Multiple victim public shootings outside the US in Gun-Free Zones

Several Dead After Gunman Opens Fire at Dutch Shopping Mall April 09, 2011

ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN, Netherlands -- A gunman opened fire with a machine gun at a crowded shopping mall outside Amsterdam on Saturday, leaving at least seven people dead and wounding 15 others, officials and witnesses said.
The attacker was among the dead after fatally shooting himself at the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Mayor Bas Eenhoorn said. The suburb is less than 15 miles southwest of Amsterdam.
Eenhoorn said that children were among the victims, but he could not confirm whether they were among the wounded or dead, or both.
"It's too terrible for words, a shock for us all," he said.
The gunman's identity was known and it was "all but certain" he acted alone, District Attorney Kitty Nooy said, but investigators were not yet ready to release his name or age. She said he was a native Dutchman from Alphen who has a criminal record. . . .
Although rare, shootings and violence are not unknown in the Netherlands. In 1999, four students and a teacher were hurt in a school shooting and in 2004, a teacher was shot dead by a student.
There have also been two assassinations in the past decade, the 2002 killing of right wing politician Pim Fortuyn by an animal rights activist and the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by an Islamic extremist.
In 2009, a loner drove his car into a group of bystanders during a royal parade, killing eight and wounding 10.
Gun permits are difficult to obtain, but illegal automatic weapons and ammunition are frequently seized during drug busts.
Two people were killed in Alphen in a drug-related shooting several weeks ago. Nooy said investigators do not believe the incidents are linked. She said investigators were trying to trace the gun or guns used in the attack. . . .

Twelve Dead After Gunman Opens Fire at Brazil Elementary School April 07, 2011

A gunman roamed the halls of an elementary school in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday and killed 12 children, lining them up against a wall and shooting them in the head at point-blank range as he shouted, "I'm going to kill you all!"
It was the worst school shooting in Brazil -- and would have been deadlier if the gunman had not been shot in the legs by a police officer, who said the man then fell down some stairs and shot himself in the head.
Images taken with a cell phone and posted on YouTube showed students fleeing wildly, screaming for help, many with their white and blue school shirts soaked in blood.
Rio de Janeiro state's Secretariat of Health and Civil Defense said in a statement on its website that at least 12 other students were injured, many by gunfire, and taken to hospitals. At least two were in grave condition. Officials earlier reported 18 injured. . . .

British submarine shooting 'sparked by shore leave dispute' April 09, 2011

BRITISH Defence officials are investigating the cause of a deadly gun rampage on a nuclear submarine, with reports suggesting the shooting may have been caused by a dispute over shore leave or the use of a toilet.
A British seaman shot dead an officer and seriously injured another with an automatic assault rifle in the control room of the HMS Astute, an advanced nuclear submarine, while civic dignitaries were visiting yesterday.
The Sun newspaper said the sailor, which it named as Ryan Donovan, may have snapped when desperate requests for shore leave were rejected by officers due to crew shortages. He was arrested on suspicion of murder.
The 22-year-old rap music fan had been back in the port of Southampton for just two days following a 46-day exercise in the Irish Sea, and was distressed when told he could not take the seven weeks of leave he was due and would instead spend another month at sea starting Monday. . . .

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The regulatory costs of doing business

Apple Inc has created a huge amount of wealth for society. But government bureaucrats think that they know best how things should be run.

But Apple’s aggressive exploitation of its immensely popular iPhone, iPad and sprawling online marketplace for music and digital applications has raised the eyebrows of regulators and lawmakers, who worry the company’s dominance might stifle competition. . . .

Such complaints are leading Apple to become more engaged in Washington. Since its dramatic growth began in 2003 — the value of its shares has skyrocketed to more than $300 billion from $2.5 billion — the Cupertino, Calif., company has more than tripled its federal lobbying expenses to $1.6 million last year.

In February, the company boosted its forces by hiring the high-powered Washington lobbying firm of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. And Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs has met with President Obama twice in the last five months, unusual forays into the political arena for the company’s co-founder. Those moves help Apple make its case to policymakers and regulators on issues that affect it, as well as help the company learn about potential problems and pending legislation before they become public. Still, Apple remains a surprisingly small-time player inside the Beltway. . . .

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Long Island Serial Killer Adept at Using Technology

There is a real limit to the technology used to catch criminals when the criminals know how it works.

A series of taunting phone calls made to the teenage sister of one of the victims — calls that the police suspect came from the killer — were made from in or around some of the most crowded locations in New York City, including Madison Square Garden and Times Square, according to the people briefed on the case and to the mother of Melissa Barthelemy, that victim.

The locations, detectives say, were probably chosen because they allowed the caller to blend into crowds, so that if investigators pinpointed his location from the cellphone’s signal, they would be unable to pick him out of the crowd using any nearby surveillance cameras, one of the people said.

This fact, as well as the killer’s use of disposable cellphones to contact the four victims who have been identified — women in their 20s who advertised their services on Craigslist — suggested to some investigators that the killer was well versed in criminal investigative techniques, gleaned either through personal experience or in some other way, and could even be in law enforcement himself.

“He is a guy who is aware of how we utilize technology,” one investigator said. “Frankly, people are thinking maybe he could be a cop” — either one still in law enforcement or one who has moved on. . . .

Also, the caller kept each of his vulgar, mocking and insulting calls to less than three minutes, according to the dead woman’s mother, Lynn Barthelemy. The caller made about a half-dozen calls over roughly five weeks to the victim’s sister.

One investigator said the brief duration of the calls thwarted efforts by the New York Police Department to use the signal to pinpoint the caller’s location and find him, something Lynn Barthelemy said they told her they tried to do four times. . . .


Fox News' Carl Cameron on why the Republicans "won" the budget debate

The article at Fox News is available here.

While Republicans wanted to cut more spending in Saturday's early morning compromise to keep the government open, they think they got the better of the deal. . . .
The history of offers on this bill goes something like this. Democrats first offered no cuts, then $4 billion, then $6.5 billion, then $33 billion, then settled at $38.5 billion.
Boehner made numerous adjustments to his offer in recent days too, but started at $32 billion, then with a Tea Party push went to $62 billion, then dropped to $40 billion, then $38.5 billion.
Democrats claimed they met Republicans halfway after the $10 billion in cuts that already passed this year were approved. They settled late Friday night at three and a half times more.
Boehner came in $8.5 billion higher than the halfway point between his high offer of $61 billion in cuts and the Democrats opening bid of zero cuts.
It was not a totally lopsided bargain. Dems have some silver linings. There were no votes on defunding the EPA or PBS and NPR. Democrats fought for and won a $2 billion cut from the Department of Defense, knocking the military appropriation for the rest of the year down to $513 billion.
But the GOP had to be able to see this as a win in the end, because it is puny compared to what they want to do next.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's 2012 budget resolution proposes cuts of $5 TRILLION in the next 10 yrs. . . .


Stay away from the Nutty Birther Claims, Why Republicans should stay away from Trump

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Partial Transcript

Trump: He doesn't have a birth certificate or he hasn't shown it. he has what's called a certificate of live birth and that's different f. you look at it, it's not even signed by anybody. doesn't have a serial number.

Reporter: the certificate of live birth does have a serial number and a stamped signature and hawaiian officials say it carries the weight of law. if one of your parents is an american citizen you could get a certificate of live birth in hawaii even if the child wasn't born there but this document states obama was born in honolulu and a hawaiian official say original records verify the president was born there. and there is a birth announcement nine days after president obama was born, information the paper says would have come from the hospital.

Trump: his grandmother in kenya said he was born in kenya.

Reporter: that's based on a recording of a 2008 interview with obama's elderly grandmother conducted through a translator. initially the translator said she was present for her grandson's birth.

Translator: Yes, they say that yes she was. She was present when President Obama was born.

Reporter: Listen and the answer changes. When the interviewer says that he wants to visit the hospital in Kenya where Obama was born he's repeatedly corrected saying Obama was born in America.

Interviewer: I thought that he was born in Kenya.

Relative: No. He was born in America. Not in Mombasa.


Arizona legislature passes limited concealed carry on campus law

From the Christian Science Monitor:

The latest attempt to expand gun owners’ rights in Arizona – by allowing them to carry their weapons on public college campuses – is now up to Gov. Jan Brewer.

On Thursday, Senate Bill 1467, which had already cleared the Senate, passed in the House 33 to 24. It would allow people to carry their guns when walking or driving through campuses on public streets and sidewalks. The bill was narrowed from its original version, which would have allowed guns in campus buildings as well. . . .

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Vote Being Investigated

It is good news that the Waukesha County tabulation error is going to be properly investigated. Reuters has this:

Michael Haas, Government Accountability Board staff attorney, told Reuters on Friday the watchdog agency was looking into vote tabulation errors in Republican-leaning Waukesha County which gave the conservative incumbent a net gain of more than 7,000 votes -- a lead his union-backed challenger seems unlikely to surmount.

"We're going to do a review of the procedures and the records in Waukesha before we certify the statewide results," Haas said.

"It's not that we necessarily expect to find anything criminal. But we want to make sure the public has confidence in the results." . . .

But what isn't mentioned in the news stories is that all six member of the board have been appointed by the previous Democrat Governor. This is important for getting over the anger that many Democrats feel over having lost the vote.

The Government Accountability Board is overseen by six board members. All of them were appointed by former Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat. . . .


Four California Legislators allowed to carry concealed handguns in State Capitol

Well, it is good to see that even the California state Legislature recognizes the need of politicians to protect themselves.

Assembly Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Ronald Pane has given four legislators permission to carry concealed weapons in the state Capitol, according to two senior Senate staff members who have been informed of the decision.

State law prohibits carrying loaded firearms and deadly weapons in public buildings, except under limited conditions. A 2010 bill by Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, tightened the law, requiring that most holders of concealed weapons permits or other gun licenses get permission from the sergeants-at-arms of the state Assembly or the state Senate in order to bring their gun in the Capitol or legislative office buildings. Peace officers are exempt from the restrictions. . . .

Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link.


What is in the Budget Deal

WIth the budget shutdown averted, the question is what was the result of all the bargaining. DC's school voucher program is being revived and reauthorized for at least the next five years. I have seen claims of $38 and $39 billion in cuts. Here is a rather telling take from a liberal at the Washington Post:

So how’d he do it?

As I’ve reported, Negotiation 101 tells us that a good negotiator gets the other side to “buy” something your own side doesn’t care all that much about. You keep two issues open and trade them off at the end.

Boehner did have something going for him: a completely incompetent White House. The errors include never having an alternative short-term continuing resolution on the table (letting the GOP’s short-term CR be the only “stop the shutdown” document out there for two days); not stepping in to signal that the troops would be paid in some fashion; issuing an incomprehensible veto threat with no alternative; overestimating Boehner’s need to get the Planned Parenthood rider; and underestimating Boehner’s ability to make this about the most popular issue (cutting the deficit). These major White House errors compounded the error of never getting a 2011 budget done when there were large Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. . . .

I imagine the Democratic base will be enraged, and liberals should be. They control the Senate and the White House and gave away the store. It doesn’t augur well for them in 2012 budget negotiations, does it? . . .

If this isn’t a rout I don’t know what is.

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Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY): "Now they’re here to kill women.”

Democrat compares Republicans to Nazi and says that they want to kill women. Is this a reasonable dialogue? Will the media give this representative 1/100th the trouble that they would give any Republican? But what Republican member of congress has said anything nearly as bad? Will any major media cover this?

Rep. Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat, compared Republican efforts to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business to actions taken by the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II.

“This is probably one of the worst times we’ve seen because the numbers of people elected to Congress. I went through this as co-chair of the arts caucus,” Slaughter said, according to a CNS News report. ”In ’94 people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.”

Slaughter’s focus is also the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill that would apply to every federal program and department to ensure that pro-life advocates don’t have to pass several pro-life riders annually to ensure various parts of the federal government don’t fund abortions with taxpayer dollars. Slaughter made the false charge that the bill forces women to prove they were raped or a victim of incest to qualify for a publicly-funded abortion under the rare exceptions in the bill.

“You are allowed to have an abortion if you have been raped or it’s a matter of incest,” said Slaughter. “However, you have to keep a receipt. Did you know that? It’s sort of like an old German Nazi movie. Show me your papers!” . . .


Woman pushing to end gun-free zones on college campuses in Nevada

Claudia Cowan has done an interesting piece here (a write up on it is available here).

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So what does the Prosser vote mean for the Wisconsin State Senate Recalls in Wisconsin

The important point for these recalls is that a politician in Wisconsin has to be in office of at least a year before he can be recalled. Given that 2006 and 2008 were strong Democratic years in Wisconsin, the Republicans facing a recall were politicians who had survived those tough elections. The reverse is true for the Democrats facing recalls. They got in on previously strong Democratic years. I wonder if Democrats are going to regret these recall votes. Personally, I hope that the Democrats get recall petitions filed against all the Republicans that they want to go after because on election night they will have a longer string of defeats and it will hurt their message even if they win one or two races.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has this discussion here:

. . . . As close as the race was statewide, most of the targeted Republican senators - including Hopper - represent counties where the majority voted for Justice David Prosser, favored by conservatives, over Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, favored by liberals. Many saw the Supreme Court race as a proxy referendum over Walker's budget proposals; the presumption was that voting would be similar in the recall races if they come to pass. . . .

But Scott Dillman, one of the coordinators of the Hopper recall effort, said that despite Prosser's victories in Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties (with 52% and 61% of the vote, respectively, according to Associated Press figures), Hopper has his own problems that make him vulnerable to an electoral defeat.

One would be the anger of many of the prison guards in his district, hundreds of whom volunteered to help collect recall signatures, over the limitations on union bargaining pushed by Republicans. . . .

Hopper issued a statement:

"I will continue to work hard on behalf of taxpayers and middle class families who understand the status quo in Madison is keeping Wisconsin from creating the jobs that make our families and communities stronger. . . . 

"I'm confident the voters of the 18th Senate District will support our goal to make Wisconsin a place in which businesses and middle class families can grow and prosper together." . . .

At least one other recall campaign - the one against Sen. Robert Wirch, a Democrat from Pleasant Prairie - is on the verge of filing signatures, its chairman, Dan Hunt, has said.

For the record, Prosser got 47% of the vote in Kenosha County, which makes up most of Wirch's district, according to AP figures from election night.

Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) continues to appear the most vulnerable to recall among the Republican senators - all three of the main counties in his district went convincingly for Kloppenburg. Signatures to recall him were filed with the state April 1.

Still vulnerable on the Democratic side: Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover - all but one of the 11 counties in his district went for Prosser. Kim Simac, the Eagle River businesswoman and tea party activist who's running the recall campaign, said, "That should be troubling for Sen. Holperin."

She said her effort to gather 15,690 signatures to recall Holperin is "looking good," but admitted, "it's not over the mark yet." The deadline is April 23.

The two counties that make up most of the district of Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) returned margins for Prosser of just over 50%. Democrats have targeted her district with more spending than in any other district.

Republicans Robert Cowles of Green Bay and Luther Olsen of Ripon saw most of their counties go for Prosser in margins from the mid-50s to more than 60% of the votes.

Democrat Dave Hansen of Green Bay saw 57% voting for Prosser in Oconto County and 55% in Brown County. Recall organizer David Vander Leest said Thursday that the campaign is close to having enough signatures to deliver to Madison.

Republicans Glenn Grothman of West Bend and Mary Lazich of New Berlin, and Democrats Fred Risser of Madison, Spencer Coggs and Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, and Mark Miller of Monona all seem safe from a possible recall defeat. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) seems relatively safe, with Prosser gaining more than 40% of the vote in her main counties. Plus, Scott Noble, who's been collecting signatures in Lassa's district, said his effort is not going as fast as he expected. . . .

UPDATE: On Sunday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has this:

Last week, Democrats filed their first petition to try to recall a GOP senator who supported Gov. Scott Walker's law, which eliminated collective bargaining for most public employees.
Sen. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse represents a Democratic-leaning district in western Wisconsin. Two other Republican senators and three Democrats also face probable recall elections. . . .
On the Democratic side, Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover looks the most vulnerable. Holperin survived a previous recall election in 1990, when he was in the state Assembly.
Collective bargaining "is a divisive issue, and it did not come up in my campaign in 2008 and did not come up in any previous campaign," said Holperin, one of 14 Democrats who fled the state for three weeks to delay a vote on Walker's bill. "If that turns out to be the issue ... then I don't know what could happen."
Mike Tate, chairman of the state Democratic Party, acknowledged that Holperin is in a competitive district, but said he expects him to survive any recall. . . .


Senate Dems not very thrilled with Obama White House

From Politico:

At meeting after meeting, Senate Democrats have berated Obama’s lack of personal intervention in the budget negotiations, senators say . . .

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"Illinois Supreme Court says people permitted to carry guns in other states may transport them here without an Illinois license"

From the Peoria Journal Star:

The Illinois Supreme Court says people permitted to carry guns in other states may transport them here without an Illinois license.
The court ruled unanimously Thursday in the case of an Indiana resident who was arrested in May 2005 with a gun in a closed backseat armrest of his car.
Leonard Holmes was charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of weapon because he lacked a Firearm Owners Identification card and didn't have the gun in a case.
Holmes had a permit to carry a concealed firearm in Indiana, and the court held that Illinois law does not require a FOID card too. . . .

Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link.



UPDATE: About 8,000 votes found for David Prosser in canvassing of Wisconsin Supreme Court race

Total pick ups so far for Prosser
Winnebago 244
Waukesha 200
Milwaukee 12
Total 456 at 5:58 PM EDT
UPDATE: NRO reports that the entire City of Brookfield was left out of the totals for heavily Republican Waukesha County. If so, that would give Prosser a net pick up of 7,381 votes. Placing the vote safely in Prosser's column. Note that Waukesha County is a heavily Republican county originally giving Prosser 73% of the vote and 27% for Kloppenburg. There is no evidence that the city of Brookfield had been included in the original results, but that it had simply been left out of the original totals. It isn't like 10,000 ballots simply being discovered uncounted after all the other votes have been turned in (think Seattle). Still a careful investigation should take place. Democrats are screaming:

Kloppenburg supporters reacted with alarm, pointing out that Nickolaus had worked in the Assembly Republican caucus during the time that Prosser, a former Republican lawmaker, served as the Assembly speaker and that Nickolaus also had faced questions about her handling of elections as clerk.

"Wisconsin voters as well as the Kloppenburg (campaign) deserve a full explanation of how and why these 14,000 votes from an entire city were missed. To that end, we will be filing open records requests for all relevant documentation related to the reporting of election results in Waukesha County, as well as to the discovery and reporting of the errors announced by the county," Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said in a statement.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) raised the possibility of an independent investigation over the recovery of the votes. . . .

The Daily Kos has figured out that the Republican conspiracy needed to make up exactly 7,500 votes to prevent a recount.

In WI, an automatic recount at state-expense is triggered if an election is within .5%, and we have a fully verifiable paper trail to audit election results. That means in this election with approximately 740k for Kloppenburg and 739k for Prosser, the vote gets recounted at state-expense if the election is within ~7400 votes.

So the last 2 days the WI-GOP has been scrambling trying to figure out how they can still get Prosser into office. What was the result of their brain-storming? Add a few extra votes in a friendly area (Waukesha), and call it a clerical error. But in order to steal the election, they NEED to be able to keep a recount from occurring, because a recount would expose their attempted fraud to the light of day. . . .

It is NOT a coincidence that Prosser didn't get +300 votes or +1000, it had to be +7500 or more in order for the fraud to work. +7400 just wouldn't have been enough. . . .

Apparently the AP missed some votes in its total. Note that Winnebago is a very closely divided county that was originally divided 52% for Prosser and 48% for Kloppenburg.

The latest vote count in the state Supreme Court race in Winnebago County indicates incumbent David Prosser is leading Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in votes.

A tally compiled by The Associated Press Wednesday and used by news organizations statewide, including the Journal Sentinel, indicated Kloppenburg was leading the race by 204 votes. Figures on Winnebago County's website are now different from those collected by the AP.

Winnebago County's numbers say Prosser received 20,701 votes to Kloppenburg's 18,887. The AP has 19,991 for Prosser to Kloppenburg's 18,421.

The new numbers would give Prosser 244 more votes, or a 40-vote lead statewide.

An editor at the AP said the news service became aware of the discrepancy in the past hour. The AP last checked figures with Winnebago County at 10:14 a.m. Wednesday, according to the AP. The county adjusted its figures at 2:27 p.m. . . .

Now information is coming in from Waukesha County. Note that Waukesha is a heavily Republican county that was originally divided 73% for Prosser and 27% for Kloppenburg. This county change seems believable since otherwise it would have made what was an extremely reliable Ward go Democratic.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is expected to have an announcement shortly about the outcome of voting in Waukesha County.

The county's board of canvassers just met. It was earlier reported that David Prosser picked up 200 votes in New Berlin after a clerical error was discovered, according to Pat Karcher, a member of the board of canvassers in Waukesha County. Karcher spoke during a break in the canvassers meeting. The error occurred in Ward 12, where a vote for Prosser was reported as 37 but the tape revealed 237 votes for Prosser.

The Milwaukee changes seems to have come about from an observant freelance journalist.

Prosser picks up 12 votes in Milwaukee
e-mail print By Larry Sandler of the Journal Sentinel
April 7, 2011 4:26 p.m. |(20) COMMENTS

State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser picked up a net 12 votes in Milwaukee from revised results released Thursday.

The city Election Commission said election-night totals were incorrectly reported for two far south side wards. In Wards 223 and 225, both of which voted at the city's Anderson water tower building, 4001 S. 6th St., the election-night totals included only absentee ballots, not votes actually cast on election day, the commission said in a news release.

Revised totals for the Supreme Court race added 439 votes for Prosser and 427 votes for his opponent, Assistant Attorney JoAnne Kloppenburg. Although that would ordinarily be a small change in a statewide race, any change is potentially significant when the race is this close.

Kloppenburg ended the initial count 204 votes ahead of Prosser. But the lead is shifting to the incumbent as municipalities and counties double-check their counts through the canvassing process. And once that process ends, either side could ask for a full-scale recount.

The city was in the canvassing process when freelance journalist Michael Horne pointed out the discrepancy in the two wards' vote counts, the commission said. . .


Estimates of cost of Libya war excluding important costs

From the WT (Thursday, April 7, 2011):

A Democratic lawmaker said Thursday that the White House is “dramatically underestimating” the cost of the nation’s military involvement in Libya by relying on misleading accounting.

“That effort is costing us billions a week,” Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat and a certified public accountant, said in his opening remarks at a House Foreign Relations Committee . . . .

Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates testified that the nation’s initial involvement in establishing a no-fly zone over the skies of Libya carried a $550 million price tag and that the cost going forward would be about $40 million a month. . . .

But Mr. Sherman on Thursday said the estimates are based on what’s known as “marginal-cost accounting,” which doesn’t include costs for things such as overhead from the development of the weapons systems and equipment being used, or the salaries of the people involved in the effort.

“We need to use full-cost accounting,” Mr. Sherman said. . . .


Unemployment insurance for furloughed Federal government workers?

Given how all the DC has benefited from the huge increase in Federal government spending, it would be nice to think that there is some cosmic payback. In any case, the bottom line is that these Federal workers are likely to be OK.

In the event of a government shutdown, some 800,000 federal employees who are furloughed without pay may collect unemployment insurance.
Government workers are covered under the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees Program, which is funded by the federal government, but administered by the states.
Generally, unemployment claims are filed in the place where you work, not where you live. The states are reimbursed by the federal government for the funds they pay out.
The Washington, DC, area would likely feel the brunt of a shutdown. The U.S. Department of Labor told Virginia that 171,000 workers in the state could be eligible. Maryland has 252,000 federal workers in the state.
Maryland and Virginia are preparing for a shutdown; their state labor departments plan to post information on their websites tomorrow, if there is a shutdown, with instructions for workers on how to file. . . .


Democrats claim that government shutdown will "Devastate Economy"

When you include the Post Office and the military it seems like 80 percent of Federal government employees will still be on the job during a shutdown. The history of these budget shutdowns doesn't show any real damage to the economy. This is from the left wing Huffington Post:

. . . If lawmakers don't reach an agreement to fund the government by Friday, an array of programs will shut down. The freeze, if it lasts for several weeks, could wound Americans' confidence enough to tip the economy into recession, Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said last week.

But even that scenario wouldn't be as damaging as if the government defaulted on its debt, a consequence that could come sometime in the next several months if lawmakers, locked in a political stalemate, fail to increase the federal debt limit.

A government shutdown has the potential to cause a recession if it lasts long enough, experts say. A default would likely ravage the economy almost immediately. Both could be caused by gridlock in Congress.

"It would be a big, big, big deal" if the United States defaulted on its debt, said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, a financial and economic analysis firm. "It could mean the collapse of the dollar. People would run away from the U.S."

"That's playing with fire," he added.

At stake is the ability of the United States government -- and indeed of all of its citizens -- to borrow money cheaply, something Americans have long taken for granted as an essential feature of their first-world economy. If interest rates rise high enough, the economy essentially grinds to a halt. . . .

The ultimate irony is that now Democrats won't extend the deadline for a shutdown.

Obama threatens to veto GOP budget extension plan

House Republicans advanced legislation Thursday to avoid a government shutdown for one more week, cut spending and fully fund the Pentagon, but the White House labeled the measure a distraction and said President Barack Obama would veto it.
Obama said in a statement he believes "we need to put politics aside and work out our differences" on a spending plan that covers the government through September, when the current budget year ends.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, quickly countered with a statement saying he was "confident that those Democrats who believe it is important to fund our troops and make real spending cuts will prevail upon Senator Reid and our commander in chief to keep the government from shutting down." . . .

Apparently, Obama doesn't believe that the military should keep getting paychecks.

From the WT:

The White House has vowed to veto the short-term spending bill House Republicans will vote on this afternoon, taking away the safety net that could have given both sides another week to avert an immediate government shutdown.

Without a short-term extension, the options would be narrowed to either a broad successful deal or a shutdown as of midnight Friday.

“If presented with this bill, the president will veto it,” the White House said in an official statement of policy.

The House bill would extend the shutdown deadline by another week, to April 15, while funding defense needs for the rest of this year so that troops’ paychecks would not be endangered by a shutdown.

Meanwhile, negotiations on a broader year-long bill appeared to be foundering.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday morning said it now “looks like it’s headed in that direction” when current funding runs out at midnight Friday.

Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, met for 90 minutes late Wednesday with Mr. Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, as they tried to work out a last-minute agreement to avert a shutdown, and Mr. Reid said he was optimistic after that meeting.

But just 11 hours later, he said that optimism had faded as the two sides have deadlocked over legislative add-ons, known as “policy riders,” such as restricting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and halting environmental rules.

“The only thing — only thing — holding up agreement is ideology,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor.

Mr. Reid objects to the inclusion of any major policy riders. But House Republicans included many of them in the year-long funding bill they passed in February that also cut $61 billion from 2010 spending levels. . . .

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Dirty Tricks in Wisconsin State Supreme Court Race?

Wisconsin City Caught Destroying Ballots?

there may have been voter fraud in the nonpartisan State Supreme Court election yesterday between incumbent David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg. For some reason one of the counties in the state is destroying ballots that 'were not counted' yesterday. Apparently this is a very bizarre and egregious move. . . .

UPDATE: Apparently the AP missed some votes in its total. Note that Winnebago is a very closely divided county that was originally divided 52% for Prosser and 48% for Kloppenburg.

The latest vote count in the state Supreme Court race in Winnebago County indicates incumbent David Prosser is leading Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in votes.

A tally compiled by The Associated Press Wednesday and used by news organizations statewide, including the Journal Sentinel, indicated Kloppenburg was leading the race by 204 votes. Figures on Winnebago County's website are now different from those collected by the AP.

Winnebago County's numbers say Prosser received 20,701 votes to Kloppenburg's 18,887. The AP has 19,991 for Prosser to Kloppenburg's 18,421.

The new numbers would give Prosser 244 more votes, or a 40-vote lead statewide.

An editor at the AP said the news service became aware of the discrepancy in the past hour. The AP last checked figures with Winnebago County at 10:14 a.m. Wednesday, according to the AP. The county adjusted its figures at 2:27 p.m. . . .

John Fund at the WSJ has this:

That backing is based on real evidence. In 2004, John Kerry won Wisconsin over George W. Bush by 11,380 votes out of 2.5 million cast. After allegations of fraud surfaced, the Milwaukee police department's Special Investigative Unit conducted a probe. Its February 2008 report found that from 4,600 to 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted more than once.

Much of the problem resulted from Wisconsin's same-day voter law, which allows anyone to show up at the polls, register and then cast a ballot. ID requirements are minimal. The report found that in 2004 a total of 1,305 "same day" voters were invalid. . . .



Most Americans Oppose Increasing Debt Limit

Surprisingly, only a quarter of voters support increasing the debt limit.

American voters would rather shut down the government than raise the debt limit, even though most believe a shutdown would have a dramatic effect on everyday Americans.
A Fox News poll released Wednesday asked voters to imagine being a lawmaker in Washington who had to decide whether to increase the debt ceiling. The poll found 62 percent would vote against raising it -- even at the risk of shutting down the government.
About one-in-four voters (26 percent) would raise the limit to allow the government to spend more.
Looking at views by political party, Republicans would overwhelmingly vote against raising the debt ceiling (79 percent). So would a majority of independents (62 percent). Democrats, however, split more evenly: 42 percent would vote to raise the limit and 46 percent would vote against it.
Is shutting down the government a big deal? A 58 percent majority thinks a government shutdown would have a dramatic effect on the lives of everyday Americans, while 34 percent think it’s more of a technical issue that lacks real consequences. . . .


Indiana passes guns in parked cars bill

Indiana advances bill to fix reactions to previous gun in parking lot bill.

Last year, the Indiana General Assembly approved a bill that ensures workers can keep guns in their vehicles while parked on an employer's property.

This year, the legislature has passed a measure that builds on that by prohibiting employers from asking their workers about any firearms they might be storing in their vehicles.

The state House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 80-17 in favor of Senate Bill 411. Its next destination is Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk to be signed into law.

The bill approved last year was intended to prevent employers from banning firearms from their parking lots, where workers might want to use their vehicles to store legally licensed guns for hunting or self-defense.

"Since that bill has passed, we've had some Indiana employers begin to place onerous requirements on both employees and prospective employees," said Rep. Sean Eberhart, a Shelbyville Republican who sponsored S.B. 411 in the House.

Eberhart said some companies have asked workers to provide information about firearms and ammunition they own, and required them to park in separate lots. . . .


"Washington Post and CBS receiving money from Obamacare"

As the government gets larger it becomes harder and harder for the media to separate itself from what it covers.

Two mainstream news organizations are receiving hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from Obamacare’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) — a $5 billion grant program that’s doling out cash to companies, states and labor unions in what the Obama administration considers an effort to pay for health insurance for early retirees. The Washington Post Company raked in $573,217 in taxpayer subsidies and CBS Corporation secured $722,388 worth of Americans’ money.

“It is fine with me if they continue covering the ObamaCare debate,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, in an e-mail to The Daily Caller. “When NBC used to cover energy issues, they identified themselves as a subsidiary of General Electric. CBS and Washington Post just have to disclose that they are subsidiaries of the Obama Administration.” . . .

Thanks to AJ Troglio for this link.


Copy of Rep. Paul Ryan's Budget Proposal

A copy of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal is available here: "The Path to Prosperity."


So what constitutes a campaign contribution?

Mark Zuckerberg is a big Obama backer. Facebook is going to host a forum for Obama to take questions from Facebook users. I have no problem with Facebook doing this, but will Facebook do this for all the Republican candidates? Facebook is supposedly going to select questions to forward to Obama. Will they select questions in the same way if a Republican candidate holds a forum on Facebook?

Hoping to grab some high-tech luster and begin filling the campaign war chest he'll need in 2012, President Barack Obama will visit Facebook this month for an online town hall event with CEO Mark Zuckerberg before going to San Francisco for a series of pricey fundraisers, including a $35,800-a-plate dinner hosted by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff.
Obama, who announced Monday he would seek re-election, is using the two-day visit to Silicon Valley and San Francisco as an initial lap of the 2012 presidential campaign. He is expected to return to the Bay Area multiple times before the election.
Facebook and the White House jointly announced Tuesday that Obama will visit the Palo Alto headquarters of the social network on April 20, where the president will hold a special "Facebook town hall" event that will stream live over Facebook and the White House website, starting at 1:45 p.m. Zuckerberg and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will moderate and sit onstage with the president, in front of an audience of about 1,000 Facebook employees, small-business leaders and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. . . .


Should taxpayer dollars be used to send political messages?: The Obama administration sure seems to think that is the case

Why should some taxpayers be forced to support the political beliefs of others? Maine Gov. Paul LePage didn't think that they should so he removed a mural in one of the state office buildings. Apparently, once you put up a mural paid for with Federal government money you are stuck with it.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who ignited a storm of protest by removing a labor-themed mural from a state office building last month, is now facing demands from the U.S. Department of Labor to restore the artwork or repay the $60,000 federal grant used to create it.
In a letter to LePage on Monday and obtained by FoxNews.com, the department said the Republican governor violated the terms of federal laws governing money used to pay for most of the mural's price tag when he removed it over concerns about the message it sent.
Gay Gilbert, administrator of the U.S. Labor Department's office of unemployment insurance, said LePage would have to return the money to the unemployment trust fund states use to pay jobless benefits. The federal government manages the funds, which are financed through unemployment insurance taxes that employers pay. . . .

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The coming battle over the debt-ceiling limit

People are focuses on the government shutdown, but that will only be a precursor of the battle over the debt-ceiling limit. The limit will be hit between April 15th and May 16th. Kevin Hassett writes this:

. . . For those following at home, here is a rough sketch of how the game will likely play out.
The Federal Reserve, as fiscal agent for the U.S. Treasury, manages payments so long as the Treasury's account has a positive balance. If the Treasury hits the debt ceiling, it can continue to make payments until its bank account at the Fed empties. Once the account hits zero, payment stops: no interest payments, no Social Security checks, no subsidies to National Public Radio.
Even if Geithner is correct and the debt-ceiling limit is hit at the end of March, he has a few games that he can play to delay a default by slowing the net withdrawal of funds. He can tinker with government pension finances, draw on funds that are available to stabilize foreign-exchange markets, or possibly even shuffle gold reserves around.
The April 15 tax-filing deadline, with its influx of money to Washington, also could help the Obama administration delay the inevitable.

Accounting for all such possible maneuvers, it could be that the witching hour for default won't arrive until the end of June.
So to review: The U.S. may declare it has reached its borrowing limit at the end of March but not run out of money until the end of June. That gives Republicans three months – plenty of time – to appear to be standing up to Obama without actually forcing a default.
If Obama vetoes a bill raising the debt ceiling because he can't countenance its required spending cuts, let him defend that position. The same goes for the Democratic Senate, if it won't pass a bill from the House. It would be hard to pin the blame on Republicans as we inch toward financial disaster.
As June wears on, both sides will have to get serious in order to stave off default, and here is where House Speaker John Boehner holds all the cards.
He promised during the 2010 campaign that Republicans would cut spending by $100 billion. It's surprisingly easy to accomplish that, and voters will blame Democrats if government can't.
While Democrats may have an articulate president pressing all sorts of alarm bells, Republicans will enjoy something more potent: an actual mandate. Spending will get cut, and the debt ceiling will be lifted.
You can take that to the bank.


Just a reminder about DC and Chicago's crime rate changes after the Supreme Court decisions

Note on DC and Chicago's crime rates after their Supreme Court decisions.

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My Newest Post at BigGovernment: "Media Matters’ Potentially Lethal Distortions on Guns"

My piece starts this way:

Everyone wants to keep guns away from criminals, but gun control advocates, such as Media Matters, don’t want to acknowledge that there are costs to disarming law-abiding citizens. Lately Media Matters has particularly been incensed that anyone would point out that the vast majority of denials from Brady Act background checks involve so-called “false positives” — law-abiding citizens incorrectly being identified as banned individuals.

Media Matters claims that all those stopped by the background checks from buying guns are prohibited individuals, that no mistakes are made by the government. And Media Matters is willing to engage in any amount of name calling and fraudulent photos to attack those who question their claims.

There are several things to understand about how the Brady Law background check process works. At gun stores or other registered dealers, would-be buyers have to fill out a form asking whether there are any criminal convictions or types of mental illness that would prevent them from legally purchasing the weapon. Falsely answering these questions amounts to perjury. If someone answers the question by saying that they have a background that prohibits them from buying, a gun dealers stop right there and do not even process those forms. And if someone is believed to have knowingly provided false information on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) form and prosecutors believe that they can prove that knowingly false information was provided, the would-be buyer faces prosecution. . . .

The piece has also be posted over at BigJournalism where it is the featured article, and the comments there are available here.

UPDATE: After getting caught redhanded, Media Matters' defense is that the just didn't realize that somehow they had posted a doctored picture. Media Matters claims to be an expert on the most minute details of my life, including frequent visits to my website where there is a picture of me, but at the same time they claim they had no idea what I really looked like and thus they blame an unnamed someone else for having doctored my picture without their knowledge.

Media Matters claims that "Lott offers nothing to back up that assertion" that they will falsify photographic information. They have just been caught using a photograph of me multiple times that edited the color of my hair, skin, and clothes and distorting my hair. But heck they now claim that they didn't really know what I looked like. Media Matters instead tries reiterating their earlier claim that they hadn't altered one of my quotes after getting caught doing that also. Now they claim they didn't know what I looked like when they use a doctored photo of me, and they say it is fixed anyway because they have changed the picture. Sorry, but changing the photo after you have been caught doesn't undo what was done to begin with. For a website that has made it impossible for me to respond on their website to their many false claims, it isn't too surprising to see the way that Media Matters tries to extricate themselves from these false claims when they are caught.

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My Newest Fox News piece: "Paul Ryan Is Right About the Budget -- Americans Cannot Afford Another Decade of Massive Government Spending"

Please leave comments and click the "recommended" link at the Fox News website. My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

The deficit is a spending problem. That's the simple truth. If federal government spending after President Clinton's last budget had simply grown fast enough to keep up with inflation and the growth in population, the 2012 budget would be running over a $70 billion surplus. Instead, federal expenditures more than doubled from $1.86 to $3.82 trillion in the ten years from 2001 to 2011, causing this year’s enormous $1.65 trillion deficit.

During President Obama's first three years in office the government's deficits are adding up to over $4.3 trillion. And there is no let up in sight. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the President Obama's budget plans will add another $10.4 trillion in deficits over the next decade from 2012 to 2021.

Americans can't afford to ignore this problem. The pricetag for that expected addition to the federal debt over the next decade comes to over $134,000 for a family of four. That doubles the debt the CBO expects that families will already face by the end of this year. . . .

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Something important to remember, "No Shutdown during a 'government shutdown.'"

With all the heated discussion about a possible shutdown, here is something to keep in mind.

Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. Furloughed federal workers probably would get paid, though not until later. And virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, would remain open.

That's the little-known truth about a government shutdown. The government doesn't shut down.

And it won't on March 5, even if the combatants on Capitol Hill can't resolve enough differences to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the government while they hash out legislation to cover the last seven months of the budget year.

Fewer than half of the 2.1 million federal workers subject to a shutdown would be forced off the job if the Obama administration followed the path taken by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And that's not counting 600,000 Postal Service employees or 1.6 million uniformed military personnel exempt from a shutdown.

So we're talking fewer than one in four federal workers staying at home. Many federal workers get paid on March 4, so it would take a two-week shutdown for them to see a delay in their paychecks.

The rules for who works and who doesn't date back to the early 1980s and haven't been significantly modified since. The Obama administration hasn't issued new guidance.

The air traffic control system, food inspection, Medicare, veterans' health care and many other essential government programs would run as usual. The Social Security Administration would not only send out benefits but would continue to take applications. The Postal Service, which is self-funded, would keep delivering the mail. Federal courts would remain open. . . .


Media Matters doctors my picture

Media Matters in a series of posts has doctored my picture.

See also here:

Given that Media Matters has no problem using a doctored picture of me (editing the color of my hair, skin, and clothes and distorting my hair) presumably because they presumably believe that it makes me look bad, it is surprising that even people such as Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong never question whether Media Matters will use doctored screen shots of webpages.
A response to Paul Krugman's other false claims is available here.
A response to the above post by Media Matters is available here.

UPDATE: After getting caught redhanded, Media Matters' defense is that the just didn't realize that somehow they had posted a doctored picture. Media Matters claims to be an expert on the most minute details of my life, including frequent visits to my website where there is a picture of me, but at the same time they claim they had no idea what I really looked like and thus they blame someone else for having doctored my picture without their knowledge.

Media Matters claims that "Lott offers nothing to back up that assertion" that they will falsify photographic information. They have just been caught using a photograph of me multiple times that edited the color of my hair, skin, and clothes and distorting my hair. But heck they now claim that they didn't really know what I looked like. Media Matters instead tries reiterating their earlier claim that they hadn't altered one of my quotes after getting caught doing that also. Now they claim they didn't know what I looked like when they use a doctored photo of me, and they say it is fixed anyway because they have changed the picture. Sorry, but changing the photo after you have been caught doesn't undo what was done to begin with. For a website that has made it impossible for me to respond on their website to their many false claims by disallowing me to post responses, it isn't too surprising to see the way that Media Matters tries to extricate themselves from these false claims when they are caught.

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How can Mayor Daley get guns so backwards?

Daley opposes permitted concealed handguns because of assassinations? How many permit holders have engaged in an assassination? This is like the notion of gun-free zones around politicians. You will end up with only bad guys near the politician.

Speaking out against the legislation, Daley invoked the assassination of Martin Luther King, Junior.

"We have learned nothing from that assassination. We have learned nothing that guns are killing another generation of young people. There have to be more people to stand up. Not those that have lost their loved ones, but anybody standing up on behalf of some child lost today or tomorrow or last week." . . .

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Obama's own 2012 revenue projections equal to what was spent in 2006

Click on the above picture to make it larger. Source: the White House. So was government really that small in 2006? If we could limit government spending to that level, the deficit this next year would be essentially zero, just $28 billion. If government was shrunk to what it was in 2007 (the last year that Republicans had control of Congress and the Presidency), the deficit next year would be reduced to about $101 billion.

There was less than $10 trillion in national debt when Obama became president. That is the total amount that the Federal government has piled up in debt since the country started. Today the deficit is over $14 trillion. Obama plans on increasing it by another $10.5 trillion over the next decade. Bush increased the debt by about $4 trillion. If you look at the six years up until Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House, there was an increase of about $3.2 trillion.


Democrats attack Republicans for protecting tax breaks for wealthy Companies?

It takes real chutzpa for Democrats to take this line.

Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, slammed Ryan's plan in a press release Sunday. "It is not courageous to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies and other big-money special interests while slashing our investment in education, ending the current health care guarantees for seniors on Medicare, and denying health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans," Van Hollen said. . . .

Remember this story about Obama and the Democrats giving huge payoffs to GE and other big companies?

Democrats don't seem to understand that across the board tax cuts are a lot different than the type of targeted benefits that they specialize in.


9/11 Co-Conspirators to be tried by Military Commission

Did Obama promise that Gitmo would be shutdown over a year ago? Where is the outrage and demonstrations from left over this policy reversal? These trials are supposed to take place in military tribunals in Gitmo. From Fox News:

A formal announcement is expected by Attorney General Eric Holder later in the day. The decision is a turn-around after Holder said in November 2009 that he had decided the conspirators -- Mohammed, Walid Muhammed Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, Ali Abdul-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Al Hawsawi -- should be prosecuted in civilian court. . . .


Private Education Tax Credits Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

This may not be the final decision on this question since it just dealt with the question of standing to bring the lawsuit, but it is still a big step in the right direction. It was another very narrowly decided decision that continues to show how the loss of one conservative or moderate justices will have a big impact.

. . . The justices, voting 5-4, today said opponents lacked “standing” to challenge the 14-year-old program, which gives tax credits for donations to organizations that provide private- school scholarships. The opponents faulted the program for relying on religious organizations that require their recipients to enroll in sectarian schools.

The ruling marks the second under Chief Justice John Roberts to insulate government programs from church-state challenges. The court in 2007 threw out a suit over then- President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives office.

The case split the court along familiar lines, with the court’s five Republican appointees -- Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito -- in the majority. . . .

The Arizona tax credit applies after taxpayers have computed how much they owe for the previous year. At that point individuals can send as much as $500 to so-called school tuition organizations, reducing their tax liability by the same amount.

The court ruled in 2002 that tax-funded school vouchers are constitutional so long as parents have a “genuine choice” not to send their children to religious schools. . . .

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Where people are downloading my papers from JSTOR

For the "% of readers by discipline," click on the slide to discover what they mean.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.


While Obama plans on increasing the deficit by $1.2 trillion, House Republicans looking at a cut of $4 trillion

After already adding trillions to the deficit Obama plans another $10 trillion over the next decade.

Federal debt held by the public would double under the President's budget, growing from $10.4 trillion (69 percent of GDP) at the end of 2011 to $20.8 trillion (87 percent of GDP) at the end of 2021. . . .

Of course, Obama's newest budget plans will increase debt by $1.2 trillion, not cut it by $1.1 trillion as the president claims. Republicans plan on offering a more than $4 trillion cut in spending. That still means a huge increase in debt, but it at least equals the amount offered by the President's Debt Commission.

WALLACE: Let's start with the big picture, President Obama's budget for 2012, for the next fiscal year that starts next October, calls for a five-year freeze on nondefense discretionary spending he says would save $400 billion. No addressing of entitlements. How is your budget different?
RYAN: His freeze locks in very high spending levels. It's really more of a floor to gain (ph) -- with 24 percent increase in discretionary spending. If we go to 2008 levels, we'd get another $400 billion on top of that over the next 10 years.
Nothing on entitlements. He does nothing to address the drivers of our debt. The public debt will double in his first term and triple by the end of his budget. He adds $13 trillion more to our debt.
He's punting on the budget and not doing a thing to prevent a debt crisis, which every single economist tells us is coming sooner rather than later in this country. We will address these issues.
WALLACE: All right, let's talk about your budget. Widely reported that your budget will cut spending by $2 trillion over the next decade. True?
RYAN: Well, it's more than that, quite a bit more than that.
WALLACE: Three trillion?
RYAN: More than that.
WALLACE: Four trillion?
RYAN: We're looking at more than that right now. We're fine- tuning our numbers with the Congressional Budget Office literally today, over the weekend. But we're going to be cutting a lot more than that. . . .

Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer keeps calling the tiny $61 billion in cuts that the House Republicans are calling for "extreme."

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer on Sunday stood by his characterization of the Tea Party movement as "extreme" -- though he was overheard on a conference call last week describing the term as a political talking point.
The New York senator, speaking on ABC's "This Week," reiterated his claim that the Tea Party is "standing in the way" of a compromise between Republicans and Democrats over a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.
"The American people are seeing the Tea Party for what it is -- extreme," Schumer said.
He was then asked about an incident last week when, before a conference call with reporters was set to start, he was overhead telling others on the call that he uses the word "extreme" because "that's what the caucus instructed me to do the other week."
Schumer said he has no regrets.
"I have no problem with reporters hearing that," Schumer said. "The Tea Party is the group standing in the way. ... I believe they're extreme." . . .

And Boehner is standing firm on the budget cuts.

“Now, you’ve heard Democratic leaders claim an agreement has been reached on this issue, but let me be clear. There is no agreement. Republicans continue to fight for the largest spending cuts possible to help end Washington’s job-crushing spending binge.

“To support job creation in America, we need to keep the cuts coming, and we need to do much, much more. That’s why it’s important for Congress to get moving and pass a final bill that resolves last year’s budget mess while making real spending cuts – so we can tackle the bigger challenges facing job creation.” . . .


15,000 union workers protest pension cuts by Democrat Maryland Governor, but where is the national media coverage?

Why does the national media portray union anger as only being against Republican governors?

In a March 16, 2010 campaign speech to state union leaders, California Gov. Jerry Brown urged them to "attack" his Republican opponent, warning that their election would spell big trouble for their members. What a difference a year makes: Last week, as he signed a bill that cuts $8.2 billion from the state's $27 billion deficit, mostly by slashing labor costs, Brown was also, according to the Associated Press, urging his former campaign allies to be open to the pension concessions being pushed by Republican state legislators. Those concessions will cost union members billions. Two weeks before that Brown told six state unions to expect pay cuts of up to 10 percent.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country in an equally blue state, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley faced 15,000 union workers massed a the state capitol in protest of O'Malley's own budget proposals, which will make only a modest dent in the $19 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $16 billion in retiree health care. O'Malley plaintive defense at the rally was notable as much for its chutzpah as for its liberal parochialism: "You will not find in Maryland the sort of Midwestern oppression that you find in Ohio and Wisconsin!", he declared.

Midwestern oppression? How about Maryland and California duplicity? . . .

From the Baltimore Sun.

As Maryland lawmakers prepare to make decisions in the coming weeks on budget cuts and pension reform, thousands of union members on Monday marched on Annapolis to send a message.

The marchers were met by a counter-protest, organized by tea party activists, of several dozen taxpayers asking for deeper state budget cuts.

The union group was large enough to cut off traffic on downtown Annapolis streets, Chanting, "keep the promise" and "enough is enough," they decried efforts by Gov. Martin O'Malley and legislators to change employee contributions to their retirement plans, a move that would save the state an estimated $100 million next year.

The many teachers in the audience also spoke out against the governor's planned level-funding of K-12 schools. If the proposal is adopted by state lawmakers, Baltimore would receive $15 million less and Prince George’s County $16 million less than they were slated to receive next year under the state’s education funding formula.

One after another, state workers took the stage to tell their stories to an audience that organizers said reached about 15,000. . . .


Obama's huge increase in government spending

The graph makes it very easy to see when Obama became president.
If one is interested in total spending rather than percent of GDP, I have my piece from last week available here.

Here are the raw Federal government spending by year. Just look at the increase from 2008 to 2011.

2000 1,789.0
2001 1,862.8
2002 2,010.9
2003 2,159.9
2004 2,292.8
2005 2,472.0
2006 2,655.1
2007 2,728.7
2008 2,982.5
2009 3,517.7
2010 3,456.2
2011 3,818.8


Obama subsidizing Early Retiree Health Coverage at profitable companies

Why you would want to subsidize companies is beyond me. Why you want to subsidize GE after all the other government subsidies that it is gotten is a mystery. If companies don't want to continue this program because of all the government regulations, possibly the direct approach would be to get rid of those regulations.
The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was created by the federal health care law passed by Democrats and signed by President Obama last year. The purpose was to encourage employers not to drop health coverage of early retirees before some of the key provisions of the health care law take effect in 2014.
But much of the money has gone to some big-name companies and organizations, including more than $200 million for the United Auto Workers, $140 million for AT&T and $91.7 million for Verizon.
And General Electric, which made news this week for not owing federal taxes on $14.2 billion in profit, got $36.6 million through the retiree program.
"How can you justify giving out so much of taxpayers' money to these profitable corporations?" Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns said at a legislative committee hearing Friday in questioning Steve Larsen, a senior director at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which runs the program. . . .

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Why is Obama appointing Heather Higginbottom to OMB?

Obama's appointee for the number 2 position at OMB has absolutely no accounting or managerial experience.

"Ms. Higginbottom's experience level is stunningly lacking," Sessions said Thursday. "She's never served on the Budget Committee, never studied business. Never run a business. Never been a mayor of a town."
"The most important thing is she does not have the kind of experience in business or accounting or budget or responsibility or management that you would look for in the second-in-command of the Congressional Budget Office, the most central unit in our entire governmental structure, committed to containing wasteful spending," he said. "We need somebody who will go after waste, fraud and abuse." . . .
"It is going to be very hard for the president to publicly defend this nomination," Sessions spokesman Stephen Miller told FoxNews.com. "As Sen. Sessions has said, it's like appointing a general in the middle of a war who has no military experience." . . .