Very close fight expected in adopting right-to-carry in Kansas

A bill that would allow Kansans to carry concealed handguns easily passed the Senate on Thursday, taking a step toward a tug-of-war with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius over gun rights.

The measure passed the Senate 29-11, two votes more than needed to override an expected veto by the governor.

"This isn't a vote about the governor. This isn't a vote about the elections coming up. This is a vote about freedom," said Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, the bill's sponsor.

But a gubernatorial veto seems likely if the measure passes the House, as is expected in the coming weeks. The bill is nearly identical to one Sebelius vetoed two years ago.

"The governor's position is very clear," said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.

Sebelius hasn't said outright that she would flush the bill. Her spokeswoman, Nicole Corcoran, said Thursday, "It just depends on what gets to her."

Sebelius has been supportive in the past only of legislation that would allow retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed guns.

In the House, it would take 84 votes to override a veto. That could be difficult, supporters admit.

"I think I've got 84 on the nose, and that's on a good day," said Rep. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth and the measure's top supporter in the House.

With tax season coming up soon

This is one of my favorite songs and as I start organizing files here are they lyrics to one of my favorite songs that might help put everyone in the proper frame of mind:

The Beatles' Taxman

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

A start on budget cuts

Bush's budget proposes to cut public broadcasting by 30 percent. Of course, the president for public televisions "condemned cuts in federal funding." But it is beyond me how anyone can really claim that there is a need for this funding or that it can be justified. What does public broadcasting offer that is not available elsewhere or what does it have that wouldn't be picked up if it were at all valued? Why should the people who listen to "All Things Considered" be subsidized by other normally poorer people? My only complaint is that the cut is only 30 percent.


It is OK to eat fatty food: Another piece of commonly accepted medical advice seriously questioned

Some bad economic advice

Russell Roberts writing at Cafe Hayek has a great piece nailing some financially dangerous economic advice. The point is that just because some randomness caused a bet to pay off in the past doesn't mean it will work in the future. There is a chance that a fair coin will give me 5 heads in a row, but I wouldn't want to take more than a fifty-fifty chance that it will come up heads a sixth time.


Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

For a forthcoming book that I have, I have collected a lot of data on the Supreme Court as well as other federal courts. One thing of some interest is the age of retirement. Justice John Paul Stevens is 85, and only two justices nominated since 1862 have retired past age 85: Oliver W. Holmes, Jr. ( age 90) and Harry A. Blackman (age 86). The average age of retirement was 71 (with a standard deviation of 8.5). For those who have retired after 1980, the average retirement age was 78. Since 1862, there have only been six nominees who served longer than 30 years on the court. Stevens passed the 30 year mark this past December. After this next election this fall, there will only have been four Justices who will have served longer than Stevens.

Illinois Gov Rod Blagojevich in trouble in the polls

A new rasmussen poll shows that Blagojevich unfavorable rating is 49 percent while those approving are at only 40 percent. He is also trailing State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) by 48 to 37 percent. Republicans might have a hard time keeping up their number of governorships, but the Democrats could easily lose Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin.

A confession

I have a confession. Many people will probably view it as a little wierd, but I like just looking through statistical volumes such as "Historical Statistics of the United States." Robert Samuelson's article in today's Washington Post


The ABA Responds to my op-ed in the New York Times

The ABA does not contradict a single one of the facts that I put forward in my New York Times op-ed. They also misinterpret what I wrote. I did not say that Roberts and Alito got ratings that were higher than they deserve. What I wrote was that the ratings for Republican nominees were particularly low relative to Democrats when there was a Republican President and a Democratic Senate.

Federal Court Nominees
New York Times

Published: February 4, 2006
To the Editor:

We dispute the description in "Pulling Rank," by John R. Lott Jr. (Op-Ed, Jan. 25), of what the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary does and what it does not do.

Democrats and Republicans, and Americans, want individuals nominated to the federal bench who are professionally qualified, which is why President Dwight Eisenhower asked the American Bar Association to evaluate the professional qualifications of his prospective judicial nominees. And why Democrats and Republicans since then have looked to our Standing Committee for nonpartisan peer evaluations.

Our only goal is to advance the fair and impartial administration of justice by helping to assure an independent and qualified judiciary. What the committee has never considered is a nominee's ideology. It focuses only on three areas: professional competence, judicial temperament and integrity.

To suggest that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. were given the American Bar Association's highest rating for cynical and tactical reasons is an insult to the judges themselves. They gained the committee's highest rating for one reason only: they earned it.

Michael S. Greco
American Bar Association
Washington, Feb. 2, 2006

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