Federal Budget Deficit at $371 billion for first quarter of 2011

If the deficit continues at the current pace, the deficit for the entire year will be $1.484 trillion. For the first quarter the deficit was $371 billion.


Calls for more restrictions on guns by Sen. Dianne Feinstein

I wonder when the big gun control speech by Obama will be. It also looks like the administration will move to restrict the importation of shotguns. Now rifle restrictions are being pushed.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives review its interpretation of the federal law that provides for the importation of firearms "generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." Adopting a narrower interpretation of the law would, Feinstein claimed, help reduce violence in Mexico and the United States. . . .

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As per usual, Obama makes it difficult for businesses to operate and then he blames them

Massive new regulations. Moving more than a trillion dollars in spending around in the economy. Massively long and large unemployment insurance benefits. Trying to force them to make products that they wouldn't otherwise have made and make investments that don't really make sense. And the president wants to blame businesses for the lack of new jobs?

President Obama called on U.S. businesses to do more to help grow the economy, saying that while the unemployment rate is getting better and jobs are being added, the U.S. needs “to get there faster.”

“Businesses have a responsibility, too,” said Obama in his weekly address on Saturday. “If we make America the best place to do business, businesses should make their mark in America. They should set up shop here, and hire our workers, and pay decent wages, and invest in the future of this nation. That’s their obligation.”

Obama said he planned to deliver that message to the Chamber of Commerce on Monday, along with his administration’s commitment to work with the powerful business lobby. The White House has negotiated for more than two months about when to hold the meeting with the Chamber, which has come out in opposition to several of Obama’s major policies, such as the healthcare measure and Wall Street reform.

The message is that “government and businesses have mutual responsibilities; and that if we fulfill these obligations together, it benefits us all,” said Obama. “Our workers will succeed. Our nation will prosper. And America will win the future in this century just like we did in the last.” . . .

“If businesses sell these discoveries – if they start making windows and insulation and buildings that save more energy – they will hire more workers. And that’s how Americans will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future.” . . .

More is available here.

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Another wacky Zero-tolerence outcome at a public school

Despite what the police officer says, assault is not always criminal assault.

The family of a Virginia teen suspended for the remainder of the school year for shooting plastic "spitwads" at students in the hallway is targeting the school district's zero-tolerance policy, claiming that it's "criminalizing childish behavior."
Andrew Mikel II, a freshman honor student at Spotsylvania High School who also is active in Junior ROTC, is filling an appeal to be reinstated and have his record cleared after school officials suspended him for using what appeared to be the hollow body of a pen to blow small plastic balls at three students during his lunch period last December.
The 14-year-old initially was hit with a 10-day suspension, but the Spotsylvania County School Board later voted to extend the punishment for the rest of the school year, citing the Student Code of Conduct's requirement that a student found with "any type of weapon, or object used to intimidate, threaten or harm others" be "expelled for a minimum of 365 days" unless "special circumstances exist."
The district also referred the case to the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office, which charged him with three counts of misdemeanor assault.
As result Mikel entered a diversion program – which includes community service and substance abuse and anger management counseling – to avoid prosecution, but his father says his damaged record has shattered his hopes of attending the U.S. Naval Academy after graduation.
Capt. Liz Scott Spotsylvania Sherriff's Office says while Mikel's punishment may be controversial, "assault is assault is assault." . . .

UPDATE: Yet another story from New Jersey is here.

A 7-year-old child allegedly shot a Nerf-style toy gun in his Hammonton, N.J., school Jan. 18. No one was hurt, but the pint-size softshooter now faces misdemeanor criminal charges.
Hammonton Police began an investigation into the “suspicious activity” at the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center Jan. 18 after school officials alerted them to the incident.
The "gun" the child brought to school was a $5 toy gun, similar to a Nerf gun, that shoots soft ping pong type balls, according to the school's superintendent.
Officials also say that there was no evidence of anyone being threatened. The child's mother told school officials that she didn't know her son brought the toy to school. . . .


Newest Fox News piece: Another Mistake in The New York Times

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Since the tragedy in Tucson, the New York Times has started an all-out campaign for gun control, with a relentless number of pieces -- news, editorials, and op-eds. In its advocacy, even the news stories are heavily biased by selectively quoting only academics who support pro-gun control positions. These seemingly unbiased sources are then contrasted with opposing views from clearly biased people on the other side, such as an NRA spokesman or a right-wing politician. The implied conclusion: scientific evidence favors gun control, but self-interest stands in the way.

Take two recent news stories by Michael Luo (here and here). He quotes seven academics who agreed with the New York Times position, but no one on the other side was even interviewed. Talk about misrepresenting academic opinion. The overwhelming majority of studies actually supports the claim that more guns mean less crime. Among peer-reviewed studies in academic journals, criminologists and economists studying right-to-carry laws have produced 18 national studies showing that these laws reduce violent crime, 10 indicate no discernible effect and none finds a bad effect from the law. One would never guess that 294 academics from institutions as diverse as Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, and UCLA released an open letter to Congress during 1999 warning that new gun laws were “ill advised.”

A frequent claim in these recent New York Times articles has been that more guns mean more gun deaths (see also here). . . .

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"How the Commerce Clause Made Congress All-Powerful"



Palin stands up against corruption

You have to admire Sarah Palin. For a Republican presidential candidate, it is hard to give up speaking to CPAC. But she just can't stand corruption.

A Palin source bashed CPAC and its leader David Keene in an interview last year with POLITICO announcing that the former governor wouldn’t be attending – even though CPAC had listed her as an invited guest for the second year in a row. The source called the annual gathering an example "special interests over core beliefs" and "pocketbook over policy."

"That's not what CPAC should be about and people are tiring," the source said. "Palin is taking a stance against this just as she did in Alaska."

The criticism of CPAC was fueled by a report that David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, had asked FedEx for between $2 million and $3 million to get the group's support in a bitter battle on Capitol Hill with rival UPS. This was not the first reported allegation of Keene selling his influence with the conservative base, and is a large part of the reason why the ACU and its annual conference have waned in influence over the years. . . .

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Media Matters incompetently discusses a posting of mine

Media Matters rarely allows me to post responses on their website to attacks that they make on my work. They have attacked me again today for a post from this website on gun show regulations that was transcribed with a few changes and without the links over at Newsmax.

Since the substance of this is the same as a piece that I recently wrote for Fox News, I will just discuss it briefly here:

-- "Virtually no criminal guns are obtained from gun shows." The BJS report "Firearms Use by Offenders" provides a survey of criminals convicted of gun offenses and it shows that 0.7 percent of criminals obtained their guns from gun shows. If one adds in flea markets it still leaves the probability below 2 percent.
-- "Background checks do not stop criminals from getting guns." These guys at Media Matters are pretty dense because they seem to believe that these initial denials are stops that involve criminals when in fact they are almost all false positives. About 99.9 percent of those purchases initially flagged as being illegal under the law were later determined to be misidentified. Take the numbers for 2008 (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/231052.pdf), the latest year for which data are available. The 78,906 initial denials resulted in only 147 cases involving banned individuals trying to purchase guns. This is before the stage where prosecutors look at the case to see if there is enough evidence to bring a case. Of those 147 cases, prosecutors thought the evidence was strong enough to proceed on only 105, and they won convictions in just 43. But few of these 43 cases stopped career criminals or those who posed real threats. The typical case was someone who had misdemeanor convictions for an offense he didn't realize prevented him from buying a gun.
-- As to delays, 8 percent of the background checks are delayed. Five percentage points of those checks take up to 3 business days, and 3 percentage points take even longer, though these further delays can't stop one from obtaining a gun at that point. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/2008-operations-report/ops_report2008.pdf (p. 11) I am traveling and I don't have the reference for the 5 and 3 percent numbers handy.

UPDATE on this discussion and a response to further Media Matters attacks is available here. For some reason I doubt that they will be responding to that post.

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More errors in Media Matters

It is actually pretty amazing that anyone takes this place seriously. Here is another piece at Media Matters filled with errors:
For the record, Loughner was subdued when he eventually had to stop to re-load after firing 31 shots.
In fact, the killer’s gun jammed precisely because he used such a large capacity magazine (From the WSJ: "In the seconds that followed, say authorities, Mr. Loughner shot 18 others, six fatally, including the judge and a 9-year-old girl, before his gun jammed and he was wrestled to the ground."). The long spring used in this high capacity magazines simply didn’t have enough force to properly push the last couple of bullets into the gun. Given that it can take just a couple of seconds to replace a magazine, the killer would have likely been able to fire more rounds if he had brought several smaller magazines.

The personal attacks on me are really hard to believe that anyone would take seriously. The paper that is being referred to is one that I helped on, but it was published by Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley. As those two individuals have explained their paper main results using count estimates were not altered by the very small errors. The only results impacted were the results that they showed were strongly biased against finding anything.

For some reason I suspect that Media Matters will continue not posting my comments up on their websites. What is Media Matters afraid of? Why do they have to continually censor responses from those that they criticize?

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Obama exempts GE from Global Warming rules

Special favors from Obama to the favored ones?

Last month, the Obama EPA began enforcing new rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from any new or expanded power plants.

This week, the EPA issued its first exemption, Environment & Energy News reports:

The Obama administration will spare a stalled power plant project in California from the newest federal limits on greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.

According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, officials reviewed EPA policies and decided it was appropriate to "grandfather" projects such as the Avenal Power Center, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2). . . .

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"SEIU fights healthcare repeal after obtaining waivers from law"

This is great. Obamacare should be a mandate for everyone but the unions who fought hard to have it enacted. To claim that there is a waiver option and thus it is perfect natural that the union be given a waiver is not exactly true. If that was the case, the legislation would have allowed one out without having to rely on the pure discretion of the federal government. It is like the distinction between a may issue and a shall issue concealed handgun permit.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is lobbying hard against the amendment offered by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to repeal the healthcare reform law.

SEIU has sent e-mails to Senate offices urging lawmakers to vote against the proposal to unwind President Obama’s signature domestic initiative.

“A vote in support of this amendment is a vote to raise out-of-pocket healthcare costs for working families and takes away critical consumer protections provided to Americans for the first time,” SEIU urged senators, according to a copy of the e-mail obtained by The Hill.

The lobby informed senators that a vote for McConnell’s amendment would count against them on its legislative scorecard.

SEIU’s outspoken defense of the law has prompted charges of hypocrisy from Republicans, given that some of the union’s chapters have sought waivers exempting them from a key provision of the law requiring the phaseout of health plans with low caps on annual benefits.

Proponents of the law argue that some limited-benefits health plans should be exempted temporarily from phaseout because it would cause low-income and part-time workers to lose insurance or see their premiums rise.

A spokesman for SEIU referred questions about the union waivers to a fact sheet on its website.

According to SEIU, the overwhelming majority of its members are covered by health plans that comply with the law’s requirements.

Some of its chapters have obtained waivers, the union concedes, but notes the waivers were anticipated by Democrats who passed the law. . . .

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More on concealed carry on campus

On the behavior of permit holders on campus:

So far 71 campuses nationwide have allowed concealed carry on campus. "35 of those have allowed it for more than five years, and none of them have had an incident regarding any kind of firearm accident or crime," said Drew Paxton, the legal officer of Texas Tech's Concealed Carry on Campus. "With a CHL you're allowed to carry in churches, shopping malls, restaurant, movie theaters, even the capital. So we feel why campus should be treated any differently than those locations." . . .

Here is a piece by Professor Joe Baker in the Salt Lake Tribune.



John McCain "rejects CBO Healthcare repeal estimates"

The most important point here is that the Democrats never try to respond to the explicitly stated problems with the CBO numbers.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday rejected the CBO's cost estimate of healthcare repeal as "garbage in, garbage out."
McCain said the Congressional Budget Office estimate that repealing the healthcare law would increase the deficit by $230 billion relies on falwed assumptions.
"So what I'm saying is, garbage in, garbage out," McCain said on the Senate floor.
McCain cited two examples of how the CBO's estimate is not properly taking into account the true costs of the healthcare law. First, he noted that the repeated increases in reimbursement levels to Medicare physicians, and the failure to repeatedly let cuts to those payments happen, are estimated to cost $208 billion over 10 years. "Nowhere is that put into the equation," McCain said.
He also criticized the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act, a long-term care insurance program that was part of the law. While the program allows for employees to contribute to it, many Republicans believe it will have to be funded by the government at some point, and that this assumption is not being taken into account by CBO. . . .


Maxim Lott: "Senator Calls ATF on Allegations Agency Is Allowing Guns Into Mexico"

My son Maxim has a new piece at Fox News that starts this way:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- the agency tasked with keeping U.S. guns from being smuggled to Mexico -- has come under fire for allegedly allowing firearms to cross the border into Mexico.
Last Friday, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the ATF stating that his office had "received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the Southwest border area and into Mexico."
Grassley asked for ATF officials to meet with his staff to discuss the matter, noting that "there are serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy." Gunrunner is the name of the ATF operation to keep guns from entering Mexico.
On Monday, a concerned Grassley sent a follow-up letter, writing that while ATF had not yet responded to his request for a meeting, one of the whistleblowers that Grassley's office had been dealing with -- a current ATF employee -- was "allegedly accused... of misconduct" by his boss for talking with Senate staffers. . . .

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Newest Fox News piece:Mayor Bloomberg's Arizona Gun Show P.R. Stunt

My newest piece for Fox News starts this way:

New York City's murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault rates rose last year according to preliminary FBI data, with murders alone increasing by more than 12 percent. But instead of concentrating on crime in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg just spent $100,000 of the NYPD's budget sending police to Arizona to buy guns at a gun show.
The "sting" was a waste of money that misleads Americans and did nothing to reduce crime. Talk about an aggressive publicity stunt. Arizona officials had not been informed of the operation, which meant that any potential crimes uncovered by the New York City officers could not be prosecuted.
But, instead of spending $100,000, Bloomberg could have learned what he did for the price of a phone call or an Internet search. Arizonans, like residents in 31 other states, can buy guns from private individuals without a criminal background check, just an Arizona driver's license to demonstrate residency. . . .

UPDATE: Of course, this is a mayor who just spent $245,000 on chefs:

When Mayor Bloomberg came into office there was just one executive cook at Gracie Mansion to make the VIP feasts.
Today there are three - costing taxpayers a whopping $245,000 this year. . . .
According to figures revealed by the New York Daily News, his longest-serving man in the kitchen, Feliberto Estevez, picks up $97,000.
His pastry chef Jerry Montanez who was hired in 2007 is paid $68,000 while Jose Velazquez is on $80,000 after getting a $10,000 pay rise last July. . . .
When Rudy Giuliani was mayor he had one executive cook, Anna Maria Santorelli, who was also the mansion's overall manager. . . .

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The Democrats Under Pressure to Vote "Yes" Today on Repealing Health Care

People who care about repealing health care need to call these Democratic Senators if they live in their states. The vote will take place today.

Sens. Nelson (D-NE), Tester, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Jon Tester (D-MT.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)

UPDATE: The procedural vote ended in a 47-51 vote. Two Democrats didn't vote: Lieberman (ID-CT) and Warner (D-VA).


Reagan's excellent memory at age 75

With all the talk about Reagan and Alzheimer’s, this piece here and the audio here from when Reagan was 75 years of age is astounding.


Canadian prosecutors offer lighter sentence to criminal in exchange for him testifying against citizen who used gun in self-defense

This is pretty bizarre. Who is the real threat in Canada, the law-abiding citizen who tries to defend himself or the criminal?

Few politicians, Crown prosecutors, judges, law professors and police commanders believe ordinary Canadians have any business using force to defend themselves, their loved ones, homes, farms or businesses.
It seems every time someone repels a burglar or thief, he ends up in court, too.
Consider the case of David Chen, the Toronto grocer who was acquitted last year of assault and unlawful confinement for detaining a career criminal he caught shoplifting from his store. Crown prosecutors had so convinced themselves that Chen's defensive actions posed a greater threat to public order that they offered a lighter sentence to Anthony Bennett, the shoplifter, in return for his testimony against Chen. . . .
About six years ago, Ian Thompson moved to a rural property near Port Colborne to find peace and quiet. Almost immediately, he had a run-in with his neighbour over the neighbour's unwillingness to keep his chickens in his own yard. Ever since, tension between the two has escalated.
Then, early one Sunday morning last August, three masked men showed up outside Thompson's home and started lobbing Molotov cocktails at the house while Thompson was inside. A former firearms instructor, Thompson took a revolver from his gun safe, loaded it, then went outside and fired two or three shots in the direction of the arsonists. Thompson has surveillance cameras around his property. When he gave tapes to police to aid their search for the firebombers, police charged him with pointing a firearm and careless storage of firearms.
Officers also turned up at his home and confiscated his collection of seven firearms and seized his firearms licence. . . .

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What Doctors ask their patients about guns

Ignoring the fact that gunlocks or taking guns out of the home will result in more crime deaths than save lives by preventing accidental gun deaths, doctors rely on shoddy public health research. Here are the questions.

Do you own a gun? How many guns do you have? Do your children have access to guns in your home? Did you know that having a gun in your home triples your risk of becoming a homicide victim?

These are questions your doctor may ask you or your children as part of routine physical examinations or questionnaires. These are ethical boundary violations that violate privacy rights of patients and families.

Gun-related questions in doctors' offices are based on a medical political movement against gun owners. That movement is led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, although the AMA and other physician groups have launched similar efforts against gun owners. . . .



Appearing on Coast to Coast AM at about 1:10 AM EST

I will be on the news segment with George Noory again tonight. It is only a few minutes, but it is alway great to be on the show. I think that we will be talking about the new proposed law in South Dakota mandating that people own guns.

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My newest Fox News piece: "My Scary Encounter With Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley"

My newest piece starts this way:

Chicago-style politics is infamous for kickbacks, dead people voting, and thuggery. Alas, it is not just a relic of the past. In fact, witness recent stories of Chicago city workers being hired or promoted based on how well they got voters to the polls and not how well they did their official jobs, children getting admitted to prestigious city schools based on political connections, and the granting of city contracts.
Unfortunately, I know first hand more than I would like about Chicago politics. A decade ago, I was working at the University of Chicago Law School as an Olin Fellow, doing research and some teaching, when I happened to cross paths with Mayor Richard Daley. As he is now about to retire from office, it is time for the facts to come out.
As the author of the book "More Guns, Less Crime" and someone living and working on Daley's home turf in Chicago, I was not one of his favorite people. . . .

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Another gun control bill introduced in the Congress

1) Virtually no criminal guns are obtained from gun shows.
2) Background checks do not stop criminals from getting guns. But the rules do harm law-abiding citizens.
3) With all the delays found in background checks, this imposes a real cost on law-abiding citizens who need guns quickly for protection and a one, two or three day delay can take the prevent a sale from even taking place at a gun show.

From The Hill newspaper:

The measure, says the New Jersey Democrat, will go a long way toward keeping firearms from the hands of the mentally ill and drug abusers — a topic that’s returned to national prominence this month following the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman.

“While the tragedy in Tucson weighs heavily on the national conscience, it’s business as usual for gun show dealers who continue to peddle dangerous guns without a background check,” Lautenberg said Monday in a statement. “The gun show loophole remains in place today because the special interest gun lobby has scared off legislators from enacting responsible reform. It’s time to put aside business as usual in Washington and start considering the safety of our families over special interests.”

Under current law, licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks to ensure buyers are legally eligible to buy firearms. Felons, illegal immigrants, habitual drug abusers and the mentally ill are among those banned from owning guns. The guidelines apply to licensed dealers in all venues, including gun shows. But unlicensed dealers are exempt wherever they sell, unless they “know” or have “reason to believe” the buyer fits one of the prohibited categories. . . .

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72-year old Homeowner shoots home invaders

Here is a defensive gun use from Pensacola, Florida:

Pensacola, Florida (News Journal) -- Two teenagers were shot Saturday night by a 72-year-old man they allegedly beat with a baseball bat during a home-invasion robbery in Ferry Pass.
About 8:45 p.m., three teenage males knocked on the door of a home in the 3300 block of Raines Street, Pensacola Police Department officials said.
When resident Jack Crawford, 72, answered the door, one of the teens hit him in the head with an aluminum bat and tried to force his way into the home.
"I opened it up, and he hit me right off. ... Wham! Split my head open," Crawford said.
"So I shot him and another guy," Crawford said, chuckling as he told the story to a Pensacola News Journal reporter Sunday evening. "I could have shot the third one, but I would have had to shoot him in the back as he ran away."
The attackers fled the scene on foot, and Crawford's 70-year-old sister, who also lives at the home, called the police, he said.
Earl Benard, 15, Nathaniel Nichols, 17, and Curtis Crenshaw, 18, all of Pensacola, have been charged with home-invasion robbery and aggravated battery in connection with the case, police said. . . .


So what do you do with electric cars when there is a power outage

When there are hurricanes and other disasters people can go for days without electricity. What happens to electric cars? It seems like one big advantage to having gasoline powered ones.


Debate this Friday at the Cooley Law School in Lansing

The Thomas M. Cooley Law Journal and the Cooley chapter of The Federalist Society are jointly-sponsoring a symposium entitled “To Bear or Not to Bear: Guns in Educational Institutions.” The event is free and open to the public and will be in the Auditorium on the 6th floor of Cooley’s Temple Building located at: 217 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, MI 49801 on Friday, February 4th from 1-4 p.m. I am told that Dennis Henigan (Brady), Josh Horwitz (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence), John Johnson (Campaign to Keep Guns of Campus), and Professor Steven Dulan (Cooley Law School) will be participating.


"Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun"

This bill is really done to show the absurdity of the federal health care law.

Five South Dakota lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require any adult 21 or older to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.”

The bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, would give people six months to acquire a firearm after turning 21. The provision does not apply to people who are barred from owning a firearm.

Nor does the measure specify what type of firearm. Instead, residents would pick one “suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and preference.”

The measure is known as an act “to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.”

Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, is sponsoring the bill and knows it will be killed. But he said he is introducing it to prove a point that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional. . . .

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Every Republican in the Senate will Vote to Repeal Obamacare

Will Republicans be able to pick up 4 votes from Democrats? You would think that they would given that Harry Reid has been so reticent to bring up the bill for a vote. CNN has this:

Every Republican in the Senate now appears ready to revoke President Obama's signature health care law. This comes as a federal judge, in Florida, strikes down key parts of the law as unconstitutional.
The GOP holds 47 seats in the Senate.

According to Sen. Jim DeMint's office, 45 of them will co-sponsor the South Carolina Republican's legislation – introduced last week - to fully repeal the health law. . . .


What types of computers does Google think are the safest from hacking?

Well, I wasn't too surprised by the answer.

After alleged Chinese hackers broke into Google's internal systems in December of 2009, reports indicated that the company had decide to abandon Windows machines entirely and move its entire staff to Mac and Linux machines, and judging from our conversations with company employees, this is indeed the case. . . .

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Copy of Florida Judge's decision declaring Obamacare to be unconstitutional

A copy of U.S. District Court in Pensacola Justice Roger Vinson's decision is available here. Forbes describes the case this way:

In a ruling out of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola Justice Roger Vinson has declared that the primary mechanism whereby the health reform achieves universal insurance coverage–the individual mandate–is unconstitutional.

With this ruling, and a similar one in December by Judge Henry Hudson in Virgina, it’s likely that the U.S. Surpreme Court will be the final arbiter of whether ObamaCare stands. (Two other lawsuits — one in Michigan and one in Virginia — were thrown out by other federal district judges last year who disagreed with the constitutional challenge.)

Henry Hudson, the Virginia judge who ruled in favor of that state’s legal challenge, focused on whether Congress has the ability, via the Commerce Clause, to force uninsured people to buy insurance. He concluded that it does not. Vinson, on the other hand, signaled in an earlier ruling that he was interested in whether the federal fine for not buying insurance is a tax or a penalty. If it’s a penalty, the legislation relies on a broad Commerce Clause interpretation. If it’s a tax, it’s much more difficult to make a constitutional claim against it.

In today’s ruling he writes: “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.” . . .

Obama (Feb. 28, 2008) in an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' television show said:
“Both of us want to provide health care to all Americans. There’s a slight difference, and her plan is a good one. But, she mandates that everybody buy health care. She’d have the government force every individual to buy insurance and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance, it’s that they can’t afford it. “So, I focus more on lowering costs. This is a modest difference. But, it’s one that she’s tried to elevate, arguing that because I don’t force people to buy health care that I’m not insuring everybody. Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t."

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Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner gives the right answer on smoking


Schumer saying that the three branches of government: "We have a house, we have a senate, we have a president" are the

There are so many false statements in this short clip, but the bizarre one is that this guy can't even get the three branches of government correct. The claim that the Republicans want to shut down the government leaves out one little point, the negotiations are between the Democrats who don't want to cut spending (Obama wants to increase it) and the Republicans who want to cut the $1.5 trillion deficit that we are facing this year.


With such a crowded Republican Primary field, can one of the Republicans take a pass on Ethanol?

It certainly looks like Newt Gingrich won't be one of them. The subsidies throw away massive dollars on an inefficient fuel that costs much more than gasoline. Add in that it produces formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

The last time these columns were lambasted by a presidential candidate in Iowa, he was Democrat Richard Gephardt and the year was 1988. The Missouri populist won the state caucuses in part on the rallying cry that "we've got to stop listening to the editorial writers and the establishment," especially about ethanol and trade. Imagine our amusement to find Republican Newt Gingrich joining such company.
The former Speaker blew through Des Moines last Tuesday for the Renewable Fuels Association summit, and his keynote speech to the ethanol lobby was as pious a tribute to the fuel made from corn and tax dollars as we've ever heard. Mr. Gingrich explained that "the big-city attacks" on ethanol subsidies are really attempts to deny prosperity to rural America, adding that "Obviously big urban newspapers want to kill it because it's working, and you wonder, 'What are their values?'" . . .


Jon Stewart deceptively edits footage in story

This is pretty bad.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
24 Hour Nazi Party People
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This program is actually even worse than O'Reilly claims, primarily because O'Reilly is only going after the part of the show that attacks him. Megan Kelley was treated shabbily. One guest made the absurd claim that Fox News makes those Nazi type claims every night. Kelley said that was simply false. Stewart disagrees and provides "proof" of this claim with clips from four shows over six years: 2005, 2007 (a guest), 2008 (two clips on what appears to be the same discussion by O'Reilly), and 2010. I assume that if he had found earlier clips Stewart would have used them, so four over probably many more than six years. Stewart's staff obviously just did a Nexis or some other computer search on the word Nazi and those are the four hits that they got. Stewart then probably thinking that no one remembered exactly what Kelley said then claims that Kelley claimed no one has ever used the word Nazi. That is not what she said. I rarely use language that is this strong, but Stewart is simply dishonest and if his viewers don't pick up on how he changed the statements by Kelley through the course of the segment, they are not very smart.


Rep. Bachmann's response to the SOTU

This is actually quite good.


Media Matters goes anti-semetic

Big Journalism spotted this article (think before you click and get them foot traffic) blaming AIPAC and the "Israel Lobby" for the crisis in Egypt.

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New electricity meters face opposition from both left and right

It is nice to see that even some on the left dislike this level of regulation. I assume that at some point these devices are going to be used to limit how much energy individual houses can use. The left though seems more concerned about what I would regard as somewhat wacky reasons for opposing the devices, the radio radiation that they give off.

Pacific Gas and Electric’s campaign to introduce wireless smart meters in Northern California is facing fierce opposition from an eclectic mix of Tea Party conservatives and left-leaning individualists.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, “Stop Smart Meters” signs and bumper stickers have been multiplying on front lawns and cars. Four protesters have been arrested for blocking trucks seeking to deliver the meters.
Since 2006, PG&E has installed more than seven million of the devices, which transmit real-time data on customers’ use of electricity.
But in Santa Cruz County, south of San Jose, the Board of Supervisors recently extended a yearlong moratorium on installations. Officials in Marin County, north of San Francisco, approved a ban this month on meters in unincorporated, largely rural areas, where about a quarter of its population lives. . . .
The new wave of protests comes from conservatives and individualists who view the monitoring of home appliances as a breach of privacy, as well as from a cadre of environmental health campaigners who see the meters’ radio-frequency radiation — like emissions from cellphones and other common devices — as a health threat.
Hypervigilance on health questions has long been typical of Bay Area residents; some local schools ban cupcakes or other sugared treats for classroom birthday celebrations in favor of more nutritious treats like crunchy seaweed snacks, for example.
The health concerns about the smart meters focus on the phenomenon known as “electromagnetic hypersensitivity,” or E.H.S., in which people claim that radiation from cellphones, WiFi systems or smart meters causes them to suffer dizziness, fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness or heart palpitations. . . .
The two most recent government reviews of available research found no link between health problems and common levels of electromagnetic radiation. Both reports indicated that more research would be welcome; on that basis, opponents say the meters should not be installed until they are proved safe. . . .
At a meeting of the North Bay Patriots this month, Jed Gladstein, a 64-year-old lawyer, called the devices “the sharp end of a very long spear pointed at your freedoms.” Others have raised concern about how the utility would use the information about individuals’ home appliance use. . . .

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