Number of people with concealed carry permits exploding in Florida

From Ocala.com:

The state issued 175,555 new licenses between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, up from 25,352 new licenses 10 years earlier.

The number of permit applications was so large last year that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services struggled to process them within 90 days as required by law. Ken Wilkinson of the Department of Agriculture said the agency had a two-month backlog just to scan the application documents into their computers, much less approve or deny the requests.

Applicants often waited as much as 120 days last year for their licenses, Wilkinson said. . . .

While many point to the incoming Obama administration as the catalyst for the rush to arm, that doesn't appear to explain a trend that actually started six or seven years ago.

Yet concealed weapons instructor Mike Severin insists the first wave for concealed licenses hit just before President Obama's inauguration. . . .

At the end of June, Florida had 739,222 valid concealed carry permit holders.

Labels: ,

Dan Baum's "Happiness is a Worn Gun: My Concealed Weapon and Me"

I haven't read the article, though I was called up before publication by an editor at Harper's when they were doing a fact check. An interview with the author is available here. The interview is quite useful, though his numbers were a little off from time to time (e.g., he notes that 80 percent of murders have a criminal record, the number is actually about 89 percent for adults and similar for juveniles or his numbers on the number of defensive guns uses are low (Kleck is probably one of the two academics he references and he would say the number is 2.5 million, not 1.5 million and there is an explanation for the difference between the two numbers he does reference)). But these issues aren't important ones. Baum is able to clearly and credibly get the basic point across to those listening to the radio show that he was on about permit holders not posing a risk to others. The article is already creating some discussion here and here. Anyway, I am going to look for the article and I suggest that others do so as well and make up their own minds about it.


Second Amendment Foundation with Alan Gura brings a lawsuit against Maryland

Obviously, I have more than passing interest in this particular suit.

Imagine having your home invaded and then waiting two and a half hours for the cops to show up. In Maryland eight years ago, that’s what happened to a man and his family . . . except, because he had firearms in his house, he and his son were able to subdue the criminal in the meantime.

But then, several years later, when filing for a renewal of his handgun permit, thanks to a law that had gone into effect, the same man had to show documentation to support his “apprehended fear.” In other words, the authorities told him he had to prove he had cause to exercise his 2nd Amendment rights.

Alan Gottlieb, is the executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), an organization stepping forward to file a lawsuit that seeks a permanent injunction against the enforcement of this Maryland provision. Just earlier this month, the SAF had also done the same to stop a similar restrictive gun law in New York.

“American citizens should not have to demonstrate good cause in order to exercise a constitutionally protected civil right,” says Gottlieb. “Our civil rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, should not be subject to the whims of a local government or its employees.” . . .


Some questions about the Census's accuracy

Stephen Robert Morse has this discussion over at BigGovernment.com.

Just spend a day working in PBOCS, the Paper-Based Operational Control System which processes enumerator questionnaires from the field, or MARCS, the Matching Address Review Coding System which shows a data capture of every questionnaire that was scanned at the Baltimore Data Capture Center and you will see the poor quality of work. . . .


Missourians look set to vote against Obama care

Missouri is just the first of four states to plan "opt-out" votes. We will see what the media coverage is of this first vote. Given that Missouri is considered such a bell weather state, one would think that it would get a lot of coverage. Here is a poll on Missouri's Proposition C.

Statewide, 61 percent of those who responded to the Mason-Dixon poll said they opposed the health care law passed by Congress in March. Republicans opposed the bill overwhelmingly, with 91 percent saying they were against it. Among independents — the key demographic in a race in Missouri — 65 percent opposed the health care law. . . .

A copy of the Mason-Dixon poll is available here.

Labels: ,

Have Republicans peaked?

Charlie Cook believes that the Republican wave may have subsided. I think that he has just misread the poll that he was looking at.

For the weeks of July 12-18 and July 19-25, the Gallup Organization's weekly aggregation of daily tracking polls showed Democrats ahead among all registered voters on the generic congressional ballot test question by 6 points (49 percent to 43 percent) and 4 points (48 percent to 44 percent), respectively. Each poll canvassed more than 1,500 registered voters nationwide. For the uninitiated, the generic ballot test question tries to approximate what the popular two-party vote will be nationwide and, over time, it has closely corresponded to the outcome on Election Day.

Gallup noted that this was the first time that either party has held an advantage of this size for two consecutive weeks. In the 21 weeks that Gallup has asked the generic ballot test question this year, the two parties have averaged a tie. It should be noted, however, that polls of registered voters inherently tilt Democratic by 4 or 5 points compared with polls of likely midterm election voters. Voter turnout for midterm elections is about a third less than it is in presidential years, and midterm voters tend to be whiter and older, two problem population groups for Democrats this year. . . .

First, I looked up the Gallup info, and I think that he read the material a little too quickly. Gallup's claim was based on one poll that Gallup does, not on an aggregation of polls (see this picture).

Gallup's poll also was unique in showing that Dems were improving. The RealClearPolitics average of polls over the same period shows that things are actually getting better for Republicans.

Two other points should be made Gallup is using a poll of registered voters, not likely voters. As Cook notes, one has to discount the Dems showing in such a poll: "If Democrats are running 4 or 5 points ahead among registered voters, it would mean a very, very close contest for control of the House." Likely voters are more likely to be Republicans in general. This year there is probably much more of a gap than usual because as one breakdown by Gallup shows there is a huge Republican advantage in enthusiasm.

All that said, Republicans were recently looking to pick up 11 governorships and now it looks like 8, Colorado is a mess and Maryland and California have moved slightly towards the Democrats. All that said, it is too hard to keep track of what all the polls are showing regarding likely voters as well as voter intensity. My guess is that the media bias is going to play an important role in these elections.

Labels: ,


Obama has time to answer questions on The View but can't find time for a regular press conference

It has been 64 days since President Obama's last press conference. During the last year he has had one press conference. Yet, he did have time to be "grilled" by the tough questions that he got on "The View."

On Thursday, for the first time in 308 days, President Obama will confront the White House press corps in a full-blown news conference, taking the best shots that reporters have to offer on the topics of their choosing.

Obama's lengthy absence from reporters' crosshairs has exceeded President George W. Bush's longest gap of 204 days.

As a candidate two years ago, Obama, then a senator, mused aloud about holding a news conference every month. . . .

Obama, however, has stood for fewer news conferences in which reporters were free to ask him questions on the topic of their choosing. . . .


Weren't we supposed to get massive job creation this summer?

Last year it was the prediction that unemployment would not get above 8 percent. This year it was promises of massive job growth.

Usually the Obama administration downplays expectations for job growth, but apparently Vice President Joe Biden didn’t get the memo – or he did, but just blew it off.

“Some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month,” Biden said at a fundraiser today in Pittsburgh.

Next month, Biden predicted, the nation’s employers will add between 100,000 to 200,000 jobs to their payrolls.

If employers were to increase their payrolls by half a million jobs at some point in the next few months, that would mark a massive turnaround for a country that was hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs a month just one year ago. But with the big boost expected from the government’s 2010 census, on top of an improving employment picture as evidenced by the 162,000 jobs created in March, such future job growth is a distinct possibility, analysts say. . . .

We have had the Obama administration predict multiple times that the economy had already turned around. Now when things keep on being bad, the reason for the continued weakness is George Bush.

Labels: , , ,

Obama administration keeps claiming that a million jobs would have been lost without car company bailouts

From yesterday's WH press briefing.

one that is adding rather than shedding jobs, and a decision in and of itself that likely saved a million jobs and communities -- certainly saved communities from economic devastation. . . .

1) General Motors would have gone into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not the same thing as eliminating the company. Viable operations that could make a profit would continue.
2) Where did the government bailout money come from? The government "creates" some jobs only by taking money away from where other jobs would have existed.


Your tax dollars being used to create support for Obama care

Rasmussen on July 26 finds: "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of voters favor repeal, including 48% who Strongly Favor it. Thirty-seven percent (37%) are opposed to repeal, with 28% who are Strongly Opposed."

So what does the Obama administration do? Use taxpayer dollars to pay for ads to increase support for Obamacare. This is not the first of the taxpayer paid ads pushing Obamacare.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Actor Andy Griffith has a new role: pitching President Barack Obama's health care law to seniors in a cable television ad paid for by Medicare.
The TV star - whose role as sheriff of Mayberry made him an enduring symbol of small-town American values - tells seniors that "good things are coming" under the health care overhaul, including free preventive checkups and lower-cost prescriptions for Medicare recipients.
Polls show that seniors are more skeptical of the health care law than younger people because Medicare cuts provide much of the financing to expand coverage for the uninsured.
Medicare says the national ad is not political, but part of its outreach to educate seniors about new benefits available next year. Griffith is 84.

Part of the text of the ad: "with the new healthcare law, more good things are coming: free check-ups, lower prescription costs, and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud. See what else is new. I think you're going to like it." How much is being spent? "He is the spokesperson for Medicare’s $700,000 ad campaign."

Another Medicare ad (60 –Second Radio Script Affordable Care Act Fraud Prevention):

The new Affordable Care Act contains some important benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. . . .

Isn't it enough that Democrats already have a big money advantage in the races this year?

Heading into the fall campaign season, most would agree that Republicans have momentum on their side. They are benefiting from economic and deficit anxiety, as well as diminished approval ratings for President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. Most importantly, their party’s base seems highly motivated to show up at the polls in November.

But to a surprising extent, Democrats enter the campaign season with a distinct money advantage in the battle for the House. The most vulnerable House Democrats—freshman and sophomore members elected from swing districts—have compiled campaign war chests far bigger than those their Republican opponents bring to the races. Those Democrats, as a result, will have ample resources to spread their message and reach out to their base. The question will be whether the money advantage is enough to offset the momentum advantage. . . .

There are 19 House Democrats running for re-election who first won in 2006 or 2008 in districts that Republican contender John McCain carried in the last presidential race. . . .

An examination of Federal Election Commission records shows that, as of June 30, these 19 especially vulnerable House Democrats had a combined $23.2 million in campaign cash on hand, compared with just $7 million for their leading Republican opponents. That’s a cash advantage of more than three to one heading into the thick of the campaign season.

If you want a list of other races, see here:

• In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has rebounded in the polls while reporting a $7.1 million cash-on-hand advantage ($8.9 million versus $1.8 million) over former GOP state legislator Sharron Angle. . . .

• Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, reported $11.3 million to spend in her FEC filing, compared with $950,000 for Republican Carly Fiorina, who was just emerging from an expensive primary battle. . . .

• In Wisconsin, Sen. Russ Feingold finds himself in an unexpectedly tough re-election fight despite a $4.3 million to $940,000 cash-on-hand advantage over Republican Ron Johnson, a relatively unknown businessman from Oshkosh making his first bid for public office. . . .

• The dynamic also is playing out in House races, such as Virginia's 5th District. Freshman Rep. Tom Perriello, a Democrat, on June 30 reported $1.7 million in the bank, compared with $216,000 for state Sen. Robert Hurt, the Republican nominee. . . .

The Democratic Senate and House campaign committees have a combined $55.4 million to spend on the fall races, while the Republican congressional campaign organs report $36 million. . . .

Labels: ,

The reaction to Arizona's new concealed handgun laws

Any bets on whether crime rates in city parks will rise as gun control proponents claim?



New piece up at Fox News: Verdict’s In: Arizona Judge Lacks Good Reason

My newest piece starts this way:

Arizona's immigration law supposedly "would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.” So asserted Federal District Judge Susan Bolton in her injunction of the new Arizona immigration law on Wednesday. “Given the large number of people who are technically ‘arrested’ but never booked into jail or perhaps even transported to a law enforcement facility, detention time for this category of arrestee will certainly be extended during an immigration status verification,” Ms. Bolton wrote in her decision.

But this reasoning makes little sense. Anyone -- no matter what their accent or looks -- who is "technically ‘arrested’" by police is required to show some type of ID. The minor exception is when the arrestee happens to be known to the police already. If unable to provide a basic ID, the police officer has no choice but to detain the individual until identification can be made. This is very basic. Police can't issue a ticket, even for a minor speeding offense, without being able to properly identify the person.

Despite the picture painted by Bolton, an immigration check for someone "technically ‘arrested’" imposes no more of a burden than the individual already faces. . . .

Labels: , ,

The SEIU Labor Union has this very weird video comparing Arizonans who have passed immigration law to communists

Does this union (the largest union in the AFL-CIO) realize that forcing people to stay in a country against their will and having a legal process for people to enter a country are really quite different positions? Apparently they don't understand the difference.


Nancy Pelosi's problems with ethics rules

Even the very liberal Margaret Carlson thinks that Nancy Pelosi has had a problem enforcing Congressional ethics rules.

If Democrats, in charge of the House since 2007, had proven themselves significantly more ethical than Republicans, Rangel would be better off. Instead, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who famously promised to “drain the swamp” -- the blue one as well as the red -- got off to a shaky start.

She protected her good friend, Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, who died before a raft of serious charges, including sending a defense contract to a company employing his nephew, could catch up to him. Shockingly, she tried to give Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson a seat on the Homeland Security Committee even after the release of photos of $90,000 in cash tucked inside containers of Pillsbury Pie Crust and Boca Burger in his house. He would later be convicted of 11 counts of racketeering and bribery. . . .

But probably the most shocking revelation from reading her piece is that she offers part of Congressman Charlie Rangel's defense.

He acknowledged “bookkeeping” errors and put his staff to work getting straight his financial disclosures and paying taxes on rental incomes from his villa in the Dominican Republic.

He has his excuses on other charges, not the least of which is that everybody does it:

Other members were also on the corporate-sponsored trip to the Caribbean, and his staff handled his paperwork. He would have supported preserving a tax loophole for oil driller Nabors Industries even if its chief executive hadn’t contributed $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel Public Service Center at City College. As for having to report the savings from a rent- stabilized apartment, since when is gaming the high rents in Manhattan a reportable gift? . . .


Copy of Judge's decision in the Arizona Immigration Law Case

A copy of the Judge's decision is here. A copy of the original law is here.



Michael Barone's election prediction

Michael Barone's prediction this election year.

These metrics -- the generic ballot results and polls in individual districts -- suggest that House Democrats are headed toward historic losses. Quite a swing in 18 months.


For some reason I suspect that Democrats would be making an issue of this if the situation were reversed

Charlie Rangel's legal defense is being paid for my lobbyists and unions. Tim Carney claims:

Two of the three firms providing legal counsel to Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., in his pending ethics cases are lobbying firms. In fact, one firm, Oldaker, Belair & Wittie, conducts much of Rangel's political fundraising, while operating four different lobby shops.
But who's ultimately paying Rangel's legal bills? Mostly corporate and union political action committees along with individual lobbyists. Over the past six months, PACs and lobbyists have accounted for a majority of the money Rangel's campaign has raised this year, not counting transfers from Rangel's other fundraising operations (more on them below). . . .


President Obama skips the Boy Scout Jamboree celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scouting

The president could be on "The View" television show any time he wants, but the Boy Scout Jamboree occurs only once every four years. So what is President Obama to do? Why he decided to skip speaking to the 45,000 Boy Scouts who attend. The White House claims that there were political fundraisers that were really preventing him from speaking to the Boy Scouts, but couldn't someone have set those up on a different day? The Boy Scout Jamboree is set up years in advance. Not everyone is thrilled by him going on "The View."

But Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a fellow Democrat, scoffed at the idea of a president appearing on such a show.

“I think the president should be accessible, should answer questions that aren't pre-screened, but I think there should be a little bit of dignity to the presidency,” Rendell told MSNBC, at one point comparing "The View" to "The Jerry Springer Show."

Presidents who have spoken before a Boy Scout Jamboree.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934
President Harry Truman in 1950
future President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1950
Kennedy died in office before the event
President Lyndon Johnson in 1964
Nixon -- No
Ford -- No, but there was no Jamboree during his presidency (one in 1973 and another in 1977)
Carter -- No
Nancy Reagan spoke in place of Ronald Reagan in 1985
President George HW Bush in 1989
President Bill Clinton in 1998
President George W Bush in 2001 via video and 2005 in-person.
Obama -- no


How to assemble a Colt .45 1911

Democratic Judge blocks central parts of Arizona immigration law

This just shows how important it is who appoints judges.

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's immigration law from taking effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the crackdown. . . .

We can mandate that people have to have proof of health insurance, but they can't ask for any of the wide range of IDs (among such are a driver's license).


"Explosion" of Federal Spending Is Driving Debt

So massive new spending is driving the deficit, so the solution, according President Obama, is more taxes? Senator Judd Gregg says that it is a spending problem.

Labels: ,

Racial and Sex Quotas coming in the Financial industry

So much for this "little-noticed" provision. Hiring won't be based on who is best for the job. It would have been nice if there were evidence of racism and discrimination, it would have been openly provided in the debate. From the Politico:

A little-noticed section of the Wall Street reform law grants the federal government broad new powers to compel financial firms to hire more women and minorities — an effort at promoting diversity that’s drawing fire from Republicans who say it could lead to de facto hiring quotas.

Deep inside the massive overhaul bill, Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.

Employment law experts say the language goes further than any previous attempt by the U.S. government to promote diversity in the financial sector — putting muscle behind federal efforts to help minority- and women-owned firms gain access to billions in federal contracts. . . .

Labels: ,

iPhone saves man from rape charges

I am not sure whether this is a net plus or not. Apparently, it is pretty hard to delete some information from the iPhone. In this case, the person accused of the crime was pretty lucky that the text messages were saved in the cell phone cache. What this might mean is that law-abiding citizens want to get iPhones, but criminals who have something to hide will want to stay away from them.

Robert*, in his 60s, was a property manager to the rich and famous and a dog breeder.

Jessica* was the 18-year-old daughter of a friend, who never knew her father and dreamed of working with animals.

Their friendship blossomed as they spent mornings training his prize German shepherds. He gave her a $20,000 dog. For three months, they had sex repeatedly en route to dog shows and at a Whale Beach mansion where Elle Macpherson has stayed.

In August last year she accused him of rape. It was - and remains - a case of his word against hers.

Robert lost a job with the Catholic Church, from which he had earned more than $100,000 over the past three years, and was told he could no longer worship there.

The investigating officer, Detective Senior Constable Karen Hennessy, seized the $20,000 dog, saying it was relevant to the investigation.

The only thing standing between Robert and five sentences of up to 14 years were the messages from her on his iPhone, which he had deleted to conceal the relationship.

Robert's lawyer, John Gooley from Collins & Thompson solicitors, commissioned Gary Coulthart, a former covert operations policeman and ICAC surveillance expert, to plumb the depths of Robert's iPhone.

Mr Coulthart retrieved more than 300 deleted texts and phone calls from the alleged victim, some of which appeared to undermine the allegations.

Prosecutors later withdrew the charges and have been ordered to pay $30,056 of Robert's legal costs.

''Without the ability of Coulthart to drag the content out, a man's life may have been ruined,'' Mr Gooley said. ''[iPhone evidence is] a bit like DNA. It can work both ways.'' . . .

The keyboard logging cache means an expert can retrieve anything typed on it for up to 12 months. . . . .

Seizing the $20,000 dog seems overdoing it. I understand the issue of evidence and the fact that evidence can be destroyed, but if the police really thought that the woman had been raped, is it necessary to seize her dog? Aren't there penalties for the destruction of evidence?


Graduate student seeking degree in school counseling told that she has inappropriate views on homosexuality and told that she must change them

If true, I won't be surprised, though I still find this disturbing. No matter what one's views are on the issue of homosexuality, getting a degree shouldn't be contingent on those views. In fact, I am amazed that someone who thinks that homosexuality is immoral can make it through a graduate program where the issue is discussed.

A graduate student in Georgia is suing her university after she was told she must undergo a remediation program due to her beliefs on homosexuality and transgendered persons.

The student, Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University since 2009, but school officials have informed her that she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct," according to a civil complaint filed last week.

"[Augusta State University] faculty have promised to expel Miss Keeton from the graduate Counselor Education Program not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity," the 43-page lawsuit reads. . . .

What looks to be a very similar case in Michigan was just decided. It looks as if students at public universities who are taking classes to be counselors must first agree to counsel homosexual and then must believe that homosexuality is good or they can't be allowed to be counselors. It seems to me that they should be able to at least recuse themselves from counseling certain people.

Labels: , ,

More on how Massachusetts' health care regulations didn't work out as expected

A big surprise from USA Today.

One of the major myths attached to the new health reform law is that it will lead to fewer emergency room visits. Instead of having to go to the ER, the claim goes, more efficient care will be administered to the newly insured in doctors offices by primary care physicians like me.
President Obama himself perpetuated this claim. A year ago at a town hall meeting on health care reform, he said, "We know that when somebody doesn't have health insurance, they're forced to get treatment at the ER, and all of us end up paying for it. ... You'd be better off subsidizing to make sure they were getting regular checkups." In late May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in Roll Call that "the uninsured will get coverage, no longer left to the emergency room for medical care."
Now we know better.
It's not terribly surprising that real data from Massachusetts, which has had universal health coverage since 2006, show otherwise. From 2004 to 2008, ER visits in the Bay State rose by 9%, with no discernable improvement after 2006. Why? At least part of the reason has been the inability of patients to find primary care physicians for last-minute visits. Let's face it: The ER won't turn you away, but individual and overburdened doctors can and will. The Massachusetts Medical Society has reported that new patients wait for a primary care doctor visit up to two months. . . .



Look at the price of electric cars even after all the subsidies

Buying these cars is the same thing as throwing out almost $20,000 dollars (the price of a Chevrolet Malibu starts at $21,800). The Malibu is actually a somewhat bigger car. The Malibu has a width of 70.3", a length of 191.8", and a height of 57.1". By contrast, the Volt's dimensions are: width of 70.8", a length of 177", and a height of 56.3". The Malibu holds 15.1 cu. ft. of luggage versus 10.6 for the Volt. The Volt also weighs slightly more. If you really want to buy a GM car and are willing to pay $41,000, you can get a new Cadillac CTS starting at MSRP of $35,165. You can even get very close to a 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-class invoice price of $44,686.

From the Washington Post:

The long-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, General Motors' electric car, will cost $41,000, the company announced Tuesday, leaving consumers to decide whether its environmental appeal is worth a price far above that of similarly sized conventional autos.

Electric-car technology has been around for years, but the high cost to make the vehicles has prevented automakers from producing them for the mass market. The price announcements for the Volt and its electric rival, the Nissan Leaf, have been highly anticipated as a result. Nissan, the only other major manufacturer expected to bring such a vehicle to market this year, said the Leaf will cost $32,780.

GM and Nissan are relying on a $7,500 federal tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles to offset some of the added cost, and they're hoping that the allure of their novel power source will make up the rest. . . .

UPDATE: This does not look very promising.

For the price of the Volt, you could buy almost two hybrids from competitors. But in these early days of electric vehicles, a cold economic analysis doesn't really apply. . . .

GM figures that if you drive within the Volt's 40-mile battery range, it will cost $1.50 a day to drive, compared to about $3.50 per day for a 30 mpg sedan. . . .

So let's take those numbers, that I assume are picked by GM to make the car look at its best. At $2 for a whole year that comes to $730. Even assuming a zero interest rate, over ten years that comes to $7,300. That doesn't come remotely close to make up the cost difference, even when you add on the $7,500 tax credit.

GM's warranty covers the batteries for up to 100,000 miles, just as it covers gas engines and transmissions. I can't find the cost of the batteries versus that of a transmission.

Labels: , ,

Even the ACLU couldn't support the Democrats' new Campaign Finance bill

The last major campaign finance bill passed when the Republicans controlled both house of Congress as well as the presidency. It is pretty amazing that the Democrats couldn't get a single Republican to support this bill, and the way that it is being rammed through so quickly makes me wonder whether they really want it passed. Personally, I don't see why someone loses their right to express themselves when they join a group of like minded individuals whether it be a union or a business or some other group such as Citizens United. President Obama has continually incorrectly described this bill in terms of just helping corporations. Donations are still not allowed directly to political campaigns, but the organizations are allowed to spend their own money to support positions that they defend. The position that the Obama administration wanted to defend would have resulted in banning of books (excuse me in their finally arguments they just said books shorter than say 100 pages). From the NY Times:

But even some Republicans who have made efforts to work collaboratively with the Democrats said there was not sufficient cooperation on the bill to generate bipartisan support.

“I know that the new routine for legislating these days is to ram and jam, but these issues deserve time,” said Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine, who Democrats had hoped would support the bill.

Calling a vote on the bill premature, she said, “We have no had hearings, no vetting, no attempt, I think, to bring people together to work on an issue that responds to the Supreme Court’s decision.”

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the blocking of the bill.

“We can only truly bring positive change to our elections if we continue to respect our cherished free speech rights and, unfortunately, the Disclose Act does not do that,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the civil liberties union’s Washington legislative office, said in a statement. . . .


The Washington Times on the UN's push towards gun control

A question about the Minnesota Senate race

From Monday's WSJ.com's Political Diary:

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall: "I remember asking about it, and was told not to worry about it because we'd have 60 votes once Al Franken got seated. Well, we found out what 60 votes got us."

I have one question: why were the Democrats so certain in December 2009 that Franken would be declared the winner. Wasn't Senator Norm Coleman still in the lead at that time?



So what has all the massive government spending under Obama brought?

The administration’s budget projections were released last Friday afternoon. Remind you these are the administration's estimates. This is what a $862 billion stimulus, supplemental spending bills, a massive health care bill, government taking over the student loan industry (after all government is so efficient and getting rid of those nasty incentive inducing profits will lower costs (sure)), etc.. E21 has gone through some of the numbers here:

The budget deficit in 2010 is expected to set a record at $1.471 trillion – or 10% of GDP. In 2011, the administration projects the deficit will again top $1.4 trillion. From 2010 to 2020, the Obama budget plan would run up a cumulative deficit of nearly $10 trillion, and the nation’s debt would reach $18.5 trillion in 2020, up from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008. . . .

The primary problem is quite plainly out of control federal spending. In 2008, total federal outlays were about $2.9 trillion. President Obama wants to add $1 trillion to that total in 2011, or about a 33% expansion of governmental activity in just three years. And that’s just the beginning of it. By the end of the decade, federal outlays would reach $5.6 trillion, nearly double what they were a little more than a decade earlier, and that’s assuming a massive and speculative peace dividend after 2011 and cuts in domestic discretionary programs that the president has yet to identify. . . .

In that report, CBO found that a massive tax hike is already in the offing. Historically, federal taxes have hovered at around 18 to 19% of GDP. CBO expects that number to rise to 23% of GDP by 2035, even if nothing is done to change current law. Income taxes will begin to rise automatically next year if Congress lets tax rates revert to their pre-Bush levels. . . .

Labels: ,

Is the US in a worse financial situation than Greece?

This article here points out how meaningless are the ways a lot of countries account for their debt.

Clearly, Greece is in terrible fiscal shape. To get its books in order it would have to pull in its belt each year by another 11.5 per cent of GDP. This provides new meaning to the word draconian. But the US is in much worse shape, because the CBO’s projections that reveal the 12.2 per cent fiscal gap already assume a 7.2 per cent of GDP belt-tightening by 2020.

But the assumptions underlying this 7.2 per cent adjustment are highly speculative, including a substantial rise in the share of taxpayers facing the Alternative Minimum Tax, once called the “millionaires tax” for targeting only the rich. The CBO also assumes that real wage growth will push all workers into much higher tax brackets, and that Congress will slash discretionary spending as well as greatly limit growth in Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Each supposition runs counter to recent experience.

Wishing won’t fix America’s fiscal mess. The US is one foot away from a deep and permanent economic grave. It is far past time to do meaningful long-term fiscal planning, level with the public, and implement radical reforms that permanently put America’s fiscal house in order.

If the government kept its books like companies are required to do so, they would have to record promised payments as liabilities. By that measure the "unfunded liability [for Social Security and Medicare] has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars."



"Meet the Press" on the Economy and the Bush Tax Cut

NBC has a copy of the video here.

Here is the key:

-- David Brooks doesn't seem to understand that the question isn't whether the government has created "some" jobs. The question is whether it has created a net increase in jobs. Moving money from where you and I would have spent it moves jobs from where the companies that would have gotten our money to the companies or government agencies that the government favors. The churning created by moving these jobs increases unemployment because people don't instantly move from one job to another.
-- EJ Dionne doesn't seem to understand that the people he is going after have already paid high income taxes when they originally earned the money. The question is whether this income should be taxed twice.
-- Anita Dunn, who the former Obama White House Communications Director, just did political talking points.
-- I have no problem with Rick Santelli's points, though if it had been possible, I would have briefly made the above point that I made in responding to Brooks.

This is hardly a balanced panel. Rick Santelli made a conservative argument. David Brooks is a liberal Republican who likes Obama. EJ Dionne, Anita Dunn, the guy who commented on Congressman Rangel are all liberal Democrats.

Labels: ,

Howard Dean claims Fox was racism and attacks on Sherrod

I don't know what to say about this. Dean was really destroyed here.

Labels: , ,

Did Obama administration push for release of Lockerbie bomber?

Here are the types of statements that the Obama has made about the release:

“I think all of us here in the United States were surprised, disappointed and angry about the release of the Lockerbie bomber,” Obama said in a short news conference dominated by the topic. ” . . .

Now we hear this:

THE US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be "far preferable" to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Libya.

Correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times reveals the Obama administration considered compassionate release more palatable than locking up Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in a Libyan prison.

The intervention, which has angered US relatives of those who died in the attack, was made by Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the US embassy in London, a week before Megrahi was freed in August last year on grounds that he had terminal cancer.

The document, acquired by a well-placed US source, threatens to undermine US President Barack Obama's claim last week that all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry" to learn of Megrahi's release. . . .

Labels: ,