Labor unions primary beneficiaries of Obamacare waivers

From the Daily Caller:

Labor unions continued to receive the overwhelming majority of waivers from the president’s health care reform law since the Obama administration tightened application rules last summer.

Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers.

The Department of Health and Human Services revised the rules governing applications for health reform waivers June 17, 2011, amid a steady stream of controversial news reports, including The Daily Caller’s story that nearly 20 percent of last May’s waivers went to businesses in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district in California. . . . .

Labels: , , ,

How useful are NYC's crime numbers?

From the New York Times "NYPD Leaves Offenses Unrecorded to Keep Crime Numbers Down" (Al Baker and Joseph Goldstein, December 30, 2011):

Crime victims in New York sometimes struggle to persuade the police to write down what happened on an official report. The reasons are varied. Police officers are often busy, and few relish paperwork. But in interviews, more than half a dozen police officers, detectives and commanders also cited departmental pressure to keep crime statistics low.

While it is difficult to say how often crime complaints are not officially recorded, the Police Department is conscious of the potential problem, trying to ferret out unreported crimes through audits of emergency calls and of any resulting paperwork.

As concerns grew about the integrity of the data, the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, appointed a panel of former federal prosecutors in January to study the crime-reporting system. The move was unusual for Mr. Kelly, who is normally reluctant to invite outside scrutiny.

The panel, which has not yet released its findings, was expected to focus on the downgrading of crimes, in which officers improperly classify felonies as misdemeanors.

But of nearly as much concern to people in law enforcement are crimes that officers simply failed to record, which one high-ranking police commander in Manhattan suggested was “the newest evolution in this numbers game.” . . .

The article then contains a long list of examples where crimes weren't recorded by the police. This next point is something that every economist would understand;

Despite the new guidelines, some critics say subtle tweaks in police protocol offer opportunities to avoid taking reports. In 2009, the department came up with a new policy that might seem inconsequential: Robbery victims would have to go to the station house to give their reports directly to a detective or patrol supervisor.

The intent was to get an investigator on the case as quickly as possible, but one police commander said supervisors were aware that another consequence could be that fewer crimes would be reported.

The policy was restored to its original form last year, with uniformed officers once again allowed to take the initial report of a robbery. “A police report wouldn’t get made because they make you wait in the police station for hours,” one commander said. Eventually, he added, the crime victim would give up and leave.

Labels: , ,

Obama making life difficult for high income earners

This is one way to raise the effective tax rate for individuals, raising the probability that you will be audited.

If your income is high, your chances of getting a visit from the Tax Man are on the rise—and there isn't much you can do about it.

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service sharply increased face-to-face audits of upper-income taxpayers, according to data released Thursday. For taxpayers reporting income above $200,000, so-called field audits rose 34% in fiscal 2011 to 78,392, from 58,521 in fiscal 2010. (The IRS fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.)

Field audits, which are conducted by an agent, are often more in-depth than "correspondence" audits, which are conducted by mail and sometimes involve a single issue. Overall, the agency audited 3.9% of taxpayers with income above $200,000, up from 3.1% in 2010.

The increase in field audits for taxpayers reporting income over $1 million, though smaller, was still significant: 24%, for a total of 20,475 in 2011, versus 16,509 in fiscal year 2010.

Overall, the agency audited 12.5% of taxpayers reporting income over $1 million, compared with 8.4% in 2010. . . .

The Obama administration claims:

"We are looking more at taxpayers at these income levels because we find more issues there," says IRS Deputy Commissioner Steve Miller. . . .

But assuming that this error rate is true, it wouldn't be surprising simply because these people have more complicated taxes. Even the IRS makes mistakes on interpreting these complicated rules and they claim that more money is owed even when it isn't.

The bottom line though is that these efforts don't seem to be raising more money.

Overall, the IRS collected slightly less revenue from enforcement efforts in 2011, $55.2 billion versus $57.6 billion in 2010. Mr. Miller attributes the drop to anomalies, such as several large cases that were closed in 2010. . . .

Labels: , ,

Why guns matter for defensive use: "Boy, 14, kills intruder after gang of FOUR men try to break into"

What else could a 14 year old boy do to stop four grown men? Why is it that defensive gun uses in America seem to get more coverage in British papers than in the US? From the UK Daily Mail:

Yet another teen has used deadly force to protect his home from intruders.
Police in North Carolina revealed a 14-year-old boy shot dead an intruder attempting to break into his home while he and his sister were alone.
The teen opened fire with a shotgun while his 17-year-old sister hid in a closet as a gang of men attempted to smash their way into their home.
The incident took place two days before 18-year-old Sarah McKinley shot and killed an intruder breaking into her home in Oklahoma
While on the phone with 911, the young mother shot and killed one of the intruders with a 12-gauge shotgun after he forced his way inside her home.The teen, who was told to do what she could to protect her three-month-old baby, has been flooded with messages of praise from well wishers.
In the North Carolina incident, police said the 14-year-old and his sister were at home in the rural town of Henderson when four men tried to break into the house. . . .


Sarah McKinley, 18 Year Old Mother Who Shot and Killed Intruder to Protect Infant Son, Interviewed by Shepard Smith



Bernd Debusman: "American riddle: more guns, less violence?"

Bernd is an interesting guy. Here is the beginning of his take on some of the recent crime data. His whole article is available here at Reuters and it is worth reading:

Gun ownership in the United States is up. Violent crime is down. Is this a matter of cause and effect?

The question merits pondering on the January 8 anniversary of the Arizona mass shooting which killed six people, severely injured a member of congress, Gabrielle Giffords, and rekindled the seemingly endless on-and-off debate over gun regulations . . . .

Judging from the background checks gun dealers filed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), that number jumped by around 1.5 million in December, thanks partly to a spurt of buying around Christmas. For Arizona gun enthusiasts who left firearms out of their Christmas giving, gun shows in Tucson and Phoenix provide another shopping opportunity on the Giffords shooting anniversary.

Advocates of tighter restrictions on firearms have long insisted that more guns equal more violence but a series of FBI statistics released in 2011 makes one wonder about that assumption. Gun sales have risen by twelve percent nationally over the last three years, initially spurred by mistaken fears that President Barack Obama would push for tighter controls. In the same period, violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) dropped steadily and now stands at a 37-year low.

Does this vindicate the school of thought that holds that armed citizens are the best defense against crime? “The numbers are consistent with what I’ve been saying for a long time,” says John Lott, author of a controversial 1997 study entitles More Guns, Less Crime. “When bans on guns, as in Chicago and Washington DC, were lifted, murders actually declined,” he said in an interview. (Washington recorded 145 murders in 2009 and 132 in 2010). . . .

Labels: ,

Obama administration changing the definition of rape

There are a range of sexual assaults that go from misdemeanor to felonies. Changing the FBI's definition of what it counts as rape doesn't seem particularly productive. It doesn't change what is actually happening to determining whether someone will be prosecuted for a felony or a misdemeanor. All it changes is what the national numbers that are reported to the public by the FBI include. What matters to most people when they hear the annual reports is whether murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault have increased or decreased. Changing the definition of rape for these reports probably means that for a few years we really won't accurately know how the number of rapes are changing from year to year. From The Hill newspaper:

The Uniform Crime Report’s previous definition of rape, first adopted in 1929, was much narrower in scope and was limited only to forcible penile penetration of a vagina, according to the DOJ.

The new definition of rape is: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim,” according to the DOJ. . . .

Labels: ,

Obama takes victory lap over recess appointment to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

What do you call a president who says that if Congress doesn't approve what he wants he will do it anyway? You got to hand it to Obama. He clearly violates the Constitution and he revels in it. From The Hill newspaper:

Two days after defying Republicans and appointing Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama visited the new agency to take a little time to gloat.

Making a victory lap of sorts at the independent agency, Obama cracked a joke, telling employees that he came by to help their new director move in. . . .

The trip to the agency came just two days after Obama made the surprise decision to appoint Cordray to the agency while Congress was on recess.

Republicans have been running pro forma sessions to prevent such an appointment, and they expressed outrage Wednesday over Obama's decision.

The president, who has made it clear he plans to run against Congress as he maps out a path to reelection, showed Friday that he is interested in keeping the story alive with a visit that seemed to poke at Republicans. . . .

“When Congress refuses to act, and as a result hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them,” he said.

“I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people we were elected to serve. Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.” . . .

Something that should be embarrassing for the Obama administration but which isn't getting news coverage:

The two Democrats that President Barack Obama appointed to the National Labor Relations Board during what he considered a congressional “recess” are not on the White House’s official list of Obama’s appointments and nominations for various positions.

Obama referred his two Democratic nominees, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, to the Senate on Dec. 15. The Senate adjourned for the year – but did not go into an official recess — on the following day.

WhiteHouse.gov tracks the status of all of Obama’s appointments and nominations. Block and Griffin do not appear on that list — a sign that the administration rushed the recess appointments through too quickly for the Senate to even consider them.

“It’s hard to argue that the Senate was obstructing these Democratic nominees when they don’t even appear on the administration’s own list of nominations and appointments,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce labor policy specialist Glenn Spencer told The Daily Caller. . . .

There is a problem that the Obama administration faces.

Article. II. Section. 2. Clause 3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

The problem is that these vacancies did not arise during the recess. The Senate apparently did not agree with the president that these vacancies constituted an emergency that had to be instantly taken care of. The Senate and not the president also has the power to determine when they are in session.

Other questions are raised by Republican Senators. So can recess appointments be made over a weekend? In the evening after the Senate ends business for the day? From The Hill newspaper:

. . . The letter outlined the history of that precedent, which started with a 1921 opinion from the attorney general that Senate adjournment for two days is not a recess, and that an adjournment of five or 10 days might also be enough. The letter notes that this opinion was reaffirmed in 1960, 1992 and 2001, and that the Department of Justice also argued before the Supreme Court in 2010 that "the recess appointment power can work in — in a recess. I think our office has opined the recess has to be longer than three days."

"Taken together, these authorities by the department clearly indicate the view that a congressional recess must be longer than three days — and perhaps at least as long as 10 — in order for a recess appointment to be constitutional," the letter states.

The letter then asks eight questions about how Justice got around this prior position. For example, it asked whether the original 1921 opinion was withdrawn to make way for the new opinion and whether other opinions were withdrawn.

It also asks whether Justice was asked to render a formal opinion, whether that opinion will be made public, and whether Justice believes this week's decision was constitutional. . . .


Questions about how quickly Mexicans were informed about "Wide Receiver" Program

The Obama Justice Department does seem to make clear that in the beginning the Wide Receiver guns were not meant to go to Mexico. Once they realized that was the case, the Bush Administration tried looping in Mexican authorities. When did the Obama administration try to bring in Mexican authorities? This from the left-wing TPM:

One of the distinctions that Republicans have drawn between Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed investigation that allowed weapons to “walk” into Mexico during the Obama administration, and Operation Wide Receiver, which did the same during the Bush administration, is that authorities who took part in the earlier investigation were coordinating their efforts with Mexican authorities.

“The difference in the previous administration is there was coordination with the Mexican government,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said at a hearing in December. “They made a real effort under Wide Receiver to pass off a small amount of weapons and track them.”

But new documents DOJ disclosed to congressional investigators on Thursday appear to indicate that ATF officials didn’t even consider looping Mexican authorities in on their operation until several months after the investigation began and ATF had already lost track of weapons that likely ended up in Mexico. . . .

Later previously disclosed documents — from September 2007, well into the investigation that started in early 2006 — show that ATF officials were coordinating with Mexican authorities but they were unsuccessful in intercepting traffickers crossing the border and allowed weapons to flow into Mexico. Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged that officials worked with Mexican officials during Operation Wide Receiver. . . .

Issa spokesman Frederick Hill said in a statement. “There is, however, a distinction between them and efforts to coordinate with the Government of Mexico versus Fast and Furious where there was a proactive effort to keep the Mexican government and U.S. Mexico City Embassy in the dark.” . . .


Democrats are far more likely to support regulations on using cell phones while driving

Zogby has these polling results.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults support a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving, a new IBOPE Zogby poll finds.
The IBOPE Zogby interactive poll of 2,099 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 22-27 finds that 41% of respondents strongly agree with the NTSB recommendation, compared to just 22% who say they strongly disagree.

Women (49%) are more likely than men (31%) to say they strongly agree with a nationwide ban on cell phones and text devices while driving. More than half of adults age 65+ (58%) say they strongly support such a ban, while those age 18-29 and 30-49 (34% each) are least likely to voice strong support.

Democrats (59%) are far more likely than Independents (33%) and Republicans (27%) to strongly agree with a nationwide ban. . . .

Labels: ,

Democrat hold up Obama Appeals court nominee

A normally fast confirmation for an Obama nominee is being held up by a fellow Democrat. From the NY Times:

When a Democratic president nominates a federal judge from a state with two Democratic senators — and the Senate itself is controlled by Democrats — a speedy confirmation hearing typically follows.

But in an unusual case of intraparty defiance, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey is holding up President Obama’s nomination of a judge to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the only time a Democrat has tried to block one of Mr. Obama’s judicial nominees.

Mr. Menendez would not comment. But the nominee, Patty Shwartz, has been in a relationship for more than two decades with the head of the public corruption unit for New Jersey’s federal prosecutor. And that unit investigated the senator during his 2006 election fight, an inquiry Mr. Menendez has long contended was politically motivated. . . . .

But the connection has led lawyers and judges in the state to speculate that Mr. Menendez is acting out of resentment, rather than any concern about Judge Shwartz’s qualifications. . . . .



Virginia Governor won't allow permitted concealed handguns on college campuses

It seems clear that McDonnell is saying that he doesn't believe that "an armed citizenry can stop problems."

Gov. Bob McDonnell would “not be inclined” to sign legislation preventing state colleges from banning concealed firearms in campus facilities, he said Tuesday.

“I think it’s unlikely a bill like that would pass and I think at this point I would probably be unlikely to sign it,” McDonnell said during an interview in his office.

Some gun-rights advocates argue that gun owners with proper permits should not be barred from having concealed handguns on college campuses. The pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League has staged demonstrations at Virginia Tech, Radford University and other state colleges in recent months to protest campus gun restrictions. Activists are pushing for legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session to prevent college governing boards from prohibiting concealed carry on campus.

“There is some legitimate debate about whether an armed citizenry can stop problems, whether it’s on a college campus or any other venue, but I’d have to see what the law looks like,” McDonnell said. “I would not be inclined to support that kind of legislation.” . . .

Labels: , ,

More individuals who unintentionally ran afoul of NYC gun laws

Here is the case of a president of a university in South Dakota.

The president of the University of Sioux Falls spent a night in a Queens, N.Y., jail after attempting to check a bag containing an unloaded handgun onto a return flight from LaGuardia Airport.

Mark Benedetto, 56, was detained on possession of a firearm when he declared the weapon to a Delta Airlines ticketing agent Oct. 2, his lawyer, Steven Sanford, said. He was released by a judge the next day on his own recognizance and has not been formally charged.

Sanford said the president, who has a concealed weapons permit from Minnehaha County, thought he was following the proper procedure. He had checked the bag without complications on his flight Sept. 28 to New York. . . .

And here is a permit holder from Indiana.

Ryan Jerome was enjoying his first trip to New York City on business when the former Marine Corps gunner walked up to a security officer at the Empire State Building and asked where he should check his gun.

That was when Jerome’s nightmare began. The security officer called police and Jerome spent the next two days in jail.

The 28-year-old with no criminal history now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. If convicted, his sentence could be as high as fifteen years.

Jerome has a valid concealed carry permit in Indiana and visited New York believing that it was legal to bring his firearm. He was traveling with $15,000 worth of jewelry that he planned to sell.

The online gun-law information Jerome read was inaccurate, however, and his late September arrest initiated what may become a protracted criminal saga. He hasn’t yet been indicted by a grand jury, but there may be little legal wiggle-room if he is. . . .

Labels: ,

Unemployment rates by college major: hint, don't go for the humanities, art

Higher unemployment rates seem pretty correlated with what jobs pay the least. From the LA Times:

Non-technical degrees seem to be strong magnets for joblessness, according to Wednesday’s report. The out-of-work rate for new holders of arts degrees is 11.1%, while it’s 9.4% for humanities and liberal arts and 8.1% for law and public policy.

The outlook is better for those with education and health majors, who face the lowest unemployment rate out of the lot with 5.4%. Degrees in fields such as business, psychology and social work, engineering and even journalism equate to a jobless rate between 7.3% and 7.5%. . . .

Graduate degree-holders are best shielded – just 3% of those workers are unemployed. Among all job-hunters with new bachelor’s degrees, 8.9% are out of work, compared to 22.9% of those with a recent high school diploma and 31.5% of high school dropouts. . . .

From the report:


Obama makes appointments in a way that no previous president has made them

There are a lot of angry politicians on Capitol Hill. Democrats and Republicans in the past have insisted that recesses must be longer than three days before a president can make a recess appointment. Note this write up from the Congressional Research Service:

What Is a “Recess”?
Generally, a recess is a break in House or Senate proceedings. Neither chamber may take a break of more than three days without the consent of the other.6 Such consent is usually provided through a concurrent resolution.7 A recess within a session is referred to as an intrasession recess. In recent decades, Congress has typically had 5-11 intrasession recesses of more than three days, usually in conjunction with national holidays. The break between the end of one session and the beginning of the next is referred to as an intersession recess. In recent decades, each Congress has consisted of two 9-12 month sessions separated by an intersession recess. The period between the second session of one Congress and the first session of the following Congress is also an intersession recess.
Recent Presidents have made both intersession and intrasession recess appointments. Intrasession recess appointments were unusual, however, prior to the 1940s, in part because intrasession recesses were less common at that time. Intrasession recess appointments have sometimes provoked controversy in the Senate, and some academic literature also has called their legitimacy into question.8 Legal opinions have also varied on this issue over time. In general, however, recent opinions have supported the President’s use of the recess appointment authority during intrasession recesses.9 Intrasession recess appointments are usually of longer duration than intersession recess appointments. (See below, “How Long Does a Recess Appointment Last?”)
How Long Must the Senate Be in Recess Before a President May Make a Recess Appointment?
The Constitution does not specify the length of time that the Senate must be in recess before the President may make a recess appointment. Over time, the Department of Justice has offered differing views on this question, and no settled understanding appears to exist. In 1993, however, a [Clinton] Department of Justice brief implied that the President may make a recess appointment during a recess of more than three days.10 In doing so, the brief linked the minimum recess length with Article I, Section 5, clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution. This “Adjournments Clause” provides that “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days ....”11 Arguing that the recess during which the appointment at issue in the case was made was of sufficient length, the brief stated:
If the recess here at issue were of three days or less, a closer question would be presented. The Constitution restricts the Senate’s ability to adjourn its session for more than three days without obtaining the consent of the House of Representatives. ... It might be argued that this means that the Framers did not consider one, two and three day recesses to be constitutionally significant. ...

Well so much for past practice. From Fox News:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce may sue the Obama administration over President Obama's controversial appointment of Richard Cordray to head a controversial consumer financial board, officials from the business group told Fox News on Wednesday after an unprecedented display of executive power that is sure to poison already-strained relations with the GOP.
Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff and colleague Bryan Goettel both told Fox News that their understanding is that "we are not ruling it out." However, they said they still "need to understand the specifics of the appointment to determine if a legal challenge is even possible."
The chamber was early in its criticism of the president's move Wednesday to appoint Cordray to chair the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a move that invites legal challenge but which administration officials say is perfectly within the president's authority to do. . . .

“I think it's not about the appointee or even about the agency. I think this is a lawless action by the president, the end of a long string of lawless actions. It's banana republic style. The president saying I won't let Congress stop me,' actually. It’s in Constitution that you have to have the Senate approval, the Senate. He can only make recess appointment if the Senate is in recess. It is not in recess," Charles Krauthammer said.

Labels: , ,


Roger's latest column in The Dartmouth

My son Roger has his latest column in his college newspaper. The piece starts this way:

It has been nearly three months since Occupy Dartmouth set up camp in front of the Collis Center. Despite bitter cold and some harassment, members of Occupy remain determined to stimulate discussion about political and economic inequities. While student protesters can be commended for making the world’s troubles their own, they are mistaken in pointing blame at corporate greed and free market capitalism.
Corporate greed is not in itself the problem. Greed will always be with us so long as people are pursuing their own separate interests. The beauty of the free market is that it tends to harness greed for the benefit of society. In order to earn money, corporations must provide goods or services that others value. Although there are legitimate concerns about misleading advertising and environmentally destructive practices, self-interested corporations do make amazing contributions to society.
The main problem is that government intervention often keeps the market economy from working. Contrary to popular belief, the recent subprime mortgage crisis was not so much a product of corporate greed as dangerous government policies. More than 70 percent of weak or subprime mortgages were held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government-controlled institutions. The government’s intervention helped poor people achieve the American dream of owning a home, but it also contributed to reckless lending to unreliable borrowers. . . .

Read the rest available here.


The mess of getting guns approved by the BATF

Just another cost imposed on gun makers. Could imagine the cost of designing guns and only finding out later that the government won't let you build them. From the Washington Times (January 2, 2012):

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is in charge of determining whether a gun model is legal, but the agency won’t say much about its criteria. . . .

The ATF recommends that manufacturers voluntarily submit weapons for case-by-case determination. But those judgments are private and, it turns out, sometimes contradictory. Critics say nearly identical prototypes can be approved for one manufacturer but denied for another.

That process, known as “letter rulings,” results in various findings about what makes a weapon. Program critics, including the ATF’s former assistant director of criminal investigations, said one determination contended that a shoestring was a machine gun.

The letters are sent only to the person submitting the weapon, making it hard for other gun manufacturers, designers and dealers looking for guidance to make judgments about the agency’s evolving interpretations of the federal code. That lack of publication also means that no one knows when the agency issues rulings at odds with similar cases. . . .

Robert E. Sanders, an ATF official for 24 years who is now a North Carolina lawyer specializing in firearms matters, said letter rulings are often “definitely contradictory and inconsistent,” but are necessary because the regulations being applied are ill-defined.

“It is hard to tell what ATF wants you to do without submitting your product and asking for a letter ruling,” he said. “You can’t tell what the agency has said in the past to others, because those letter rulings are generally secret. How could somebody know how to comply with the law?” . . .

Labels: ,

Increase in Concealed handgun permits in Texas

Data available from the Texas Department of Public Safety:

Year Active CHL Holders % Increase
2010 . . . 461,724 . . . 14.60%
2009 . . . 402,914 . . . 28.08%
2008 . . . 314,574 . . . 8.88%
2007 . . . 288,909 . . . 11.91%
2006 . . . 258,162 . . . 3.73%
2005 . . . 248,874 . . . 3.72%
2004 . . . 239,940 . . . -

This mirrors the national increase in permits.

Thanks to Jeff Yager for sending me this.



Massachusetts college considers banning permitted concealed handguns on campus

Up until now the carrying of permitted concealed handguns has been allowed and there hasn't been a problem.

Quincy College’s governing board will consider a policy that would ban everyone other than police officers from carrying a gun on campus, regardless of whether they have a permit.
College President Peter Tsaffaras said the policy was drafted as part of a safety and security review, and that it would give the college grounds to remove someone with a gun from the campus.
“We receive anecdotal evidence sometimes that we have students who are coming to school armed,” Tsaffaras said. “They’re not hostile and threatening, but they’re armed nonetheless. And we want to have a policy in place to deal with it.”
The policy was unanimously approved Tuesday night by the governing board’s personnel and programs committee. The full board of governors will vote on it next month, by which time language covering other concealed weapons like knives and Mace may be incorporated.
Tsaffaras said the the college will hire a campus safety and security consultant who will advise the board as it considers the policy.
The draft policy approved Tuesday states that no person “shall have on their person or in their possession a firearm, loaded or unloaded, operable or inoperable, while on any property, including but not limited to, buildings and parking areas, occupied or used by Quincy College.” . . .

Labels: ,


Part of discussion that I had on Freedomnomics at Cato


"Store Clerk Fired for Defending Himself"


One measure that Android users aren't as happy with their devices as iOS users

If Android leads in market share, why is it so very far behind in the rate that people use their devices for web browsing? Why are Apple devices used 3 to 4 times more frequently for web browsing?

Apple has finished 2011 with its iOS commanding 52.1 percent share of mobile web browsing. . . . Although Android dominates in overall smartphone market share when it comes to the number of devices sold and activated, the platform’s share of mobile web browsing is oddly far behind. Android rose from 12.75 percent to 16.29 percent over the course of this year.


Newest Fox News piece: Obama Has Learned Nothing From the Mortgage Meltdown Mess

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Just days before Christmas, the Obama administration gave Bank of America a big lump of coal, levying a hefty $335 million dollar fine on the company for discriminating against minorities in its lending practices. 

Supposedly Countrywide, a mortgage company bought by Bank of America in 2008, had not given out enough low interest rate loans to minorities from 2004 to 2008.

What the large fine reveals is that President Obama hasn’t learned anything from the recent financial crisis. 

What the president sees as discrimination in awarding a mortgage, lenders saw as wise business decisions. 

If a borrower can’t afford a down payment, Obama appears to view charging a higher interest rate as discrimination. Lenders also think that they shouldn’t treat borrowers whose sole source of income is welfare or unemployment insurance, the same as those applicants who have a job. But Obama, again, appears to view this as discrimination.

There is obviously a problem with no down payments: if the price of the house falls so that it is worth less than the loan, some people will default and walk away. Similarly, when unemployment insurance or welfare runs out, borrowers might find they can’t keep paying their mortgage.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act the Obama administration used to impose this fine was exactly what helped cause the mortgage crisis by forcing lenders to make risky loans that they didn’t want to make. 
Yet, just last month, Obama put the blame for these risky loans going bad on banks for their “breathtaking greed” that “plunged our economy and the world into a crisis.”

Countrywide, a leading lender of subprime mortgages, was already issuing too many risky loans. Indeed, it was the poster child for doing what the government wanted. 
In 2002, Countrywide adopted its “No Income/No Asset Documentation Program.” Borrowers could get a loan with just 5 percent down. The big government mortgage bundlers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bought these mortgages and encouraged Countrywide to expand the program. By the first half of 2006, almost two-thirds of Countrywide’s subprime loans lacked any down payment. . . .

Labels: ,

Republican strategy on going after Obama this election year

The Washington Post has a preview of a 500 page book that the Republican National Committee has put together.

A 2009 Obama statement that his stimulus bill would lift 2 million Americans out of poverty, for example, is paired against census data showing that more than 6 million Americans have fallen into poverty since he took office. A pledge that an administration housing plan would “help between 7 and 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages” is paired against news reports showing the government spent far less than promised and aided fewer than 2 million.

And his 2008 Democratic nomination acceptance speech vow that a green jobs initiative would create 5 million jobs is matched up against news reports from this year depicting lackluster results and headlines about Solyndra, the failed maker of solar panels that received hundreds of millions in federal loan guarantees.

One Obama quote will be featured prominently: In 2009 he said on NBC’s “Today” show that if he could not fix the economy in three years, “then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

“That’s a clip the American people will hear and see over and over and over again throughout the next year,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “The nice thing about Barack Obama is that he’s given us plenty of material. The one thing he loves to do is give speeches.” . . .

Labels: ,

Some dumb political quotes from 2011

Here are some of the dumber quotes:

1) "Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable." Hillary Clinton, 18 days before Mubarak stepped down. January 25, 2011
2) "They have acted like terrorists." Joe Biden on Tea Party Republicans. August 1, 2011.
3) "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget . . . . We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today." Nancy Pelosi discussing John Boehner's Debt Ceiling bill. July 28, 2011
4) "Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They're impossible to find and don't exist." Harry Reid asserting that there aren't any jobs created by millionaires. December 12, 2011
5) "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy." Joe Biden, December 19, 2011

Labels: , , , ,

Man uses handgun to help save family drowning in Utah river

From the Associated Press:

As many as 10 people jumped into an icy Utah river to help save three trapped children after a car plunged down a 10-foot embankment and flipped over, the state’s Highway Patrol said Sunday.

The rescuers helped turn the Honda Accord upright in the Logan River, and one man shot out the car’s window with a handgun and cut a seat belt to help free the children after Saturday afternoon accident, patrol Lt. Steve Winward said.

The driver, Roger Andersen, 46, of Logan, lost control as he tried to brake while heading northbound on U.S. 89 during slick conditions. His 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son were trapped along with a second 9-year-old girl.

“He was panicked, doing everything he could to get in through the doors, but they wouldn’t budge,” said rescuer Chris Willden, who had jumped into the water with his own father after coming upon the crash scene. . . .


So how bad has the crash in housing prices actually been?



Canadian gun registry advocates cite the United Nations' Declaration on Archives

The National Post has this editorial.

In democracies, citizens are the sovereigns, not governments or government archivists. The right of a government to preserve a record should never, therefore, supersede the right of its citizens to their privacy.

Labels: , ,

High IQ individuals can be barred from being Police

From ABC News:

A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test. . . .

the U.S. District Court found that New London had “shown a rational basis for the policy.” In a ruling dated Aug. 23, the 2nd Circuit agreed. The court said the policy might be unwise but was a rational way to reduce job turnover. . . .


A chance to see how elastic is the demand for using cars?

I frequently hear people discuss how much driving will be reduced from increases in the price of gasoline. One of the problems with measuring the impact is that so many other things are changing at the same time. That problem might not be too huge given that we still have so much of a variation in the price of gasoline over time. Still these huge increases in NJ road tolls over the last few years do significantly increase the price per mile of travel and it allows one to compare the changes versus other highways at the same time that are facing the same increase in price. From the WSJ:

. . . Tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike will go up by 53% in the new year; on the Garden State Parkway, they will jump about 50%.

Drivers could be forgiven for having forgotten the new cost: The increase is the second of a two-phase hike adopted by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and approved by former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2008. Tolls went up by about 40% that year.

Still, the authority advertised the hikes on digital signs on the highways and fliers passed out at toll plazas, said spokesman Thomas Feeney. Of the dozen New Jersey drivers interviewed at the Thomas Edison rest stop here on Friday, most knew that the increases were coming.

"I take highways everyday, so I don't have a choice. It's crazy," said Karan Hannalla, 57, an East Brunswick customer service manager who commutes 26 miles a day to Cranford. She will be paying about $2.50 more a day to commute to and from work. . . .


NY lawmakers want to rewrite law for gun-packing tourists

This is a pretty amazing story where even the very liberal anti-gun Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver thinks that tourists who accidentally break New York's carry laws shouldn't have their lives destroyed. From the New York Post:

. . . The Tennessee tourist arrested for bringing her home-state-registered handgun to the 9/11 Memorial has picked up some powerful allies in the capital — who plan to reassess the state’s stringent gun-possession laws.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), the state’s second-most powerful Democrat, said yesterday that he will have “a committee hold a hearing on this question, to see how exactly the law is being enforced and to look at the possibility that there should be changes in the law.’’
The changes could include tweaking the law to allow leniency for people with guns registered in other states who mistakenly bring their weapons to New York. . . .
“Her actions show a clear indication that she didn’t know she was breaking the law, and when she saw the sign, she said, ‘OK, I do have a gun. Take it from me,’ ” said Silver, whose district includes Ground Zero. “There was no criminal intent.”
Silver noted that under the current law, the Manhattan DA and a judge can show her leniency only before she is indicted by a grand jury. After that, they are bound by minimum-sentence guidelines.
“The judge can show flexibility, and I think it should be done here,” Silver said.
State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) also backed leniency for Graves, a married medical student who drove to New York with her husband to look for work as a nurse on Long Island.
“That is so ridiculous,” Kolb said. “She had a legitimate permit for the gun in Tennessee. I just think that’s the wrong message to send to a law-abiding citizen.” . . .

For other information see this here.

For a breakdown on the vote on the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 see this.

The Nashville Tennessean describes the events of Graves' arrest here.

Labels: ,

All 239 of the Fisker electric hybrids being recalled for a fire hazard

The Finish built plug-in hybrid cars from Fisker have a potential fire problem. Fire seems to be a common problem with these electric cars (note what has been happening with the Chevy Volt). You would think that Fisker would have sold more than 239 of this model. I realize that technically Fisker says that the money from American taxpayers is being spent on other programs, but let's be serious. At the very least, the money given to Fisker makes it easier for the company to raise other money.

In a report filed recently on the agency’s Web site, Fisker said some hose clamps were not properly positioned, which could allow a coolant leak. “If coolant enters the battery compartment an electrical short could possibly occur, causing a thermal event within the battery, including a possible fire in the worse case,” the company told the safety agency. . . .

Labels: ,

Question: Are votes counted in primaries more quickly than in general elections

I am wondering whether votes are counted faster in Republican or Democrat primaries. Or whether they are counted faster in primaries or general elections. There is always the claim that certain districts will hold back on releasing their votes until they know the number of votes need to win a close election. If so and if one party is more likely to do it than another party, in close elections there should be a difference across parties in terms of how quickly votes are reported.