Pharmacist defends himself with a gun, has no regrets

News OK has this story:

Man has no regrets defending Oklahoma City pharmacy
Buzz up!
Published: May 22, 2009
Modified: May 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

Jerome Ersland was back at work Thursday filling prescriptions and hoping that by taking the life of a 16-year-old boy two days earlier, he had saved others.

Rubbing an oversized bandage on his left forearm, where he said he was grazed by a robber’s bullet, Ersland related details of what he said was a highly organized hit on the Reliable Discount Pharmacy.

"I just regret anybody would get killed,” Ersland said. "But if I wouldn’t have been here, there would have been three people killed — the other pharmacist and the two techs.”

He also recalls the angry voices of people who gathered outside the pharmacy Tuesday night, shouting that he was a racist who unnecessarily took a life of the Seeworth Academy charter school student, Antwun Parker.

"There were a lot of black people gathered out there yelling and everything at my boss,” Ersland said. . . . .

Thanks to Lawrence Herndon, CM Ross, and others for sending me this link.



Americans don't think that the government will do a good job running the car companies

Rasmussen has the poll results here:

Just 18% of Americans think the United Auto Workers union and the federal government will do a good job running Chrysler and General Motors, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Forty-seven percent (47%) believe the union and the government will do a bad job, while 35% are not sure.
Forty-six percent (46%) of adults now say it is at least somewhat likely that Chrysler and General Motors will become profitable again with the UAW and the government in charge. A week ago, before the new ownership arrangements were known, 54% of Americans said it was at least somewhat likely that Chrysler could again achieve profitability. . . . .

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New op-ed at the NY Times blog: "These Guns Require Permits, So What’s the Problem?" [I would have picked a different title.]

Should people be able to carry concealed handguns with them in national parks? There are pieces by four other writers here. My piece starts of this way:

Massive majorities in the House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, voted to eliminate the gun ban in national parks. The new federal law is hardly radical, as it simply defers to state law. If a state allows people to carry permitted concealed handguns, permit holders can carry their guns in the national parks in that state.

Opponents worry about the possibility that permit holders will accidentally shoot others or use their guns to commit crimes such as poaching. But this isn’t the first time people have been able to carry
guns in national parks. They were allowed to do so for over two months this year, from January through March, and absolutely no problems were reported.

When concealed-handgun laws were originally passed, gun control advocates then also warned that permit holders would lose their tempers and there would be blood in the streets. . . . .

To be clear, the new law simply defers to state law on the ability to carry guns.

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What Democrats want on gun control

The Washington Times has this useful editorial:

. . . . Popular support for the Second Amendment isn't lost on all congressional Democrats. On May 12, 27 Senate Democrats voted with 39 Republicans to end a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying legal firearms in national parks. The amendment was attached to unrelated legislation to regulate credit cards. The same tactic was used Feb. 26 when an amendment striking down most of the District's gun-control laws was attached to a Senate bill giving the District a vote in Congress. Twenty-two Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, voted for this amendment, which passed 62-36.

It's too early to celebrate Democratic respect for gun rights. Some Senate Democrats who voted for the national park amendment complained that they were painted into a corner on the issue. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, the party's chief vote counter, told National Public Radio last week that they were concerned about "how many more times they'd have to face such votes." Democrats are torn between their constituents' support for gun rights and an Obama administration committed to gun control.

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Two appearances

1) I will be on Coast-to-Coast AM with George Noory tonight at 1 AM EDT. We will be talking about Montana's new law that exempts guns made in Montana from federal government regulation as long as they are sold in Montana. Joel Boniek is the man behind this legislation.

2) I will be in Minneapolis tomorrow night to speak to the Minnesota Young Republicans. The Event starts at 6:30 and is at:

The Doubletree Hotel
1500 Park Place Boulevard
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Bill to allow guns in national parks passes in House

The credit regulation part of this bill is really horrible and will make it more difficult for people to get credit. A discussion of the national park portion is here:

The other measure, to restore a Bush administration policy allowing loaded guns in national parks, had been pushed by conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who persuaded the Senate to add it to its version of the credit card legislation.

The Senate bill put House Democrats in a tough spot, since they effectively were forced to vote against gun control Wednesday in order to avoid kicking the bill back to the other chamber again. (The House and Senate must approve the same bill.)

House Democrats, though, engineered a delicate legislative maneuver to extend anti-gun Democrats a chance to go on record against the amendment without torpedoing the overall bill. They did this by holding two votes: one for the credit card end of things, one for the firearms portion. This gave anti-gun members political cover by allowing them to vote against the gun measure and for the credit card bill.

But since the gun measure passed, by a vote of 279-147, it nevertheless gets attached to the main bill and becomes law if President Obama signs it. He is expected to do so Friday.

Despite objections from many Democrats over the firearms measure, 105 House Democrats voted in favor of it. On the Senate side, 27 Democrats voted to expand gun rights.

Among those who voted "yes" was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who had blocked Coburn's amendment from coming to the Senate floor for more than a year. Seven other Western Democrats voted with Reid to support the Republican senator's amendment, which allows a range of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are allowed by federal, state and local law. . . . .

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Texas Senate passes bill to end gun-free zones on college campuses

Calling a 20 to 11 vote "divided" seems amusing to me, and I suspect that the Austin American-Statesman rarely uses that claim for other legislation that it backs.

By a 20-11 vote, a divided Texas Senate gave final approval this morning to a bill that would allow college students with state handgun licenses to carry weapons in dorms and classrooms.

The measure faces an uncertain fate in the House, which last week killed a similar proposal on a technicality.

The proposal would allow private colleges and universities to prohibit handguns on their campuses. But public institutions would have to allow Texans with state concealed-handgun permits to possess weapons in dorms and classrooms, a move that has been strongly opposed by administrators. . . . .

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This is the funniest review of a new car that I have read in a long time: the Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid

You really have to read this the entire review here by the London Times:

Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

The biggest problem, and it’s taken me a while to work this out, because all the other problems are so vast and so cancerous, is the gearbox. For reasons known only to itself, Honda has fitted the Insight with something called constantly variable transmission (CVT).

It doesn’t work. Put your foot down in a normal car and the revs climb in tandem with the speed. In a CVT car, the revs spool up quickly and then the speed rises to match them. It feels like the clutch is slipping. It feels horrid. . . . .

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Terrorizing bankers

This is where our federal dollars go?

Bruce Marks doesn't bother being diplomatic. A campaigner on behalf of homeowners facing foreclosure, he was on the phone one day in March to a loan executive at Bank of America Corp.

"I'm tired of borrowers being screwed!" Mr. Marks yelled into the phone. "You're incompetent!" Before hanging up, he threatened to call bank CEO Kenneth Lewis at home to complain about the loan executive.

Mr. Marks's nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, has emerged as one of the loudest scourges of the banking industry in the post-bubble economy. It salts its Web site with photos of executives it accuses of standing in the way of helping homeowners -- emblazoning "Predator" across their photos, picturing their homes and sometimes including home phone numbers. In February, NACA, as it's called, protested at the home of a mortgage investor by scattering furniture on his lawn, to give him a taste of what it feels like to be evicted.

In the 1990s, Mr. Marks leaked details of a banker's divorce to the press and organized a protest at the school of another banker's child. He says he would use such tactics again. "We have to terrorize these bankers," Mr. Marks says.

Though some bankers privately deplore his tactics, Mr. Marks is a growing influence in the lending industry and the effort to curb foreclosures. NACA has signed agreements with the four largest U.S. mortgage lenders -- Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. -- in which they agree to work with his counselors on a regular basis to try to arrange lower payments for struggling borrowers. NACA has made powerful political friends, such as House majority whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, and it receives federal money to counsel homeowners. . . . . .


Japan’s gross domestic product plummets

This is an amazing drop in GDP.

Japan's economy faced its steepest contraction on record in the first quarter, as the impact of the global economic slump spread from its export sector to domestic consumers. But recent improvements in manufacturing activity indicate that the economy has begun to climb out of the abyss, though at a labored pace.

The government said early Wednesday that gross domestic product shrank 4% in the first quarter from the previous quarter, worse than the fourth quarter's 3.8% decline, and marking the fourth consecutive quarter of contraction. The latest reading translates into an annualized contraction of 15.2%, the worst performance since 1955. . . . .

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Depressing news on who is teaching children

How could someone fail elementary school math? The story is here:

Aspiring school teachers
fail in math
Only 27 percent of the teaching
candidates pass

Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 1:47 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 7:41 AM EDT

Bruce Morin
MALDEN, Mass. (WPRI) - According to state education officials, nearly three-quarters of the people who took the state elementary school teacher’s licensing exam this year failed the new math section.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the results Tuesday. They say that only 27 percent of the more than 600 candidates who took the test passed. The test was administered in March of this year.

The teacher’s licensing exam tested potential teachers on their knowledge of elementary school mathematics. This included geometry, statistics, and probability.

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester was not surprised by the results. He told the Boston Globe that these results indicate many students are not receiving an adequate math education. . . . .

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JPL caught "lying" about Global Warming data?

David Friedman has the information in two excellent posts here and here. David has made a convincing case that the information put out by the JPL has been deliberately distorted and misreported by the agency.

Here is another discussion by the SciGuy that also mentions the increase in ice in the Antarctic Sea.

Remember that two days after the JPL info came out John Holdren, Obama's science advisor, told the Associated press that a complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic will produce "really intolerable consequences."

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Progress on ending the gun free zones on college campuses

The inaccurate predictions by gun control groups about what would happen with right-to-carry laws is finally coming back to haunt them. This from the Dallas Morning News:

Concealed handgun license holders could carry weapons into Texas public college classrooms and dorms under a bill given preliminary approval Tuesday by the state Senate.

Supporters say the bill reinforces the constitutional right to bear arms and could prevent mass murders such as the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.

Opponents say it would make campuses more dangerous — adding the potential for typical college disputes over grades, romances and fraternity rivalries to become deadly — and also could lead to more suicides.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said similar dire warnings were made in 1995 when Texas passed its concealed weapons law.

"Opponents predicted it would be the wild, wild west; there would be blood on the streets," Wentworth said. "None of that has happened."

The bill still faces significant hurdles to become law before the June 1 end of the legislative session.

It still needs a final Senate vote — which could come as early as Wednesday — before it goes to the House. A similar House bill died when it ran up against a legislative deadline.

According to a legislative analysis, 23 states with concealed weapons permits do not ban license holders from carrying weapons on campus. Even so, only 12 colleges and universities allow them.

The Texas bill allows private schools to ban weapons from campus. But the Senate rejected several attempts to make the ban optional for public schools and to create gun-free dorm rooms.

A ban on taking weapons to college sports events would not change.

Here is an interview with some legislators with the Austin American-Statesman:

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Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) grilling EPA administrator Lisa Jackson

Rationing as the Democrats solution to health care costs

They are willing to spend huge amounts of money on so many things, but they won't let people voluntarily spend their own money. The WSJ has this:

Try to follow this logic: Last week the Medicare trustees reported that the program has an "unfunded liability" of nearly $38 trillion -- which is the amount of benefits promised but not covered by taxes over the next 75 years. So Democrats have decided that the way to close this gap is to create a new "universal" health insurance entitlement for the middle class.

Such thinking may be a non sequitur, but it will have drastic effects on the health care of all Americans -- and as it happens, this future is playing out in miniature in Medicare right now. Desperate to prevent medical costs from engulfing the federal budget, the program's central planners decided last week to deny payment for a new version of one of life's most unpleasant routine procedures, the colonoscopy. This is a preview of how health care will be rationed when Democrats get their way.

At issue are "virtual colonoscopies," or CT scans of the abdomen. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of U.S. cancer death but one of the most preventable. Found early, the cure rate is 93%, but only 8% at later stages. Virtual colonoscopies are likely to boost screenings because they are quicker, more comfortable and significantly cheaper than the standard "optical" procedure, which involves anesthesia and threading an endoscope through the lower intestine. . . . .

Look at the debate in the UK with their government health care. The London Times on May 26, 2008 had this piece:

Can science save us from the NHS?
New antibiotics might help to fight hospital infections; but that would cost us money...
Terence Kealey
Last Thursday the Office for National Statistics confirmed that more than 20 patients a day now die from the superbug infections, MRSA and C difficile.

NHS practice has been poor. MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcal aureus) is a bacterium that many people carry, safely, in their noses. Yet when people are weakened by sickness, MRSA can invade the bloodstream and kill. In Scandinavia, Holland and Harley Street (three places where MRSA is rare) carriers are screened and treated before being admitted to the wards, but the NHS has been slow in following suit.

Clostridium difficile is another bacterium that many people carry safely (in their intestines), but when hospital toilets are poorly cleaned, when wards are overcrowded, or when people fail to wash their hands, patients will acquire C difficile from each other and, in their weakened state, die of diarrhoea. . . . .

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Pelosi's poll numbers drop

The Boston Globe has this:

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released this afternoon found that the approval of how Pelosi is doing her job as speaker has dropped from 51 percent in January to 46 percent in March to 39 percent now.

In the new survey, conducted Thursday through Sunday while Pelosi was embroiled in controversy over how much she was told about waterboarding of terrorist suspects, 48 percent of respondents said they disapproved of her performance.

In a news conference on Thursday, she said she had been misled by the CIA -- an accusation that prompted officials of both parties to defend the spy agency and that provoked some angry Republicans to say she should put up proof or shut up and apologize.

Gingrich, the former GOP house speaker during the mid-1990s, has called on Pelosi to resign as speaker. He had his approval rating drop into the low 30 percent and as low as 25 percent in March 1997. . . . .

UPDATE: Dems think CIA lied to Pelosi

A majority of Democratic voters believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA lied to her about interrogation techniques used on detainees in 2002, according to a new poll released Monday.

The Rasmussen Reports survey reports that 62 percent of Democrats believe Pelosi's account. In contrast, the same number -- 62 percent -- of Republicans believe the California Democrat is not telling the full truth.

Among all voters, 43 percent believe Pelosi while 41 percent do not.

Pelosi said Thursday that the CIA "misled" her about its use of waterboarding. Asked by a reporter if she was saying that the CIA had lied to Congress, a violation of the law, Pelosi nodded her head in agreement.

In response, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Friday, "Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress."

"That is against our laws and our values," he said.

Pelosi has since tried to walk back her original statement by redirecting her fire from the CIA to the Bush administration. . . . .

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Americans opposed to free health care

Whether Americans are only slightly against it or strongly against it depends upon whether they think that a free government plan will endanger their own private care. Rasmussen Reports has this here:

Americans are evenly divided over the idea of making free health care available to every one in the country, but opposition grows dramatically when their own health insurance is involved.
Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans say every one in the United States should have free health care. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% disagree.
However, by a two-to-one margin (60% to 27%), Americans reject free health care for all if it means changing their own coverage and joining a program administered by the government. Many surveys, conducted over many years have found a similar unwillingness to support any program that requires a change in coverage. Last December, 58% opposed any kind of government-controlled health plan if it meant they had to change their own insurance coverage. . . . .

Another Rasmussen discussion claims that 26 percent of the uninsured say that the health care that they receive is "poor." They also note that 56 percent of the uninsured rate the US health care system as poor, though I would be interested to see this compared to the insured. We know that the insured are extremely happy with their health care and yet they rate the US system as a whole as poor because they think that the poor are getting low quality care.

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WSJ on "Earmark Nation"

Interesting discussion here.

More opaqueness from the Obama administration

This accounting shenanigans are pretty depressing.

Ah, transparency. Perhaps you've read that the new era of candor in government spending has arrived. Except, apparently, when it comes to the $750 billion that the Obama Administration and other nations have agreed to provide the International Monetary Fund. In this case, it's all opacity all the time.

At the G-20 meeting in April, the world's big shots promised to provide $500 billion under credit lines to the IMF known as "new arrangements to borrow." The U.S. share was said to be $100 billion, which last week we learned is actually $108 billion. The Obama Administration is now asking Congress to appropriate the cash, except that the Congressional Budget Office is only scoring the cost at $5 billion. How so? Because the transaction is being called an "exchange of assets," which means the U.S. gives the IMF the $108 billion and the IMF gives the U.S. a promissory note. Which raises a question: If it costs so little, why not make it $200 billion. Or a trillion? It's free!

Of course it is not. . . . .

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Obama advisor, David Axelrod, suggests naming Obama family dog "Miss California"

This is one very weird sense of humor. The New York Times has this:

When Mr. Axelrod was asked how involved he was in the selection of Bo, he jokingly answered that he “only got called in for the final three.”
But as Mr. Axelrod was trying to set the record straight – he actually was not consulted – Mr. Sagal asked about the two runner-ups.

“One was Miss California,” Mr. Axelrod cracked to the audience’s laughter.

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"One-fourth of overseas votes go uncounted"

There could have easily been a few major elections this last fall that were impacted by this problem.

One out of every four military personnel and other Americans living abroad may have been thwarted in their efforts to vote in the 2008 election because of communications and bureaucratic problems, according to a congressional report released Wednesday.
"Registration deadlines, notary requirements, lack of communication, mail delays, poor address information and state laws that put in place untenable mailing dates are all severe problems," Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, said at a hearing.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said the study prepared by the committee and the Congressional Research Service, while providing only a snapshot of voting patterns, "is enough to show that the balloting process for service members is clearly in need of an overhaul." He plans to work with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in crafting legislation dealing with the issue.
The study surveyed election offices in seven states with high numbers of military personnel: California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.
It said that of 441,000 absentee ballots requested by eligible voters living abroad — mainly active-duty and reserve troops — more than 98,000 were "lost" ballots that were mailed out but never received by election officials. Taking into account 13,500 ballots that were rejected for such reasons as a missing signature or failure to notarize, one-quarter of those requesting a ballot were disenfranchised.
The study found that an additional 11,000 ballots were returned as undeliverable.
Gail McGinn, the Defense Department's acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, told the committee that the Pentagon "has taken extraordinary steps to ensure that members of the uniformed services, their family members and overseas citizens have an opportunity to vote." . . . . .

From the census:

US 229,565,092 adults = 304,059,724 total population x .755
Minn 3,957,057 adults = 5,220,393 total population x .758

Note the Military Times did a "voluntary" survey that found:

McCain, R-Ariz., handily defeated Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., 68 percent to 23 percent in a voluntary survey of 4,293 active-duty, National Guard and reserve subscribers and former subscribers to Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times.

The results of the Military Times 2008 Election Poll are not representative of the opinions of the military as a whole. The group surveyed is older, more senior in rank and less ethnically diverse than the overall armed services. . . .

A much earlier Gallup survey from August indicated that "McCain leads Obama 56 percent to 34 percent."

If ballots were lost at the same rate for Minnesota as for the nation as a whole, that implies 1,689 ballots were lost and another 189 were undeliverable. If Republicans got 66% of military votes, that would have been a net pick up of 601 votes in the Minnesota Senate race. If it is 62% to 38%, there would be a net pick up of 460 votes in the Minnesota Senate race.


Compromise proposals on ending union secret ballots

Sen. Arlen Specter is trying to revive the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act." It is well known that absentee ballots can be used to defeat secret ballots provisions for other elections. It isn't surprising that businesses were not thrilled with either suggestion.

Under a potential compromise on the contentious subject of secret-ballot elections, workers could mail in ballots during union elections instead of the bill's current provision in which workers would sign cards collected by union organizers. The compromise approach would theoretically preserve privacy and reduce opportunities for coercion by union organizers and employers.

The second change would restrict the use of arbitrators in contract negotiations to situations in which the two sides fail to reach agreement on their last and best offer. The current version of the bill calls for automatic arbitration after 120 days. . . . .


May be prison is torture

I assume that criminals smoke at relatively high rates. Of course, this isn't going to save money for the state on health care costs. Smokers die relatively younger and when they do die, they die relatively quickly. From the AP:

Inmates in Nevada's prison system are preparing for life without cigarettes as they prepare for a smoking ban to take effect July 1.

The majority of other states already ban tobacco use in prisons. Nevada is joining them because of health care costs, cleanliness and a 2006 state law that bans smoking indoors.

But inmates won't get aids like gum and patches to help them quit, only instructional DVDs to tell them how to stop.

Prisons spokeswoman Susan Pardee says the department can't control how the products are used, so they're not allowing them. . . . .

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Some insurers back away from TARP money

While it is good that some firms are backing away from the TARP money, some companies are still accepting the money with all of its restrictions:

Ameriprise Financial Inc., one of six life insurers preliminarily approved in the past week for billions in federal aid, said Friday that it wouldn't take the money. Prudential Financial Inc. is expected to reject it, too, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Two others, Allstate Corp. and Principal Financial Group Inc., responded tepidly. Each firm noted that it had recently raised $1 billion in the markets. In statements, they stopped short of saying they would participate in TARP.

The remaining two firms, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Lincoln National Corp., were more enthusiastic, saying they were pleased by the news. In statements, Hartford said it could tap $3.4 billion, and Lincoln, $2.5 billion. These two firms have seen their share prices fall by more than 70% since the end of 2007. . . . .


Biden reveals where VP's secret bunker is

From Fox News.

Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.

According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president. . . . .

A partial list of other controversial statements by Biden (missing for example his statement about people not taking any public transportations such as airplanes with the flu) is here.


Last critical over the air TV station to be taken over by Venezuela government

From the AP:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - When Venezuelans tune to Globovision, they see protests against faulty public services or a talk show guest saying Hugo Chavez could be executed by his opponents, just like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Now Chavez seems to be gearing up for a final showdown with Globovision, Venezuela's only remaining opposition television station on the open airwaves.

Broadcast regulators are investigating the all-news channel for inciting "panic and anxiety" during a minor earthquake when it criticized the government for slow response. . . . .

Globovision is the remaining counterweight to state television, which airs only praise for Chavez while attacking opposition politicians on a late-night talk show called "The Razorblade. . . . .

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Pro-gun Democrats ask "how many more times they'd have to face such votes"

What is interesting here is that Durbin claims that most of these pro-gun Democrats somehow feel put upon voting for pro-gun legislation. NPR has this:

Democrats may enjoy a near filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, but when it comes to voting on guns, it's a party divided. In February, 22 Senate Democrats joined most Republicans to amend a District of Columbia voting rights bill so that it essentially forbids the city from restricting gun ownership. And when a GOP-backed amendment came up this week on credit card legislation that would allow carrying concealed loaded weapons in national parks, 27 Democrats voted for it.

"Initially, it looked like we might stop that amendment," says Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the party's chief vote counter. "There were some encouraging votes early on, but then the momentum started moving in the other direction and became a landslide. Half of our caucus voted for it."

Big Gun Lobby 'A Fact Of Life Here'

Durbin says some fellow Democrats who did vote for loaded guns in national parks asked him later how many more times they'd have to face such votes. His answer: I don't know. Tellingly, all but one of the seven Democrats elected in November to seats previously held by Republicans voted for the gun measure. . . . .

The WSJ has this summary of their take on things:

By 67-29, the Senate passed Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn's amendment to let law-abiding visitors carry legal firearms into national parks. This overturns a 1983 federal rule requiring that firearms be kept unloaded and in an inaccessible place such as a trunk of a car. The provision (now part of credit-card legislation) protects Second Amendment rights, and it preserves the right of states to pass firearm laws that apply consistently, even on federal lands.

As recently as the 1990s, guns in parks legislation would have provoked a Congressional uproar. But gun control has proven to be a consistent political loser, and last year the Supreme Court cast doubt on state gun bans. No fewer than 27 Democrats voted for Mr. Coburn's amendment, and the ayes included Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is up for re-election in Nevada next year.

Congressional liberals are furious, and are threatening to hold up the credit-card bill, much as they have held up Washington, D.C. voting-rights legislation to which Republicans attached gun-owner protections. Holding up both bad bills forever would be fine with us, but in any case it's clear liberals have lost the gun control debate even within their own party.

Now House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer weighs in:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admits that Democrats are conceding the gun issue to Republicans for now.

Republicans have been increasingly using pro-gun amendments to throw a wrench into Democratic legislation, attaching amendments to seemingly unrelated bills allowing for expanded gun carrying privileges in national parks.

The tactic seems to be working, with Democrats acknowledging that pro-gun members rule in both chambers.

"There clearly is a majority in both houses that the Second Amendment rights ... that relate to the national parks are too restricted," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. "The reality is that a majority in both houses agree with that position." . . . .


Tennessee may be ending gun free zones in Bars

WSMV in Nashville has this:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A proposal that would allow Tennessee handgun permit holders to take their weapons into establishments that serve alcohol -- as long as they don't drink -- is headed to the governor for his consideration.
The Senate on Thursday approved a conference committee report on a 24-7 vote.
Both chambers agreed to leave out provisions that would impose an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for carrying handguns where alcohol is served and keep a handgun ban in place for bars that restrict entry to people over 21 years old.
However, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis said he voted against the proposal because "anyway you look at it, guns and alcohol don't mix." . . . . .

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Spending more time in the sun improves health

The BBC has this:

Spending more time in the sun could help older people cut their risk of heart disease and diabetes say experts.

Sun exposure helps the skin make vitamin D - a vitamin older people are generally deficient in due to their lifestyles and ageing processes.

A team at Warwick University has shown a deficiency increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. . . . . . .