Despite Gun Ban 7,234 Guns Confiscated In Chicago So Far This Year

One question: Who has these guns? Law-abiding citizens or criminals? The local CBS News has this:

Seven thousand two hundred thirty-four. If Chicago is your home, that number tells you something about your city, and police say it's not necessarily good.

As CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports, there have been 7,234 guns recovered or confiscated by Chicago Police so far this year. When you think about it, that's about one gun for every 400 people, in a city with an ordinance that prohibits them.

Chicagoan Robert Herbert hears gunshots all the time in his neighborhood. He says lots of people have them.

"All the time, every day, yesterday, the day before yesterday," Herbert said.

Police are finding some of the guns.

"So far year to date, there's been seven thousand, two hundred and thirty four firearms recovered in Chicago," said Deputy Chicago Police Chief Nick Roti. . . .

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Democrats will strip out the Stupak amendment if the health care bill goes to reconciliation

From the Politico:

Democrats will almost certainly kill the anti-abortion Stupak amendment in the process if they go to Plan B on passing health care -- using a filibuster-proof reconciliation bill -- budget experts say.

"There is no way on God's green Earth that the Stupak amendment would pass muster in a budget reconciliation bill," says Bill Hoagland, an insurance lobbyist who was the top GOP aide on the Senate Budget Committee for two decades and served as then-Majority Leader Bill Frist's budget guru.

Democratic budget experts in Congress and the administration who asked not to be quoted on the record agree with Hoagland's assessment. . . .

Democratic leaders would like to bury the Stupak amendment, which is at odds with the pro-choice position of most Democrats and which abortion-rights advocates say is a dangerous encroachment on the rights of women.

But it's a tricky proposition in a floor-vote scenario because a number of Senate Democrats, including up-for-election Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could have trouble voting against what proponents say is a simple extension of a current principle -- that federal funds shouldn't be used to pay for abortion -- to a new health insurance marketplace.

If Reid chooses to go the reconciliation route, he can rely on the rules to quash Stupak's amendment, budget experts say. . . .

UPDATE: From Fox News on Sunday:

White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod suggested Sunday that President Obama will intervene to make sure a controversial amendment restricting federal funding for abortion coverage is stripped from final health care reform legislation.

In doing so, the president would be heeding the call of abortion rights supporters like Planned Parenthood that have called the White House their "strongest weapon" in keeping such restrictions out of the bill.

The abortion amendment was tacked on to the House health care bill and was a key factor in securing the votes of moderate Democrats before the bill was approved by a narrow margin last weekend. The amendment, authored by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., went beyond preventing the proposed government-run plan from covering abortion to restrict federal subsidies from going toward private plans that offer abortion coverage. . . .

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Obama nominates former ACORN fund raiser to be Federal judge

The story is here.

President Obama's first federal court nominee was Judge David Hamilton of Indiana. If you are drinking your morning coffee as you read what follows here, you might want to put down your cup before reading further:
Among Hamilton's "qualifications" is the fact that he is a former fund raiser for ACORN. That fact was conspicuously left out of the White House statement announcing Obama's nomination of the federal district judge for a position on the Seventh Circuit federal appeals court.
Even though it was only for a month, the fact Hamilton would work for any length of time for ACORN is disturbing. And there is no evidence that he has ever subsequently reputiadated his association with ACORN. . . .

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Why does Obama (against all past traditions) bow to foreign leaders?

Earlier the Obama administration denied bowing to the Saudi King, despite what the pictures showed.

"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. . . .

But this is something that he is doing consistently and it indicates that he is bowing to selected foreign leaders. As the LA Times notes:

This photo will get Democrat President Obama a lot of approving nods in Japan this weekend, especially among the older generation of Japanese who still pay attention to the royal family living in its downtown castle. Very low bows like this are a sign of great respect and deference to a superior. . . .

Of course, then the LA Times notes that there is the case of showing disrespect to the Queen of England.


Types of armed citizen stories found in the media

David Burnett has put together an interesting piece on what types of defensive gun stories are most frequently covered by the media. He also provides information on who fires the gun in self defense.

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More Americans say health coverage is not government's role

The Gallup poll finds:

More Americans now say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government's responsibility. . . .

Support for the government guaranteeing health care has fallen among both Republicans and Democrats.

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Majority of Canadians support scrapping long gun registration

46% of Canadians say abolishing the long-gun registry is a good idea while 41% of Canadians support it. It is interesting to see that the even the Liberals are not that strongly supportive of the program.

Nationally, a slight plurality of Canadians is in favour of abolishing the long-gun registry. Overall, 46% thought this would be a good idea, while 41% thought it would be a bad idea. A majority of those in Atlantic Canada (50%) and BC (51%) support abolishing the long gun registry, while even more in Alberta (64%) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (61%) answered in kind. Resistance was highest in Quebec where 36% would favour such a move, and 56% are opposed to it. Conservatives are significantly more likely than other voting blocks to say abolishing this registry is a good idea, while women and those under the age of 35 are less likely than their counterparts to believe abolition is a good idea. . . .

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"Gallup: Independent Voters Prefer GOP By 22pts On A Generic Congressional Ballot. Up From 1pt Lead In July"

This is an amazing sea change just since July.

Over the course of the year, independents' preference for the Republican candidate in their districts has grown, from a 1-point advantage in July to the current 22-point gap. . . . .

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Appearing on the Fox Business Channel from 7 to 7:15 PM

I will be on the Fox Business Channel from 7 to 7:15 PM discussing this article: "White House Aims to Cut Deficit With TARP Cash."

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When is a lobbyist not a lobbyist?: Ask the

Well, he is the head of a powerful labor union. Someone on Capitol Hill sent me this.

Q: What is the issue?

A: Andy Sterns of SIEU appears to be lobbying but is not registered as a lobbyist.*

Q: What makes you say he appears to be lobbying?

A: According to the White House Visitors Logs, between January 20, 2009 and August 13, 2009, Stern visited the White House 22 times (meeting with the President, Vice President, Rahm Emanuel, and Peter Orszag).
In addition, news articles have reported during that during 2009 Stern has held numerous meetings with Members of Congress and Senators. (See attached)
Stern also discusses meeting legislative and executive officials on his Twitter.com page. (See attached)

Q: Isn’t Andy Stern just meeting with political leaders like any other organization head? I mean, we can’t really prove he is lobbying, right?

A: Maybe, but lobbying is defined by spending 20% of time on lobbying/lobbying related activities.
And on his 2008 LM-2 form (the most recent available), Stern reported spending 24% of his time on politics and lobbying.
And that was when he spent zero time at the White House.**

So is a non-lobbyist lobbying the President and his Administration?

If Sterns is an unregistered lobbyist then each of his White House meetings would be illegal. . . .

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Problems in the Pelosi health care bill

There are a couple real surprises in the health care bill. On taxes:

House Democrats are funding their new entitlement with a 5.4% surtax on incomes above $500,000 for individuals and above $1 million for joint filers. The surcharge is intended to snag the greatest number of taxpayers to raise some $460.5 billion, and so the House has written it to apply to modified adjusted gross income. That means it includes both capital gains and dividends.

That surtax takes effect on January 1, 2011, or the day the Bush tax rates of 2001 and 2003 expire. Today's capital gains tax rate of 15% would bounce back to 20% because of the Bush repeal and then to 25.4% with the surtax. That's a 69% increase, overnight. The last time investors were hit with anything comparable was 1986, when the capital gains rate jumped to 28% from 20%, a 40% increase, as part of the Reagan tax reform that lowered income tax rates. . . .

On tort reform:

Buried in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 1,990-page bill is a provision that provides "incentive payments" to each state that develops an "alternative medical liability law" that encourages "fair resolution" of disputes and "maintains access to affordable liability insurance." Sounds encouraging. Read on, however, and you come to this nugget: The state only qualifies if its new law "does not limit attorneys' fees or impose caps on damages." . . .


Democrats backing away from promises on abortion over in the health care bill

This could be an interesting battle especially with Nebraska's Ben Nelson saying that the health care has to have the Stupak provision in the Senate bill.

The Stupak amendment passed, with the votes of 64 Democrats. That cleared the way for some wavering moderates to vote for the broader bill, in turn allowing it to win final passage, 220-215. The bishops, who have been clamoring for universal health coverage for decades, both when the idea was popular and when it wasn't, applauded.

Almost immediately, though, the Democrats' progressive wing and abortion-rights groups began pressuring party leaders and the White House to roll back the abortion plank as the bill moves to the Senate. Their argument: The Stupak amendment amounted to a tightening of current abortion provisions, because it bans abortion services from not only a government-run plan, but from policies bought with a combination of government subsidies and citizens' personal funds.

Other lawmakers said, in effect, that they voted for the Stupak amendment but didn't really mean it, because they expected the amendment to be stripped out later, either in the Senate or in a conference committee. . . .

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Climate bills give Obama unprecedented emergency power

This is pretty scary.

Both the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade energy approved earlier this year and the version just okayed by Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Democrats (Republicans boycotted the vote) contains an obscure but nasty bureaucratic provision that requires President Obama to act like Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez.
Here’s how: The bills require a federal declaration of a “climate emergency” if world greenhouse gas levels reach 450 parts per million. Guess what? The Pacific Northwest National Lab says it is a virtual certainty that level will be reached within a few months. The bill then requires the president to “direct all Federal agencies to use existing statutory authority to take appropriate actions...to address shortfalls" in achieving needed greenhouse gas reductions.
When Vitter asked EPA Administrator what would be done in such a situation, she refused to say. So it must be asked: Would the president be empowered to do things like nationalize whole sectors of industry, ban coal use, restrict private automobile use, or anything else the “emergency” requires? . . . .

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New Fox News piece: Time to Put An End to Army Bases as Gun-Free Zones

My new piece at Fox News starts this way:

Shouldn't an army base be the last place where a terrorist should be able to shoot at people uninterrupted for 10 minutes? After all, an army base is filled with soldiers who carry guns, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Beginning in March 1993, under the Clinton administration, the army forbids military personnel from carrying their own personal firearms and mandates that "a credible and specific threat against [Department of the Army] personnel [exist] in that region" before military personnel "may be authorized to carry firearms for personal protection." Indeed, most military bases have relatively few military police as they are in heavy demand to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The unarmed soldiers could do little more than cower as Major Nidal Malik Hasan stood on a desk and shot down into the cubicles in which his victims were trapped. Some behaved heroically, such as private first class Marquest Smith who repeatedly risked his life removing five soldiers and a civilian from the carnage. But, being unarmed, these soldiers were unable to stop Hasan's attack.

The wife of one of the soldiers shot at Ft. Hood understood this all too well. . . .

A somewhat related discussion that I had with Thom Hartmann on his radio show on Air America.

President Obama claims that the rampage was just something that happens.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Well, look, we -- we have seen, in the past, rampages of this sort. And in a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable. Even within the extraordinary military that we have -- and I think everybody understands how outstanding the young men and women in uniform are under the most severe stress -- there are going to be instances in which an individual cracks. I think the questions that we're asking now and we don't have yet complete answers to is, is this an individual who's acting in this way or is it some larger set of actors? You know, what are the motivations? Those are all questions that I think we have to ask ourselves. Until we have these answers buttoned down, I'd rather not comment on it."

This had about 190,000 page hits at Fox News during the first few days that it was up.

Penn and Teller on gun free zones

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New Fox News piece: Blame Obama for High Unemployment

My new piece starts off this way:

This wasn't supposed to happen. At the end of February, after the $787 billion stimulus was approved, the Obama administration predicted that unemployment would average only 8.1 percent this year. Indeed, in February the unemployment rate stood at 8.1 percent. Yet, in November unemployment now stands at 10.2 percent and keeps rising.

There is also another, wider unemployment measure seldom mentioned. When you count the unemployed who have become so discouraged that they have given up looking for work or have only accepted a part-time job, our country now has an unemployment rate that stands at a staggering 17.5 percent. Confirming these other numbers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Survey finds that 3.5 million jobs have been lost since February. And it is also worth noting that the nation's unemployment rate has also been rising much faster than in other countries.

On October 30, President Obama claimed that massive government spending programs had already created or saved 640,239 jobs. The spin the administration is putting on this is that the 3.5 million jobs lost would have been 4.1 million without any government intervention.

Not too surprisingly, Democrats have already started calling for another round of government spending to reduce unemployment. While the media has questioned how many jobs were actually created by the government spending, it has unquestioningly accepted the notion that government spending creates jobs in the first place. Take some of the discussions witnessed in the electronic media over the last week: . . .

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Gerald Walpin cleared, wants to get his job back to investigate AmeriCorps corruption

This ought to give the White House a couple sleepless nights.

Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general fired by the White House in July during his probe of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, has been cleared of a complaint by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento that he had acted improperly.

Now, he says, he wants his job back.

"It takes away any basis belatedly set forth by the White House as a reason for my termination," Walpin said this morning in an interview from his home in New York. "So I am certainly looking forward to a final determination by the court and to be reinstated."

Walpin filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., in July alleging that he was fired improperly while investigating whether Johnson had misused federal grant funds. The government is trying to have the case dismissed, but Walpin filed documents in court late Monday opposing that.

Among the documents was an Oct. 19 letter from the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency telling him that the probe against him had been closed.

"After carefully considering the allegations described in the complaint together with your response, the IC determined that the response sufficiently and satisfactorily addressed the matter and that further inquiry or an investigation regarding the matter was not warranted," committee Chairman Kevin L. Perkins wrote.

The investigation had been prompted by an extraordinary April letter from Lawrence G. Brown, then the acting U.S. attorney for the Sacramento area, complaining to the Integrity Committee that Walpin had "overstepped his authority," withheld "potentially significant information at the expense of determining the truth" and engaged in a campaign in the media that damaged the image of the AmeriCorps program. . . .

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Third coldest October on record for the US

Oklahoma for example had its coldest October in the last 115 years. 19 states had one of their coldest 10 Octobers in the last 115 years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has this report:

The average October temperature of 50.8°F was 4.0°F below the 20th Century average and ranked as the 3rd coolest based on preliminary data.

For the nation as a whole, it was the third coolest October on record. The month was marked by an active weather pattern that reinforced unseasonably cold air behind a series of cold fronts. Temperatures were below normal in eight of the nation's nine climate regions, and of the nine, five were much below normal. Only the Southeast climate region had near normal temperatures for October. . . . .

I am sure that one could pull out some month were temperatures are high, but the question for this post is how would the media cover that story. My guess is that if this were the third warmest October on record there would be significant discussions in the media about it.

Updated material;

By the way, over the last three months, the temperature was the 8th coldest out of the last 115 years. Over the last six months, the temperature was the 34th coldest out of the last 115 years.

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The new environmental terror:

Should we be really scared of this?

Research teams at the Danish Golf Union have discovered it takes between 100 to 1,000 years for a golf ball to decompose naturally. A startling fact when it is also estimated 300 million balls are lost or discarded in the United States alone, every year. It seems the simple plastic golf ball is increasingly becoming a major litter problem.
The scale of the dilemma was underlined recently in Scotland, where scientists -- who scoured the watery depths in a submarine hoping to discover evidence of the prehistoric Loch Ness monster -- were surprised to find hundreds of thousands of golf balls lining the bed of the loch. . . .

My response is: so? What is the big deal? Rocks also last a long, but why does it matter. The biggest question is whether the material is inert.


Army wife on husband who was shot at Ft. Hood soon going to Afghanistan: “At least he’s safe there and he can fire back, right?”

I have noted before how Army bases are gun free zones. From an interview on that aired on CNN on November 9, 2009:

MANDY FOSTER, WIFE OF PVT. JOSEPH FOSTER: I was actually at home with our two children and, no, I did not know where he was at the time. . . .

ROBERTS: And you're still scheduled for deployment in January?


ROBERTS: And you're still scheduled for deployment in January, there, Joe. Has this affected at all your thoughts about going to Afghanistan?

J. FOSTER: I'm still a soldier day in and day out. I'll do my job.

ROBERTS: And, Mandy, how are you feeling about that?

M. FOSTER: At least he's safe there and he can fire back, right?

ROBERTS: At least he'll be able to do that if somebody comes after him. . . .

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Democrats getting endangered Dem Congressmen to vote for health care bill with promises of future jobs

From the WSJ Political Diary:

The President and the Speaker pushed the bill hard and wanted momentum as the Senate begins its debate. They asked safe seats to all vote aye. They also wanted seats that are likely losers in the November 2010 election to vote aye, with the assurance that outgoing members will be actively assisted in their subsequent careers. . . .

It is interesting the deal that Pelosi made with Democrats who are most vulnerable.


Appearing on Thom Hartmann show shortly after 2 PM

Hour Three: “Should military vets be denied easy access to guns if they’re suffering from mental illness?” Thom confronts conservative John Lott www.johnrlott.blogspot.com

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When soldiers stopped being able to carry guns around military facilities

From J. Neil Schulman:

A Clinton Administration revision to Department of Defense Directive 5210.56 — Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993 — permits the Secretary of the Army to authorize military personnel to carry firearms “on a case by case basis” for personal protection within the continental United States, but forbids military personnel to carry their own personal firearms and both requires “a credible and specific threat” before firearms be issued for military personnel to protect themselves. It further directs that firearms “not be issued indiscriminately for that purpose.”
Thus did President Bill Clinton — Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army — apply to American military personnel under his command the same anti-gun policies his administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress applied to American civilians in the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban of 1994.
This Clinton policy of restricting military personnel from routinely carrying arms for protection was left in effect for the eight years of the administration of President George W. Bush — even after the 9/11 terror attacks — and even though Republicans held both the White House and majority control of both houses of Congress from January 2003 to January 2007.
John McHugh became the 21st Secretary of the U.S. Army on September 21, 2009, seven weeks prior to U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s November 5, 2009 shooting spree that murdered 13 and wounded another 38. Secretary McHugh — not reported as having the psychic power of precognition — issued no authorization for Fort Hood military personnel to be issued arms for personal protection against the specific threat of attack by Major Hasan.
Veterans Day is this Wednesday. How many times will “thank you for your service” pass the lips of talk-radio gurus who since 9/11 have sported American flag lapel pins, play-listed War-on-Terror country music, and made the Wounded Warrior Project a centerpiece of their swaggering patriotism?
It all rings so hollow now when their punditry following the Fort Hood Massacre makes it clear the bastions of American conservatism hate Jihadis far more than they love G.I.’s. . . .

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Newly elected Congressman Bill Owens has already broken three promises

The original story claimed four broken promises, but it appears that on one of those promises Owens changed his position during the campaign. The story is here.

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Large majority of Chileans Approve of Death Penalty

A new Ipsos poll shows:

according to a poll by Ipsos. 62.5 per cent of respondents agree with capital punishment in Chile, while 36.7 per cent oppose it.

The death penalty was abolished in Chile in 2001, under the presidency of Ricardo Lagos. . . .


Zelaya’s party in Honduras has lost a lot of support since the summer

Zelaya’s antics haven't endeared his party to the Honduran people.

Elvin Santos of the Liberal Party (PL) is second with 21 per cent—down 16 points since July—followed by César Ham of the Democratic Unification Party (PUD) with three per cent, Bernard Martínez of the Party for Innovation and Unity - Social-Democracy (PINU) with two per cent, and Felicito Ávila of the Christian Democratic Party (PDCH) also with two per cent. More than a third of respondents remain undecided.

In November 2005, PL candidate Manuel Zelaya won the presidential election with 49.9 per cent of all cast ballots, defeating Lobo Sosa of the PN. Less than 69,000 votes separated the two contenders. Zelaya took office in January 2006.

On Jun. 28, a group of military officers stormed into Zelaya’s residence and took him to the airport, where he was flown to Costa Rica.

On that same day, Hondurans were supposed to vote in a non-binding referendum proposed by the president. Voters were to decide whether they should be consulted in an election scheduled for November on the potential creation of a Constituent Assembly to re-write the Constitution.

The Honduran Supreme Court had deemed the plebiscite illegal, but the president had decided to go ahead with the vote. Opponents claimed that Zelaya planned to ultimately alter the Constitution in order to scrap presidential term limits and instate a "socialist" model. . . .

UPDATE: The sanctions imposed on Honduras seem pretty significant:

Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela have said they won’t recognize the results because the former leader hasn’t been restored to power. The International Monetary Fund froze Honduras’s access to $163 million in special drawing rights after Zelaya’s ouster. . . .

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GM wants more government money from European countries

The WSJ has this:

GM now intends to keep Opel and its sister brand Vauxhall, but needs to update its restructuring plan in order to win financing for the move from Germany, the U.K., Poland and Spain. GM said Tuesday it needs €3 billion ($4.45 billion) in government financing, but in recent days has indicated it may have other ways to help fund a restructuring, including using its own liquidity. . . .


Remembering Communist Era Goods

With the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, remembering what life was like then could have been expected.

In Poland the Rotor Frania washing machine was a communist housewife's dream from the 1950s to the 1970s. The user had to pour water in and drain it manually but it had it is own rotor mechanism to clean the clothes. . . .

Many car brands also date from the communist era.

The old joke ran that the best way to increase the value of a Skoda, made in the old Czechoslovakia, was to fill up the petrol tank. Now it is thriving as part of the Volkswagen empire. . . . .


A quarter of "saved" or "created" jobs were never in jeopardy

So how did California State University officials "save" more jobs with the stimulus dollars than were saved in 44 other states? They didn't.

Up to one-fourth of the 110,000 jobs reported as saved by federal stimulus money in California probably never were in danger, a Bee review has found.

California State University officials reported late last week that they saved more jobs with stimulus money than the number of jobs saved in Texas – and in 44 other states.

In a required state report to the federal government, the university system said the $268.5 million it received in stimulus funding through October allowed it to retain 26,156 employees.

That total represents more than half of CSU's statewide work force. However, university officials confirmed Thursday that half their workers were not going to be laid off without the stimulus dollars.

"This is not really a real number of people," CSU spokeswoman Clara Potes-Fellow said. "It's like a budget number." . . . .