UN IPCC Report had no evidence that global warming linked to more extreme weather disasters

On top of the other mistakes in the UN IPCC report, this is pretty damaging.

THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

The claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of global disasters, has since become embedded in political and public debate. It was central to discussions at last month's Copenhagen climate summit, including a demand by developing countries for compensation of $100 billion (£62 billion) from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions.

Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change minister, has suggested British and overseas floods — such as those in Bangladesh in 2007 — could be linked to global warming. Barack Obama, the US president, said last autumn: "More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent." . . .

The new controversy also goes back to the IPCC's 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had "suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s".

It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report, saying: "One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."

The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.

When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses." . . .

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Democrats confident that they will pass health care takeover this year

It seemed like just a couple of days ago the Democrats were saying that the process had completely broken down. Now this:

Reid spokesman Jim Manley told Politico that no decisions have been made but the office is "confident" they will pass health reform legislation this year.

"We are working with the White House and the House to identify our options for doing so. We anticipate further conversations with the administration, the House and our caucus," he said.

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami had a similar response.

"Discussions are ongoing and options are being examined on the best way to move ahead on health insurance reform, but no final decisions have been made," Elshami told Politico. "It is premature to conclude anything except that staff is continuing to work on various options."


Obama attacks Supreme Court Decision

Today in his weekly Saturday radio address, President Obama attacked "special interests" and pointed out how incredibly ethical that he and his administration has been. From the speech:

In my first year in office, we pushed back on that power by implementing historic reforms to get rid of the influence of those special interests. On my first day in office, we closed the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government so that no one in my administration would make decisions based on the interests of former or future employers. . . .

Here are three exceptions that Obama had made by March 17th, 2009.

William Lynn was nominated by Obama to be the deputy secretary for defense; Lynn was a lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon.

Jocelyn Frye, who is now director of policy and projects in the Office of the First Lady. She previously lobbied for National Partnership for Women and Families from 2001 to 2008.

Cecilia Muñoz, now director of intergovernmental affairs in the Executive Office of the President, managing the White House’s relationships with state and local governments. She has also been designated the administration's a principal liaison to the Hispanic community. Muñoz formerly lobbied for National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, between 1998 and 2008.

But it turns out that not all former lobbyists need to get a waiver to work in the Obama administration. Some apparently just need "recusals," where the former lobbyist agrees to simply recuse himself or herself from discussions related to former lobbying interests. How many former lobbyists are operating under recusals? We don't know.

Senator Grassley sent a letter to the Administration's Office of Government Ethics on June 19, 2009 asking for a full accounting of waivers and recusals in the Obama administration, but no response has been provided. That is good for both the ethics, transparency, and working across the isle promises.

Of course, Obama's address attacks corporations and "the health insurance industry" without even it also applies to unions or other organizations such as the Sierra Club that would benefit from the ruling.

As to special interests, note how the President just agreed to give the unions $60 billion in the health care takeover.

Ironically, at the same time that Obama is fighting to be able to censor movies and books, Hugo Chavez has gotten the one news station that disagreed with him removed from cable and satellite.

Venezuelan cable-television providers stopped transmitting a channel critical of President Hugo Chávez on Sunday, after the government cited noncompliance with new regulations requiring the socialist leader's speeches be televised on cable.

Radio Caracas Television, an anti-Chávez channel known as RCTV that switched to cable and satellite television in 2007 after the government refused to renew its over-the-air license, disappeared from TV sets shortly after midnight.

RCTV was yanked from cable and satellite programming just hours after Diosdado Cabello, director of Venezuela's state-run telecommunications agency, said several local channels carried by cable television have breached broadcasting laws and should be removed from the airwaves.

Mr. Cabello warned cable operations on Saturday evening that they could find themselves in jeopardy if they keep showing those channels.

"They must comply with the law, and they cannot have a single channel that violates Venezuelan laws as part of their programming," he said. Several channels haven't shown Mr. Chávez's televised speeches when he orders all media to air them--a requirement under new regulations approved last month by the telecommunications agency, Mr. Cabello said. RCTV didn't broadcast a speech by the president to his political supporters during a rally early on Saturday. . . .

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More serious errors in UN Climate Report

The London Times has this:

The Indian head of the UN climate change panel defended his position yesterday even as further errors were identified in the panel's assessment of Himalayan glaciers.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri dismissed calls for him to resign over the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s retraction of a prediction that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035.

But he admitted that there may have been other errors in the same section of the report, and said that he was considering whether to take action against those responsible.

“I know a lot of climate sceptics are after my blood, but I’m in no mood to oblige them,” he told The Times in an interview. “It was a collective failure by a number of people,” he said. “I need to consider what action to take, but that will take several weeks. It’s best to think with a cool head, rather than shoot from the hip.”

The IPCC’s 2007 report, which won it the Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high”.

But it emerged last week that the forecast was based not on a consensus among climate change experts, but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999.

The IPCC admitted on Thursday that the prediction was “poorly substantiated” in the latest of a series of blows to the panel’s credibility. . . .

Professor Hasnain, who was not involved in drafting the IPCC report, said that he noticed some of the mistakes when he first read the relevant section in 2008. . . .

He said he realised that the 2035 prediction was based on an interview he gave to the New Scientist magazine in 1999, although he blamed the journalist for assigning the actual date. . . .

“I was keeping quiet as I was working here,” he said. “My job is not to point out mistakes. And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?” . . .

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ESPN: "UN's push for Arms Trade Treaty could affect American gun ownership"

Bush had to fight hard to stop a UN gun control effort. With Obama pushing the other way, it doesn't look promising.

In 2012, the United Nation's will push for the Arms Trade Treaty, which, among other things, will establish goals regarding the ownership and disposition of firearms on a global basis. This new world order is apt to take various forms, but none of them are likely to be good for gun owners in this country. . . .

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Obama's populist attacks drives down stock market

Beating up the banks has sure brought a lot of confidence to the market.

U.S. stocks capped their worst three-day slide in 10 months on Friday on fears the White House's plan to curb bank risk-taking would cut profits, and tech shares slumped after Google Inc's disappointing results.

Uncertainty about the Senate's confirmation of Ben Bernanke for another term as the Federal Reserve's chairman also rattled investors in a week when political squabbles helped erase stocks' gains for 2010. For details, see [ID:nN22139362]

"Between uncertainty over Bernanke, Obama's bank regulation proposal and the election in Massachusetts, the market is like a cork in the water and the Democrats just hit the flush," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago. "It looks like we're headed really low." . . .

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Investors convinced that Obama is anti-business

Few investors trust Obama:

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

The poll also finds a decline in Obama’s overall favorability rating one year after taking office. He is viewed favorably by 27 percent of U.S. investors. In an October poll, 32 percent in the U.S. held a positive impression.

“Investors no longer feel they can trust their instincts to take risks,” said poll respondent David Young, a managing director for a broker dealer in New York. Young cited Obama’s efforts to trim bonuses and earnings, make health care his top priority over jobs and plans to tax “the rich or advantaged.” . . .

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"SCOTUS ruling not so bad?"

Politico has this:

New money will flow into campaigns this year as a result of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, but will the impact be as dramatic as all the hyperventilating in Washington suggests?

Experts say probably not.

“It’s time for everybody to calm down,” said Ken Gross, a campaign finance expert at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, who, like other lawyers in the field, thinks the possible repercussions of the decision have been exaggerated.

The court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission clears the way for corporations and unions to use their general fund cash to run sharp, targeted ads in political campaigns.

It’s a ruling that advocates of campaign finance reform claim will allow businesses to tap into their vast treasuries and flood the airwaves with hard-hitting ads – commercials that Democrats fear will be aimed mostly at them.

That’s certainly possible and, even if corporations hold off initially, they could unleash their cash in the future if relations with Congress truly go bad. In addition, there could well be some ideologically-driven firms that decide to target particular candidates – just as some wealthy individuals have done in the past.

But the reality is likely to be something more modest, mainly a shifting of cash that’s already in the system away from so-called 527 groups.

In the last decade, corporations have actually been trying to get out of the business of big political giving. They sided with reform advocates when the McCain-Feingold law was first challenged in 2003 and testified on behalf of its ban on unlimited corporate giving to the political parties, which were dubbed “soft money” donations.

The reasons for this reluctance were complex. Some executives hated the way politicians always had their hand out, making appeals that were difficult to turn down for fear of retribution in the legislative process. Others didn’t like the lack of control they had over how their money was spent. . . .

Meanwhile the NY Times is hyperventilating: "Campaign Finance Case Calls 24 States’ Laws Into Question."

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Most union members now work for the government

From the AP:

The number of union workers employed by the government for the first time outnumbered union ranks in the private sector last year, the result of massive layoffs that plunged the rate of private sector union membership to a record low.
Local, state and government workers made up 51.5 percent of all union members in 2009, up from 48.7 percent a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Overall, union membership declined by 771,000 workers, to 15.3 million. But with the number of nonunion workers also shrinking, the rate of union membership fell only slightly to 12.3 percent of all workers from 12.4 percent in 2008.
Private sector union membership plummeted by 10 percent, while government unions posted slight gains. . . .

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New piece at Fox News: The Supreme Court Protected Us On Thursday

This is the way the piece starts:

Do you want government regulating what movies can be shown to the public? Do you want the government determining what movies can be advertised? Or what books can be sold? Well, the Obama administration actually argued for these regulations before the Supreme Court in defending campaign finance regulations. Actually, they went even further and said that such regulations were essential to limiting how much money is spent on political campaigns.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed. On Thursday, in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court struck down a law that had been used to stop the advertising or showing of "Hillary: The Movie" during the 2008 presidential campaign. No one doubts that the movie was critical of Hillary Clinton and that its release was timed precisely to hurt her presidential campaign. What the court couldn't abide was letting the government decide when a movie crossed the line and became too political. The ruling eliminates bans that corporations and unions have faced in trying to influence elections 30 days before a primary election or nominating convention, or within 60 days before a general election.

Campaign finance laws aim to restrict how much money can be spent on campaigns, but, just as Justice Antonin Scalia warned in 2003, “expenditures” can take an essentially unlimited number of forms. "If history teaches us anything, [it] is that when you plug one means of expression, the money will go to whatever means of expression are left," Scalia warned during oral arguments when the McCain-Feingold law was first heard before the court in 2003. . . .

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Justice Thomas cites my writing in his Dissent in Citizens United

Justice Thomas cited a piece that I wrote with Brad Smith in the WSJ in 2008:

Those accounts are consistent with media reports describing Proposition 8-related retaliation. The director of the nonprofit California Musical Theater gave $1,000 to support the initiative; he was forced to resign after artists complained to his employer. Lott & Smith, Donor Disclosure Has Its Downsides, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2008, p. A13. The director of the Los Angeles Film Festival was forced to resign after giving $1,500 because opponents threatened to boycott and picket the next festival. Ibid. . . . .

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Bloomberg angry with Obama's Bank Regulations

Limiting what assets banks can hold will make them riskier, not less risky. Restricting their size ignores why they are the size they are and will make them less efficient. Anyway, Bloomberg is angry.

Bloomberg Hammers Obama, Congress Over Bank Plan
Mayor Says President's Idea To Limit Size And Investments Will Lead To Big Problems For NYC, Including Layoffs
Hizzoner Suggests Salaries Of D.C. Lawmakers Be Held Back For Decade

President Barack Obama's demand Thursday that Congress clamp down on the size of banks and their investments got major blowback from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said it could cause layoffs and hurt the city.

It's a clash between the president and the mayor. President Obama wants to whittle away at the size of the financial services industry.

"The American people will not be served by a financial system that comprises just a few massive firms," the president said.

But Mayor Bloomberg said the banks and Wall Street are part of the bedrock of the city's economy, and efforts to slash their business just means less tax revenue for the city, which brings up the dreaded "L" word. . . .

The mayor was so upset about the move -- and a suggestion that Wall Street bonuses be put in escrow, which means the money wouldn't be spent here, wouldn't help the city economy -- he responded with a proposal of his own for members of Congress. . . .

"Maybe we should hold back their salaries for a decade or so and see whether the laws they pass work out," Bloomberg said. . . .

Mayor Bloomberg also said that limiting the size of banks will hurt their competitiveness in the global economy.

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EDITORIAL: Guns decrease murder rates

A useful editorial in today's Washington Times:

More guns in law-abiding hands mean less crime. The District of Columbia proves the point.

Reading most press accounts, one would be forgiven for thinking Armageddon had arrived after the Supreme Court struck down the District's handgun ban in 2008. Predictions sprung forth from all directions that allowing more citizens to own guns and not forcing them to keep them locked up was going to threaten public safety. According to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, more guns in homes would cause more violent crime.

This has never been the case. Local politicians enthusiastically embraced the 1977 handgun ban predicting it would make Washington a safe place by dramatically reducing murder rates. But they were as wrong three decades ago as they are now.

A telling story is illustrated by the murder numbers since the handgun ban and gun-lock bans were struck down. Between 2008 and 2009, the FBI's preliminary numbers indicate that murders fell nationally by 10 percent and by about 8 percent in cities that have between 500,000 and 999,999 people. Washington's population is about 590,000. During that same period of time, murders in the District fell by an astounding 25 percent, dropping from 186 to 140. The city only started allowing its citizens to own handguns for defense again in late 2008. . . . (worth continued reading)

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Florida Law Regarding Gun Ownership and Adoption

Apparently, there are some misplaced beliefs on what makes a safe home.

A bill that would ban adoption agencies from asking prospective parents about whether they have guns in the home moved through The Health & Family Services Policy Council with a unanimous vote.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Horner of Kissimmee, was partly inspired by his efforts to adopt a child through the Childrens Home Society. Turns out, the society asked if he owned a firearm and what kind. That worried Horner, who wondered if his mere ownership of a firearm would be held against him -- and worse. Could the agency, a state contractor, be keeping a list of firearm owner?

"There are people who have a bias against guns," Horner said. "We don't want anyone in the state to register firearms. And this is a de facto registration." NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer told the committee that she feared the adoption agencies could be complicit in "profiling" gun owners.

The bill (here) has three prohibitions that forbid an adoption agency from 1) asking prospective parents about firearms 2) restricting gun ownership and 3) making a determination about whether a person can adopt based on gun ownership. . . .


Politico: "Dem health care talks collapsing"

The wheels are coming off the train. Neither the House nor the Senate appear willing to make the necessary compromises to get the bill through and the White House isn't providing much guidance.

Health care reform teetered on the brink of collapse Thursday as House and Senate leaders struggled to coalesce around a strategy to rescue the plan, in the face of growing pessimism among lawmakers that the president’s top priority can survive.

The legislative landscape was filled with obstacles: House Democrats won’t pass the Senate bill. Senate Democrats don’t want to start from scratch just to appease the House. And the White House still isn’t telling Congress how to fix the problem.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) both tried to put a good face on the obvious chaos on Thursday, promising to press on.

“We have to get a bill passed,” Pelosi told reporters. “We know that.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, “No way is it dead, because it’s so important for the country. And we will find a way to pass [it].”

But for the first time in the yearlong push, Democratic aides — and even some members — finally acknowledged privately that the fear of failure was real. And Congress recessed for the weekend without an obvious path forward as rank-and-file Democrats started splintering in different directions.

Democrats struggled all year to maintain a coalition in support of health care reform without any GOP votes. Republican Scott Brown’s improbable win in Massachusetts on Tuesday now looks like it has the potential to end that almost-impossible balancing act.

This post-Massachusetts confusion raises the stakes for President Barack Obama’s first official State of the Union address next week, which some now believe must be a last-ditch effort to get health care finished. . . .

Meanwhile, Obama is still trying to say that he will get the government health care takeover through.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer tried to reassure the left with a post on the White House blog insisting that Obama still believes health care will get done.

“Right now there are a lot of discussions going on about the best path forward,” Pfeiffer wrote. “But let's be clear that the President's preference is to pass a bill that meets the principles he laid out months ago: more stability and security for those who have insurance, affordable coverage options for those who don’t, and lower costs for families, businesses and governments.” . . .

This really upsets me no end. But Paul Krugman is apparently "near to 'giving up' on President Barack Obama."


Inappropriate treatment of concealed handgun permit holder

Vin Suprynowicz describes the rough treatment that a 61-year-old concealed carry permit holder received from a police officer. The 61-year-old man had called the police to report his office being broken into for the 5th time. The police officer handcuffed him and treated him as a the criminal as soon as he showed her his permitted concealed handgun.

Thanks to Karl Christensen for the link.


Indiana moves forward with allowing concealed handgun permit holders to have guns at work

There is a lot of government pressure from OSHA to threatened legal liability that tries to make firms ban guns, even if they think that guns are helpful. Ideally, one would leave all these decisions to employers, but the proposed Indiana law might be viewed as partially balancing off these other legal actions.

Ind. House panel approves guns-at-work bill

Associated Press - January 20, 2010 5:44 PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A bill that would prohibit companies from banning guns in people's locked cars at work is on its way to the Indiana House floor.

The House Natural Resources Committee voted 10-1 to pass the bill Wednesday. The panel approved amendments that would allow domestic violence shelters and homeowners to prohibit firearms on their property.

The bill also would exempt refineries and certain facilities such as chemical plants that must register under anti-terrorism regulations.

Another amendment would protect businesses from being sued if the company follows the law and someone is harmed in a workplace shooting.

A Senate committee has approved a similar bill.

The National Rifle Association says 12 states already have such laws.

State laws: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Georgia, Louisiana, Utah, and Idaho.

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Buffett says that the Bank Tax doesn't make any sense

Strong Obama supporter Warren Buffett has found another Obama policy that he doesn't like.

“I don’t see any reason why they should be paying a special tax,” said Buffett, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in an interview on Bloomberg Television today. Supporters of the plan to tax the banks “are trying to punish people,” he said. “I don’t see the rationale for it.”

Obama announced a plan last week to impose a fee on as many as 50 financial companies to recover losses from the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. The levy would apply to firms with more than $50 billion in assets, including Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, two companies that Berkshire has investments in. It would exclude Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage lenders taken over by the U.S.

“Look at the damage Fannie and Freddie caused, and they were run by the Congress,” said Buffett. “Should they have a special tax on congressmen because they let this thing happen to Freddie and Fannie? I don’t think so.” . . .

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"Homeowner Claims He Shot, Killed Intruder"

From Las Vegas:

Homeowner Claims He Shot, Killed Intruder
Body Found Near Doorway
POSTED: 7:26 am PST January 19, 2010
UPDATED: 11:10 am PST January 19, 2010

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas Metro police said a homeowner shot and killed a man who had broken into his house just after midnight Tuesday.
The homeowner called 911 to report that he had shot an intruder at a home on Clarkway Drive, near Bonanza Road and Rancho Drive.
When officers arrived they found a body lying near the doorway.
The homeowner told police he heard a loud noise in the middle of the night, grabbed a gun, and shot the intruder after confronting him in the living room.
No charges have been filed in the case and police haven’t released the dead man’s identity.


Paul Krugman's Dishonest Explanation for Why "One health care reform, indivisible"

Obama is now proposing: "We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people."

I don't normally say that one has a choice between someone being dishonest or an idiot. Krugman isn't an idiot. Here is Krugman's explanation at the NY Times for why the health care bill shouldn't be broken down into parts:

Start with the proposition that we don’t want our fellow citizens denied coverage because of preexisting conditions — which is a very popular position, so much so that even conservatives generally share it, or at least pretend to.

So why not just impose community rating — no discrimination based on medical history?

Well, the answer, backed up by lots of real-world experience, is that this leads to an adverse-selection death spiral: healthy people choose to go uninsured until they get sick, leading to a poor risk pool, leading to high premiums, leading even more healthy people dropping out.

So you have to back community rating up with an individual mandate: people must be required to purchase insurance even if they don’t currently think they need it.

But what if they can’t afford insurance? Well, you have to have subsidies that cover part of premiums for lower-income Americans.

In short, you end up with the health care bill that’s about to get enacted. There’s hardly anything arbitrary about the structure: once the decision was made to rely on private insurers rather than a single-payer system — and look, single-payer wasn’t going to happen — it had to be more or less what we’re getting. It wasn’t about ideology, or greediness, it was about making the thing work.

The problem is this: Krugman's explanation is correct, but it also applies to the current bill as well. Yet, he has never raised this issue to argue against the entire health care bill. In 2008, the average price of an individual insurance policy was $4,704 and it was $12,682 for a family of four. If you don't get insurance, the fine in the Senate bill will eventually reach "$750 per adult in the household. This per adult penalty would also be phased in: For 2013, $0; $200 for 2014; $400 for 2015; $600 in 2016 and $750 in 2017." With these rules, the death spiral that Krugman is correctly concerned about will occur under the Congressional health care bill. With the above numbers and the inability to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, it will pay for people to wait until they are sick before they get their insurance.

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Compare the growth in government under Obama in one year to the growth under any previous president since Eisenhower

Numbers adjusted for inflation.

“There is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.” President Obama during the third presidential debate with John McCain.


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Is the government health care takeover dead?

But other Democrats in the leadership are talking about forcing something through:

Before polls closed, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., outlined a combination of tactics to get what his party wants out of health care reform.

First, he said the House could simply approve the Senate bill, sending it straight to Obama's desk.

Then, Durbin said, the Senate could make changes to the bill by using a process known as "reconciliation," a tactic that would allow Democrats to adjust parts of health care reform with just a 51-vote majority.

"We could go to something called 'reconciliation', which is in the weeds procedurally, but would allow us to modify that health care bill by a different process that doesn't require 60 votes, only a majority," Durbin said. "So that is one possibility there."

Though House Democrats have major misgivings about the Senate version, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday suggested they'd be willing to consider approving the Senate bill intact, if the alternative is no bill at all. A majority of Democrats in that chamber are opposed to many provisions in the Senate-passed bill, including the controversial tax on high-cost insurance plans which the unions are vehemently against. . . .

From the WH:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told POLITICO: “I think that it would a terrible mistake to walk away now. If we don’t pass the bill, all we have is the stigma of a caricature that was put on it. That would be the worst result for everybody who has supported this bill.” He said the administration will work with Capitol Hill to figure out how.

Obama's former campaign manger, David Plouffe, added on ABC's "Good Morning America": "I'm very confident we can pass health-care reform."

Democratic leaders insisted they planned to press ahead with health reform, and met late into Tuesday night in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. But they made no decisions about how to proceed, now that Brown has swept away the Democrats’ filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate. . . .


Coakley's campaign warned the DNC about the problems her races was having all along, Coakley's campaign thought that race was about health care bill

From the Politico:

Coakley's lead dropped significantly after the Senate passed health care reform shortly before Christmas and after the Christmas Eve "bombing" incident. Polling showed significant concerns with the actions of Senator Nelson to hold out for a better deal. Senator Nelson's actions specifically hurt Coakley who was forced to backtrack on her opposition to the abortion restriction amendment.

Of course, the national Dems say that this is just a local race: "Local issues at play" and that the other side simply ran "a very clever campaign." Nothing special going on in this race that has implications for Washington politics. I don't believe that many reporters will believe this spin.

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Will Democrats be able to have the House accept the Senate health care bill if Dems can't go back to the Senate?

The special election in Massachusetts today may largely determine whether Democrats can pass the conference committee version of the health care bill through the Senate. If they can't, Dems have been suggesting that the House will simply take the Senate bill. I think that is implausible for several reasons, but the most important is that unions are furious that their top quality health care benefits will face the 40 percent tax. If that occurs, there will definitely be some defections in the House. While 11 House Dems have promised that they will vote against the health care bill unless it has the Stupak abortion amendment that bars the government from paying for abortions (the Senate version pays for abortions), I assume that at least 4 House Dems will vote against the bill for this reason. The governors of California, New York and a couple of other states are warning that their states don't have the money to pay for the health care tab that they will face with the current Senate bill. The congressional delegations from those states will face pressure. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is insisting that there be no restrictions on illegals getting health insurance. With Wexler's Democrat seat vacant and Cao voting against the bill, that gives Dems only a one vote margin among those who originally voted for the bill. Presumably Dem leaders will convince some of the 38 Dems who voted against the health care bill the first time to switch their votes, but the Massachusetts Senate race could make it very hard for them to pull more than say 19 of those 38 votes.



Uniform opposition to health care bill

It is astounding how essentially all the states oppose the health care takeover.

In a poll of 1,231 likely Massachusetts voters conducted this weekend, Public Policy Polling found that voters' stance on the health overhaul strongly lined up with which candidate they back. Among those who support the legislation, Ms. Coakley led 92% to 5%. Among those who oppose the legislation, Mr. Brown led 95% to 4%.

Mr. Jensen, the Democratic pollster, said that his outlet has polled voters in about 25 states on the health overhaul since July. While a small plurality of voters in Maine and Connecticut backed the health overhaul at times, no state poll has ever shown that a majority of voters support the effort. Independents in particular have turned against the idea. . . .

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"Sen. Ben Nelson Booed Out of Pizza Parlor"

Apparently voters are upset with Senator Ben Nelson for breaking his promises.

You may remember that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson cast the decisive vote in favor of a government health care takeover after, of course, securing a bundle of money for his home state.

Now it appears that that did not win him any friends in conservative Nebraska. Politico.com reports that Thursday night he and his wife were booed out of an Omaha pizzeria by angry customers who apparently yelled things like, "Get him out of here!"

There may be no consequences in D.C., but it's good to see that the good folks in the Midwest know how to hold their representatives accountable.


What mandate did Democrats have for their changes?

From the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch:

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said the atmosphere was a serious threat to Democrats. "I do think there's a chance that congressional elites mistook their mandate," Bayh said.

"I don't think the American people last year voted for higher taxes, higher deficits and a more intrusive government. But there's a perception that that is what they are getting." . . .


New pieces at the Washington Times

Massachusetts Senate Poll: Two more polls show Brown has 10 point lead over Coakley

The Inside Medford Poll has Brown at 50.8%, Coakley at 41.2%,, Kennedy at 1.8%, and Not Sure at 6.2%.

The PJM/CrossTarget Poll has "Brown leading his Democratic opponent by 9.6% (51.9% to 42.3% with 5.7% undecided)."

My guess yesterday of a 10 percentage point win by Brown might prove to be conservative.

UPDATE: American Research Group has Brown at 52% and Coakley at 45%.

InsiderAdvantage poll conducted for POLITICO found 52.2% for Brown and 43.1% for Coakley. The poll was conducted on people just Sunday night.

The leftwing Daily Kos/Research 2000 Massachusetts Poll has the race tied at 48 percent each for Brown and Coakley.

UPDATE2: Including yesterday's PPI poll, these six polls imply an average lead for Brown of 6.7%.

UPDATE3: The latest SuffolkUniversitybellwether puts Brown up by 15 points in three "bell weather" counties.

Brown (55%) leads Coakley (40%) by 15 points in Gardner. Independent candidate Joseph L. Kennedy polls 2%, while 3% are undecided. . . .

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Massachusetts Senate Race: Last Public Policy Polling Poll has Brown up by 5 Percentage Points over Coakley

Public Policy Polling is a Democratic polling organization. In any case, the drift towards Scott Brown continues. Given Brown's huge lead among voters who are most excited about this election, this race could be a real blowout. If Democrats are convinced that Coakley will lose and don't show up to vote, it could be a lot closer to a 10 point win than the 5 points it now shows.

Scott Brown leads Martha Coakley 51-46 in Public Policy Polling’s final survey of the Massachusetts Senate special election, an advantage within the poll’s margin of error.
Brown’s lead comes thanks to an overwhelming advantage with independents and the ability to pick off a decent number of Democrats. He’s getting the support of 19% of voters in Coakley’s party, while she is winning just 8% of the Republican vote. The lead with independents is 64-32.
Each candidate has seen a large decline in their favorability numbers as the campaign has taken on an increasingly negative tone. Brown’s +19 at 56/37, down 13 points from his +32 (57/25) standing a week ago. Coakley’s now in negative territory at 44/51 after being at a positive 50/42 previously, a 15 point net decline.
SRepublicans continue to show much more enthusiasm about the election than Democrats, with 89% of them saying they’re ‘very excited’ to go vote compared to 63% of Dems who express that sentiment. Brown has a 59-40 lead among voters in that category. . . .

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Defensive gun use in Philadelphia, PA

I am sure glad that there is a video of this because the verbal description released by the police and the local Fox News affiliate paints a quite different picture. The person with the permitted concealed handgun obviously feels surrounded (note the discussion of him pointing the gun to the left and right) and then an assailant charges him and tries to hit the permit holder with his fists. It is only when the permit holder is being charged at that he fires his gun.

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The Real explanation for government inefficiency: they are using old computers!

I doubt that The Hill is using "startling admission" in a way that approves of the explanation being offered here. It has been twenty years since I worked in the Federal government, but we had good computers back then (though Orszag that just proves his point). All I can say is that I didn't think that the Federal government was particularly efficient back then.

A big reason why the government is inefficient and ineffective is because Washington has outdated technology, with federal workers having better computers at home than in the office.

This startling admission came Thursday from Peter Orszag, who manages the federal bureaucracy for President Barack Obama.

The public is getting a bad return on its tax dollars because government workers are operating with outdated technologies, Orszag said in a statement that kicked off a summit between Obama and dozens of corporate CEOs.

“Twenty years ago, people who came to work in the federal government had better technology at work than at home,” said Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Now that’s no longer the case.

“The American people deserve better service from their government, and better return for their tax dollars.” . . .

UPDATE: Now Obama is going to people in the computer industry, particularly Steve Balmer at Microsoft, for advice. Talks about improvement in IT.

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Corruption in Washington

From John Stossel at Fox News:

The company claims to produce the most energy efficient windows in the world, which other larger companies dispute--but that's not the point. Watch the Stossel segment [at either link above] and you'll see how Serious got some high profile endorsements from President Obama and Vice President Biden, which is suspicious because the company's vice president for policy is married to the overseer of President Obama's weatherization program, Cathy Zoi. Amazingly, Serious Materials was the only "green" window company to receive some recent tax credits from the federal government. . . .

Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner notes:

Mark Ernst, in December 2007, was chief executive officer of H&R Block, the nation's largest tax-preparation company. Thirteen months later, once President Obama took office, Ernst was named a deputy commissioner at the Internal Revenue Service, where he would spend his first year drafting new regulations for tax preparers--regulations that H&R Block welcomes and market analysts say will benefit the company.
With Ernst in mind, recall Barack Obama's campaign pledge: "No political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years."
This campaign pledge manifested itself in an executive order requiring "every appointee in every executive agency" to pledge, "I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts."
Ernst obviously didn't follow these rules, but the IRS tells me that Ernst is not covered by these rules. "Mark Ernst is a civil servant at the IRS; he is not a political appointee," according to an e-mail IRS statement by an agency spokesman. . . .

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The Pressure Democrats are Feeling to Let the Government Health Care Takeover Die

From Politico:

Democrats moved closer to a final deal on health care reform Thursday — and for some vulnerable members, the end can’t come soon enough.

In an emotional talk with other Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee this week, North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy said the protracted debate is hurting him so badly back home that he might as well retire if it drags on much longer.

A Democrat who attended the Ways and Means session said Pomeroy was “very angry” as he spoke about the delay. “Other folks were upset, but he was the maddest by far.”

“I believe Congress needs to resolve fairly quickly this protracted health care debate,” Pomeroy told POLITICO on Thursday. “We have a number of other issues that haven’t been able to get enough attention, because health care is taking up all the floor time, all of the attention. We need to move on.”

Pomeroy is hardly alone.

Rank-and-file members throughout the House Democratic Caucus are anxious to get past the health care debate — whatever the outcome — so that they can turn their attention to less polarizing issues that could help them win reelection in November. . . .

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New Intrade Numbers show that Brown now has a 60 percent chance of winning


Climatologist suggests that NOAA manipulated temperature data

Joseph D’Aleo, a climatologist, has discovered what he thinks that there are some serious problems with the NOAA temperature data. He doesn't hold anything back: "PRIMARY UNITED STATES CLIMATE CENTERS NOW CAUGHT IN DATA MANIPULATION."

Most of the warming in the global data analyses is in higher latitude areas like Russia and Canada and in higher mountainous regions. These areas have seen significant dropout of stations. The warming comes from interpolations from regions further south, at lower elevations and more urbanized. . . .

The second document claims this:

It has been revealed that a "sleight of hand" was used in the computer program that rated 2005 as "THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD.” Skeptical climate researchers have discovered extensive manipulation of the data within the U.S. Government's two primary climate centers: the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at Columbia University in New York City. These centers are being accused of creating a strong bias toward warmer temperatures through a system that dramatically trimmed the number and cherry-picked the locations of weather observation stations they use to produce the data set on which temperature record reports are based. The two investigators say the system has been distorted in other ways as well. They have documented their findings in great detail in a scientific report that has been posted online. These findings are presented as a part of my television special report ”Global Warming: The Other Side” telecast Thursday night, January 14th at 9 PM here on KUSI TV.

The data manipulation studies are explored in detail during the fourth segment of the one hour video now available here on our website. Just click on the Global Warming special banner to go to the page.

NOAA and NASA start with the unadjusted NOAA GHCN (Global Historical Climate Network). NASA eliminates some stations and adds some in the polar regions. For NASA, the computer program that manipulates the data is known as GIStemp, Both then add their own adjustments to calculate a global average temperature and a ranking for each month and year. The two inter-related U.S Government agencies have so intertwined their programs and data sets that both are being challenged by the investigating team that has produced this "smoking gun of U.S. Climate-gate.” “We suspect each center will try to hide behind, ‘It’s them; Not us’ and point fingers at each other," says the Computer Programmer from San Jose behind these new revelations. He and a Certified Consulting Meteorologist from New Hampshire made their revelations public on January 14th on a prime time television special report at 9:00PM PST; on KUSI-TV, an independent television station in San Diego Perhaps that is why Dr. Richard Anthes, President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in testimony to congress in March 2009 noted “The present federal agency paradigm with respect to NASA and NOAA is obsolete and nearly dysfunctional in spite of best efforts by both agencies.”

The U.S. Government’s National Weather Service uses the NCDC data in its record temperature news releases put out with much media fanfare on a regular basis as they declare a given month or year has set a record for warmth, supporting the global warming agenda. . . .

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McCain defends Sarah Palin

McCain clearly defends his choice of Palin for his VP pick.

Sen. John McCain last week gave a full-throated defense of his politically risky pick of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential race, suggesting that he may even invite her to Arizona to help him campaign for re-election to a fifth term.

Speaking Thursday at a Phoenix news conference, McCain, R-Ariz., pushed back hard at a new book that claims his campaign's vetting of the little-known vice-presidential prospect was "so hasty and haphazard it barely merited the name." The book, "Game Change," was written by journalists John Heilemann of New York magazine and Mark Halperin of Time.

"It was thorough, and it was complete, and I am so proud that Sarah Palin agreed to be my running mate," he said in response to a question about the vetting. "And the facts are stubborn things, as Ronald Reagan used to say. The fact is that it energized our party. It gave us a very much-needed impetus, and Sarah Palin's popularity continues very strongly to this day. And the hysterical attacks from the liberal left are ample indication of the threat that she poses to the liberal left and especially the feminist, radical-left movement in this country." . . .

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With big majorities in both the House and Senate, Obama is getting a radical agenda through Congress

CQ rates Obama as more successful in getting his agenda through than any president since Eisenhower in getting his agenda through Congress, even surpassing the fabled Lyndon Johnson. Congressional Quarterly claims that Obama's success rate in the House and Senate on votes where he had a clear position was 96.7 percent, beating previous Johnson's 93 percent record level in 1965. A big difference is that the while Democrats had huge majorities in 1965, Northern and Southern Democrats were not always acting as if they were from the same party. Democrats are much more unified today than they were back then. In addition, it was much easier to filibuster back in the 1960s when it took 67 votes to have cloture. Here is a graph from NPR.


"Proof: More guns = less crime"

Back in 2007, DC Mayor Fenty warned: "Fenty said the District had no choice but to fight because more guns in homes could lead to increases in violent crime and deadly accidents."

Joseph Farah has a new op-ed that starts this way:

There it was. Good news on New Year's Day on the front page of the Washington Post.

"Homicide totals in 2009 plummet in District, Prince George's," the headline read.

In a story that likely got lost amid the holiday revelry, the paper reported that the nation's capital in 2009 experienced its lowest number of homicides in 45 years. In case you can't do the math real quick, that previous year would be 1964.

And for those too young to remember, 1964 was pretty much the end of an era. It was before the riots, before the Vietnam War was seriously escalated to become a national dividing point, before the drug explosion.

So what happened in Washington, D.C., in 2009 that might account for such a dramatic decline in homicide deaths?

Hmmmmm. Let me see. Nothing comes to mind.

Oh, wait a minute! Wasn't 2009 the first full year following the overturning of Washington's gun ban by the Supreme Court in the Heller case?

Could that have something to do with it? . . .

Here is the link to the Washington Post piece. There were 186 murders in 2008, and 140 in 2009 -- a 25 percent drop.

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Voting buying is alright, and they can still do it if it isn't too late

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: You know in the old days, maybe I shouldn`t be harkening back to the old days, if the Democrats faced this kind of a disaster in the works, you`d go back to your ones, the people you were sure are going to vote Democrat, and you`d make sure they got to the polling place, you`d get them lunch, you`d get them a car.

TODD: Right.

MATTHEWS: You`d make sure they got there and in some cases you`d be buying people to get them, not officially buying them, but getting them there as block secretaries, as block captains, you`d be getting them there with street money, legitimate but it`s a little bit old school.

TODD: Right.

MATTHEWS: But I hear talking to somebody today there aren`t people up there in Massachusetts like that anymore. There aren`t those automatic Democrat votes, those ones anymore. You can`t count on anybody. You go to the regulars and they say well, I`m ticked off about taxes, too. Is that right?

TODD: No. It is and it doesn`t help that Coakley didn`t have a great relationship with sort of the Democratic hierarchy there in Massachusetts, so all of a sudden she`s in panic mode and everybody`s going uh-huh, but we`ll see. You`re right, Chris, it isn`t the old machine that`s up there.

MATTHEWS: Well the street corner guys are probably getting called on a bit too late perhaps. We`ll see. It could be very close. Thank you, Chuck Todd. It`s a great to have a pro.

Here is a related instance where unions were paying workers who planned to vote for Brown $50 to hold up signs for Coakley.

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