Appearing on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk radio show tomorrow at 2 PM EDT

I will be on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk radio show at 2 PM.


Obama Dishonest on Preconditions for Negotiating with Iran?

Here is another whopper. On Obama's recent trip he was asked about his promise during the South Carolina debate to meet with the Iranian government without preconditions. Obama claimed that there was no inconsistency in his positions over time. This is from Obama's speech in Sderot, Israel.

QUESTION: In your first year as president, with president Ahmadinejad, without preconditions, is there anything you have heard today, in your discussions with Israeli leaders that has made you rethink that pledge? Or are you still standing by that?

OBAMA: Dan, I think you have to take a look at what the question was in South Carolina and how I responded.

The question is, would I meet with leaders without preconditions in pursuit...


OBAMA: I understand. I understand.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) ... in your first year as president.

OBAMA: But I think that what I said in response was that I would, at my time and choosing, be willing to meet with any leader if I thought it would promote the national security interests of the United States of America.

And, Dan, that continues to be my position. That if I think that I can get a deal that is going to advance our cause, then I would consider that opportunity.

But what I also said was that there is a difference between meeting without pre-conditions and meeting without preparation. You know, the specific context of your question let's say with respect to Iran, is a Bush administration policy, for example, that said, we will not involve ourselves in any diplomatic negotiations or even talks with the Iranians until they have made the decision to stand down on their nuclear weapons. Well, that presumably would be the topic of negotiations. And if we take that position, then it's not surprising that we might not make much progress on that front.

Yet, here is what happened at that debate last year.

QUESTION: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"... OBAMA: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous. And I think that it is a disgrace that we haven't spoken with them." (CNN/YouTube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07)

In addition, he repeat the promise at the South Carolina debate at other times:

Question: 'Senator, you've said before that you'd meet with President Ahmadinejad ...' Obama: 'Uh huh.' Question: 'Would you still meet with him today?' Obama: 'Yeah, nothing's changed with respect to my belief that strong countries and strong presidents talk to their enemies and talk to their adversaries. I find many of President Ahmadinejad's statements odious and I've said that repeatedly. And I think that we have to recognize that there are a lot of rogue nations in the world that don't have American interests at heart. But what I also believe is that, as John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate.' (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, New York, NY, 9/24/07)

When is the MSM going to prepared enough to actually ask a follow up question?


Mayor Daley already pushing for preparing for "Gun Ban Measure"

Not content to risk losing in court, Chicago's Mayor Daley is pushing for what amounts to a big tax that would make impossible for people to own guns.

In fact, Daley is talking about drafting yet another ordinance to spell out the responsibilities and liabilities of homeowners in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn Washington D.C.'s handgun ban.

If the nation's highest court says it's OK to keep guns in your home for self-defense, what's to prevent those guns from being used against police officers and firefighters who respond to a domestic quarrel or other emergency, the mayor said.

"What does a policeman do when there's a domestic battery [call] and they're both armed? Do they enter the home or apartment or do they wait outside? ... How 'bout the neighbors? How 'bout the postman -- all the other issues that go with people coming into your home or close to your home? ... Whose responsibility is it when your son takes the gun outside and police come by?" Daley told reporters at a senior citizen development in Roseland.

"You have to look at a new ordinance in order to protect firemen and policemen going to the scenes of people who have armed themselves in their home. ... We serve and protect. We're not supposed to lose our lives ... Morton Grove can do anything they want. What I'm saying is you have to look at the first- responders and how it's gonna jeopardize their lives." . . .

Labels: , , ,

Why Europe thinks that they like Obama

Over at the AtlanticBlog, William Sjostrom has a useful post trying to explain why Obama is so popular in Europe. The bottom line is that what makes him popular in Europe should hopefully make him less popular in the US. He quotes one European newspaper making this point:

This, of course, is Europe's favorite dream: a post-Bush America cut down to size and chastened, a meeker and more modest America, a more "European" (that is, a more social-democratic) America, which at last casts off some of its nastier capitalist habits. An America that is a lot more like us Europeans who have forgone power politics and sovereignty in favor of communitarian politics and integration. . . .



A nice compilation of Obama's gaffes

Investor's Business Daily has a nice collection of Obama's gaffes here. A couple that I haven't mentioned:

Consider his claim during a news conference Wednesday in Israel that "just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran."
His committee? Obama isn't even a member of the Banking Committee, let alone its chairman. So was it a self-promoting lie or a misstep? Only he knows. . . .

A few days later, Obama goofed again, asserting that "Israel is a strong friend of Israel's." Sure, he meant America is a good friend of Israel. And sure, he knows the difference. But he's also sure the media will cover his howlers even as they ridicule Republicans when they are just as "inartful."

Except for the Banking Committee one, I have no problem believing that things like the Israeli statement are just silly mistakes that we all make.

Some of the gaffes that I have collected can be seen here.


Some tips on how to avoid speeding tickets

I confess that I have used many of these methods in the past:

Find a 'rabbit'

If you can't find a pack of cars going the speed you'd like to maintain, the next best thing is to find yourself a rabbit -- a solitary driver traveling the speed you'd like to drive that you can follow discretely, about 50-100 yards back. If there's a cop using radar, hopefully the rabbit will trip the trap and get a speeding ticket, not you.

And if he brakes suddenly, you have just received your early warning in time to take defensive action.

Don't change lanes frequently, tailgate, drive aggressively

In addition to being rude and dangerous, you're just asking for a trucker or someone with a cell phone to call the cops and give them a description of your vehicle and license plate number.

Always use your signals and be courteous to fellow drivers. It's safer, and it will help you fade into the background. AOL Autos: Fast, fuel-efficient cars

Avoid the fast lane

Use the far left lane to pass when necessary, but try to stay in the middle lanes when possible.

Reason? If a cop is lurking in a cutout along the median strip (or coming at you from the opposite direction on a divided highway) the speeder in the far left lane is the one most likely to become the target. Drivers who get nailed with speeding tickets are often the type who rack it up to 10 or 15 over the limit and remain in the far left lane.

Watch for cutouts and modulate your speed accordingly

On many highways, there are cutouts in the median strip every couple of miles. Usually, you can see these in plenty of time to slow down a little bit in case there's a cop lurking behind the bushes ready to give you a speeding ticket.

Don't speed when you are the only car on the road

If you ignore this warning it's the equivalent of plastering a "ticket me!" bumper sticker on your vehicle. Even if you're only doing five mph over the posted limit, if there's a cop using radar, he's got nothing to look at but you.

Lonesome speeding is even more dangerous in small towns, where radar traps and aggressive enforcement by cops can be common. And never speed late at night. Drunk-driving patrols are heavy and cops are more inclined to pull you over for any offense in order to check you for signs of alcohol. Don't give them a reason.

If it's OK legally, get a radar detector

Yes, they're expensive (good ones, anyhow). But a one-time hit of, say, $300 for a decent radar detector is cheaper than even a single big speeding ticket and the higher insurance costs that will come with it. Radar detectors are legal in most states and well worth the investment to avoid a speeding ticket.

And finally, if possible, drive a nondescript vehicle

It may not be fair, but it's human nature to notice things that stand out from the crowd. Bright-colored cars, those with loud exhaust or other pimped-out enhancements are the cars more likely to draw a cop's initial attention than ordinary-looking, family-type cars.

Since the cop has to single out one car, which car do you suppose is the likely candidate for a speeding ticket? The bright yellow Mustang GT with 20-inch chrome rims? Or the silver Taurus?

If you do get pulled over while driving a fancy, high-profile car, your odds of getting a speeding ticket versus a warning have probably gone up. If you're driving a fast-looking hot rod, the cop is going to assume you use it and deserve a ticket more than the guy in a family-looking ride whose plea that he "didn't realize he was speeding, officer" comes off as more believable.


Drawing the ire of the unions

Sonya Jones dug up some embarrassing information about the very large Washington Federation of State Employees. Not only has the union attacked Sonya in recent days, but the union is apparently also turning its legal guns on government employees who are behind in their dues.

"We pursued those folks after many years of trying to persuade them to pay their fair share," said Tim Welch, spokesman for the Washington Federation of State Employees.

The lawsuits are the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute over mandatory union dues for state workers, which began in 2005 as part of the first contracts to set pay and benefits.

The lawsuits have been filed for months, but a conservative think tank recently found the total number of sued workers listed in the meeting minutes of a federation local.

The union represents about 40,000 state government and college employees. Dues are a percentage of salary, up to $76.50 a month.

Welch said he could not confirm the 1,900-lawsuit figure, which would amount to 5 percent of the membership.

The Olympia-based Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a frequent foe of unions, called the lawsuits "bullying tactics."

"A lot of these people never consented to being members," said Sonya Jones, director of labor policy at the foundation.

A legal defense against the lawsuits might go back to the original contract making dues mandatory, she added.

Unions were able to negotiate with the governor for the first time in 2004. As a condition of allowing mandatory dues, then-Gov. Gary Locke's team required unions to allow all affected workers to vote on the contract. . . .

Many workers said they were not told dues would be part of the two-year deal. . . . .


Did the surge help the situation in Iraq?

On the one hand you have Obama being unwilling to admit that the surge in Iraq helped to reduce the violence there. On the other hand you have McCain getting into trouble on the timing of the surge with other changes in strategy. McCain was forced to provide a completely nonsensical explain for his position about the timing of the surge in relation to other political changes in Iraq. In both cases I think that the politicians would be better off just saying that they had made mistakes and move on, though I think McCain came off much worse.

Labels: , ,

Major tracking polls on Obama/McCain race

Gallup tracking poll shows Obama over McCain by 45 to 43 percent.
Rasmussen Reports shows Obama over McCain by 48 to 45 percent.

There is no bump for Obama after the massive news media coverage that he has gotten on his trip.

Labels: , ,

"Media Donations Favor Dems 100-1"

Investor's Business Daily has a very interesting piece where they look at how the employees of different media outlets give political donations to Democrats and Republicans. Fox News and Fox employees only seems to give money to Democrats. MSNBC is the only media outlet that gives more money to Republicans than Democrats.

UPDATE: John Fund has this in today's WSJ Political DIary:

The Real Revelation: Not All Pressies Are Skinflints

. . . . Federal Election Commission records show, for instance, that Democrats collected 15 times as much money from those who described themselves as journalists as Republicans did. A total of 235 "journalists" donated some $225,563 to Democrats, while 20 gave $16,298 Republicans. A database search of other newsroom categories (reporter, correspondent, news editor, anchor, newspaper editor and publisher) found a total of 311 donors to Democrats and only 30 to Republicans.

When one adds up all contributions listed by the FEC as coming from employees of major media organizations, the totals are $315,533 to Democrats and a mere $22,656 for Republicans. And most of the money donated to Republicans went to Rep. Ron Paul, a maverick libertarian who supports an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and decriminalization of drugs, not exactly traditional conservative positions.

Most large media organizations have policies against news employees donating to political campaigns, so the numbers unearthed from the FEC certainly aren't definitive. . . . .

-- John Fund


Western States moving to Cap Greenhouse emissions

These changes will supposedly not cost customers anything. Apparently they concede that companies will feel something, but I suppose that is only going to be born by shareholders. Here is the discussion from the Oregonian:

Large utility companies and factory owners would feel the effects first, followed by fuel distributors, as they face limits on their greenhouse gas emissions. Individual Oregonians would not feel the limits firsthand but probably would see changes in how their power is generated.

State officials who unveiled the approach in Gov. Ted Kulongoski's offices said the draft strategy's mandates may push power rates and fuel prices up slightly. But Oregonians should see lower bills in the end because the strategy promotes conservation measures that should reduce energy use, they said. . . .

This is nonsensical. I have a hard time believing that these guys really believe this themselves. If these costs were so trivial, why are companies so opposed to the mandates?

Thanks to Stephen Gernand for sending me this link.

Labels: ,


New Op-ed at Investor's Business Daily: Obama's Shifting Positions Leave Questions Unanswered On Guns...

My new piece at IBD starts this way:

Sen. Barack Obama claims there has been only a "shift in emphasis," not "wild shifts," in his political positions. Many already know the list: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, NAFTA, public financing of campaigns, abortion, gay marriage, Social Security taxes, the death penalty and negotiating with rogue nations.

Possibly one of the more remarkable changes has been his position on guns.

But despite Obama's recent concession on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" that there has been a "shift in emphasis" on various issues, on guns he held firm: "You mentioned the gun position. I've been talking about the Second Amendment being an individual right for the last year and a half. So there wasn't a shift there."

Unfortunately, the interviewer, Gwen Ifill, didn't challenge his claim. . . .

Labels: ,

Obama misses real opportunity in Berlin Address

With promises to remake the world, Obama said:

“People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment. This is our time."

Will Americans be attracted to a candidate who campaigns in Europe and tries to play up that he wants to do things that will make Europeans happy? More of a concern for Obama, I would think that he would have benefited if he had framed the talk in terms of at least something that what would be demanded of Europe.

UPDATE: I think that this piece at Fox News later in the day catches the impression that Obama was creating:


UPDATE: Over at the AtlanticBlog, William Sjostrom has a post that reminds my of Obama's statement from earlier this year that:

I would be able to be . . . I think that the world would see me as a different kind of president. Somebody who can see the world through their eyes.

His discussion about Obama selling himself to American Jews is also interesting.

Minor comment: Obama brings race into the election again during his speech in Berlin. "I know that I don't look like the Americans who previously have spoken in this great city."

Labels: ,

More on media bias in presidential race

Here are the results of a new Opinion Dynamics Corp poll for Fox News:

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (67 percent) say they believe most in the media want Obama to win the November election—while a scant 11 percent think the media are pulling for John McCain. Moreover, only about 1 in 10 (11 percent) volunteers the belief that the media is neutral on the race to become the 44th President of the United States.

When asked to rate the objectivity of media coverage of the campaigns, Americans feel Obama gets more of a positive spin by a better than 7-to-1 margin (46 percent more positive toward Obama; 6 percent more positive toward McCain). Just under 4 Americans in 10 (36 percent) says both campaigns are being covered objectively.

As Obama traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, many noted his popularity with the both foreign leaders as well as citizens of the various countries he visited. But does this gain him any electoral benefit among U.S. voters? The results seem mixed, at best. . . .

The survey results can be seen here.

Labels: , , ,


Former Supporter of Man-made Global Warming Theory Changes His Mind

Brit Hume had this story last night on his Fox News show:

A former global warming alarmist and creator of the model that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol says that while global warming is real, there is no evidence that the main cause is carbon emissions. David Evans says that C02 emissions play — at most — a minor role.

Evans writes in The Australian newspaper that if global warming was caused by C02, scientists would have found hot spots about six miles up in the earth's atmosphere over the Tropics. Evans describes those hot spots as the signature of the greenhouse effect. He says scientists have been trying to locate them for years using thermometers attached to weather balloons.

But he says years of research "show no hot spot — whatsoever" adding that "an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming."

Labels: ,

Doctor uses Gun to Stop Robbery in Restaurant

The story has a nice video here:

Robber targets diners in upscale Tacoma restaurant
10:41 PM PDT on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Video: Robber targets diners in upscale Tacoma restaurant
Larger screenE-mail this clip

TACOMA, Wash. – Diners at Pacific Grill, an upscale downtown Tacoma restaurant, were confronted by a man who was dining alone Monday evening.

According to Tacoma Police, the man sat down and ordered beer, then got up, went into a private dining area and demanded money from the diners.

He told them this was a robbery and demanded their wallets.

"He comes in the room and says, 'I want your wallet and your cash'," recalled Dr. Charles Weatherbee who was seated with fellow doctors and drug reps.

Another doctor handed over his wallet, but when he only found credit cards, he calmly returned to his table.

That's when kitchen staff and patrons surrounded the suspect.

Then the man got up and confronted the same diners in the private dining room again.

"I want your money and take care of my bill now," said the suspect.

One of the doctors, who had been at target practice earlier, pulled out his gun and ordered the suspect out, saying, "Get out of the restaurant now!" . . .

Labels: ,

Big battle coming with Teachers' Union in Florida

This is one place that teacher unions from across the country are going to be putting their money this year.

TALLAHASSEE -- The citizen panel empowered to put amendments before voters ended its first meeting in 20 years with a bang Friday, asking Floridians to defy the state Supreme Court by allowing tax money to pay for kids to go to private schools.

The proposal to allow the state to pay for private school vouchers was the last constitutional amendment -- one of seven -- the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission agreed to put on the November ballot.

If 60 percent of voters agree, the measure will undo a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that threw out the vouchers as unconstitutional. The vouchers were the brainchild of then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who wanted the state to pay to send students in low-performing public schools to private schools.

''The purpose of this amendment is to protect charter schools, to protect virtual education . . . and the alternatives that exist to the public school system,'' said Pat Levesque, who runs Bush's pro-voucher foundation and sponsored the amendment. . . .

Labels: ,


Weird pricing problem: Sell your old iPhones for as much as a new iPhone?

The NY Times had this interesting blog piece:

I was walking by the lengthy iPhone line outside the Apple Store in Soho on Sunday when I heard someone call out: “Turn in your old iPhone and get the new one free!”

I turned around and saw a bearded guy handing out fliers (photo above). They were from FreeiPhoneSwap.com and offered payments equal to the cost of a new 3G iPhone to people who turned in the old ones. Our conversation went something like this.

Me: “So what happens to the old phones?”

Him: “Well, we break them down for parts, strip out the LCD screens, they’re recycled in an environmentally friendly manner…”

Me: “You can’t make that money back by taking them apart. You must be unlocking them and sending them overseas.”

Him: “They’re recycled in an environmentally friendly manner…”

I was unsatisfied, so I did a little research and found that the story isn’t quite so simple. . . .

Well, it turns out that they can sell the old iPhones as unlocked so that they can be used on other networks. You can't do that with the new ones because you have to activate them in the store when you buy them.

Labels: ,

New gun can fire variable speed bullets

New Scientist Tech reports:

A gun that fires variable speed bullets and which can be set to kill, wound or just inflict a bruise is being built by a US toy manufacturer. The weapon is based on technology used to propel toy rockets.

Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio based near Chicago, makes toy rockets that are powered by burning hydrogen obtained by electrolysing water. Now the company is being funded by the US army to adapt the technology to fire bullets instead.

The US Army are interested in arming soldiers with weapons that can be switched between lethal and non-lethal modes. They asked Company Invention to make a rifle that can fire bullets at various speeds.

Sniper version

The new weapon, called the Variable Velocity Weapon System or VWS, lets the soldier to use the same rifle for crowd control and combat, by altering the muzzle velocity. It could be loaded with "rubber bullets" designed only to deliver blunt impacts on a person, full-speed lethal rounds or projectiles somewhere between the two.

Bruce Lund, the company's CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet as it leaves the gun. "Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 metres, to lethal at 100 metres or more, as desired," says Lund. . . .


Some Polls on Media Bias

1) 50% say Media Makes Economy Look Worse Than it Really Is

50% believe the media makes economic conditions appear worse than they really are, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. . . .

Only a quarter (25%) think reporters and media outlets present an accurate picture of the economy and 18% believe they actually portray it as better than it is. Just 34% trust reporters more when it comes to news on the economy, and 32% see stockbrokers as more reliable. . . .

2) Belief Growing That Reporters are Trying to Help Obama Win

In the latest survey, a plurality of Democrats—37%-- say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of the campaign. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe most reporters are trying to help Obama and 21% in Obama’s party think reporters are trying to help the Republican candidate.
Among Republicans, 78% believe reporters are trying to help Obama and 10% see most offering unbiased coverage.
As for unaffiliated voters, 50% see a pro-Obama bias and 21% see unbiased coverage. Just 12% of those not affiliated with either major party believe the reporters are trying to help McCain. . . .

Labels: , ,

Obama's campaign staff dwarfs McCain's

The campaign finance regulations are going to make this the most lopsided campaign in US history. It is hard to see how McCain will offset this difference and its impact will be felt well down the ballot. The Boston Globe has the story here:

Behind the headlines about the unprecedented success of Democrat Barack Obama's fund-raising machine lies a more prosaic truth - his campaign will need every penny of its $300 million goal to bankroll an unprecedented 50-state general election campaign with a massive army on the ground. . . .

McCain so far is running a more traditional campaign, targeting perennial tossup states such as Florida and Ohio, sending smaller staffs to those states than Obama, but spending more on television ads. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, said recently that his staff will eventually increase to about 450. By earlier this month, it had opened 11 regional offices in key states and another 84 offices across the country in a joint effort with the Republican National Committee. . . .

Obama and the Democratic Party have about 200 paid staffers working in Florida and more on the way, 90 in Michigan with plans to expand to 200 by August, at least 200 each eventually in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and 50 in Missouri with plans to expand to 150, according to published reports and interviews with Obama campaign officials. Hildebrand said state organizations should be at full strength by the end of August.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that in May the campaign had a payroll of about 900, not counting nearly 500 part-time workers who were paid stipends. As of May 31, the Obama campaign staff was well over twice the size of the Bush reelection campaign staff in 2004 and nearly three times the size of McCain's current staff, and has expanded significantly since. . . .

Labels: , ,


The Inequality of Taxes

The top one percent of taxpayers earn 22 percent of income but pay 40 percent of taxes. The bottom 50 percent of people earn 12 percent of income but pay only 3 percent of taxes. The average person in the top 1 percent thus pays a tax that is 667 times greater than the tax paid by the average person in the bottom 50 percent, but their income is only 92 times greater. Everyone is so concerned about equality and ability to pay, but I have a couple of questions.

OK, so someone makes 92 times what another person makes. Why not just make them pay a tax that is 10 times higher? Why not 50 times? Those would still be termed "regressive" taxes, but does the average person in the top 1 percent of income earner get 10 or 50 times the benefit from government than the average person in the bottom 50 percent?


Obama on "the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor" and being president for "eight to ten years"

Two good gaffes within a few days.

Can someone make sense of the discussion of "the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor"? If Obama isn't thinking about being president for 8 to 10 years, I would like to know what specific position that he thinks he will get that will last for 10 years. Another couple Obama gaffes that go completely uncovered by the MSM. Here are some previous posts that I had on his other recent gaffes. I want someone to please provide a justification for the asymmetry in how the media treats one spelling mistake by Dan Quayle and these mistakes by Obama. At least in Quayle's case someone even gave him a note with the word spelled incorrectly. Did someone tell Obama that only one bomb was dropped on Pearl Harbor (it would seem odd that anyone wouldn't pick up that mistake right away) or that there were 57 states and that he had one more to go? Again, I am sure that it was a silly mistake by Obama and he wasn't thinking, but did that restrain the press from going after Quayle (indeed still mentioning his mistake)?


Should local governments ban fast-food restaurants?

You can vote on this weird notion here. Shouldn't people be able to weigh for themselves the benefits from being able to eat something quickly on the run versus any possible health effects? I can't wait for them to ban ice cream, bacon, hot dogs (nitrates), etc..


New Op-ed at Fox News: Obama Comes Up Short in Approach to Poverty

My newest op-ed at Fox News is up. Here is the beginning of it:

Does government do enough to help the poor? Senators McCain and Obama could not be more divided on their approach. Even Obama’s website has a section entitled “poverty” with a large list of new antipoverty programs, while McCain doesn’t.

Yet, this is part of a bigger difference between the two campaigns in whether to single out specific groups for help.

While Obama’s website includes issue headings for “women,” “rural,” “seniors,” and “disabilities,” McCain’s website generally focuses only on broad issues that effect everyone such as “energy,” “education,” and “economic plan.” Both websites have sections on veterans.

On poverty, Obama has a very long list of proposals, . . . .

Labels: ,


Dark Horse Teenage gets His chance to go to the Olympics in Shooting

The headline in the Boston Globe caught my attention: "How a gun-hating family from Billerica produced an Olympic shooter."

Stephen Scherer fired his final shot at the Olympic trials in March, lowered his rifle, and smiled. There was no fist pumping, no chest thumping when he won the 10-meter air rifle competition and a berth on the US Olympic team bound for Beijing. Just a shy, slightly self-conscious smile. It was the first and only emotion Scherer showed during three pressure-packed days in Colorado Springs. He was as composed in victory as he had been throughout the best shooting performance of his life. Or perhaps he was in shock. Scherer had had no expectation of making the Olympic team, not as a 19-year-old with a lot still to learn about the sport. He figured the Olympic trials would offer good preparation for representing West Point - where he is going to be a sophomore - at the NCAA riflery championships a couple of weeks later.

"I probably surprised myself more than anybody else there," says Scherer. "Shooting is a very mental sport. A lot of times, it doesn't sink in that you've won until after, because you're so concentrated on the shooting." . . . .

"I was very anti-gun when my kids were little. I always thought, `Guns are bad. Guns kill people.' So, I didn't want my kids to have anything to do with guns." . . .


Pennsylvania Democrats use millions of dollars in state funds to do opposition research on opponents

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has this story:

"We are mainly looking for bad things: liens, bankruptcies, homicides ... you get the picture," Mr. Webb advised a dozen House colleagues via their state e-mail accounts. Employees were asked to use LexisNexis, an online search service that makes use of thousands of databases. The state had several LexisNexis accounts that a grand jury later said were used for opposition research.

Mr. Webb told staffers to send results from the searches to Dan Wiedemer, executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, at Mr. Wiedemer's political campaign address.

Many of those targeted in the project were sponsored by PACleanSweep, a group formed to oust lawmakers who had voted for an unpopular legislative pay raise.

Democrats ultimately won a majority in the state House that year, but the victory was tainted, according to a grand jury report that found that millions of dollars in state resources were diverted to cover the cost of running Democratic campaigns. . . .

Labels: ,

Murder rates in Jamaica through the roof

Well, these gun control regulations don't seem to have done any better here than the gun ban regulations in DC.

In the late 1990s, Jamaica did not make it on the top 10 list. Then in 2003 when our murder rate more than tripled the rate of the early 1970s, we made it to number three on the list. By 2005 we were standing atop the sordid pile at number one. All of the nasty and sick politics which had been practiced since independence to 2005 had caught up with us. . . .

At present only business persons who have applied for and met the stringent requirements are in possession of legally held firearms. Elected politicians travel with security details while we who supported them and voted for them in the hope of us building a better and safer Jamaica are forced to face the criminal gunman empty-handed.

As the police force signals (by its action over time) that it has no answers to protecting the poor and those most vulnerable, the justice system creaks and only delivers if one has 10 years to spare. The criminal gunman knows that no witnesses will come forward, so he has about a 90% chance of making it to the next killing. In this scenario the state has failed to protect us, continues to fail us and when our elected officials speak, it is mainly to sell us another fairy tale about our safety. . . .

Labels: , ,

American Medical Association moves to make home births illegal

This is not too surprising given that the AMA wants to limit competition that may reduce the demand for doctors' and hospital services. ABC has the story here:

The American Medical Association has agreed to support proposed legislation that, some physicians say, could make make having a planned birth in one's home difficult, to virtually impossible. . . .

The American College of Nurse-Midwives has issued an unequivocal statement in support of planned home births, citing a study in the British Medical Journal that showed home births to be no riskier than hospital births. . . . .

On the other hand, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, which handles home births, is on the other side:

The American College of Nurse-Midwives has issued an unequivocal statement in support of planned home births, citing a study in the British Medical Journal that showed home births to be no riskier than hospital births. . . .


UK Surgeons to have pay based on how patients do after surgery

Paying surgeons based upon how good of a job they do seems to have generated all sorts of concerns in the UK. The most bizarre response though is this:

Patients' groups said those facing surgery would be "horrified" by the proposals and questioned why doctors should be paid a premium for fulfilling their basic duty. . . .

Why should patients mind this? After all, they don't have to pay directly for the service and if it generated higher quality care, they are better off. Of more concern is this:

Leading surgeons said that this could deter doctors from taking on higher-risk patients, such as the frail and elderly, and from carrying out complex operations. . . .

But the simple way to deal with this is to figure out what the right yardstick is to measure the job that the surgeons are doing. If they save a high risk life, they could get paid more. Indeed, if the pay was enough, you would have the opposite of what the surgeons here fear -- everyone would want to do the high risk patients. Yet, it sounds from the discussion that the payment schemes are not going to differentiate the risks involved.

Labels: ,

Open Carry at the Boise Zoo

Boise's channel 2 has this piece on "Gun advocates pack heat at Zoo Boise" by Blake McCoy (7/19):

BOISE - A group of Treasure Valley residents brought their hand guns to Zoo Boise, wearing their Second Amendment rights on their belt straps for all to see.

About a dozen gun owners took advantage of Idaho's open carry laws which allow them to carry guns in public as long as they are in plain view and remain holstered.

"I don't know that we're trying to make a statement," says Eric Bauer, who came to the zoo with his wife, three kids, and gun on his belt. "Maybe if anything we're trying to educate the public as to what they're rights are."

Bauer and his wife both were carrying guns. Since Bauer's three kids aren't yet 18 and can't legally carry a handgun, they carried knives on their belt straps instead.

Gun advocates said they organized this event at Zoo Boise because it is public property and they can't be kicked off.

"If you don't exercise your rights, you're gonna loose your rights," says Bauer

But for one out of state family visiting Idaho, guns at the zoo came as a bit of a surprise.

"To me I think it gives kids the idea that guns are OK and I think that they're going to be desensitized," says Anji Robertson who was visiting from Madison, WI with her husband and three kids. . . .