Palin correctly warns about Obama's views on guns

All one has to do is look at Obama's Supreme Court nominations to see what he wants to do on guns.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin warned NRA members Friday that President Barack Obama wants to gut the Second Amendment and told a separate gathering that "mama grizzlies" will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the Democratic agenda.

Palin, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, told National Rifle Association members during their annual meeting that the only thing stopping Obama and his Democratic allies from trying to ban guns is political backlash.

"Don't doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment," said Palin, a lifelong NRA member who once had a baby shower at a local gun range in Alaska. "It's the job of all of us at the NRA and its allies to stop them in their tracks."

Gun enthusiasts have trumpeted fears that their rights would erode under a Democrat-led White House and Congress, but President Barack Obama has largely been silent on issues such as reviving an assault weapons ban or strengthening background checks at gun shows. Obama also signed a law allowing people to carry loaded guns in national parks. . . .

Kagan on guns.

Elena Kagan may be hostile to the view that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution protects American’s individual right to keep and bear arms. Bloomberg reports today, “Kagan Was ‘Not Sympathetic’ as Law Clerk to Gun-Rights Argument.” With the evidence presented by the Los Angeles Times that Kagan was very active in the gun control agenda during her time as counsel for the President Bill Clinton Administration, a thorough examination of Kagan’s views on the 2nd Amendment is merited.

Bloomberg Reports that “Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was ‘not sympathetic’ toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.” In the wake of the District of Columbia v. Heller decision holding that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, it is incumbent upon Senators to explore the views of Solicitor General Elena Kagan on American’s civil right to own a firearm. More from Bloomberg:

Kagan, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court this week, made the comment to Justice Thurgood Marshall, urging him in a one-paragraph memo to vote against hearing the District of Columbia man’s appeal. The man’s “sole contention is that the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate his constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms,’” Kagan wrote. “I’m not sympathetic.”

From the LA Times:

A centrist course meant negotiating with the firearms industry on a deal to put child-safety locks on guns rather than risk a legislative showdown. Gun-control efforts were a hallmark of the Clinton administration. Kagan had already been involved in an executive order that required all federal law enforcement officers to install locks on their weapons.

Those moves angered the National Rifle Assn., which became even more alarmed in late 1998 when Clinton proposed closing the "gun show" loophole that allowed firearms purchases without background checks. A legislative effort to do just that was launched as Kagan departed the White House for Harvard in 1999.

Richard Feldman, a former firearms lobbyist who helped broker the trigger-lock deal with Emanuel, said the NRA could make trouble for Kagan simply because she was part of the White House efforts at the time. "They'll try to use it against her," Feldman said. "They'll find a memo." . . .

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Head of Bank of England warns that US is going down the same path as Greece

It isn't like England is in that good of shape, but it is still difficult to dismiss the Bank of England as not credible.

Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, fears that America shares many of the same fiscal problems currently haunting Europe. . . .


Do no evil Google used roving vans to spy on people's wifi signals

This is moderately embarrassing.

The Internet giant said it would stop collecting Wi-Fi data from its StreetView vans, which workers drive to capture street images and to locate Wi-Fi networks. The company said it would dispose of the data it had accidentally collected. . . .

Google had previously said it was collecting the location of Wi-Fi hot spots from its StreetView vehicles, but not the information being transmitted over those networks by users.

"It's now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) Wi-Fi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products," wrote Mr. Eustace. "We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake."

Google said it has been collecting and keeping the data since around 2007. At that time, the team building the software to gather the location of Wi-Fi hot spots mistakenly included some experimental software that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast Wi-Fi data. . . .


Even CBS can't take Obama lecturing others about finger pointing

You know that something is happening when CBS writes a piece such as this.

. . . President Obama may have decried finger-pointing today, but he also did a fair amount of it himself. Not only at the three companies, but at previous administrations.

Here's what he said today when he turned the finger at the federal government:

"For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill. It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore." . . .

"A decade or more" clearly encompasses the Bush Administration, and may include the Clinton years too. But Mr. Obama's been president for nearly 16 months. Does he get at least a little piece of the blame?

Not a bit, he made clear. He portrayed his administration as valiantly fighting the good fight against the oil companies from day one:

"Now, from the day he took office as Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar has recognized these problems and he's worked to solve them. Often times he has been slammed by the industry, suggesting that somehow these necessary reforms would impede economic growth. Well, as I just told Ken, we are going to keep on going to do what needs to be done."

So while the president is pointing the finger of blame, he's also working hard to make sure that over time the finger doesn't do a 180.

The defensive tone was clear right from the top of his remarks today when he said: "The potential devastation to the Gulf Coast, its economy, and its people require us to CONTINUE our RELENTLESS efforts to stop the leak and contain the damage." (Emphasis added.)

And who can blame him. The potential political downside to a disaster is huge. Just ask George Bush. The White House, and most who have closely compared the responses, say this spill has little similarity to Katrina.

As Robert Gibbs told me today, "Katrina happened because no one was there to help, it was a non-response."

With the Gulf spill, he said, the response was "comprehensive and fast" and the Coast Guard and Interior Department were on the scene almost immediately. . . .

Weren't there recent charges that the Obama administration had let oil companies bypass the normal regulatory approval process?

Apparently, the Obama administration also gave the BP rig an award.

Whatever the correct citation total — five or six — the Deepwater Horizon's record was exemplary, according to MMS officials, who said the rig was never on inspectors' informal "watch list" for problem rigs. In fact, last year MMS awarded the rig an award for its safety history.

Do you think that an agency refusing to appear over something as covered as this oil spill would normally create all sorts of anger?

The federal agency that regulates offshore oil drilling declined to send a witness to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s hearing Monday on the federal response to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said.

The committee had requested the appearance of a top official from the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service. Lieberman’s panel is probing the adequacy of BP’s federally approved oil drilling and spill response plans.

“I regret that the MMS leadership has chosen not to appear before our committee today because they really need to be asked the same questions I am going to ask Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and BP,” Lieberman said Monday afternoon as the hearing commenced. . . .

Napolitano Defends Response to Oil Spill

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Despite having publicly spoken out on Arizona Immigration Law, Eric Holder has never read it


New Fox News piece: Guess What, America, You're Bailing Out Banks All Over the World!

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

To say that Americans weren't thrilled by the original government bailout of American financial institutions is an understatement. But if they were upset with that plan, imagine how furious they’re going to be when they start to understand that the Obama administration has begun bailing out banks from Japan, Canada and Europe.

There are two ways that the U.S. is bailing out these countries' banks. First, the Federal Reserve is providing banks around the world with loans at below market interest rates. It mirrors what the Federal Reserve did last year when it gave American banks loans at near zero interest. The banks then turned around and used these government loans to lend money back to the Federal government by buying U.S. Treasury bonds, on which the banks received higher interest rates. The bottom line is obvious: it is just an outright gift to foreign banks.

With the exception of $30 billion to Canadian banks, the Federal Reserve won't reveal how much of these subsidized loans they are giving to foreign banks. And why we would want to subsidize Canadian banks is a mystery in the first place. . . .

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Very few posts for next few days


Obama's records as State Senator finally found

The records and a discussion of some of them can be found here.


Kagan "not sympathetic" to individual right to own guns

This is not a surprise. So much for Obama promise that he supports and individual's right to own guns.

Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was “not sympathetic” toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.

Kagan, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court this week, made the comment to Justice Thurgood Marshall, urging him in a one-paragraph memo to vote against hearing the District of Columbia man’s appeal.

The man’s “sole contention is that the District of Columbia’s firearms statutes violate his constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms,’” Kagan wrote. “I’m not sympathetic.” . . .

There is a pattern here with Sotomayor (here and here). Some earlier pieces that I wrote on Obama and guns are here and here.

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Colorado University gun free zones are disappearing

Colorado now joins Utah on getting rid of gun free zones on public universities. The list of schools is here.

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New Washington Times pieces


Obama wants retroactive law to deal with oil spill

Don't these guys get that there are limits to the government's power?

[White House energy adviser Carol Browner] said the White House believes the legislation could apply retroactively. Democratic lawmakers have cited the Superfund legislation as an example of a law enacted to cleanup toxic waste dumps and recover the expenses from the responsible parties.

Jeff Liebman, acting deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the administration wants to pass the legislation in the next few weeks. Lawmakers are looking for a legislative vehicle to attach it to.

The White House proposal would also:

--Raise from 8 cents per barrel to 9 cents per barrel an excise tax paid by oil companies to finance an Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, beginning this year.

--Increase allowable per-incident expenditures from the fund to $1.5 billion, from $1 billion now. Already, the Coast Guard has tapped some $100 million from the fund, although the administration hopes to make BP repay the money.

--Give $2 billion to the Food and Drug Administration to monitor seafood safety in the Gulf.

--Give $29 million to the Interior secretary for studies related to the safety of offshore drilling. The bill would also give the Minerals Management Service more time to review and approve oil and gas leasing plans. President Barack Obama, who has proposed a limited expansion of offshore drilling, has said no new leases will be allowed until Interior Secretary Ken Salazar completes a study of what new safety precautions are needed.

--Provide up to 26 weeks of benefits to self-employed workers and other workers ineligible for regular unemployment compensation in the Gulf.

--Make people effected by the spill eligible for food stamps, which are issued by county welfare offices and can be redeemed for food purchases. . . .

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Even according to Democrats the health care bill will not reduce the deficit

This is the second major revision on costs that has been released since the health care bill passed. When you add this $55 billion to the previously reported $89 billion, the previously expected deficit reduction disappears. The CBO of course hasn't dealt with other major accounting issues that I have asked about multiple times, and it only got to this question discussed below well after it made any difference.

The Congressional Budget Office has doubled the estimated increases of some costs resulting from the sweeping health care reform legislation passed this year.

A CBO report sent Tuesday to Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said the estimated rise in discretionary spending - which is spending requiring annual congressional authorization - over the first 10 years under the new legislation could exceed $115 billion.

On March 11, exactly two months earlier, the non-partisan CBO reported the estimated increase for discretionary spending could exceed $55 billion.

Douglas Elmendorf, the CBO director, said the latest report "updates and expands" on the previous report. He noted that assessing effects on discretionary spending was speculative because such appropriations require congressional action, and could be larger or smaller than initially anticipated.

The health care legislation was estimated by CBO to cost $940 billion over 10 years and reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion over the same period. . . .

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US posts massive record deficit in April

April tends to have a surplus because of tax day (April 15th), but this year it was a disaster.

The United States posted an $82.69 billion deficit in April, nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009 and the largest on record for that month, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

It was more than twice the $40-billion deficit that Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast and was striking since April marks the filing deadline for individual income taxes that are the main source of government revenue.

Department officials said that in prior years, there was a surplus during April in 43 out of the past 56 years.

The government has now posted 19 consecutive monthly budget deficits, the longest string of shortfalls on record.

For the first seven months of fiscal 2010, which ends September 30, the cumulative budget deficit totals $799.68 billion, down slightly from $802.3 billion in the comparable period of fiscal 2009.

Outlays during April rose to $327.96 billion from $218.75 billion in March and were up from $287.11 billion in April 2009. It was a record level of outlays for an April. . . .

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IMF loan fund for Greece and EU now up to $54 billion?

CNBC reports that the size of the loan seems to have increased. Greece, problem delayed, not solved.

Determining the exact exposure at this point is nearly impossible until governments start stepping up to the window created by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to stem the crisis in Greece and elsewhere on the continent.

But one rule-of-thumb formula puts potential US exposure at $54 billion should the entire IMF loan fund be tapped.

And that doesn't count the added exposure created by the Federal Reserve's decision over the weekend to participate in currency swaps to provide liquidity to jittery European banks. The swaps move resembles the Term Auction Facility the Fed instituted when the worst of the US financial crisis hit in 2007-08. . . .

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Kagan's competency questioned

My own belief is that the right point to make here is her honesty, not her competency. Hotair has this information here. Even though it makes little practical sense to try to spin the Supreme Court, I believe that she was playing to a bigger audience, and that she wanted to spin this case to make the Supreme Court appear more extreme than it was. She must have known that she was very likely to lose this case (it was part of an unusual second hearing) and the handwriting was on the wall.


ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLEE GENERAL KAGAN: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:

I have three very quick points to make about the government position. The first is that this issue has a long history. For over 100 years Congress has made a judgment that corporations must be subject to special rules when they participate in elections and this Court has never questioned that judgment.

Number two -

JUSTICE SCALIA: Wait, wait, wait, wait. We never questioned it, but we never approved it, either. And we gave some really weird interpretations to the Taft-Hartley Act in order to avoid confronting the question.

GENERAL KAGAN: I will repeat what I said, Justice Scalia: For 100 years this Court, faced with many opportunities to do so, left standing the legislation that is at issue in this case — first the contribution limits, then the expenditure limits that came in by way of Taft-Hartley — and then of course in Austin specifically approved those limits.

JUSTICE SCALIA: I don’t understand what you are saying. I mean, we are not a self — self-starting institution here. We only disapprove of something when somebody asks us to. And if there was no occasion for us to approve or disapprove, it proves nothing whatever that we didn’t disapprove it.

GENERAL KAGAN: Well, you are not a self-starting institution. But many litigants brought many cases to you in 1907 and onwards and in each case this Court turns down, declined the opportunity, to invalidate or otherwise interfere with this legislation.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But that judgment was validated by Buckley’s contribution-expenditure line. And you’re correct if you look at contributions, but this is an expenditure case. And I think that it doesn’t clarify the situation to say that for100 years — to suggest that for 100 years we would have allowed expenditure limitations, which in order to work at all have to have a speaker-based distinction, exemption from media, content-based distinction, time-based distinction. We’ve never allowed that. . . .

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Democrats still misrepresenting the Arizona law

Now it is the "possibility of racial profiling." Of course, the law specifically outlaws checking IDs on the basis of race or nationality.

Citing the possibility of racial profiling, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, is among those calling for the Major League Baseball Players Association to boycott the 2011 All-Star Game, scheduled to be played in Phoenix.

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-New York, has similarly asked the players to boycott and Players Association executive director Michael Weiner has come out against the law. . . .

Of course, Eric Holder talks about the possibility.

TAPPER: Do you think it's racist?

HOLDER: I don't think it's racist in its motivation. But I think the concern I have is how it will be perceived and how it perhaps could be enacted, how it could be carried out. I think we could potentially get on a slippery slope where people will be picked on because of how they look as opposed to what they have done, and that is I think something that we have to try to avoid at all costs. . . .

But this guy then talks about suspending Miranda rights. Weren't these guys going nuts about Bush doing this before?

TAPPER: Critics say that he should not have been -- some critics say he should not have been his Miranda rights, the right to remain silent, et cetera. Now, I know that the public safety exception was invoked, so before he was read his rights, he was interrogated. But does the current Miranda system, which was created before I was born and was updated, this public safety exception, in 1984 -- so none of the crafters were really aware of this plot, this threat that we face today.

Does it give you the flexibility you need?

HOLDER: Well, that's one of the things that we're looking at. I think we have to first say that the system that we have in place has proven to be effective. We have used our law enforcement authorities that we have as they now exist very effectively. People have been given Miranda warnings. People have continued to talk, as was the case here, as was the case with Abdulmutallab in Detroit.

But I think we also want to look at make determinations as to whether or not we have the necessary flexibility, whether we have a system that can deal with the situation that agents now confront. The public safety exception comes from a case called Quarles that dealt with a -- the robbery of a -- of a supermarket.


Fannie Mae expecting huge losses for the "indefinite future"

What is another $8.4 billion per quarter in perpetuity among friends? Freddie Mac just announced last week another $10.6 billion loss. Fannie and Freddie are government creations that helped cause the financial crisis.

Fannie Mae (FNM), the mortgage-finance company operating under federal conservatorship, said it will seek $8.4 billion in aid from the U.S. Treasury Department after reporting its 11th-straight quarterly loss. . . .
Given our expectations regarding future losses and draws from Treasury, we do not expect to earn profits in excess of our annual dividend obligation to Treasury for the indefinite future. . . .

Representative Paul E. Kanjorski (D - PA) says that they can't deal with Fannie and Freddie right now because it is "too complicated."



German's Merkel punished for bailing out Germay

Apparently Americans aren't the only ones who don't like bailouts.

The pro-nuclear leader of the Christian Democrats, punished by voters yesterday for her reversal on aid for Greece, may lose their hold on power in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. The party’s worst result since World War II robs Merkel of a majority in the upper chamber in Berlin, limiting her ability to extend the lifespan of nuclear-power plants. . . .

Here is a great headline from the UK Mail newspaper: "'We are once again the schmucks of Europe!' German media's verdict as anger at Greek bailout swells."

German anger at the 750billion Euro Greek bailout is swelling as world markets slid after initial excitement at the bailout fizzled.
The headline on the front page of Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, summed up the national mood, declaring: 'We are once again the schmucks of Europe!'
Meanwhile world stocks and the Euro dropped sharply today as the massive relief rally triggered by the plan to contain Europe's debt crisis fizzled out.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 107.88 points, or 2 per cent, at 5,279.54 while Germany's DAX fell 52.95 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5,964.96. . . .
Today, Bild said: 'The EU and the Eurozone want to spend a massive 750billion Euros to save the European currency. Germany alone will have to fork out 123billion Euros for its bankrupt neighbours.
'There is now not enough money for the planned tax cuts here!
'Are we really the schmucks of Europe?
'Chancellor Angela Merkel said: 'We are protecting the money of people in Germany.' Really?'
Voters already delivered their verdict on Mrs Merkel's handling of the Greece crisis by punishing her in a regional election on Sunday which saw her party kicked out of power in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The loss means she loses a majority in the upper-house of parliament in Berlin and will not be able to deliver reforming legislation without the consent of squabbling rivals - an almost impossible task.
There are rumours that the right-wingers in her conservative CDU party are plotting a coup against her - rumours strengthened by the visceral distaste for her latest largesse in trying to prop up the common currency. . . .

Now Germany risk losing its AAA credit rating.

Germany is a AAA borrower in its own right; if you saddle it with the debt obligations of Greece, Portugal, Spain and others, its grading will have to be lower than the top level. It remains to be seen whether the rating companies, which are under almost daily regulatory threat from European governments for finally doing their job and downgrading weak borrowers, have the backbone to follow through on this logic. . . .

It may cost Germany $156 billion.

The New York Times reports that the Germany loan came about after pressure from Obama.

President Obama had just flown into Hampton, Va., Sunday morning to deliver a commencement address. But before he donned his silky academic robes, he was on the phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, offering urgent advice — and some not so subtle prodding — that Europe needed to try something big.

Weeks of hesitant half-steps to address Greece’s debt problems had only worsened market worries about the euro, and were threatening the still-fragile economic recoveries in the United States and Asia. Now, Mr. Obama told Mrs. Merkel that the Europeans needed an overwhelming financial rescue to end speculation that the euro — and European unity — could crumble.

“He was trying to convey that he knew these were politically difficult steps that the leaders there had to take, that he had gone through them as well,” said one senior administration official familiar with the conversation. “And that, from his experience, trying to get out ahead as much as possible was the right way to go.” . . .

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UK teen who saves his mother from being killed arrested by police

How self defense is treated these days in the UK:

The friend of a teenager arrested on suspicion of murder described him as a 'hero' today for trying to defend his mother from a knife attack.
Schoolboy James Killen, 18, was held by police after next-door neighbour Jonathan London, 46, died of stab wounds.
It is believed Mr London attacked the teenager's mother, former air stewardess Sandra Crawford, at her home in St Alban's, Herts on Friday.
Mr Killen was arrested on suspicion of stabbing to death Mr London but later released on bail.
It is believed the teenager, a student at nearby Sandringham School, attacked Mr London after he discovered him slashing his mother.
Today his close friend Ben Riddell, 18, also from St Albans, said 'kind and gentle' James was desperately trying to defend his petite mother.
Ben, a fellow sixth-form pupil at Sandringham, said James came downstairs and initially thought his mother was being punched repeatedly by Mr London.
He said: 'James is one of the kindest, most gentle people I've ever known. . . .
'Apparently at 8.40am on Friday morning the man just walked in off the street and James came downstairs to his mum's screams and thought the man was punching her.
'He jumped on his back and got the knife and managed to kill him. . . .
Yesterday, an au pair described the bloody aftermath of the fight.
Livia Frakas, a 27-year-old au pair from Slovakia, was taking her employer’s two children to school when she heard a man’s ‘furious yell’ before finding Ms Crawford ‘covered in blood’ outside her £600,000 home in St Albans, Herts.
She said: ‘She was in a nightdress and pyjamas, blood was everywhere, all over her body and her face as well.’
She said a younger man, believed to be James, then emerged from the house looking ‘shocked and desperate’.
She added: ‘He was crying for help. He was in his school uniform. He was on the phone to the ambulance and I heard him give the name of the road.’ . . .

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The London Times: "Obama nominates a liberal to US Supreme Court"

At least the foreign media makes it clear where Kagan is coming from:

Her age gives her the opportunity to extend Mr Obama’s legacy for a generation, reinvigorating the court’s liberal wing by replacing the 90-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens. . . .

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How Kagan handled plagiarism cases while she was Dean

This might be of interest.

As Dean of Harvard Law School in 2004 and 2005 she treated two liberal law professors with kid gloves when they were busted for plagiarism. Her chicanery was so blatant that even a leftist academic said she should be fired for her "whitewash."
Kagan's essential absolution of both professors has been virtually unnoticed in the flood of stories about her possible Supreme Court nomination this year and in 2009 when she was considered a top candidate to replace liberal Justice David Souter.
But the way she handled professors Larry Tribe and Charles Ogletree, when they both were caught swiping the words of others, seems to violate basic principles of fairness.
She let the professors off easy for the kind of offense that for which any Harvard undergraduate or law school would have been suspended if not expelled.
As the Harvard Crimson wrote after Kagan and Harvard president Larry Summers declined to punish Tribe, "the glaring double standard set by Harvard stands as an inadequate precedent for future disappointments." . . .
The copycat cases came to light in the Fall of 2004. Ogletree was busted first for his book, part history part personal memoir, All Deliberate Speed.
Following a Harvard investigation ordered by Kagan when she received an unsigned letter claiming that Ogletree's book had ripped off a collection of essays about Brown Ogletree issued a September 3 statement on the school website.
The professor, who taught both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama at Harvard Law School, said that his book contained six paragraphs, almost word for word, from the essay collection, What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said. The 2001 book was edited by Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin.
Ogletree, who gained prominence when he served as Anita Hill's lawyer during the Clarence Thomas confirmation battle, said he took "complete responsibility" for the errors. Then he blamed it on his research assistants. . . .
A law professor who read about Tribe's defense tipped off The Weekly Standard that Tribe's 1985 book, G0d Save This Honourable Court, had purloined quite a bit from University of Virgina emeritus professor Henry Abraham's acclaimed 1974 book, Justice and Presidents.
In a humongous article posted on the magazine's website September 24 Joseph Bottum documented multiple passages from Tribe's book, the bible for liberals who Borked Robert Bork in 1987 when he was nominated for the Supreme Court in 1987, that were clearly lifted from Abraham's.
One phrase was taken verbatim. "Taft publicly pronounced Pitney to be a weak member' of the court."
Many others were virtually identical. Consider Bottum's many examples. Abraham: "Caleb Cushing was unquestionably highly qualified and possessed of a superb mind."' Tribe: "Cushing was possessed of a fine mind and undoubtedly highly qualified."
And that was the least of it, Bottum, now editor of First Things, noted that "The historical sections of the book typically consist of a long passage from Abraham crunched down by rephrasing and the elimination of detail -- as one might expect when Abraham's 298 pages of material are made to provide the facts around which Tribe builds his own thesis in [only] 143 pages of text."
Tribe quickly issued a non-apology apology. Just like Ogletree he accepted full responsibility for the plagiarism--and then proceeded to say it was all a harmless error. . . .

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42% of Americans Prefer a Nominee Who Would Tilt the Court More Conservative

That is one result from a newly released Gallup poll. Americans apparently do not believe the court is too conservative. By contrast, Gender, Race, and Ethnicity are not important Factors.


Have scientists discovered the key to stop aging?

Kind of an unusual story here.

Scientists are hoping to gain new insights into the mysteries of ageing by sequencing the genome of a 17-year-old girl who has the body and behaviour of a tiny toddler.

Brooke Greenberg is old enough to drive a car and next year will be old enough to vote — but at 16lb in weight and just 30in tall, she is still the size of a one-year-old.

Until recently she had been regarded as a medical oddity but a preliminary study of her DNA has suggested her failure to grow could be linked to defects in the genes that make the rest of humanity grow old.

If confirmed, the research could give scientists a fresh understanding of ageing and even suggest new therapies for diseases linked to old age.

“We think that Brooke’s condition presents us with a unique opportunity to understand the process of ageing,” said Richard Walker, a professor at the University of South Florida School of Medicine, who is leading the research team.

“We think that she has a mutation in the genes that control her ageing and development so that she appears to have been frozen in time.

“If we can compare her genome to the normal version then we might be able to find those genes and see exactly what they do and how to control them.”

Such research will be the focus of a conference at the Royal Society in London this week to be attended by some of the world’s leading age researchers.

It follows a series of scientific breakthroughs showing that the life span of many animals can be dramatically extended by making minute changes in single genes. . . .


First the Obama's warn young people not to aim high, not Bernanke warns against going for high income jobs

Possibly next year Bernanke can warn students about the risks of taking low income jobs.

That was the message from the Federal Reserve chairman on Saturday to graduates of the University of South Carolina.

"We all know that getting a better-paying job is one of the main reasons to go to college. ... But if you are ever tempted to go into a field or take a job only because the pay is high and for no other reason, be careful!" Ben Bernanke said in his commencement address.

"Having a larger income is exciting at first, but as you get used to your new standard of living and as you associate with other people in your new income bracket, the thrill quickly wears off," he said. . . .



New Fox News piece: Greece Offers a Frightening Glimpse of the Future

My piece at Fox News starts this way:

Greece is a small share of the world market, and Athens is almost 5,000 miles from New York City. Yet, the wild swings in the stock market on Thursday stem not from Greece’s size, but from what it tells people about the future for other countries. On American’s current path, Greece’s current woes will be our future. From slower economic growth to having less money for their retirements, Americans have a real stake in learning from Greece’s errors. Hopefully, the 347 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday and the over 700 point drop since Tuesday will get Washington's attention.

The violent demonstrations in Greece are showing how incredibly hard it is to control government spending once programs are started. Even just cuts in the growth in spending are meeting stiff opposition. . . .

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Illegal Immigrant in landmark $145,000 "settlement" with government

$145,000 for being held for around a month "too long" in prison? Would you spend a year in jail for $1.74 million?

An illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet got a $145,000 parting gift from New York City taxpayers before he was deported, after a federal judge ruled his civil rights had been violated when he was held too long on Rikers Island.

Federal rules allow local law enforcement to detain suspected illegal immigrants for 48 hours after their criminal cases are resolved, to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement a chance to pick them up and move them to federal facilities.

Former Brooklyn resident Cecil Harvey, 55 -- backed by an immigration-rights advocacy group -- argued that his rights were violated when he spent more than a month in a Rikers holding pen before being transferred to ICE.

Harvey was shipped to his native Barbados in October 2007; the city settled his civil suit late last year.

The landmark settlement has prompted the Correction Department to dump scores of illegal immigrants on the streets, since federal officials often fail to pick them up within the required two-day window.

Federal immigration agents have office space on Rikers Island, and the city allows them to interview roughly 4,000 inmates each year. They put a hold, or "detainer," on 3,200 of those inmates who they discover are illegals.

But ICE often fails to transfer those detainees within the required 48 hours of their criminal cases being resolved, multiple jail sources said.
"We just release them now," one high-ranking jail supervisor said. "It's ICE's problem to go find these guys." . . .

A city Law Department representative called the Harvey case an "unfortunate occurrence," but maintained it was an isolated mistake. . . .


A good example of how the Obama administration is throwing away money on high speed rail

People don't spend other people's money as carefully as they spend their own. This is a pretty scary example of massive government waste with billions of dollars.

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After losing a court case, the Obama administration tries to get around it by redefining what terms mean

The question is how far the FCC can go in redefining things.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski released details of a new plan to reclassify broadband services so that some common carrier rules required by telecom services would apply to broadband. The thought is that reclassifying broadband would put the FCC on firmer legal ground for establishing Net neutrality rules, which are supposed to keep the Internet open and free and protect consumers from companies trying to monkey with their Internet traffic.
The FCC is doing this because a month ago the agency's authority was called into question when a federal court ruled against the FCC for punishing Comcast for violating its Net neutrality principles. The court basically said that the FCC did not have the authority to give Comcast a slap on the wrist for slowing down BitTorrent traffic on its network. . . .
Does the FCC even have the legal authority to reclassify broadband services?
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the FCC's legal authority to reclassify communications services, according to the agency. In the Brand X case, a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court affirmed the FCC's decision at the time to classify cable broadband as an unregulated information service. The majority in this case said that FCC had the technical expertise to determine the classification.
As a result, cable modem service remained unregulated. Soon after the decision, the FCC reclassified DSL service as an information service as well to put it on the same legal ground as cable. . . .
Does anyone disagree that the FCC has the legal authority to reclassify broadband services?
Yes, the telephone companies, namely AT&T and Verizon Communications, strongly disagree that the FCC has the authority to reclassify broadband.
"We believe this is without legal basis," said Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs for AT&T. "Congress has never given the FCC explicit authority to regulate the Internet under Title II. Simply because it desires to do so, or is concerned because a court has questioned its authority to do so, does not by itself confer legal authority." . . .
Thirteen companies, including Google, Amazon.com, and eBay, praised the FCC's reclassification proposal in a letter sent to Genachowski in support of his plan. . . .

Here is another interesting article on this topic:

there are very good reasons that making the change would prove a tough slog. In order to treat broadband Internet access as a Title II service, the FCC would need to navigate a minefield of legal obstacles established to avoid just this kind of regulatory landgrab.
For starters, nothing in the Communications Act gives the FCC authority to decide on its own what is and what is not a telecommunications service. Congress already made that decision. That broadband Internet is an unregulated "information service" is already long-settled law, law made concrete by the FCC itself.
Since the 1996 revisions that introduced the distinction, the agency under Democratic and Republican administrations alike has consistently and loudly argued that, at the very least, broadband Internet through the cable system is not, and never was meant to be, a telecommunications service. That was an argument the agency made to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005's Brand X case, when a Southern California ISP challenged the refusal of a local cable company to give it access to its equipment--access it compared to its legally sanctioned use of the local phone company's infrastructure.
The question in Brand X was not which title made more sense for broadband Internet. The question was where Congress put broadband when it passed the 1996 Act. The FCC argued successfully that the definition of information services included cable Internet service. Later, the agency decided that Internet access offered by traditional phone companies was also an information service under Title I, at least for DSL speeds. (Dial-up Internet is still treated as a telecommunications service under Title II.) . . .
There was no question in 1996 of bringing all that innovation under rules created to control the old AT&T. Rather, the debate was over how much of the old rules were still needed 11 years after the monopoly had been broken up. There was even serious consideration given to deregulating everything and disbanding the FCC, much as Congress had done with the airline industry and its former regulator, the Civil Aeronautics Board, or the railroad industry and the now-defunct Interstate Commerce Commission. . . .
Consider reaction to an alternative policy decision the FCC hasn't made but plausibly could make. Today, the agency enforces its decency rules--you know, swear words and wardrobe malfunctions--with enthusiasm against broadcast radio and television networks, but has never done so against cable television.
Suppose, armed with the "good reason" that America is sinking into a culture abyss, the FCC similarly decided to "reclassify" cable programming and started to hand out fines to nearly every show on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central? . . .

Question: if the FCC could impose rules dealing with content such as the words used, could they also impose the "Fairness" doctrine on websites?

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So why is the US government bailing out Greece?

So if a country wastefully spends money on all sorts of wealth transfer projects, it will be rewarded with below interest rate loans.

US taxpayers will be helping to foot the bill for the Greek bailout, via the Interna tional Monetary Fund. And if the Obama administration doesn't draw a clear line, Uncle Sam may soon be on the line for even more and larger European "rescues."

The Greek government, with its high taxes and profligate spending to support large bureaucracies and social programs, is bankrupt. Its bonds have been downgraded to junk status. . . .

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that America's debt held by the public will reach 90 percent of gross domestic product within 10 years under President Obama's budget. Without dramatic spending restraints, America is on a path like the one that led to Greece's financial catastrophe. . . .

There are two ways that the US is bailing out Greece. What is being missed here is that these are below market interest rates. After all, why aren't the European Central banks just making these loans are their own? Why aren't other banks making loans to these banks?

The Fed is assisting in this effort by reopening its temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap facility with the European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, England, Japan and Switzerland.

Under this program, a foreign central bank can sell a specific amount of its currency to the Fed and receive dollars, which it can then lend to commercial banks in its jurisdiction. The foreign central bank promises to buy back its currency from the Fed at the same exchange rate at a certain date, so the Fed doesn't make or lose money on currency fluctuations. The foreign central bank pays interest to the Fed.

The foreign central bank must repay the dollars, even if the commercial bank it loaned them to defaults. The only way the Fed would lose money is if the foreign central bank defaults. The risk of that "is remote," Reinhart says. . . .

As to the IMF role.

The U.S. role in the IMF loan package is harder to quantify.

The United States is the largest IMF member, with a 17 percent share.

The United States "usually provides 20 percent or more of IMF financing," but its participation in any one deal depends on a variety of factors, says a Treasury Department official.

Over the weekend, the IMF agreed to loan Greece about $39 billion over three years. The loan was part of a joint package of financing with the EU totaling about $140 billion over three years. . . .

Money to Canada?

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve late Sunday opened a program to ship U.S. dollars to Europe in a move to head off a broader financial crisis on the continent. . . .

A so-called "swap" line with the Bank of Canada provides up to $30 billion. Figures weren't provided for the other central banks. The arrangements are authorized through January 2011. . . .

It also had begun to lay out a plan to reel in the unprecedented stimulus money pumped out during the crisis. The Fed's balance sheet ballooned to $2.3 trillion, more than double where it stood before the crisis struck. The program reopened on Sunday will expand the Fed's balance sheet, economists say. However, the program poses little credit risk to the Fed because the arrangements are with other central banks, they added.

Americans oppose more bail out money for American banks last year by a 56 to 20 percent margin. So now we are subsidizing Canadian and European banks?

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When would the US credit rating slip from AAA to AA?

A little insight into what will lower the credit rating and when it will occur.

The great uncertainty about how much debt is too much has tended to make fiscal discipline seem less urgent, rather than more. There is no obvious threshold beyond which investors will demand higher real yields for holding U.S. debt. Vague warnings from ratings agencies about the loss of America's 'AAA' status haven't added much clarity — until recently.

In the wake of the financial crisis and recession, Moody's Investors Service has brought new transparency to its sovereign ratings analysis — so much so that 2018 lights up as the year the U.S. could be in line for a downgrade if Congressional Budget Office projections hold.

The key data point in Moody's view is the size of federal interest payments on the public debt as a percentage of tax revenue. For the U.S., debt service of 18%-20% of federal revenue is the outer limit of AAA-territory, Moody's managing director Pierre Cailleteau confirmed in an e-mail.

Under the Obama budget, interest would top 18% of revenue in 2018 and 20% in 2020, CBO projects.

But under more adverse scenarios than the CBO considered, including higher interest rates, Moody's projects that debt service could hit 22.4% of revenue by 2013.

"While we see limited risk of a U.S. sovereign debt downgrade in the next 2-3 years, beyond that we cannot be so certain," wrote Societe Generale's economics team in a recent report.

The Moody's ratings framework is one that could have a significant influence on policy — particularly in a crisis. . . .

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