Industry IT experts say IRS claims about lost emails make no sense

From Fox News:
An industry group is claiming the IRS should have kept full records of its apparent destruction of ex-official Lois Lerner's hard drive, saying "the notion that these emails just magically vanished makes no sense whatsoever."  
The latest to weigh in on the lost emails controversy is the head of the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers. Group president Barbara Rembiesa released a statement on Thursday questioning recent testimony by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who told Congress last Friday that Lerner's hard drive was "recycled and destroyed" after it crashed in 2011.  
She claimed that a certified "IT asset destruction" team should have been brought in to document and complete that process.  
"If this was done, there would be records. If this was not done, this is the smoking gun that proves the drive or drives were destroyed improperly -- or not at all," she said. . . .


"IRS Commissioner: 'I Do Not Remember' How I Was Told Lerner Emails Lost"

This gets to the simple question of honesty.  It isn't be quite as bad as the revelation that they didn't try to retrieve Lois Lerner's emails when she had a hard disk crash (they claimed that they had six months of backups at the IRS, but they only looked on her hard disk when the crash occurred and didn't go to the IRS backups and soon dropped the outside vendor who was backing up the emails).  Still, it isn't clear why Koskinen is credible.

Rep. Jim Jordan: "I want to focus on when you did officially learn, according to your definition. The chairman asked you who told you this information, you can’t remember?" 
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: "I do not remember." 
Jordan: "Did someone say in person, did they send you an email, how did you get the information?" 
Koskinen: "I do not recall, I do not get emails on these subjects so I’m sure it was someone in person." 
Jordan: "This has been a major news story for the last 13 months, and you don’t remember who came up to you and said ‘hey boss, we lost Lois Lerner’s emails’? You don’t even remember anything about that situation?" 
Koskinen: "I remember being told in April–" 
Jordan: "But you don’t remember who told you?" 
Koskinen: "I do not recall who told me." 
Jordan: "Something that’s been a front page story, you would think that would be significant enough to remember how it happened, when they told you, what the actual date was. You might even remember where you were standing." 
Koskinen: "You’ve got to remember I’m running an agency with 90,000 people, we are dealing with a whole set of–" 
Jordan: "This has been the biggest issue in front of your agency for the last year!" 
Koskinen: "We were in the middle of filing season as all this was going on."  



"Hillary Clinton Says Opponents Of Gun Control Laws ‘Terrorize’ Americans"

Teacher in the studio audience: Do you think that reinstating the ban on assault weapons and banning high capacity magazines would do any good?
Clinton: Yes, I do.  I do.
More in the write up on the interview is available here:
“We cannot let a minority of people, and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people, hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” Clinton said during a live CNN town hall. The comments were Clinton’s deepest foray into an exceedingly controversial political subject since leaving the State Department last year. 
“I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook,” she said in response to a question from a school teacher in the audience. “I don’t think any parent, or any person should have to fear about their child going to school or going to college because someone for whatever reason, psychological, emotional, political, ideological, whatever, could possibly enter that school property with an automatic weapon and murder innocent children, students, teachers.” 
“I will speak out [on this subject] no matter what role I find myself in,” Clinton pledged, referring to her consideration of a presidential bid in 2016.
Of course, I believe that Hillary is clearly knowingly lying when she talks about automatic weapons.

The video also repeats the false claim about 74 more school shootings

Here is an earlier comment from May by Hillary:
“We’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime,” she said. “And I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people.”
Among Clinton's other views, in 2008 she advocated:

-- "I will also work to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We had it during the 1990s. It really was an aid to our police officers, who are now once again, because it has lapsed--the Republicans will not reinstate it--are being outgunned on our streets by these military-style weapons."

-- She also supports licensing and registration of guns.  

While Clinton was in the Senate she voted against prohibiting frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and also against prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers for “gun violence” cases.

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Women ages 55 to 64 hit hardest by increased costs under Obamacare

From the Washington Post:
What Mark Pauly, Scott Harrington, and Adam Leive of the Wharton School have done is to figure out how much non-elderly individuals spent on insurance before the ACA and then compared these figures with what they’ll spend after the ACA.  They did this by using survey data for 2010 through 2012 from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey that show how much people spent on health care, including premiums and out of pocket payments.  By looking at the total spent rather than just on premiums, the data reflect the fact that someone who buys a policy with a low premium can expect to have higher out of pocket costs, and vice versa.  They report their findings in a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. 
For post-ACA prices, they looked at the premiums for the various levels of coverage (these levels are classified according to various metals: bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and estimated out of pocket payments according to data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The data were tabulated by age and gender for the bronze and the two lowest price silver plans. 
After crunching the numbers, they found that people who buy the bronze or silver plans on the federal exchanges will spend a moderate amount more  — from $694 to $1,165 a year, or 14 to 24 percent — on premiums and out of pocket expenses than they did before the health reform took effect. 
However, that average figure masks a huge redistribution of the costs to older women from nearly everyone else. 
Total expected premiums and out of pocket expenses rose by 50 percent for women age 55 to 64 — a much larger increase than for any other group — for policies on the federal exchanges relative to prices that individuals who bought individual insurance before health care reform went into effect. 
Women age 55 to 64 will pay from $2,185 to $2,738 more in premiums and out of pocket  expenses under the new health insurance environment than they did pre-ACA.
Premiums for the second-lowest silver policy are 67 percent higher for a 55 to 64-year-old woman than they were pre-ACA.
. . .



Note that the Obama administration supported police being able to search people's cell phones without a search warrant

From the Washington Times:
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot go snooping through people’s cell phones without a warrant, in a unanimous decision that amounts to a major statement in favor of privacy rights.Police agencies had argued that searching through the data on cell phones was no different than asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cell phone is more fundamental. . . .
The Obama administration and the state of California, both of which sought to justify cell phone searches . . .
The court did carve out exceptions for “exigencies” that arise, such as major security threats. 

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Isn't it enough that Lois Lerner was using the IRS to target conservatives? Now it turns out that she was also targeting Republican politicians

From Fox News:
Congressional investigators have uncovered emails showing ex-IRS official Lois Lerner targeted a sitting Republican senator for a proposed internal audit, a discovery one GOP lawmaker called "shocking." . . . .
The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012.
The event organizer, whose name is not disclosed, apparently offered to pay for Grassley's wife to attend the event, which caught Lerner's attention. The December 2012 emails show that in response, Lerner suggested to an IRS colleague that the case be referred for an audit.
"Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to Exam?" she wrote.
Her colleague, though, pushed back on the idea, saying an offer to pay for his wife is "not prohibited on its face." There is no indication from the emails that Lerner pursued the issue any further.
Republicans pointed to the exchange as yet another example of Lerner using her position in the Exempt Organizations unit to apply scrutiny to conservatives.
"We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a statement.
"At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights." . . .


The incredible 3% drop in GDP can't be blamed on the cold weather

Click on figures to enlarge them.

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My newest piece at Fox News: "What the Supreme Court still doesn't understand about guns"

John Lott's latest piece at Fox News starts this way:
In what’s being hailed by many as a victory for gun-control advocates, the recent Supreme Court decision on “straw” purchases of guns has completely muddled the whole issue of background checks and “straw” purchases for potential gun owners.
The court ruled 5-4 that, as The Hill.com put it, “one legal gun owner may not acquire a firearm on behalf of another — a practice known as "straw" purchasing. 
The case heard by the high court involved a Virginia police officer, Bruce Abramski, who bought a gun, a Glock 19 handgun, for his uncle. The police officer, who could get a discount on guns, bought the gun in Virginia. He then transferred it to his uncle, who lived in Pennsylvania, through a second licensed dealer in the state. 
The Obama administration successfully prosecuted Abramski for two felonies. The Justice Department said that the same federal background check form where Abramski indicated that he wasn’t a straw purchaser involved perjury as well as for providing false information to the gun dealer who sold the gun. 
The five Justices who supported Obama’s prosecution, claimed: “That information helps to fight serious crime. When police officers retrieve a gun at a crime scene, they can trace it to the buyer and consider him as a suspect.” 
But there are two big problems with their claim. . . . .
The rest of the piece is continued here.

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Liberal Radio Show host tries to get people killed, will yell shots fired when he sees someone openly carrying a gun

This is about as dangerous of a suggestion as I have heard.


2.8% of Americans are newly insured through Obamacare exchanges, those using exchanges are slightly less healthy than average

Gallup's new poll results are discussed here.  My one concern is they discuss "newly insured" and not "net new insured."
Health Insurance Status in the U.S., April-June 2014
Profile of Newly Insured Through Exchanges, by Self-Reported Health Status


IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on the hot seat

In response to Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa asking about IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's earlier promise to the committee in March to turn over all documents.
Koskinen engages in some amazing double talk about what he meant by his promise that there would be no problems with him turning over all the promised emails: "I never said that I would provide you emails that we didn't have."

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Shop keeper kills robber wielding a 6-inch hunting knife

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
. . . Police did not release the 46-year-old shopkeeper's name, but sources identified her as Sharon Doyle, who worked as a police officer in Philadelphia, Lower Makefield, and Warminster Township. She also served as a Secret Service agent from 2002 to 2004, according to a resume posted online.
She was behind the counter of Stan's Health Foods, on the 7100 block of Frankford Avenue in Mayfair, just after 5 p.m. when a 47-year-old man walked in and brandished a 6-inch hunting knife, said Philadelphia Inspector Scott Small.
"No other employees, no customers," Small said. "Just her and the robbery suspect."
The man went behind the counter and threw the cash register on the floor to break it, Small said, then began collecting the money scattered on the floor. He then put the knife to the woman's chest, Small said, and she sprang into action.
She drew a gun and fired a single shot into the man's chest, Small said. The man collapsed on the floor.
When police arrived moments later, the suspect was still clutching some cash in his left hand, Small said. A knife was found nearby.
The man was pronounced dead shortly afterward at Aria Health-Torresdale Campus. . . . .



Hillary Clinton: "We’re Not ‘Truly Well Off’"