The election as a referendum on Obamacare

My latest piece from the Washington Times:

Nov. 2 is the nation's referendum on Obamacare. No other issue has so polarized the public and shed light on the policy failings of the left. The midterm elections represent the last, best hope for millions of Americans who don't want to see the health care law's most onerous provisions ever take effect.

While the president's veto power increases the difficulty of a complete repeal, Republican control of the House - and perhaps the Senate - certainly would deflate Mr. Obama's Democratic dreams. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, needs an estimated $10 billion to raise a well-equipped army of agents 16,500 strong to implement the individual health care mandate penalties. The congressional power of the purse is sufficient to send that agency into retreat.

"Fall back" has been the most-heard cry on the campaign trail this season. Erstwhile Obamacare devotees have traded their hope-and-change banners for the white flag, ducking the issue and refusing to list votes in favor of Obamacare among their accomplishments. . . .

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More from the great uniter

It is very strange that Obama uses much harsher words to describe Americans with whom he disagrees than he uses for totalitarian regimes. From Charles Krauthammer:

In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who "sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.' " Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to go to the polls to exact political revenge on their enemies - presumably, for example, the near-60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.

This from a president who won't even use "enemies" to describe an Iranian regime that is helping kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This from a man who rose to prominence thunderously declaring that we were not blue states or red states, not black America or white America or Latino America - but the United States of America.

This is how the great post-partisan, post-racial, New Politics presidency ends - not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a desperate election-eve plea for ethnic retribution. . . .

Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen, two liberal Democrats, start off their piece in Saturday's Washington Post the same way.

Indeed, Obama is conducting himself in a way alarmingly reminiscent of Nixon's role in the disastrous 1970 midterm campaign. No president has been so persistently personal in his attacks as Obama throughout the fall. He has regularly attacked his predecessor, the House minority leader and - directly from the stump - candidates running for offices below his own. He has criticized the American people suggesting that they are "reacting just to fear" and faulted his own base for "sitting on their hands complaining."

Obama is walking a knife's edge. He has said that the 3.5 million "shovel-ready jobs" he had referred to as justification for the passage of the stimulus bill didn't exist - throwing all the Democratic incumbents who had defended the stimulus in their campaigns under the proverbial bus. . . .

It astounds us to hear such charges from the president given that his presidential campaign in 2008 refused to disclose the names of all of its donors, and in past election cycles many liberal groups, such as the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress, refused to disclose their contributors.

To be clear, we favor disclosure of every dollar spent and closing the disclosure loophole that exists as a result of the Citizens United ruling. But it is disingenuous for a president - particularly one whose campaign effectively dynamited the lone beachhead of public financing in American politics - to scream about money pouring in against his political interests. . . .

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Obama administration Cooks the Books on Toxic Mortgages

The title on this CNBC report tells it all. Even worse, there is no transparency. Americans don't even know the investments the government has made.

Late Friday afternoon, a Bloomberg headline trumpeted the success of The Public-Private Investment Program thusly: "Treasury Gets 36% Return Buying Toxic Mortgages." . . .
In paragraph eight, however, the article does eventually turn to the contrarian opinion of University of Louisiana at Lafayette finance professor Dr. Linus Wilson — who cites a far lower return figure: 5.6%.
I spoke to Dr. Wilson earlier today in an attempt to reconcile that discrepancy.
Dr. Wilson began by explaining the derivation of the 36% figure: "If you take a simple average of the eight fund returns, you get a 36% annualized return. That's what Bloomberg did."
But, according to Wilson, there are other factors which must be accounted for in calculating the actual rate of return.
"Two thirds of the taxpayer's investment is in debt: Taxpayers are receiving a meager 1% return on two thirds of their investment — only the one third that is in equity is doing well." . . .
Says Wilson: "The problem the taxpayers have with all the assets is that these things are not being audited. We need to have these returns audited by independent bodies."
Also, there's the issue of how Treasury is annualizing their return figures.
Wilson told me, "The way treasury is handling their annualizing is, I believe, boosting their rate of return by a factor of two. There is nothing wrong with annualizing returns — but you can't eat annualized returns — you can only eat the returns you get. If you look at the 36%, you're not going to be able to say you have 36% more equity — because you don't."
"These are eight to ten year investments," Wilson went on to say. "If it turns out that the underlying mortgage bonds are doing really well right now, it doesn't mean that they are necessarily going to do well in 8 to 10 years." . . . .
"We have no disclosure with what they've bought. They're just not disclosing their holdings," Wilson says.
Why wouldn't Treasury disclose the actual securities they hold in their portfolio?
According to Wilson, it's likely that, "they're worried that people are going to copy their trades. The fear is that if investors know what particular bonds these funds are targeting, other people would try to get into similar bonds before them."
In short, Wilson sums up his suspicions rather succinctly: "It appears" he says, "They are trying to overstate how much taxpayers are making." . . .


Government X-ray Vans going down city streets

Liberals are OK with this? The Obama administration has expanded the use of these vans. Where is their opposition and anger? Note the understandable anger about Google's street view vehicles. Why is this different?

Privacy advocates worried about x-ray scanners making their way around U.S. airports may be surprised to know the technology is also making its way onto America's streets.

The Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military and even local law enforcement agencies are buying and deploying mobile X-ray vans that can see into the interior of vehicles around them. . . .

"A van that can drive down the street and look through people's clothes, look into vehicles and even peer into your home? I think that's an invasion of privacy and not what we should be doing," Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz told FoxNews.com. . . .

"If a person, such as an illegal stowaway, is present in the vehicle or container being scanned, the system creates only a silhouette with no facial or body detail," the website says. "The system cannot be used to identify an individual, or the race or age of the person." . . .

Chaffetz, who is working on legislation aimed at limiting the use of the backscatter body scanners in airports, says the vans need restrictions.

"There's an appropriate use for these machines -- at ports for instance, coming across the border and inspecting vehicles, hostage situations. But the company that develops these vans says they've sold more than 500 of these roving vans and I don't know who's purchased them," he said. "I think we need to know." . . .

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Small donors are giving Republicans a big boost

From Politico:

The tea party movement is energizing a base of small-dollar donors that is turning its grass-roots fervor into financial sway in the Republican Party — borrowing from the online fundraising techniques perfected by its liberal rivals.

The GOP has a long history of collecting small checks through direct-mail pitches, but this new batch of donors who are giving largely online played a role in reshaping the Republican primary field by helping to topple establishment favorites. Their checks of $50, $25 or even smaller amounts have helped generate more than $20 million for three conservative PACs that are playing influential roles in the general election and are poised to do so again in 2012.

The rise of the right’s modest givers is a key reason small donors, who rose to prominence during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, are continuing to have an impact this year — even as the media focus has been on the unprecedented, large and anonymous corporate givers to Republicans. . . .

In addition, Democrats haven’t given up their edge in online fundraising, which dates to Howard Dean’s pioneering use of the Internet to raise money in 2004. One liberal group alone, ActBlue, is on track to contribute $86 million to candidates this year.

Still, Republicans are staying in the hunt for small checks, through an increased use of online GOP sites modeled after their Democratic rivals that make it easy for conservatives to contribute to the candidates of their choice.

Although the final tabulations about the role of small donors are still to be done, anecdotal evidence reveals that they’re helping to drive some of the story lines of the 2010 midterms. . . .


Real Clear Politics Estimated Change in House Races over last week

If the Real Clear Politics breakdown is accurate and if the Republicans split the undecided seats, they will end up with 240 seats after the election. That is far less than the 255 seats currently held by the Democrats, but it will be the largest Republican majority since the 1946 election when Republicans held 246 seats. Democrats have regularly held more than 250 seats when they have been in the majority during the last century, but one has to go back to the 1928 election to find Republicans holding even more seats (267).

As a yardstick for comparison, in 1994 the Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House, eight in the Senate, and twelve governorships. Interestingly in the Senate the Republican wins were actually much easier than they are now because six of the eight Republican wins involved retirements. In this case, Republicans will have to beat many incumbents to pick up that many Democrat seats.

October 30th

October 23rd

By contrast, NPR has Democrats looking very likely to keep control of the House. While RCP already has a majority of seats going to Republicans, NPR claims that Dems only have to pick up a few of the toss-up seats to keep their majority.


Google's changing facts and defenses on using street view vans to collect private information

This is part of a pretty devastating discussion from the WSJ.

. . . In April, an outright denial:

Writing in Google’s European Public Policy blog, Peter Fleischer, the company’s global privacy counsel, denies there was a privacy issue with Google’s Wi-Fi data collection practices. “Google does not store or collect payload data,” he says.

Google product manager Raphael Leiteritz reiterates this assertion in the company’s Submission to Data Protection Authorities that same day. “All data payload from data frames are discarded, so Google never collects the content of any communications,” he writes.

In an interview with the New York Times a few days later, Google spokesman Kay Oberbeck dismisses the privacy concerns of German officials, saying: “What we are doing is totally legal and is being done by other companies around the world….We did not mention the WLAN project during our discussions with data protection officials because it is not related to Street View.”

In May, an embarrassing admission…

Writing in Google’s official blog two weeks later, Google SVP Alan Eustace reveals that the company actually had been collecting payload data. “It’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e., non-password-protected) Wi-Fi networks,” he explains. “So how did this happen? Quite simply, it was a mistake.” Then there was this from Peter Barron, Google’s director of communications for Northern and Central Europe: “We didn’t want to collect this data in the first place and we would like to destroy it as soon as possible.”

…followed by some aggressive damage control and a downplaying of the issue:

Speaking at Google’s annual Zeitgeist Europe forum, Google CEO Eric Schmidt describes the payload data collected as inconsequential and excuses the company for its misstep, saying, “There was no harm, no foul.”

In June, an unsettling hypothesis:

Apologizing for the company’s mistaken collection of user data, a Google New Zealand spokesperson tells the Otago Daily Times that the information the company’s Street View cars intercepted might not have been as inconsequential as Schmidt claimed. “Our in-car WiFi equipment automatically changes channels five times a second,” she says. “That said, it’s possible that the fragments of data we collected could contain entire emails or other content if a user broadcast personal information over an open network at that moment.”

In October, some hard evidence, another embarrassing admission and a change of tack…

A few months pass, and then a Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s investigation reveals “that Google did capture personal information–and, in some cases, highly sensitive personal information such as complete emails.” Interestingly, in its report on the matter, the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s office notes that while Google “does not intend to resume collection of Wi-Fi data through its Street View cars…[it does intend to] rely on its users’ handsets to collect the information on the location of Wi-Fi networks that it needs for its location-based services database.”

And then the Schmidtstorm:

Appearing on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer,” Google CEO Schmidt cavalierly suggests that folks worried about Google Street View invading their privacy should “just move.” Ironically, he says this on the very day that Google admits those cars captured more than just fragments of personal payload data and says it is “mortified by what happened.”

Schmidt apologizes for his remark the next day:

“As you can see from the unedited interview, my comments were made during a fairly long back and forth on privacy,” he says. “I clearly misspoke. If you are worried about Street View and want your house removed please contact Google and we will remove it.” . . .


News coverage concealed carry on campus at UNLV

Democrats are raising the bar to evaluate the election results

Democrats are claiming that they should face a loss of 45 seats in the House based on regression using the president's party, how many seats that the president's party holds, and personal income growth. Jonathan Chait adds five to ten more seats to that total in what seems like double counting (he says that Obama's election swept in some Democrats from Republican districts when the variable for the number of seats that the president's party holds already accounts for that ("the more seats you hold, the deeper into hostile territory you're stretched, and the easier it is to lose seats")). My guess is that if Democrats were asked about this a few months ago, they would have picked a much lower number. They want to raise the number so that they don't look to bad after the election.

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New piece at National Review: "Democrats Embarrassed by Campaign Tricks"

My discussion at National Review starts this way:

From New Jersey to Pennsylvania to Nevada, Democrats have placed fake Tea Party candidates on the ballot in order to split the Republican vote. In many of these races, the Tea Party candidate’s percentage in the polls exceeds the margin between the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Just last week, the Democratic congressional candidate in the Pennsylvania 7th, Bryan Lentz, finally admitted to the Delaware County Daily Times editorial board that without his help, independent candidate Jim Schneller would not have gotten on the ballot. In a debate this summer, Lentz denied having anything to do with Schneller’s appearing on the ballot, and in August, Schneller told PoliticsPA that the rumors that Lentz had gotten him on the ballot were simply an attempt to discredit his candidacy.

The Philadelphia Daily News called a mid-October campaign debate between Lentz and Schneller “farcical.” The charade had Bryan Lentz and the candidate that Lentz got on the ballot, Schneller, both attacking the Republican nominee, Patrick Meehan. Meehan didn’t think such a debate was fair and refused to participate; Lentz attacked Meehan as afraid to “face the voters.”

Schneller is only polling at 1 or 2 percent, but the latest poll of the race by Franklin & Marshall (10/5–10/11) gives Meehan just a three-point lead over Lentz. A slightly earlier poll by The Hill gave Meehan only a one-point lead. Lentz’s shenanigans could well determine the outcome of this race.

Part of Lentz’s defense: . . .

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How Obama is bringing the country together

A couple of Obama's recent comments that have tried to bring the country together.

In recent days, Mr. Obama screamed defiantly to Democratic rallies that Republicans have to "sit in the back," and he told a Latino radio audience that it's time to "punish our enemies and . . . reward our friends." . . . .

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So you want to get a Ph.D. in Political Science?


ABC looks at the difference between Republican and Democrat attack ads

When you can't win on the issues attack the person. This puts a lie to the Democrat claim that voters agree with them on the issues.

It's not just the Aqua Buddha and David Vitter's prostitute, Democratic candidates across the country are closing out the campaign with personal attacks on Republican candidates, sometimes digging up decades-old legal problems.

In one typical example, Democratic ads have transformed Kentucky Republican House candidate Andy Barr into "a convicted criminal" -- complete with images yellow police tape and fuzzy video of crime scenes. Not mentioned is his crime: As a college student 19 years ago, he was caught using a fake ID during spring break.

As you watch this year's ads -- and I've been watching all too many lately -- you'll notice a striking difference between Democratic and Republican attack ads: Democrats are attacking over personal issues, Republicans are attacking over policy. . . .

A recent study by the Wesleyan Media Project actually quantifies this. They looked at 900,000 airing of political ads this year and concluded: "Democrats are using personal attacks at much higher rates than Republicans and a much higher rate than Democrats in 2008." . . .

This is the ad that the ABC piece discusses on Andy Barr.

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The Soros Empire

There doesn't seem to be anyone who balances out the impact that Soros has.

Almost every major liberal organization, think tank or media outlet has been the beneficiary of Mr. Soros' largesse. The Nation magazine, Mother Jones, Media Matters, MoveOn.org, NPR and the Center for American Progress - all together they have received tens of millions of dollars from the financier. They serve as front groups and propaganda vehicles to promote Mr. Soros' brand of transnational socialism.

He has poured hundreds of millions into the former communist bloc. The former Soviet empire has thus become the Soros empire. Mr. Soros has worked behind the scenes to destabilize and influence governments such as Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia, Georgia, Kosovo and Ukraine. In the process, he has plundered countries' natural resources. . . .

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Germany's unemployment rate

The data on the US unemployment rate is from here. The data on the German unemployment rate is from here and here.

Note that Germany refused to follow Obama's advice on how to stimulate its economy and did not have a massive increase in government spending. Since the US recovery began last year, the US unemployment has gone up very slightly by 0.1 percentage points and the German unemployment rate has fallen by 0.8 percentage points.

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Low levels of confidence in the Economy in US and UK

Angus Reid Public Opinion polls in the US and the UK indicate that few people think that things are going very well. For the US:

Just 12 per cent of respondents believe the economic conditions are “very good” or “good” right now.

A large proportion of Americans believe the U.S. economy remains in bad shape, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,017 American adults, 85 per cent of respondents say economic conditions are bad or very bad right now, down three points since the September Economic Panorama.

A majority of Americans (57%, -3) say their own personal finances are in poor shape. One-in-four respondents (27%, +2) think the U.S. economy will decline in the next six months, while 18 per cent (-2) believe it will improve.

A large majority of respondents (63%, =) continue to state that the recession will not be over until next year or after 2011.

Concerns, Inflation and Debt

Almost half of Americans (48%) are concerned about themselves or someone in their household becoming unemployed, while two-in-five have worried frequently or occasionally about the safety of their savings (45%), the value of their investments (45%) and being able to pay their mortgage or rent (43%). In addition, a third of Americans (32%) are concerned about their employer running into serious financial trouble. . . .

For the UK:

. . . . only 11 per cent describe the current economic conditions as “good.”

Few people in Britain believe the country’s economy is performing well, and a sizeable proportion of respondents expect the situation to worsen, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 2,021 British adults, 86 per cent of respondents (+4 since September) describe the United Kingdom’s economy as being in poor or very poor condition, while only 11 per cent (-3) describe it as good or very good.

Three-in-five respondents (59%) continue to rate their personal finances as poor. While 11 per cent of Britons expect the UK economy to improve over the next six months, 41 per cent foresee a decline—including 57 per cent of respondents in Scotland.

More than half of respondents (55%) believe the recession will not be over until after 2011, while 16 per cent foresee the end of the downturn in 2011.

Concerns, Inflation and Debt

Unemployment remains the top concern among Britons (40% have worried frequently or occasionally about someone in their household losing their job), followed by the value of investments and savings (both at 32%), being able to pay the mortgage or rent (30%), and employers facing serious financial problems (23%). . . .


Reaction of Media to Glenn Beck carrying a concealed handgun


Felons vote, soldiers vote

Fox News has the story on what is happening in Cook County, Illinois.



"Voter Fraud In CA: Giving Ballots To Door-To-Door Solicitors"

Real Clear Politics has another example of vote fraud:

KBAK-TV: Chief Deputy Registrar Karen Rhea said at least one incident has been reported of teenagers going to voters' homes trying to collect ballots.

Rhea said a woman reported a situation Tuesday night in central Bakersfield.

"She was approached at her home yesterday by two individuals who said there were sent by their boss to pick up voted or un-voted vote-by-mail ballots," Rhea explained.

Eyewitness News talked to that voter. . . .


Might Barney Frank actually lose his re-election to Congress?

If even Reuters notices that Frank could lose, my guess is that this seeming long shot is possible.

Massachusetts has already been the scene of one of the year's biggest upsets, when Republican Scott Brown won a special election for the U.S. Senate seat held for almost five decades by a Democratic Party pillar, the late Edward Kennedy.

"If Barney Frank loses, it would be as significant as Scott Brown's win. You would really begin to see the depths of this anti-government sentiment," said Marc Landy, professor of political science at Boston College. . . .

American voters are in a surly mood over the weak economy, unemployment near 10 percent and the state of the housing market as banks face scrutiny over how they handled the paperwork in home foreclosures across the country.

Frank, 70, has been chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee for almost four years.

He helped to broker the $700 billion fund to bail out banks at the height of the financial crisis and he promoted legislation to slow foreclosures and keep afloat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally controlled companies that own or guarantee more than half of the $11 trillion in U.S. mortgages. . . .

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Despite Obama's campaign rhetoric, Republicans aren't outspending Democrats

From Politico:

To hear top Democrats tell it, the party is being wildly outgunned this year in the fight for campaign cash as Republicans rely on outside groups to funnel money to GOP contenders.

But the numbers tell a different story.
It’s true that conservative third-party groups are outspending their Democratic rivals. But the Democrats still have a sizable cash advantage in their party committees – making this year’s elections a lot more of a fair fight than Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi let on.

So far, the latest figures show that the Democratic Party machinery has outraised its Republican counterpart in this campaign cycle by almost $270 million.

And even when outside spending on television advertising and direct mail is added to the mix, Republicans still haven’t closed the gap.

The money race totals come to $856 million for the Democratic committees and their aligned outside groups, compared to $677 for their Republican adversaries, based on figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. . . .

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Vote by mail mess in Illinois

Absentee balloting makes fraud much easier, but the Democrats in Illinois have been experiencing other problems with the system that they set up.

An Illinois county election official says that thousands, and potentially hundreds of thousands, of voters who are expecting a ballot sent to them by mail may be disenfranchised.
Chicagoan Rosia Carter is one of 404,000 registered Illinois voters who recently received vote-by-mail requests that were sent by the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

"By the time I filled it out and sent it in, my vote would not get counted," Carter said.

She and others called the I-Team when they noticed the return address is not their local election official but instead a PO box for the organization. IDCC officials claim they are entering ballot request information into their own database before sending the mailings on to election authorities who then mail voters the ballot. . . .

IDCC told the clerk that another 1,500 ballot requests are headed to her office, which, she says, may not give her enough time to process all the ballots, potentially disenfranchising voters.

"I called Mike Madigan," Carter said, "and they said 'We farmed out this job, here's their phone number,' and I said 'I don't want the number, that's your job to call.' "

Carter and others who contacted the I-Team are furious that their vote may also be thrown out because the IDCC put the registered voters' wrong birthdate on the form.

"My birthdate is wrong," said Carter. "That means it doesn't match the election board of commissioners' records."

The IDCC says that less that "1 percent of the ballot applications have been affected by the date-of-birth glitch and that a voter's birthday is not a required piece of personal data to request a ballot." . . . .

An example of vote fraud in this election involving absentee ballots is here:

Daytona Beach City Commissioner Derrick Henry and his campaign manager, Genesis Robinson, were arrested Wednesday, charged with committing absentee ballot fraud during Henry’s 2010 re-election campaign . . . .
The investigation revealed that Henry and Robinson devised a strategy to boost Henry’s re-election bid by obtaining absentee ballots for numerous people, most of whom never requested the ballots. By law, residents are only allowed to request absentee ballots for themselves, immediate family members or for someone for whom they’re acting as legal guardian.
McFall filed the complaint in August after her office received a large number of requests for absentee ballots that were all sent from the same e-mail address. Based on the e-mail address, it appeared that the requests came from someone with an interest in the Daytona Beach City Commission Zone 5 race. Henry, the Zone 5 incumbent who was locked in a three-way primary race, was re-elected on Aug. 24. . . .


Vote fraud in Pennsylvania?

Absentee ballots are often problematic for many reasons.

A trio of Bucks County residents backed by the county Republican committee say they have evidence linking Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy's campaign to a scheme to flood the county voter registration office with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.

In a petition filed Tuesday, county Republicans say the name of Murphy's campaign manager appeared on a Bristol post office box where voters were urged in a series of letters paid for by the state Democratic Committee to send absentee ballot applications.

The county Republicans submitted with the petition a photograph of a note inside the mailbox that said, "Tim Percico and Paul Hampel only pick up mail." Tim Persico is Murphy's campaign manager, although his name is misspelled in the note. Hampel is a volunteer for the Democratic state committee who said he collects mail from the box.

While county and state Democratic officials denied involvement in the letter campaign or refused to discuss it, Persico said Tuesday that the "PA Vote 2010" project that paid for the letters is a partnership between Murphy's campaign and the state Democrats.

Persico said the goal of the project is to help eligible Democratic voters obtain and cast absentee ballots. . .

The petition is the latest in a series of alarms county and state Republicans have sounded over an influx of questionable absentee ballot applications. Last week, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said his office would investigate allegations of fraud leveled by state and county Republican officials.

Voter Registration Director Deena Dean said her staff had rejected more than 600 defective absentee ballot applications as of Friday. Although the voter registration office continued to accept applications until the close of business Tuesday, Dean was unable to provide an updated total. . . . .


9th Circuit strikes down AZ law requiring ID to vote

Virtually everyone has some form of ID with their picture on it. 90+ percent of adults have a driver's license. And those that don't often have some other form of ID.

The U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, has struck down the law requiring Arizona voters to present proof of citizenship to vote.

Prop. 200, approved by Arizona voters in 2004, was found to violate federal law - the majority opinion was that the National Voter Registration Act precludes states from imposing additional requirements.

The case that was decided was Gonzalez v. Arizona. Plaintiff Jesus Gonzalez was representing individual Arizona residents and organizations, claiming that Prop 200 violated the NVRA, was a poll tax under the 24th Amendment, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amdendment, and disparately impacted Latino voters.

Judge Ikuta, who wrote the majority opinion for the decision, agreed that Prop 200 violated the NVRA, but rejected the other arguments.

To read the court's decision in its entirety, click here.


NYC will ban those in debt or with a bad driver's record from owning a gun

What would NYC residents say about limiting voting to those who have paid all their bills and who have good driving records? After all, do you want irresponsible people voting? This proposed law would discriminate even more against poor people being able to defend themselves. At the very least, thislaw should show those voters that those who oppose gun ownership haven't gone away.

New York City residents who want to own a gun may soon be denied permits if they are litterbugs, if they are bad drivers, or if they have fallen behind on a few bills.

Under proposed revisions to the police department's handgun, rifle and shotgun permit procedures, the NYPD can reject gun license applicants for a number of reasons, including:

If they have been arrested or convicted of almost any "violation," in any state; having a "poor driving history"; having been fired for "circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment"; having "failed to pay legally required debts"; being deemed to lack "good moral character"; or if any other information demonstrates "other good cause for the denial of the permit."

Critics say many of the restrictions are vague, have nothing to do with one's fitness to own a gun and are unconstitutional.

Supporters say the new restrictions will make gun purchasing more efficient and don't give the NYPD any more power than it already has. . . .



The Republican Gubernatorial Candidate for Governor of TN is a real firebrand on gun issues

After saying that he would support a Vermont/Alaska/MT/Arizona style concealed handgun law, it has now spoken out on guns in the work place. Given the difficulties over OSHA rules forcing employers to ban guns and private property rights of the employers, this is not an easy problem to answer.

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. - Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam said he misunderstood a question Monday and didn't mean to say employers should be able to prohibit firearms in company parking lots.

Gun advocates and business interests have been divided over repealing a state law that lets business owners forbid employees from keeping handguns in their cars while they work.

The Knoxville mayor, who's been refining his guns rights stand, was asked about the issue by reporters after a campaign event at a Springfield restaurant. He initially responded: "Employers should have the decision about what happens on their property."

Haslam later told The Associated Press he didn't hear the part of the question about parking lots and thought it was about workers carrying guns inside their place of employment. He said it's still his position that permit holders should have the right to store their guns in their cars at work, regardless of their employers' wishes.

"In their buildings is a whole different world than in their parking lot," said Haslam.

Haslam has been defending himself against criticism after he told the Tennessee Firearms Association last week that he would sign a law that repeals the state's handgun permit system, though it's his personal preference to keep the law as it stands now. . . .

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Additional talks this week

I have debates at

UNLV Law School at noon on Wednesday on concealed carry on campus
Gonzaga Law School at noon on Thursday on gun control more generally.
University of Idaho Law School on Thursday at 6 PM on concealed carry on campus

All debates are sponsored by the Federalist Society and are open to the public.


Since when does city hall get involved in micro managing the content of billboard ads?

This is disappointing. If the signs were on the other side of this issue (e.g., inaccurate claims about the number of children who died from accidental gun deaths and the desirability of gun locks), I assume that they would have stayed up. Alan Korwin was apparently the person behind these ads. I would think that there could be successful legal action against the city.

The city of Phoenix took aim this week at an advertising campaign launched by a coalition of local businesses and groups, ordering the signs to be immediately stripped from 50 bus shelters across the city.

So how, you might ask, did the ad offend?

Does it include a picture of some scantily clad bimbo? Well, no.

Is it another piece of political trash? No.

Is the ad libelous? Religious? Profane?

No, no and hell no.

It's a sign that says "Guns Save Lives" and advertises a website where you can find firearms-safety classes.

Oh, the horror.

The 4x6 signs were put up as part of a campaign by TrainMeAZ, a group of firearms businesses and Second Amendment supporters that joined forces to promote training in the wake of a new state law that allows anyone 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon. Previously, you had to complete a gun-safety class if you wanted to pack heat in private places. Now, you don't.

Enter TrainMeAZ, which has started a website, TrainMeAZ.com, promoting gun-safety classes and offering information on where to enroll. They have this idea that you ought to know how to safely handle a gun if you're going to tote one about in your undies - or even if you aren't. And so they paid $11,000 for the bus-shelter ads, which went up this month.

And came down this week, on orders from City Hall. . . .

If you read the rest of the article you will see that the city claims that it consistently bans public service ads. But even if that is true, given Korwin's business is to sell books about guns, laws, and safety, I would think that he would still meet what the city claims has to be met for it local ordinance.

Thanks to David Moore Jr. for sending me this link.

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Yet another country is increasing the government funded retirement age

Besides France and Canada, now the UK is increasing the retirement age. With people living much longer, countries just can't continue paying for early retirement. The UK is increasing the retirement age to 66.

If US Federal spdning isn't dealt with, this might be our future.


New crime fighting technology: A DNA spray that marks criminals

Apparently there is a new DNA spray that makes it harder for criminals to avoid detection. I suppose that criminals can go into hiding for a little while, but if they get caught this at least makes it marginally easier to identify them.