"Shot down: D.C. residents unable to register handguns"

This should bring a quick suit against DC.

The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the D.C. government should step in to help residents of the nation's capital make legal gun purchases --something they can't do now, even though the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city's ban on handguns nearly three years ago.

"The city government of Washington, D.C. has a responsibility to make sure that every resident of D.C. can exercise their constitutional rights. And one of those constitutional rights is the individual to have a right to bear arms," Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) told WTOP.

Grassley, after learning there's a de facto gun ban in place because the one man who could facilitate handgun ownership in Washington has stopped taking registration orders after losing his office lease, said the D.C. government needs to take action.

He says it's "absolutely wrong" that D.C. residents currently can't buy a gun legally and bring it home. . . .

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Newest Fox News piece:You Call This a Recovery? Obama Offers More Excuses Than Solutions

My newest piece starts this way:

Call it the "excuses recovery." President Obama and his administration have been warning for the last week that the just announced first quarter GDP growth rate of 1.8 percent would be weak, and they have been quick to blame it on the recent spike prices in oil. The problem is that this whole recovery has been anemic, not just one or two slow quarters of economic growth.
Seven quarters into the Obama recovery, GDP growth has averaged an annual rate of only 2.8 percent. In contrast, since 1970, the first seven quarters of previous recoveries averaged 4.6 percent. The poor growth rate is especially surprising since the preceding recession was so severe, there should have been ample room for high growth as the unemployed returned to work. For example, the Reagan recovery followed a similarly high unemployment rate and saw the economy grow at an average annual growth rate of 7 percent (see graph here).
The slight decrease in unemployment – currently at 8.8 percent -- has been touted as good news. Yet that slight drop has largely been . . .

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SF Chronicle: Obama White House Lying about threats it made to Reporter

The SF Chronicle blasts the Obama White House here.

Update: In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.

Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib:

Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday. It is not a truthful response. It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.

The Chronicle's report is accurate. . . .

As of about 1 PM today, there has been virtually no news coverage of this event from Friday. The SF Chronicle caught the Obama administration in a lie, but the rest of the media has ignored it.

Even more telling is how the few media outlets who have covered it have done so. I searched under "San Francisco Chronicle "White House" Reporter threats AND lie OR "not a truthful" OR "pants-on-fire moment"," and got only seven news stories.

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Obama's "under the radar" gun control efforts

Over a barrel? Meet White House gun policy adviser Steve Croley

if the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment shaped a keyhole for regulation, [White House gun policy adviser] Croley’s job is to make a skeleton key that fits that keyhole ... Barack Obama: “I just want you to know that we are working on it. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.” . . . During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said. “I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

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Weak first quarter of 2011 GDP numbers

Data available here.
The new 1.8% GDP growth numbers are very weak. But, unfortunately, the growth for this recovery has been very weak. Seven quarters into the Obama recovery, GDP growth has averaged an annual rate of only 2.8%. In contrast, since 1970, the first seven quarters of previous recoveries averaged 4.6%. The poor growth rate is especially surprising since the preceding recession was so severe, there should have been ample room for high growth as the unemployed returned to work. For example, the Reagan recovery followed a similarly high unemployment rate and saw the economy grow at an average annual growth rate of 7 percent.



Even liberal Massachusetts wants to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights

So how can Democrats continue to attack Republicans over this issue?

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.

The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers’ rights.

Unions fought hard to stop the bill, launching a radio ad that assailed the plan and warning legislators that if they voted for the measure, they could lose their union backing in the next election. After the vote, labor leaders accused House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and other Democrats of turning their backs on public employees.

“It’s pretty stunning,’’ said Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they’re with us, that they believe in collective bargaining, that they believe in unions. . . . It’s a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber.’’ . . .


"S&P Threatens Lower Rating on Japanese Sovereign Debt"

Japan is following the US in facing a downgrade.

Rating agency Standard and Poor's threatened to cut Japan's sovereign debt rating on Wednesday (April 27) over quake costs, although Japan said it would continue to work to maintain trust in Japanese debt.

S&P affirmed its long-term rating on Japan at AA minus, but cut the outlook from stable to negative.

The credit rating agency cut Japan's rating in January for the first time since 2002. It says costs related to the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear power plant crisis will increase Tokyo's fiscal deficit above prior estimates. It’s expected to be a cumulative 3.7 percent of the country’s GDP through 2013.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says that the government will work to maintain trust in government bonds even with the expected costs incurred in the rebuilding process.

[Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary]: "While we are still in a situation where there are many things that still need to be dealt with, we have consistently worked since the disaster to maintain trust in Japanese Government bonds. We plan on also working to maintain trust in Japanese bonds going forward as well." . . .


Obama breaking promise on "signing statements"

Remember how Obama attacked Bush for increasing the debt ceiling, but that now Obama rails against Republicans who don't want to increase the debt ceiling without doing something about spending. Well, add another item to the list of actions that are only allowable for Obama and not others. From John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary:

. . . In 2007, Mr. Obama singled his disagreement with Mr. Bush's practice of issuing "signing statements," when he affixed his signature to bills, that specified which parts Mr. Bush felt he had no obligation to follow.

"While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability," Mr. Obama said. "I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law."

Well, that was then. This month's spending compromise setting out this year's federal budget included -- with the White House's agreement -- a prohibition on the White House using federal money to fund the offices of various czars who are advising the president on health care, climate change, car companies and urban affairs. But late last Friday, the president issued a "signing statement" explaining that he did not feel bound by any such agreement. . . .



Where is the consistency in the NAACP strongly opposing school choice but then taking this legal case?

The NAACP "vigorously opposed" the pilot voucher program for DC. Fighting against it as recently as this past March. The NAACP has condemned Charter Schools. Now the NAACP is taking what could best be called a school choice case. The only difference that I can see to vouchers is that this case involves government schools. I can't really see the difference with charter schools. The problem is that the NAACP will never see the logic here.

Tanya McDowell, 33, was arrested April 15 and charged with first degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 in educational services from Norwalk Public Schools. Her 6-year-old son was enrolled in Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk, Conn., from September of last year until January of this year.

"The NAACP doesn't like that they're trying to attack somebody whose poor and doesn't have a good support system," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP. "This is discrimination."

McDowell claims that she's homeless and was floating between a homeless shelter, a friend's apartment in Norwalk and a home in Bridgeport when she registered her son for school. McDowell registered her son under her babysitter's address in Norwalk. McDowell told The Daily Norwalk that she simply wanted the best education for her son. . . .

Authorities were alerted to the alleged illegal enrollment when McDowell testified at an eviction hearing for her babysitter, Ana Rebecca Marquez, in January.

"This particular tenant, Ms. Marquez, was accused of allowing Ms. McDowell and her son to live with her," said Donna Lattarulo, an attorney for the Norwalk Housing Authority. "During that hearing, Ms. McDowell testified under oath that she did not reside at the premises where Ms. Marquez lived, but she resided in Bridgeport... She never testified that she was homeless."

Lattarulo said that she told the Norwalk Prosecutor's Office about Marquez's testimony, but did not file a criminal complaint. Officials from Norwalk Public Schools said that they did not initiate the eviction hearing or file a criminal complaint against McDowell. . . .

"We think that this is a major case of abuse of power by the mayor. We just found out that his daughter is head prosecutor in the case. There's also some foul play with police officers in town of Norwalk," said Esdaile from the NAACP. . .

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Geithner continues to claim that Debt-ceiling debate is 'ridiculous'

The irresponsible claims are by Geithner. If you can cover more than 60 percent of spending (it is actually more this time of year) and the Obama administration will spend the money on the most important items, there will be no default and most people will get the money that they have come to depend on.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday slammed the debate over raising the debt ceiling as “ridiculous” and said it is “irresponsible” for policymakers to leave the impression that the U.S. might not pay its bills.

Geithner also said he was confident that lawmakers would increase the debt limit, but stressed that he would like to see that happen sooner rather than later.

The Treasury secretary said the tussle over the borrowing limit "is a ridiculous debate to have."

"I mean, the idea that the United States would take the risk — people would start to believe we won't pay our bills — is a ridiculous proposition, irresponsible, completely unacceptable basic risk for us to take," Geithner said. . . .


Many Americans not certain if Trump was born in the US

This is too funny, but this new USA Today poll puts some limits to how seriously we should treat these polls on where Obama was born.

not everyone is convinced Trump was born in the USA either: 43% say he definitely was born here, and 20% say he probably was; 7% say he definitely or probably was born in another country. Nearly three in 10 say they don’t know enough to say. . . .

For Obama

only 38% of Americans say Obama definitely was born in the USA, and 18% say he probably was. Fifteen percent say he probably was born in another country, and 9% say he definitely was born elsewhere.
Views already are polarized about President Obama and some major Republican candidates for 2012. . . .

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Housing prices continue falling

Out of the top 20 markets, "Home prices are falling in most major U.S. cities, and at least 10 major markets are at their lowest point since the housing bubble burst."

High unemployment, stricter lending rules and fears that prices will fall further are among the reasons why few people are buying homes. A record number of foreclosures are forcing down home prices in most metro areas, and prices are expected to keep falling through this year.
Detroit was the only market to show a monthly gain, although the Motor City is one of five cities where home prices are now below their January 2000 levels.
Prices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tampa are all at their lowest point since 2006 or 2007, at the height of the housing boom. . . .



Obama continues going after Oil Speculators

High gas prices are solved by raising taxes on oil companies? More on speculators unjustifiably raising prices? At least that what Obama was advocating in his weekly Saturday radio address. See my earlier post on his attacks on speculators available here.

Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for two dollar gas. You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.

But there are a few things we can do. This includes safe and responsible production of oil at home, which we are pursuing. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. On Thursday, my Attorney General also launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators. We’re going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain. And another step we need to take is to finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year. That’s $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they’re making record profits and you’re paying near record prices at the pump. It has to stop.

Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow’s. . . .

On Wednesday, ExxonMobile will be announcing its profits for the latest quarter, and with the soaring gas prices its profits will be quite high. Of course, higher profits are what you want if you want to encourage more energy being produced.

How does media coverage of the higher prices now compare to the higher prices under Bush? A couple discussions are available here and here.

Meanwhile the Obama administration is doing everything it can to stop oil production in the US.
EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans
Protecting lizard would put jobs at risk
Oil companies should pay their 'fair share'

UPDATE: "Obama pounces on Speaker's remarks, urges end to oil subsidies"

In a letter to the leadership of both chambers and both parties, Obama used House Speaker John Boehner's words against him, referencing the Ohio Republican's criticism of the oil companies in an interview with ABC News.
"I was heartened that Speaker Boehner [Monday] expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry," Obama wrote. "Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done."
The president also urged Congress to get behind his energy plan even though he acknowledged that Republicans won't agree with much of it.
"I hope we can all agree that, instead of continuing to subsidize yesterday's energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow's," Obama said.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also seized on Boehner's remarks, saying his comment that large companies don't "need to have" some subsidies was "almost too good to be true." . . .
“The Speaker made clear in the interview that raising taxes was a non-starter, and he’s told the president that. He simply wasn’t going to take the bait and fall into the trap of defending 'Big Oil' companies," Steel said.
"Boehner believes, as he stated in the interview, that expanding American energy production will help lower gas prices and create more American jobs. We'll look at any reasonable policy that lowers gas prices. Unfortunately, what the president has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump."
In the interview with ABC, Boehner said: "I don't think the big oil companies need to have the oil depletion allowances, but for small, independent oil-and-gas producers, if they didn't have this, there'd be even less exploration in America than there is today." . . .

Further UPDATE: From Fox News:

But Boehner's office pushed back Tuesday, suggesting the speaker wants to see a more comprehensive approach before signing on to any changes.
"The speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs," spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement. "Unfortunately, what the president has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump." . . .

If Obama really wants to reduce the true cost of energy, stop subsidizing really costly alternative "green" energy. Part of the cost of energy are all these taxpayer funded subsidies for producing the energy.

Boehner's ABC interview is available here.

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An Omen for the Canadian Election?

This news coverage shows why it is so important that Canada have a new news channel. This four minute display of booing wouldn't have gotten national TV coverage without Sun TV.

Grits, NDP tied in latest Nanos poll; Tories retain lead
Tories on track for majority, poll says
Liberals, Tories zero in attack ads on Layton as NDP surges in polls


Wisconsin Public School employee uses school phones for political calls

Apparently, the teacher didn't get into very much trouble for making this call from school because it took place at 8:15 AM "before she was on the clock."

A Sheboygan gas station owner is baffled after a mystery caller tells a clerk it's a bad idea to do business with a Sheboygan-area state senator.

It started Tuesday when a woman called Dick Hiers's Northeast Standard gas station after she thought she saw Senator Joe Leibham there. Her call was caught on the answering machine.

"I think that this whole thing has to end. It has to stop," said Hiers. "This type of stuff is totally uncalled for." . . .

"I was working back here and the answering machine went off, and I was a little surprised by that, and when I heard the message here, I was even a little more surprised."

The answering machine here in the back of the store was left on from the night before and was recording the entire conversation.

Caller: "Can you verify that was Senator Leibham at the gas station this morning?"
Gas station clerk: "Senator Leibham?"
Caller: "Yes. Do you guys support him?"
Clerk: "I have nothing to say about that, I am not politically involved."
Caller: "Alright, well you can tell Dick he's not good for business, I'll tell you that."

Shocked over the 26-second conversation, Hiers quickly traced the call -- only to get surprise number two.

"And it turned out to be coming from the Sheboygan area district school office," he said.

"Obviously our school district equipment and the facilities are for the purposes of school," Superintendent Joseph Sheehan responded. "Any type of phone call leaving any types of threats or condoning any type of intimidation is strictly prohibited." . .

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Florida now has over 800,000 concealed carry permit holders

Not only has Florida now issued over 1.95 million permits since October 1, 1987, but as of the March 31 of this year there were 801,219 active permit holders. Since January 1, 2008, only 4 permit holders have had their permits revoked for a firearms violation ("utilized" is very broad here, including such things as accidentally carrying a gun into a gun-free zone). That comes to an annual revocation rate of about 0.0002%. That is two ten-thousandths of one percent. How much smaller could that revocation rate be?
Click figure to make it larger.

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What will the new GDP numbers show this week?

The gross domestic product estimate for the first quarter of 2011 is due Thursday. For the first six quarters after the recovery under Obama, GDP growth has averaged about 2.95 percent. Under Reagan, given what was probably at least as bad of a recession, GDP growth averaged 7 percent, more than twice as much. Already the poor growth numbers expected to be released on Thursday are being explained away by high oil prices. With prices reaching $3.896 per gallon on April 20th, they are indeed quite high. But this is akin to leaving out oil and food price increases in measuring inflation. Obama blames speculators for the high prices, while Obama should look at government for responsibility.

If it isn't speculators, what then? For those who take the old claim about monopoly power by gasoline companies, this chart might be useful.

UPDATE: IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end

According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now. . . .

The IMF in its analysis looks beyond exchange rates to the true, real terms picture of the economies using “purchasing power parities.” That compares what people earn and spend in real terms in their domestic economies.

Under PPP, the Chinese economy will expand from $11.2 trillion this year to $19 trillion in 2016. Meanwhile the size of the U.S. economy will rise from $15.2 trillion to $18.8 trillion. That would take America’s share of the world output down to 17.7%, the lowest in modern times. China’s would reach 18%, and rising.

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. economy was three times the size of China’s. . . .

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