Quite a few talks this week.

On Sunday I will be in Minneapolis, MN to give a talk to a book club there that recently read Freedomnomics.
On Monday, I talk at the Cal Western School of Law at noon on Heller. Later that evening I am supposed to be talking to the San Diego lawyers chapter of the Federalist Society.
On Tuesday, I give a talk at the University of San Diego on the financial crisis.
On Thursday, I have two talks -- a talk at the UVA law school at noon on Freedomnomics and a debate in the evening on the Heller case.
On Friday, I am in Seattle to do another debate on the financial crisis.

The following week is likely to be crazy also with two big debates in New York City on Tuesday for Intelligence Squared. Another Wednesday evening at NYU law school.


Why do voters blame the Republicans in Congress and not the Democrats for Congress' problems

If you look at these polls from the NY Times, congress has become increasingly unpopular over the last two years, but people are blaming the Republicans and not the Democrats. Weird, given that that was also the time over which the Democrats have controlled congress. Some how people need to educate voters that the Democrats have been in control of congress.

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Obama outspending McCain on advertising by more than 4 to 1

It is amazing that McCain is still in the race with this large of a difference in advertising.

Obama, the Democratic candidate, is now running at least four times as much advertising nationwide as his Republican rival, John McCain, according to CMAG, a service that monitors political advertising. That difference is even larger in several closely contested states.

The huge gap has been made possible by Obama's decision to opt out of the federal campaign finance system, which gives presidential nominees a dollar for every dollar they raise but limits to $84 million the amount they can spend between their party convention and Election Day. McCain is participating in the system. . . .

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"The Jewish Case Against Barack Obama"

This discussion here makes the case that Obama will probably be the least sympathetic American President to Israel.


Ann Coulter reminding everyone about the problem with relying too much on polls to predict election results

Ann's piece here is well worth reading.

Reviewing the polls printed in The New York Times and The Washington Post in the last month of every presidential election since 1976, I found the polls were never wrong in a friendly way to Republicans. When the polls were wrong, which was often, they overestimated support for the Democrat, usually by about 6 to 10 points. . . .


In health care, economics does matter: a lesson from Hawaii

I know that it comes as a surprise to some, but if you give people a choice of paying for something and having others pay for it, they will choose the later. Pretty simple economics, but apparently the officials in Hawaii were surprised by the result:

Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.
Gov. Linda Lingle's administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."

State officials said Thursday they will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled by Nov. 1, but private partner Hawaii Medical Service Association will pay to extend their coverage through the end of the year without government support.

"We're very disappointed in the state's decision, and it came as a complete surprise to us," said Jennifer Diesman, a spokeswoman for HMSA, the state's largest health care provider. "We believe the program is working, and given Hawaii's economic uncertainty, we don't think now is the time to cut all funding for this kind of program."

Hawaii lawmakers approved the health plan in 2007 as a way to ensure every child can get basic medical help. The Keiki (child) Care program aimed to cover every child from birth to 18 years old who didn't already have health insurance—mostly immigrants and members of lower-income families. . . .

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Greg Gutfeld asks: How does a terrorist become a professor?

Gutfeld's piece is here. Hint: would an abortion clinic bomber become a professor? No way. Being a terrorist on the left is actually something that many academics might admire.

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Alabama Counties with more Registered voters than eligible adults

From the Birmingham News:

MONTGOMERY - Six Alabama counties have more people on their voting rolls than they do people of voting age, according to voter registration numbers and U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The curious statistic could be the result of a surge in new registrations added to voter rolls that have not been purged of people who moved, said local election officials. But the state's top elections chief said Thursday she's concerned that bloated rolls could leave opportunity for Election Day fraud. . . .

Note that this election official relates false registrations to election day fraud. With the ACORN scandal so many people are trying to emphasize that those are only registration problems.

Thanks to Joey Rich.


The New York Times goes after "Joe the Plumber"

Supposedly, Joe is neither a plumber nor "Joe." From the NY Times:

Turns out that “Joe the Plumber,” as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, may run a plumbing business but he is not a licensed plumber. His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes a bit in back taxes. . . .

Note that the NY Times can't even write out his name as "Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher." He also doesn't need a plumber's license until he gets his own shop, but that is what he does for a living, he does the work of a plumber.

Note also how Senator Joe Biden had to also say to Jay Leno that Joe was not a real plumber.

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Joe Biden spells "a three letter word 'Jobs' -- J O B S"

It is only the first brief segment of this that I was looking for, but the rest of the video seems mildly amusing.

A simple Google news search did find 173 news stories on this, mainly because Jay Leno made a reference to it in his monologue.

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Late Night Comics and the Election

Fox News has this here:

John McCain returned to "Late Show With David Letterman" Thursday night, appologizing for canceling an appearance three weeks ago, but should the onetime media favorite have been preparing for an ambush?

A study shows the Kings of Late Night are not equal-opportunity destroyers this year when it comes to telling jokes about the candidates for president and vice president -- they're hammering Republicans a stunning seven times more often than they skewer Democrats.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs, a media analysis group, kept a tally of jokes told about the presidential contenders on the "Late Show" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" in the five weeks after McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate and vaulted the little-known Alaska governor into the national spotlight.

The total: Republicans, 286. Democrats, 42.

"Generally the Republicans get targeted much more often than Democrats, but this election is driving it off the charts," said CMPA Executive Director Donald Rieck.

Letterman and Leno told 106 jokes about McCain and 180 about Palin in the 25 shows that aired between Aug. 29, when McCain chose her, and Oct. 2, the date of the vice presidential debate. . . .


University of Arizona student uses handgun to defend himself with handgun

The Arizona Daily Star writes:

Cops: 2 killings look like self-defense
UA student grabs his handgun, shoots intruders and calls police
By Alexis Huicochea
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.17.2008
Evidence in the fatal shooting of two intruders by a University of Arizona student appears to be consistent with his account that he was defending himself, police said. The 23-year-old student shot and killed Shontel R. Early, 30, and Wesley O. Fenstermacher, 29, after the two men barged into his home early Thursday morning, said Sgt. Fabian Pacheco, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

At least one of the intruders had a gun. The incident occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m., Pacheco said.

The police spokesman gave this account: The student was home alone in a guest house in the 800 block of East Adams Street, near North Euclid Avenue and East Speedway.

There was a knock at the door, and one of the men asked for someone who did not live there.

The student looked past the man he was speaking with and saw another man, who had his face covered and had a gun. The student retreated into his home and grabbed his own handgun, but the men made their way in.

The student fired, then called police to report the shooting. When officers arrived, they found the two men dead inside just past the doorway.

The student was questioned and is cooperating with police. His name was not released.

There is no indication that the student is or has been involved in any criminal activity, police said. . . .

Jenny Wise also moved into the neighborhood in August. The 19-year-old sophomore said she wasn't home at the time of the shootings. She had gone to a party, and when she arrived home around 2 a.m. she found her street taped off and flooded with police.

"It's really the scariest thing," Wise said.

"I've lived a sheltered life. This seems like a nice little neighborhood. I don't know what I would've done if two guys tried to get into my house," Wise said.

Thanks to Steve in TN and numerous other readers. I apologize for not posting this earlier, but I was traveling and giving talks almost all of yesterday.

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Medved Show interview

On Tuesday this past week, I was on the Michael Medved show for an hour. Dave Bose was substitution for Michael. We discussed the piece that I wrote for Fox News this week and my experience with Obama at Chicago. Here is the first third of the interview. The rest can be obtained from the Medved Show website.



Allegations of Vote Fraud by Aid worker in Georgia

This is just one example, but I assume that this will happen more than once by the time this election is over. Aid worker wouldn't let the mentally challenged man vote the way that he wanted.


Obama's attacks on Palin for not stopping people from yelling "kill him" turn out to be completely unfounded

From the debate last night:

OBAMA: I mean, look, if we want to talk about Congressman Lewis, who is an American hero, he, unprompted by my campaign, without my campaign's awareness, made a statement that he was troubled with what he was hearing at some of the rallies that your running mate was holding, in which all the Republican reports indicated were shouting, when my name came up, things like "terrorist" and "kill him," and that you're running mate didn't mention, didn't stop, didn't say "Hold on a second, that's kind of out of line."

And I think Congressman Lewis' point was that we have to be careful about how we deal with our supporters.

This claim is based on supposed what one person at one rally yelled. The only problem is that no one other than one reporter supposedly heard this. Obviously, Palin who was speaking didn't hear this, but this flimsy evidence didn't stop Obama from making this claim. This from the WSJ's Political Diary:

A Voice from the Grassy Knoll

Joe Biden's home town of Scranton, Pa. got a bit of a black eye on Tuesday when the local paper reported someone at a GOP rally featuring Sarah Palin had yelled "Kill him" when Barack Obama's name was mentioned. But it turns out neither the Secret Service or anyone in the crowd can substantiate the story.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reported on Tuesday that when congressional candidate Chris Hackett mentioned Mr. Obama's name, a man in the audience shouted "Kill him." But the Scranton News-Leader reports on its Web site today that Secret Service agent Bill Slavoski said that neither he nor any of 20 law enforcement agents present heard anything like that.

"I was baffled," he said, noting that an investigation by his team couldn't turn up even one person who had heard the threat.

The Times-Tribune reporter who reported the incident stands by his story but referred all media questions to his editor. "The facts reported are true and that's really all there is," said reporter David Singleton. Perhaps the Times-Tribune's motto could be: "We report. You decide if we're making it up."

-- John Fund

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Democrats feel that they will have an effectively filibuster proof Senate

This quote was from the WSJ's Political Diary. One can only imagine the legislation that they will get through if this happens.

"Democratic politicians and activists are giddy over visions of a 60-seat majority in the Senate next year, but experts say they don't need quite that many to rewrite a wide range of national policies to reflect the priorities of their presidential nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, if he is elected. Primarily, that's because Senate rules provide for expedited consideration of the budget bills, known as 'reconciliation' measures, that have become the favored legislative vehicles for the most ambitious spending and tax plans of recent presidents... [E]ven outside the reconciliation process, Democrats are likely to be able to attract crossover Republican votes on various domestic and foreign policy measures . . . and there is a strong possibility that a President Obama would be operating with more senators from his own party than any president since Jimmy Carter, even if Democrats do not make it to 60 seats" -- Congressional Quarterly's Jonathan Allen.

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The Associated Press goes after permitted concealed handguns at airports

Here is the AP piece:

ATLANTA - Flying in the U.S. has been transformed since Sept. 11, with passengers forced to remove their shoes, take out their laptop computers and put liquids and gels in clear plastic bags. Yet it's perfectly legal to take a loaded gun right up to the security checkpoint at some of the nation's biggest airports.

An Associated Press survey of the 20 busiest U.S. airports found that seven of them — Philadelphia, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and San Francisco — let people with gun permits carry firearms in the general public areas of the terminal.

Some anti-terrorism experts say that is a glaring security loophole that could endanger airport workers, passengers and people waiting to pick them up or see them off. Some suggest that allowing guns in terminals is practically asking for them to be smuggled aboard a plane.

"If your airport is not secure, then the security of your airplanes is jeopardized," said Rafi Ron, former security chief at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel who now works as an aviation consultant. "You cannot separate the two."

Other authorities say the nonsecure areas of the terminal are no different from other public venues and do not warrant special restrictions.

"It's really not more of a concern than at a mall or a train station," said Philadelphia police Lt. Louis Liberati.

Under federal law, it is illegal everywhere to try to carry a gun through a security checkpoint. The rest of the terminal, however, has long been the domain of state and local authorities.

Jon Allen, a spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration, said the TSA has not taken a position on guns in airports and has no authority under federal law to ban them.

The issue has led to clash in Georgia between a new state law that allows guns on public transportation and the Atlanta airport's ban on loaded weapons. Last month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against the city by a gun rights group. At an earlier hearing, he warned that guns at the world's busiest airport could pose a "serious threat to public safety and welfare." The gun group has appealed.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was surprised to learn that airports have been allowing weapons for years, and warned that Congress could move to ban the practice. In a July letter to TSA, Thompson called guns in terminals "a threat to the safety of airline travelers.". . .

1) If a terrorist was to attack an airport with a gun, what could be done their that couldn't have been done at say a crowded restaurant (or as the police Lt. says a mall or a train)? Just because someone has a gun outside the security area is a very long ways from taking off in an airplane.
2) Civilians with concealed handguns stop multiple victim public shootings. In Israel, citizens are regularly reminded to take their concealed handguns with them so that they can stop attacks.
3) How many problems have occurred at the airports that allow these guns? Zero?


ACORN apparently responsible for 1.3 million in swing states

1.3 million new voter registrations by ACORN in swing states poses a real problem to the political process:

The group says it has signed up to 1.3 million poor and working-class voters this year in a mass registration drive in 18 states. . . .


WSJ on "Obama's 95% Illusion"

Much of this is similar to a piece that I had back in August, but their piece is still well worth reading.

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals:

- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.

- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.

- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).

- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.

- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.

- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.

- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.

Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.

The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.

The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is. . . .

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"Gun-toting Pa. mom gets back concealed gun permit"

A Lebanon County, PA woman gets her permit back. This story provides an example of why using temporary revocations as an example of problems with permit holders isn't very useful. Sometimes local officials just do not properly enforce the law.

The Associated Press
Tue, Oct 14, 2008 (4:42 p.m.)

A mother who angered fellow parents when she openly carried a pistol to her 5-year-old daughter's soccer game got her concealed weapons permit back Tuesday after a Pennsylvania judge overruled a sheriff's decision to revoke it.

Meleanie Hain lost the permit after other parents complained about the presence of the gun during a soccer game on Sept. 11. Lebanon County Judge Robert Eby, who said he also is a gun owner with a concealed weapons permit, said the law required him to return Hain's permit.

But he questioned her judgment, saying she "scared the devil" out of others at the soccer field.

"Fear doesn't belong at a kid's soccer game from any source," Eby said.

Hain testified at the Tuesday hearing that she did not intend to intimidate anyone but felt she had to carry the gun openly because warm-weather clothing made it difficult to hide a firearm. She said her husband's line of work, which was not disclosed, made her a "greater target" than the average person.

"I'm certainly not looking to shoot anyone over a goal," she told Eby, also adding that she had carried an unconcealed firearm without any problems in the past. . . .


Appearing on the Michael Medved Show at 5:05 PM EDT

I will be on the Michael Medved show again at 5:05 PM EDT today. Dave Boze will be guest hosting. We are going to be talking about my piece on Fox News' website this week.


Obama on Spreading the Wealth Around


Obama's "being squirrelly" on ACORN

Given my piece at Fox yesterday, I thought that I would follow it up with this. Jake Tapper writes:

As reports pile up of voter registration fraud connected to ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, a group that advocates for low-income voters – the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has sought to downplay his past ties with the group.

But in their efforts to do, Obama campaign officials found themselves forced last week to correct an erroneous assertion made on the campaign’s “Fight the Smears” webpage that “Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity.”

That wasn’t true.

In fact, ACORN spokesman Lewis Goldberg told the New York Times that Obama conducted two unpaid leadership training sessions for ACORN’s Chicago affiliate in the late 1990s.

The “Fight the Smears” website now asserts, "Fact: ACORN never hired Obama as a trainer, organizer, or any type of employee.”

Key word: hired.

Goldberg told the Times that Obama’s work for ACORN was unpaid.

You can see the old version HERE and the new version HERE.

Moreover, Obama also represented ACORN and other groups in the mid 1990s as an attorney suing the state of Illinois to uphold the federal Motor Voter law. The governor and other officials of the State of Illinois were refusing to comply with the law on the ground that it was unconstitutional. . . .

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Three Illinois Counties to vote on Concealed handguns

The Peoria Journal Star has the full story here:

Voters in three central Illinois counties will have the chance Nov. 4 to let Springfield know what they think about the rights of citizens to carry concealed firearms.

Ballots in Woodford, LaSalle and McDonough counties will feature a referendum that asks whether the state should enact so-called "concealed-carry" legislation.

The referendum, however, is advisory only. Voters will not be deciding whether individual counties should adopt those rights, but whether state legislators should bring the issue to a vote.

Advocates of the legislation say such a law is long overdue in Illinois, one of only two states that haven't passed some form of the statute.

"The purpose of the referendum is to send a message to legislators in Springfield that they need to get this passed in Illinois and join all the other states," said Valinda Rowe, a southern Illinois resident who is spokeswoman for www.IllinoisCarry.com, a Web site dedicated to advancing the issue.

"What is completely legal and normal in 48 other states is a felony in Illinois," she said. . . .


New Op-ed with the Philadelphia Inquirer: Taking aim at Obama's stance on gun control: The candidate says he supports the right to bear arms. The rec

My new piece starts off this way:

Barack Obama claims he is a friend of gun owners. He certainly has convinced the media.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times said the NRA's opposition to Obama seemed strange because "Obama does not oppose gun rights. He has made a point of pounding this home to rural audiences, telling them he has no intention of taking their guns away: not their shotguns, not their handguns, not anything."

From the Boston Globe to FactCheck.org, the media and their watchdogs have uncritically recited Obama's statement that he believes there is an individual right to own guns. How does Brooks Jackson, FactCheck.org's director, explain the NRA's opposition to Obama? He says: "They are lying. . . . They are just making this up."

Yet, while the media and their checkers take Obama's current statements about his beliefs at face value, the NRA doesn't. So who is right? . . .

On Wednesday the piece is still the most viewed piece among the Philly Inquirer op-eds.

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Something else that Joe Biden got wrong in the vice presidential debate

A good friend of mine, Robert Hansen, sent me this.

That's' not all Biden got grossly wrong. I don't understand why no one has ever mentioned this. Biden said twice in the debate, emphatically, that Exxon made $600B since 2000. Here's a summary, from MSN Investing, on Exxon's 10 year income statement.

Year . . . . . . .Sales . . . . EBIT . . . Depreciation . . Net Income . . . EPS . . . . Tax rate
12/07 . . 390,328.0 . . 70,474.0 . . 12,250.0 . . . . 40,610.0 . . . . 7.28 . . . . 42.38
12/06 . . 365,467.0 . . 67,402.0 . . 11,416.0 . . . . 39,500.0 . . . . 6.62 . . . . 41.4
12/05 . . 358,955.0 . . 59,432.0 . . 10,253.0 . . . . 36,130.0 . . . . 5.71 . . . . 39.21
12/04 . . 291,252.0 . . 41,241.0 . . 9,767.0 . . . . . 25,330.0 . . . . 3.89 . . . . 38.58
12/03 . . 237,054.0 . . 31,966.0 . . 9,047.0 . . . . . 20,960.0 . . . . 3.15 . . . . 34.43
12/02 . . 200,949.0 . . 17,510.0 . . 8,310.0 . . . . . 11,011.0 . . . . 1.62 . . . . 37.12
12/01 . . 208,715.0 . . 23,970.0 . . 7,848.0 . . . . . 15,003.0 . . . . 2.16 . . . . 37.41
12/00 . . 227,596.0 . . 26,881.0 . . 8,001.0 . . . . . 15,806.0 . . . . 2.25 . . . . 41.2
12/99 . . 182,529.0 . . 11,150.0 . . 8,304.0 . . . . . 7,910.0 . . . . . 1.12 . . . . 29.06
12/98 . . 165,627.0 . . 12,083.0 . . 8,355.0 . . . . . 8,144.0 . . . . .1.15 . . . . 32.6

The key totals are EBIT at $362B and Net Income at $220B. If you factor in around $40B for 2008 and pull out 98 and 99, You get less than $400B and $240B, an amount vastly less than $600B.

So even if you give Biden the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he was quoting the most generous income value of EBIT, he's off by a not so insignificant $200B or 33%. However you can't talk income without taking into account depreciation, interest paid out, and income taxes paid out since that's the income that higher taxes would target. So in reality, Biden was off by over 60%!!!!! Isn't that significant? He has no clue how much these guys make nor what their contribution is to the economy.

Exxon's net profit margin is only about 9%, a very modest amount. Exxon also paid out over 40% in income taxes. That's also a valuable window into what he feel is "not enough" tax paid. Add to that the fact that Exxon paid out 20% of that income in dividends which were also subsequently taxed and taxes paid by the investor on the gains on the stock value. Both are 15% tax rates today if held in an after-tax account but they are taxed at higher rates if held in 401K's and then withdrawn because 401K's are taxed as normal income and thus at your personal marginal tax rate. Fat cat oil execs own less than 1% of the company, the majority is owned by pension funds, mutual funds, and ETF's and insurance companies investing our life insurance premiums and the like. That would be people like you, me, my former Teamster buddy, and Joe Biden. They also have 81,000 employees and employ many, many, highly paid union workers.


Rezko singing to prosecutors in Chicago

The Chicago Sun-Times says this:

Sneed hears rumbles political fund-raiser/fixer Tony Rezko, who is now singing sweetly to the feds from his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been talking about his "dealings" with a Chicago bank, which has political connections.


New Op-ed with Investor's Business Daily: Subsidize Unemployment, Get More Of It

My newest op-ed at Investor's Business Daily on the impact of greater unemployment insurance payments is available here.

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New Op-ed at Fox News: Media Coverage of McCain's New Ad

The new op-ed begins this way.

The media is ferociously attacking the McCain campaign’s new web based ad linking Obama and Bill Ayers. The ad is a very short:

Obama's blind ambition. When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied. Obama. Blind ambition. Bad judgment. Congressional liberals fought for risky subprime loans. Congressional liberals fought against more regulation. Then, the housing market collapsed costing you billions. In crisis, we need leadership, not bad judgment.

A second longer ad released on the web at the same time continues this point and argues:

"Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, friends. They have worked together for years, but Obama tries to hide it, why? . . . Obama's friendship with terrorist Ayers isn't the issue. The issue is Barack Obama's judgment and candor."

The press has focused exclusively on the first ad. Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post writes: “To say that Obama ‘lied’ about his contacts with Ayers, whose Weathermen group conducted bombings when the senator from Illinois was 8 years old, is simply untrue.” Relying heavily on a recent article in the New York Times, Viveca Novak and Brooks Jackson with FactCheck.org write: “We find McCain's claim to be groundless. New details have recently come to light, but nothing Obama said previously has been shown to be false.” The Washington Post Fact Checker came to a similar conclusion. . . .

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Palin goes after Obama's Record on Guns

The Hotline has the story here:

RICHMOND, VA - Gov. Sarah Palin added a line attacking her opponent for opposing gun rights Monday, while crooner Hank Williams, Jr., changed the lines of his song to fit the political event.

"We believe in the forward movement of freedom, not the constant expansion of government," Palin told a crowd at the Richmond International Speedway Monday. "And though Barack Obama disagrees, that freedom includes ... the rights and liberties under the Second Amendment."

Palin spoke to a crowd of about 20,000 people, according to the Associated Press. A large part of the crowd in the back could not hear her and yelled "Louder" several times during the speech. Palin, hearing the yells but unable to discern them, assumed they were protesters.

"I would hope at least that those protestors have the courage and the honor of thanking our veterans for giving them the right to protest," she said, as some people in front yelled "no" to try and explain the situation. . . .

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Swedes trying to interfere in the US election

Anyway, that is my take on Paul Krugman getting the Nobel prize. I particularly like this:

"Krugman is not only a scientist but also an opinion maker," economics prize committee member Tore Ellingsen said.

Why else would they mention "but also an opinion maker"? These guys know that the Nobel prize will give Krugman all sorts of publicity before the election.

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The Economy really is strong says Casey Mulligan

A friend of mine from the University of Chicago has this piece in last Friday's New York Times.

There are two faulty assumptions here. First, saving America’s banks won’t save the economy. And second, the economy doesn’t really need saving. It’s stronger than we think.

Bear with me. I know that most everyone has been saying for a couple of weeks that something has to be done; a banking crisis could quickly become a wider crisis, pulling the rest of us down. For this reason, the Wall Street bailout is supposed to be better than no plan at all.

Too bad this line of thinking is seriously flawed. The non-financial sectors of our economy will not suffer much from even a prolonged banking crisis, because the general economic importance of banks has been highly exaggerated.

Although banks perform an essential economic function — bringing together investors and savers — they are not the only institutions that can do this. Pension funds, university endowments, venture capitalists and corporations all bring money to new investment projects without banks playing any essential role. The average corporation gets about a quarter of its investment funds from the profits it has after paying dividends — and could double or even triple that amount by cutting its dividend, if necessary.

What’s more, it’s not as if banking services are about to vanish. When a bank or a group of banks go under, the economywide demand for their services creates a strong profit motive for new banks to enter the marketplace and for existing banks to expand their operations. (Bank of America and J. P. Morgan Chase are already doing this.)

It’s important to keep in mind, too, that the financial sector has had a long history of fluctuating without any correlated fluctuations in the rest of the economy. The stock market crashed in 1987 — in 1929 proportions — but there was no decade-long Depression that followed. Economic research has repeatedly demonstrated that financial-sector gyrations like these are hardly connected to non-financial sector performance. Studies have shown that economic growth cannot be forecast by the expected rates of return on government bonds, stocks or savings deposits. . . .

Since World War II, the marginal product of capital, after taxes, has averaged 7 percent to 8 percent per year. (In other words, each dollar of capital invested in the economy earns, on average, 7 cents to 8 cents annually.) And what happened during 2007 and the first half of 2008, when the financial markets were already spooked by oil price spikes and housing price crashes? The marginal product was more than 10 percent per year, far above the historical average. The third-quarter earnings reports from some companies already suggest that America’s non-financial companies are still making plenty of money. . . .

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One third of Atlanta's new police have criminal records

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has this:

Keovongsa Siharath was arrested in Henry County on charges he punched his stepfather.

Jeffrey Churchill was charged with assault in an altercation with a woman in a mall parking lot.

Calvin Thomas was taken into custody in DeKalb County on a concealed weapons charge.

All three are now officers with the Atlanta Police Department.

More than one-third of recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have been arrested or cited for a crime, according to a review of their job applications. The arrests ranged from minor offenses such as shoplifting to violent charges including assault. More than one-third of the officers had been rejected by other law enforcement agencies, and more than half of the recruits admitted using marijuana.

“On its face, it’s troubling and disturbing,” said Vincent Fort, a state senator from Atlanta. “It would be very troubling that people might be hitting the streets to serve and protect and they have histories that have made them unqualified to serve on other departments.”

But Atlanta police say it’s not so simple. Officials have been trying without success for more than a decade to grow the department

to 2,000 officers, an effort hurt by this year’s budget crisis. With competition for recruits intense among law enforcement agencies, Atlanta has had to make concessions. . . .

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Obama on ACORN and other Community Activist Groups: "calling all of you to help up shape the agenda"

This is from an address that Obama gave in 2007 to a group of community organizers.

With all the claims about fraudulent voter registration, Politico notes that "Obama’s campaign has also shelled out about $800,000 to an ACORN subsidiary, Citizens Services Inc., to help with voter registration efforts. Although ACORN says it is nonpartisan, its registration efforts tend to be focused among groups friendly to Democratic candidates."

McCain has a new ad discussing Obama's connections with ACORN

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