The problem with David Weigel

UPDATE2: This post was originally put up yesterday at 6 PM. Mr. Weigel wrote me and I asked a few questions that I am waiting for him to answer. The discussion that we have had is shown at the end of this post.

Original post:

Under the heading of "Losing a job to get ahead," Politico has this about David Weigel:

Two weeks almost to the minute after he resigned from his job blogging about the conservative movement for the Washington Post, David Weigel was back on the Washington Post Company payroll Friday morning, writing about the tea party for Slate.

In the interim, Weigel himself noted in a piece in Esquire Thursday, more than 500 articles were written about him, his downfall after the leak of his emails disparaging some conservative leaders, and what it all means for journalism. . . .

Weigel’s Stage 4 looks bright . . .

I guess that I am not so much bothered by a liberal covering conservatives as I am about other things about David Weigel.

1) He has consciously discussed how to filter the news so as to help mold voters' views. From the Daily Caller:

After Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat, threatening to kill the health care legislation by his presence, Weigel stressed how important it was for reporters to highlight what a terrible candidate his opponent Martha Coakley had been.

“I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital, because it’s 1) true and 2) unreasonable panic about it is doing more damage to the Democrats,” Weigel wrote. . . .

After Sarah Palin claimed Obama’s health care legislation included “death panels” that would ration health care, for instance, the Huffington Post reported that many Americans believed the claim was true. Weigel suggested that reporting on the subject might be counter-productive to liberal policy aims. The Huffington Post, Weigel pointed out, ran “a picture of Sarah Palin, linking to a poll that suggests 45 percent of Americans believe her death panel lie. But as long as the top liberal-leaning news site talks about it every single hour of every day, I’m sure that number will go down.”

“Let’s move the f*** on already,” Weigel wrote. . . .

2) Libertarians hardly walk in lockstep on issues, but I don't understand how this guy wrote for Reason for 6years and still serves as a contributing editor of Reason magazine and Reason.com. If he is a libertarian, how could Weigel be such a strong supporter of Obama's health care bill, financial regulations, and other Obama policies and an attacker of Ron Paul supporters as Paultards? I had a run-in with the guy two years ago over gun control, where he was strongly in favor of gun control. Obviously there is no litmus test for libertarians, but there seems to be a gulf between his private views and his publicly stated views that seems fairly large.

Libertarians surely don't need to personally like Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh or Matt Drudge or even Ron Paul, but I guess that it is the discussion of issues that I find most perplexing. I am just curious what the people at Reason see in this guy and whether their views have been impacted by the new information. Will what has been revealed about his views impact him continuing to be a contributing editor of Reason magazine and Reason.com?

Follow up: Here is the exchange that I had with Weigel about his recent activities.

Weigel writes me: "I don't support the health care bill." And he claims he wasn't personally advocating anything: "JournoList captured me saying what Democrats should do if they wanted to pass it, but like I've said in other venues, I am a know-it-all who offers advice like that all the time."

Yet, I am not sure how this fits in with his choice of words in his posts. I wrote him back:

The comment "Let’s move the f*** on already" also makes it seem as if you have a dog in the fight and were not simply providing friendly advice. Don't you agree? The problem is that it also fits in with the tone regarding the Coakley advice (“I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital"). Right? Why use the term "vital" if you weren't hoping for a particular outcome? Linking "vital" with stopping the "damage to the Democrats" seems partisan. If I was just providing friendly advice for people with whom I disagreed, I can't see myself using those terms, though you apparently think differently so I am asking.

If I get a response back from him, I will post it.

Mr. Weigel had something of an apology for his past inaccurate attacks on me: "I take you on your word that you had a legitimate issue and I failed to fully answer it, so I apologize if that was the case."

Note: Weigel has had multiple defenders. What interests me the most is that these defenders do not deal at all with the issue of Weigel discussing how to slant the news. Ross Douthat, with the New York Times, wrote: "Dave Weigel made the mistake of sending some off-color vents about his beat." Indeed, rather than dealing with how Weigel consciously advised other journalists how to tilt the news, Douthat asserted that Weigel "really is a good reporter." Andrew Sullivan notes that Weigel resigning is "A sad day for journalism." Sullivan expressed the problem this way: "I find the idea of journalists not being able to vent in any way they like in private to be depressing." Other defenders of Weigel's include some who have real problems with honesty including Julian Sanchz: "the pearl outside the Post's sty."

UPDATE: Politico lists Weigel first on its list of media stars.

“Weigel is a reporter at heart, and that’s what distinguishes him,” Ambinder told POLITICO. “He obviously has a perspective, but unlike a lot of other people, who are perspective first, reporter second, he’s reporter first, perspective second.


What all therapists should be like


Record cold in LA

While it has been hot for most of this last week on the East coast, the West coast has been experiencing unusually cold weather. Under the headline: What summer? Record cold at LAX as July gloom continues

Unusually cold temperatures in Southern California continued, with Los Angeles International Airport setting a record low on Friday.

LAX got to only 67 degrees, breaking a record set in 1926, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to stay fairly cool Saturday, with highs around 70 on the coast and in the 80s inland. Conditions will be a bit warmer on Sunday, according to the weather service.

July has turned out to be cooler than normal.

Instead of daytime highs approaching the mid-80s, downtown L.A. has experienced temperatures in the mid- to high 70s. From June 1 to July 5, daytime and nighttime temperatures have averaged a relatively cool 69.8 degrees. . . .

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"Labor Dept. Estimates $7.1 Billion in Overpayments to Unemployed"

When the government is spending as much money as it is fraud and waste are to be expected.

While many Americans are feeling the pain of expired unemployment benefits, some have gotten a good chunk more than they were legally eligible for.

Preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Department of Labor find that, in 2009, states made more than $7.1 billion in overpayments in unemployment insurance, up from $4.2 billion the year before. The total amount of unemployment benefits paid in 2009 was $76.8 billion, compared to $41.6 billion in 2008.

Fraud accounted for $1.55 billion in estimated overpayments last year, while errors by state agencies were blamed for $2.27 billion, according to the Labor Department. The department's final report will be released next month. . . .


"Ga. minister files lawsuit over guns in churches"

One of the many lawsuits that are likely to be coming down the pike.

ATLANTA — A minister in Georgia is challenging the state’s ban on guns in churches after the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a decision supporting Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.

The Rev. Jonathan Wilkins accuses state officials of violating his First Amendment freedom of religion right and his Second Amendment right to bear arms. Wilkins’ attorney John Monroe said Friday that the minister wants to carry a gun to church for protection considering church shootings over the years.

Wilkins is a minister at the Baptist Tabernacle in Thomaston in central Georgia. The lawsuit is being filed on his behalf as well as a handful of gun rights advocates.


Rep. Jim Clyburn's (D-SC) claim of Republican conspiracy is hot air

Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) accused Republicans of funding Alvin Greene as a plant to cause problems for SC Democrats. $10,000 in funding hardly seems like a serious effort, but now it turns out that Mr. Greene did fund his own race as he claimed from the beginning.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) says US Senate candidate Alvin Greene's (D-SC) win in last week's primary race is highly suspicious.

Clyburn says South Carolina used voting machines that all other states rejected. In fact, they were bought from Louisiana, he said.

"Something went wrong with these machines," Clyburn said. "They were very unreliable," he added.

"All you need is a magnet" to compromise the machines, Rep. Clyburn said.

Who would have a motive? "The motive could very well be to embarass the Democratic party. This could be embarassing if we do not get it worked out. Or this could be someone who wanted to ensure a victory [for incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint]," Clyburn said.

Clyburn concluded there is a "great possibility" that someone paid for him to run and tampered with the machines.

A law enforcement investigation http://hotair.com/archives/2010/07/10/whew-americas-candidate-funded-by-us-and-south-carolina-taxpayers/:

Alvin Greene, the obscure jobless man whose come-from-nowhere victory in the June Democratic primary for U.S. Senate created a national furor, had legitimate sources of income to pay his $10,400 primary entry fee, law enforcement sources said Friday.

He will not, according to SLED, face criminal deception charges for requesting a taxpayer funded attorney in a still pending criminal case against him.

The source of Greene’s money is none other than the U.S. government and the S.C. state government, said SLED director Reggie Lloyd. . . .

State law enforcement officials wrapped up an investigation of Greene’s finances after questions were raised about how he could qualify for indigent defense and afford to pay more than $10,000 to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. . . .

I am stunned that law enforcement would get involved with all this.



"Silent raids" reduce penalty to illegal aliens

The only penalty for the illegal aliens is that they have to replace the workers or get new jobs. The fact that employers speak positively about the new rules make me dubious that they have much effect on them.

The Obama administration’s new approach to dealing with companies that hire illegal immigrants results in firings, not deportations, the New York Times reported Friday.

Instead of immigration sweeps at factories and farms which used to lead to illegal workers being shipped out of the country, the administration’s new policy—government conducted audits labeled “silent raids” by employers—usually only result in the workers losing their jobs, the Times said.

The Times article comes just over a week after the president delivered his highly anticipated speech on immigration reform, which was criticized on both ends of the political spectrum.

In these audits, federal agents examine company records to find illegal workers on the payroll, forcing “businesses to fire every suspected illegal immigrant… not just those who happened to be on duty at the time of a raid,” the Times said. This makes it more difficult for companies to hire undocumented workers to fill these positions in the future, the article explained. . . .


Sheriff rejects concealed handgun permit in retaliation for public criticisms

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett doesn't seem to be a very happy guy.

"In denying (Dorr) a concealed weapons permit, Sheriff Weber single-handedly hijacked the First Amendment and nullified its freedoms and protections," Bennett wrote in the ruling.

Anger over the sheriff's denial of the gun permit was a factor in inspiring some grass-roots activists to push for changes to Iowa's weapons law. Starting Jan. 1, a new law requires sheriffs to issue gun permits except under a narrow set of circumstances.
Bennett ruled that Weber's denial of Dorr's gun permit in 2007 trampled his free speech rights because the sheriff was retaliating against Dorr for publicly protesting, passing out leaflets and writing letters to newspaper editors on a variety of topics.

"The court finds a tsunami, a maelstrom, an avalanche, of direct uncontroverted evidence in Sheriff Weber's own testimony to conclude beyond all doubt that he unquestionably violated the First Amendment rights of ... Paul Dorr," Bennett wrote in the decision.
"This is a great reminder that the First Amendment protects the sole individual who may be a gadfly, kook, weirdo, nut job, whacko and spook, with the same force of protection as folks with more majoritarian and popular views," he added. . . .


"Google Street View accused of Congress 'snooping'"

Saying something "may have" happened and saying that it did happen are two completely different things. Right now this seems pretty sensational as far as claims normally go.

Google's popular Street View project may have collected personal information of members of Congress, including some involved in national security issues.
The claim was made by leading advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog which wants Congress to hold hearings into what data Google's Street View possesses.
Google admitted it mistakenly collected information, transmitted over unsecured wireless networks, as its cars filmed locations for mapping purposes.
Google said the problem began in 2006. . . .


Foreseeing the Fall Campaign after reading the Democracy Corps Poll

The Democracy Corps poll makes it clear that the only theme that Democrats will have this fall is to bash Bush.

1) Republicans must explain exactly how Obama's economic plans have made things worse. Obviously some have been doing this with the regulatory and tax uncertainty. But more can be done regarding the impact that the stimulus directly had on short term unemployment by moving resources from some areas of the economy to others. The unemployment insurance extension also caused problems and now the termination of that extension will make the unemployment rate improve and will be used by Obama to claim that his policies have worked.

2) Someone must explain that people's perceptions are based in part on media bias.

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'The Colbert Report' gets that gun bans don't reduce crime

The Colbert Report had this joke about giving out guns to his guests. At the very end of the clip he points out that Chicago has had a very high murder rate despite the ban. I guess that I would have point out "because" of the ban, but still it was a useful discussion.

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The limits of using video cameras to stop crime

Here are some pictures of the looters following the July 8th conviction of a former BART Police officer for involuntary manslaughter of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009. July 8th is midsummer and yet all these looters are wearing snow suit jackets to protect them from being caught on video cameras. Is it any wonder why stores charge higher prices in heavily minority areas or that they are less likely to set up stores in those areas?

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Will the EPA treat milk as a hazardous substance?

The story from the Omaha World-Herald is here.

Imagine treating milk the same as the toxic sludge now washing up on Gulf Coast beaches.
It may sound absurd, but some dairy producers are worried that it could happen under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations intended to prevent oil spills from polluting waterways.
“It's another example of an environmental law where it's really meant to target heavy industry but actually has some farm implications,” said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation.
The EPA program in question falls under the Clean Water Act and requires owners of large oil storage tanks to develop plans to prevent and handle any spills.
Milk contains a certain percentage of animal fat, which is considered a non-petroleum oil, and therefore bulk milk storage tanks near waterways could be subject to the regulations.
Farm groups say there's no reason to put milk under the same heading as oil — who's ever seen a milk-covered pelican struggle to fly? After all, milk is more than 80 percent water, said Stacey Fletcher, spokeswoman for the Nebraska State Dairy Association.
“That's very concerning, that we would ever find milk and oil in the same category,” she said. . . .

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Obama administration hiding impact of Obamacare on Medicare?

Peter Ferrara has this:

Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May. Now it's July, and there's no sign of this year's report. What is the Obama administration hiding?

The annual report includes detailed information about Social Security and its financing over the next 75 years, produced by the Office of the Actuary of the Social Security Administration.

The Congressional Budget Office reported last week in its Long Term Budget Outlook that Social Security was already running a deficit this year. According to last year's Social Security Trustees Report, that was not supposed to happen until 2015, with the trust fund to run out completely by 2037.

With the disastrous Obama economy, the great Social Security surplus that started in the Reagan administration is gone completely. . . .

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"Racial, Gender Quotas in the Financial Bill"

Hopefully enough of these strange things can be discovered in the bill before the vote to keep Senators Snowe and Brown from voting for it. Diana Furchtgott-Roth has this:

In addition to this bill's well-publicized plans to establish over a dozen new financial regulatory offices, Section 342 sets up at least 20 Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion. This has had no coverage by the news media and has large implications.

The Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, the Board of Governors of the Fed, the National Credit Union Administration, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau...all would get their own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.

Each office would have its own director and staff to develop policies promoting equal employment opportunities and racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of not just the agency's workforce, but also the workforces of its contractors and sub-contractors.

What would be the mission of this new corps of Federal monitors? The Dodd-Frank bill sets it forth succinctly and simply - all too simply. The mission, it says, is to assure "to the maximum extent possible the fair inclusion" of women and minorities, individually and through businesses they own, in the activities of the agencies, including contracting.

How to define "fair" has bedeviled government administrators, university admissions officers, private employers, union shop stewards and all other supervisors since time immemorial - or at least since Congress first undertook to prohibit discrimination in employment.

Sometimes, "fair" has been defined in relation to population numbers, for example, by the U.S. Department of Education in its enforcement of Title IX, passed in 1972 as an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which pertains to varsity athletic opportunities for male and female undergraduates.

Title IX was intended to protect against sex discrimination, but not to allow the use of quotas. Indeed, it specifically prohibited arbitrary leveling of student numbers by gender.

Yet in 1997 the courts essentially sided with an interpretation of the law promulgated by the Department of Education that left universities with no choice but to adopt a proportionality standard for college sports if they wished to avoid lawsuits. If 55% of the students are female, then 55% of the varsity sports slots have to go to women. Financial institutions might have to meet a similar proportionality standard. . . .

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SF to criminalize the selling of most pets

Here is question: what will happen to the number of guinea pigs or dogs or cats if it is illegal to buy them? The answer seems pretty obvious, there will be a lot fewer of them. Are the lives of pets so horrible that it is better that they just don't live to begin with? My guess is that the vast majority of pets are well cared for. Does that count for anything? Does it matter that people get pleasure from pets? Apparently not. SF is kind of a strange place.

Sell a guinea pig, go to jail.

That's the law under consideration by San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country's first ban on the sale of all pets except fish.

That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals.

"People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don't know what they're getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized," said commission Chairwoman Sally Stephens. "That's what we'd like to stop."

San Francisco residents who want a pet would have to go to another city, adopt one from a shelter or rescue group, or find one through the classifieds.

The Board of Supervisors would have final say on the matter. But not before pet store owners unleash a cacophony of howling, squeaking and squawking.

"It's terrible. A pet store that can't sell pets? It's ridiculous," said John Chan, manager of Pet Central on Broadway, which has been in business 30 years. "We'd have to close." . . .


Why Democrats have let the unemployment insurance extension lapse

Democrats could have made deals with Senator Snowe or Senator Voinovich to get the unemployment extension renewed, but they wouldn't do it. My own guess is that for Democrats the decision to let these extensions lapse have been a win-win for Democrats. They can blame Republicans for being heartless and letting the extensions lapse and at the same time the lapse will lower unemployment rates. Here is one estimate of what letting the extension lapse will mean to the unemployment rate:

But on June 2nd even that concession expired. A mini-stimulus bill now before Congress would keep the extension in place until November. When the package passed the House on May 28th, worries about the deficit had whittled back the stimulus provisions from a proposed $79 billion to $40 billion. . . .

America’s UI payments are usually stingier and more short-lived than their equivalents in Europe and Canada. That is not necessarily a bad thing: it is one reason why America’s unemployment rate is also usually lower. There is concern now, though, that repeated extensions of UI may have made unemployment both higher and longer-lasting. Benefits are routinely extended during recessions, but the current 99 weeks in most states, almost four times the normal 26 weeks, is another record. Some 10m people are now claiming unemployment benefits, half of them through these extensions (see chart). . . .

JPMorgan Chase estimates that this may have raised the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points. . . .

UPDATE: From Marketwatch:

The number of people submitting initial applications for state unemployment insurance benefits fell 29,000 to 429,000 last week, hitting the lowest level since August 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday. . . .

The total number of people collecting some type of unemployment benefits in the week ended June 26 was about 8.7 million, down about 270,000 from the prior week. The decline in total continuing claims is worrisome, wrote Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist with Miller Tabak, in a research note.

"Unless there has been an incredible outbreak of hiring to meet a forceful upward move in domestic demand, it is almost assured that the drop in claims is related to Congress's inability to extended funding for unemployment benefits," Greenhaus wrote.

He added: "Should the Senate finally get around to extending - retroactively - these benefits, the recent decline will reverse. In the meantime though, several million unemployed persons are getting their Christmas lump of coal a whole lot sooner than they thought."


"Oil Spill Coverage Trending Down"

Wasn't this "the biggest environmental disaster the country has ever faced"? Do you think that the lack of coverage is due to Obama's restrictions on news coverage? The Associated Press has this:

Journalists covering the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have been yelled at, kicked off public beaches and islands and threatened with arrest in the nearly three weeks since the government promised improved media access.

Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government’s point person for the response, issued a May 31 directive to BP PLC and federal officials ensuring media access to key sites along the coast. BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles followed up with a letter to news organizations, saying the company “fully supports and defends all individuals’ rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they so choose.”

Those efforts have done little to curtail the obstacles, harassment and intimidation tactics journalists are facing by federal officials and local police, as well as BP employees and contractors, while covering the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history.

“We think a lot of the restrictions are way tighter than they need to be,” said Michael Oreskes, an AP senior managing editor. “So far, I think the government has done a better job of controlling the flow of information than of controlling the flow of oil in the Gulf.” . . .

Broadcasting & Cable has this:

The BP Gulf oil spill was the top story among a mix of media for the week ending July 4, but there are signs the story may be "losing some steam."

That is according to the latest Project for Excellence In Journalism's (PEJ) weekly news coverage index.

The story captured 15% of the news hole, but that is down from the week before, when it had 23% for the number two spot behind the General McChrystal story. And just the week before, the story commanded 44% of the news hole. It was the lowest percentage of coverage since April 19-25, when the oil rig first exploded and the underwater gusher began.

"The once-hot political narrative--the performance of the Obama White House in the crisis--has diminished," said PEJ in its analysis. And while other developments could produce a spike in coverage, the relief well that may provide a breakthrough in containment is not expected to be ready until August."

The second biggest story (13% of the news hole) was about fears of a fizzling economic recovery. Third, with 11%, was coverage of the Supreme Court nomination hearings of Elena Kagan, though that was only half the attention given to the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings last year at this time.

Number four at 8% was the story of 10 people in the U.S. accused of being part of a Russian spy ring, while Afghanistan was at number 5 with 5%, down from the 25% and top spot it claimed the week before thanks to the ousting of McChrystal atop the war effort there.

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Some documents on Donald Berwick, the new head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

A couple of writings of Dr. Berwick are here and here. He claimed that government can run the health care system so much more efficiently than private providers.

The Washington Times has this information on Berwick's padded CV.

A NY Times piece that is useful is here discusses rationing.

Krauthammer on "Democrats Don't Want Health Care Debated Again"

From the Hill:

"Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered," Baucus said in a statement.

Transcript of yesterday's WH press briefing:

Q Can I ask one question about Dr. Berwick? Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on Senate Finance, said that he requested that Berwick be given a hearing a couple weeks ago. And obviously, Chairman Baucus did not schedule that. Republicans say they were eager to have the hearing. They wanted to talk about Dr. Berwick’s views and things he said in the past, and it was Democrats who flinched.

MR. GIBBS: Well, Jake, two things. We have -- whether everyone likes it or not, we’ve passed a very important Affordable Care Act, many things of which have to be implemented by the beginning of next year. Whether it’s Medicare and Medicaid innovation, whether it’s increased investment in health IT technology to ensure greater cost savings and greater quality of care, so we need somebody on the job now.

I think if you look at the appointments process such as it has been over the past 18 months, I'm not entirely sure somehow that a hearing was the hurdle. We have had more nominees waiting longer than any administration in recent history. Martha Johnson, who’s probably not a name you know -- she’s the head of the -- she’s the administrator for the General Services Administration -- it took her 10 months to be confirmed to a job of which certainly I can’t recount that her nomination or her name derived some great controversy. Yet it took 10 months and the vote was unanimous.

Q I'm not talking about Martha Johnson, I'm talking about Dr. Berwick.

MR. GIBBS: And I'm talking about a process that is clearly broken; that the President currently has a total of 189 nominees pending before the Senate. The Senate generally has acted on the President’s nominations one or two days before a recess. We have people that are waiting -- 49 of those nominees have been pending for more than six months.

There is no doubt, Jake, that there is a process up on Capitol Hill right now that was not in any danger of moving forward in a way that was quick enough and needed somebody at HHS to run CMS -- that is an important job. This is somebody who has been -- who all involved say is uniquely qualified. And by that I mean the last two CMS -- the last two people that had run CMS from the Bush administration both strongly supported Dr. Berwick’s appointment.

Q But Republicans say Berwick supports health care rationing. That's why they wanted the hearing. I mean, is that true? What’s your reaction to that criticism?

MR. GIBBS: I think that Dr. Berwick made the point that we have rationing right now; that health insurance companies are deciding, based on their bottom line, who gets care. Dr. Berwick -- I doubt if Dr. Berwick was a supporter of whatever theory that is supposed to be, that Mark McClellan and Tom Scully, the previous CMS administrators for the Bush administration, would support his nomination.

Again, I think it’s the type of politics that demonstrates just how badly broken the appointments process is. And the President is going to install people that need to be installed for this government to run effective and efficiently. In this case, because the appointments process is clearly broken, he did so through a recess appointment.

Q Did you want to avoid a hearing because of some of Dr. Berwick’s statements on income redistribution, on praise for the national health service of Britain?

MR. GIBBS: No. The President appointed somebody who he believed -- and people, both Democrats and Republicans believed -- was uniquely and supremely to run an agency of the size of CMS.

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So what motivated the new Chicago gun control ordinance?

Here are a couple of quotes found in a new brief filed in Chicago in response to the new ordinance.

Alderman Mary Ann Smith echoed her fellows on the City Council, vowing to limit gun ownership with new legal restrictions and thanking “everyone who has worked to try and create as restrictive a tool as possible.” In describing the new Ordinance on July 1, 2010, Chicago Corporation Counsel Mara Georges lauded the restrictions and concluded that “[w]e’ve gone farther than anyone else ever has.”

Something from Law.com:

The Chicago City Council on Friday approved what city officials say is the strictest handgun ordinance in the nation, but not before lashing out at the Supreme Court ruling they contend makes the city more dangerous because it will put more guns in people's hands.

The new ordinance bans gun shops in Chicago and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or in their garages, with a handgun. It becomes law in 10 days, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges said. . . .

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Weird: A lot of women seem obsessed with Facebook

Among the weird findings:

"21 percent of women aged 18 to 34 check Facebook in the middle of the night"

"Apparently, as soon as they are awake and semi-alert, 34 percent of young women go to Facebook before they go to the bathroom."

I guess it would be interesting to know exactly if these women are waking up in the middle of the night to look at Facebook and if so, how often they do it. From the wording, it sounds like it as at least a somewhat regular occurrence, but I am not sure.


Illinois has stopped paying its bills, but is giving out large pay raises to people who work for the governor

Quinn was already behind in the polls, but this news can't help.

So Illinois' answer? Just stop paying the bills and see what happens!!

That's not a joke - that's what they're doing!

Residents across the board in that state are struggling with an uncertain future and dwindling pensions.

That is unless you work for Pat Quinn - the governor is handing out raises to all his employees.

Here are the numbers: the Democrat leader has given 43 salary increases - averaging 11.5% to 35 staffers in the past 15 months, according to the Associated Press.

Ironically, the state's budget director, David Vaught, made out the best--he got a 20% raise or $24,000!

And the deputy budget director -Gladyse Taylor - got a 10.5% bump!

What makes this actually offensive is that in other parts of the state they're not talking about getting raises - they're trying to keep their jobs.

In almost every district of the state - thousands of teachers have lost their jobs and health centers have shut down.

Published reports say the University of Illinois has yet to receive 45% of the money owed to them.

The unemployment rate for the state nears 11% and the state ranks in the top five of states with the most foreclosures. . . .

UPDATE: Now Illinois gives large pay raise to 40,000 state workers.

40,000 Illinois State Workers To Get 14% Payraises
Updated: Wednesday, 07 Jul 2010, 1:10 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 06 Jul 2010, 10:23 PM CDT

By Mike Flannery, FOX Chicago News

Springfield, Ill. - More than 40,000 unionized state workers got a pay raise last Thursday, bringing to 7 percent the amount they're gotten since last year. These same state employees are in line for another 7 percent by next July 1, all at a cost of a half-billion tax dollars a year.

It's more than the virtually bankrupt state can afford, and some Republican lawmakers say the raises need to be rolled back.

"I'm outraged," said State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno. "It's very difficult to buy this rhetoric that, 'We need to borrow, we need increased revenue,' when these kind of poor management decisions are going on." . . .

AFSCME said it's outrageous that Republicans like Radogno have "done nothing to help solve the state's financial problems." The union argues that the state needs to raise taxes. AFSCME's chief negotiator in Illinois, Union International Vice President Henry L. Bayer, responded to Radogno.

"I'm outraged Sen. Radogno and her fellow Republicans have done nothing to help solve the state's financial problem,” Bayer said. " Where would she cut $9 billion? It can't be done with just cuts. We need more revenue." Bayer and other union leaders strongly support tax increases. . . .

I love how the union now attacks the TV station.

"Fox neglected to mention that Illinois has the nation's fewest state employees per capita. Manufactured controversies like this misinform the public and insult the men and women of state government who care for the disabled, aid the unemployed, prevent child abuse, analyze crime-scene evidence, keep our prisons safe, and perform all the other essential services Illinois residents rely on every day," the AFSCME spokesman said.

Quinn's actions now apparently are very difficult to undo. I suppose that the state could decertify the union and then scrap the contract to get the money back.

The contractual raises are now legally locked in. Any roll back could come only with the union's agreement. Bayer has said that would require a vote of the rank and file state workers AFSCME represents. A threat of massive layoffs would be the most likely source of leverage for any future state official wanting to re-open the union contract.

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Piece on media coverage of Utah concealed handgun permits

I would definitely have picked a different title for this piece (after all, I give the reporter credit for saying that the Brady Campaign had "asserted" their points). In any case, the piece that I have at BigJournalism is here.

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"Drug Lobby" buys campaign ads to support Harry Reid in Nevada

Here is the result of the government picking the winners and losers in health care.

The drug lobby has begun a pro-Reid TV blitz in his home state of Nevada. One ad praises Reid for saving jobs and for understanding that "good jobs with good benefits [mean] a better future." The narrator then instructs viewers to "call Harry Reid today; tell him to keep fighting for Nevada families."
But "Nevada families" didn't pay for the ad. The drug lobby did. . . .
Tauzin was president of the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the largest single-industry lobbying organization in the country. He was also formerly public enemy No. 1 for the Obama campaign, which had held him up as the poster boy for Washington's revolving door and "game playing."
Last July, Tauzin visited the White House twice (and who knows how many meetings he had at nearby coffee shops?) and hashed out a deal on health care. As the Los Angeles Times first reported, Tauzin pledged to support Obamacare if the White House would keep its hands off the government favors the drug industry was already receiving. In addition, Democrats loaded up the bill with plenty more drug company goodies including subsidies, mandates and unprecedented 12-year, government-enforced monopolies on complex drugs.
In the end, PhRMA shaped "reform" as it wanted, and the group ran millions of dollars of ads supporting the bill. Reid passed it. Now PhRMA is doing heavy lifting for Reid, whose approval ratings are in the 30s. . . .

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Philly Black Panthers in the voter intimidation case went after Black Republican Poll watcher

Intimidating a poll watcher seems like a serious offense. Poll watchers have a serious mission to prevent vote fraud and stopping a poll watcher from one party could allow fraud to occur.

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Ashley Taylor told Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that it was not just white voters who were intimidated by the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia during the 2008 election year. He talks about a black Republican poll watcher who was also harassed by the Black Panthers who were standing in front of a Philadelphia polling station:

"There is a black victim that is often ignored. He was an African-American male, an older gentlemen who lived in the neighborhood in that part of Philadelphia, who was a poll watcher and happened to be a Republican poll watcher, and he was intimidated. He was told by these folks wielding batons not to show his face, and he was terrorized, and we have evidence to that effect. It's the type of evidence that that would have been offered up to the judge in support of the motion had it been allowed to go forward, so this can't be easily marginalized by claiming only white victims are involved. These are African-Americans who decide to participate in our political process and who have identified themselves as Republicans. These are also the type of people who are being ignored."


An updated list of the errors in the IPCC Climate report

The Economist Magazine has a useful discussion here.

FOR everyone else it was the glaciers: for the Dutch it was the flooding. Last January errors in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) hit the headlines. The chapter on Asia in the report by the IPCC’s second working group, charged with looking at the impact of climate change and adapting to it, mistakenly claimed that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. This contradicted some reasonably basic physics, had not been predicted by the glacier specialists in the first working group (which deals with the natural science of past and future climate change) and was unsupported by any evidence. There was a report from the 1990s which said something similar about all the world’s non-polar glaciers, but it gave the date as 2350. Then there was a crucial typo and some shoddy referencing. Nevertheless the IPCC’s chair, Rajendra Pachauri, had lashed out at people bringing the criticism up, accusing them of “voodoo science”. He then had to eat his words, and set up, with Ban Ki-moon, a panel to look into ways the IPCC might be improved. . . .

One should read their entire discussion.

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Obama's lawsuit against Az immigration law

A copy of the DOJ suit is available here. Possibly the most amazing thing is that after all of Obama's fear-mongering about racial discrimination, the lawsuit doesn't mention racial discrimination.

Sections 1-6 of S.B. 1070, taken in whole and in part, represent an impermissible effort by Arizona to establish its own immigration policy and to directly regulate the immigration status of aliens. In particular, Sections 1-6 conflict with federal law and foreign policy, disregard federal policies, interfere with federal enforcement priorities in areas committed to the discretion of plaintiff United States, and otherwise impede the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of federal law and foreign policy. . . .

This claimed violation of the Supremacy Clause makes little sense as the Arizona law is not in conflict with the Federal law, it is the same as the federal law.

Section 5 of S.B. 1070 (adding Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-2929) restricts the interstate movement of aliens in a manner that is prohibited by Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution. . . . Section5ofS.B.1070(addingAriz.Rev.Stat.13-2929)violates the Commerce Clause, and is therefore invalid.

It seems strange to argue that the Commerce Clause protects the illegal movement of illegal aliens across states.

Some background over today's suit by the US Dept of Justice against Arizona's new law dealing with illegal aliens. From the Washington Post in May:

In the legal battle over Arizona's new immigration law, an ironic subtext has emerged: whether a Bush-era legal opinion complicates a potential Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona.

The document, written in 2002 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that state police officers have "inherent power" to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. It was issued by Jay S. Bybee, who also helped write controversial memos from the same era that sanctioned harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.

The author of the Arizona law -- which has drawn strong opposition from top Obama administration officials -- has cited the authority granted in the 2002 memo as a basis for the legislation. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo, and some backers of the Arizona law said Monday that because it remains in place, a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona would be awkward at best.

"The Justice Department's official position as of now is that local law enforcement has the inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law," said Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official in the George W. Bush administration who represents an Arizona sheriff known for aggressive immigration enforcement. "How can you blame someone for exercising authority that the department says they have?" . . .

See also this discussion at Fox News. See also this piece from the Washington Times.


Kagan's involvement in altering the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' statement on partial birth abortions

Kagan altered the meaning of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' statement on partial birth abortions to get a different outcome from the courts. It is disturbing that she did this, though it is also disturbing that it was so difficult last week for Senator Hatch to get her to admit that the memos in question were hers and this piece, while useful and interesting, neglects to mention that lack of honesty on her part.


Fox News piece that I had last week: A Vote for Kagan Is a Vote to Take Away Your Guns

I should have probably made the piece broader to include here positions against free speech and other issues. The piece has this info:

With those words in mind, alarm bells should have gone off during Elena Kagan’s confirmation testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Here’s what Kagan told Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa):

It has long been thought, starting from the “Miller” case, that the Second Amendment did not protect such a right. . . . Now the Heller decision has marked a very fundamental moment in the court's jurisprudence with respect to the Second Amendment. And as I suggested to Senator Feinstein there is not question going forward that ‘Heller’ is the law, that it is entitled to all the precedent that any decision is entitled to and that is true to the ‘McDonald’ case as well...

There are two big problems with Kagan’s remarks: she inaccurately describes the 1939 "Miller" case and her claims to follow stare decisis are meaningless.

The "Miller" decision said that the Second Amendment protected civilian use of firearms that are used in the military and that a sawed off shotgun wasn't a military weapon. But the court went no farther in explaining the right. There was no discussion of the modern liberal view of a “collective right.” The very short opinion didn’t say if there was an individual right to own military weapons. The issues were never addressed.

However, Kagan’s argument is precisely what Justice Stevens wrote . . . .

Here is the worthless response from the White House:

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said that Kagan “made clear during the hearings that Heller and McDonald are the law of the land and therefore that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual, fundamental right to bear arms.” . . .

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Pa Right To Bear Arms BUS

Michael Ruoss Sr. is raising money to help educate Pennsylvanians about the Second Amendment. His Pa Right To Bear Arms BUS sounds like a very interesting idea. I hope that people will visit his website and think of helping him out on this project.



Appearing on the Rollye James Show at 10 PM EDT

I will be on the Rollye James Show at 10 PM EDT for an hour tonight. We will be talking about the just released third edition of More Guns, Less Crime.

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What some Chicago Police think of Chicago's new gun laws

An interesting discussion of Chicago's new gun laws can be found here.

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How not to run anyone's finances, the case of Illinois

The way governments are being run these days is that if they don't have the money, they borrow it. If an individual's income were to fall, you wouldn't borrow to make up the difference, you would cut your spending. The only reason that you would borrow is that if you thought that the drop in income would be more than made up next year to not only let you pay off the amount borrowed but also the interest on the loan. Yet, Illinois has for years been borrowing money to keep spending more than it has. I recently heard that Illinois has the eighth worst government credit rating in the world. There are a lot of third world countries that have a better credit rating. When your credit rating falls any problems that you previously had get a lot worse because your interest rate and your payments go up. From the NY Times:

The governor proposes to borrow $3.5 billion to cover a year’s worth of pension payments, a step that would cost about $1 billion in interest. And every major rating agency has downgraded the state; Illinois now pays millions of dollars more to insure its debt than any other state in the nation. . . .

Public colleges and universities occupy a fiscal sickbed all their own. This year they muddled through without $668 million expected from the state; the University of Illinois has yet to receive 45 percent of its state appropriation. Legislators made no pretense of promising to pay this bill soon. Instead they authorized colleges to borrow against the expected state payments.

“The big fear is that next year we’ll be down twice as much,” said Randy Kangas, an associate vice president of the university. “No one knows how to make the cash flow work.” . . .

The state’s last elected governor, Rod R. Blagojevich, is on trial for racketeering and extortion. But in 2003, he persuaded the legislature to let him float $10 billion in 30-year bonds and use the proceeds for two years of pension payments.

That gamble backfired and wound up costing the state many billions of dollars. Illinois reports that it has $62.4 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, although many experts place that liability tens of billions of dollars higher. . . .