John Edwards doesn't understand why he is being treated differently than JFK and Clinton

Edwards is right that there is something of a double standard. After all, Edwards was the Democrats VP candidate in 2004. Does this mean that Dems would have also turned on Clinton if he had not been president at the time? From the Washington Post:
“He knows he made mistakes,” Bergenfield says on the eve of Edwards’s trial, which is set to begin Thursday with jury selection. “But John thinks that the treatment of him is so unflinchingly horrible and that what he did is not so different from what others did — JFK, Clinton, the whole rogues’ gallery. We’ve had this conversation about his situation, and I remember he did compare it to Clinton. He said, ‘I did a horrendous thing, but I don’t know why I’m getting such an unforgiving treatment when you think of what other people have done.’ ” . . .

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Former TSA head says: Air travel would be safer if we allowed knives, lighters and liquids and focused on disrupting new terror plots, not to mention cheaper

Kip Hawley doesn't talk about costs, but they must be huge. From the WSJ:
Airport security in America is broken. I should know. For 3½ years—from my confirmation in July 2005 to President Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009—I served as the head of the Transportation Security Administration. You know the TSA. We're the ones who make you take off your shoes before padding through a metal detector in your socks (hopefully without holes in them). We're the ones who make you throw out your water bottles. We're the ones who end up on the evening news when someone's grandma gets patted down or a child's toy gets confiscated as a security risk. If you're a frequent traveler, you probably hate us. More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve. The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple. . . .

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"44% Now See Auto Bailouts As Good for America"

Rasmussen Reports has a new poll out. The one sided discussion on the impact of this bailout seems to be having an impact.
American voters have disliked the government bailouts of the financial and automobile industries since day one, but they now view the auto industry bailout more positively than the one given to banks and insurance companies. Forty-four percent (44%) of Likely U.S. Voters say the government bailouts of the auto industry were good for America, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds. Only slightly more (47%) now say the auto bailouts were bad for America. . . .

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Washington Post-ABC poll: 76 percent of Americans say that we are still in a recession

76 percent of the American people believe the economy is still in recession. That not only includes 85 percent of Republicans but also 68 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents. From the Washington Post:
Seventy nine percent of people with a household income under $50,000 say the economy is still in a recession, the same number of people who make between $50,000 and $100,000 who believe it is. Seventy six percent of men say the economy is in recession while 75 percent of women say the same. What the consistency of those numbers suggest is that the belief that the economy remains caught in recession are neither unique to people of a certain partisan bent or those of a particular demographic group. And that’s a problem for President Obama. . . . Seventy six percent of respondents said that the economy is “still in recession” while just 21 percent said the recession is over, according to the Post-ABC poll. While 85 percent of Republicans feel the economy is still in recession so do 68 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents. . . .

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75% of Americans support allowing law-abiding citizens to get a concealed weapons permit

The result that 75% support and only 13% oppose people carrying concealed handguns is probably not too surprising given that in one way or another 49 states have laws allowing people to carry concealed handguns. Results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll are shown here:

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Drop in consumer sentiment occurs quickly after weak job numbers

Romney warns that Obama will erode rights of gun owners

The last paragraph below is almost comical. The AP and the media generally keeps on wanting to push the notion that Obama isn't against gun ownership. It is amazing that the AP feels that it is even necessary to ask Romney's campaign for evidence of these anti-gun views. From the AP:
The presidential campaign briefly veered from the emotional Mommy Wars on Friday to the back-burner issue of gun rights, with Mitt Romney telling the National Rifle Association that President Barack Obama is not protecting gun owners - even though the topic has rarely arisen during his time in office. Without offering details, Romney said that Obama would like to erode gun owners' rights. "We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners," Romney told thousands of NRA members in St. Louis for their annual convention. "President Obama has not. I will." Obama has said relatively little about firearms, deeply disappointing gun-control groups. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president's record "makes clear the he supports and respects the Second Amendment, and we'll fight back against any attempts to mislead voters.". . . Asked for details to support the claims, Romney's campaign said Obama has appointed judges, including Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who have supported moves such as placing temporary limits on importing semiautomatic assault weapons. The campaign said Attorney General Eric Holder has not adequately backed people's rights to own and use firearms. . . .
The rest of the article is about how Obama isn't really supporting gun control.

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Close Zimmerman friend says that George Zimmerman is not a racist

George Zimmerman's friend talks to FOX 5 about murder charge: MyFoxDC.com

This paints Zimmerman as a very kind man. From DC Fox 5 News:
Woodson, who is black, said Zimmerman offered Woodson a place to live in Florida when he fell on hard times and the two have known each other for years. . . .

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Department of Labor limits early access to unemployment data to organizations that it defines as "primarily journalistic enterprises"

From the Washington Examiner:
But Carl Fillichio, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ top communications advisor, circulated a memo earlier this week to interested media informing them that everybody is being required to re-submit their credentials requests. Fillichio reminded participants that there are only 20-30 seats available for the lockups and that priority will be given by DOL in selecting participants to those that “are primarily journalistic enterprises.” He also offered a one-sentence assurance that “the department will not consider editorial or political viewpoints in making credentialing decisions.” Whatever grumbling might be occasioned by being forced to go through the credentialing process again, the element of the Fillichio memo that has journalists worried is this paragraph: “Second, as a measure toward enhancing security in its main lockup facility (the DOL news room), the department will supply and maintain standardized equipment with a standard configuration for all participants. This change means that privately owned computer and telephone equipment, including hardware, software, cabling, wiring and Internet and telephone lines will be replaced with equipment owned by the department.” In other words, journalists will no longer be allowed to bring their laptops or other equipment to the lockups, they will have to use government-supplied equipment, described by Fillichio as including “a virtualized desktop running a Windows operation system, a web browser, word-processing software, an Adobe Reader application and secure file transfer capability. Equipment provided will not have wireless networking capability. Provisions will be in place for news organizations to transmit their stories over the Internet.” . . .


Is banning passengers in cars next?: bans on talking on cell phones

So if the conversation, not the phone, is the problem, why allow passengers in cars? From Fox News:
If you’re driving through Chapel Hill, N.C., and your cellphone rings, don’t answer it. Starting June 1, you can get a $25 dollar ticket for talking on your cellphone while driving within the city limits. In a close 5-4 vote, the town council decided to ban any phone calls made while operating a vehicle – that includes hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth and speakerphones. Chapel Hill, home to the University of North Carolina, is the first municipality in the nation to enact a complete ban on all cellphone use in cars. Town council member Penny Rich says a large number of pedestrians and bicyclists navigating sidewalks and streets among drivers who tend to multitask is a dangerous mix. “The distraction is not holding the phone. The distraction is actually the conversation,” Rich said. “So just holding the phone is not what is making you drive poorly, it’s the conversation.” . . .

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Something to think about when you hear about these claims of sudden auto exceleration

From the Associated Press:
Accidents in which drivers mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake tend to involve older female drivers in parking lots, a new government study has found. One of the study's most striking and consistent findings was that nearly two-thirds of drivers who had such accidents were female. When looking at all crashes, the reverse is true — about 60 percent of drivers involved in crashes are male, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study noted. Another finding: Gas pedal accidents tend to occur more frequently among drivers over age 76 and under age 20. The age disparity showed up in both an analysis of more than 2,400 gas pedal accidents in a North Carolina state crash database and an analysis of nearly 900 news reports of such crashes. In the state database, accidents were almost equally likely to involve drivers under 20 as over 76, but in news reports about 40 percent of accidents involved elderly drivers — four times as many as young drivers. . . .



W. James Antle III's review of "Debacle"

The review starts this way:
Remember the stimulus plan? The big spending package enacted at the height of hope and change, its legacy reads like a litany of broken campaign promises. It was “only” supposed to cost $787 billion. It was intended to create or save 5.5 million jobs. It was going to keep unemployment from spiking to more than 9 percent. Even before Barack Obama was sworn in, members of his economic team were predicting that unemployment would peak at 7.9 percent sometime in 2009 before falling below 6 percent by April 2012. Does it sound like an alternate reality? Well, prepare to enter into this bizarro world during this fall’s presidential campaign. . . . .
Here is another book review by Robert VerBruggen at RealClearBooks.
"Americans really need to ask themselves a question," Grover Norquist and John Lott write in their brief manifesto Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future. "Have people really noticed their lives so greatly improved by the increased government spending that it is worth all this new debt? For example, cutting back the 2012 budget to what was spent in 2008 would leave the deficit at a few hundred billion dollars, instead of more than $1.1 trillion." That is a good question. And as Norquist and Lott point out, this surge in spending comes at precisely the wrong time, as greedy hordes of Baby Boomers are getting ready to retire and raid the federal treasury. In Debacle, the authors offer a solid chronicle of the government's recent fiscal follies -- from the stimulus to green jobs and from housing to bailouts -- with a focus on the Obama administration. On the question of whether President Obama has delivered the results he promised, the facts speak for themselves. In Debacle we find the handy graph created in early 2009 by two Obama administration economists to illustrate the expected effects of the first major stimulus. Without the stimulus, the unemployment rate would climb to 9 percent in 2010 and stay above 6 percent through most of 2012; with the stimulus, unemployment would never reach 8 percent, and would fall below 6 percent in April of 2012. In fact, the stimulus passed, and the economy did worse than it was supposed to do without the stimulus. Here in April of 2012, the unemployment rate is still above 8 percent. And as Norquist and Lott show, the climb out of the Great Recession has been quite slow in comparison with previous American recoveries. Without time travel there's no way to prove a different president would have done better, but President Obama has not succeeded. . . .


Appearance on the Jim Bohannon Show

The MP3 is available here.
It was the question Ronald Reagan made famous: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis, and a stimulus program that didn't succeed in the way that was hoped. Gasoline prices are spiking even as the economy as a whole is finally starting to perk up. The employment picture is improving, but there are still millions of people unemployed and underemployed. Has the Obama administration helped or hurt the recovery, and what should be done to help it along? We're joined tonight by return guest John Lott, who argues that the Obama administration has made things worse rather than better. He is the co-author (with Grover Norquist) of the new book "Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future" (published by Wiley). The book explains how the Obama economic policies have raised unemployment, slowed economic growth, raised the national debt, squandered taxpayer money through poor investments, and further damaged the housing market.

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New piece at Fox News: "Krugman's bad predictions"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
Few prominent economists have a worse record predicting the impact of Obama’s economic policies than Paul Krugman. Writing for the New York Times and touting his close “genuine contact” with the “smart” economists and others in the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership, Krugman has been, and remains, Obama’s most important champion. Not only has he been defending Obama’s Keynesian-type deficit-spending, but he has been advocating still more of these same failed policies. The economy just can’t gain ground. Thirty-four months since the "recovery" started in June 2009 and the actual number of jobs have increased by just 0.4%. Hardly making up for the 5.5 percent drop in jobs from the peak. Given Krugman’s continued prominence in supporting Obama during the coming election, the best way of evaluating the advice is going to give voters is to see how accurate his claims have been up to this point. It is important to realize just how terrible Krugman’s record has been. He predicted on CNBC: “I am still guessing that we will peak out at around 9 percent [unemployment] and that would be late this year.” . . .

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New piece at NRO: "Where’s the ‘Probable Cause’? The affidavit in the Zimmerman case fails to justify a second-degree-murder charge."

My new piece at NRO starts this way:
The charges brought against George Zimmerman sure look like prosecutorial misconduct. The case as put forward by the prosecutor in the “affidavit of probable cause” is startlingly weak. As a former chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, I have read a number of such affidavits, and cannot recall one lacking so much relevant information. The prosecutor has most likely deliberately overcharged, hoping to intimidate Zimmerman into agreeing to a plea bargain. If this case goes to trial, Zimmerman will almost definitely be found “not guilty” on the charge of second-degree murder. The prosecutor wasn’t required to go to the grand jury for the indictment, but the fact that she didn’t in such a high-profile case is troubling. Everyone knows how easy it is for a prosecutor to get a grand jury to indict, because only the prosecutor presents evidence. A grand-jury indictment would have provided political cover; that charges were brought without one means that the prosecutor was worried that a grand jury would not give her the indictment. . . .

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"Mad Men" and drinking

Anyone who has seen an episode of the TV series "Mad Men" knows about how much these creative advertising types are depicted as drinking alcohol. Well, there is now some research that indicates that drinking enhances creativity.
Drinking alcohol may enhance a person’s problem solving skills, according to a new study. Scientists found that men who either drank two pints of beer or two glasses of wine before solving brain teasers not only got more questions right, they also were quicker in delivering correct answers, compared to men who answered the questions sober. While the latest findings go against the traditional beliefs that alcohol impairs analytical thinking and rational thoughts, lead author Professor Jennifer Wiley of the University of Illinois at Chicago discovered that alcohol may enhance creativity problem solving by reducing the mind’s working memory capacity, which is the ability to concentrate on something in particular. “Working memory capacity is considered the ability to control one’s attention,” Wiley told the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS). “It’s the ability to remember one thing while you’re thinking about something else.” While the latest study found that alcohol may enhance creative problem solving, previous research found that increased working memory capacity actually led to better analytical problem-solving performance. . . .

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So are short high intensity workouts as good as long more leisurely ones?

That is what a growing body of research seems to indicate. From Fox News:
Many health groups have drummed into our heads that we need to do 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise five days a week, totaling at least 150 minutes. But according to the Physical Activity Guidelines published by the National Institutes of Health, 75 minutes a week of high intensity physical activity can significantly lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and depression. That’s only 15 minutes a day, five days a week. If going all out for 15 minutes doesn’t sound like your thing, you can get the same improvements by doing 10 short, 60-second intervals. According to researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, young men who did high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, which involved 30 seconds of all-out effort at 100 percent of their maximum heart rate, saw similar improvements in their leg muscles as those who did multiple, hour-long sessions of steady cycling, and spent 90 percent more time exercising. . . .

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Why are there different strength tests for men and women at the FBI?

From ABC News:
A male employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is suing the agency for gender discrimination, claiming that a physical fitness test to become an FBI agent is biased against men. Jay Bauer, a Ph.D. graduate of Northwestern University from Mount Prospect, Ill., said he missed the fitness test by one-push up, completing only 29 push-ups instead of the minimum 30 required for male trainees, which disqualified him from becoming a special agent. The test, administered at the FBI academy in Quantico, Va., has different physical minimum requirements for female and male trainees. Bauer argues in the complaint that the FBI violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also alleges a trainee who failed to pass the female standards of the physical test was given a second chance. . . .


"Gay rights groups say White House ‘broke promise’ on discrimination issue"

From the Washington Post:
Gay rights activists vowed Thursday to step up political pressure on the White House over President Obama’s refusal to sign a nondiscrimination executive order, with some decrying the decision as an attempt to avoid controversy before the November election. One prominent liberal donor said he would spend $100,000 to fund a “We Can’t Wait” campaign targeting Obama, a takeoff on the president’s own slogan for his efforts to use administrative actions as end runs around what he has termed an obstructionist Congress. The donor’s money will be used to fly victims of discrimination at federal contractors to Washington to confront Obama and his aides and gin up public attention. . . . “This isn’t a broken promise President Obama can blame on Congress,” said Jonathan Lewis, son of billionaire Democratic benefactor Peter Lewis and the funder of the new effort to pressure the White House on the executive order. . . .


The very weak "Affidavit of probable cause" in the George Zimmerman case

When I was chief economist at the US Sentencing Commission, I had the opportunity to read a number of "Affidavits of probable cause." In the one involving George Zimmerman, I am not sure that I have ever previously read a vague and incomplete affidavit like this. As Alan Dershowitz noted, the document doesn't include any information that favors the defendant. And the material in it, with the possible exception of the claim by Trayvon Martin's mom that Martin was the person who screamed for help, does not rule out that Zimmerman acted in self-defense. But it excludes extremely relevant information that the police knew about: the grass and wetness on the back of Zimmerman's shirt, the gashes on the back of his head, the bloody nose, and the other witness accounts that saw Martin on top of Zimmerman beating him before the shot was fired. If Zimmerman was on his back when he was being pummeled by Martin, that provides a clear reason for self-defense under traditional Florida law (with no reference to the Stand Your Ground necessary). Note if there was any evidence of racial animus on Zimmerman's part it would have been mentioned. Despite references to Zimmerman making derogatory statements about criminals, there is no mention of the claimed statement "f****** coons" that got so much attention. This confirms CNN's previous investigation into this. For those interested, here is an example of an "Affidavit of probable cause" from another case. It also seems clear that this case was overcharged. See this discussion here:
there are three typical situations that can constitute second degree murder: A killing done impulsively without premeditation, but with malice aforethought A killing that results from an act intended to cause serious bodily harm A killing that results from an act that demonstrates the perpetrators depraved indifference to human life
Malice Aforethought?
For example, in the situation above, instead of shooting Bill, Adam grabs a shovel and hits Bill on the head with all his strength. Adam didnt explicitly intend to kill Bill when he hit him, but he did intend to hit him with the tire iron, and he knew that such a blow to the head carried with it a distinct possibility of death. Adams killing of Bill in this instance also constitutes second degree murder. . . .
Act Intended to Cause Serious Bodily Harm?
The killer might not necessarily intend to kill the victim, but knows that death is a likely outcome. For example, in the situation above, instead of shooting Bill, Adam grabs a shovel and hits Bill on the head with all his strength. Adam didnt explicitly intend to kill Bill when he hit him, but he did intend to hit him with the tire iron, and he knew that such a blow to the head carried with it a distinct possibility of death. Adams killing of Bill in this instance also constitutes second degree murder.
Depraved Indifference to Human Life?
Depraved indifference to human life can mean different things in different jurisdictions, but in general it signifies that the perpetrator had an utter disregard for the potential damage to human life that their actions could cause. Going back to Adam and Bill, imagine that, instead of hitting Bill over the head with the tire iron, Adam grabbed his gun and fired in anger into a crowd of onlookers. Adam didnt necessarily mean to kill anyone, but also didnt give any thought to the harm that his actions could cause in the crowd. . . . .

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Appearing on The Jim Bohannon Show at 10 PM EDT tonight

It will be fun to be on Jim Bohannon's Show tonight.

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Several Self-Defense stories

The first two cases took place in North Carolina. Home-invasion shooting 'clearly self-defense'
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said Wednesday that a shooting involving a man who killed a would-be burglar who was kicking down his girlfriend’s apartment door was “clearly a case of self-defense.” It took detectives and prosecutors a matter of hours to determine that the shooting Tuesday in a quiet east Charlotte neighborhood was within the boundaries of the law. “The (shooter) was defending himself and his property from a criminal act,” Monroe told the Observer. “It was clear he was protecting himself.” . . .
Store clerk shoots robbery suspect in Greensboro
Police say a convenience store clerk stopped a knife-wielding robber by shooting him with a handgun Tuesday night in Greensboro. In a news release, police said Shawnda Johnny Shelton, 25, of Pleasant Garden, was shot when he tried robbing the EZ Way Curb Market at 2906 High Point Road. Shelton entered the store with a knife shortly before 10 p.m. and demanded money from the clerk, police said. The clerk responded by shooting the suspect once with a handgun, police said. . . . Police did not say where Shelton was shot, but described his injuries as non-life threatening. . . .
Santa Barbara homeowner shoots intruder, suspect in custody
A Santa Barbara homeowner shot an intruder Wednesday morning, according to police. Police said a 33-year-old man began knocking on the front door of a home in the 900 block of West Pedregosa Street. Police said the man inside the home woke up, and told the suspect to take off. Instead, police said the suspect uttered something about money, before walking around to the back of the home. Police said the man's family called 911, as he armed himself with an M-1 carbine rifle. When the suspect showed up on the back patio, police said he yelled out something indicating he was suicidal, before picking up a lantern and breaking the glass doors with it. Police said the victim inside shot a warning bullet through the door near the suspect, but the suspect continued to force his way into the home. Ten seconds later, police said the victim shot the man. . . .


Joe Biden: Al Franken is a "leading legal scholar"

This is pretty funny.
Vice President Joe Biden described former Saturday Night Live comedian, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., as a "leading legal scholar," presumably in the Senate, today. "He has been one of the leading legal scholars," Biden said of Franken today, according to the pool report. He also said that Franken "is deadly serious" as a senator. He made the comments while recalling concerns that then-candidate Franken could not be taken seriously as a Senate candidate given his SNL work. Franken's comedic spirit got him in trouble on Washington. "This isn't ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Al," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to remind the freshman senator after Franken made faces while McConnell spoke during the Supreme Court nomination process for Elena Kagan. . . .

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Verdict in Ben Goeser murder case

The horrible murder case has pretty much come to a close. It is unfortunate that Hank Wise, the murderer, didn't get life in prison, but my guess is that the judge did take the insanity claims into account to some degree. I know that Nikki is very disappointed with the 2nd degree murder penalty, but at least this is behind everyone. Hopefully a strong outpouring by Ben Goeser's friends at the victim impact statements will convince the judge to give him the 25 year maximum, but that seems second order to the fact that a guilty verdict was finally entered. From Fox Nashville:
A judge rules Hank Wise is guilty of murdering a man inside Jonny's Sports Bar in South Nashville. Judge Seth Norman rejected Wise's claim that he was insane at the time of the crime. Hank Wise shows little emotion as he is found guilty of 2nd degree murder. It has been three years since he killed karaoke host Ben Goeser inside Jonny's sports bar. Prosecutors and Goeser's family were hoping for a first degree murder conviction. "To me he should spend the rest of his life in jail," says Nikki Goeser. Nikki Goeser says her husband died violently and needlessly. She knows Wise will only spend 15 to 25 years in prison, and she worries about him getting out. "I don't want to have to deal with this man out free among us in society," says Nikki Goeser. . . .


The continuing debate over concealed carry in Illinois

With Illinois the only state that still bans concealed carry, it will again reexamine the issue.
The Family and Personal Protection Act (HB0148), failed to pass in the Illinois General Assembly by 6 votes last year, but is in committee again under the name HB5745, according to the Illinois General Assembly’s website. Co-sponsored by nine democratic and 29 republican representatives, the bill would allow Illinois residents to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. As recently as February 2012, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging Illinois’ ban on concealed carry permits. According to the judge’s ruling, “The United States Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit have recognized only a Second Amendment core individual right to bear arms inside the home.” DeKalb Police Lt. Gary Spangler said more guns could lead to dangerous situations for the police. “Concealed carry laws are geared more toward the individual citizen’s protection for themselves,” Spangler said. “The more firearms we encounter, the more chances that bad things can happen for us as police officers.” . . .


"Norway massacre gunman Anders Behring Breivik declared 'not insane'"

When there is nothing else to try, the insanity defense is the last line of defense. From the UK Telegraph:
"The experts' main conclusion is that the accused, Anders Behring Breivik, is not considered to have been psychotic at the time of the actions on July 22, 2011," the Oslo district court said in a statement which reopens the debate on whether the self-confessed killer can be sent to prison. "That means that he is considered criminally responsible at the time of the crime." The new evaluation counters the findings of an initial probe that found Breivik was suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia," which meant he would most likely be sentenced to psychiatric care instead of prison. . . . .

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From Seattle: "Thieves are greeted more often with guns when trying to burglarize homes"

The Fox Channel in Seattle has this great video.


With April 15 coming up soon, something to think about

As I work on my taxes, that half of Americans don't pay Federal income taxes becomes less abstractly and a lot more viscerally wrong.

Vice President Joe Biden declares that 'General Motors is the largest corporation in the world again'

Has the bailout been really this successful? That is what Biden claimed on Face the Nation.
"Look, you know, everything that he said, the American people don't think the policies have worked. Romney argued about let — not an exact quote — but let Detroit go bankrupt. Wasn't very popular action the president took. Now they're hiring people. You know, hundreds of thousands of new people instead of losing 400,000 jobs. General Motors is the largest corporation in the world again."
See also this here.
On the broader-based Forbes list, Volkswagen weighed in at No. 24. Daimler (think Mercedes-Benz) hit No. 43. Ford and Toyota ranked No. 54 and No. 55. General Motors trailed at No. 61. . . . • No. 18 in sales • No. 70 in profit • No. 155 in assets • No. 148 in market value

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Did you know that "escalator" was originally a brand name?

Here is a list of surprising brand names that became generic terms:
A company's biggest fear is that their brand name becomes so commonly used to describe a product that a judge rules that it's too "generic" to be a trademark. That means that any product — even inferior ones — can legally use the name. A brand usually is declared legally generic after a company sues another firm for using its name and the case goes to a federal court. Drug maker Bayer lost trademarks for the names "aspirin" and "heroin" this way in the 1920s. So did B.F. Goodrich, which sued to protect its trademark of "zipper" in the 1920s after the name joined the world of common nouns. Similar cases deemed "escalator" generic in 1950, "thermos" generic in 1963 and "yo-yo" generic in 1965. . . .



An unfair comparison on price changes: "Gas Prices Grow More Under Obama than Carter"

Here is the claim from US News & World Report:
Under the Carter administration, gas prices increased by 103.77 percent. Gas prices since Obama took office have risen by 103.79 percent. No other presidents in recent years have struggled as much with soaring oil prices. Under the Reagan administration, gas prices actually dropped 66 percent. When Bill Clinton was president, gas prices grew by roughly 30 percent, and under both Bush presidencies, gas prices rose by 20 percent. . . .
So what is the problem? Except for the Obama administration, all these numbers are from the beginning to end of these administrations. In Obama's case, it is from the beginning to what is the highest point during the administration. If one would pick the highest points during these other administrations, they would also look much worse.

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Obama administration diverts $500 million to IRS without Congressional approval

From The Daily Caller:
The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law. The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate. . . .

Baylor Law admissions data leaked

See Ted Frank's discussion here.
But Baylor itself does see a big disparity in another metric. I sorted the 431 students with "LSAT Index" scores. (An LSAT Index adds the LSAT to 10 times the GPA.) The top quartile is above 202 (e.g., 3.9/163 or 3.5/167); the median in 199 (e.g., 3.3/166 or 3.8/161), the bottom quartile is below 197 (e.g. 3.6/161 or 3.3/164). Baylor did not vary from the LSAT index often, only 2% of the class was below 193 and the lowest index was 189. In the top quartile (and stretching down to the top 128 admittees), there was a single African-American. So it's not accurate to say affirmative action makes little difference. The 4.0/170 white with a 210 Index gets a full scholarship to Baylor Law. The 4.0/170 black with a 210 Index might get the same offer, but doesn't accept the full scholarship to Baylor Law: she presumably has better options available to her. One would expect a 4.0/170 African-American to end up at a top-14 law school. Moreover, the 3.7/167 African-American generally isn't accepting the offers to attend Baylor Law, either. If we expect the top 10% of the class and the editorial board of the Baylor Law Review to be much more likely to come from the top quartile of applicants, African-Americans are going to be even more underrepresented than that 3%. If nothing else, larger bumps of affirmative action are having an effect on Baylor Law's diversity. But the real difference was in the scholarship money. Though non-Asian minorities had slightly lower Index scores on average, they averaged $24,231 in scholarship money; whites and Asians averaged under $20,000. It's unclear to what extent Baylor Law considers financial need in scholarship money, but it's clear that merit makes a big difference. Over 90% of students with Index scores above 206 got full scholarships (the three who didn't were white); less than 3% of students with Index scores below 202 got full scholarships, and all seven were African-American or Hispanic. . . .

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Few people with hybrid cars buy another one

So what do hybrid owners know about their cars?
Two out of three hybrid owners don’t buy another, according to a new report from automotive industry research firm Polk. Despite persistently high gasoline prices, only 35 percent of hybrid owners who purchased a new car in 2011 stuck with the segment, a figure that drops below 25 percent when owners of the market leading Toyota Prius are factored out of the equation. Even in traditionally “green” cities like Los Angeles and Seattle, the loyalty rate remained the same. Although sales of hybrids have spiked in early 2012, the gas-electric vehicles made up only 2.4 percent of the new car market last year, down from a record high of 2.9 percent in 2008. According to the Polk study, customers interested in hybrids diligently cross-shop them against conventionally-powered vehicles, which have seen great improvements in fuel economy in recent years. A survey from TrueCar.com released last week points out that, even a more than a decade after the first hybrid cars went on sale in the United States, it can take many years to recoup the high upfront costs in fuel savings. . . .

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Concealed carry permits in North Dakota Triple in last decade

From the Dickinson Press:
The number of concealed carry permits in North Dakota has more than tripled in the past decade, to more than 16,000. State Bureau of Criminal Investigation records show the agency issued almost 5,500 concealed carry permits in 2011, up 40 percent from the year before. Williams and Ward counties in western North Dakota had about 1,300 concealed weapons permits issued last year, or about 50 more than in Burleigh and Cass counties, which are the state’s most populous counties and located outside the oil patch. . . . Denny Magnusson, of Grand Forks, is one of 43 instructors authorized to teach the state’s mandatory concealed carry classes. Magnusson, who has been a firearms instructor for nearly two decades, said about half of the inquiries he gets are from women. “The more crime that takes place, like a rash of burglaries or a murder, the next day I get phone calls,” he said. “People don’t want to be victims.” . . .


Daily Caller: "Chicago Snub: Gun rights advocate and former Obama colleague: President used to treat him as 'evil'"

The Daily Caller has an interview with me on my new book with Grover available here.  The piece was picked up at Fox Nation here.



So how does this fit in with all the predictions?: "No global warming for 15 years"

From the Global Warming Policy Foundation:
The graph shows the global annual average temperature since 1997. No statistically significant trend can be discerned from the data. The only statistically acceptable conclusion to be drawn from the HadCRUT4 data is that between 1997 – 2011 it has remained constant, with a global temperature of 14.44 +/- 0.16 deg C (2 standard deviations.) . . .
I am sure that a lot of predictions can be pointed to.
In June 1986, Dr. James Hansen made a prediction to an AP newspaper reporter, which was carried in Oxnard, CA, of a 2 degree temperature rise by 2006. . . .
Temperatures did rise, but they rose by about 0.4 degrees.

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One newspaper in Eastern Michigan comes out in favor of allowing concealed weapons on campus

With a bill before the Michigan state legislature that will allow carrying on campus, the Eastern Echo in Michigan has this well-written piece (available here).
Concealed weapons should be allowed on campus. There, I said it. After years of believing weapons should not be allowed on university property, I have flipped my position. I can no longer find a valid reason as to why law-abiding citizens who attend and work at Eastern Michigan University or any university campus should be left defenseless. Last week, the group Students for Concealed Carry protested the ban on carrying concealed weapons on campus. It coincided with a bill passed in the Michigan Senate that will lift the ban and allow citizens to legally carry concealed weapons at universities. Last week was also one in which seven people were killed at Oikos University in Oakland by a former student. According to the LA Times, the alleged gunman lined his victims up in a classroom before shooting them. The police arrived as soon as they possibly could, but for seven people it was not soon enough. . . .

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A 'Universal' Cancer Vaccine?

From the UK Telegraph:
The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients' immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer. Preliminary results from early clinical trials have shown the vaccine can trigger an immune response in patients and reduce levels of disease. The scientists behind the vaccine now hope to conduct larger trials in patients to prove it can be effective against a range of different cancers. They believe it could be used to combat small tumours if they are detected early enough or to help prevent the return and spread of disease in patients who have undergone other forms of treatment such as surgery. Cancer cells usually evade patient's immune systems because they are not recognised as being a threat. While the immune system usually attacks foreign cells such as bacteria, tumours are formed of the patient's own cells that have malfunctioned. . . .

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What the new unemployment numbers mean

I had a fast first take on the numbers on Friday at Fox News (available here). Using the Household Survey numbers, the numbers used to calculate the unemployment rate, there were 31,000 fewer people employed but at the same time the number of people "not in the labor force" rose by 33,000 million. Look at the raw numbers over the last six months. The unemployment rate fell from 9 to 8.2 percent during that time. The number unemployed fell by 616,000 and the number of people in the working age group increased by 2.5 million. So what happened with those 3.1 million people? Well, 910,000 of them got jobs and 2.24 million left the labor force.