Democrats threaten donors with retaliation if they give money to Republicans

This seems like a pretty good reason why donors should be anonymous. From Politico:

Democrats on K Street are warning their corporate clients: Give to Republican challengers in the 2012 election, and you’ll regret it come tax reform time.
Lobbyists are getting that message from allies of powerful Democrats such as Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is closely watching support for Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Baucus supporters fear that if Rehberg ousts Tester, Baucus could be next to face a serious Republican challenge in the state.
One K-Streeter close to the Baucus operation said the senator considers a gift to Rehberg a contribution against him. Another Democratic lobbyist told a client to take his name off a Rehberg fundraising event because it would be hurtful to his company, according to sources.
The case K-Streeters are making to their clients: It will be a hard sell next year to get Baucus’s support on business-friendly tax perks set to expire or the Bush-era tax cuts that must get through his committee.
The game of hardball is a bold example of a powerful chairman willing to leverage his power to protect his party’s majority, his home-state colleague and potentially his own seat.
“We all know how this particular game is played: A chairman of a committee has his allies downtown quietly put out the word that folks with business before that committee may want to think twice about contributing to a candidate opposing one favored by the chairman,” said a Democratic oil industry executive. “Getting the message out this way provides deniability to the chairman yet ensures that everyone in the lobbying community gets the joke.” . . .

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Blue Bloods - Women With Guns

Tom Selleck's show "Blue Bloods" has a woman carrying a permitted concealed handgun. At 38:30 into the show Selleck's character gives the woman a holster to carry her concealed handgun. There are other discussions on the show before that. At one point, this same woman notes that she is able to carry her gun in 48 states (see 12:15 into the show). This is one of the first (and possibly only) reasonable discussion on a TV show of a civilian carrying a permitted concealed handgun, though I am not sure how she is able to carry in 48 states. Not every state recognizes out of state permits, and she probably doesn't meet the residency requirements in many states to get a permit in those states.

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Unions continue spending lots of money to damage Romney in primaries

Obviously these campaign expenditures are made possible by the Citizen's United Case. Democrats have no problem using this ruling for their own benefit. I remember that AFSCME had spent $1 million just in Florida's Republican primary to attack Romney. From The Hill Newspaper:

Several unions that back President Obama’s reelection bid are spending big in an effort to damage Mitt Romney in key GOP primary states.

Unions including The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are making ad buys to hit the Republican presidential contenders on issues key to their members, including immigration reform and the bailout of the auto industry.

The primary focus of the attacks, however, has been Romney, who appears likely to face off against Obama in the fall.
Larry Scanlon, AFSCME's political director, told The Hill that while Romney has yet to officially sow up the nomination, the general election season has begun.

"Our position is: We are in a general election now. We want voters to hear our message," Scanlon said. "We have endorsed Obama, and we're going to do what we can to get him reelected."

AFSCME, the country’s largest public sector union, spent $500,000 on Internet, television and radio ads to air in Ohio that target Romney before the state’s GOP presidential primary this coming Tuesday, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. . . .

Scanlon said the large expenditures were not intended to influence GOP contests, but rather to define Romney for all voters. . . .

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DC reluctantly moves to remove some gun control laws

From the Washington Times:

A bill that cuts training sessions and other impediments to registering a gun in the District is expected to pass, perhaps unanimously, when it goes before the entire D.C. Council in coming weeks.

But its auspicious path to law is peculiar in one respect - city lawmakers may not oppose the measure, but they aren’t about to sing its praises or say much about it at all, even if restrictive gun laws in the District were the subject of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case and loomed large in a recent pitch for D.C. statehood.

Council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, introduced the Firearms Amendment Act of 2012 to fix stumbling blocks that made it difficult for residents to meet pre-registration requirements within the city’s borders. Even as the bill heads to the council’s agenda on Tuesday, Mr. Mendelson noted his colleagues may not have delved into the subject - it is viewed as highly technical - as much as gun advocates outside of the John A. Wilson Building.

“It’s not so much they don’t have experience in relaxing gun laws,” he said Thursday. “The council doesn’t have experience with it at all.”

The Committee on the Judiciary, of which Mr. Mendelson is chairman, forwarded the bill to the full council on Wednesday with a 3-0 vote of approval, noting the reforms do not eliminate the District’s tough registration laws or its ban on automatic weapons. . . .

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Bill O'Reilly goes after oil companies yet again

Of course, there is the false statement about Obama not being able to do anything to impact the current price of oil through future production.
I agree with virtually nothing in this discussion, but I am putting it up to remember to possibly write something on it.

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Demonizing wealthy Americans?

Some disappointing poll numbers on the dislike of the wealthy. I think that Adam Carolla is right at the 2:26 point in the discussion.


Private exploration of the bottom of the Ocean

As if Jon Karpoff's JPE paper wasn't enough, here is a more recent example of private exploration.



Something to remember the next time people say that government employees don't get paid enough

Economists have long used turnover rate as a proxy for how good a job is. I suspect that this measure is highly correlated with that. From Forbes:

Our list of the happiest and unhappiest industries to work in, compiled by CareerBliss, is based on more than 43,000 independent employee reviews. Those employees, all over the country, were asked to evaluate nine factors that affect workplace happiness. Those included their relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, daily tasks, and control over the work done does on a daily basis. They evaluated each item on a five-point scale and also indicated how important it was to their overall happiness.
Heading the list of the unhappiest industries to work in is agriculture and mining, with an index score of 3.76. Agriculture and mining workers also expressed the most pessimism about growth opportunities and compensation.
“Often agriculture and mining jobs have lower salaries, and our data shows that workers in these areas felt that growth opportunity was limited, which can have a drastic impact on the way employees feel about their overall future,” Miller says. . . .
But the most blissful employees of all work for the government. With an index score of 4.07, government employees said they are more than satisfied with the people they work with and their daily tasks. They’re most dissatisfied with growth opportunities, compensation and company culture. . . .
The education industry follows close behind in the No. 2 spot, with a 4.06 index score. Workers in education are particularly happy with their boss and colleagues. . . .


Is Bob Kerry too liberal for Nebraska?

It is hard for people to apparently remember that there was a reason that Bob Kerry didn't run for re-election in 2000. His many liberal political views would have made it a somewhat tough race. From the Politico today:

Bob Kerrey took a lonely position against banning gay marriage in the 1990s. He opposed a ban on flag desecration, voted against welfare reform and ran up high Americans for Democratic Action scores while serving as the senator from one of the most conservative states in the nation. . . .

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A self help way to stop people from talking on cell phones in public?

Apparently signal jamming is illegal, but I am sure that a lot of people appreciate this crime occurring. That said, there really isn't an externality problem here because the owner of the bus or train bears the cost of deciding whether people should be able to use their cell phones in public. If people value using their cell phones less than the other passengers dislike them being used, the owner of the transportation will make the most money by not allowing them to be used. From CNET:

It might be the 7:30 a.m. bus and you might be semi-comatose from a long night of self-anesthesia, but some people do insist on talking into their cell phones about last night's cabbage stew or a lover who smells of cadaver.
You can tell them to be quiet. But this, too might be ignored. So one rider in Philadelphia decided he'd use an alternative method: he says he simply jams all cell phones on his bus.
I know many will be grateful to NBC 10 in Philadelphia for discovering this remarkably simple method at achieving world peace.
"I guess I'm taking the law into my own hands. And, quite frankly, I'm proud of it," the man told NBC.
The man--whose name is Eric--said he found people talking on their cell phones during rides on public transport both irritating and rude. (Oh, but surely they're interesting, once in a while.)
He said he used a cell phone jammer that he bought online. . . .


Alan Dershowitz accuses Media Matters of having "crossed the line into anti-semitism"

From Fox News:

Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz alleged Friday that Media Matters has "crossed the line into anti-semitism" by tolerating an employee who uses charged language to criticize supporters of Israel.
Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat who is a staunch supporter of Israel, first started speaking out against the liberal media watchdog group last month. He went further in an interview on Fox News, saying Friday that Media Matters has crossed the line into "bigotry." . . .
Dershowitz called on Media Matters to fire Rosenberg, but also called on the White House to disassociate itself from Media Matters -- warning that their cozy relationship would cause problems in the 2012 reelection campaign.
"The president should do to Media Matters what he did to Jeremiah Wright -- totally disassociate, rebuke and say 'I stand with Israel,'" he said. . . .

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Obama broke promise on START Treaty

Obama probably thinks that this is a cute idea. Save money by cutting back on things that he promised but never wanted to do. Another broken Obama promise:

During the ratification debate on the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START), President Obama promised to modernize the U.S. nuclear infrastructure, claiming that such investment is “essential to facilitating reductions while sustaining deterrence under New START and beyond.” However, the Administration failed to include in its budget the additional $4.1 billion that was promised for the nuclear weapons modernization program over the next five years. On top on this, the Administration did not even bother to submit a budget request that is consistent with its nuclear modernization pledge to the Senate for the next fiscal year. The actual request is $372 million bellow what the Administration agreed to, writes Heinrichs. . . .

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More evidence on Education Voucher Programs

From the WSJ's Political Diary:

According to the study, by Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas, enrollment in the [Milwaukee] program continues to grow. It doubled in size 11 times between 1997 and 2007 and grew by another 18% between 2007 and 2011. Today, more than 23,000 children participate. On average they score higher in reading and do no worse in math than similar students in Milwaukee public schools. They are also more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college and make it through the first year -- an indication that the program is preparing students to succeed at the next level. . . .

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The Obama administration rejects Dem Gov. Jerry Brown's attempts at modest health care cost savings

Even very modest co-pays will make people use resources more responsibly. Why be careful at all with what you ask for if the price to you is zero? Co-pays for drugs ($3) and doctor visits ($5) seem very trivial compared to their true costs. From the WSJ's Political Diary.

Strapped with a $13 billion deficit last year, Mr. Brown sought to squeeze $1.6 billion of savings out of the state's Medicaid program. Since more than half of the state's Medicaid dollars come from the federal government, Mr. Brown had to request waivers from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to implement many of his cost-saving solutions. While Ms. Sebelius last year signed off on a 10% rate cut to providers, which was projected to save the state about $600 million, she drew a line in the sand on the governor's request to charge Medicaid recipients a co-pay for drugs ($3) and doctor visits ($5).

The co-pays would save the state more than $300 million a year, but the Obama administration reasoned that they would deter recipients from seeking treatment and thus restrict health-care access. While in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association's winter meeting earlier this week, Mr. Brown lobbied Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Ms. Sebelius again for a waiver but didn't sound too optimistic about his prospects. The governor said that Ms. Sebelius had raised "legal issues" about charging co-pays and indicated that there were other ways to reduce Medicaid costs, which she didn't specify.

Trouble is, the Obama administration won't countenance limiting eligibility or introducing incentives that encourage doctors and patients to use health resources more judiciously. . . .

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James Q Wilson died today

Jim Wilson was a friend and a strong supporter of mine. He made it possible for me to get More Guns, Less Crime published originally with the University of Chicago Press. Here is a statement about Wilson by Charles Murray from January.

When Jim Wilson began his career in the early 1960s, it's hard to remember, but in fact, this thing we called policy analysis -- the analysis of data and trends and the rest in ways that bear on how the country ought to be governed -- was in its infancy. We were just beginning to develop the quantitative tools that have since become so common. Nobody knew how to do this at that time.

Jim himself was not a participant. Forgive me, Jim, if I don't do you justice in this. I don't think that Jim Wilson has ever committed a regression equation in his entire life on his own. He will correct me if I'm wrong. But that is not what he focused on.

It was not the development of the tools. It was the task of taking the welter of information that was being produced by those tools and drawing from that a mosaic which presented some things that were both useful and true about what was going on. It was made especially hard because these articles that were being produced, as any of you who have ever tried to read them know, are often torturously arcane. They are written by scholars who often have tunnel vision about their own findings.

It was Jim who was in the vanguard of understanding how you weave that mosaic together. Thinking About Crime, his book in 1975, was a seminal work as an example of how to do that. It was followed by books, like Crime and Human Nature and The Moral Sense, all of which said, this is how you take a complex set of findings and balance them, digest them, present them in ways that can be used.

He, at the same time, was writing books in a more traditional genre including the most widely used book on American government and American colleges. But it was this contribution -- understanding how to do policy analysis -- that was to me his signal contribution. He did it with dismayingly little apparent sweat. Our mutual and beloved friend Dick Herrnstein once told me that Jim wrote on legal pads and that he hardly ever crossed anything out. I choose not to believe that story. For those of us who don't have anything readable until the fifth draft, it's just simply too painful.

In short, James Q. Wilson taught us how to do policy analysis that is true and useful. I -- and, I suspect, many of my AEI colleagues here tonight -- do not think first of Jim Wilson as the Medal of Freedom winner, and we don't think of him primarily as the adviser to presidents. He is the prototype and the exemplar for what we do.


Surprise increase in the cost of Obamacare for next fiscal year

Some technicalities apparently have some real consequences. So much for Obama's promises about how much Obamacare would cost.From the AP:

Cost estimates for a key part of President Obama's health care overhaul law have ballooned by $111 billion from last year's budget, and a senior Republican lawmaker on Friday demanded an explanation.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., wants to know by Monday why the estimated ten-year cost of helping millions of middle-class Americans buy health insurance has jumped by about 30 percent.
Administration officials say the explanation lies in budget technicalities and that there are no significant changes in the program.
The revised numbers, buried deep in the president's budget, stumped lawmakers and some administration officials for most of the week. At a congressional hearing Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is in charge of carrying out the health care law, indicated she was unaware of the changes.
At issue are subsidies that will be provided under the health care law to help middle class people buy private coverage in new state insurance markets that will open for business in 2014.
Last year's budget estimated the cost of the aid to be $367 billion from 2014-2011. This year's budget puts it at $478 billion over the same time period. . . .

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Californians overwhelmingly support the death penalty

This new Survey USA poll has some surprising results. Women are more likely than men to keep the death penalty (63% to 59%). Every age group has a clear majority supporting it, from younger voters at 57/31 to seniors at 62/29. Strong majorities of black and Hispanic voters support it, even while opponents claim it gets applied in a discriminatory fashion against minority defendants. It’s no surprise to see 70% of Republicans supporting it, but 56% of Democrats do as well – and even a plurality of self-described liberals want it as an option (48/44).

61% of registered voters from the state of California say they would vote to keep the death penalty, should a death penalty initiative appear on the November 2012 ballot, according to this latest SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KGTV-TV San Diego, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KFSN-TV Fresno, and KABC-TV Los Angeles. 29% say they would vote to eliminate the death penalty. Keeping the death penalty law in California is supported by a majority among all groups except liberals, who are divided. . . .

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Weird poll: almost half of women would prefer having larger breasts than higher intelligence

From the UK Daily Mail:

They say it’s what’s inside that counts – but most young women in this country would beg to differ, it seems.
Shocking new research shows almost half of young women aged 18 to 25 would prefer to have large breasts than high intelligence - with a third even saying they would gladly swap. . . .
The survey of 1,142 women by the discount website by www.MyVoucherCodes.co.uk aimed to discover more about the attitudes young women hold towards brains and beauty.
In contrast with bigger breasts would attract more men, just 43 per cent felt that men would be ‘more interested’ in them if they had a higher IQ.
Researchers also found around 40 per cent of respondents would rather have a ‘slim figure’ than high intelligence, with many stating that it would make them feel ‘more confident’.
Almost the same percentage of people said they would swap their IQ in order to be their ‘ideal dress size’.
When it came to relationships, most women felt men ‘valued’ intelligence in women, although two thirds said they felt appearance was more important when attracting a partner. . . .

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Q&A on new book: "Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future"

The Q&A can be found here.


Expensive Electric Cars Selling Very Poorly

From CNET:

In terms of price, the Focus Electric costs just under $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. The Nissan Leaf's price starts at $35,200. The electric Chevy Volt, which has a gas engine to extend the range, costs just under $40,000 and the low-end version of Toyota's 2012 Plug-in Prius is $32,000.
Next year, Ford intends to release the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, a mid-size sedan Ford expects to top 100 MPGe and the Fusion Hybrid sedan which Ford projects will get 47 MPG.
The introducing of the Focus Electric brings more competition to the electric car segment. At the same time, all electric cars which run on expensive batteries face competition from hybrids and more efficient gasoline powered vehicles.
In its first year, sales of GM's Chevy Volt fell short of the company's targets, having sold 7,671 in 2011 and 9,297 to date. Nissan, which is now making the Leaf available nation-wide, said in February that it sold 10,000 Leafs in North America.

Sales apparently even slowed further in January:

Sales of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf dipped in January, with Volt sales apparently hit by a now-closed safety investigation.
The volume of these high-profile electric cars sold is closely watched as a barometer of consumer demand. Several more battery-electric and plug-in hybrid models from other automakers are expected to come out this year and next.
General Motors said yesterday it sold 603 Volts in January of this year, more than the 321 it sold in January last year. GM shipped 1,529 Volts in December last year, its best month since production, although the yearly total of 7,671 was less than it had hoped.
Nissan sold 676 all-electric Leaf sedans in January of this year, less than the 954 it sold in December last year. The company hit a volume of 10,000 in North America this month. . . .

UPDATE: "GM temporarily halts production of Volt"

General Motors has temporarily suspended production of its Volt electric car, the company announced Friday.

GM, which is based in Detroit, announced to employees at one of its facilities that it was halting production of the beleaguered electric car for five weeks and temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.

A GM spokesman told The Hill on Friday that production of the Volt would resume April 23.
"We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand," GM spokesman Chris Lee said in a telephone interview. . . .

Blames media for the low sales.

"GM blamed the lack of sales in January on “exaggerated” media reports and the federal government's investigation into Volt batteries catching fire, which officially began in November and ended Jan. 21," . . .

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Ben Bernanke warns of big deficits

I guess that I have no clue why deficits as opposed to government spending levels are important. Taxes are a drag on economic incentives. But both current and future taxes can create that drag. From The Hill newspaper:

“Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013, there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. “I hope that Congress will look at that and figure out ways to achieve the same long-run fiscal improvement without having it all happen at one date.
“All those things are hitting on the same day, basically. It’s quite a big event.”
The tax hikes and spending cuts could knock GDP growth in 2013 down from 2.6 percent to 1 percent, according to Andrew Fieldhouse, a federal budget policy analyst with the liberal Economic Policy Institute .
“There is obviously a huge fiscal drag pending if Congress adheres to existing law,” he said. . . .



Yet, another Stimulus recipient seeing business collapse

Having started with 425 employees, this solar manufacturer is now down to 125. Some of this is temporary, but it looks like more than half of the cut involves a permanent reduction in workers. From Tipton, Colorado:

A Colorado solar manufacturer has temporarily laid off almost 300 employees and delayed an expansion to Tipton County

Abound Solar Inc. laid off 180 permanent and 100 temporary employees at its facility in Longmont, Colo.

The company, which has about 125 employees left, has stopped production of solar panel modules so it can upgrade equipment and manufacturing processes for a more efficient module that should sell better, Abound CEO Craig Witsoe said.

The production change-up should take between six and nine months. The company expects to recall its laid-off workers after that, Witsoe said.

Plans to expand to Tipton County, meanwhile, have moved back by about a year.

Abound in December 2010 secured a $400 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The loan contract requires Abound to first spend the money installing two production lines at the Longmont plant. The company has drawn $70 million from its loan and installed one line so far, bringing the total to two lines.

After installing a third line, the remainder of the loan will fund expansion into a sprawling, empty factory at the corner of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28 in Tipton County.

Abound has projected between 800 and 1,200 new jobs at the Tipton plant. . . .


My newest Fox News Piece: "Obama's contraception deception"

My new piece starts this way:

Thursday Senate Democrats narrowly voted down an attempt to end President Obama's mandate that Catholic organizations provide their employees with abortions and contraception for no co-pay or deductible.
Democrats pulled out the heavy artillery, sending out an e-mail last night charging that Republicans want to “tear down access to better care.” The campaign linked this vote to the specter of Republicans “bann[ing] many common forms of birth control, including the pill, and fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization.”
Obama’s so-called reversal a couple of weeks ago that switched mandates from religious organizations to insurance companies that they buy policies from changed nothing. This cynical ploy can only work if women and the Catholic Bishops don't understand really basic economics.
Catholic organizations are upset that they might be forced to pay for abortions and contraception. Obama's solution?
The president originally wanted to mandate that Catholic organizations buy insurance policies with those services offered.
Now he instead proposes that health insurance plans must always cover abortions and contraception, and that these services must be provided for free.
By Obama's reasoning, if insurance companies are banned from charging for abortions and contraception, Catholic organizations aren't really going to be forced to pay for their costs. . . .

These comments by Rush Limbaugh is of some interest.

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Inflation over 8 percent?

A lot of people aren't making really big home purchases right now. What happens to inflation when really big purchases are excluded? From CBS News:

Forget the modest 3.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index, the government's widely used measure of inflation. Everyday prices are up some 8 percent over the past year, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

The not-for-profit research group measures inflation without looking at the big, one-time purchases that can skew the numbers. That means they don't look at the price of houses, furniture, appliances, cars, or computers. Instead, AIER focuses on Americans' typical daily purchases, such as food, gasoline, child care, prescription drugs, phone and television service, and other household products.

The institute contends that to get a good read on inflation's "sticker shock" effect, you must look at the cost of goods that the average household buys at least once a month and factor in only the kinds of expenses that are subject to change. That, too, eliminates the cost of housing because when you finance your home with a fixed-rate mortgage, that expense remains constant until you refinance or move. . . .

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Is blocking traffic legal?: Apparently, it is OK for illegal aliens

If a group of Christians were blocking traffic and harassing drivers, would they be arrested? From Fox News:

A federal judge blocked police in Arizona from enforcing a section of the state's 2010 immigration enforcement law that prohibited people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day labor services on streets.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled Wednesday that groups seeking to overturn the law will likely prevail in their claim that the day labor rules violate the First Amendment. . . .
Brewer's lawyers had opposed attempts to halt enforcement of the day labor restrictions. They argued the restrictions are meant to confront safety concerns, distractions to drivers, harassment to passers-by, trespassing and damage to property.
Brewer's lawyers have said day laborers congregate on roadsides in large groups, flagging down vehicles and often swarming those that stop. They also said day laborers in Phoenix and its suburbs of Chandler, Mesa and Fountain Hills leave behind water bottles, food wrappers and other trash. . . .


Andrew Breitbart Passes Away at Age 43

I just visited Andrew a few weeks ago in Los Angeles (a couple pictures from that trip). Andrew was one of the nicest guys you could imagine. Always having time to meet or talk. He was a family man with four young kids and a lovely wife. It is a horrible tragedy and loss.
He and I were talking about launching my new book "Debacle" with Grover Norquist as well as another project.

UPDATE: Here is Ann Coulter discussing some of the attacks on Andrew after his death.


Judge under fire for showing woman his gun in court room


Could someone please explain to me why the name the Fighting Sioux would be considered derogatory by Indians?

It is very interesting that the article neglects to say whether the Sioux support the team using the nickname. Many Sioux tribe strongly approve the use of the name "Fighting Sioux" in the name of the University of North Dakota. "The members from Spirit Lake behind the lawsuit assert that many of the American Indians opposed to the Fighting Sioux nickname are simply from tribes other than the Sioux, and are jealous of all the recognition." From Fox News:

University of North Dakota teams risk forfeiting any post-season games if their athletes, cheerleaders or band wear or display the school's Fighting Sioux nickname and American Indian head logo, an NCAA official said Wednesday.
Bernard Franklin, an NCAA executive vice president, said in a letter to university provost Paul LeBel that the university "must forfeit competition" if "it has not adhered to this requirement" in any post-season games that UND teams have been invited to play in.
"We ask that the university take measures to minimize or eliminate the presence of the imagery or nickname brought to an NCAA championship venue," Franklin's letter says. . . .
In March 2011, the North Dakota Legislature approved a law that required the university to use the logo and the Fighting Sioux nickname, which it has had for decades, despite the threat of NCAA sanctions. . . .



Gretchen Carlson grills Democratic Nation Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over high gas prices

Carlson nails Wasserman on many issues, including the issue of gas prices (starting around the 4 minute mark).
Wasserman claims that it would take 20 years for drilling to impact gasoline prices. That is simply not serious. More gas supplies next month or next year or twenty years from now all work to lower the price of gasoline today. If prices are lower tomorrow than today, you will move gasoline available for consumption from the future periods to the current period. Gas will be less likely to be stored.

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Democrats flipping on Obamacare's "rationing board"

Remember the claims of "no rationing" in Obamacare? That the greedy insurance companies rationed but Obamacare wouldn't do that? Of course, private insurance doesn't "ration" because you can get more coverage if you are willing to pay more. No more than apples at the grocery store are rationed. From The Hill newspaper:

A House subpanel on Wednesday easily approved a measure to repeal a Medicare cost-cutting panel derided by Republicans as a “rationing board.” Two Democrats — including the panel’s ranking member — crossed the aisle and joined Republicans in voting to nix the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

The lopsided 17-5 vote underscored the bipartisan support for repealing the board, which Obama has made the centerpiece of his efforts to reduce Medicare spending. It also provided evidence the legislation could have a shot at passing the Senate. . . .

No Senate Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors of Cornyn’s bill as of Wednesday, but many in the party would be in a tight spot if it came to the floor.

A spokesman for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is facing a tough reelection race, said the senator would take a “hard look” at the proposal if it ever came before the Senate.

Calls about the repeal bill to the offices of vulnerable Democratic Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) were not immediately returned by press time.

The Medicare board is central to Obama’s healthcare reform law because it’s one of the few provisions aimed at reining in federal health costs. Far from endorsing its repeal, the president actually proposed strengthening the board’s powers last year.

“Former [Congressional Budget Office] Director Robert Reischauer called IPAB a ‘big deal’ that ‘could generate substantial savings,’ ” White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy Ann DeParle wrote in a blog post ahead of Wednesday’s Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee vote. “Hundreds of prominent economists, including three Nobel Laureates, agree that IPAB is an important component of the Affordable Care Act that will slow healthcare cost growth.” . . . .

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Continued weak economic growth and not the best reasons for increasing estimated GDP growth

GDP growth for 2011 was still only about 1.7 percent. But an increase in inventories with such low demand doesn't sound like a good reason for increasing the estimated GDP growth. From the Financial Times:

Ben Bernanke struck a downbeat tone on the health of the US economy . . . the fundamentals supporting consumer spending “continue to be weak”.
Mr Bernanke’s cautious comments came as the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised up its growth estimate for the fourth quarter of 2011 from an annualised rate of 2.8 per cent to 3 per cent. Most of that growth came from an inventory build-up, with growth in final sales to domestic purchasers, a crucial measure of demand in the economy, revised up only from 0.9 per cent to 1.1 per cent.
Mr Bernanke’s comments suggest that the Fed has made no decisions about another round of quantitative easing – sure to be nicknamed QE3. The central bank’s policy will depend on whether or not consumer demand follows the improvement in the labour market. . . .
Mr Bernanke said that the drop in the unemployment rate from 9 per cent last September to 8.3 per cent in January had been “somewhat more rapid than might have been expected”, given that the economy was not growing that fast.
“The fundamentals that support spending continue to be weak: real household income and wealth were flat in 2011, and access to credit remained restricted for many potential borrowers,” said the Fed chairman. “The job market remains far from normal.”


Ezra Levant nails Obama on Keystone Decision

Ezra does a good job skewering Obama and his broken campaign promises. The one critique that I have is that we live in a world energy market so the price of gas isn't really dependent noticeably depending on who it is sold to.

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Congressional Dems getting worried about high gas prices

From The Hill newspaper:

Congressional Democrats are ramping up pressure on President Obama to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to prevent rising gas prices from threatening the economy and their election-year prospects.

They are growing anxious that the price of fuel could reverse their political fortunes, which had been improving due to signs of growth in the economy.

Republicans have hammered Democrats on the price spike, repeatedly noting that gas prices — now at $3.72 per gallon for regular — have doubled since Obama won the White House. . . .

John Stossel has this piece responding to the claims about monopoly power by oil companies driving up the price.


Senate Dems to allow vote on mandated contraception and abortion coverage for workers for religious organizations

It is interesting how the media adopts the Obama administration language on the mandate that health insurance provide "contraception." I understand that "abortion" might be included by some as "contraception," but there is a distinction politically between stopping a pregnancy from occurring and ending a pregnancy. Yet, articles such as this one in The Hill newspaper refer only to "contraception."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reversed positions on Tuesday, saying he would allow a vote on Sen. Roy Bunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment to repeal the Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that would require employers to provide health insurance that includes contraceptives even if they are morally opposed to it.

Two weeks ago, before the recess, Blunt attempted to offer the amendment but was stopped by Reid, who said it was a distraction from the underlying legislation and that the rule has not yet been finalized in the Obama White House.

But on Tuesday Reid said he saw no other way forward for the highway bill that has been foundering in the Senate for most of February. . . .

The vote, Reid said, will occur at an unspecified time on Thursday and will likely be accompanied by a number of other votes on amendments from both sides that are not germane to the underlying bill. Reid also added that if all goes well, the Senate could finish work on the underlying transportation bill by the end of next week.



LightSquared CEO's close ties to Obama White House

From the Daily Caller:

LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday amid revelations of his company’s political proximity — and his own closeness — to the White House and Obama administration officials.

The Daily Caller first reported one week ago on emails and documents that indicate political ties and numerous meetings between LightSquared and Obama administration officials as the company was undergoing regulatory review.

Ahuja’s resignation comes after Obama’s FCC suspended conditional approval of a waiver LightSquared needed to complete its high-speed broadband network. Until two weeks ago, the company’s final approval appeared imminent. . . .

Ahuja will remain LightSquared’s chairman.

Philip Falcone, the CEO of Harbinger Capital Partners — which created LightSquared from its predecessor, SkyTerra — was appointed to the LightSquared board on Tuesday as well. The Obama administration FCC approved Harbinger’s purchase of SkyTerra after what appeared to be a series of favorable regulatory decisions amid White House visits.

In the press release, Falcone said he remains confident in LightSquared’s future despite these new revelations and the company’s reported challenges related to GPS interference issues. . . .

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When Doctors need medical what choices do they make?

From the WSJ:

Doctors don't want to die any more than anyone else does. But they usually have talked about the limits of modern medicine with their families. They want to make sure that, when the time comes, no heroic measures are taken. During their last moments, they know, for instance, that they don't want someone breaking their ribs by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (which is what happens when CPR is done right).

In a 2003 article, Joseph J. Gallo and others looked at what physicians want when it comes to end-of-life decisions. In a survey of 765 doctors, they found that 64% had created an advanced directive—specifying what steps should and should not be taken to save their lives should they become incapacitated. That compares to only about 20% for the general public. (As one might expect, older doctors are more likely than younger doctors to have made "arrangements," as shown in a study by Paula Lester and others.)

Why such a large gap between the decisions of doctors and patients? The case of CPR is instructive. A study by Susan Diem and others of how CPR is portrayed on TV found that it was successful in 75% of the cases and that 67% of the TV patients went home. In reality, a 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than one month. Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life. . . .


Grover Norquist on Debacle


Rasmussen: "60% Say U.S. Economy in Recession"

While the media's positive spin on things undoubtedly has a major impact, on February 27, 2012 60% of Americans still think that we are in a recession.

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John Stossel's "Illegal Everything"

My son Maxim produced the segment on taxi cabs.

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Obama sets up website specifically for African Americans to support his campaign africanamericans.barackobama.com

Would it be appropriate for a White candidate to set up a website entitled WhiteAmericans.candidatename.com? For a candidate of Asian decent to set up a website AsianAmericans.candidatename.com? For Hispanics or any other group? Probably I am being overly sensitive, but this seems at be divisive.

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