5/12/2012

Can you explain the economics error here?

From the UK Independent:

It is the second-lightest element in the Universe, has the lowest boiling-point of any gas and is commonly used through the world to inflate party balloons. But helium is also a non-renewable resource and the world's reserves of the precious gas are about to run out, a shortage that is likely to have far-reaching repercussions.
Scientists have warned that the world's most commonly used inert gas is being depleted at an astonishing rate because of a law passed in the United States in 1996 which has effectively made helium too cheap to recycle.
The law stipulates that the US National Helium Reserve, which is kept in a disused underground gas field near Amarillo, Texas – by far the biggest store of helium in the world – must all be sold off by 2015, irrespective of the market price.
The experts warn that the world could run out of helium within 25 to 30 years, potentially spelling disaster for hospitals, whose MRI scanners are cooled by the gas in liquid form, and anti-terrorist authorities who rely on helium for their radiation monitors, as well as the millions of children who love to watch their helium-filled balloons float into the sky. . . .

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Can vulnerable Democrat Senators really separate themselves from Obama on gay marriage?

According to The Hill newspaper, many Democratic Senators in swing states are distancing themselves from Obama on gay marriage.  But here is the problem.  This issue is going to be decided by the Supreme Court.  Does anyone doubt that Obama won't appoint another very liberal member of the court who would rule that there is "no rational basis" for ruling that marriage must be between a man and a woman?

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From the Associated Press: "Around world, Obama's presidency a disappointment"

Obama promised so much for improving our international relations. "Obama advocates forging a dialogue with foreign publics to create a joint narrative about a shared future. . . .  Obama has suggested by example that cross-cultural knowledge can be used to understand and address societies where extremism has taken hold."  200,000 people flocked to Obama's 2008 speech in Berlin.   The AP reports that a lot of people around the world don't believe that Obama has delivered on his promises:

In Europe, where more than 200,000 people thronged a Berlin rally in 2008 to hear Barack Obama speak, there's disappointment that he hasn't kept his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and perceptions that he's shunting blame for the financial crisis across the Atlantic.
In Mogadishu, a former teacher wishes he had sent more economic assistance and fewer armed drones to fix Somalia's problems. And many in the Middle East wonder what became of Obama's vow, in a landmark 2009 speech at the University of Cairo, to forge a closer relationship with the Muslim world.
In a world weary of war and economic crises, and concerned about global climate change, the consensus is that Obama has not lived up to the lofty expectations that surrounded his 2008 election and Nobel Peace Prize a year later. Many in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America were also taken aback by his support for gay marriage, a taboo subject among religious conservatives.
But the Democrat still enjoys broad international support. In large part, it's because of unfavorable memories of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and many people would still prefer Obama over his presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney. . . . 

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James Earl Jones believes people have a right to self defense with guns

From IMDB:
"The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose." James Earl Jones

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Another reason why people's donations should be anonymous



From the Weekly Standard:

Businessman Frank Vandersloot, the CEO of Melaleuca, has been targeted by the Obama campaign after donating money to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. . . . Mr. VanderSloot was one of the eight, smeared particularly as being 'litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.'"
The attacks are working. Vandersloot revealed in an interview on Fox News that his business practice is being hurt by the attacks from the Obama team.
"Those people that I know well weren't affected by this [attack]," said Vandersloot. "But for people who didn't know me, who are members of our business or customers, and they were reading this, then we got a barrage of phone calls of people cancelling their customer memberships with us."
"Really?," the Fox News host asked. "How many did that?"
"A couple hundred that we can track," Vandersloot replied.
Again, the host asked, "Really? Do you have any grounds to sue?"
"I suppose we do," Vandersloot said. The businessman says he's been accused of being anti-gay, an accusation he says that couldn't be further from the truth. . . .
Is it serious that people who oppose Obama must be doing this because they are anti-gay?

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Actress Jennifer Lawrence: What you see is what you get

Jennifer Lawrence is a real down to earth person.

Pass the squirrel guts on PETA bread, please.The Hunger Games‘ mega-hottie and Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence is apparently as cool in real life as she is playing Katniss, a bowhunting super badass survivor girl in the blockbuster movie.
The 21-year-old beauty gutted a squirrel in the most talked about scene for her role in 2010’sWinter’s Bone, (for which she was nominated). The scene was not faked, she told Rolling Stone magazine: “I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA,” she said. “But screw PETA.”
Prior to shooting Winter’s Bone, (a charming little movie RS describes as “a gritty, gothic, murder story set in Ozark meth country”), Lawrence spent a month in Missouri with a rural family shooting rifles and chopping wood in preparation for the role.
Actor Woody Harrelson, (a real hippy earth-cookie and lovable nut job himself), describes co-star Lawrence in the interview, as “the real deal, who’s not trying to be anyone she’s not. She’s just this frickin’ amazing gal from Kentucky who hit it big.”. . .

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Mai Martinez: One reporter who may end up saving a few lives


My research has convinced me that women benefit much more from owning guns then men do, and to the extent that news stories such as this encourage more women to own guns, particularly those in high crime rate places such as Chicago, to own guns, I think that there will be more lives saved.  A write up of this story at CBS Chicago can be found here.

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Another electric car catches fire, destroys home and other cars

A Texas man got a rude surprise from his new electric car:

A $100,000 electric car is suspected in sparking a fire at a Sugar Land home last week, according to media reports.
Fort Bend County chief fire investigator Robert Baker said that a newly purchased Fisker Karma sparked a fire that quickly spread to the rest of the home.
“The Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don’t know at this time,” Baker told the news outlet.
Since the fire was determined to be accidental, Baker said the investigation has been turned over to the insurance companies.
According to his lawyers, Jeremy Gutierrez said his two-week old Karma caught fire soon after he parked the luxury sedan at his home in Sugar Land. The car owner said he smelt rubber rubber before seeing flames coming from the vehicle. The fire spread from the car to the garage before damaging other parts of the home. . . .

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"Nearly 200,000 Fla. voters may not be citizens"

This AP story is not surprising.

Florida officials are now saying that nearly 200,000 registered voters may not be U.S. citizens.
Earlier in the week, state election officials announced they had identified more than 2,600 people who are in Florida legally but ineligible to vote.
The Department of State is asking county election officials to verify the information. Election supervisors are contacting voters and if someone is not a citizen, their name will be dropped from the voter rolls.
But an initial list drawn up by the state - and not widely released - shows that a comparison of voter lists and driver's license information turned up a list of nearly 182,000 people who may not be U.S. citizens. . . . .

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Zimmerman prosecutor has history of over charging

From Newsmax:
The prosecutor in charge of the Trayvon Martin murder case has won a case in which a woman received a 20-year jail sentence for trying to protect herself against her allegedly abusive husband.
Marissa Alexander fired a bullet into a wall as she tried to flee her husband, who was threatening to strangle her in August 2010.
Immediately, Democratic U.S. Rep Corinne Brown accused prosecutor Angela Corey of “over-charging” Alexander with aggravated assault. “There is no justification for 20 years,” Brown told Corey during a confrontation in the hallway of the Jacksonville, Fla. Courthouse, according to CNN.
Just last week, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that Corey is notorious for over-charging cases. . . . 

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To Obama, not all businesses are bad, not if they are run by Democrats

Demonizing businessmen?  Obama saying nice things about Democratically run firms:

In the early days of his administration, Obama praised JPMorgan as an example of a well-run bank. “You know, keep in mind, though there are a lot of banks that are actually pretty well managed, JPMorgan being a good example, Jamie Dimon, the CEO there, I don’t think should be punished for doing a pretty good job managing an enormous portfolio,” Obama told ABC News in February 2009.  . . . .
In the past, Dimon has been an ardent opponent of tighter regulations on banks. And he’s been able to do so in part because he had outsized sway with Democrats in both Congress and the White House.
In the early days of his administration, Obama praised JPMorgan as an example of a well-run bank. “You know, keep in mind, though there are a lot of banks that are actually pretty well managed, JPMorgan being a good example, Jamie Dimon, the CEO there, I don’t think should be punished for doing a pretty good job managing an enormous portfolio,” Obama told ABC News in February 2009. . . . .

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5/11/2012

Active Concealed Handgun Permits in Arizona and some other states

There are eleven states listed here totaling 1,907,450 permits, though some of these numbers are a couple of years old.  If you add in the previous posts of 125,000 for Oklahoma; 135,416 for Oregon; 100,000 for Wisconsin; 296,588 for Ohio; 358,335 for Washington; 16,000 North Dakota; 176,448 Kentucky; and a recent call that I made about a month ago to Indiana indicating 420,711; the total is 3,354,116.  Calls to Sheriff departments in Colorado indicate that there are over 160,000 active permit holders (>4% of adult population).  I have other data handy for another four states: Idaho (71,249), Iowa (94,516), Pennsylvania (822,762), Texas (512,913) (at the end of 2010 there were 461,724), and Utah (359,987) that adds another 1,861,427 to the total (though some of these last state numbers are a couple years old and undoubtedly underestimate the total).  Bringing in a grand total for just 23 states to 5,397,375.

The link for Arizona data is available here.


For Florida the link is available here.


For Maryland there were about 47,000 active permits in Maryland at the beginning of 2011.


The info for Michigan is available here (318,909).


In Minnesota there are 99,266 active permits as of the end of April 2012.


As of December 31, 2010 there are 4,225 active pistol permits in Rhode Island.
The numbers of South Carolina are available here.  At the end of 2010 there were 119,340 active permits.
There were 49,870 concealed weapons permit holders in South Dakota in 2008.


For Missouri the total as of the end of April is 139,928



Kansas as of May 1, 2012 has a total of 49,497.



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Open carry in Oklahoma

There were two interesting pieces of news here: 1) Open carry has passed in Oklahoma and 2) there are now about 125,000 permit holders in the state.  This open carry law is relatively restrictive in that it requires a concealed carry permit.  From CNBC:

A bill to allow Oklahomans with a concealed-carry permit to openly carry their handguns is headed to the governor, who is expected to sign the legislation that passed the state Senate on Thursday.
The bill, approved by a 33-10 vote, would allow those with a concealed-carry handgun permit to openly carry their firearms in holsters from November 1. Those without such permits could obtain a gun permit and openly carry a firearm if they meet legal criteria, pass a background check and undergo firearms training. . . .
 about 125,000 people in the state.
Oklahoma has been one of six states in the country to prohibit the open-carry of firearms, along with Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York and California (handguns only), according to the Brady Campaign, the gun control advocacy group in Washington, D.C. . . .
Some 44 states allow some form of open-carry firearms, with only 11 requiring permits to do so, according to the Brady Campaign. . . .

For some information across states see here, though double check things because there are some errors.

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Motel guest shoots robber who tried to break into room

The subheading reads: "Motel guest heard window break before grabbing gun."  From Houston, TX:

Detectives said a man broke a window and then broke down the door to the room.
The motel guest grabbed his gun and shot the man several times, investigators said.
The suspect was rushed to Northwest Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he died. His name has not been released. . . .
"This guy is like a pit bull, fighting and mad," Herness said. "(The motel guest) was hiding behind their bed saying, 'Don't come in here, sir. I have a gun.' Thank God they had a gun. No telling what he would have done." . . .

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Continued debate over "Stand Your Ground" Laws

A new poll in Florida shows that Floridians support Stand Your Ground laws by a 50 to 32 percent majority.  Meanwhile Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, has launched a new attack on these laws:
In the video, released Friday by the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign, Sybrina Fulton urges viewers to send Mother's Day cards to governors nationwide, particularly in the 26 states that have passed "Stand Your Ground" laws, urging them to "re-examine" the legislation. . . .
If someone could help me find something, I would appreciate it.  I thought I just saw a statement from the Martin Family's lawyer saying that Stand Your Ground wasn't relevant to the case.  It would be nice to have the link to that statement. Thanks.

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"Millionaire Jason Alexander attends a 99% rally to try and find out how to become a part of the 99%ers movement"

This is actually pretty funny (available here).

Thanks very much to Monica Sanford for this link.

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Edwards, Daschle, and Obama involved in discussions to sell public office for campaign endorsement?

Remember Illinois Governor Blagojevich soliciting bribes in exchange for Obama's Senate seat?  Didn't It appears that Obama had these types of discussions with others.  The objection was that the offer to sell the office was too early in the election process.  Doesn't Obama have an obligation to report such a crime? From ABC News:

Hindery, a longtime Democrat operative, was part of Edwards' inner circle and was dispatched to contact Barack Obama's campaign, and later Hillary Clinton's campaign, to strike a deal when it was clear Edwards would not win the 2008 presidential nomination.
On Jan. 3, 2008, the night Obama won the Iowa caucuses, Edwards ordered Hindery to contact Sen. Tom Daschle, an Obama adviser. Edwards wanted to team up with Obama, trading his endorsement for the vice-president slot early in the campaign to strike a death blow to Clinton.
Daschle questioned the Edwards' campaign reasoning for broaching the topic with Obama following the first contest of the campaign and on the night Obama was savoring victory, but brought the proposal to his candidate. Obama rejected the deal.
John Edwards Hoped to Be Appointed to the Supreme Court. . . . 

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Voting with their feet to avoid taxes: How much money do you think that the Federal Government lost by this person renouncing his US citizenship?

The US will still force him to pay some taxes (a so-called exit tax), but even with that tax it still pays him to give up his US citizenship.  Is this what you want?  The brightest, wealthiest people to leave the country?  From Bloomberg:

Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.
Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion through the IPO, the biggest in history for anInternet company. Saverin’s stake is about 4 percent, according to the website Who Owns Facebook. At the high end of the IPO valuation, that would be worth about $3.84 billion. His holdings aren’t listed in Facebook’s regulatory filings.
Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up U.S. citizenship, a move that can trim their tax liabilities in this country. The Brazilian-born resident of Singapore is one of several people who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook in a Harvard University dorm and stand to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO. . . .
Saverin’s name is on a list of people who chose to renounce citizenship as of April 30, published by the Internal Revenue Service. Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship “around September” of last year, according to his spokesman.
Singapore doesn’t have a capital gains tax. It does tax income earned in that nation, as well as “certain foreign- sourced income,” according to a government website on tax policies there. . . .

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More than twice the cost, able to travel a fraction of the distance: why not to buy electric cars

Component costs alone are $38,462? Add in assembly, shipping, and inventory costs and I guess that the margin is actually lower on this electric car than the gas powered vehicle.  From Bloomberg:

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the electric-car company led by Elon Musk, fell to the lowest price in more than three months after Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) said its RAV4 sport- utility vehicle with batteries and motor from Tesla costs twice as much as a gasoline version. . . .
“The details of the RAV4 EV that Toyota gave out yesterday were a little disappointing,” said Ben Schuman, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon, . . . . The manufacturer’s suggested retail price “is a little bit high to make it appealing to a larger buyer group.”
Toyota said yesterday the electric RAV4 that goes 100 miles (161 kilometers) per charge will sell for $49,800 when it goes on sale this year in California. The Toyota City, Japan-based company, a Tesla investor, plans to deliver 2,600 units over the next three years, . . . .
The base price of a 2012 RAV4 with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine is $22,650 on Toyota’s website.
Toyota in July 2011 agreed to pay Tesla a total of $100 million to supply lithium-ion battery packs, motors, software and other parts for the RAV4 project, part of a three-year contract, according to a filing by Tesla with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Based on Toyota’s 2,600-unit sales goal for the model, it’s paying $38,462 for components per vehicle. . . .

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Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren used to be listed as white, but changed it to native American after she became an academic

Why would she classify herself as white through law school and starting at the University of Texas and then classify herself as Native American after that?  Could it be that she learned how to play the affirmative action game?  From the WSJ:


Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren listed herself as white in personnel records at the University of Texas and declined to apply to Rutgers School of Law through a minority program, records show.
Ms. Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, is in a tight race with Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who has criticized her for listing herself as a minority in a professional directory from 1986 to 1995 and this week called for her to produce employment records.
. . . . a genealogy expert has said she is at least 1/32 Cherokee [ERROR: he said that she was 1/32nd, but this assumes that the Cherokee was 100% Native American].
The Brown campaign and GOP operatives have raised questions over whether she claimed to be a minority to boost her career.
The University of Texas at Austin, where Ms. Warren worked from 1983 to 1987, released documents showing Ms. Warren listed herself as white on employment records.
In her application to Rutgers Law School, she marked "no" when asked if she was applying as a minority, according to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal. . . .
Harvard University had touted Ms. Warren as a minority in 1996 when the school came under fire from critics who accused it of being too white and too male. The university has declined to say why it designated Ms. Warren a minority.
Meanwhile, a second school, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where Ms. Warren taught from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, designated her as a minority in a 2005 diversity report that is available online. . . . .

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5/10/2012

Why the government shouldn't own the broadcasting airwaves

Remember Lyndon Johnson:

That federal agency soon limited licenses to restrict competition and guarantee profits for selected license holders in key markets. It made complicated regulations that required expensive lawyers and consultants. It also seemed to grant and revoke (or threaten to revoke) broadcast licenses in ways that advanced the careers of certain politicians with ties to the FCC.
One of them was Lyndon Johnson. He was broke when he was first elected to Congress in 1937. But within 12 years, he was one of the richest and most powerful members of the U.S. Senate. He got his wealth when his wife bought a cheap radio station – that quickly became the most powerful and profitable station in Texas – after getting FCC permits nobody else could get. . . .
Now under the Obama administration we have this:
 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski testified Wednesday that his agency takes calls to cancel Fox's broadcast licenses "very seriously."  Groups, including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), have urged the FCC to pull Fox's licenses because of evidence that its parent company News Corp. hacked people's phones in the United Kingdom to get stories.  During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) pressed Genachowski on whether he plans to do anything about the allegations. Genachowski said it wouldn't be appropriate to comment on a specific case, but that the commission is "certainly aware of the serious issues that have been raised in the U.K."  He noted that the law requires that the FCC only grant broadcast licenses to people of "good character." . . .
Does anyone think that the Obama administration can keep politics out of this?  Even if the licenses aren't revoked, does the threat produce a chilling effect? If people don't trust Fox, they can obviously stop watching the network.

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UPDATE: Federal Inmate Keith Judd ends up getting 43% of

43% to a federal inmate, amazing!  To put it in perspective, Keith Judd got almost as many votes in the Democrat primary as the winner of the Republican primary, Mitt Romney, got.  From the West Virginia Secretary of State:

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5/09/2012

Another reason why donations shouldn't be made public

From Fox News today:

Sen. Orrin Hatch is calling on the IRS to investigate whether someone on the inside could have leaked the private tax files of a prominent anti-gay marriage group.
Hatch, in a letter Tuesday to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, said, "evidence suggests that the IRS may have been the source of the unauthorized disclosure of donor information."
The Republican Utah senator was referring to the recent publication of documents listing 2008 contributors to the National Organization for Marriage. Among those contributors was Mitt Romney.
Both the gay advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign and the Huffington Post posted the documents -- the National Organization for Marriage has claimed it appears someone in the IRS fed the documents to the Human Rights Campaign.
That possibility "is a matter that I take with the utmost seriousness," Hatch wrote, calling the allegation "disturbing."
"Our political history shows the absolute necessity of maintaining the nonpartisan integrity of the IRS," Hatch wrote, calling for an investigation. . . . 

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Prison Inmate in Texas takes 40 percent of the Democrat Presidential Primary Vote in West Virginia?

Why isn't this getting huge coverage in the US?  From the UK Daily Mail:


Just how unpopular is President Obama in some parts of the country? Enough that a man in a Texas prison received four out of 10 votes in West Virginia's Democratic presidential primary.Inmate Keith Judd, 53, is serving 17 years for extortion at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution. He was sentenced in 1999 for making threats against the University of New Mexico and is due to be released on June 24 next year.With 93 per cent of precincts reporting, Obama was receiving just under 60 per cent of the vote to Judd's 40 per cent. . . . 
In Oklahoma, anti-abortion protester Randall Terry got 18 percent of the primary vote. A lawyer from Tennessee, John Wolfe, pulled nearly 18,000 votes in the Louisiana primary. In Alabama, 18 percent of Democratic voters chose "uncommitted" in the primary rather than vote for Obama. In Tuesday's North Carolina primary, 21 percent of Democratic voters marked "no preference." . . .

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"iPad Video Chat Catches Massachusetts Murder"

I suppose that 20 years ago if the daughter and her boyfriend were on the telephone, the same thing would have happened, though the fact that the boyfriend actually saw some of the event makes the evidence even stronger.  From ABC News:

A Massachusetts man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death as their daughter's friend watched via an iPad video chat is being held in jail without bond today.
Christopher Piantedosi, 39, allegedly showed up at the Burlington, Mass., home of his longtime girlfriend Kristen Pulisciano's on Thursday and got into a raging argument with her in the kitchen.
The couple's 15-year-old daughter was in her bedroom video chatting with a friend on her iPad. She heard the commotion and went to check on her parents, according to authorities.
The girl found her father holding a knife and her mother fled to the girl's bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
"The defendant then kicked in the door, threw the victim on the bed and began stabbing her with a butcher knife and it was visible to the daughter's friend," Middlesex assistant district attorney Nicole Allain said in court.
The daughter's male friend witnessed the attack on video. . . .

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5/08/2012

"Democrat Breaks Ranks, Backs Holder Subpoena"

From Fox Nation:
Indiana Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly told The Daily Caller on Tuesday that he supports the House oversight committee’s efforts to enforce the congressional subpoena of Attorney General Eric Holder over Operation Fast and Furious. “One of the duties of Congress is to provide oversight of the Executive Branch,” Donnelly told TheDC. “There has been a serious allegation of federal law enforcement misconduct and we need to get to the bottom of this issue without playing partisan politics.” . . .
Democrats in Arizona also support similar actions.
But Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu said his state's elected sheriffs, of whom nine out of 15 are Democrats, support a special counsel.
"My deputies and officers across the southwest could face the barrel of a gun that our own government, Eric Holder and the president, put into the hands of these criminals," Babeu told Fox  News. "Whoever approved this should be criminally held to account for this." . . . 

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Good and Bad Economics Textbooks on Global Warming

A left wing environmentalist group has rated economics principle textbooks here.  My advice is the lower grades are actually the best textbooks.  Romney's economic advisors get an "A" (Mankiw) and a "C+" (Hubbard and O'Brien).

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Democrats think that the French and Greek votes are good news?

Do voters just want to spend more money without worrying how to pay for it?  Dems think so.  From the Washington Examiner:

Democrats say that the angry, anti-austerity elections this week that saw voters throw out reform-minded French and Greek leaders could be good news for them, a signal that their plan to spend billions more than the Republicans is a vote winner.
Those elections “confirm the position that many of us have taken, which is the most important thing right now is to sustain and nurture the very fragile economy,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.
“While we have to develop and implement a long-term deficit reduction plan, we should be very careful in designing that, that we do nothing to hurt the fragile economy. In fact we believe that we should make some additional investments,” he added.
For example, he’s pushing for the passage of a massive $50 billion-plus infrastructure spending bonanza offered by President Obama, as well as spending on education, science, research and Middle Class programs. The reason: it would inject money into the economy and cut the 16 percent unemployment in construction and fix roads and bridges. . . .

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Germany moves to pay women to stay at home taking care of kids

If you are going to have the government pay people to take care of people's kids, why not give that money to the mom's themselves?  Who is going to do a better job taking care of kids?  From The Economist:


CRITICS call it a “hearth bonus” or “keep-your-kids-out-of-school money”. The government prefersBetreuungsgeld (“child-care benefit”). Few of its ideas are as contentious as a planned €150 ($199) monthly payment to parents who do not put their children into crèches. Angela Merkel, the Christian Democrat chancellor, defends this as “an essential part of our policy of freedom of choice.” But it seems to contradict much of what she stands for.
Germany’s long-term worries include a shrinking and ageing population, immigrants who are not fully integrated into the workforce and women who are both underemployed and underpaid. German women work fewer hours than women in most other OECD countries (see chart). The gap in median pay is the third-widest in the club, after South Korea’s and Japan’s. That is partly because mothers stay at home. In 2008 just 18% of children under the age of three were in formal child care, against an OECD average of 30%.
. . . . By 2013 parents will have a legal right to a day-care place after a child’s first birthday.
Good crèches are thought by some to be a cure-all. By helping women to combine motherhood and career, they relieve skills shortages, boost growth and reduce inequality between the sexes. They might even lift Germany’s miserably low fertility rate. . . . .

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Talk Thursday on "Debacle" at the New York City Young Republicans Club

From the New York City Young Republicans Club:


Park South Hotel

124 East 28th Street New York, NY 10016

May 10, 2012, 7:30 to 9 PM

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Obama continues hiding his second term agenda

Remember Obama telling the Russian president to wait until after the election before he could take a position more sympathetic to the Russians?  Well, after the 2008 election where Obama promised to cut government spending, is anyone surprised by this.  From the Washington Post:
Whatever Obama’s public position, there was little doubt in the briefing room Monday that the president supports gay marriage and that he would go public with this position after Election Day, when he no longer need fear losing independent voters. Carney, who had the unenviable position of trying to convince the press corps otherwise, arrived 35 minutes late for the job and found a feisty audience. . . .
Another piece in the Washington Post:
Same-sex marriage is turning into a test of character and leadership for President Obama. Does he favor it, or doesn’t he?
In the wake of Vice President Biden’s remarks supportive of marriage equality, the continued presidential equivocation makes Obama look weak and evasive.Weak because he — and his unfortunate spokesman — keep fudging as Democratic official after official, from governors to his own Cabinet secretaries, expresses clear support for marriage equality.
Evasive because he seems to be hiding the ball from voters. Aren’t they entitled to know what he thinksbefore they decide on a second term?
The longer Obama waits, the worse he looks.
The president’s first stall tactic, that he is “evolving” on the issue, doesn’t cut it anymore. Even Darwin would have lost patience by now.
His second approach, the not-gonna-make-news-for-you-today cop-out, has also worn thin. . . .


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Media Matters gets it wrong again, John Lott's newest piece at Fox News

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

Media Matters’ Founder David Brock showed no shame when he was caught illegally using guns for his own personal protection. Indeed, Media Matters’ continues to lash out at others who own guns or support letting individuals use guns for the own protection, even increasing their attacks.
In April alone, Media Matters ran 32 articles attacking the NRA alone. Additional pieces have defended the Obama administration’s Fast & Furious program and dealt with other gun related topics.
Media Matters also attacked me three times over the last two weeks: I had an op-ed in the New York Daily News and an appearance on MSNBC defending Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws and The New York Times actually had the temerity to interview me and refer to me as “a researcher of gun culture who has held teaching or research posts at a number of universities.”
Media Matters wasn’t happy.
In total, since January 2011, they have criticized me in 25 pieces.
With headlines such as “John Lott fudges gun facts again” and “New York Times citing discredited gun researcher John Lott,” Media Matters attempts to thuggishly intimidate both people such as myself and those who talk to me (my response to their piece on the New York Times is available here). Alas, some people, including those in the media, believe Media Matters. . . . .

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Argentina's justification for nationalizing oil companies

Sometimes one has to wonder if politicians can say certain things with a straight face or if they are that stupid.  Here is Argentina's president justifying nationalizing a Spanish oil company's assets:
Kirchner has argued that the move was justified because Argentina faces sharp rises in its bill for imported oil, and Repsol has failed to make agreed investments needed to expand domestic production. . . . .
If you are a company in a country that is going around nationalizing assets, what does it do to your incentive to make large investments?  Is this really a big mystery?

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5/07/2012

Scotland Yard ban word "whitelist" because it is deemed racist

From the UK Sun:

The computer term whitelist — used to denote a list of acceptable contacts — has also been outlawed.
In an email, Scotland Yard warned staff the words were no longer “appropriate”.
Security services chief Brian Douglas wrote: “IB (Information Board) are uncomfortable with the use of the term Whitelist (and I presume Blacklist).
“I am sure we can appreciate the sensitivity around the use of such terminology today so please ensure it is no longer used.” He suggested using green and red list instead.
Sources at the Met — where 20 officers are under investigation over alleged racism — branded the decision “bizarre”. . . .

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Prediction: France's economy will worsen relative to the rest of the EU

With Krugman and other Democrats claiming that austerity policies have been the problem in Europe, we will soon have a big test.  Just like Germany's and Poland's policies have been a big test that restraining government spending has worked well and Greece, Spain, and Portugal have provided excellent tests for the opposite, France will now provide another test.  Does raising government spending, increasing deficits, taxing the wealthy sound familiar?


Here are some articles on topics that we will hear more about:


From the Financial Times:

. . . . François Hollande, the Socialist candidate who leads the presidential race after the first round of voting last week, wants to impose a tax rate of 75 per cent on income above €1m and at the launch of his bid in January said: “My true adversary in this battle has no name, no face, no party ... It is the world of finance.”Inquiries from French clients had risen by roughly 40 per cent since the speech, says David Blanc, a partner at Vestra Wealth, a London-based wealth manager.
“I have definitely seen strong interest in what could be done to protect assets both for people resident in France but also for French nationals who are UK resident,” said Mr Blanc, a former UBS executive.
The prospect of a Gallic diaspora of high earners was backed up by Knight Frank, the property agent, which said numbers of French web users searching online for its prime London properties online in the past three months had risen 19 per cent compared with the same period last year. The equivalent figure for Europe as a whole fell 9 per cent.
“The election seems to have pushed a growing number of wealthy French to consider their options for where they are likely to base themselves in the future,” says Liam Bailey, head of research at Knight Frank. . . . 
From the UK Independent:

France will be waking up today to its first Socialist President for 17 years – and bracing for radical change. There are all kinds of reasons why one might fear a François Hollande presidency, especially if you are a prosperous French person.The 57-year-old Socialist has openly admitted that he "does not like the rich" and declared that "my real enemy is the world of finance". This means taxing the wealthy by up to 75 per cent, curtailing the activities of Paris as a centre for financial dealing, and ploughing millions into creating more civil service jobs.Add an explicit threat to renegotiate the euro pact to replace austerity with "growth-creating" spending, and you have one of the most vehemently left-wing programmes in recent history.German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the woman at the centre of the Franco-German economic powerhouse which has dominated Europe – was at one stage even threatening to campaign for her conservative ally, Nicolas Sarkozy, against Mr Hollande.Caution is justified, though one thing Mr Hollande will not repeat is the disastrous tax-and-spend policies introduced by France's last Socialist President, François Mitterrand, in 1981. He was soon forced into a humiliating U-turn, and into sharing power with the right as the Communists quit his cabinet in protest. . . .

Not as radical as Mitterrand? Well, who in the US is advocating these types of policies?

Will Greece continue to repudiate any notion of fiscal responsibility and continue the Keynesian path it has been on?  Can the anti-bailout parties in the EU form a minority government with some help from the Communists on issues with which they agree?  From Reuters:
Greece's Left Coalition called on Sunday for an anti-bailout coalition, saying the country's general election showed that austerity policies had been soundly defeated and a peaceful revolution ushered in.
The Communist KKE - which believes Greece should abandon the euro - immediately rejected Tsipras's call for a leftist alliance.
"Mrs Merkel needs to understand that austerity policies have suffered a huge defeat," said Left Coalition leader Alexis Tsipras, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. . . .



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5/06/2012

Under Obama there has been a much bigger increase in the number of people on disability than jobs created

John Merline has another great piece:
A record 5.4 million workers and their dependents have signed up to collect federal disability checks since President Obama took office, according to the latest official government data, as discouraged workers increasingly give up looking for jobs and take advantage of the federal program.
This is straining already-stretched government finances while posing a long-term economic threat by creating an ever-growing pool of permanently dependent working-age Americans.
Since the recession ended in June 2009, the number of new enrollees to Social Security's disability insurance program is twice the job growth figure. (See nearby chart.) In just the first four months of this year, 539,000 joined the disability rolls and more than 725,000 put in applications.
As a result, by April there were a total of 10.8 million people on disability, according toSocial Security Administration data released this week. Even after accounting for all those who've left the program — about 700,000 drop out each year, mainly because they hit retirement age or died — that's up 53% from a decade ago. . . . 

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New Op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "U.S. money given to GM has been a bad investment"



The print version of my new piece starts this way:
If you invested more than $100 in a company, would you be happy if your shares were worth only $35? By anyone’s definition that investment would have been a terrible failure.
Yet, that is how the federal government’s investment in General Motors looks. The federal government has put in well over $100 billion into shoring up General Motors, but the entire company, not just what the government owns, was worth only $35 billion on Friday.
GM sales have bounced around, rising in March and then falling in April, but investors’ best guesses for what future sales will be are already in GM’s stock price. And surprisingly, a recent Rasmussen poll shows that support for the bailout has been rising and now 44 percent of likely voters say that the bailout was good for America.
The money the government spent adds up quickly: $50 billion in TARP bailout funds, a special exemption waiving payment of $45.4 billion in taxes on future profits, an exemption for all product liability on cars sold before the bailout, and $360 million in stimulus funds. Other money of which it is harder to quantify GM’s share includes the $15.2 billion Cash for Clunkers program and the $7,500 tax credit for those who buy the Chevy Volt. And all those costs don’t even include the billions taken from GM’s bondholders by the Obama administration. . . .

Some sources for the piece:

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After going continually since the last election, the Obama campaign officially starts

Despite all the rhetoric about the "War on Women," Obama chooses to start his campaign with Senator Sherrod Brown who had a restraining order in 1986 against him from his then wife for “physical and emotional harassment."


Obama starts his campaign with a rally to a half filled auditorium.

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