Socialism to save capitalism?

The Hill newspaper reports this deep insight from Senator Joe Biden.

Vice President Biden, echoing President Franklin Roosevelt's famous admonition about saving capitalism from capitalists, urged world leaders on Saturday help "save the markets from free marketeers."

Biden made the remarks while speaking Saturday at the Progressive Governance Conference in Vina del Mar, Chile.

The assembled leaders "have to, in a sense, save the markets from free marketeers right now," Biden said in remarks released by the White House. "And the essence of that requires transparency and accountability."

The remarks could be interpreted as an ideological shot-across-the-bow at conservatives, who often emphasize the primacy of market forces in an economy.

Biden spoke of building a "new foundation" for the economy based on pragmatic considerations. . . .

So socialism will make capitalism stronger? We will destroy the incentives that drives innovation in capitalism and have government ownership of all sorts of assets. That will protect capitalism.

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Massachusetts Judge Strikes Down State Gun Lock Law as Unconstitutional

Under the heading that "Massachusetts judges split over Supreme Court gun ruling," a Massachusetts judge recently struck down the state's gun luck law as unconstitutional.

BOSTON, MA -- State Police Lt. Richard Bolduc has Justice Antonin Scalia and four of the judge's colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court to thank for the likely resurrection of his law enforcement career.
On June 25, 2007, Cape Cod detectives went to Bolduc's home to investigate a report that his son had pointed an unloaded gun at a 5-year-old girl and pulled the trigger. When the 12-year-old son directed investigators to an unlocked bureau in his father's bedroom, they discovered a department-issued, high-capacity handgun that was not secured with a trigger lock.
The 34-year police veteran, who was not home at the time, was charged under G.L.c.140, §131L with the illegal storage of an unsecured firearm in his house.
A felony conviction, which appeared likely, could have landed Bolduc in jail for up to 10 years and ended his career.
But then Bolduc hit the legal lottery.
His lawyer, Daniel W. O'Malley of Quincy, was able to persuade a Barnstable District Court judge, and eventually the county's district attorney, to dismiss the case based on District of Columbia v. Heller, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling decided less than 24 hours after Bolduc's criminal troubles began.
"Having a case dismissed as a result of the Supreme Court handing down such an outcome-altering decision the day after someone is charged with a crime sounds like something from a James Patterson crime novel, not from a courthouse on the Cape," remarks former prosecutor Paula J. Clifford, a Boston lawyer who was not involved in the case. "[Heller] is obviously an extremely significant case that's going to be cited by lawyers throughout the state, but to have that kind of an immediate impact is pretty unusual."
A no-go in Chelsea
The eight months since Heller have been frustrating ones for Revere lawyer Carmine P. Lepore, of Lepore & Hochman, who says lower court judges are split over what the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision means to §131L prosecutions. . . . .

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Obama administration continues pushing for new Assault Weapons Ban

Hillary Clinton making comments on guns while she was in Mexico last week.

We believe that we have announced a plan to use every tool at our current disposal through administrative actions to track illegal guns, to arrest and punish those who are trafficking in illegal guns, to share more information with the Mexican Government so that they can also track and seize these guns. Obviously, I am someone who supported the assault weapons ban which was passed in 1994, but it was passed with an expiration date and it expired ten years later. I, as a senator, supported measures to try to reinstate it. Politically, that is a very big hurdle in our Congress. But there may be some approaches that could be acceptable, and we are exploring those.

Certainly, the export of assault weapons and illegal weapons is something that has grave consequences for Mexico. And we’re going to look at whatever is possible that we can do ourselves within the Administration, and we will explore with Congress other steps to take. . . . . .

I would like to know where anti-tank rockets are available for sale in the US.

Traffickers have escalated their arms race, acquiring military-grade weapons, including hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets with firepower far beyond the assault rifles and pistols that have dominated their arsenals.

Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiautomatic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. . . . .

Thanks to Rich for this last link.

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Obama administration Refuses info Freddie Mac minutes during Rahm Emanuel's time as a director

This is amazing. Given the financial problems, given issues of corruption, and given the Obama administration's promises of openness, where is the press' outrage over this?

The Obama administration rejected a Tribune request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel’s time as a director. The documents, obtained by Falcon for his investigation, were “commercial information” exempt from disclosure, according to a lawyer for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. . . . . One of Emanuel’s fellow directors at Freddie Mac was Neil Hartigan, the former Illinois attorney general. Hartigan said Emanuel’s primary contribution was explaining to others on the board how to play the levers of power. . . . . .

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Expanded trigger lock law defeated in Illinois

From the Fort Mill Times:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An effort to expand an Illinois law requiring safe storage of guns failed Thursday.

Illinois law currently allows criminal charges against people who fail to store guns safely when they know a child under 14 could get hold of the weapon without permission.

Chicago Rep. Deborah Graham proposed raising the age limit. Under her proposal, gun owners could be charged if they didn't keep weapons away from anyone under 18.
But critics said the law was too broad and would do little to improve gun safety.

The measure was rejected 54-62.



New Posts at Big Hollywood

Here are a couple recent posts had at another website that people might appreciate.

Crime Shows Ignore Real Crime
‘Chuck’ Teaches Us Not To Leave Our Gun At Home


Texas moving towards letting workers keep their guns in their cars

When I lived in Texas in the Mid-1980s there were still a few pickup trucks you would see with guns in their gun racks. In any case, this law will make it easier for people to carry their concealed handguns with them, though it does apply to more than permit holders. The AP has the story here.

Texans, who love guns and pickup trucks with equal fervor, could soon have the right to keep them together all the way into the company parking garage.

The Texas Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation Wednesday that would allow people to carry firearms to work and then store them in their parked vehicles outside. Businesses could still keep guns out of their offices and company-owned vehicles. . . . .

Senators engaged in a sometimes lively debate, but — in a state where guns are generally pried away from cold dead fingers — not a single "no" vote was cast. Business groups are hoping to derail the legislation behind the scenes, but if it makes it to the House floor, passage is considered likely there, too.

The bill states that Texans carrying legal firearms, including concealed handguns, could store them in locked vehicles in company-owned parking lots.

Employers could still ban firearms from secure, fenced parking lots and garages, but they would have to provide an alternative parking area.

The bill would not apply to school parking lots or federal property where firearms are already banned.

Even in Texas, as Hegar noted, "we can't trump federal law."

Thanks to AJ Troglio for this link.

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Prop 8 donors try to protect themselves from attacks

The story is here:

After giving $10,000 to California's Proposition 8 campaign last year, Charles LiMandri began receiving some unexpected correspondence.

"I got about two dozen e-mails and hate phone calls," said Mr. LiMandri, who lives in San Diego. "They were calling me Nazi, homophobe, bigot. I tried to engage people once or twice - I said that Proposition 8 had nothing to do with being bigoted, it was about preserving marriage - but people don't want to engage on the issue."

As a lawyer, however, Mr. LiMandri knew what to do with the e-mails.

"I collected them and turned them in to the lawsuit," he said.

Those e-mails are now among hundreds of exhibits in a landmark case challenging California's campaign-finance reporting rules, which require the release of the names, addresses and employers of those who contribute $100 or more to ballot-measure committees.

The lawsuit argues that those who contribute to traditional-marriage initiatives should be exempt from having their names disclosed, citing the widespread harassment and intimidation of donors to the Proposition 8 campaign. . . . .


Will the Supreme Court Overturn McCain-Feingold?

The WSJ lends its hope here.

"That's pretty incredible," said Justice Samuel Alito. "You think that if a book was published, a campaign biography that was the functional equivalent of express advocacy, that could be banned?" Yes, Mr. Stewart said, if a corporation or union were paying for it. It would be possible to "prohibit the publication of the book using the corporate treasury funds."

With Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito has previously taken a cautious, piecemeal approach to campaign finance law. But as the current case shows, McCain-Feingold is a blunt instrument that gives federal bureaucrats the power to decide what kind of campaign advertising is allowed during an election. If "Hillary: the Movie" isn't allowed, then Michael Moore's documentaries should be banned, and newspaper endorsements would also be suspect despite a specific carve-out in the law. If newspapers didn't have that carve-out, then maybe so many editors wouldn't cheerlead for this kind of law. . . .


Obama on cutting tax deductions for charities and mortgages

Suppose you want to lower housing prices? One way to do it is to cut the mortgage interest deduction. That would reduce how much people are willing to pay for houses. Now economists have long argued for this as part of a tax package that LOWERED marginal tax rates. But why would an administration do this when they are claiming that they are doing everything that they can to raise house prices? Why would you cut the charitable deduction especially when you are saying that you are concerned the people these charities help? I think that Obama just wants to make people more dependent on government.

The transcript of Obama's press conference is here:

QUESTION: Mr. President, are you -- (takes mic) -- thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Are you reconsidering your plan to cut the interest-rate deduction for mortgages and for charities? And do you regret having proposed that in the first place?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, I think it’s -- I think it’s the right thing to do.

Where we’ve got to make some difficult choices -- here’s what we did with respect to tax policy. What we said was that over the last decade, the average worker, the average family have seen their wages and incomes flat. Even at times where supposedly we were in the middle of an economic boom, as a practical matter their incomes didn’t go up. And so (what/well ?) we said -- let’s give them a tax cut. Let’s give them some relief, some help -- 95 percent of American families.

Now, for the top 5 percent, they’re the ones who typically saw huge gains in their income. I -- I fall in that category. And what we’ve said is, for those folks, let’s not renew the Bush tax cuts. So let’s go back to the rates that existed back in -- during the Clinton era, when wealthy people were still wealthy and doing just fine. And let’s look at the level at which people can itemize their deductions.

And what we’ve said is let’s go back to the rate that existed under Ronald Reagan.

People are still going to be able to make charitable contributions. It just means if you give $100 and you’re in this tax bracket, at a certain point, instead of being able to write off 36 (percent) or 39 percent, you’re writing off 28 percent. Now, if it’s really a charitable contribution, I’m assuming that that shouldn’t be the determining factor as to whether you’re giving that hundred dollars to the homeless shelter down the street.

And so this provision would effect about 1 percent of the American people. They would still get deductions. It’s just that they wouldn’t be able to write off 39 percent. In that sense, what it would do is it would equalize. When I give $100, I get the same amount of deduction as when some -- a bus driver who’s making $50,000 a year or $40,000 a year gives that same hundred dollars. Right now, he gets 28 percent -- he gets to write off 28 percent, I get to write off 39 percent. I don’t think that’s fair.

So I think this was a good idea. I think it is a realistic way for us to raise some revenue from people who benefitted enormously over the last several years. It’s not going to cripple them.

They’ll still be well-to-do. And, you know, ultimately if we’re going to tackle the serious problems that we’ve got, then in some cases those who are more fortunate are going to have to pay a little bit more.


New Poll Shows Arlen Specter in Real Problems in Re-election rates

A new Quinnipiac University poll released today finds Mr. Toomey leading Mr. Specter by 41% to 27% in a primary match-up. The reaction against Mr. Specter is intense among Republicans: He now gets a favorable rating from only 29% of GOP voters while 47% disapprove. . . . .


Is there ever a useful promise that Obama tries to keep?

Let me get this straight, when Obama was campaigning last October and November he was constantly promising a net cut in government spending and an increase in taxes for the higher income people that merely put it back to what they were under Clinton. He also promised a tax cut for 95 percent of people. He also promised to cut the deficit and increase defense spending.

Point 1

Democrats point out that Obama inherited an unprecedented fiscal mess caused by the recession and the taxpayer-financed bailout of Wall Street. Rather than retrenching, however, they still promise to award big budget increases to education and clean energy programs, while assuming Obama's plans to overhaul the U.S. health care system advance.

"The best way to bring our deficit down in the long run is ... with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest," Obama said in a Tuesday night news conference. . . . .

During October and November Obama frequently said that we had the worst financial crisis every and the worst economy since the Great Depression. I want to know what changed between November 4th and November 17th when he went from being a deficit cutter to a supporter of massive deficits. Also, even if you can convince me that things got worse than Obama had thought they would have during this period, here is a question: if you think things are the worst since the depression you cut spending and cut the deficit, but if you think that they are suddenly a little worse than that you massively increase spending and increase the deficit. Somebody please explain.

Point 2 (a) (b):

The White House said it would launch a search for new tax revenues, as Congressional leaders moved to scale back proposed spending increases and tax cuts in President Barack Obama's ambitious budget. . . .

President Barack Obama is putting former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in charge of a tax- code review aimed at closing loopholes, streamlining the law and generating revenue. . . .

Point 3

While the budget plans that Democrats started pushing through Congress largely mirrored Obama's blueprint, the plan advanced by Senate Democrats employs some sleight of hand—such as assuming that Obama's signature $400 tax cut for most workers and $800 for couples will not be renewed beyond 2010—to cut projected deficits to a more sustainable level. . . . .

And of course, Obama isn't defending that tax cut.


This surely makes the UK an attractive place to invest

Just remember, it isn't just Obama who is saying crazy things. It seems that politicians around the world are trying to use bankers as an excuse to do whatever the politicians want to do. These politicians understand so little about economics that it is scary:

Mr Brown also criticised the 'avarice' of the financial sector and claimed bankers had acted outside the values everyday people trying to uphold in their daily lives.

During an interview with Wall Street financiers in New York this morning he suggested traditional principles such as 'hard work, integrity. . . being rewarded for hard work' and avoiding 'irresponsible risks' had not been upheld by bankers. . . . .



Government to help Newspapers with tax breaks?

Reuters has the story here:

With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs. . . . . .

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements. . . . .

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EPA: Proposing to classify Carbon Dioxide as health hazard

Quick hide the plants. For the new announcement see this:

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House Friday finding that global warming is endangering the public's health and welfare, according to several sources, a move that could have far-reaching implications for the nation's economy and environment.

"This is historic news," said Frank O'Donnell, who heads the public watchdog group Clean Air Watch. "It will set the stage for the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution. And it is likely to help light a fire under Congress to get moving."

IBD has this:

Climate Change: The EPA has prepared a finding for review that global warming is a public health threat, the first step toward regulating the American economy down to your lawn mower.

We are often told how the pursuit of alternative energy will help save the earth from climate change and create lots of green jobs. Advocates rarely use the phrase "global warming" any more because the earth is in fact no longer warming, and hasn't for a decade due to a decline in solar activity and other natural factors.

They prefer the phrase "climate change" because it can cover a multitude of things such as snow in Malibu or blizzards during global warming conferences and protests. They want to hide the fact that the Earth is not warming. They also want to hide the fact the futile regulation of greenhouse gases will produce an unintended consequence — green unemployment.

Environmentalists celebrated a victory on Monday when the White House acknowledged that the Environmental Protection Agency had transmitted its proposed finding that global warming is a public health threat. The U.S. Supreme Court directed the EPA two years ago to decide that question, ruling that if it found warming to be a threat, it must under the law regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases. . . . . .

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How technology helps solve crime

UPI has this story:

NEW YORK, March 24 (UPI) -- A New York woman said police tracked down the man who stole her iPhone after he used the device to e-mail pictures of himself.
Sayaka Fukuda, 29, who moved to New York from Tokyo three years ago, said Daquan Mathis, 18, and an accomplice approached her Feb. 21 at 4:30 a.m. on a train platform and took her iPhone and purse, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Fukuda said she reported the theft to police and returned home to find something unusual in her e-mail.

"I checked my e-mail and saw something in my outbox," she wrote in her blog. "I knew I didn't send anything. I opened the attachment, and there he was with his black and red knitted (Spider-Man) hat. The same hat I described to the police officers."

The woman passed the pictures along to police and Mathis was arrested Thursday and charged with robbery and grand larceny.


Concealed Handgun Permit Holder stops armed robbery in Miami

The heroic actions of the customer who stopped a robbery at a Miami Burger King are here.

1 dead, one injured in Miami Burger King shooting
Posted on Tuesday, 03.24.09
One man was killed and another seriously wounded in a shootout inside a Miami Burger King on Tuesday, officials said.

Police said a man wearing a ski mask walked into the store at Biscayne Boulevard and 54th Street and demanded money from a clerk.

A customer, who has a concealed weapons permit, pulled a gun, said Officer Jeff Giordano, a Miami police spokesman.

The customer and robber exchanged fire.

The robber was shot dead at the scene.

The customer, who had several gunshot wounds, was taken to Ryder Trauma Center in serious but stable condition, said Lt. Ignatius Carroll, a Miami Fire Rescue spokesman.

At about 4 p.m., officials got several 911 calls reporting people shot inside the Burger King.

Later stories noted that the customer argued with the masked robber, apparently to get him to put down his gun. The citizen could have simply shot the robbery, but he was obviously not looking for an excuse to shoot the robber and the risk that he took endangered his own life.

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Obama's army of volunteers not even noticeable in the political debate

McClatchy Newspapers has this:

President Barack Obama's army of canvassers fanned out across the nation over the weekend to drum up support for his $3.55 trillion budget, but they had no noticeable impact on members of Congress, who on Monday said they were largely unaware of the effort. . . . . .



Romer cites WSJ survey of Economists positively

This takes some real Hutzpah. The Wall Street Journal survey of economists gave both Obama and Geithner "F"s for their handling of the economy.

Romer said that "most people are predicting" positive growth in the economy "some time in the second half of the year."

Here is what is amazing: Romer is using this survey as evidence that economists think that the Obama plan is working. Yet, if one actually reads the WSJ article you find,

On average, they expect the downturn to end in October. Last month, they said the bottom would arrive in August.

The stimulus bill passes and economists think that the recovery that they were already predicting for this year was delayed by two more months.

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This is really insane: Regulate all banks executive pay

Regulate all executive pay in the finance industry? I make one prediction: The finance industry will move abroad. Good going President Obama, that is a really smart move.

The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation, government officials said.

The outlines of the plan are expected to be unveiled this week in preparation for President Barack Obama's first foreign summit meeting in early April.

Increasing oversight of executive pay has been under consideration for some time, but the decision was made in recent days as public fury over bonuses has spilled into the regulatory effort.

The officials said that the administration was still debating the details of its plan, including how broadly it should be applied and how far it could range beyond simple reporting requirements. Depending on the outcome of the discussions, the administration could seek to put the changes into effect through regulations rather than through legislation. . . . .