I thought Sadam didn't have a significant nuclear weapons program

Well, I guess that Saddam Hussein's nuclear program was real after all:

The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions. . . .


Americans favor drilling in ANWR

The Pew Research Center poll finds:

More adults in the United States want to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 50 per cent of respondents favour the idea, while 43 per cent are opposed. . . .

On Jun. 18, Bush once again voiced support for oil exploration in Alaska, saying, "We should expand American oil production by permitting exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR. When ANWR was created in 1980, Congress specifically reserved a portion for energy development. In 1995, Congress passed legislation allowing oil production in this small fraction of ANWR’s 19 million acres. With a drilling footprint of less than 2,000 acres—less than one-tenth of one per cent of this distant Alaskan terrain—America could produce an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil. That is roughly the equivalent of two decades of imported oil from Saudi Arabia. Yet my predecessor vetoed this bill."


London Police set up special task force to combat knife crime

Admittedly knives are a lot less useful defensively, particularly for physically weaker victims since you have to come into physical contact to use them, but this is still worth some note:

[London police] have established a special anti-knife-crime unit to address the recent spate of fatal stabbings in the British capital, Paul Stephenson, deputy commissioner of London Metropolitan Police, was quoted as saying. . . . .

Thanks to Zach Gennaro for the link.


Students for Concealed Carry having first National Convention on August 1st

David Hardy has the information on the event:

Students for Conceal Carry on Campus (SCCC) will be having their first National Conference on Friday, August 1st at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. funded by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). . . .

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Petition to allow Concealed Handguns in the UK

Graham Showell is trying to do what some might think is impossible: He is trying to make it possible for citizens to again carry concealed handguns. Brits were able to do this a hundred years ago. Graham is asking for people to sign his online petition here.


Obama "refining" his position on Iraq

First, Obama promised that he would end the war in 2009. Then he said that he would have the troops out in 16 months. Possibly one could say that was a small difference. Some might say that change isn't a large change. After all, saying he would end it in 2009 could have meant December 2009. But now Obama has introduced a new refinement that eliminates much of the difference between himself and McCain.

“If it turned out, for example, that we had to, in certain months slow the pace (of withdrawal) because of the safety of American troops … of course we would take that into account,” [Obama] said.

“I would be a poor commander in chief if I didn’t take the facts on the ground into account.”

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Disney suspends worker for having gun locked in his car at work

Disney is not getting high marks from me this week. With "Wall*E" being an environmentalist screed, now they indicate this phobia against guns. Whatever the exceptions in the law, how could the fact that Disney have fireworks be relevant to whether workers are allowed to have locked guns in their cars? WFTV has the story here:

Disney Employee Suspended After Bringing Gun To Work
POSTED: 5:18 pm EDT July 4, 2008
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- A new state law went on the books Tuesday saying people could bring guns to work if they kept them locked in their car. Disney, though, said it was exempt from the new law and its 62,000 employees needed to keep their guns at home.

Friday, a worker who protested the park’s decision told Channel 9 he was suspended.

The worker was well aware that he could end up losing his job when he took the gun to work Friday morning, but said that the principle at stake means enough to him that he was willing to take the risk, especially on the day we celebrate the country and our freedoms.

As he pulled into work, Edwin Sotomayor recorded Sheriff’s Deputies and Disney managers waiting for him. After he refused a car search, managers drove Sotomayor to their offices, questioned him further and then sent him to his normal post. Four hours into his shift, Sotomayor says he was suspended.

Disney told employees it is exempt from the new law that allows them to bring a gun to work, because it stores fireworks on site. . . .

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Finally, a good justification for not eating Tofu

Personally, I dislike tofu, and it is nice to be able to have this response at the ready:

Eating high levels of some soy products - including tofu - may raise the risk of memory loss, research suggests. . . . .

Lead researcher Professor Eef Hogervorst said previous research had linked oestrogen therapy to a doubling of dementia risk in the over-65s.

She said oestrogens - and probably phytoestrogens - tended to promote growth among cells, not necessarily a good thing in the ageing brain.

Alternatively, high doses of oestrogens might promote the damage caused to cells by particles known as free radicals.
A third theory is that damage is caused not by the tofu, but by formaldehyde, which is sometimes used in Indonesia as a preservative.

The researchers admit that more research is required to ascertain whether the same effects are found in other ethnic groups.
However, previous research has also linked high tofu consumption to an increased risk of dementia in older Japanese American men. . . .



Indoctrination on the environment is everyplace

Why I don't want my kids to see the movie "Wall-E." Penn Jillette wrote this in the LA Times:

I took my children to see the film "Wall-E." This wonderful family entertainment opens with the given that mankind destroyed Earth. You can't turn on the TV without seeing someone hating ourselves for what we've done to the planet and preaching the end of the world. Maybe they're right, but is there no room for "maybe"? There's a lot of evidence, but global warming encompasses a lot of complicated points: Is it happening? Did we cause it? Is it bad? Can we fix it? Is government-forced conservation the only way to fix it? . . .

We have liked all the previous Pixar movies, but I am not going to take my kids to see this movie. While most movie reviews are falling all over themselves saying what a wonderful movie this is, here is one useful review here.

UPDATE: One reader responds that I shouldn't hide this from my kids, but should explain what is in the movie to them. 1) This movie is hardly unique. I have to constantly respond to this type of propaganda all the time. There is little new here. My kids get shown movies such as Charlton Heston's Soylent Green in their science classes. Kids can't make it through junior high without seeing Al Gore's movie at least once and they can't make it through senior high without seeing it several more times.

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Permit holder stops Nashville Restaurant Robbery

WBIR, the NBC television station in Nashville, as the story here:

Nashville robbery ends when restaurant manager shoots suspect
The Tennessean Updated: 7/4/2008 10:27:13 AM Posted: 7/4/2008 10:26:34 AM
Two men tried to rob an Nashville Sonic restaurant, but an assistant manager pulled out a gun and fired shots, causing the suspects to flee. Police believe that one or both of the suspects was wounded.

Metro police Capt. Michele Donegan said that at approximately 10:30 p.m. Thursday, two men, one of whom was armed with a handgun, went inside the Sonic at 1410 Robinson Road, in Old Hickory. Several employees were at the restaurant, and numerous customers were at the tables outside and at the drive-ups. The armed suspect showed the gun. The assistant manager then pulled out a gun and fired several shots, Donegan said. The two men fled out the door without firing. Police are still looking for them.

After police arrived on the scene, they followed a blood trail leading across the parking and ending at a car wash. Police think that there was probably a third person with a car that they fled in. Police searched the wooded area behind the car wash using the canine and helicopter units to be sure.

No employees or customers were hurt.

The assistant manager has a carry permit, according to police. . . .

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A real American hero

A little from Fox News about the hero and the ceremony in his honor.

Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor was killed in battle in Iraq in September 2006, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in April.

His funeral in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego was attended by “nearly every SEAL on the West Coast,” President Bush said.

During the service, as Monsoor's coffin was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, Navy SEALs lined up in two columns. As the coffin passed, video shows each SEAL slapping down the gold Trident from his uniform and deeply embedding it in Monsoor's wooden coffin.

The slaps were reportedly heard across the cemetery.

The symbolic display moved many, included Bush, who during his speech in April's Medal of Honor ceremony spoke about the incident. . .


No matter how much Obama continues his sudden changes on issues many still think they know who he will appoint to the Supreme Court

Eugene Volokh tells Time magazine:

And Obama's run to the center surely won't stop conservatives from using the specter of a Democratic-appointed Supreme Court to try to rally support. "Its pretty clear that if he's elected and Justice Scalia or Kennedy retires that he's going to appoint someone who's very likely to reverse [the gun control decision]," says Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law. Given how Obama has been responding to the recent Supreme Court decisions, however, you're not likely to hear him talking about appointing liberal justices much between now and November.

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Obama altering his positions and other aspects of his personal history

"He passed a law to move people from welfare to work, slashed the rolls by 80 percent."

Here is a discussion about Obama's new ad on welfare reform:

For His Welfare

Barack Obama is championing welfare reform in his new television ad titled "Dignity." The ad says that Obama "passed a law to move people from welfare to work — slashed the rolls by 80 percent."

But the television spot fails to mention that Obama resisted the very welfare reform bill that led to the reduction in the caseload. Back in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a federal reform bill in an effort to make welfare what he called "a second chance, not a way of life."

But then-Illinois state Senator Obama told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper that year that Mr. Clinton's stance on welfare was "disturbing."

And on May 31, 1997 Obama said on the floor of the Illinois state Senate, "I probably would not have supported the federal legislation."

Here is another discussion of the changes from ABC News:

The shift in Obama's rhetoric on welfare reform has proceeded in stages. When former President Bill Clinton was poised to sign welfare reform while running for re-election in 1996, Obama called it "disturbing." A decade later, as an underdog running for president against Clinton's wife, he spent 2007 avoiding the subject. By the time Obama emerged as the Democratic frontrunner in the spring of 2008, he began leaving the impression that he was for it all along. . . .

"He worked his way through college and Harvard Law." -- This claim is also false.

But "worked his way" through college and law school? The only back-up the campaign provided for this claim was a quote from Obama's book "Dreams from My Father" having to do with a construction job he had one summer while he was in college, and an article mentioning his job as a summer associate one year at a big Chicago law firm. We asked campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor if Obama held jobs during the school year, or other summer jobs, but he said only, "He had the two jobs I told you about." Unless Obama had a good bit more employment than his spokesman was able to describe for us, it's a real stretch to claim he "worked his way" through school.

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More regulation on the way?

Apparently there is significant support for government regulation of the internet. My response is a sarcastic "good luck."

Half of adults in the United States believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should regulate the Internet like it does radio and television, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 49 per cent of respondents agree with the idea, while 35 per cent disagree. . . .



St. Louis: "Homeowner kills man in apparent self defense"

The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH has this story today:

ST. LOUIS -- A Baden neighborhood homeowner shot and killed a man who struck him in the head with a pipe after the homeowner confronted the man early this morning, police said.

Police would only identify the dead man by his age: 43.

The homeowner, who also is not being identified by police, said that he heard a noise outside of his home in the 9000 block of Edna Avenue early this morning. When he went outside, he found the man, who the homeowner knew, police said.

The man then struck the homeowner in the head with a metal pipe and the homeowner ran back inside his house, police said. The man, still carrying the metal pipe, followed the homeowner into the house.

The homeowner then shot the man several times. The man ran out of the house and collapsed in the street in the 1000 block of Melvin Avenue, police said. The man died.

When police got to the man -- about 4:50 a.m. -- they found a metal bar lying next to his body, police said. . . .

Thanks to Anthony Troglio for this link.


71 year old former Marine with concealed handgun permit stops armed robbery

The story from WPLG (channel 10 in Miami) is here:

Former Marine's Actions Called Into Question
Family Of Subway Robbery Suspect Says Customer Shouldn't Have Pulled Trigger
POSTED: 10:30 am EDT June 29, 2007
PLANTATION, Fla. -- The family of one of the men who was shot by a retired United States Marine while they attempted to rob a Subway sandwich shop said the customer shouldn't have pulled the trigger.

According to Plantation police, two armed men barged into the Subway at 1949 Pine Island Road shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, demanding money from the employee behind the counter. When they tried to force John Lovell into the bathroom, he pulled out a gun and shot both men, police said.

Donicio Arrindell, 22, was shot in the head and later died at the hospital. Fredrick Gadson, 21, was shot in the chest and ran from the Subway, but police found him in hiding in some bushes on the property of a nearby BankAtlantic.

Lovell, 71, was the lone customer at the time. Police said he had a concealed weapons permit. . . .

Thanks to Richard of Newport.

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Chris Wallace changes his views on media bias since coming to Fox News

NewsBusters has the discussion here.


FBI Director Robert Mueller and guns

FBI worries about individuals having gun rights. Can you imagine how aggressively the FBI will create problems under a Democratic administration?

FBI Director Robert Mueller on Monday criticized the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, saying it may harm efforts to deter violent crime.


Cuba to scrap salary equality

Cuba has finally acknowledged that incentives matter. Here is an article from the BBC.

Cuba is to abolish its system of equal pay for all and allow workers and managers to earn performance bonuses, a senior official has announced.

Vice-Minister for Labour Carlos Mateu said the current system - in place since the communist revolution in 1959 - was no longer "convenient".

He said wage differentiation should improve production and services.

President Raul Castro has introduced a series of reforms since succeeding his ailing brother Fidel in February.
Writing in the communist party newspaper Granma Mr Mateu said workers would receive a minimum 5% bonus for meeting targets but with no ceiling on salaries.

Managers could earn a 30% bonus if the team working under them increased production, he said.

The minister pointed out that the current wage system sapped employees' incentives to excel since everyone earned the same regardless of performance.

"It's harmful to give a worker less than he deserves, it's also harmful to give him what he doesn't deserve," the newspaper article said. . . .

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San Antonio: "Man Recounts Shooting of Home Intruder"

From WOAI NBC 4 San Antonio

I had linked to a news article on this case at the bottom of this post here.



What might the Heller decision mean for concealed carry permits

The LA Times has an interesting discussion by reporter David G. Savage here ("Supreme Court gun ruling leaves questions," June 28, 2008):

California allows gun owners to carry a concealed weapon if they obtain a permit. NRA attorney Chuck Michel said he expected legal challenges to be filed in Los Angeles and San Francisco because officials there regularly rejected requests for permits.

"Licensing and registration are hot issues," Michel said. "I don't think the Supreme Court would strike down licensing entirely. But we will look for an opportunity to challenge a policy that denies concealed-weapons permits."

Application of gun-permit laws has analogies in the 1st Amendment. For instance, the high court has ruled that cities may require permits for demonstrations and limit them to public parks or other open areas, but that cities generally may not give some groups a permit to demonstrate while denying a permit to another group with a different message.

UCLA's Winkler expects the high court to uphold reasonable regulations of firearms, even if the justices say the 2nd Amendment is like the 1st Amendment, he said. . . .

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Utah governor considers changing Concealed Carry Law

This will dramatically increase the cost of permits for out of state residents. The Utah permit which is recognized around the country was the closest thing besides Florida to a national permit.

A lot of Utah's concealed carry permits go out of state, and Gov. Jon Huntsman doesn't see the benefit unless the law is changed to help tourism. He's considering the idea.

"Let's use it as a travel and tourism opportunity; have them come here to our state to go through the prerequisites here while staying in our hotels and dining in our restaurants," the governor said. . . .


Two Indiana Counties start issuing concealed handguns on line

The Fort Wayne newspaper has the story here:

"Residents of Wells and Miami counties are the first people in Indiana who may apply for a firearm permit online."


Pasadena, Texas man cleared in shooting of burglars

I have had two previous postings about this well known case here and here. Several people over the last week wrote me about it and I should have posted this earlier. Both of the burglars were illegal immigrants, one of them had already been deported once. Houston's Channel 2 reports this:

A Pasadena homeowner who fatally shot two men suspected of burglarizing his neighbor's house was cleared by a Harris County grand jury on Monday, KPRC Local 2 reported.
Joe Horn's attorney, Tom Lambright, said that his 62-year-old client "acted in self-defense and had no choice."
Grand jurors announced the decision to not have charges filed against Horn after gathering evidence for two weeks, including hearing testimony from Horn.
Pasadena police said Horn killed burglary suspects Hernando Torres, 38, and Diego Ortiz, 30, by shooting them in the back at about 2 p.m. on Nov. 14 as they ran from Horn's neighbor's house in the 7400 block of Timberline Drive.
"Today, having heard and considered all the evidence, the grand jury no-billed Joe Horn. I can tell you the grand jury conducted a thorough review of the evidence and the testimony," Harris County District Attorney Ken Magidson said. . . .

Horn called 911 and told a dispatcher he witnessed two men break into his neighbor's house and that he would shoot if he stepped outside.
Horn told a 911 operator to hurry police because he was not going to let the men get away.
Horn: "I can't take a chance on getting killed over this, OK?"
911: "No."
Horn: "I'm going to shoot."
911: "Stay inside the house and don't go out there, OK?"
A few minutes later, Torres and Ortiz, both illegal immigrants, were dead.

Coverage from the Houston Chronicle is available here.

Thanks to Scott Davis for sending me these and many other links to the story. Sonya Jones provided this link from CNS here.

Here is a report of a similar defensive gun use in San Antonio.

San Antonio police said Stevens likely would not be charged in the 9:30 p.m. shooting of Stephen C. Garcia Jr. at Stevens' home in the 6500 block of Arrid Pass. Garcia survived a gunshot wound to his abdomen and was charged with burglary of a habitation. He was taken to University Hospital, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday. His bail was set at $75,000.

“It appears it was in self-defense, and that the homeowner protected his family,” said San Antonio Police Department spokesman Joe Rios.

Texas law has permitted residents to use deadly force to protect themselves and their personal property for many years. Last year, the Legislature broadened the law to include a “castle doctrine,” allowing a person to use deadly force in self-defense against an intruder without having to retreat into a home.


Incentives matter, an example of where students want to work

Higher salaries do attract people to study for those jobs.

It was these gender differences that Katz and Goldin set out to study with their survey, dubbed “Harvard and Beyond,” conducted in 2006 and 2007. Men still command higher salaries, on average, than women with the same educational attainment, and even in some cases with the same type of job; this appears to be due to women’s preference for family-friendly jobs and employers (see “Girl Power: What’s Changed for Women and What Hasn’t,” January-February, page 34). Goldin is the author of Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women, and the two previously collaborated on a study of the role of the birth-control pill vis-à-vis women’s decisions regarding career and marriage.

But the new survey also turned up plenty of other things, including the size of the shift into finance, and the reason for that shift. For the entire respondent pool, across all occupations, the median income for men was $162,000, and for women $90,000; graduates working in finance earned nearly three times that median, in a pool of people already paid far more than average. (Among the general U.S. population in 2006, men’s median income was just over $42,000, and women’s was under $33,000.)

Finance’s extremely high compensation has lured Harvard graduates who might otherwise have pursued law or medicine: the prevalence of those fields, combined, declined from 39 percent to 30 percent between the two cohorts. Although some of those employed in finance have M.B.A.s, many of the jobs, unlike those in law and medicine, require no advanced degree.

This pattern among Harvard graduates reflects a similar pattern in the wider society. The finance sector’s contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product swelled from 4.4 percent in 1977 to 7.7 percent, or roughly $950 billion, in 2005, according to a report on the survey by Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel. One of every 13 dollars of employee compensation in the United States today goes to people working in finance, the column noted, and in 2004, the combined income of the top 25 hedge-fund managers exceeded the combined income of the CEOs of all Standard & Poor’s 500 companies. . . .

Hat tip to Craig Newmark on this.

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Obama got a preferential loan rate on his home

Will this story in the Washington Post matter?

Shortly after joining the U.S. Senate and while enjoying a surge in income, Barack Obama bought a $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. To finance the purchase, he secured a $1.32 million loan from Northern Trust in Illinois.

The freshman Democratic senator received a discount. He locked in an interest rate of 5.625 percent on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, below the average for such loans at the time in Chicago. The loan was unusually large, known in banker lingo as a "super super jumbo." Obama paid no origination fee or discount points, as some consumers do to reduce their interest rates.

Compared with the average terms offered at the time in Chicago, Obama's rate could have saved him more than $300 per month.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the rate was adjusted to account for a competing offer from another lender and other factors. "The Obamas have since had as much as $3 million invested through Northern Trust," he said in a statement.

Modest adjustments in mortgage rates are common among financial institutions as they compete for business or develop relationships with wealthy families. But amid a national housing crisis, news of discounts offered to Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the banking committee, and Kent Conrad (D-N.D) by another lender, Countrywide Financial, has brought new scrutiny to the practice and has resulted in a preliminary Senate ethics committee inquiry into the Dodd and Conrad loans. . . . .

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Can the government ban gun ownership in public housing?

The NRA and Second Amendment Foundation have filed an interesting lawsuit in San Francisco. In many ways this ban seems very similar to the DC gun ban. The main difference appears to me to be only whether the Second Amendment applies to the states.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The National Rifle Association sued the city of San Francisco on Friday to overturn its ban on handguns in public housing, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in the nation's capital.

The legal action follows a similar lawsuit against the city of Chicago over its handgun ban, filed within hours of Thursday's high court ruling.

In San Francisco, the NRA was joined by the Washington state-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and a gun owner who lives in the city's Valencia Gardens housing project.

The gun owner, who is gay, says he keeps the weapon to defend himself from "sexual orientation hate crimes." He was not identified in the complaint because he said he fears retaliation.

Mayor Gavin Newsom said the city will "vigorously fight the NRA" and defended the ban as good for public safety.

"Is there anyone out there who really believes that we need more guns in public housing?" Newsom said. "I can't for the life of me sit back and roll over on this. We will absolutely defend the rights of the housing authority." . . .

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Senator Harry Reid has Alzheimer's?

I was told today by a reputable insider that Harry Reid has Alzheimer's and will step down as the Senate majority leader after this election. No one would wish this horrible disease on anyone. If it is known among some in DC, I assume that they will have to let it be known to the voters generally almost immediately.

Update: Jim Manley from Senator Reid's office contacted me this afternoon and told me that what I had been told was a "malicious lie" and that he "do[es] not believe" that I meant my statement that "No one would wish this horrible disease on anyone." Manley also denied that Reid had anything that might be confused with Alzheimer's and that all the statements that I had made were false. Since the only other statement that had been made was that Reid would step down after this election, I take him to mean that was also false. While the person who told me this was someone who I have trusted for a long time and he sticks by his information, since I assume that Manley has better information on this and would not lie about something this important, I accept that his statement is accurate. Manley angrily wanted me to remove this post from my blog, but I thought that it would be better to include


More Flip-flops by Obama

OK, on top of FISA, NAFTA, Campaign finance, preconditions for negotiating with rogue countries, and Guns add welfare reform, social security taxes, and gay marriage. ABC News has these notes:

Barack Obama aligned himself with welfare reform on Monday, launching a television ad which touts the way the overhaul "slashed the rolls by 80 percent." Obama leaves out, however, that he was against the 1996 federal legislation which precipitated the caseload reduction.

"I am not a defender of the status quo with respect to welfare," Obama said on the floor of the Illinois state Senate on May 31, 1997. "Having said that, I probably would not have supported the federal legislation, because I think it had some problems."

Obama's transformation from critic to champion of welfare reform is the latest in a series of moves to the center. Since capturing the Democratic nomination, the Obama campaign has altered its stances on Social Security taxes, meeting with rogue leaders without preconditions, and the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.'s, sweeping gun ban.

This is on social security:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., outlined a Social Security plan last week that helps inoculate him against Republican charges that he wants to hike payroll taxes on the upper-middle class. But the proposal would raise far less revenue -- $847 billion less over ten years -- than an idea he touted in an Iowa newspaper last year when he was seeking the Democratic nomination.

The substantial revenue difference between Obama's 2007 idea and his 2008 plan will make it harder to shore up the federal retirement program. . . .

Here is Obama's changing position of negotiating with rogue nations:

In his speech Wednesday before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama sounded. He said the military option is "on the table" for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, and in stark contrast to earlier statements, he said he would meet with Iranian leaders "if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States."

Obama's tone was strikingly different from it has been in the past. . . .

The Sacremento Bee reports:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who previously said the issue of gay marriage should be left up to each state, has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

Obama had previously said he opposes same-sex marriage but that each state should make its own decision.

Here is yet another one from Kim Strassel at the WSJ's Political Diary:

[Obama] bemoaned the fact that "a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal." That would be General David Petraeus, who last year was the focus of a MoveOn.org smear ad in major newspapers under the headline: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

Recall that an uproar ensued at the time and Democratic politicians across the country disavowed the slur. Some 72 Senators even voted for a "sense of the Senate" resolution that condemned the attack and offered support for Gen. Petraeus. Yet one who didn't was none other than Sen. Obama. He managed to miss the Senate resolution vote, despite the fact he was in Washington and voted on two other measures that day. Indeed, when given an opportunity to criticize the ad, Mr. Obama instead criticized the Senate's decision to hold a vote denouncing it. "The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements," Mr. Obama said. "This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq."bemoaned the fact that "a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal." That would be General David Petraeus, who last year was the focus of a MoveOn.org smear ad in major newspapers under the headline: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

Recall that an uproar ensued at the time and Democratic politicians across the country disavowed the slur. Some 72 Senators even voted for a "sense of the Senate" resolution that condemned the attack and offered support for Gen. Petraeus. Yet one who didn't was none other than Sen. Obama. He managed to miss the Senate resolution vote, despite the fact he was in Washington and voted on two other measures that day. Indeed, when given an opportunity to criticize the ad, Mr. Obama instead criticized the Senate's decision to hold a vote denouncing it. "The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements," Mr. Obama said. "This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq."

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How Do You Register a Firearm in the District?

I am not sure that the rules for registering a handgun will be the same as those for a rifle or shotgun, but here are the current rules.

How Do I Register a Firearm in the District?
To register a fiream, residents must report to the
Firearms Registration Section of the Metropolitan Police
Department, located at 300 Indiana Avenue, NW. The appli-
cation process may take up to 14 days. The cost for register-
ing each firearm is $13, plus $35 to process fingerprints.
Applicants must:
Be 21 years of age
Complete a firearms application
Bring proof of residency (e.g., D.C. Driver’s License)
Bring two (2) passport-sized front facing photos
Be fingerprinted
Pass a 20-question multiple choice test
Complete a notarized firearms eligibility statement

Thanks to Neal Atkins for the link.


New Op-ed at Fox News: Reaction to D.C. Gun Ban Decision

You can read the entire piece here.

The Supreme Court's decision Thursday affirming that people have a right to own guns evoked all sorts of reactions. Let's just go through a few of them.

1) One of the strangest was Barack Obama's claim that the court had essentially confirmed what had been his positions all along. . . .

2) Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daily, whose city had a lawsuit similar to the case just decided in DC filed against it yesterday, attacked the Supreme Court's decision as favoring those with power. . . . .

3) District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty had his own prediction: "More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence." . . . .

For equal time, here is Cass Sunstein's take on Obama's views on guns and the death penalty:

A top legal adviser to Obama says both cases are consistent with his previous positions. "I don't see him as moving in his statements on the death penalty or the gun case," says Cass Sunstein, a former colleague of Obama's at the University of Chicago. Sunstein says Obama is "not easily characterized" on social issues . . . .

But not even Time magazine is convinced by the sudden changes:

But Obama's sudden social centrism would sound more convincing in a different context. Since he wrapped up the primary earlier this month and began to concentrate on the independent and moderate swing voters so key in a general election, Obama has consistently moved to the middle . . .

To me, the problem is that "not easily characterized" seems another way of saying that these changes cannot be easily explained.



Quote from Chicago Area on Supreme Court case

The Chicago Tribune has this quote from someone who is happy about the Supreme Court decision this past week.

Hale DeMar of Wilmette gained notoriety four years ago when he shot a burglar in his home and was cited with violating the village's gun ownership ban. The case was resolved when the state passed a law enabling courts to ignore local gun ordinances in cases where the weapon was used in self-defense.

"I understand the politics of it, but as a parent of two small children who was faced with that situation, I was glad to have the handgun in my house. I would do it again," DeMar said Thursday. The burglar "weighed more than 200 pounds. I'm a 60-year-old guy and I weigh 140 pounds. What am I going to do? Argue with the guy?"

As a state senator, Obama voted against a popular bi-partisan bill that would have prohibited prosecution of otherwise law-abiding citizens, such as DeMar, for violating local gun prohibition ordinances in Illinois if the gun was used to stop a home invasion by violent criminals.


Some bragging rights : Justice Breyer cites More Guns, Less Crime

Justice Breyer cites one of my books on guns in his opinion:

In the view of respondent’s amici, this evidence shows that other remedies—such as less restriction on gun ownership, or liberal authorization of law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons—better fit the problem. See, e.g., Criminologists’ Brief 35–37 (advocating easily obtainable gun licenses); Brief for Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc. et al. as Amici Curiae 15 (hereinafter SLF Brief) (advocating “widespread gun ownership” as a deterrent to crime); see also J. Lott, More Guns, Less Crime (2d ed. 2000). They further suggest that at a minimum the District fails to show that its remedy, the gun ban, bears a reasonable relation to the crime and accident problems that the District seeks to solve. See, e.g., Brief for Respondent 59–61. . . .

The upshot is a set of studies and counterstudies that, at most, could leave a judge uncertain about the proper policy conclusion. But from respondent’s perspective any such uncertainty is not good enough. That is because legislators, not judges, have primary responsibility for drawing policy conclusions from empirical fact. And, given that constitutional allocation of decisionmaking responsibility, the empirical evidence presented here is sufficient to allow a judge to reach a firm legal conclusion. . . . .

Notice: Justice Breyer was originally one of the commissioners on the US Sentencing Commission when I was chief economist there.

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