of the republic hangs on the debt ceiling extension, he said if given a short extension of, say, half a year I won't except it. Why? because he says I want this to go past election day. That is entirely self-serving and political, and he pretends he's the one who's not interested in politics.


So what happened during the debt ceiling shutdown during the Clinton administration?: Interest rates

President Obama warns that everyone will face higher interest rates if the debt ceiling isn't increased. From Obama's July 11, 2011 press conference.

And that's the fact. If we don't raise the debt ceiling and we see a crisis of confidence in the markets, and suddenly interest rates are going up significantly, and everybody is paying higher interest rates on their car loans, on their mortgages, on their credit cards, and that's sucking up a whole bunch of additional money out of the pockets of the American people, I promise you they won’t like that. . . .

Or this statement by Obama on June 29, 2011:

But if capital markets suddenly decide, you know what, the U.S. government doesn’t pay its bills, so we’re going to start pulling our money out, and the U.S. Treasury has to start to raise interest rates in order to attract more money to pay off our bills, that means higher interest rates for businesses; that means higher interest rates for consumers. So all the headwinds that we’re already experiencing in terms of the recovery will get worse.

That’s not my opinion. I think that’s a consensus opinion. And that means that job growth will be further stymied, it will be further hampered, as a consequence of that decision. So that’s point number one. . . .

So what happened to interest rates on Federal Treasury Bonds during the debt ceiling shutdown during the Clinton administration? Note that this concern was also raised during 1995. The data are available here.

If you are interested in seeing the impact on GDP growth and unemployment see here or stock prices see here.

A nice discussion on various past government shutdowns is provided by this Congressional Research Service Report. Among the impacts of the 1995-96 shutdowns were these:

"resulted in the furlough of an estimated 800,000 federal employees"
"Another 475,000 federal employees, rated "essential," continued to work in a non-pay status."
"Federal Contractors. Of $18 billion in Washington area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20%) were managed by agencies affected by the funding lapse"
"employees of federal contractors were furloughed without pay"
The shutdown impacted: health, law enforcement/Public safety, parks/museums/monuments, visas/passports, American Indians, American Veterans.
Among the impacts for American Indians: "general assistance payments for basic needs to 53,000 BIA benefit recipients were delayed; and estimated 25,000 American Indians did not receive timely payment of oil and gas royalties."

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So what happened during the debt ceiling shutdown during the Clinton administration?: Stock prices

In President Obama's press conference on Friday, he was asked what would happen to the stock market:

Q Yes, the markets are closed right now, obviously. What assurances can you give people on Wall Street? Are you going to be reaching out to some people on Wall Street so that when Monday comes we don’t see a reaction to the news that’s developing right now?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s very important that the [Republican] leadership understands that Wall Street will be opening on Monday, and we better have some answers during the course of the next several days.

President Obama seems pretty concerned that if a deal is reached soon, it will have a significant effect on the stock market. So what happened during the Clinton administration shutdowns? Well, it was hardly the disaster that people expected then or now.

If you are interested in seeing the impact on GDP growth and unemployment see here or interest rates see here.

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Is China's economy growing so quickly because it is willing to steal intellectual capital from others?

This story from Fox News shows just how far Chinese companies are willing to go. How long do you think that this would be allowed to occur in the US, Canada, Japan, or the EU?

At first, it looks like a sleek Apple store. Sales assistants in blue T-shirts with the company's logo chat to customers. Signs advertising the iPad 2 hang from the white walls. Outside, the famous logo sits next to the words "Apple Store."
And that's the clue it's fake.
China, long known for producing counterfeit consumer gadgets, software and brand name clothing, has reached a new piracy milestone -- fake Apple stores.
An American who lives in Kunming in southern Yunnan province said Thursday that she and her husband stumbled on three shops masquerading as bona fide Apple stores in the city a few days ago. She took photos and posted them on her BirdAbroad blog.
The three stores are not among the authorized resellers listed on Apple Inc.'s website. The maker of the iPhone and other hit gadgets has four company stores in China -- two in Beijing and two in Shanghai -- and various official resellers. Apple's Beijing office declined to comment.
The proliferation of the fake stores underlines the slow progress that China's government is making in countering a culture of a rampant piracy and widespread production of bogus goods that is a major irritant in relations with trading partners.
China's Commerce Minister promised American executives earlier this year that the latest in a string of crackdowns on product piracy would deliver lasting results.
The 27-year-old blogger, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the set-up of the stores was so convincing that the employees themselves seemed to believe they worked for Apple.
"It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue T-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks," she wrote on her blog.
"But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn't been painted properly. Apple never writes 'Apple Store' on its signs -- it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit."
A worker at the fake Apple store on Zhengyi Road in Kunming, which most of the photos of the BirdAbroad blog show, told The Associated Press that they are an "Apple store" before hanging up. . . .


The personal cost of redistricting?

Well, I think that their constituents would forgive them for moving.

Ted and Beth Gaines, the Legislature's only married couple, find themselves in an odd predicament from the latest draft maps by California's independent redistricting commission.
Beth's Assembly career apparently would benefit by her continuing to live in the couple's Roseville home, but Ted's Senate career could be in jeopardy unless he pulls up stakes and moves.
The two Republicans are not talking because boundary lines could change before an Aug. 15 vote on final maps, but tentatively, Beth is targeted for a safe GOP seat and Ted should grab some Excedrin.
Specifically, Ted would be separated from most of the voters who elected him and placed in a Senate district dominated by GOP colleague Doug LaMalfa and stretching to Red Bluff.
The dilemma could be resolved, however, by the Gaineses moving elsewhere in Placer County. This would allow Ted to run for an adjoining Senate seat, slated to stretch from Nevada to the Oregon border. . . .


Last year that Republicans Controlled Congress and Presidency, the debt hit 36% of GDP, with Obama it is scheduled to reach 73% this next year

An interactive graph is available at the WSJ.



Apparently it isn't just Republicans who don't trust Obama

Possibly people remember Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) statement that negotiating with Obama "has been like dealing With Jell-O." Well, apparently, others have problems with trusting Obama also. From The Hill newspaper:

“It was a heated session,” said a senior Democratic senator who attended the lunch. “There’s a basic lack of trust with the president.” . . .

Something else from Politico:

Nor does it mean Boehner’s characterization of Obama’s negotiating style as “Jell-O” was wrong; senior Democratic aides say worse things about the White House. . . .


Fox News website is the top news website

For a more detailed discussion and the sources for these numbers see here.

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Majority of Americans Against Raising Debt Ceiling

Given the massive misinformation campaign, it is a wonder that there are this many opposing raising the debt ceiling limit. A new poll from Fox News. For some reason, Obama thinks voters are misinformed on this issue, though he will selectively cite polls to support his other positions.

Voters were asked to imagine being a lawmaker in Congress who had to cast an up-or-down vote on raising the debt ceiling. The poll found 35 percent would vote in favor of increasing the limit, while 60 percent would vote against it.
Most Tea Partiers (81 percent), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (63 percent) would vote against raising the limit. Views among Democrats are more evenly divided: 50 percent would raise it and 44 percent wouldn’t.
Even though a majority opposes raising the debt limit, more voters think it would be worse for the country if leaders fail to raise the limit and don’t pay some of the country’s bills (50 percent) than to raise the limit and borrow more money (40 percent). . . .
A 63-percent majority of voters thinks raising taxes during an economic downturn is a bad idea. That’s down from a high of 80 percent who thought so two years ago (August 2009). . . .

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Dash Cam: Police arrest Ohio Permit holder

Police have an extremely difficult and dangerous job, but at least as far as I can tell from this video I think that the officer over reacted some. It will be interesting to see if this case is quickly dropped.
Starting at about 6:45 into the video.
Officer: "Why do you keep having that? What is this?"
Driver: "Because I have a concealed carry . . . "
Officer: "Do you have a weapon on you?"
Driver: "Yes sir. Thats why . . . "
Officer: "Lock your hands behind your head"
Driver: (complies)
Officer: "What is the first thing you're supposed to do?"
Driver: "I was handing that to you sir . . ."
Officer: "You're supposed to tell me you have a weapon"
Driver: "I was trying to sir. . . You told me . . ."
Officer: "You are supposed to say that right off the god damn bat!"
Driver: "I'm sorry I was trying to I swear to God."
Officer: "Trying to . . . I was in the fucking god damn car . . ."
Officer: "Spin your ass around."
. . . [After some additional conversation] . . .
Officer: "God damn right cause you're going catch a felony on this one. NOW TAKE A SEAT." (scuffle, crying out)

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Faced with a certain loss in a lawsuit, DC "may" allow its single registered gun dealer to start operations again

For several months now, law-abiding citizens have been unable to buy guns in DC and they aren't allowed to buy them outside the city. The single registered gun dealer was out of business. I can't think of any obvious reason why that restriction on where law-abiding citizens can buy guns would reduce crime. Wouldn't it serve the city right if someone who had been trying to get a permit had a crime committed against them while they were in limbo with no ability to defend themselves? Of course, no one would wish that result on anyone.

D.C. hopes to dodge a legal bullet by allowing its only licensed gun dealer to operate out of police headquarters.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city’s handgun ban in 2008, residents have been allowed to buy guns in other jurisdictions to keep in their D.C. homes, but it’s against the law for them to bring guns in themselves. They must transfer the guns to the District through a licensed gun dealer. That’s Charles Sykes, and his shop’s been closed for several months because he lost his lease.

With no dealer operating in town, D.C. was in legal trouble again. Three residents sued, saying their right to bear arms was being violated again.

Emergency legislation that would have allowed the city to operate as a gun dealer temporarily was pulled last week, but the city may have a new solution. The city will permit Sykes to use space at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, Mayor Vincent Gray said Wednesday. He'll be allowed to set up shop in the tight security offices where guns are registered.

"It seemed to make sense to us to locate close to MPD's firearms registration office at police headquarters on Indiana Avenue, where anyone purchasing a firearm must come anyway to register their guns," Gray said. . . .

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"Tories to scrap long-gun registry this fall"

The bill to scrap the registry will finally pass this fall. The only real question is whether the NDP will allow some of its members to vote for the bill.

The Conservative government will introduce legislation in the fall to scrap the long-gun registry, this time using its parliamentary majority to back it up.

The vote will be an early test of unity for Canada's new official Opposition - the NDP - which wrangled with internal disagreement over the contentious issue when it was voted on as a private member's bill in 2010. . . .

Six NDP MPs broke with their party and voted with the government to scrap the registry because NDP leader Jack Layton allowed his caucus to vote their conscience by not "whipping" the vote, or compelling them to vote according to the party line. . . .

support for gun control is higher in Quebec than in any other province . . .

"Now that their caucus is so overwhelmingly populated by Quebec members, I tend to think this will decide the issue for them," Hicks said. . . .

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Democrat PPP polling: "Obama's numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface"

This is a poll of registered voters, not likely voters, so it simply could be that those who are undecided are less likely to vote. Still this is something to keep in mind when you hear the polls on Obama and his Republican opponents. From Public Policy Polling:

Obama's numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama's doing but aren't committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out. Here's an idea of where these various match ups might stand once all voters have made up their minds:

-In the Obama/Romney head to head 21% of undecideds approve of Obama and 61% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Romney would lead 52-48.

-In the Obama/Bachmann head to head 10% of undecideds approve of Obama and 67% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Obama would lead only 51-49. . . .

-In the Obama/Palin head to head 5% of undecideds approve of Obama and 84% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Obama would lead only 54-46.

So if you dig deeper into the numbers Obama's position is a lot worse than meets the eye. There's a very good chance Obama would lose if he had to stand for reelection today. If there's a silver lining for Obama it's this- he trailed Romney in our poll last July and then led him for each of the next 11 months. For whatever reason summer and particularly the month of July has not been friendly to Obama in the polls ever since he hit the national stage. . . .


So who is really pushing the "Grand Bargain"?

Here is one possible answer: which proposal will actually cut the deficit the most? The Republican controlled House last night proposed cutting the coming $10.3 trillion deficits over the coming decade by $6 trillion. The very vague "Gang of Six" proposal would cut things by $3.75 trillion (Obama says that he likes this proposal). Of course, Obama's proposal has yet to be spelled out.

White House's Jack Lew says still time "to get something big done" on debt deal. "The President has made it clear that he was wants to get something substantial." Yet, of course, the White House is proposing something much smaller than the Republican controlled House has proposed.


The "Gang of Six" proposed debt reduction has no substance

The "Gang of Six" Proposal is available here. The lack of specificity and enforceability is maddening. The executive summary is less than four pages of text. There might be a full version of the proposal someplace, though I don't think that it would solve the obvious problems shown in the executive summary.

-- For individual income tax rates: "establishing three tax brackets with rates of 8-12 percent, 14-22 percent, and 23-29 percent."
-- For corporate income tax rate: "between 23 percent and 29 percent, raise as much revenue as the current corporate tax system."
-- "Tax reform must be projected to stimulate economic growth, leading to increased tax revenue."

If the Gang can't even agree on what the rates are supposed to be, how do we know that the Senate, House, and President are going to agree. How much is economic growth supposed to be stimulated? Who decides if it is stimulative? Obama lowers average tax rate and raises marginal tax rate, and he believes that is stimulative. The vast majority of economists would hopefully think that lowering the marginal tax rate is what matters. The Finance Committee is supposed to "report tax reform within six months."

Here is one that I particularly like: "Judiciary would find an unspecified amount through medical malpractice reform."

Even Pelosi said: the proposal was "not ready for prime time."

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Obama did 31 fundraisers in second quarter of the year

Karl Rove is less than impressed by how much money Obama brought into the campaign given how much time he put into raising it.

Thirty-one fundraisers in a quarter is a big strain on any president's schedule. Mr. Obama can’t keep that pace up and not just because he's got a day job. There are also just so many cities capable of producing $1 million and only so many times you can hold a million dollar fundraiser in them.
The president held six fundraising events each in California and New York. Even these two bastions of rich liberals have a finite amount of $2,500 donors. Mr. Obama is front-loading campaign cash and won't regularly get this amount of big buck donations each quarter.
Even though at least $35 million (almost half the total Obama/DNC haul) can be credited to just 244 well-connected “bundlers,” Team Obama made a big thing of their 260,000 new small dollar donors. But that means only 292,000 donors from his last campaign have renewed their support for the re-elect so far. That's just 6.6 percent of the 3.95 million people who donated to the '08 Obama effort, only a quarter to a third of what most reelect campaigns could expect from renewal efforts at this point. . . .

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Did US Treasury Bond Interest Rates increase After Moody's and S&P announced Rating Reviews?

Moody's said it was reviewing the U.S. rating at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13. S&P announced its review during the day on Friday, July 15th. Yet, here are the interest rates for 10 year US Treasury Bonds for last week. There was a slight increase on Thursday, but by Friday the rate had fallen back to where it had started at the beginning of the week. The data is available here.

07,11, 2011 2.94%
07,12, 2011 2.92%
07,13, 2011 2.92%
07,14, 2011 2.98%
07,15, 2011 2.94%

Looking at this there are two possible conclusions. 1) The announcement was already anticipated. 2) These announcements don't really reflect any real likelihood of default. Some evidence that it isn't the first option is that the interest rate on US Treasury Bonds have generally been falling as the discussion about defaults has increased.

A note on Minnesota's shutdown. Minnesota's shutdown started on July 1st and could end shortly, and Fitch Ratings downloaded the state's bond rating from AAA to AA+. Fitch is the smallest of the rating agencies, and none of the other rating agencies lowered the state's rating. The AP notes:

Fitch Ratings downgraded the state's bond rating a notch from AAA to AA+, citing the government interruption and "an increasingly contentious budgeting environment." . . .

But I can't see any impact that the shutdown or this one bond rating change had on general obligation state bonds.

What types of comments are the Democrats making about the debt ceiling increase? From Politico:

The warnings are apocalyptic. “Armageddon,” President Barack Obama intones. “Catastrophic,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insists. “Calamitous,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admonishes. . . .


Does Gang of Six plan raise taxes by $3 trillion, over the changes in the AMT

How many other surprises are there in the new agreement? From the Washington Examiner:

The Gang of Six “Bipartisan Plan to Reduce Our Nation’s Deficits” claims their tax reforms would be scored by the Congressional Budget Office as a $1.5 trillion net cut. But no details are provided on how they arrive at this number other than saying they will abolish the Alternative Minimum tax. So how can this plan claim to be a “balanced approach” (which means higher revenues), yet also claim to be a $1.5 trillion tax cut?

This probably means they are using a CBO baseline that assumes the AMT continues as written today and that the current Bush rates expire. Last August, the CBO said those policies would amount to a $4.8 trillion tax hike. Which means the the Gang of Six plan probably raises taxes by about $3+ trillion over current rates. . . .

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Why do so many criminals fight hard against the death penalty being imposed on them?

Here is an interesting case from Politico. Attorneys say alleged USS Cole bomb plotter shouldn't face death penalty:

Attorneys for the Saudi national accused of masterminding the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole filed a motion Friday arguing that the government's treatment of their client, the mishandling of his prosecution and flaws in the military commissions process should exempt him from being subject to the death penalty.

In their legal brief, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri's lawyers said their client was tortured at the hands of the CIA while being held in secret prisons after his 2002 capture in the United Arab Emirates.

“The United States should not be permitted to kill a man it has brutally tortured and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” they wrote. . . .


Sen. Clair McCaskill has some expensive plane trips

Sen. Clair McCaskill apparently made mistakes in her previous FEC filing that omitted almost $300,000 in donations and expenditures. One thing in a Politico article that caught my eye was the very high prices she paid for what were fairly short plane trips. If these trips are on her own plane, the question is whether she is paying so much that she is actually using the campaign donations to make a profit on each plane trip. She has argued that overall she hasn't made real money from the plane, but that isn't really the relevant question. Possibly she would have lost a lot of money if she hadn't used the campaign to funnel money to herself through the plane. The $3,460 round trip within Missouri is pretty amazingly high.

The amendments accounted for a $1,395 roundtrip flight from St. Louis to Kansas City on Dec. 15, 2008; an $1,809 roundtrip flight from St. Louis to Chicago on Nov. 1, 2009; and $3,460 for a plane trip from St. Louis to Kansas City to Springfield, Mo., and back to St. Louis in April 2010. However, $912 of that third trip was for official Senate business. . . .


One Wisconsin Democrat State Senator Faces Recall Vote Today

Today's vote could go a long ways towards determining whether Republicans are able to keep control of the Wisconsin state Senate. Democrats who controlled the state Government Accountability Board were able to delay the vote on the three Democrats facing recalls. See this article here:

The fate of one of the Wisconsin lawmakers who fled the state this year in an effort to block cuts to collective bargaining rights for public workers will be decided by voters on Tuesday.

This summer, Wisconsin is overflowing with recall elections involving nine state senators from both parties, but the balloting in the Green Bay area on Tuesday will be a first definitive outcome in the series of elections that many see as a gauge of public sentiment about the agenda of Republicans who took control of the state this year. At stake in a dizzying, unprecedented series of recall elections is dominance in the Senate, where the 19-14 Republican majority could shift if Democrats gain three seats.

Still, the outcome of the recall election on Tuesday of Dave Hansen, a Senate Democrat, may offer few larger signs of what is ahead for either party in this sharply divided state. Some observers say the particulars of this race make Mr. Hansen's removal less likely than it might otherwise be. Mr. Hansen's opponent, David VanderLeest, a businessman who led the political movement to recall him in the first place, has raised less money, has faced legal problems and has drawn only tepid support from some Republican leaders who tried to get a different candidate on the ballot.

In most of the races, the essential fight is simple.

Three Democrats, including Mr. Hansen, are the subjects of recalls because all of the Senate's Democrats slipped away from Madison earlier this year and fled to Illinois to prevent a vote from taking place on collective bargaining cuts Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was pushing. (Ultimately, the maneuver failed; Republicans managed to call a vote without the Democrats, and passed the law, but some voters said the Democrats had failed to stay in town and do their jobs.)

Six Republicans are the subjects of recalls for the opposite reason. They voted for the cuts to collective bargaining -- along with a series of budget cuts and other measures that Mr. Walker has called for.

On Tuesday, voters will also cast ballots in primary elections for the Senate seats of the other two Democrats who face recall, but the final elections will not be held until Aug. 16. Final elections will decide the Republican senators' futures on Aug. 9. . . .

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Bizarre Research Funded by the Government

Researchers can use their own time to write up their research on these types of products if they really think that it is valuable. There is no reason why government funds have to be given out as grants to fund this. That said, I am not even going to post the discussion of the study entitled "The Association Between Penis Size and Sexual Health Among Men Who Have Sex with Men."


Appearance on Fox News Live: Myths About Debt Ceiling ‘Disaster’

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BATF head says his superiors at the Justice Department of stonewalling Congress to protect political appointees

Obama administration stonewalling to protect political appointees.

The head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has admitted that his agency, in at least one instance, allowed sales of high-powered weapons without intercepting them -- and he accuses his superiors at the Justice Department of stonewalling Congress to protect political appointees in the scandal over those decisions.
Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson made the disclosures about the so-called Operation Fast and Furious in an interview with congressional investigators looking into the controversial anti-gunrunning initiative.
The operation was designed to track small-time gun buyers up to major weapons traffickers along the U.S. border with Mexico. Critics estimate that 1,800 guns targeted in the operation are unaccounted for, and about two-thirds of those probably are in Mexico.
Melson's acknowledgement is the first by any senior ATF leader that confirms some of the criticism that Republicans on Capitol Hill have been leveling at Fast and Furious. The objections have resulted in congressional hearings and an inquiry by the Justice Department's inspector general. . . .

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Remember when?: Past statements linking not passing a debt ceiling increase to a default

The claimed impacts below are eerily similar to what is being said in the current debt ceiling increase debate. From the Los Angeles Times:

Rubin Urges Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling; Budget: Default is 'unthinkable,' Treasury secretary says. But he warns that even the appearance of that risk would roil the markets.
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Sep 8, 1995
Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, warning that even the appearance that the government will default on its debts would roil the financial markets and cause severe economic problems, urged Congress on Tuesday to act now to extend the debt limit.

If the government were to default on its debts, Rubin said, short-term ramifications would be substantial and "it would change the cost of funding of the federal government for years and years and years to come because it would attach a question mark that never existed before with respect to the federal debt. I don't think that will happen."

Approximately 160 Republican House members and two Democratic House members signed letters to Clinton and Senate and House leaders vowing to oppose raising the debt limit unless Clinton goes along with their budget-balancing proposal. Tony Blankley, spokesman for House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), said that Gingrich read the letter "with great interest" but does not want a crisis over the debt ceiling to arise and does not believe it will unless Clinton causes it. . . .

From the Washington Post:

Wall Street Fears Debt Ceiling Fight Could Shake Financial Markets
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Clay Chandler
Date: Sep 15, 1995
Start Page: F.01
Text Word Count: 1575
Wall Street is beginning to worry about the possibility of the federal government defaulting on interest payments to bondholders and other financial obligations if President Clinton and congressional Republicans fail to reach agreement on next year's budget.

Failure to raise the debt limit before mid-November, bond market and budget analysts warn, could disrupt government bond auctions, force Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin to juggle federal finances to avert a default and -- by undermining investor confidence in the creditworthiness of U.S. bonds -- send the government's borrowing costs soaring.

A standoff on the debt ceiling "could precipitate a true federal financial crisis" in which the government is forced to "default on its obligations and delay payment to anyone expecting a check from Washington," warned Stanley Collender, director for federal budget policy at Price Waterhouse & Co., the New York accounting firm, in a recent report to clients. . . .

From the Los Angeles Times:

[FINAL Edition]
Sun Sentinel - Fort Lauderdale
Author: Los Angeles Times
Date: Sep 18, 1995
Start Page: 3.A
Text Word Count: 503
Abstract (Document Summary)
Republican budget hawks are vowing that, if President Clinton does not agree to their deep spending cuts, they will block a scheduled increase in the federal debt ceiling - a move that could theoretically force the government into default.

In response, the Clinton administration is warning Congress that even talking about such a move risks a fiscal "disaster," including panic in world financial markets and soaring interest rates at home. And the administration promises to fix the blame for any such debacle squarely on the Republicans. . . .

From the Washington Post:

Rubin Warns of Danger In Not Lifting Debt Limit
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: John M. Berry
Date: Sep 20, 1995
Start Page: C.01
Text Word Count: 634
Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin yesterday warned congressional leaders that a failure to raise the government's debt ceiling by early November could lead to a default that "could cause profound damage to our country."

But two of the Republican recipients, House Budget Committee Chairman John R. Kasich of Ohio and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer of Texas, said they would back a debt ceiling increase only if President Clinton agrees to their plan to balance the federal budget within seven years, which would mean cuts in major entitlement programs such as Medicare. . . .

From the Washington Post:

Greenspan Urges GOP to Drop Debt Threat
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: John M. Berry; Clay Chandler
Date: Sep 23, 1995
Start Page: D.01
Text Word Count: 728
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday urged congressional Republicans to drop their threat to allow a default on the government's nearly $4.9 trillion debt if President Clinton doesn't go along with their plan to balance the federal budget in seven years.

"The issue of default should not be on the table," Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee. "To default for the first time in the history of this nation is not something anyone should take in any tranquil manner."

A default could occur sometime in November if action is not taken to lift the government's $4.9 trillion debt limit. If the Treasury could not borrow more money to pay its bills, it could default on $25 billion in interest payments due tens of thousands of individuals, businesses, financial institutions, pension funds and mutual funds that own Treasury securities. . . .

From the Washington Times:

U.S. default looms over budget bill
The unthinkable becomes tempting
September 25, 1995

The idea that the United States would ever fail to pay interest on the national debt used to be unthinkable. No more.

Looking for leverage to force President Clinton to come to terms on their plan to balance the budget in seven years, congressional Republicans are threatening to provoke the nation's first-ever default on its Treasury obligations - notes, bills and bonds held by millions of people all over the world. . . .

From the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. Will Hit Its Debt Ceiling on Halloween, Rubin Estimates

Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Oct 14, 1995
Start Page: 23
Section: PART-A; National Desk
Text Word Count: 219

A Treasury official who spoke on condition of anonymity said [Robert E.] Rubin had not pinpointed the date before, saying instead that borrowing authority would be exhausted at the end of October. Others have said the first real risk of a government default could occur Nov. 15, when the Treasury is due to make a $25-billion interest payment on the debt. . . .

From Reuters:

Published on October 26, 1995.
President Clinton accused Republicans Wednesday of "economic blackmail" for tying the national debt ceiling to the budget controversy.
He swore he would not give in, even at the risk of default.
At the same time, the president boasted that the federal government had chopped its deficit to $164 billion - the lowest since 1989 - under his policies and portrayed his approach as the more reasonable way to eventually balance the budget. . .

From the New York Times:

For the Debate On Debt Limit, No Usual Script
Published: October 26, 1995

. . . The bad news for Mr. Rubin is that he is already caught, politically if not financially, at the center of what has become a giant game of chicken in which both the White House and the Congressional leadership blame the other for pushing the country to the brink of default. And he is playing with two equally unpredictable opponents, Congress and the markets.

On Capitol Hill, the freshman class of Republicans have called the shots on this issue so far, using tactics President Clinton today characterized as "economic blackmail, pure and simple." On Wall Street wary traders are wondering whether the risk of lending money to the Government may be about to rise sharply. . . .

From the Boston Globe:

Default seen as too awful to come true
[City Edition]
Boston Globe - Boston, Mass.
Author: Charles Stein, Globe Staff
Date: Oct 27, 1995
Start Page: 1
Text Word Count: 705
Abstract (Document Summary)
That's a question some have begun to ponder since Wednesday, when President Clinton said he would let the country default on its obligations rather than submit to "economic blackmail" by the Republican Congress. Republicans have refused to let the government borrow more money as a way of pressuring Clinton to approve their tax and budget plans.

Should the government actually fail to make its next payment to bondholders on Nov. 15, the impact could be severe, according to economists and money managers. "There would be absolute chaos in the financial system," said Eugene Sherman, director of research at M.A. Schapiro, a New York investment firm.

Sherman predicted that a default -- the first in US history -- would cause interest rates to rise in this country and around the world, with the bad news quickly spilling over into the stock market. Even after the crisis passed, the government would have to pay higher rates because investors would have lost confidence in the United States. "The damage would be lasting," said Stephen Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley. . . .

From the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Tribune (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Chicago, Ill.
Author: Martin A. Regalia. Martin A. Regalia, chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has served with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Congressional Budget Office.
Date: Nov 1, 1995
Sometime between now and Nov. 15 several sizable payments seem destined to push the government past its present debt ceiling of $4.9 trillion dollars, and into default. . . .

There were claims that the Federal government would go into default on the second day of the budget shutdown, but of course nothing happened. From the Washington Times:

November 2, 1995, The Washington Times
Stand fast, financiers urge GOP
Budget win worth default, four say

Four Wall Street financiers yesterday urged Republicans to stick to their plan to balance the budget even if it takes a first-ever default on Treasury securities to force President Clinton to sign it.

A default could occur on Nov. 15, when a $25 billion payment on the $4.9 trillion national debt comes due, if Republicans have not passed a planned temporary increase in the Treasury's debt limit to permit additional borrowing to pay the government's bills through Dec. . . .

From the Austin American-Statesman:

Federal shutdown could cost each American $160
Date: November 11, 1995 Publication: Austin American-Statesman Page Number: E7 ${ Word Count: 823
Citizen anger is appropriate. Because the U.S. government is threatened with closure on Tuesday -- although the Treasury almost certainly won't default on its bonds -- the game of chicken the White House and Congress are playing over the federal budget could end up costing taxpayers $40 billion.
That's $160 more in taxes for every American, the penalty the United States may have to pay in added interest if its credit rating is damaged by temporary default on . . .

From the Los Angeles Times:

Default Scenario Looms Larger as Budget War Rages; Treasury: Idea that the government would not be able to pay its debts is no longer 'unthinkable.' 'The bus is near the edge of the cliff,' one official warns.
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Nov 9, 1995
Start Page: 26
Section: PART-A; National Desk
Text Word Count: 948

Yet the risk that the U.S. Treasury will be unable to pay its debts in the near future has crept at least into the realm of possibility, as Congress and the White House engage in a high-stakes budget duel that so far has defied solution.

"The bus is near the edge of the cliff--and what this is doing is taking away the brakes," a senior Treasury Department official lamented Wednesday, referring to a House plan to make it much harder to operate under the government's credit limit of $4.9 trillion.

Further inflaming matters, House Republicans are trying to attach strings to a bill to increase the debt ceiling. One proposal, for example, includes in the debt-ceiling legislation a provision abolishing the Commerce Department, which the White House opposes deeply. . . .

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 14, 1995 - A22 EDITORIAL

For weeks, the administration had implored Congress to avoid default by raising the debt limit above $4.9 trillion. . . .

From the New York Times several days into the first shutdown:

BATTLE OVER THE BUDGET: THE TREASURY;Treasury Secretary Takes a Risk to Sidestep an Even Bigger One: U.S. Default
Published: November 16, 1995

When Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin started plotting the Administration strategy for sidestepping the national debt limit, one priority was uppermost in his mind: extracting President Clinton from the pincer created by Republicans in Congress, who were trying to force a choice between adopting the Republican agenda and risking national default. . . .

The markets, meanwhile, have largely ignored the squabble; in fact, interest rates have declined since July, when Mr. Rubin first wrote a letter to Congressional leaders warning of dire consequences if the debt ceiling is not raised. . . .

Other news headlines:
At the brink
The specter of default worries investors . . .
Published on 1995-11-10, Page B1, The Kansas City Star

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What do some Democratic Businessmen think of Obama?

Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, on President Obama and his impact on business investment:

And I'm saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right. A President that seems, that keeps using that word redistribution. Well, my customers and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administration.And it makes you slow down and not invest your money. Everybody complains about how much money is on the side in America. . . .

The guy keeps making speeches about redistribution and maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don't invest, their holding too much money. We haven't heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists. Everybody's afraid of the government and there's no need soft peddling it, it's the truth. It is the truth. And that's true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid. . . .


"Iowa congressman, family fight off home invader"

Even the families of some Democratic Congressman own guns. From CBS News:

A home invasion at Rep. Leonard Boswell's Iowa farm ended when his 22-year-old grandson fetched a shotgun and aimed it at the intruder, according to a statement from the congressman's office. No one was seriously injured.
The incident started about 10:45 p.m. Saturday when an armed man came in through the front door, attacked Boswell's daughter, Cindy Brown, and demanded money, the statement said. Boswell, 77, heard his daughter's screams, came into the entryway and attempted to disarm the intruder.

As they struggled, Boswell's grandson, Mitchell Brown, got a shotgun from another room. When he pointed the shotgun at the intruder, the man fled into the fields around the house outside Lamoni. . . .


"Wisconsin 'concealed carry' gets support from cops"

This Sheriff makes the case pretty clearly.

A local sheriff's captain thinks recent criticism by a county prosecutor of the state's new concealed carry gun law is off base, asserting that the new law won't endanger police officers.

"It's not the law-abiding folks with permits that will hurt you," said Brown County Sheriff's Capt. Randy Schultz. "It's those that don't follow the law that are the ones that are going to hurt you."

Schultz was responding to a statement issued Wednesday by Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco, who blasted state leaders in Madison for passing the concealed carry gun law. . . .

"I have yet to speak with an officer over my 22 years as a prosecutor who doesn't want as much information as possible when responding to a call or performing a traffic stop, especially if that information indicates there may be a firearm present," DeCecco said in the news release.

Schultz said that viewpoint runs contrary to standard police procedure, which is to treat everyone as being potentially armed.

"The message that law enforcement needs to keep is to approach everyone as if armed, because as soon as we look at it differently, we lose," Schultz said. "I don't approach a car on a traffic stop saying this guy is not a permit holder so he's not armed. . . .


New York Times reports as fact that failure to increase Debt Ceiling Means Default

Here is the first paragraph of a story for Monday's paper:

Top Republican lawmakers and the Obama administration’s budget director predicted Sunday that an agreement would be reached before the federal government defaults on its debt in early August, but both sides continued to squabble over the details of competing proposals, offering little evidence that a deal was at hand. . . . .

Here is the second paragraph:

“I do not believe that responsible leaders in Washington will force this to default,” Jacob J. Lew, the White House budget office chief said on the ABC News program “This Week.” “All of the leaders of Congress and the president have acknowledged that we must raise the debt limit. And the question is how.” . . .

No questions are every raised on why failure to raise the debt ceiling means a default will occur. Of course it won't since the interest payments are just a fraction of the revenue that will still be coming in.



Movie stars put up big bucks for Obama's re-election effort

This is a bit of a dilemma since I had liked some of these stars. There has been some speculation that Tom Hanks outspoken and nutty support for Obama has actually hurt his star drawing power for his movies.

big-name movie stars including actors George Clooney, Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, also gave to the 2012 campaign, according to the latest Federal Election Commission report. Jennifer Garner and Gwyneth Paltrow both contributed under their married names —Affleck and Martin, respectively.
“30 Rock” actor Alec Baldwin, who has often toyed with a potential political run, also shelled out cash for Obama’s second-quarter fundraising haul. And several other TV actors — such as “Monk”’s Tony Shalhoub, “Glee”’s Jane Lynch, “24”’s president Dennis Haysbert and sci-fi stars Scott Bakula and Richard Dean Anderson — joined Baldwin in contributing to the president’s reelection bid.
Comedians Will Ferrell, Carl Reiner and “The Simpsons”’s Yeardley Smith also doled out money for Obama, whose campaign attracted a record-breaking $86 million in donations. . . .

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Arizona, Tampa and now Houston in Gunwalker scandal?

The unthinkable scandal seems to be involving more and more of the BATF.

As the months have passed since the first story of a possible gun smuggling scheme involving the ATF--the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives--hit the news in December of 2010, it has been rumored that the scandal is much more widespread than first reported. Originally it was thought that the scandal was limited to local ATF offices in Arizona, particularly the Phoenix field division. Yet the rumors persisted, and last week it was revealed that the Tampa, Florida office was involved in a massive gun smuggling scheme in Honduras.

And this begs the question, are multiple offices of the ATF involved in the gun smuggling scandal? Even more than Arizona and Tampa?

Such rumors have been simmering beneath the surface as well, and not without solid evidence.

For example, the Houston, Texas office of the ATF is now under suspicion for participating in the illegal scheme of walking guns to Mexico as information has surfaced indicating that the majority of U.S. guns confiscated in Mexico came from Houston. Mike Vanderboegh discloses the following:

I cannot overstate the importance of the Houston Field Division in the Gunwalker Scandal. The weapons found at the Jaime Zapata murder scene were from Texas. The busts in Dallas and Columbus NM are in the area of operations of the Houston Field Division. Understand that: they were not Fast and Furious busts. Yet no one in Houston has come forward like John Dodson. We have the evidence presented by Carter's Country in Houston that they were being told to let the firearms walk, yet no one in local or national media has apparently asked the hard questions of the Houston Field Division ATF management personnel.

Although no one as of yet has fully investigated the Houston office and its possible involvement with Project Gunwalker, there is mounting evidence that a smoking gun lies in wait for some astute investigative reporter to discover. . . .

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