Teacher put on leave for having a picture of her shooting on her personal website

What possible explanation can the schools have for caring whether a woman has a gun in her own personal life off the job? This story is really outrageous.

BEAVER DAM (WKOW) -- Beaver Dam school officials placed a middle school teacher on administrative leave after discovering a photograph of the teacher with a gun on the teacher's Facebook page.

In the photo, teacher Betsy Ramsdale is training a rifle at the camera.

Ramsdale emailed 27 News in response to our inquiries saying she "removed the photo immediately" and that she is not "interested in any controversy." Ramsdale did not comment on her motivation for posting the photo.

Schools superintendent Donald Childs told 27 News he is unaware of any sinister intent on the teacher's part and said the use of the photo "appears to be poor judgment."

Childs said the Facebook photo was brought to the attention of school district officials by a concerned staff member at Beaver Dam Middle School.

Ramsdale's biography on the school district website states she is in her first year of teaching at the middle school. Department of Public Instruction records show Ramsdale has been licensed to teach since 1996.

Middle school parent Jennifer Buzzell said the teacher's decision to post the photograph was concerning.

"I don't think it's appropriate," Buzzell told 27 News. "I'm not sure why this would be on the computer at all."

"I don't see anything wrong with it," school parent Mark Hagstrom said. "She's on her time to do what she wants."

School parent Chad Van Loo said the photograph sends the wrong message. . . .

Labels: ,

What do you think threatening nationalizing the banks has on Credit markets?

This is so bizarre. Obama claims that he wants to help the economy and he lets banks fear that they are about to be nationalized. Talk about paralyzing the financial system.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) (BAC) Chief Executive Ken Lewis capped off a week of defending his bank and his role in it on Friday by firing back against rumors that his company could be in danger of nationalization.
"It's absurd," Lewis said in an interview on CNBC, adding that he knows of no government officials who have talked about nationalizing the bank.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other top officials are close to finishing a plan to overhaul the government's $700 billion financial rescue fund. Some investors in recent days have been worried that the government's latest revisions to its lifeline for banks would involve nationalizing many banks. . . .

Labels: , ,

"No scientific forecasts of the changes in the Earth’s climate"

It would be interesting to get the pseudo scientists to respond to Wharton Professor Scott Armstrong's research on forecasting global warming. Scott is one of the leading people in the world on forecasting. Here is his challenge on forecasting global warming that global warming advocates have completely failed to meet.

Labels: , , ,

Canadian Radio interview on guns 3:30 PM EST for 20 minutes

Roy Green Show, Corus Radio Network with host Michael Smyth. I will be on for 20 minutes.


What does this have to do with schooling?: Environmental Indoctrination

I have seen this first hand in my kids school. Biology class turned into a semester long primer on how to recycle. There was no alternative view provided in the class. Here is the news story that set me off.

Could environmental education be crossing into environmental indoctrination? Some critics say yes, as schools boast that such curricula simply is teaching children ways of caring for the earth.

Being a "good" student at Western Avenue Elementary School in Flossmoor, Ill., means more than just doing reading, writing and arithmetic well. It also means trying to save the planet.

"It's really important to help the earth and save the polar bears," 9-year-old Duree Everett said, as she colored a "go green" sign at her desk.

The students are taking part in what's called "National Green Week," organized by the Green Education Foundation. Schools across the country are encouraged to teach children about recycling, global warming and carbon footprints.

"It's important to start creating habits now, while children are young, because it can add up over a lifetime to make huge monumental consequences to the environment," said Victoria Waters, president of the Green Education Foundation.

Children as young as 5 years old are told to avoid plastic water bottles, carry lunches in reusable containers, to conserve water and reduce their trash, both at school and at home. They're also taught that planet earth is in trouble and animals' lives could be in danger. . . .

Labels: , ,

Public School Officials in Illinois getting paid over $400,000 per year, but information on total salaries being hidden

The Chicago Sun-Times has this:

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to blow the lid off "hidden benefits'' in educator salaries following Chicago Sun-Times' disclosures that some superintendent salaries in the state have climbed past $400,000.

Several legislators said they would like to see itemized breakdowns of administrators' salaries. Currently, the state Board of Education only releases an overall annual salary figure.

Last week, the Sun-Times reported that now-retired Supt. Neil Codell was the highest-paid educator in the state, taking home $411,500 last school year, according to state records. He oversaw two schools in Niles Township High School District 219.

On his heels was Laura Murray, another now-retired superintendent, who made $402,300 while presiding over one high school in Homewood-Flossmoor District 233.

Niles board President Robert Silverman said Codell had received a "base salary'' of $182,500. But despite a Freedom of Information Act request, district officials would not itemize his pay, although they did release his contract.

State Sen. Dan Cronin, the senior Republican on the Senate Education Committee, called it "outrageous'' that a district would not itemize a superintendent's pay.

"These are tax dollars. There's an obligation to disclose to the public every dime,'' the Elmhurst lawmaker said. . . .


Arlen Specter and Susan Collins say that they will support the so-called "stimulus" bill

What a mess. I hope that voters let Specter and Collins know how they feel about this. Specter's website can be reached here. A news article from Fox News is here:

Senators have reached a tentative deal on a version of President Obama's economic stimulus plan, including about $811 billion in spending and tax cuts, that will win enough Republican votes to move forward.

Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Susan Collins of Maine appeared to be the critical Republicans to sign onto the bill, giving Democrats the 60 votes needed to advance to a final vote. Democrats also voiced confidence that Republican Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine also would vote for the plan.

It isn't certain when a vote would come, but sources indicate Sunday is a likely bet. . . .



The Democrat Congressional Budget Office Estimates that the Stimulus plan will reduce economic growth

Obviously, I think that the effect is much worse than the Democratic economists think that it will be and I disagree with their reasoning, but still this is an amazing concession from the Democrats.

CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary. . . .


Jake Tapper in Exchange with Obama Press Secretary

I realize Jake Tapper's political background, but I often admire that he is willing to go after stories that most of the media won't touch.

Labels: ,

Text of Obama's amazing address to Democrats in Williamsburg, Va.

A copy of the address can be read here.


More movement on Concealed Carry in Illinois

The Southwestern Illinois News Democrat has this:

St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus is backing a bill to allow Illinois residents to carry a concealed weapon.
"In today's society the citizens should be able to protect themselves and their families," Justus said in a prepared statement.
"As a law enforcement officer with over 54 years of service it is my opinion that anyone wishing to carry a concealed handgun, for their personal protection, must participate in a training course," he said. "I believe to be successful the key to concealed carry is training."
House Bill 245, the Family and Personal Protection Act, was introduced Jan. 20 by state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion. If passed, the bill would establish statewide standards for issuing permits to carry concealed firearms in Illinois.
Missouri and 47 other states have already legalized concealed carry. Only Illinois and Wisconsin have no form of concealed-carry handgun laws.
On Tuesday the Illinois Sheriffs' Association unanimously passed a resolution supporting a concealed-carry handgun law, the first time the association has passed such a resolution since it was founded in 1928. Ninety percent of Illinois sheriffs, when surveyed by the association, said they "support concealed carry in Illinois if adequate training and safeguards are included."


Virginia Senate passes bill letting Concealed Carry in Restaurants

WTOP has this:

RICHMOND, Va. - The Senate has passed a bill that would allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry hidden guns into restaurants that serve alcohol as long as they don't drink.

But Sen. Emmett Hanger's bill only cleared the body 24-16, three votes shy of what would be needed to overturn a veto.

Gov. Tim Kaine vetoed the bill last year, and the Senate couldn't muster the votes to overturn it. Administration officials have said Kaine likely would reject it again.

Under the legislation, those who carry a concealed weapon into a restaurant and either drink alcohol or fail to inform management that they're armed could be charged with a crime.

Currently, guns can be taken into restaurants as long as they are out in the open.


Will the Stimulus Bill be stopped?

From AOL News

President Barack Obama's presidential campaign prided itself on being a grassroots effort. Obama aimed to inspire millions of Americans to engage in the political process, some for the first time, to help bring about change. But the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats may be learning now that there is a flip side to inspiring Americans to action. If they don't get what they want, they will let their elected officials know about it.

Switchboard operators at the Capitol say that frustrated voters are jamming phone lines with calls to Senators and Congressmen against Obama's and the Democrats' proposed economic stimulus plan. Some Senators report that calls to their offices about the plan are running in the hundreds per day, up from just a handful last month. Voters are upset both at the cost of the plan, which is at over $900 billion currently, and the recent tax troubles of Obama Administration nominees, which is feeding the perception that there are different sets of rules for the well connected and the ordinary citizen. . . .

From Politico:

At this crucial juncture in the push to pass an economic recovery package, President Barack Obama finds himself in the most unlikely of places: He is losing the message war.

Despite Obama’s sky-high personal approval ratings, polls show support has declined for his stimulus bill since Republicans and their conservative talk-radio allies began railing against what they labeled as pork barrel spending within it.

The sheer size of it — hovering at about $900 billion — has prompted more protests that are now causing some moderate and conservative Democrats to flinch and, worse, hesitate.

The anxiety over lost momentum seemed almost palpable this week as the president in television interviews voiced frustration with his White House’s progress and the way his recovery program was being demonized as a Democratic spending frenzy.

In Obama’s own words in an NBC interview, it’s his job to “get this thing back on track.”

Already, he’s trying — rolling out Michelle Obama to talk stimulus Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday (at a train station, no less) and sitting down with key senators one-on-one.

But this is unfamiliar turf for a team that achieved near epic status for its communication skills during the presidential campaign. It has rarely ever had to play catch-up. . . .


Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing Legislation

Licensing has not reduced crime rates in any jurisdiction that I know of where it has been tried. It is costly and will reduce gun ownership, exposing citizens who make mistakes to legal penalties.

1/6/2009--Introduced. Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 - Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to prohibit a person from possessing a firearm unless that person has been issued a firearm license under this Act or a state system certified under this Act and such license has not been invalidated or revoked. Prescribes license application, issuance, and renewal requirements.

Prohibits transferring or receiving a qualifying firearm unless the recipient presents a valid firearms license, the license is verified, and the dealer records a tracking authorization number. Prescribes firearms transfer reporting and record keeping requirements. Directs the Attorney General to establish and maintain a federal record of sale system.

Prohibits: (1) transferring a firearm to any person other than a licensee, unless the transfer is processed through a licensed dealer in accordance with national instant criminal background check system requirements, with exceptions; (2) licensed manufacturer or dealer from failing to comply with reporting and record keeping requirements of this Act;
(3) failing to report the loss or theft of the firearm to the Attorney General within 72 hours; (4) failing to report to the Attorney General an address change within 60 days; (5)
keeping a loaded firearm, or an unloaded firearm and ammunition for the firearm, knowingly or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child is capable of gaining access, if a child uses the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury.

Prescribes criminal penalties for violations of firearms provisions covered by this Act. Directs the Attorney General to: (1) establish and maintain a firearm injury information clearinghouse; (2) conduct continuing studies and investigations of firearm-related deaths and injuries; and (3) collect and maintain current production and sales figures of each licensed manufacturer. Authorizes the Attorney General to certify state firearm licensing or record of sale systems.


Stimulus package bribes universities to deny religious groups use of university

The stimulus bill has this bizarre rules regarding religion.

Labels: ,

Al Gore to Kids: Don't listen to your parents

Glenn Beck plays a tape of Al Gore addressing some 3,000 kids. This advice from Gore is very disappointing.



Illinois sheriffs back concealed carry of guns, with some restrictions

As the person who sent this link to me noted "A crack in the armor has emerged" in the opposition to concealed carry in Illinois.

Support for allowing concealed carry of firearms in Illinois — one of just two states that still outlaw it — is coming from what seems like an unlikely direction: the Illinois Sheriffs' Association.

The group, for the first time in its history, is taking a qualified stand in favor of the controversial practice.

State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, proposed a bill (HB245) last week that would allow residents to obtain concealed firearm permits. It would require background checks and training in handgun use, safety and marksmanship. Similar bills have been introduced in the past, and died with little support.

"I believe to be successful the key to concealed carry is training," said St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus, voicing his support Wednesday. "If we allow concealed carry, we must make sure only the right people have the guns. This is best done by requiring training, proper identification, and a thorough background check — including a mental evaluation. . . .

Thanks to Tony Troglio for sending me this.



Smoot-Hawley tariffs worked so well in the 1930s, Democrats want to try them again now

Bloomberg has this news:

Congressional leaders, trying to quell a dispute over “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus package, are crafting a version that would apply only when they don’t violate trade rules, according to industry officials and a congressional aide. . . .

The House Ways and Means Committee’s Democratic staff and aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, are working out the language, said a lobbyist who was briefed on the measure. The people familiar with the talks declined to be identified because the talks are confidential. Ways and Means spokesman Matthew Beck didn’t have an immediate comment, and Reid spokesman Jim Manley didn’t return a telephone message.

Steel companies, such as U.S. Steel Corp. and Nucor Corp., and labor unions are pushing language in the stimulus plan to mandate that projects use American-made iron, steel and other manufactured goods in building projects such as roads, bridges and tunnels. . . .

“We’ve always said this doesn’t violate our trade laws,” said Robert Baugh, executive director of the Industrial Union Council at the AFL-CIO. “If they need to restate it, fine.”

Caterpillar, Microsoft

Some opponents of the Buy American plan, including Caterpillar Inc., Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have said that even a version that doesn’t violate trade rules might spur protectionist measures around the world. . . .


One weird burglar caught by gun owning homeowner in Oregon

From KXL 750 radio:

Alleged burglar caught by homeowner in underpants (Feb 04, 2009)
A man wearing only his underpants caught a burglar breaking into his home and held him at gunpoint until officers could arrive, police said.
The suspected prowler was facing serious charges after the alert homeowner caught him in the act and held him at gunpoint early Tuesday morning in northeast Vancouver.
Police said Matthew Morris, 24, was trying to break into the family's cars and possibly their home, when he ended up facing the barrel of the homeowner's gun.
Tuesday, a woman FOX 12 will refer to only as "Sandy" was still shaken up over her family's startling wake-up call.
"We were afraid. I mean, my husband was afraid and I was afraid for my children and for our safety," Sandy said.
After a recent string of car break-ins, including one right next door, Sandy and her husband set out a motion sensor in front of their house.
So when the alarm was activated early Tuesday morning, they didn't hesitate.
"(We) went to the window and saw the person in between our two vehicles and then trying to look in the front window," Sandy said.
Her husband grabbed one of their guns and ran out to confront the man.
The firearm probably wasn't the only thing to catch the accused burglar by surprise since Sandy's husband was only wearing his underwear.
911 Call

DISPATCHER: Ma'am, who does your husband have out in the street at gunpoint?
CALLER: Um, someone who was trying to break into our vehicles and our house.
CALLER: My husband, he's standing buck, basically buck naked out in the yard.
DISPATCHER: I know. I just want do know does he still have the gun on the suspect?
CALLER: He just has it pointed down.
Sandy's husband ordered the suspect to get on the ground and he kept him there, at gunpoint, until deputies arrived.
Sandy said she and her husband are trained to use their guns properly. Even though they hope they never have to fire them, she said she hopes her husband's actions send a message to other criminals.
"This area has been burglarized for the past two weeks, methodically down the street so hopefully that will come to an end now," Sandy said.
Morris was charged with attempted car prowling, trespassing and possession of meth. But officials said he has already bailed out of jail.


So why is George Stephanopoulos holding daily strategy sessions with Democrats?

Isn't there some problem with a reporter to hold daily strategy sessions with the president's chief of staff? Obviously Carville is a consultant and even Begala is a commentator, but George Stephanopoulos claims to be a newsman. Doesn't this bring into question his objectivity? What was reasonable behavior when Stephanopoulos worked in Clinton's White House isn't necessary reasonable when he is a reporter. From the Politico:

So begins another morning in what may count as Washington’s longest-running conversation — a street-corner bull session between four old friends who suddenly find themselves standing once more at the busiest intersection of politics and media in Washington.

Carville calls White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel calls ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

A bit later, CNN commentator Paul Begala, who is not quite the early bird that his friends are, will complete the circle with a rapid set of calls to all three.

Different versions of this round-robin chatter have been taking place, with few interruptions, every workday for nearly a generation.

“I refer to it as the 17-year-long conference call,” said Emanuel, who starts calling his friends at 6 a.m. “You can tap into it anytime you want.” . . . .

Here is a defense of this behavior.

Take for example Stephanopoulos mistaken reporting on the Blago senate selling case.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, host of “This Week,” said during the roundtable on his program Sunday that the Obama legal team's review of contacts with Blagojevich found that Emanuel had only one phone conversation with the governor, and it was a “pro forma” conversation.

“I have been briefed on the review that Obama has done,” Stephanopoulos said. “The sources I talked to say that what it will show is there were actually far less contacts than we had heard — that Rahm Emanuel only had one phone call with Gov. Blagojevich. It wasn’t even really about the Senate seat.” . . .

For example, the Chicago Tribune reported about "conversations."

Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned. . . .

Labels: ,

Obama's Spinning on Stimulation Plan?

From today's WSJ's Political Diary by John Fund:

Is President Obama already playing "triangulation" with the Democratic Congress? Some circumstantial evidence surfaced yesterday when Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee -- a prominent Blue Dog Democrat -- told a liberal radio network that the Obama White House quietly encouraged him to reject the stimulus package pushed through the House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the end, every Republican opposed the measure along with 11 Democrats. Mr. Cooper was also one of 55 Democrats who wrote a letter to Ms. Pelosi criticizing her for suspending normal debate on the $819 billion package.

"Well, I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I actually got some quiet encouragement from the Obama folks for what I'm doing," Rep. Cooper told the Liberadio network. "They know it's a messy bill and they wanted a clean bill. Now, I got in terrible trouble with our [Democratic House] leadership because they don't care what's in the bill, they just want it passed and they want it to be unanimous. They don't mind the partisan fighting 'cause that's what they are used to. In fact, they're really good at it. And they're a little bit worried about what a post-partisan future might look like -- if members actually had to read the bills and figure out whether they are any good or not. We're just told how to vote. We're treated like mushrooms most of the time. . . ."

Well. If the definition of a political gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, Mr. Cooper committed a gaffe of mega-proportions. It's now clear that the Obama White House is worried that the Democratic Congress will repeat its previous mistakes during the early Clinton administration and lurch too far to the left. After the debacle of the 1994 mid-term election, President Clinton began a "triangulation" strategy in which he positioned himself ideologically between conservative Republicans and the liberal Democratic leadership in Congress. . . .

Labels: ,

Appearance on Coast to Coast to AM

George Noory will have be interviewing me from 10 to 11 PM this evening/1 to 2 AM EST on the morning of February 5th. The show's schedule is here. The show is a little late in the evening, but it should be interesting.

Labels: ,

Support for "Stimulus" package falls to 37%

Rasmussen Reports finds:

Support for the economic recovery plan working its way through Congress has fallen again this week. For the first time, a plurality of voters nationwide oppose the $800-billion-plus plan.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% favor the legislation, 43% are opposed, and 20% are not sure.
Two weeks ago, 45% supported the plan. Last week, 42% supported it.
Opposition has grown from 34% two weeks ago to 39% last week and 43% today.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of Democrats still support the plan. That figure is down from 74% a week ago. Just 13% of Republicans and 27% of those not affiliated with either major party agree.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans oppose the plan along with 50% of unaffiliated voters and 16% of Democrats. . . .


Trial judges give big win for Norm Coleman in MN Recount

This is a big win for Coleman, but it is hard to see how the court could have gone any other way given Bush v. Gore's decision that the same rules have to be applied across a state. Suppose that 4,000 of these absentee ballots are allowed and that the third party candidate gets 1,000 of those votes, Coleman only needs to get 54 percent of the remaining 3,000 ballots to fall his way for him to make up the 225 vote lead that Franken has. Given that these ballots are from Republican counties, that wouldn't seem to be too hard.

So much for Democrats wanting every vote to be counted. Here they actually fought in court to uphold differing rules on whether to count absentee ballots across the state. I would have been happy to see these ballots not be counted, but then the ones that helped Franken so much shouldn't have been counted either.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

In a ruling that keeps alive Republican Norm Coleman's chances of overturning Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount, a three-judge panel on Tuesday allowed him to bring evidence to trial that as many as 4,800 absentee ballots were wrongly rejected and should now be counted.

The decision expands the evidence that can be considered in the recount trial, giving Coleman the opportunity to put more ballots into play in his effort to erase a 225-vote lead for DFLer Al Franken. The Franken campaign had tried to limit Coleman to bringing evidence on only 650 absentee ballots that he cited specifically when he filed his lawsuit challenging the recount results.

In the ruling, the judges said they will focus on rejected absentee ballots cast by voters who complied with the requirements of Minnesota election law or failed to comply because of mistakes by local elections officials.

"We're very, very pleased with the ruling," said Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg, who predicted that "the vast majority" of the 4,797 ballots would be accepted and counted.

Franken chief recount lawyer Marc Elias said the ruling was "neither a loss nor a win" for his candidate. While it allows Coleman to bring evidence on more ballots than Franken preferred, it was far fewer than the 11,000 rejected ballots that Coleman's camp said in recent weeks that it wanted reconsidered. . . .



An old Daschle Ad touting his aversion to driving in Limos

With Daschle not reporting the benefits that he has gotten from limo services over the last few years sinking his nomination for Health and Human Services, this ad is amusing.


New Op-ed up at Fox News: Obama's Stimulus Package Will Increase Unemployment

My new Fox News piece starts this way:

President Obama and the Democrats’ “stimulus” package will increase the unemployment rate. The changes they propose will also make us poorer, with fewer, less productive jobs.

The most obvious explanation is the $36 billion in increased unemployment insurance benefits. Larger benefits at least for this year will encourage some people, who may be unhappy with their jobs, to be unemployed while they look for something better. Others will be a little more reluctant to take a new job when they are offered it. Unlike the rest of the “stimulus” package that is over two years, since the increased benefits are only planned for this year, the higher payments will increase unemployment this year and then start declining soon after the extension ends.

Yet, the “stimulus” package will do something else that will increase unemployment at least as much. Most of the new jobs will be for people who are currently employed. By moving money from places where it is currently being spent to places where the government wants it spent, you move the jobs also. But it takes time for people to move between jobs – that is called unemployment. . . .

A friend of mine from Madison, Wisconsin writes:

Somewhat related to your op-ed below, the lead story in this past Sunday's (2/1/09) Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel started by pointing out that the House version of the stimulus bill gives the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system $88 million dollars for construction of new schools at a time when MPS has fifteen vacant school buildings and has no plans [currently] for new school construction. . . .

Wow, this spending will make us wealthier!

Labels: , ,

New Op-ed in the Philly Inquirer: A wish list that shifts $$ around: Stimulus package lacks economic logic: How does it create jobs or spending?

I have an op-ed piece in the Philly Inquirer today.

Americans are getting dubious about the stimulus package.

A majority of Americans want Congress to either reject or make "major changes" to the economic stimulus package on Capitol Hill, a poll out Tuesday finds.

The Gallup poll, conducted from Friday through Sunday, found that 75 percent of Americans want Congress to pass some version of the plan, which is tagged at about $900 billion in the latest Senate package.

But the survey reflected deepening doubts about the effectiveness of the programs and spending items currently being considered by federal lawmakers. Only 38 percent of those polled favored the existing stimulus proposal, down from a slight majority holding that view in the Jan. 28 Gallup survey.

Thirty-seven percent want major changes and 17 percent reject the plan outright. . . . .

Very cute response in a letter published by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Stimulus doesn't mention ACORN

In his commentary Tuesday ("A wish list that shifts $$ around"), John Lott rants against some minor items in the stimulus bill and then throws in the big lie - $4.2 billion for ACORN. Lott, a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, hasn't done his research. Any reading of publicly available resources would tell him there is no specific money for ACORN in the stimulus package.
There is $4.2 billion for buying, rehabbing and selling abandoned and foreclosed houses. More than $3 billion is restricted to state and local governments and some consortia of nonprofit organizations through competitive bidding processes. About $750 million is set aside specifically for competitive bidding by nonprofits for the tasks described. ACORN is not mentioned anywhere, though presumably it could join the bidding process.

This is the same hyperbolic stretch Rep. John Boehner and other Republicans have made.

Virginia Klipstein

Here is the problem. ACORN isn't mentioned by name, but the requirements for who is eligible limits nonprofit groups based on their characteristics who can compete to ACORN.

Labels: ,

Left wing groups getting more money either directly or indirectly from government

Redstate has this:

The Senate Carves $90 Million Out of Stimulus For Liberal Activist Group
Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
Monday, February 2nd at 8:00AM EST
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (”LCCR”) is a far left interest group.

The group opposed conservative judges. The group agitates for card check. The group is in favor of the Fairness Doctrine. It is chiefly an agitator for affirmative action programs and tries to pressure banks into giving high risk loans like those that caused the housing crisis. If you oppose them, they label you a racist.

LCCR operates like ACORN. And the Senate Democrats are about to give the $90 million of your money.

Under the cover of the digital television conversion delay, the Senate Democrats want to give the LCCR $90 million. . . . .

The Business and Media Institute has this:

ACORN Gets $2,000,000 from Bailed Out Bank of America
Will media pursue beleaguered financial institutions charitable contribution to controversial organization as they have with executive compensation?

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
2/3/2009 6:13:28 AM

Remember the outrage when it was discovered former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain – how he spent over a $1 million to redecorate his office, as meticulously itemized by CNBC correspondent Charlie Gasparino for The Daily Beast?

Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) in September 2008 and Thain was eventually let go, and the backlash for his extravagant redecorating ensued.

But, this latest indiscretion has gone unnoticed by the media – a donation in the amount of $2 million to the ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) Housing Corporation of Chicago, according to a document posted on Bank of America corporate philanthropy Web site – which shows the bank had given the total amount in grant money from October 2007 through June 2009.

The document also details several regional grants to ACORN, which is said to be finalized through 2009, but currently included the following:

ACORN (Miami) - $50,000
ACORN Housing Corp. (Chicago) – $85,000
ACORN Housing Corporation (Las Vegas) - $20,000


Stimulus package bribes state governments to spend more money on education

The Chronicle of Higher Education has this:

States would have to meet a minimum bar for spending on higher education in order to benefit from money set aside in the economic-stimulus legislation to help states limit cuts in appropriations to public colleges.

The legislation, which has passed the House of Representatives and is being debated in the Senate this week, says that states must spend at least as much on their public colleges in the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years as they spent in the 2006 fiscal year to be eligible for money for higher education under a “state fiscal-stabilization fund.”

The House and Senate bills would provide $79-billion for that fund, including $39-billion for states to distribute to public colleges and elementary and secondary schools, and $25-billion for states to spend on “high-priority needs,” which could include education. . . .


Be careful of criticizing others: Biden has the same problem that he criticized Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for

Fox News has this:

Mockery of and apologies to the Supreme Court chief justice aside, Vice President Biden on Monday learned how difficult it is to deliver an oath of office.

The vice president fumbled his words while swearing in Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in a mock ceremony held at Foggy Bottom.

After smoothly saying and having Clinton repeat that she does "solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," Biden, who was using a note card, faltered.

"... that I will bear -- excuse me ... that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ..." . . . . .

This hasn't gotten a little coverage, though ABC News also mentions it.


Cold Weather Kills

When people talk about the supposed horrors of global warming, remember the deaths caused by cold weather. I only wish that the world was getting warmer. Here is a news report that details some of the lost lives from cold weather.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear (beh-SHEER) is raising his state's death toll to 24 in a storm that caked several states in ice last week.

That means at least 55 people have died in the storm nationwide.

Beshear says in a letter to President Barack Obama released Monday that 10 of the deaths were from carbon monoxide poisoning and at least nine others from hypothermia.

Labels: ,

Even the New York Times thinks that Daschle's nomination ought to be pulled

The New York Times has this:

When President Obama nominated former Senator Tom Daschle to be his secretary of health and human services, it seemed to be a good choice. Mr. Daschle, as the co-author of a book on health care reform, knew a lot about one of the president’s signature issues. As a former Senate majority leader, he also knew a lot about guiding controversial bills through Congress, where he remains liked and respected by former colleagues.

Unfortunately, new facts have come to light — involving his failure to pay substantial taxes that were owed and his sizable income from health-related companies while he worked in the private sector — that call into question his suitability for the job. We believe that Mr. Daschle ought to step aside and let the president choose a less-blemished successor. . . . .

I particularly liked this:

He paid some $140,000 in back taxes and interest on Jan. 2 to settle several tax problems — and he acknowledges owing more.

If he owes even more money, why is everyone quoting just the $140,000 figure?

Senator Jim DeMint calls for Daschle to withdraw his nomination.

"The average American would likely face criminal charges with tax evasion of this size, yet he did not address the issue until he was nominated," he said. . . . .

And another nominee withdraws her nomination because of even much, much smaller tax problems.

"Nancy Killefer has decided to withdraw her nomination, and we accepted her withdrawal," Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Tuesday. The 55-year-old executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., was expected to explain her reasons for pulling out later in the day.

When her selection was announced by Obama on Jan. 7, The Associated Press disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help.

Since then, administration officials refused to answer questions about the tax error, which she resolved five months after the lien was filed.

Labels: , , ,


Freedomnomics Hardcover at Paperback prices

Amazon has reduced the price of Freedomnomics to just $10.99. I think that this is my best book.

Ann Coulter and Dennis Miller were nice enough to discuss the book on Friday here. A few reviews by those who have read the book would also be appreciated and if possible please "tag" it as being in economics.

Labels: , ,

New Op-ed up at Fox News: Obama’s Senate Games

My newest piece went up today at Fox News. It starts this way:

You would think that Rod Blagojevich’s recent removal from office would make politicians extremely careful about appearances. Yet, President Obama may have now gotten himself into a similar situation over yet another Senate seat.

Over the last week, Obama has been in discussions with New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg about becoming the next Secretary of Commerce. There has already been an understanding that Obama was trying to tempt Senator Gregg with the offer to be head of Commerce so that the Democrats would obtain a filibuster proof senate. News articles have painted the offer as an attempt by Obama to bring Republicans and Democrats together.

Yet, as Politico’s Ben Smith noted on Saturday:

“The White House, I’m told, is still trying to get a guarantee from Governor Lynch that he’ll replace Senator Gregg with a Democrat.”

Smith’s statement was a single sentence and no other implications have been drawn from it. But a report in The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary today seems to confirm this claim.

The Politico information indicates that Obama clearly does not view Senator Gregg as the best person to head the Commerce Department. Rather, it makes explicit that Obama was offering the Commerce job solely to buy a Senate seat for the Democrats. . . . .

Labels: , ,

Media Criticism: "Guns in Boston with ‘Boston Legal’"

I have a posting up at Big Hollywood. It starts this way:

Guns have figured frequently in “Boston Legal,” with Denny Crane (William Shatner) using them defensively from time to time. Recently, in episode 3 of season 5 (”Dances with Wolves“), Denny fired a gun to defend himself from a robber who also had a gun. The robber was not really threatening, and as Denny’s friend and fellow partner Alan Shore (James Spader) asked him: ”Did you absolutely have to shoot [the robber]? Three times? In both feet?” Obviously the answer to all three questions was, “No.” . . .

Other recent posts can be seen here and here.


Democrats seek to bailout newspapers

I have warned about this before. The WSJ has this story here.

Governor Ed Rendell has discussed a state bailout of the company that owns a pair of Philadelphia newspapers, the Inquirer and the Daily News.

Labels: , , ,

Democrat Senators on the "Stimulus" bill

A poll is one thing. Having Democrat Senators not actively showing support is quite another. I found these points of interest.

According to the latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics polling data, only 45% of those polled think “Barack Obama’s proposed $825 billion dollar economic recovery plan” will help the economy (the wording low-balled the bill’s estimated cost, neglecting to add the interest estimated by the CBO which brings the total estimated cost to nearly $1.2 trillion). More Americans think the focus of an economic stimulus plan should be “cutting taxes” (50%) than "increasing government spending on new programs and infrastructure projects” (29%). The poll of 900 registered voters was conducted from January 27 to January 28 and has a 3-point margin of error. . . .

I decided to check the press release sections of all Democrat senators’ websites to quantify any trending support (or lack thereof) these folks were offering to their leadership and the new Democrat president. As of deadline Sunday, only 15 Democrats had expressed support for all or even some part of the legislation in a press release.

The overwhelming majority (33) of the Democratic Senators’ websites were completely silent on the issue (six are new senators with minimal website activity). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not issued one press release about this legislation, pro or con. There were a plethora of other releases on these websites with five more senators making mention of the stimulus bill without indicating any level of support. . . .


Appearing on KSFO at 10 AM EST/7 AM PST

Brian Sussman will be interviewing me on KSFO at 10 AM EST/7 AM PST on Monday morning. We will be talking about Obama's economic plan.


Britain has heaviest snowfall in 20 years

It must be Global Warming. The London Times has this:

The heaviest snowfall in 20 years has closed thousands of schools and caused transport chaos up the eastern side of Britain, with London and the surrounding areas the hardest hit.

Labels: ,


Milton Friedman on Greed

With all the attacks on private companies these days, I thought that this might be a useful anecdote for people to listen to.


And who wants to get into whose bedroom?: Some liberals want to limit the number of children people can have to two

How long until these arguments are being made openly in the United States? From the London Sunday Times:

COUPLES who have more than two children are being “irresponsible” by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the government’s green adviser has warned.

Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.

A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning.

“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said. . . .

Labels: ,

Arkansas debating whether guns can be allowed in churches

So why should governments be involved with this decision at all? The bill in Arkansas would leave the decision up to the

Little Rock, AR - Should you be able to carry a gun to church? It's a question state lawmakers will be taking up next week when they debate a bill that's kicked up a little controversy. The bill being discussed would let churches decide on their own to post a sign to ban guns inside, but opponents say it should not even be an option.

Grant Exton is a gun owner and president of the state's Concealed Carry Association. He's been working with lawmakers on a bill that would allow people licensed to carry a concealed handgun to take their guns to church. Exton says the proposed law's less about guns and more about property rights.

(Grant Exton, Concealed Carry Association) "Businesses, homes here in Arkansas are able to make the decision on whether they want to have people carrying on their premise, and we're just trying to give that right to churches as well."

's also about personal protection. Exton cites the 2007 shooting that killed one person and injured four others in a Colorado church, where a gun-carrying church security worker stopped the shooter.

(Exton) "She was able to stop them at the door, while 7,000 congregants were seated in the pews and the Colorado Springs police said she probably saved a couple hundred lives."

Little Rock pastor John Phillips, now at Central Church of Christ, has first-hand experience with guns in the sanctuary. In 1986, while working at a different church, across town, he was gunned down in the pulpit. . . .

Labels: ,

Australia's Government Health Care System is "broke"

The Daily Telegraph reports:

THE full extent of the disease plaguing the NSW health system can be revealed, with an analysis showing every one of the state's 220 public hospitals is either battling to pay bills, struggling to attract staff or short of beds.

Experts have told The Sunday Telegraph the health crisis has for the first time permeated the entire state, extending from major Sydney hospitals to rural and regional centres in Moree, Broken Hill and Albury.

Dr Brian Morton, president of the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said the state of the public health system had plunged to an unprecedented low.

"(The system) is basically broke and all the health services are in trouble,'' he said.
Among major problems blighting the system are:

* All of the eight area health services are facing major funding, staffing and supply shortages.

* New fears of deadly superbug outbreaks, as cleaning budgets are slashed across NSW, which already has Australia's highest rate of hospital-acquired infections.

* NSW Health's finances are a "significant problem'', according to the Auditor-General's Office, with a "large number of errors detected during the audit process'' as well as missed deadlines.

* Patients being denied basic drugs, medical supplies and quality food because of cost-cutting. . . .


Obama's broken defense promises

Fox News notes that Obama is proposing a cut in defense spending:

The Obama administration has asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent -- about $55 billion -- a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.

Last year's defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend "burning the midnight oil" looking at ways to cut the budget -- looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said. . . .

But during the campaign he promised an increase in spending on defense.

Actually, Obama wants to increase defense spending. He wants to add 65,000 troops to the Army and recruit 27,000 more Marines. Why? To fight terrorism.

Or this statement:

"It's hard to see how we could spend less on the military in the near term," Richard Danzig, a former navy secretary who advises Senator Obama on national security, said. . . .

"If we're spending more than $US600 billion ($625 billion) on military kinds of activities, we probably spend less than $US40 billion ($42 billion) on these other elements of national power and that's just a disproportion that needs to be addressed," said Mr Danzig. . . . .

On Afghanistan

President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to redirect U.S. troops and resources to Afghanistan from Iraq, but he has done little so far to suggest he will significantly widen the grinding war with insurgents in Afghanistan.

On the contrary, Obama appears likely to streamline the U.S. focus with an eye to the worsening economy and the cautionary example of the Iraq war that sapped political support for President George W. Bush. . . .

Obama said he wants to add troops to turn back a resurgent Taliban, but he has not gone beyond the approximately 30,000 additional forces already under consideration by the previous administration. Those troops will nearly double the U.S. presence in Afghanistan this year, but they amount to a finger in the dike while Obama recalibrates a chaotic mishmash of military and development objectives. . . .

On Bin Laden from the Sunday Times of London:

As recently as October 7, in a presidential debate, Mr Obama said: "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority."

Now the policy is

Barack Obama suggested last night that removing Osama bin Laden from the battlefield was no longer essential and that America's security goals could be achieved merely by keeping al-Qaeda "on the run".

"My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him," he said. "But if we have so tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate with his operatives then we will meet our goal of protecting America." . . .

Labels: , , ,

Obama making the bribe to Gregg Explicit to BUY a senate seat for the Democrats

Isn't it bad enough that there is the appearance of trying to bribe Senator Gregg with the offer to head the Commerce Department. Now Politico reports this:

The White House, I'm told, is still trying to get a gaurantee from Governor Lynch that he'll replace Senator Gregg with a Democrat.

Here is the problem: We have just gone through the Illinois bribery case with Blago and this seems to show that Obama is also willing to pay someone off to get a senate seat.

Labels: ,