Norton Internet Security 2012 is apparently blocking my website

Mell Bishop from Tennessee sent me a screen shot of this from his computer.

UPDATE: Steve in TN informs me that Norton is blocking blogspot.com, not me per se.  Thanks, Steve.


A link between drug gangs and murder in Puerto Rico?

From Fox News:
As is common in areas that see a spike in drug trafficking, violence in Puerto Rico has also skyrocketed. The Caribbean averages one murder every 7.5 hours, and half of them are linked to drug trafficking. . . .
Apparently, the claim is that Puerto Rico had a murder rate of 26.4 per 100,000 in 2010, which is about five times higher than the US rate.  

Murder: PR: 26.4 per 100,000 US: 4.8
Robbery: PR: 176.8 per 100,000 US: 119.1
Rape: PR: 1.1 per 100,000 US: 27.5
Aggravated Assault: PR: 73.8 per 100,000 US: 252.3
Burglary: PR: 479.9 per 100,000 US: 699.6
Theft: PR: 729.5 per 100,000 US: 2,003.5
Auto theft: PR:182.8 per 100,000 US: 238.8 

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"Phoenix boy, 14, shoots armed intruder while watching three younger siblings"

From Fox News:
 . . . The teen and his brothers and sisters were at home alone at their residence at 55th Avenue and Baseline when a woman rang the doorbell Friday. The teen didn't open the door because he didn't recognize her, Police Officer James Holmes said Saturday.
Soon after, the teen heard a bang on the door, rushed his siblings upstairs and got a handgun from his parent's bedroom. When he got to the top of the stairs, he saw a man breaking through the front door and point a gun at him.
The boy shot the 37-year-old man, who is in critical condition but expected to survive and be booked into jail. . . .
Holmes hailed the teen's actions and his parents for teaching the kids to never open the door to strangers.
"The police and indeed our community does not ever want to see a situation where a teenager of that age has to take a weapon to protect his family ... but this young man did exactly what he should have done," he said. "I'm not sure he gave full thought about what he had to do. He just acted." . . .


And the Greek election accomplished what exactly?: Pro-bailout parties want to delay deficit reductions for two years

Remember all the fears about what would happen if the radical left anti-bailout Syriza party won the election?  That they would insist on the bailout being renegotiated.  Well, the pro-bailout parties also said that they wanted more favorable terms and it is finally clear what they want.  From the BBC:

Greece's new coalition government has proposed an extension to the deadline for it to reduce its budget deficit by at least two years, to 2016.
In a policy document, the government said its aim was for the fiscal target envisaged by the bailout deal to be met without further cuts to salaries and pensions. . . .
Nor does the future for this coalition sound extremely promising.

All three parties have signed a agreement to fully support the coalition, giving it a majority of 29 in parliament.  However, the cabinet is dominated by the conservative New Democracy party, after its left-wing partners Pasok and Democratic Left barred their MPs from joining.  They are represented by two party officials each. It is believed that they may not want to be associated with austerity measures. . . .

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Very cheap, energy efficient transportation, and the government wants to kill it

Personally, I don't care about "energy efficient" transportation per se.  I figure that the market will figure out the most efficient way to transport people and energy costs are no more important than other costs.  Yet, it seems more than a little hypocritical for the government to try making this type of transportation so difficult and costly.

Let's say you wanted to get from New York to DC this evening. You could take the government-supported train system - which would cost you $153 or more - or you could take a bus, which gets no government subsidies, for... $19. . . .
[These buses] are now, as CATO transportation expert Randal O'Toole puts it, "the nation's fastest growing transportation mode." He adds:
"They do so with almost no subsidies... Intercity buses are safe and environmentally friendly, suffering almost 80 percent fewer fatalities per passenger mile than Amtrak and using 60 percent less energy per passenger mile than Amtrak." . . .
I did a quick search and I found that for this coming Monday the average Megabus fare is $14.73.  The average Amtrak fare is $160.

If you want to see more on the efficiency of these buses, this is of some use.

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Obama asks that people have friends give money to Obama campaign instead of presents to them

I guess that I didn't believe this when I heard it.  But here is the link and a screen shot. 

I assume that this ad is a spoof on the Obama campaign.

Additional only partially related note.
Also Obama is pushing for donors from living abroad.  Politico notes: "Obama is tapping American abroad more than any other presidential campaign."

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Anna Schwartz RIP

Together with Milton Friedman, Anna Schwatz co-authored the monumental and extremely influential "A Monetary History of the United States."  From today's WSJ:
In an October 2008 interview with The Wall Street Journal—a month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—Ms. Schwartz criticized policy makers' handling of the 2008 financial crisis. "They should not be recapitalizing firms that should be shut down," she said. "Firms that made wrong decisions should fail." . . .


Using government to harass political opponents

From Curt Levey at Fox News:
Groups on the left are also turning to the judicial branch to harass conservative opponents. . . .
a Media Matters internal memo suggesting the organization “look into contracting with a major law firm to study any available legal actions that can be taken against Fox News … I imagine this would be difficult but the right law firm is bound to find some legal ground.” In other words, Media Matters couldn’t identify anything that Fox did wrong but hoped the right lawyer could invent something.
Lawfare’s most persistent practitioner is probably Brett Kimberlin, founder of the radical Justice Through Music Project. He has targeted conservative bloggers like Andrew Breitbart, Patterico, Aaron Worthing, and Liberty Chick, in part, by filing over 100 harassment claims against them in various courts.
Kimberlin claims that blogging the truth about his criminal record – which includes 17 years in federal prison for a weeklong bombing spree – constitutes harassment because it results in angry emails from the blogger’s readers. . . .
In addition to the courts and White House, the left is turning to various agencies in the Obama administration for help in intimidating their opponents. Angered by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s support of "Stand Your Ground" laws, left-wing groups are coordinating a campaign against ALEC, which includes an IRS complaint challenging its tax-exempt status. . . .


EPA requires oil refiners to use hypothetical fuel

Government tells companies to invent a particular nonexistent fuel and use it in production.  No notion of how much the fuel will cost to invent or even if it is possible to invent.  From Fox News:

. . . "As ludicrous as that sounds, it's fact," says Charles Drevna, who represents refiners. "If it weren't so frustrating and infuriating, it would be comical."
And Tom Pyle of the Institute of Energy Research says, "the cellulosic biofuel program is the embodiment of government gone wild."
Refiners are at their wit's end because the government set out requirements to blend cellulosic ethanol back in 2005, assuming that someone would make it. Seven years later, no one has.
"None, not one drop of cellulosic ethanol has been produced commercially. It's a phantom fuel," says Pyle. "It doesn't exist in the market place."
And Charles Drevna adds, "forcing us to use a product that doesn't exist, they might as well tell us to use unicorns."
And yet, they still have to pay what amounts to fines. . . .


"Gun-toting advocates protest charges against teen in Birmingham"

I lived in the Birmingham area off and on when I was a kid and I have one memory of kids walking down the street where we lived with rifles.  I suppose that things have changed a fair amount.  While I generally prefer concealed carry, this article still provides an interesting discussion of the emotions at play.  From the Detroit News:
. . . At issue is the April 13 arrest of Sean M. Combs, a Troy High School student, after he strolled Old Woodward Avenue in downtown Birmingham with a M-1 rifle strapped to his back.He faced three misdemeanor charges for brandishing a weapon, resisting and obstructing police, and disturbing the peace — each punishable by up to 93 days in jail.
Gun enthusiasts and supporters of "open carry" flocked to the regularly scheduled meeting of the commission, which was not expected to take action or address the charges, to voice their opposition.
They say the penalties ignore a right protected by law, even if that might be unpopular among some. They also called for improved police training.
"Why ruin the life of an 18-year-old man for the actions of an overzealous police officer?" said John Roshek, president of the Citizens League for Self Defense, a group that works to educate people on their Second Amendment rights and open carry. . . .


Corruption Obama style

When there is a lot of government money and power at stake you get a lot of corruption.  From Kimberly Strassel at the WSJ:

. . . An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.
The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod's firm—which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets.
Mr. Axelrod—who left the White House last year—started AKPD in 1985. The firm earned millions helping run Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Mr. Axelrod moved to the White House in 2009 and agreed to have AKPD buy him out for $2 million. But AKPD chose to pay Mr. Axelrod in annual installments—even as he worked in the West Wing. This agreement somehow passed muster with the Office of Government Ethics, though the situation at the very least should have walled off AKPD from working on White-House priorities.
It didn't. The White House and industry were working hand-in-glove to pass ObamaCare in 2009, and among the vehicles supplying ad support was an outfit named Healthy Economy Now (HEN). News stories at the time described this as a "coalition" that included the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the American Medical Association, and labor groups—suggesting these entities had started and controlled it. . . .

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WH Press Secretary Jay Carney tries to explain Executive Privilege in Fast and Furious case

I wish that these videos were more complete, but they still provide useful information.

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62% of Americans feel that we are in a recession

A new Rasmussen poll is depressing.
Sixty-two percent of Americans feel the country has slid into a recessiona Rasmussen Reports poll finds.
Meanwhile broader confidence in the economy continues to fall.
The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, dropped three points on Sunday to 84.9. The index is down a point from a week ago, down two points from one month ago and down four points from three months ago. . . .

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Zimmerman's extraordinary release of re-enactment video

A lawyer who I know wrote this:
In an extraordinary step, George Zimmerman’s attorneys just released a large amount of evidence in the case -- including a police tape of Z’s being questioned right after he shot Martin.
   This evidence speaks for itself. In and of itself it is routine and there is no occasion for me to comment on it. But what is so EXTRAORDINARY is that an accused’s lawyers would release all this evidence. That is what deserves comment.
   In an ordinary criminal case, the accused’s COUNSEL will TALK. But they never release their client’s statements or any of the other evidence – they themselves just talk to try to spin the evidence. Why not let their client talk? Because their client is guilty and the more he talks, i.e. lies, the more he gives the prosecution to shoot at: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we have shown you that after the crime was committed the defendant claimed ... [X] But the physical evidence we have presented shows [not-X]. We have shown you that after the crime was committed the defendant claimed    ...[Y]. But we have presented the testimony of disinterested witnesses who say ... [not Y].
Etc., etc. Why did the defendant lie about what happened? Because telling the truth would convict him as we have charged. Etc., etc." So the ordinary criminal defendant’s lawyers do everything they can to obfuscate the evidence and confuse the issues. That is because the ordinary criminal defendant is guilty.
   Defense counsel’s actions here strongly suggest that they have the EXTRAORDINARY client who is innocent.

The video here is pretty extraordinary and needs to be seen.

A discussion of the video with some parts of the video also shown.

From Fox News:

A newly-released video shows Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman at the scene of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting a day later giving police a blow-by-blow account of his fight with the teen.
In a video posted on a website by Zimmerman's defense team, Zimmerman said Martin saw his gun and reached for it as the two scuffled on the sidewalk at a gated apartment community in Sanford. That's when Zimmerman said he pulled the gun and shot the teenager.
The tape shows two butterfly bandages on the back of Zimmerman's head and another on his nose. There are red marks on the front of his head.
On the tape, Zimmerman did a reenactment of the scuffle with Martin in the moments before he shot the 17-year-old from Miami. Zimmerman said Martin kept "slamming and slamming" his head on the sidewalk. "It felt like my head was going to explode," he said. . . .
Here is a summary of events by Jeralyn Merrit at talk left.  There is more at his website, and it is worth reading the entire post, the vast majority of what he posted is consistent with what I have put down up to now.  There are a couple of differences that I have with it.  One is noted below.  And the second deals with his discussion about Stand Your Ground laws (not quoted below), since Zimmerman was unable to retreat any further.

. . . Here’s my interpretation of George’s version of events, which undoubtedly will be disputed by the state. Again, these are not undisputed truths, but my interpretation of George’s version.
George’s suspicion was aroused because he saw someone milling around between houses in the rain. He knew this person didn’t live at the house he was standing by because it had been burglarized before and he knew who lived there. The guy wasn’t exercising. He did nothing to get out of the rain. He thought to himself, who stands out in the rain and stares at houses? He did what the Sanford Police had instructed members of the community to do when they see something suspicious. He called the non-emergency number for the police to report his suspicion.
He pulled over at the clubhouse to make the 911 call. Trayvon walked past him, staring at him and turned down Twin Trees Lane. He drove to Twin Trees Lane while he was still on the phone with the non-emergency dispatcher and parked at the cut-through, in front of the white truck which happens to be located at 1211 Twin Trees Lane. He saw Trayvon go down the path between the shared backyards. Then Trayvon returned and circled his car. The dispatcher tells him police are on their way.
George tries to give him directions to where his truck is parked. . . . Then Trayvon took off running. The dispatcher asks him which way Trayvon had gone. He gets out of his car to look. He says toward the other entrance, and confirms to the dispatcher that would be the back entrance. The dispatcher tells him they don’t need him to follow Trayvon, and he says “okay.” But he still wants to tell the dispatcher where he is so the cops can find him, and he doesn’t know the name of the street since there is no street sign. Trayvon had gone off and was out of his sight.
He keeps walking to the front of Retreat View Circle to get an address. He had a flashlight but it wasn’t working. His purpose at this point was not to follow Trayvon, who had left the immediate area. He told the dispatcher he would stop following him and he did. He continued walking to Retreat View Circle to get the address for the dispatcher to give the cops who were on their way, and hen he then turned around to walk back to his car.
Just west of the “T” Trayvon appeared out of the darkness and confronted him. He (GZ) was right by the bushes along the side of the house at 1211 Twin Trees Lane. Trayvon was on the shared back path, in back of 1211 Twin Trees Lane. Trayvon confronted George, asking him if he had a problem. He said he didn’t and reached for his phone to call 911. As he reached for his phone, Trayvon punched him, he stumbled.

[John Lott: there is a little more that goes on here, such as a struggle where Trayvon was trying to knock Zimmerman down to the ground. See video above.]

Trayvon got on top of him and started banging his head into the cement. His body was on the grass, his head on the cement. He struggled to get up. As they continued struggling, George was crying out for help. Trayvon put his hands over his mouth and nose and told him to shut the F* up. He thought he was going to lose consciousness.
A neighbor behind them (W-6, John, at 1221 Twin Trees Lane) yelled out asking what was going on and if he should call 911. George yelled for help again. He wanted W-6 to help him get away from Trayvon, rather than call 911, because he knew police were already on their way. But W-6 went inside to call 911. No one came to help George as he kept struggling to get out from under Trayvon. W-6 says they were moving as they were struggling, first in the grass, then onto the sidewalk. As George tried to move so his head would be onto the grass and he could get Trayvon’s hands off his mouth and nose, his jacket lifted and his gun was exposed. Trayvon reached for his gun and told him he was going to die. . . .



The Obama administration doesn't believe in letting consentual adults live their sexual lives the way they want

Let me get this right.  The Obama administration does everything that they can to push gay marriage and gay rights, but somehow they want to go after polygamists and make their lives difficult.  What is the difference whether consenting adults are homosexuals or polygamists?  Over much more of human history polygamy was many, many, many more times the normal state for humans.  Would the Obama administration have ever brought such a suit against a town filled with a lot of homosexuals?  From the Associated Press:
The U.S. Justice Department has sued two polygamous towns along the Utah-Arizona border, claiming religious discrimination against non-sect members.
The federal civil rights lawsuit was filed Thursday against the towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.
Most residents in both towns are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, run by the group's jailed leader Warren Jeffs. . . .
The lawsuit comes after Legislatures in Utah and Arizona failed to pass bills to abolish the local police department for the communities. . . .

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Interview with National Review on my new book "Debacle"

My interview with National Review starts this way:

John R. Lott Jr. and Grover G. Norquist are the authors of Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future. Lott, a former colleague of the president’s at the University of Chicago Law School, answers some questions about the depth of the debacle and the way out from National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: John, you say that when you were a faculty colleague of Barack Obama, he tagged you as “the gun guy” and announced that “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns.” That can’t possibly be true. Why should we believe you?

JOHN R. LOTT JR.: Well, don’t just take my word for his views on guns, look at the positions Obama took on guns during his time in Chicago. Obama supported a ban on handguns in 1996, and a ban on the sale of all semiautomatic guns in 1998 (a ban that would have encompassed the vast majority of guns sold in the U.S.). In 2004, he advocated banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park (essentially a ban on virtually all gun stores), and he has worked in other ways to support bans. He was on the board of directors for the Joyce Foundation, the largest private funder of research to ban gun ownership in the U.S. . . .

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"$9 Billion in ‘Stimulus’ for Solar, Wind Projects Made 910 Final Jobs -- $9.8 Million Per Job"?

CNSNews has this report:

The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 that created, as the end result, 910 “direct” jobs -- annual operation and maintenance positions -- meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each of those long-term jobs.
At the same time, those green energy projects also created, in the end, about 4,600 “indirect” jobs – positions indirectly supported by the annual operation and maintenance jobs -- which means they cost about $1.9 million each ($9 billion divided by 4,600).
Combined (910 + 4,600 = 5,510), the direct and indirect jobs cost, on average, about $1.63 million each to produce. . . .



Tax $$$ for Rich, Educated, White: DC's Capital Bikeshare

This money was from a federal program that was supposed to "address the unique transportation challenges faced by welfare recipients and low-income persons seeking to obtain and maintain employment."  Yet, the people who benefited from the program are well to do.


Changing economic position of different countries

Look at the growth in China's economy since they moved away from communism.  Russia's economy has stopped its decline since its move. The relatively freest market countries make up most of the world's GDP.


Newest Fox News piece: Fast and Furious -- Holder's day of reckoning has finally arrived

My newest piece starts this way:
With the House committee voting Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, the stalemate between the Obama administration and Congress ultimately boils down to about 1,300 documents.  
Congress wants to know who prepared a February 4, 2011 letter where the Obama administration claimed that the U.S. did not knowingly help smuggle guns to Mexico (so-called “gun walking”), including the gun used to kill US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.  
The Obama administration admits the letter was in error, but they have always maintained that the knowledge of these tactics did not reach the top political appointees in the Obama Department of Justice. 
After a year-and-a-half, the dam broke when a mole in the Justice Department gave the House Oversight committee a set of wiretap applications proving that high department officials knew about the administration's efforts to aid the gun smuggling. The leaked documents destroyed much of Attorney General Eric Holder's credibility since he had claimed that they were not relevant to the case and refused to release them. . . .

12 hours later the piece is still number one among the opinion pieces.

Update: "Hill Poll: Voters: Obama over-reached blocking Fast and Furious docs"
The Hill Poll found that likely voters disapproved by an almost 2-to-1 margin of Obama’s assertion of presidential power in the case. Overall, 56 percent of voters disapproved of his action, while only 29 percent approved.
Democrats have accused Issa of waging a partisan campaign that has no real purpose save for embarrassing Obama and Holder.  Issa has always denied his pursuit of Holder is politically driven. . . .
Sixty-one percent of independents said they disapproved of the president’s actions, and just 25 percent approved. Among Republicans, opposition to the president’s use of executive privilege was more entrenched at 78 percent.  
Even 28 percent of Democrats, and 30 percent of self-identified liberals disapproved of Obama’s position. . . .

Update:  Summary of case by Bill Whittle, though some will find his language very strong.

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Contempt vote scheduled for Holder in House Committee tomorrow

The Fox News article is available here.  Holder demanded that if he gave Issa a briefing and some supportive documents, the case would have to be closed down.  Issa had dramatically scaled down his request for documents.
"Issa wrote back to Holder later Monday requesting he deliver roughly 1,300 documents pertaining to the Feb. 4 letter. . . ."
Holder also has not fired anyone over Fast & Furious.

National Border Patrol Council represents about 17,000 agents.  From the Daily Caller:
The National Border Patrol Council — the union that represents Border Patrol agents around the country — demanded Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over Operation Fast and Furious on Monday.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, the union deliberated for over a year before making this call for Holder to step down.
“This is something that all of our guys are concerned about, because they know it could be any one of them,” Shawn Moran, a union vice president, said according to the Arizona paper. . . .
Some calls from politicians
SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS: You violated the public trust, in my view, and by failing and refusing to perform the duties of your office. So, Mr. Attorney General, it is more with sorrow and regret than anger that I would say that you leave me no alternative but to join those who call upon you to resign your office. It is my sincere hope that president Obama will replace you with someone who is up to that challenge. . . .
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Cornyn says he should resign, the attorney general. Do you agree with Senator Cornyn.

GRASSLEY: If you asked me a few hours ago I probably would have said yes. I am open to his so-called negotiation. But I don't like the fact that he is talking about a constitutional crisis, because he has created this constitutional crisis. And I think it's a situation of where he is waking up to the fact that there are people serious about getting this information one way or the other. And he should be held in contempt if he doesn't give us this information because he's taking contemptible action against the Congress. . . .

129 Congressmen called for Holder's resignation as of Tuesday.
Huckabee joins 129 House members, five U.S. senators, two sitting governors and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in calling for Holder to leave office. Others who have joined them include the NRA, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and many candidates nationwide. . . . .
Huckabee summarizes it pretty well.
“In an administration that pledged transparency, the Department of Justice has operated not merely opaquely, but behind the stone walls of stone-walling,” he said. “After 18 months, numerous hearings, and threats of contempt of Congress charges regarding the disastrous Fast and Furious program that used American taxpayer money to buy guns, put them in the hands of Mexican drug dealers, he has released just over 7,000 documents of 140,000 that Congress has requested. 300 Mexicans are dead, and one American border patrol agent is dead. He has yet to answer what he knew and when he knew it about this disgusting fiasco.” . . . 
Politico describes the differences between Issa and Holder
The crux of the issue is simple: Holder said he would brief the committee on documents detailing what the Justice Department knew about the program and fork over some additional documents if Issa agrees to forgo his threat to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. For Holder, the contempt issue has to disappear. Issa, for his part, said he wants the documents in his hands before he makes any decision about whether to proceed with the contempt vote. . . .
“To summarize, he came with an offer of a briefing,” Issa told reporters in the Capitol after the meeting. “We went through the process of what was being offered, as I think we have to, which is that the documents that they may choose to give in the future, we need to have tomorrow. Ultimately, the documents necessary to cause a postponement appear to be in their possession. We’re hoping that we have them tonight. If we can evaluate them even partially, that will give us grounds to negotiate a postponement and perhaps a final resolution.” . . .
The investigation finally got going again when a mole in DOJ gave Rep. Issa some important documents.

Big news about the Obama Administration’s “Fast and Furious” scandal broke earlier this week, when the House Oversight committee finally got its hands on some of the documents it subpoenaed long ago – specifically, a set of wiretap applications that prove high officials at the Justice Department were very well aware of the deadly “gun walking” tactics that put American weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartel killers.  Attorney General Eric Holder has always maintained that knowledge of these tactics did not reach the upper echelons of his department.
The revelation of documents shredding Holder’s claims stirred some in the Republican leadership to begin taking the idea of filing contempt of Congress charges against the Attorney General more seriously.  Justice sent a letter to the House Republican leadership on Tuesday, offering to work out a deal for releasing some of the “Fast and Furious” information covered by those long-defied subpoenas.  As House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said in an angry letter challenging Holder’s honesty, it’s increasingly clear why he doesn’t want congressional investigators to see the documents he is refusing to hand over.
It turns out that Issa didn’t get those bombshell wiretap applications because Holder suddenly decided to comply with the subpoenas, and dribble out some useful material.  It seems the House Oversight committee has a “mole” in the Justice Department, who surreptitiously gave the wiretap documentation to House investigators. . . .

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So just how overpopulated is the world?

Suppose that the entire world population lived in one city and that city had the density of the following cities.  How large would those cities be?


Obama made up story about his grandfather being tortured by the British?

As the UK Daily Mail notes this claim about torture is inaccurate just "like most of the President’s own memoir":

But Maraniss, who researched Obama’s life in Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and the mainland United States, found that there were ‘no remaining records of any detention, imprisonment, or trial of Hussein Onyango Obama’. He interviewed five people who knew Obama’s grandfather, who died in 1979, who ‘doubted the story or were certain it did not happen’.
This undermines the received wisdom that Obama’s grandfather was a victim of oppression, an assumption that has in turn fuelled theories that Obama harbours an animus towards Britain based on a deeply-rooted rage about the way Onyango was treated.John Ndalo Aguk, who worked with Onyango before the alleged imprisonment and was in touch with him weekly afterwards said he 'knew nothing' about any detention and would have noticed if he had gone missing for several months.Zablon Okatch, who worked with Onyango as a servant to American diplomats after the supposed incarceration, said: ‘Hussein was never jailed. I know that for a fact. It would have been difficult for him to get a job with a white family, let alone a diplomat, if he once served in jail.’Charles Oluoch, whose father was adopted by Onyango, said that ‘he did not have any trouble with the government in any way'.Dick Opar, a relative by marriage to Onyango and a senior Kenyan police official, gave what Maraniss judged to be the most authoritative word. ‘People make up stories,’ he said. ‘If you get arrested, you say it was the fight for independence, but they are arrested for another thing. . ..


Private travel to the moon?

Note that Americans are having to set up this company in the UK.  From the Financial Times:
Britain could become the first country to fly a tourist around the moon, after an Isle of Man-based company announced that it would be ready to take passengers on private lunar expeditions by 2015.Excalibur Almaz will charge wannabe astronauts an average of £100m for a six-eight month journey exploring deep space.
Three wealthy individuals, or astronauts from emerging powers will be crammed into a reusable capsule the size of a waste skip and launched by rocket to a space station. After the two vehicles link up, they will travel on to the Moon. “It is like how private British companies led expeditions to the South Pacific in the 17th century,” said Art Dula, founder of Excalibur Almaz. “We’ve just gone from seafaring to spacefaring.” The company, run by Americans, chose to be based in the Isle of Man because of the island government’s commitment to the space industry, which ministers forecast will soon make up more a third of its gross domestic product. The lack of corporation tax and proximity to the City are also advantages. . . .


More Guns, Less Crime

Murder rates have fallen 13 percent from 2008 to 2011 (1.9% from 2010 to 2011).  Violent crimes fell by 15 percent over the same time period.  Yet, over that same time concealed handgun permits have gone up by 37 percent from about 5 million to around 8 million.

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Hecklers at Romney events are getting paid to heckle him

With all the discussion over the last week about someone heckling Obama (really a reporter saying that he thought that Obama was finished and who tried to ask a question), it was interesting to see this claim.

The protesters popping up at Mitt Romney's rallies throughout Michigan Tuesday look like run-of-the-mill grassroots liberals — they wave signs about "the 99 percent," they chant about the Republican's greed, and they describe themselves as a loosely organized coalition of "concerned citizens."
They're also getting paid, two of the protesters and an Obama campaign official told BuzzFeed.
At the candidate's afternoon stop outside a bakery in DeWitt, a group of about 15 protesters stood behind a police barricade, a few of them chanting in support of Obama. Asked why he was protesting, a man dressed in a grim reaper costume pointed a reporter to a pair of "designated representatives" standing in the shade.
"I can't talk, you gotta get one of those people over there to talk to y'all," he said. "They're the ones who can talk to reporters."
Neither of the representatives agreed to give their names, but two protesters said they were getting paid to stand outside of the rally, though their wage is unclear: one said she was getting $7.25 per hour, while another man said they were being paid $17 per hour.
Meanwhile, about 50 feet away, another protest had been organized by local Democrats in conjunction with the Obama campaign. A campaign official told BuzzFeed they had nothing to do with the other group — which he said he believed they had been sent by the labor-backed "Good Jobs Now" — and confirmed that they were being paid. . . .
So given how upset Obama was with the reporter from the Daily Caller, will Obama call on unions to stop paying these people to heckle Romney? 

CNN reports a call from David Axelrod for Obama supporters to stop heckling Romney.  Do you think that if he was serious, that unions would really stop paying people to heckle Romney?  A tape of the CNN broadcast discussion starts at 9:55 into this segment of the Jon Stewart show.

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MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell is nailed for selectively editing Romney talk

Now see the entire talk here.

Clearly Romney was making a completely different point about competition between the public and private sectors.

UPDATE: MSNBC's nonapology.   

An MSNBC spokesperson emailed the following at 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon:
“MSNBC did not edit anything out of order or out of sequence and at no time did we intend to deceive our viewers.”
So?  No one said that MSNBC had edited this material out of order.  The problem was that the edits had obviously changed the meaning of what Romney had said.

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Congressional Democrat accuses Republicans of "murder"

One would think that a give away to the oil industry would increase their profits and thus increase their incentive to produce oil and thus lower price, but according to Democrats that isn't how things work.  From Roll Call:
 . . . The legislation is a “monstrosity,” a “Trojan horse,” an “all-out assault” on the environment and a “massive giveaway” to the oil industry that would not lower gas prices by “one cent,” the two lawmakers said.But while the criticisms were aimed squarely at the GOP, the words might also sting for a small group of Democrats who voted for the bills of which the energy package is comprised. . . .
In every case, the bills received some Democratic votes, and one bill was reported via unanimous consent.
In the Energy and Commerce panel, Democratic Reps. Mike Ross(Ark.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and John Barrow (Ga.) voted for several of the bills. During consideration of H.R. 4880, one of the bills that came before Energy and Commerce, an amendment of Waxman’s was adopted by voice vote.
In the Natural Resources panel, Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Dan Boren (Okla.) and Jim Costa (Calif.) voted for some of the bills.
H.R. 2752, included in the package, was reported out of Natural Resources by unanimous consent. . . .
. . . Waxman said “a couple of Democrats who may have voted for these bills does not make it bipartisan legislation. These are Republican partisan proposals advanced by the Republican leadership.”
Continuing his response, Waxman upped the ante, saying Republicans are “getting away — literally — with murder” because of their record on the environment.
“Some of these pollutants do harm, and they may even lead to fatalities,” Waxman said. . . .


Estonia doing well with "austerity" budgets, and Spain is not an example of "austerity"

Paul Krugman, the guy who kept predicting disaster for Germany's austerity program, has gone after Estonia for what he calls being the "poster child for austerity defenders."

There are a couple of things that Krugman leaves out of his discussion.

1) Estonia was getting worse relative to other countries when it followed more of a Keynesian policy and has been growing relative to other countries since then.  Figure from The Global Post (click to make larger).  As that publication wrote: "Still, its recovery, after implementing austerity, is intriguing."  By the way, the publication also accuses Krugman of cherry picking data to show.

2) As the Figure above shows, Estonia has been growing relative to the US since mid 2009.

Note on Spanish "austerity."  Spain is in a lot of trouble, but it isn't because of "austerity."  From the WSJ.com.
In 2011, total public-sector spending in Spain was 13% higher than in 2007. . . .

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New National Review piece: Obama's revisionism: He predicted a strong economy, but blames his failure on Bush.

My newest piece starts this way:
Americans’ patience is running thin. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 40 months. Since the recovery started, over 7.2 million Americans have given up looking for work and left the labor force. It is during recessions, not recoveries, that people are supposed to give up looking for work.
But it is obviously all Bush’s fault. At least, that is President Obama’s new take. During his big economic address on Thursday, Obama repeatedly said that the economic problems we face today were “a decade in the making.”
But there is a problem with Obama’s logic. Over the last three-and-a-half years, the president and his administration have continually claimed that the stimulus was working and that a robust recovery was starting. If the legacy of the Bush administration policies was going to hinder the recovery so badly, why did Obama keep on predicting that things were going to get better soon? . . .

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Most important West Virginia Democrats will skip Democratic National Convention

Just curious, but why are these guys Democrats?  If he also doesn't like Romney, why not run as an independent?  Given that the Democrats in the Senate go with Obama virtually all the time, isn't he really supporting Obama's policies by caucusing with the Democrats? From The Hill newspaper:
Three prominent West Virginia Democrats said Monday that they would skip the party's national convention in Charlotte, N.C., this September over concerns that links to the party could hurt their re-election chances.  Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin all said they would avoid the convention, according to the West Virginia Metro News.
"I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that's representing them in my official U.S. Senate duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation," said Manchin in a statement. "I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election."
UPDATE: Fox News piece:
three other members of Congress have also distanced themselves from the convention -- and by extension the president -- by announcing their intention not to attend. They include Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz and New York Reps. Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul, both of whom won special elections in recent years.
"I guarantee that my time will be better spent meeting the farmers, small business owners and other people who put me here," Hochul said in a recent interview with The Daily. . . .
"One of the problems for a Democratic president or any Democratic candidate is that sometimes pleasing one of your core groups can displease another,” he said. As an example, Barone points to the intra-party fight over gay marriage. "Young voters are heavily in favor of it. Black voters have tended to be heavily against it." . . . 


The false claims about Scalia's inconsistencies

TPM and other Democrat liberal organizations are launching last ditch efforts to save Obamacare.  Among their targets is: Supreme Court Justice Scalia.  In his new book, Scalia questions whether the infamous 1942 Wickard v. Filburn decision was correctly decided.  They have argued that Scalia is a political opportunist.  
“This is typical Scalia,” added Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law. “He respects precedents when they fit his conservative ideology and disregards them when they don’t. … “Once again, we see that Scalia’s originalism is a charade.” . . .
I have my own issues with Mr. Winkler, but I don't see any back and forth on this issue.  People normally go from Lopez to Gonzales v. Raich, but those two cases aren't inconsistent.  Lopez was much less novel that people claim since all the congress had to do was repass the same law with a very minor change that just required that prosecutors had to make a finding that interstate trade was impacted.  That had long been the standard, but Schumer had forgotten to put the language in the safe school zone bill.  So based on his book there is one change, and there are logical reasons for why he would make that change now.  Wickard had been difficult to maintain because overturning it would eliminate huge sections of the Federal government.  But now, with Obamacare, those costs to the court of overturning so much precedent is balanced against new pushes for whole new areas of regulation.

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The changing opinion polls on the Zimmerman/Martin case

From Inforum:

. . . In late March, while people were still marching in the streets demanding his arrest, 33 percent of the country believed Zimmerman was guilty of murder, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports.
The same poll showed that fewer than half that number – 15 percent – believed Zimmerman had acted in self-defense.
Two months later, however, those numbers had flip-flopped. In a May 19-20 Rasmussen poll, 40 percent said they believed Zimmerman had acted in self-defense vs. 24 percent who called him a murderer. . . .
Early polls, the ones that reflect the most hostility toward Zimmerman, were conducted when news organizations relied heavily on outdated photos of both Martin and Zimmerman, Irby said. The Martin photos, released by his family through a public relations professional, showed an adolescent boy – not a 17-year-old. . . .
There was a stark difference, though, between how the story resonated with blacks and whites. In the April 1 survey, 58 percent of blacks identified the Martin/Zimmerman story as the country’s most important vs. 24 percent for whites, Pew reported. . . .



Elizabeth Wurtzel: "Being a mother isn't a real job -- and the men who run the world know it."

Is this really what passes as serious thought by leftists these days?  Not content to accept that Democrat bigwig and former Obama advisor Hilary Rosen was wrong when she claimed that Ann Romney never worked a "day in her life," Elizabeth Wurtzel doubles down on the claim in the Atlantic Monthly.  So is this what Democrats mean by a war on women?  

Let me answer the first question posed below.  Do I think that raising kids is an extremely important job?  Sure.  Am I going to do it?  You would only have me take the full time job of raising kids if you wanted them killed off.  Let me explain.  I think that women on average have more patience in dealing with very young children than men do (one can go through the biology regarding hormones etc).  I have five children, and I could do handle taking care of them for a few hours.  But I have to confess that after that I would begin to feel that I would got nuts if it took the wife much longer to get home. 
Seriously: Did Romney actually tell his wife that her job was more important than his? So condescending. If he thought that, he'd be doing it. Being a rich mom -- even with five sons, bless her heart -- is not even sort of a job. . . . Hilary Rosen would not have been so quick to be so super sorry for saying that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life if we weren't all made more than a wee bit nervous by our own biases, which is that being a mother isn't really work. Yes, of course, it's something -- actually, it's something almost every woman at some time does, some brilliantly and some brutishly and most in the boring middle of making okay meals and decent kid conversation. But let's face it: It is not a selective position. A job that anyone can have is not a job, it's a part of life, no matter how important people insist it is (all the insisting is itself overcompensation). . . .
So a hundred years ago when almost all mothers stayed at home to raise their families and take care of the house that wouldn't be considered work because everyone did it?  What does one make of this gem of wisdom?
Only in these major metropolises are there the kinds of jobs in finance and entertainment that allow for a family to live luxe on a single income. In any case, having forgotten everything but the lotus position, these women are the reason their husbands think all women are dumb, and I don't blame them. . . .
People make choices on whether the wives stay home and work or make more money outside the home.  You can make it on a single income, but it means a smaller home, buying clothes at Goodwill, taking fewer vacations.


Remembering the War of 1812

USA Today has a very nice discussion of the war available here.  The 200th anniversary is on Monday.
What followed was equally bizarre, especially an early string of U.S. naval victories. James Grossman, director of the American Historical Association, says it's as if Serbia had smacked around the U.S. Air Force in 1999. . . .Jim Hill of the Niagara (Ont.) Parks Commission recalls an old saying: "Canadians are sure they won the War of 1812, Americans are pretty sure, and the British never heard of it." British Prime Minister David Cameron admitted as much on his last visit to the White House, joking, "We so much more prefer talking about defeating the French." . . .


Some notes on Neil Munro interrupting Obama on Friday

1) Mr. Munro claims that he thought that Obama was finished speaking when he tried to ask his question.
Munro said in a statement Friday that he thought the president had finished talking when he asked his question. “I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the president of the United States,” he said. . . .
His interview with the Daily Caller is available here.
 People can judge for themselves here.

2) Here is a copy of an October 14, 1987 Associated Press article that has been making the rounds.  The article was entitled: "Why Do Grown Men And Women Shout At President Reagan?" Click to make the article larger.  Note the line at the end of the first column: "But they say the blame rests with Reagan and his aides, who have sharply curtailed opportunities for the press corps to engage the president under more civil circumstances." Note that the article says that this shouting also occurs at ceremonies.  It is difficult to read this article and not perceive that there is a double standard on this issue of the press asking questions.

Politico has a thread entitled: "Neil Munro's Last Day at the Rose Garden."  What would the reaction have been if the Reagan administration had tried to remove press passes from those who shouted questions at Reagan during ceremonies?

3) Should Munro have interrupted the president?  No.  But it appears as if Obama rarely has the press asking him tough questions and in his press conferences he seems to always call on relatively friendly reporters.  Could it be that all the reporters are friendly to him?  Probably not, but if he isn't going to take critical questions, it seems like the quote from the AP story that I referenced above is relevant here.

4) The claim that Munro's question was a result of racism is undercut by point 2 above.  Of course, if it was unintentional as Munro claims, the whole issue is mute.  It would be nice if those claiming racism had some proof of it.
Julian Epstein asked if a white president would receive the same treatment.  The answer is actually "yes."
Also on MSNBC, Toure adds:
"This disrespect of this human being cannot be disconnected from the fact that he’s black."
Also on MSNBC: Rep. Cummings: Racism "Has Something To Do With" Obama Interruption