When the unemployment insurance benefits extension wasn't renewed you get headlines like this: "New jobless claims fall to near two-year low." After the benefits have been renewed you get headlines like this: "Jobless claims raise doubts about economy." Along with a note about the number of new claims rising "unexpectedly."

My question is whether anyone who writes these articles or who is interviewed for them actually knows any economics. As I have pointed out before, these changes involve people deciding whether to file for benefits. Why would whether someone is going to leave their job and file for benefits be related to how long that they can get benefits? Do I really need to give a hint on this?

Here is an interesting news report.

The U.S. unemployment situation becomes ever more complex the more you dig into it.

It's far from simply a problem of there not being enough jobs for people to do.

In fact, since the middle of 2009 the number of job openings has risen at twice the rate of actual hires, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite the massive pool of unemployed Americans, there's a growing number of unfilled positions.

Shouldn't the glut of jobless Americans be immediately filling any available job as it appears?

Well, it's not happening that way. Many companies are actually having a hard time filling open positions, and there are many factors at play behind this. . . .

Some workers agree that unemployment benefits make them less likely to take whatever job comes along, particularly when those jobs don't pay much. Michael Hatchell, a 52-year-old mechanic in Lumberton, N.C., says he turned down more than a dozen offers during the 59 weeks he was unemployed, because they didn't pay more than the $450 a week he was collecting in benefits. One auto-parts store, he says, offered him $7.75 an hour, which amounts to only $310 a week for 40 hours.

"I was not going to put myself in a situation where I was making that small of a wage," says Mr. Hatchell. He has since found a better-paying job at a different auto-parts dealer. . . .



New Fox News piece: What David Weigel's case tells us about media bias

My newest piece at Fox News started this way:

The case of Mr. David Weigel, a reporter who was hired by The Washington Post to blog about conservatives and who resigned from his job on June 25, exposed the inner workings of journalism in America.

But what has been most telling about the case since then hasn't just been Weigel's actions or the revelations of other journalists on "Journolist," -- which is described by The Post as "an off-the-record listserv for several hundred independent to left-leaning commentators and journalists that was founded in 2007" -- but how other journalists have reacted to the news.

Although it has long been well-known that journalists overwhelmingly have liberal leanings, they have typically claimed that it doesn't affect their reporting. But the boost given Weigel’s career by the revelations that he advocated shaping news coverage to help President Obama pass his legislative agenda was extremely surprising.

How Weigel advocated that news be tilted to help Obama ought to be have been the main story in the scandal. But, of course, that has not been the take coming from journalists. Instead, . . .

For whatever it is worth, here is another post on David that I just came across. Remember the assault by Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) against a couple of young people (claiming to be college students)? Well, "The Virginian" blog discusses Weigel's description of the events.

Here is how David Weigel, (the Post's designated Dian Fossey exploring the deepest wilds of Conservatism) describes the encounter. Hitting the camera and smashing it to the ground is described as "pointing it down." Grabbing the student by the wrist and neck is described as a "hug." The students not wishing to reveal their identity to get the full "Joe the Plumber" treatment is - according the Weigel - the issue to be uncovered. The actions of a (possibly) inebriated Democrat, not so much. The video of a Democrat congressman roughing up a couple of kids on the street is not the opportunityfor Weigel to reveal to his readers that "the students have created the first conservative meme of the week." Presumable they will be forewarned that Democrats assaulting people on the street is OK, if the victims desire anonymity.

"Hi David. who are you?"

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Michelle Obama's $375,000 Spanish holiday

Not bad if you can get it. My question is what is Michelle doing taking 40 friends with her on vacation. If she wants to go on vacation, fine. If she wants her friends to go, can't they pay their own way? I am sure that this $375,000 cost doesn't include a lot of the costs of her trip including her staff's cost of going with her.

Michelle Obama today faced a fresh wave of attacks over her lavish break in Spain with 40 friends, which could easily cost U.S. taxpayers a staggering £50,000 a day.
The First Lady has been lambasted for her extravagance at a time when the economy is still struggling. One blogger went so far as to brand her a modern-day Marie Antoinette.
And her critics will be further annoyed when they learn that the president's wife had a Spanish beach closed off today so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim.
Spanish police cleared off a stretch of beach at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella after the Obamas had finished a busy day of sightseeing. . . .

For a start, they will be paying for the 60 rooms booked at the 129-room Hotel Villa Padierna. With basic rooms starting around £380 each, the nightly bill will be no less than £22,800. . . .

The meal cost about £40 a head, according to El Mundo - which means a bill topping £1,600 would have hit the table if all 40 friends dined together.
Stretched over five nights that's £8,000 for dinner alone. . . .

The per diems for the secret service team runs at around £172 each, which amounts to nearly £60,000 for the length of the summer break.
Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at £91,900 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground. . . .

Conservative estimates already put the total cost at £150,000. With Majorca to come, the bill will be more like £250,000. . . .

Back in the U.S., anger was mounting - especially as it has emerged the First Lady will have enjoyed eight holidays by the end of the summer. . . .

The cost to taxpayers comes to about $75,000 per day.

The lunch is Mrs Obama's last engagement in Spain before flying home to Washington DC, where she has come under fire for her lavish break on the Costa del Sol with 40 friends, which has been estimated at costing U.S. taxpayers £50,000 a day. . . .

Some more material is available here.

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Al Franken doesn't understand free speech.

Having a faster internet connection is costly. Those who want a faster connection get charge more. Those who want to use the internet more get charged more. Franken thinks that is a violation of free speech. To him everyone should get equal access to speed and apparently another goal of "net neutrality" that there shouldn't be higher charges if you use the internet more.

Well, our free speech rights are under assault -- not from the government but from corporations seeking to control the flow of information in America. . . .
"Net neutrality" sounds arcane, but it's fundamental to free speech. The internet today is an open marketplace. If you have a product, you can sell it. If you have an opinion, you can blog about it. If you have an idea, you can share it with the world.
And no matter who you are -- a corporation selling a new widget, a senator making a political argument or just a Minnesotan sharing a funny cat video -- you have equal access to that marketplace.
An e-mail from your mom comes in just as fast as a bill notification from your bank. You're reading this op-ed online; it'll load just as fast as a blog post criticizing it. That's what we mean by net neutrality.
But telecommunications companies want to be able to set up a special high-speed lane just for the corporations that can pay for it. You won't know why the internet retail behemoth loads faster than the mom-and-pop shop, but after a while you may get frustrated and do all of your shopping at the faster site. Maybe the gatekeepers will discriminate based on who pays them more. Maybe they will discriminate based on whose political point of view conforms to their bottom line. . . .

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New piece at Fox News: Where Are the Jobs, Mr. President?

My new piece starts off this way:

The anemic growth of the U.S. economy is slowing down even further. More jobs were lost in July and more discouraged workers completely left the labor force. Of course, President Obama and Democrats are not taking any responsibility for this and are blaming former President Bush.

But look at the numbers.

The current sluggishness can hardly be blamed on the previous administration. Last fall the economy grew at a reasonable 5 percent annual rate. It has dropped since then: during January through March, the growth rate dropped to 3.7 percent and April through June, 2.4 percent. An Angus Reid survey released on July 31 found that only 11 percent of Americans rated their economic conditions as Very Good / Good, down from 15 percent in April. In July, as incredible 86 percent of Americans feel that their economic condition is Poor/Very Poor, an increase from 83 percent.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner now tells us this week that unemployment is likely to go back up. A hardly surprising finding given the slow economic growth.

No matter how one cuts it, a slowing economy this year is not what Democrats were predicting a year after the stimulus bill was passed. . . .

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Al Franken forgets that the Senate Floor isn't SNL

The Politico lists this under the topic of "bad behavior." It seems that Franken gave an apology/non-apology. What exactly did Franken apologize for since he asserts that he didn't do anything wrong?

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out his opposition to Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, someone in the chamber appeared to be moving around in his chair, gasping and rolling his eyes.

It was Sen. Al Franken.

Moments before Kagan’s confirmation vote Thursday, the Minnesota Democrat was presiding over the Senate — and the Kentucky Republican thought the freshman senator was mocking his speech. Upon the conclusion of his remarks, a very irritated McConnell removed his microphone, approached the dais and confronted the former comedian.

"This isn't ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Al," McConnell told Franken sternly, according to people who overheard the exchange.

Franken later apologized to McConnell.

“The leader thought I was disrespectful while he was giving his speech on General Kagan,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO. “He is entitled to give his speech with the presiding officer just listening respectfully. I went directly to his office after I was done presiding to apologize in person. He wasn’t there, so I’ve sent him a handwritten note.”


Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents take no-confidence vote in Obama Appointees

This is pretty amazing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents believe overwhelmingly that their department leadership has become so politicized as to compromise the effectiveness of ICE and the safety of American people. Their union has released a letter announcing its recent unanimous “vote of no confidence” in ICE agency heads, accusing them of “misleading the American public” regarding illegal immigration in order to further a pro-amnesty agenda.
In June, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council — an AFL-CIO affiliate — and affiliated local councils cast a unanimous 259-0 vote of no confidence in ICE Director John Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven. In a letter announcing the vote, the National Council criticized the directors for “misguided and reckless initiatives,” and said their leaders have “abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for policies and programs related to amnesty.”
{Among the claims in the letter]:
Senior ICE leadership dedicates more time to campaigning for immigration reforms aimed at large scale amnesty legislation, than advising the American public and Federal lawmakers on the severity of the illegal immigration problem, and the need for more manpower and resources within the ICE ERO to address it. ICE ERO is currently overwhelmed by the massive criminal alien problem in the United States resulting in the large-scale release of criminals back into local communities.

Kind of puts the Arizona illegal immigration enforcement in perspective, doesn’t it?
While ICE reports internally that more than 90 percent of ICE detainees are first encountered in jails after they are arrested by local police for criminal charges, ICE senior leadership misrepresents this information publicly in order to portray ICE detainees as being non-criminal in nature to support the Administration’s position on amnesty and relaxed security at ICE detention facilities.
The majority of ICE ERO Officers are prohibited from making street arrests or enforcing United States immigration laws outside of the institutional (jail) setting. This has effectively created “amnesty through policy” for anyone illegally in the United States who has not been arrested by another agency for a criminal violation.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/immigration-enforcement-union-took-a-no-confidence-vote-in-its-leadership-99976699.html#ixzz0vlEYGsoL

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Democrats getting independent Tea Party Candidates to Run and Divide Votes with Republicans

Among the campaigns that the Democrats have done this are Joe Sestak's Congressional seat in Southeast Pennsylvania.

The charges of dirty tricks are being leveled in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and Florida — and they involve more than a half-dozen contests that could tip the balance of power in the House.

The accusations range from helping tea party activists circulate candidate petition sheets to underwriting the creation of official tea parties, which then put forth slates of candidates that local conservatives accuse of being rife with Democratic plants.

In all of the affected races, the outcome is expected to be close enough that a third-party candidate who wins just a few percentage points could end up swinging the outcome to the Democratic congressman or candidate.

“The Democrats have come to the realization that they can’t win on issues, and with their flawed candidates, so they are forced to skirt the rules by running candidates who they hope can split the vote with Republicans,” said Paul Lindsey, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman.

Democratic officials deny there is any grand conspiracy.

"The DCCC has nothing to do with this," said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But the evidence of campaign tampering in at least two states is hard to dismiss. In Michigan, the party chairman in suburban Detroit’s Oakland County now concedes that one of his top aides played a role in helping nine tea party candidates get onto the ballot for various offices across the state — including the open 1st Congressional District and the 7th Congressional District, held by vulnerable freshman Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer. . . .

More fraud by Democrats on the Tea Party front from the WSJ's Political Diary.

You know a movement has arrived when it attracts fraudsters and fakers seeking to piggyback on it.

That appears to be the fate of the Tea Party movement. Yesterday Rick Scott, a GOP candidate for governor in Florida, touted an endorsement by the "TEA Party" a day before his primary against Bill McCollum, the state attorney general.

The only problem is that the TEA Party appears to be a shell group set up by liberals to siphon votes away from Republican candidates in the fall election. In June, WKMG-TV in Orlando exposed financial links between the TEA Party and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson. The report found several TEA Party candidates had ties to Mr. Grayson and also that the Democratic congressman had paid $27,898 to Dou Guetzloe, a key figure in turning the TEA Party into an entity that ran its own independent candidates.

"This is a new low for the fake political TEA party," said Don Hensarling, a Tea Party activist in Florida. He and other Tea Party leaders called on Mr. Scott to reject the endorsement.

They didn't have to wait long. Only hours after trumpeting the news in a campaign e-mail blast, the Scott campaign obliterated all references to it on its website.

Other states, from Michigan to Nevada, have seen attempts by Democrats to create fake Tea Parties and then use them as vehicles to divide conservative voters in the November elections. At least in Florida, they appear to have been quickly exposed and thwarted.

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Stalkers using cell phones to track victims

This is certainly a two-edged sword. It is something both police and criminals seem to be able to use, though presumably it will be more frequently be used by police. I am not certain how thrilled I am by either use.

Phone companies know where their customers' cell phones are, often within a radius of less than 100 feet. That tracking technology has rescued lost drivers, helped authorities find kidnap victims and let parents keep tabs on their kids.

But the technology isn't always used the way the phone company intends.

One morning last summer, Glenn Helwig threw his then-wife to the floor of their bedroom in Corpus Christi, Texas, she alleged in police reports. She packed her 1995 Hyundai and drove to a friend's home, she recalled recently. She didn't expect him to find her.

The day after she arrived, she says, her husband "all of a sudden showed up." According to police reports, he barged in and knocked her to the floor, then took off with her car.

The police say in a report that Mr. Helwig found his wife using a service offered by his cellular carrier, which enabled him to follow her movements through the global-positioning-system chip contained in her cell phone.

Mr. Helwig, in an interview, acknowledged using the service to track his wife on some occasions. He says he signed up for the tracking service last year. "AT&T had this little deal where you could find your family member through her cell phone," he says. But he didn't use it to find his wife that day, he says. Mr. Helwig, who is awaiting trial on related assault charges, declined to comment further about the matter. He has pleaded not guilty.

The allegations are a stark reminder of a largely hidden cost from the proliferation of sophisticated tracking technology in everyday life -- a loss of privacy. . . .


This has gone past being comical with the Obama administration blaming Bush for the DEFICITS!

The massive increase in government spending has nothing to do with this? The deficit was getting smaller until the Democrats took over Congress. Obama promised to cut the deficit when he won election.

The Bush administration's "misguided" policies are to blame for huge U.S. budget deficits, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner charged on Wednesday as he sought to build an election-year case for ending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
With congressional elections looming in November, Geithner sought to regain the high ground on the issue of who bears responsibility for record budget gaps and to counter Republican labeling of Democrats as tax-and-spend, bailout-happy liberals.
Geithner said extending the Bush-era tax cuts for top income earners, as Republicans want, would force more borrowing to cover lost revenues and crimp more-effective remedies for boosting economic growth and hiring.
"Borrowing to finance tax cuts for the top 2 percent would be a $700 billion fiscal mistake," Geithner said. "It's not the prescription the economy needs now, and the country can't afford it."
With the economic recovery showing signs of slowing and unemployment at a lofty 9.5 percent, President Barack Obama's popularity has taken a heavy hit and Democrats on Capitol Hill are at risk of losing their majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives. . . .

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Something for the dumb criminal file

This is a pretty funny case. Possibly this will be used to handle other robbers.

Despite 30 years of practice, Nathan Wayne Pugh still hasn't quite gotten the whole crime thing down.

His "robbery" of the Wells Fargo Bank in the 4200 block of Lemmon Avenue on July 26 is making the rounds among local police and federal agents.

"It's almost unheard of," FBI spokesman Mark White said of Pugh's tactics.

Police say that at about lunchtime on that Monday, the 49-year-old Sachse man walked into the bank and approached a teller. At the time, he had been out of prison for a year, on parole for aggravated robbery.

Pugh informed the teller he wanted to "make a withdrawal," according to a federal criminal complaint. When she asked him how much, he passed her a scrap of paper. He was carrying a Whataburger bag.

"This is not a bag of food," the note said, adding that the bag contained a "bom." The note further ordered her to "put money in an envelope and do not make any move till after I have left for ten minutes."

The teller, who police said was a recent hire, remained calm. She told Pugh she would need his identification in order to give him any money.

He pulled out his Wells Fargo debit card and handed it to her.

"How much would you like back?" she asked. "Two thousand," he said.

The teller told him that, to get that much money, he would need to show her a second form of identification. Pugh then gave her a state of Texas ID card, bearing his name.

As she took his card, she pressed the silent alarm at her teller station. She then informed him that she only had $900 in her cash drawer, but that she could go to the back of the bank to get more money.

Pugh elected to take the $900, which he tucked into his shirt pocket. He remembered to get his debit card and ID back, police said. . . .

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New piece at Fox News: Show Me State Sends a Message On Obama’s Health Care Law

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Missouri is a battleground state that is closely contested in almost every national election cycle.
In 2008, only 4,000 votes separated Democratic candidate Barack Obama from Republican rival John McCain.

But Tuesday's 71 to 29 percent blowout vote on Proposition C left no doubt where voters stand as they handed President Obama's health care law a stunning rejection.

The proposition attempts to protect Missourians from the new federal mandate to buy insurance.

It also tries overturning the new federal prohibitions on insurance companies selling insurance directly to people.

The requirement to buy insurance and the prohibition on insurance companies selling directly to the consumer are two regulations that go to the very heart of the new health care law. . . .

UPDATE: Harry Reid thinks that 71 percent of the voters just don't understand what they are doing.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) responded today to a Missouri vote that Republicans call a rebuke to the sweeping new health law by saying voters like the legislation better the more they know more about it.

At issue is Proposition C, a measure on the Missouri ballot Tuesday that seeks to block the government from requiring individuals to buy health insurance, a pillar of President Barack Obama’s new health law. The state referendum is presumably overruled by the federal law, but its passage by a 71-29 margin is being widely cited by Republicans Wednesday as sign that voters reject the health law.

“Missouri sent a clear message to Democrats and the Obama administration that government-run healthcare is a gross overreach of the federal government that needs to be repealed and replaced,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement.

Reid noted that Tuesday’s turnout was low, at 23%. But his main argument was that people will like the law better the more they see its benefits.

“It’s very obvious that people have a lack of understanding of our health care reform bill,” Reid said. “The more people learn about this bill, the more they like it.” He noted that the health insurance “exchanges,” or marketplaces, will take three years to kick in. . . .

UPDATE 2: Sen. Claire McCaskill says that "message received" but it doesn't mean very much. She has lots of little digs in at Republicans and seemed to discount the vote because of the heavy Republican turnout.

I know that there is a lot of work that we need to do on not just the provisions of the law, but most importantly make sure that everyone knows what is in the law. And I can only be hopeful that as time goes on more and more people realize the positive things that are in the bill. . . . I don't think that it has any impact on the law itself. . . .

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Missourians voting against Obama care by an almost a 3 to 1 margin

The latest results are available from the Missouri Secretary of State here.

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Dan Baum answers reader's questions about his article on guns in Harper's

This interview with Dan Baum was published yesterday. In the interview this came up.

Q: It was an excellent and important article, though personally I wanted Mr. Baum to draw a stronger conclusion. Does he think that concealed, or open, carry is a net positive for a society? Does it actually decrease crime? Or does it just enhance the potential consequences of anger, intoxication, and stupidity? Could the answers be different for different parts of the country, or for different settings (urban, rural, suburban, etc.)? Does he feel that there is, or could be, a non-paranoid, non-right-wing gun culture?

A: It isn’t a matter of whether I think concealed carry is a net positive or negative. The data demonstrate that it really doesn’t matter much one way or the other. (I think widespread concealed carry may have something to do with the big drop in crime in the past twenty years, but unlike John Lott and his acolytes, I don’t think it’s the whole story.) Anger, intoxication, and stupidity will, like the poor, always be with us. The track record of widespread concealed carry, though, shows that the angry, the drunk, and the stupid — if they’re carrying guns — aren’t giving in to the temptation to express themselves with gunfire.

As for a non-paranoid, non-right-wing gun culture, yes! I’m on a six-week road trip this summer around the Midwest interviewing people about their gun lives for a book I’m writing, and finding that most gun people I meet are neither. It’s the paranoid and the politically motivated who hog the spotlight and the airwaves, but it seems there is a — dare I say it? — silent majority.

Ugh? Well, I claim that police are the single most important factor impacting crime rates. I think that arrest and conviction rates, prison sentences, death penalty probably account for over 50 percent of the variation in crime rates by themselves. I think that lots of other factors matter to varying degrees as well. Chapter 4 in my book Freedomnomics tries to breakdown the different factors in a fairly straightforward way.

As to the issues of angry, drunk, and stupid people, I have never argued that there are no problems with permit holders. What I have argued is that the problems are extremely small. When I point to a state such as Florida, I note that there are 167 permit holders who have had their permits revoked for firearms related violations since 1987. But I also point out that over 1.8 million people have had permits. In talk after talk that I give, I point out that guns make it easier for bad things to happen, but that they also make it easier for people to prevent bad things from happening. The question is what is the net effect.


Review of More Guns, Less Crime

Tim Lee at the Center for Individual Freedom has a review of More Guns, Less Crime here:

Over a decade has passed since More Guns, Less Crime was released in 1998, immediately remaking the gun rights debate landscape. Lott, who brought an economist’s empiricism to a debate saturated in passion but short on probative data, proposed “a critical review of the existing evidence on gun control and crime.” Accordingly, he asked: “Does allowing people to own or carry guns deter violent crime, or does it simply cause more citizens to harm each other?”

Lott’s objective conclusion was controversial in 1998, less so today. . . .


Some notes on Journolist


100 stimulus projects that are real waste

Apparently, the Obama administration thinks that if you pay people to dig ditches and then fill them up again, that is good for the economy and should count as stimulus. Well, here is a list of 100 wasteful projects.

Number 13 was interesting to me (click on picture to make it larger).



Some hot shooting fun

Normally I wouldn't put these types of shots up, but this is pretty entertaining.


With GDP growth rate falling to 2.4 percent can Obama keep blaming Bush

With economic growth declining to just 2.4 percent in the second quarter, will Obama keep trying to claim that Bush is responsible for what is happening with the economy? A new Rasmussen survey finds that it is getting at least somewhat more difficult for Obama to blame Bush for all the economy's ills.

For the first since President Obama took office, voters see his policies as equally to blame with those of President George W. Bush for the country’s current economic problems.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters now think Obama’s policies are to blame for the continuing bad economy, up three points from last month. Forty-seven percent (47%) say the recession that began under Bush is at fault.

With voters across the country expressing stronger belief that the economy is getting worse rather than better, these new findings spell potential bad news for Democratic candidates this fall. The president is already planning to limit his campaign appearances with candidates because of potential voter backlash. . . .

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New piece up at Big Journalism: Whom Do You Trust More — Fox News or the New York Times? Democrats Say Fox!

My new piece up at Big Journalism starts this way:

Only someone at the New York Times would claim that their paper was not “anywhere close” to Fox News on bias. What was surprising was the source of this trashing. Clark Hoyt, the just retired ombudsman of the New York Times, supposedly served as the conscience of the paper, mediating questions of whether the paper fairly and unbiasedly covered the news. If anyone at the Times is going to warn the paper that they have gone too far, it is the ombudsman.

Yet, when Mr. Hoyt recently appeared on C-SPAN’s Q&A with Brian Lamb, he held little back.

I watch Fox News from time to time, and I’m always fascinated by its view of the world compared to the view of the world you see in other media outlets that I would not consider partisan. The stories they choose to highlight, the way they are described, and I’m not even getting to [Bill] O’Reilly or some of the unabashedly opinionated parts of Fox News. I do not believe the New York Times is anywhere close to that.

Even worse, . . . .

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Pelosi "sympathetic" to undoing ethics rules

With Congress facing two trials of prominent Democratic Congressmen this fall, it isn't surprising that Democrats are thinking of changing House ethics rules. From the WSJ's Political Diary:

. . . Both Rep. Charles Rangel of New York and Rep. Maxine Waters of California face ethics charges, with Mr. Rangel being accused of improper fundraising and Ms. Waters with lobbying Treasury officials to bail out a bank in which her husband has a financial stake.

All of this has raised the ire of many Democrats. They accuse the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which is largely composed of former members, of operating outside of its mandate and often targeting CBC members.

"A lot of people have been raising concerns [about the OCE], and I support them," House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said last year. "At some point in the not-so-distant future, these concerns will have to be addressed." Sure enough, two months ago Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge and 19 other members of the Congressional Black Caucus introduced legislation to reduce the office's powers to investigate wrongdoing.

But liberal voices are also being raised to warn Democrats against creating a perception that the party is reneging on its promise to clean up Congress. Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said in 2008: "We have come here to drain the swamp." Yet now The Hill newspaper reports that she is sympathetic to Members who believe the OCE needs to be reined in. . . .


Va. AG: Cops can ask immigration status

Despite last weeks Federal court decision on Arizona's immigration law, Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has stated what should be obvious. So is the Obama administration going to challenge Virginia's law? This seems awfully similar to Arizona's law.

Virginia law enforcement officials can ask the immigration status of those they stop or arrest, the state's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has ruled.

In a legal opinion written in response to a request from conservative Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), Cuccinelli ruled that police officers and other legal authorities can look into the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested.

A 2008 Virginia law requires that law enforcement check the immigration status of anyone taken into custody on suspicion of having committed a crime. Cuccinelli's opinion could expand such inquiries to those who have been stopped by law enforcement for a traffic violation or at a police checkpoint, for example.

This next paragraph makes it obvious that the Washington Post doesn't know what Arizona's law is.

Virginia activists are seeking enact legislation similar to that adopted in Arizona that required law enforcement officials ton ask about the immigration status those they have "reasonable suspicion" might be in the country illegally.


Americans becoming more pessimistic about economy

An Angus Reid Public Opinion survey finds a slight increase in pessimism about the economy. Since April, the percentage of people who feel Very Good / Good about the economy has fallen from 15 to 11 percent. The percentage saying that it is Poor / Very Poor has grown from 83 to 86 percent.

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How to stop Obama care?

As the article in Politico points out, there are few options to stopping Obama care. The most obvious is stopping the spending needed to implement the program.

Republicans may not be able to repeal the Democrats’ health care reform law next year, but they’re eyeing the next best thing: Deny the Obama administration the money it needs to implement the law.

GOP candidates across the country are running on a promise to repeal the law. But simply winning the House and the Senate wouldn’t get them there; they’d need to corral two-thirds majorities to overcome what would be an almost certain veto from President Barack Obama.

Resigned to that fact, Republicans are now readying a campaign trail message that voters should grant them the power of Congress’s purse strings so that they can choke off funding for the law.

“Our goal remains to repeal the bill and replace it, but, clearly, with the president’s veto pen, we’re going to have to take interim steps,” said Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. . . .


Even 56 percent of New Yorkers favor Repeal of Obama Care

If even liberal New Yorkers oppose the health care regulations by a large percentage, there might be hope. Possibly it can yet be made an issue in New York elections this fall.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of New York voters favor repeal of the new national health care bill, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.
Forty-two percent (42%) of Likely Voters in the Empire State, however, oppose repeal of the health care bill. These figures include 41% who Strongly Favor repeal and 31% who Strongly Oppose repeal.
Support for repeal in New York is a bit more evenly divided than the national average. . . .

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East St. Louis cuts police force by almost 30 percent

Police are the single most important factor for reducing crime. Things don't look good for the crime rate. If this were in St. Louis, the citizens of the area could at least get concealed handgun permits to protect themselves.

Rev. Joseph Tracy said he’s tired of going to funerals. And now, he suspects he’ll be going to more of them.
"It’s open field day now," said Tracy, the pastor of Straightway Baptist Church here. "The criminals are going to run wild."
Gang activity. Drug dealing. Cold-blooded killing. Tracy worries that a decision to shrink the police force by almost 30 percent will bring more of everything.
The pastor voiced his concern on Friday at a raucous special City Council meeting at which East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announced that the city will layoff 37 employees, including 19 of its 62 police officers, 11 firefighters, four public works employees, and three administrators. The layoffs take effect on Sunday.
Parks said the weak economy has robbed the city of badly need money. For example, revenue from the Casino Queen was $900,000 below budget expectations last year. There are no signs of improvement, Parks said. . . .

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Remembering Milton Friedman's Birthday: August 1

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Whatever ever happened to Detroit?