Obama's very selective outrage on language used to describe women

Meanwhile with the illegal robocall shown below, Democrats try to tie Republicans to a distorted picture of Rush Limbaugh's statement.

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A falling percent of Americans think that the US is over taxed

From Rasmussen Reports:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters believe America is overtaxed. But that’s down from 66% two years ago and 64% last year. One-out-of-three (33%) now believe the country is not overtaxed, while another 12% are not sure. . . .


Defensive gun use in Maine

From Bangor Daily News about an attack in Hermon, Maine:

Daniel Williams, 24, was asleep when someone knocked at the front door of his apartment around 9 a.m. last Thursday. Moments later, he was in a fight for his life, he said Monday.

Williams fired shots from a handgun last week that mortally wounded Robert Dellairo, 30, and injured Philip McIntyre, 19, both of Bangor, after Dellairo and McIntyre broke into his residence at Duran Apartments on Outer Hammond Street, according to Maine State Police. . . . Before the door latched shut, Williams said, Dellairo and McIntyre came out of hiding somewhere near the entrance and hit the door, forcing it open. . . .

Luis Ramos, 24, was also in the apartment at the time of the home invasion, state police said. Ramos ran from his bedroom during the fight carrying an electric guitar to use as a weapon, according to Williams, but one of the other men grabbed the guitar and struck Williams in the back of the head.

The two men proceeded to kick and punch Williams and Ramos, but Williams eventually managed to break away and run to his bedroom, where he grabbed his .22-caliber handgun and “did what I had to do,” he said.

Williams said he uses the gun for recreational practice shooting and that it was equipped with a laser sight. . . .

Another defensive gun use in Lancaster, NC.:

A Lancaster homeowner who shot and killed a relative attempting to forcibly enter his home on Thursday will not be charged, authorities say. . . . As for Reed, his criminal activities in Lancaster County have included receiving stolen goods, criminal domestic violence, possessing crack cocaine, driving under the influence and numerous traffic violations throughout the years, according to state court records.

“We’ve had dealings with him here before,” Shaw said.


Washington State Supreme Court strikes down Seattle gun ban for parks

It took four years to get this problem fixed. From KOMONews.com:

The Washington State Supreme Court put an end Thursday to the city of Seattle's efforts to impose a gun ban at city parks.

Attorneys for the city had asked the high court to overturn a lower court ruling that the gun ban violated state law. But the Supreme Court justices declined to even look at the case, reaffirming that the gun ban is illegal.

The National Rifle Association cheered the ruling, saying that it represents a "final victory" for Seattle gun owners.

"The Washington Supreme Court made the right decision in recognizing that the city violated state law," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. . . .

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An example of how wealth is transferred to favored businesses by the Obama administration

This businessman worked on the Obama campaign and his firm handles the mandate that health care records be digitized. This guy argues that digitizing records will save money. But if that is true, why have to mandate that they do this? It is pretty amazing that this guy has the nerve to say that it is good to have this mandate when his firm personally benefits from the mandate.

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New book by Doug Allen: Fascinating insights, explaining so many institutions that people take for granted

For those who aren't familiar with Doug Allen's academic research, you are in for a real treat with Doug's book entitled "The Institutional Revolution."

I wrote a review of it for Amazon.com. Nonacademics should definitely not be put off by the the fact that this book is published by the University of Chicago. It is readily accessible book. Allen applies economics from dueling to the rise of the civil service to the rise of public police departments to why private lighthouses declined. People have a tendency to assume that the way things are organized today is the way that they always have been. Yet, it was not until the nineteenth century that policing in England became publicly provided (the same is true in the US).

Have you ever wondered why dueling got started or ended? Why the detailed rules were set up the way they were? Why seconds were used?

Given my own interest in crime, the discussion on the rise of public police is especially interesting. Who would have thought that so much could be explained by just the standardization of goods? Standardization, with the increased anonymity of exchanges, made it easier to steal.

How about this for an interesting fact: "By 1890, 'only three people in all of England and Wales were sentenced to death for murder committed with a revolver.' All of this was done in the context of private provision of police and justice." (I will just add that this was in an era when gun ownership was very common and there were no gun control laws.) But this is just one example of the fascinating facts that one continually comes across in Allen's book.

One question that I had in reading the discussions for the end of private lighthouses or private law enforcement was how much of this was a desire to create wealth transfers. For example, it is possible that firms turned to public law enforcement to stop theft from their factories and shops because the government was better at doing this job, but could it also be possible that private firms simply wanted someone else (namely taxpayers generally) to pay these costs?

Indeed, this last point seems to have played a role towards public law enforcement in the US where we went from private companies paying for law enforcement to public provision where others had to foot the bill. Anyway, it would have been interesting to see more of a discussion of other explanations.

I would also have liked to see some discussion of the relative costs of public and private provision. For example, if public provision runs twice as expensive as private provision (see Milton Friedman's old rule or a comparison of public and private schooling), whatever benefits there might be from public provision have to be weighted by these relatively higher costs. There is also the issue of whether you get the same output per hour of work in public provision as you get from private provision.

But one verdict is clear: this is a very interesting book and it will provoke much discussion.

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The double standard on wind farms and the environment

Wind farms are incredibly costly to produce energy. Since they don't operate all the time, back up generating sources are required -- meaning that you have to spend building two generating facilities to produce energy. But there are costs that wind farms impose on the environment that they are also not required to bear, costs that would cause any other operation to be shutdown. From the WSJ:

Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.

A pernicious double standard is at work here. And it riles Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who wrote the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He told me, "It's absolutely clear that there's been a mandate from the top" echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws. . . .

the deadly Pine Tree facility, which the Fish and Wildlife Service believes is killing 1,595 birds, or about 12 birds per megawatt of installed capacity, per year. . . . The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates that wind turbines killed more than 10,000 bats in the state in 2010. . . .

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Unions plan on spending more than $450 million this election year

Of course, this amount of money isn't directly comparable to other campaign donations because unions provide huge in kind donations through "volunteer" work. From Politico:

. . . Top labor leaders say they expect to spend more than ever before on both state and federal contests this year. And if recent elections are any indicator, unions could drop more than $450 million, which they reportedly doled out in the 2008 election.
Even in an age of billionaire-backed super PACs, that’s the kind of money that could have a major impact on a fight, particularly at the state and local-level, where unions plan to focus their attention.
The union playbook: safeguard Democratic governors’ seats, flip state legislatures and hamstring anti-union ballot initiatives.
“I think that the labor movement as a whole will be stepping up, and that will mean in this post-Citizens United world, having to spend more resources in this cycle,” said AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer. But more cash going to state and local elections won’t come at the expense of federal races, he added. “This is a period of crisis for workers and the labor movement has to step up and be present at all levels of government to protect workers.” . . .
Enemy No. 1: Scott Walker . . .
Unions are also hoping to elect more labor backers to state legislatures throughout the country, but with a heavy focus on the Midwest . . .

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Appearing on Jason Lewis' show at 8 PM EST to discuss "Debacle"

I will be on Jason's show at 8 PM tonight (you can listen here).

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More problems for another electric car, the $100,000+ Fisker Karma

The Orange County Register notes that a Fisker Karma that Consumer Reports was testing completely died on them after 180 miles. The company got a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.


Longest time to getting back to pre-recovery peak since WWII

IBD's take on the "recovery":

The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February vs. expectations for 206,000, continuing a recent trend of decent hiring activity. The unemployment rate held at 8.3%.

But America remains mired in the longest jobs recession since the Great Depression. It's been 49 months since the U.S. hit peak employment in January 2008. And with nonfarm payrolls still 5.33 million below their old high, the jobs slump will continue for several more years.

The previous jobs recession record — 47 months — came during and after the comparatively mild 2001 recession, which saw unemployment climb to only 6.3%. The average job recovery time since 1980 is 29 months, not including the current slump.

The labor market won't truly return to health until some 10 million positions are created to rehire all those who lost their jobs and to absorb new workers. . . .

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Big increase in concealed handgun permits in Kentucky

From the OldhamEra.com:

Data from the Kentucky State Police shows 24,908 new permits were issued in 2011 and 19,410 renewals.

That is 45,000 licenses issued in one year — and the license is renewed once every five years.

Totals for the past five years show 176,448 permits issued over the past five years — about 4 percent of the state’s population.

After Pres. Barack Obama’s election in 2008, gun sales in Kentucky spiked. Then, in 2009, the state’s CCDW permits jumped by almost 10,000, a 61 percent increase. . . .

The article then goes on to give a very false impression about the risks of having guns in the home.

A previous article in that newspaper is available here.


Even the Pension fund for the Greek Military isn't going for agreement for bondholders

You have to believe that the Greek government can put sufficient pressure on the Greek military pension fund to get them to agree. Can the government get 2/3rds of the remaining bondholders to fold? You would think that Greece would go into default. From the UK Telegraph:

Athens officials last night estimated more than 85pc of private creditors had accepted the €206bn (£173bn) bond swap shortly after a deadline expired yesterday evening. That is enough for the deal to go through, but leaves the possibility the government might have to use its controversial Collective Action Clauses (CACs).
Ratings agencies have warned they will declare a default if Greece activates the CACs, which allow the government to impose the deal on the remaining bondholders. The CACs will be used if the take-up falls below the desired 95pc but above the required 66pc.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) is poised to convene again to decide if the deal amounts to a “credit event” that would trigger billions of euros of insurance.
Athens said the figures would be revealed at 6am GMT today. The 17 eurozone finance ministers have scheduled a conference call at lunchtime today to review the deal. They will meet on Monday to decide if Greece’s €130bn bail-out funds can now be released.
With the bondholder acceptance level too close to call yesterday, Evangelos Venizelos led the charge against a group of rebel Greek investors. The Greek finance minister said it was an embarrassment that six out of 15 state-controlled pension schemes – including one that serviced his own ministry – were withholding their support hours before the deadline. “When pension funds in other countries that invested in Greek bonds are taking a haircut, how can our own funds refuse to join in?” he said. . . .


Moody's declared Greece in default on its debt Friday after Athens carved out a deal with private creditors for a bond exchange that will write off 107 billion euros ($140 billion) of its debt.
Moody's pointed out that even as 85.8 percent of the holders of Greek-law bonds had signed onto the deal, the exercise of collective action clauses that Athens is applying to its bonds will force the remaining bondholders to participate.
Overall the cost to bondholders, based on the net present value of the debt, will be at least 70 percent of the investment, Moody's said.
"According to Moody's definitions, this exchange represents a 'distressed exchange,' and therefore a debt default," the US-based rating firm said.
For one, "The exchange amounts to a diminished financial obligation relative to the original obligation."
Secondly, it "has the effect of allowing Greece to avoid payment default in the future." . . .

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Another year of faster than promised increases in health insurance prices after Obamacare

Last year I had this post available here. This year we have this news:

The good news is that the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance is growing at a stable rate. The bad news is that the rate still exceeds inflation and worker wage increases, according to a survey from benefits consultant Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health.
The annual cost of health coverage will rise nearly 6 percent to an average of $11,664 per employee in 2012, said the survey, which was released Thursday. The employee portion of that bill — or what comes out of worker paychecks — will climb, on average, 9.3 percent to $2,764. . . .

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Record Federal Deficit in February

From the CBO's monthly budget review:

Receipts in February 2012 were about $5 billion (or 5 percent) lower than those in February 2011, CBO estimates. The decline resulted primarily from an increase of $25 billion (or 47 percent) in refunds of individual income taxes. Roughly three-quarters of that increase stemmed from shifts in the timing and recording of refunds and from the additional day in February this year: A delay in processing refunds caused some to be paid in February that would, in past years, have been disbursed in January; February 2012 included one more business day than February 2011; and some refund payments that ordinarily would have been recorded in March were reported at the end of February. . . .

Here is the reference to this being a record amount.


Crime down after Supreme Court overturns city gun bans

What about the claim that accidental gun injuries are rising? Despite the claim, I think that it is very hard for anyone to say that accidental gun injuries have been rising. Indeed, the general trend has been clearly downward.

Well, gun injuries are not very well tracked, but accidental gun deaths are falling.

Just a note on the claim that 30,000 people die each year from guns.

Latest numbers
8,775 firearms 2010
554 accidents 2009
18,735 suicides 2009

Total: 28,064

percent suicides: 67%

Even those few studies that say that gun bans reduce gun suicides don't find that they change total suicides.

Some nutty comments on the Fox News piece by Media Matters. Media Matters doesn't seem to understand that you can get some benefit from loosening gun control laws and still want to loosen them even more to get more benefits. I know that it is a deep concept for Media Matters. One big benefit from the Supreme Court decision is that over 70,000 DC residents who have registered long guns could now use them for self defense.

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Bob Kerrey's Senate Campaign already dogged by "backroom deal"

From Politico:

Harry Reid made Democrat Bob Kerrey a special promise if he’d jump into the Nebraska race for his old Senate seat. So what was it: a chance to reclaim his senatorial seniority? A plum committee gavel? Campaign cash for his race?
Nobody will say, but one thing is certain: Questions swirling around Kerrey’s arrangement will dog the two-term former senator until he or the majority leader come clean.
Republican critics are hammering Kerrey from Washington to Lincoln for cutting a “backroom deal” with Reid. . . .

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After receiving $885 million in Stimulus, "D.C. has no count of jobs from stimulus"

From the Washington Times:

Despite receiving more than $885 million in federal economic stimulus funds since 2009, the D.C. government — whose residents face one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation — cannot say how many jobs it actually created for those who live in the District.

Most of the money has been spent, and data suggest that overall regional job growth did occur as a result of the massive infusion of capital. But a review by The Washington Times of figures provided by D.C. officials shows that the city spent hundreds of millions of dollars without being able to demonstrate any significant improvement in the city’s jobs outlook.

If anything, the employment picture has worsened in the District. At the end of 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city’s unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, ahead of only three states: Nevada (12.6 percent), California (11.1 percent) and Rhode Island (10.8 percent). . . .

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Dems want to let federal workers engage in politics

If you wanted evidence that government workers are overwhelmingly Democratic, this should make it pretty obvious. From The Hill newspaper:

Democrats in the House and Senate on Wednesday proposed legislation that would ease penalties that federal workers face for engaging in partisan political activities such as campaigns or other overt actions.

Federal workers are restricted from engaging in partisan political activity under the Hatch Act of 1939, a law that grew out of complaints that federal workers were helping collect votes for the Democratic Party.

Under current law, employees who violate the Hatch Act are required to either be removed or suspended for at least 30 days without pay. Suspensions can only take place if the Merit Systems Protection Board votes unanimously to take this step.

But under legislation introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) in the Senate and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) in the House, the Board would have flexibility to choose from a menu of penalties. These include not just removal, but "reduction in grade, debarment from federal employment for a period not to exceed five years, suspension, reprimand or an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000." . . .

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Half of Obama biggest fundraisers get jobs in administration

The much more important problem involves the government contracts given out to Democratic supporters. The fact that people who show that they care intensely about a candidate getting jobs doesn't upset me a lot. From the Wall Street Journal:

More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs. Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees.

At least 24 Obama bundlers were given posts as foreign ambassadors, including in Finland, Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg. Among them is Don Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor who serves as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. . . .

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Democrats anti-science?

This long seemed obvious to me, but something may be catching on when there is an op-ed in the Washington Post. This piece has a point about how long it would take for the Volt to pay for its saving money on gas (something that I have written about many times), and it is not a pretty sight.

. . . The electric vehicle flop also illuminates a point about science — or the politics of science.

Democrats and liberals are fond of calling their conservative and Republican adversaries “anti-science.” To the extent that the right espouses “creation science,” or disputes established facts about environmental degradation, it’s an appropriate label.

But progressives’ fascination with electric cars and other alternative-energy schemes reflects their own refusal to face the practical limitations of alternative energy — limitations that themselves reflect stubborn scientific facts.

Stubborn Scientific Fact No. 1: Petroleum packs a lot of energy per unit of volume. (Each liter contains 34 megajoules.) Consequently, gasoline makes a cheap, portable and convenient motor fuel.

By contrast, even state-of-the-art batteries deliver far less energy than gas, in a far bigger package. A Volt can go 35 miles on a single charge of its 435-pound battery. This sounds like a big deal until you realize that a gas-engine Chevy Cruze gets 42 miles per gallon — and costs half as much as a Volt. . . .


Democrats anti-science?

Claim: the airport scanners are pretty easy to fool

From the UK Daily Mail:

Controversial nude body scanners used at U.S. airports have come under fire again - after a blogger claimed he could easily smuggle explosives through them onto a plane.
Engineer Jonathan Corbett has published a video where he shows how he took a small metal case through two of the TSA's $1billion fleet in a special side pocket stitched into his shirt.
This is because, he suggests, the scanners blend metallic areas into the dark background - so if an object is not directly placed on the body, it will not show up on the scan.
The metallic box, he claims, would have set off an alarm had he passed through the old detecting system. . . .

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Innocent people on death row?

Well, let's ask liberal Democratic Governor Jerry Brown:

Brown is a well-known opponent of the death penalty and he says there are no innocent inmates on California’s death row. Remember that the next time you hear otherwise. . . .


Concealed Carry Bill Passes Out Of Illinois State House Committee

Will this year be the year in Illinois? One thing is different with a court case making the state face the risk that their complete ban on carrying guns will be struck down. From WBBM in Chicago:

As it does every year, a concealed carry bill surfaced in a state House committee and passed – but its future is, again, uncertain.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, state Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) is again leading the charge as he has for years. His measure would allow Illinois residents with the proper training and permits to carry a concealed firearm.

The arguments are the same – proponents say guns are needed for protection, opponents say more guns equal more violence. Phelps responded to that by saying people only need to look around.

“We’re the only state,” he says. “If it was so bad why are there no other states trying to repeal this? It works. Crime has gone down everywhere this has gone into effect. So why are we the only ones?” . . .


A question for Sandra Fluke

Just out of curiosity, if Fluke can't afford contraceptives, why can't she ask her boyfriends to themselves buy condoms before they come over? This woman is 30 years old and if she can't afford the $15 to $50 that the pill supposedly costs each month, can she use condoms? I just looked online and you can get condoms for about 43 cents each (free shipping). So having sex once a day for the year would cost her about $157. The average price for the pill would be about $390 a year. Cut these costs in half if she can get her boyfriends to chip in equally.



Obama does poorly in Oklahoma Democratic Primary

This is pretty amazing. At about 11:30 PM on Tuesday, March 6th, the WSJ reports that in the Democratic primary, Obama has lost 15 out of the 77 counties in Oklahoma.

. . . But with 93% of the Democratic vote counted – and President Barack Obama ahead with 56.4% of the vote – AP hasn’t called it. Randall Terry, who has pushed an antiabortion message, has 18.2% of the vote, followed by Jim Rogers, who has run for other offices in Oklahoma, with 14.2% and a couple others in the single digits.

AP did report that it appears Mr. Obama will lose a delegate in Oklahoma to Mr. Terry, founder of Operation Rescue. It also noted that the president was bested in 15 counties.

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Grover Norquist on MSNBC's Morning talking about our book "Debacle"

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

An excerpt from the book is available here.


Big green donors backing Romney

From Politico:

. . . Romney and his super PAC have taken millions from funders with strong green streaks — despite the fact that the former Massachusetts governor has run to the right in the primary, proclaiming doubts about global-warming science and trashing President Barack Obama’s greenhouse gas emissions policies.
Julian Robertson, founder of the Tiger Management hedge fund, helped put cap-and-trade legislation on the map with $60 million in contributions over the past decade to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Now, Robertson has given $1.25 million to Romney’s Restore our Future super PAC, plus the maximum $2,500 to the Romney campaign.
Other green-minded financial backers may not be giving as much as Robertson, but they still share the view that climate-change science and a solid environmental agenda wouldn’t be a lost cause if Romney won the White House. . . .

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About Half of All Americans Don’t Pay Income Taxes

A note on the Second Amendment

I wrote up something for Janine Turner on the Second Amendment. It is available here.

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Obama's broken promises on transparency

From Politico:

. . . A minute after he took office, the White House website declared his administration would become “the most open and transparent in history.” By the end of his first full day on the job, Obama had issued high-profile orders pledging “a new era” and “an unprecedented level of openness” across the massive federal government.
But three years into his presidency, critics say Obama’s administration has failed to deliver the refreshing blast of transparency that the president promised.
“Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.”
David Sobel, senior counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that “despite the positive rhetoric that has come from the White House and the attorney general, that guidance has not been translated into real world results in actual cases. … Basically, the reviews are terrible.”
Open-government advocates say some administration practices are actually undercutting Obama’s goal. Among their complaints:
• Administration lawyers are aggressively fighting FOIA requests at the agency level and in court — sometimes on Obama’s direct orders. They’ve also wielded anti-transparency arguments even bolder than those asserted by the Bush administration.
• The administration has embarked on an unprecedented wave of prosecutions of whistleblowers and alleged leakers — an effort many journalists believe is aimed at blocking national security-related stories. “There just seems to be a disconnect here. You want aggressive journalism abroad; you just don’t want it in the United States,” ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper told White House press secretary Jay Carney at a recent briefing for reporters. . . .

A longer list is available at the original article.

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Newt Gingrich takes David Gregory to task for focusing questions on Rush Limbaugh

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From yesterday's Meet the Press transcript.

MR. GREGORY: Should be interesting. Chuck Todd, thank you very much.
Let's turn now to the Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Speaker, welcome back to the program.
FMR. REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): David, it's good to be with you.
MR. GREGORY: I want to talk about the campaign and the numbers that I just went through with Chuck Todd, but I have to ask you about access to contraception. I realize it's not at the, the core of your stump speech, but it is a debate that is certainly highly charged here in Washington and Congress...
MR. GREGORY: ...and on the airwaves.
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: No, it's...
MR. GREGORY: But it is, Mr. Speaker. Let me just take you through Rush Limbaugh's commentary about this this week, about a young law student here who testified about access to contraception for health reasons, something that he's now apologized for. Let me play it.
(Videotape, Wednesday)
MR. RUSH LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
(End videotape)
MR. GREGORY: Limbaugh issued an apology yesterday, which many people may not know about, a portion of which reads as following, "In this instance I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." How much damage has this done?
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: You know, David, I am astonished at the desperation of the elite media to avoid rising gas prices, to avoid the president's apology to religious fanatics in Afghanistan, to avoid a trillion dollar deficit, to avoid the longest period of unemployment since the Great Depression and to suddenly decide that Rush Limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week.
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: There's no debate about access to contraception. There is a debate, which Cardinal George of Chicago has pointed out, is a war against the Catholic Church. You do have this weird situation where President Obama apologizes to Islamic extremists while waging war against the Catholic Church. That's the language, by the way, of the Catholic bishops. You have an issue here of whether the government can coerce the Catholic Church, not just into a contraception, but into sterilization and abortion, something I don't find any reporter wants to talk about. You have a president who voted for infanticide as a, as a state senator, who represents the most extreme pro-abortion position in America. So if you want to have a dialogue about this, David...
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...let's set the record straight. Barack Obama, as a state senator, voted to allow doctors to kill babies if they survived the abortion. Barack Obama, as president, in the most radical anti-religious move made by a--by any president, is trying to coerce the Catholic Church at a time when he's been told by the bishops...
MR. GREGORY: Well, Mr. Speak...
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...that would have to give up every single hospital--wait a--let me finish. They would have--this is what they say.
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: They would have to give up every single hospital, they would have to give up every single religious--every single university and college associated with the church because he is asking them to violate their religious beliefs. Now you want--if you want a debate...
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...over whether or not the president of the United States should be able to impose his views on a religious institution...
MR. GREGORY: All right. And what he...
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...and whether America's now a secular country, let's have that debate.

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Ann Coulter gives brief summary about what is in my new book Debacle

Ann was debating MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, and while she wasn't explicitly mentioning my book, she did write a blurb for the book and she pretty much summarized part of it here:

“That was a very good defense of a very bad economy. You can never run the same experiment twice and see what happened,” she said. “But there are comparisons to other recessions and this is the worst recovery — the unemployment rate has been higher and longer during the recovery than it was during the recession, which ended in mid-2009.”

“Also, the Obama administration economists, who have taken economics courses, they made their predictions for what the stimulus would do. And they certainly weren’t raising expectations. In fact, instead of getting the unemployment rate down, it had gone through the roof. It also something that can be looked at without having to run the experiment twice, that the stimulus money went to Democrats, friends of Democrats. It went to very high income states, not states that are suffering, not the states with the highest unemployment — but the states that voted for Obama.”

“And you have half-a-trillion dollars going to Solyndra and six members of the Obama administration going to work for Solyndra under a special loan taxpayers can never get back. I mean, we really do have crony capitalism that has hurt Americans while helping Democratic friends”

Coulter said to compare the U.S. economy and its Keynesian policies to Canada and its austerity policies to determine what course would have been the best. . . .

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"Democrats in the United States more likely to believe in Bigfoot (33%) than Republicans or Independents."

Apparently Americans are more likely than Canadians to believe in Big Foot, and Democrats are responsible for pulling up this average. The results are from a new Angus Reid survey. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is outside the margin of error.

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Is Obama going to do for gun sales again what he did in 2008?

Well, Obama has caused gun sales and gun ownership to soar over the last few years, and apparently there is some evidence that he is going to do it again.

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Colorado State Supreme Court rules that permit holders can carry concealed handguns on public university campuses

From Colorado's Boulder Camera newspaper:

The Colorado Supreme Court today ruled that University of Colorado students and employees with concealed carry permits are able to carry their weapons on campus.

Colorado's highest court sided with Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a gun-rights group that sued CU and argued that a 1994 university policy banning concealed weapons from its campuses violates state gun laws.

"It's a great victory for gun rights, and civil rights in general," said James Manley, the attorney with Mountain States Legal Foundation who represented the gun-rights group. "CU will now have to fall in line and follow the state law." . . .

A copy of the decision is available here.

The article contains a brief note on the history of guns at the University of Colorado campus.

The CU Board of Regents banned weapons in 1970 and, in 1994, strengthened the policy requiring that students be expelled and employees be fired if found guilty of using a weapon to "intimidate, harass, injure or otherwise interfere with the learning and working environment of the university." . . .

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Daily Kos' dishonest attacks on Rush Limbaugh

Picture from the Daily Kos
The Daily Kos is claiming that Rush Limbaugh made a "non-apology" for calling Ms. Sandra Fluke a "slut." Yet, this is what Limbaugh posted on Saturday: "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." Sandra Fluke apparently is refusing this apology, which is her right, but Daily Kos' statement is bizarre. Unlike some Democrat apologies which have left an escape clause in their apologies stating that they are apologizing if anyone was offended by what was said or happened, Rush said that what he said was wrong.

A couple of advertisers had pulled their ads over the weekend. More have done so now. They take a lot of pride in advertisers pulling their ads: Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems Inc., online legal document services company LegalZoom, Pro-Flowers, and Carbonite.

UPDATE: NOW calls on Rush Limbaugh to be fired.

When liberal radio host Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut last May, CNN did not host the president of NOW to call for his termination at MSNBC. In fact, the network covered the outrage over Limbaugh's smear of Sandra Fluke far more than Ed Schultz's rant last May. A Nexis search revealed 35 hits for CNN's coverage of Limbaugh's "slut" remark since March 1, versus just four reports on Schultz in the week following his comment. [Video below the break.]

And amidst the Schultz coverage, CNN's female news anchor Randi Kaye even questioned the virulence of Schultz's smear, saying that there are "mixed interpretations" of the word "slut." . . .

Just last year, Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a "Dumb Twat," but there were no similar calls for him being fired.

UPDATE: Apparently Bill Maher has gone much further than that calling women: 'boobs,' 'bimbos,' 'c*nt'...

Former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, the man who runs Obama's super PAC, did not reply when asked if he will be returning Maher's $1 million donation.


Discrimination against black congressmen?

Is the fact that black congressmen are being charged with ethical violations evidence of discrimination or something else? The black officials think that the disproportionate rate that they are being charge evidence of discrimination. But they need a lot more evidence than just saying that there are differential rates that they are charged, such as the underlying rate that the black and other congressmen really do commit ethical violations. From The Atlantic:

. . . "I think," Cleaver said, "the facts speak for themselves."

The facts say this: African-Americans make up 10 percent of the House, but as of the end of February, five of the sitting six named lawmakers under review by the House Ethics Committee are black. The pattern isn't new. At one point in late 2009, seven lawmakers were known to be involved in formal House ethics inquiries; all were members of the Congressional Black Caucus. An eighth caucus member, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, had also been under investigation, but his probe was halted temporarily while the Justice Department undertook an inquiry of its own.

All told, about one-third of sitting black lawmakers have been named in an ethics probe during their careers, according to a National Journal review.

Only two members of Congress have been formally charged with ethics violations in recent years and have faced the specter of public trials -- Reps. Charles Rangel of New York (censured) and Maxine Waters of California (investigation ongoing). Both are black. There are no African-Americans in the Senate. Remember the most recent black senator, Roland Burris of Illinois? Reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee in 2009.

Those are the facts, as Cleaver said. The question is why so many African-American members have been in the ethics spotlight.

In interviews with more than a dozen members of the CBC, an unsettling thread emerges: They feel targeted. . . .

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Maryland District Judge says that restrictive concealed handgun ban violates Second Amendment

From Fox News:

Maryland residents do not have to provide a "good and substantial reason" to legally own a handgun, a federal judge ruled Monday, striking down as unconstitutional the state's requirements for getting a permit.
U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg wrote that states are allowed some leeway in deciding the way residents exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms, but Maryland's objective was to limit the number of firearms that individuals could carry, effectively creating a rationing system that rewarded those who provided the right answer for wanting to own a gun.
"A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights," Legg wrote. "The right's existence is all the reason he needs." . . .

A copy of the decision is available here.

Thanks to Steve Brown for this last link.


Is this a real bombshell for Obama to deal with?: "terrorist defender to head of Gitmo policy at Justice"

You really have to wonder how insensitive the Obama administration is to appearances. The media should go nuts over this if it were a Republican doing something remotely similar. From Fox News:

A former Justice Department attorney who blew the whistle on his department's policies is now questioning the promotion of a former defense attorney for an American terrorist to the No. 3 spot at the Justice Department -- specifically charged with crafting U.S. policy on Guantanamo detainees.
J. Christian Adams, once an elections lawyer who accused the Justice Department of racial bias in its decision to not prosecute a voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party, said Tony West's promotion from assistant attorney general for the Civil Division to acting associate attorney general is one more step toward letting radicals run the Justice Department.
"The most dangerous thing is that West is overseeing Gitmo policy. It's not that he's just some guy at the Justice Department licking envelopes," Adams told Fox News on Sunday. . . .

This is a gift to the Republicans.

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Nutty Sen. Bob Casey on oil prices

Do any of these Democrats understand that speculation smooths prices over time? That speculators make money by causing price differences to get smaller over time? This article also shows how dangerous the stupid Dodd-Frank bill is. From The Hill newspaper:

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) is pressing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to help ease rising gasoline prices.
In a letter sent to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler on Sunday, Casey called on the agency to implement a rule that would limit speculation in the oil market and is two years in the making.
“Consumers shouldn’t be forced to pay higher prices at the pump because of speculative bets on Wall Street,” Casey said.
“Nearly two years ago Congress gave the CFTC the tools to crackdown on speculation in the oil market, and with sky high prices at the pump it’s time they used it.”
The Dodd-Frank law gives the CFTC the authority to limit the ability of speculators on Wall Street to inflate the price of oil by putting in place position limits. . . .

UPDATE: Other Democrats get on board.

A letter Monday to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 23 senators and 45 House members underscores how gas prices have soared to the top of the political agenda on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail. . . .
“It is one of your primary duties — indeed, perhaps your most important — to ensure that the prices Americans pay for gasoline and heating oil are fair, and that the markets in which prices are discovered operate free from fraud, abuse and manipulation,” states the letter from lawmakers including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). . . .

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New Fox News piece: What's the truth about the unemployment numbers?

My new piece starts this way:

The recent sudden drops in both initial unemployment insurance claims and unemployment rates have generated a slew of positive news stories and lifted White House spirits. Fox News contributor and former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen even writes about the “high-fiving in the White House.”

But other numbers show a much weaker job market and economy; the average unemployment duration remains near its all-time high, hiring is stuck near record lows, and there are almost 3 million workers in part-time rather than full-time jobs. Further, GDP grew just 1.7% last year and few new companies are being started.

So which scenario is right?

First, let us set one thing straight. The apparent contradiction between a falling unemployment rate and other indicators isn’t because the Obama administration “manipulates numbers to get [the] unemployment headline under 9%” as Rush Limbaugh claims. The current "recovery" is so unusual that the normal rules for relating the unemployment rate to other labor market indicators don’t hold; indeed those rules can be quite misleading.

Take initial unemployment insurance claims. As the Wall Street Journal reported the end of last month: “Analysts generally believe the economy is adding jobs when jobless claims are consistently below 400,000.” Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims held at around 353,797 on Thursday, and they have been consistently below 400,000 since the beginning of December.

But the “below 400,000” rule only makes sense if new hiring parallels growth during past recoveries.

Forecasting the number of people employed by focusing on workers filing for unemployment insurance is like guessing a pool’s water level by measuring how much flows out but ignoring the rate at which water is being added. . . .

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TN new voter ID Law working very well.

I guess that I am not sure that it would be bad if a large number of people had to cast provisional votes and it was determined later whether they had the appropriate ID. In any case, the news article is available here.

State election officials say the small number of Tennesseans who didn’t have proper identification during early voting indicates people are adjusting to a new law that requires them to have a photo ID to vote, but others say the real test will be the general election in November.

Tennessee’s 12-day early voting period ended last Tuesday. During that time, Election Coordinator Mark Goins said there were more than 200,000 voters, and only 46 showed up without a photo ID.

“That is such a small number for a brand new policy,” Goins said. “So far, the implementation of this law has gone smoothly.” . . .


New Mexico man successfully registers his dog to vote

The key here is that the man successfully registered his dog to vote and then publicly announced it. Only after the man succeeded in getting his dog a voter registration card on TV did a local Sheriff's office announce an investigation. From The Smoking Gun:

A Republican voter in New Mexico is under criminal investigation for signing up his dog as a Democrat in a bid to highlight what he considers deficiencies in the state’s registration process.

The probe, opened this afternoon by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, is targeting Thomas Tolbert, an Albuquerque man who appeared last night on a local TV news station discussing how he had used a phony Social Security number and date of birth to enroll Buddy, his three-year-old Labrador.

The canine’s voter registration card--in the name "Buddy W. Tolbert"--arrived in the mail yesterday. Tolbert, 45, and his four-legged Democrat are seen at right in a screen grab from the KOB Eyewitness News 4 report. . . .

In a statement today, the county clerk reported that if Tolbert knowingly submitted “a fraudulent voter registration, then he will be subject to potential prosecution for voter registration fraud, which is a 4th degree felony in New Mexico.”

After being contacted by county clerk officials, the sheriff’s office this afternoon opened an investigation into the bogus registration, according to a sheriff’s spokesperson. The probe is being handled by a captain in the office’s Criminal Investigation Division, added spokesperson Jennifer Vega-Brown. . . .

From the UK Daily Mail.

The Clerk's Office for Bernalillo County, where the dog was registered, said state law does not require proof of your social, your date of birth, or even your name. They said what man did was voter fraud. . . .
In 2010 another New Mexico dog owner registered his labrador-retriever cross Tuckup as an independent. . . .


What good are exit polls if voters vote many times?

Exit polls can be used to determining if vote fraud is occurring, but the exit polls fail if voters are being bused from poll to poll to vote many times. From the Canadian Press:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Russia's presidential election on Sunday, according to exit polls cited by state television, but the vote was tainted by claims of violations, including "carousel voting" in which voters were bused around to cast several ballots.
Putin tallied 58 per cent of the vote, according to a nationwide exit poll conducted by the VTsIOM polling agency. Another exit poll done by the FOM polling agency showed Putin received 59 per cent of the ballot.
Official vote results from the far eastern regions where the count was already completed seemed to confirm the poll data. With just over 14 per cent of all precincts counted, Putin was leading the field with 62 per cent of the vote, the Central Election Commission said.
But if thousands of claims of violations made by independent observers and Putin's foes are confirmed, they could undermine the legitimacy of his victory and fuel protests. The opposition is gearing up for a massive rally in downtown Moscow on Monday.
"These elections are not free ... that's why we'll have protests tomorrow. We will not recognize the president as legitimate," said Mikhail Kasyanov, who was Putin's first prime minister before going into opposition.
Golos, Russia's leading independent elections watchdog, said it received numerous reports of "carousel voting," in which busloads of voters are driven around to cast ballots multiple times. . . .

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Obama's broken promises on Israel and Iran