Newspapers are having a hard time and the future continues to look bleak

From the Financial Times:

In recent weeks, LinkedIn, the networking website, and the Council of Economic Advisers have reported that the press is “America’s fastest-shrinking industry”, measured by jobs lost; the Newspaper Association of America has shown that advertising sales have halved since 2005 and are now at 1984’s level; and the Pew Research Center has found that for every digital ad dollar they earned, they lost $7 in print ads.
As media from television to billboards bounce back from the recession, newsprint is being left behind. Zenith Optimedia this week predicted that internet advertising would pass newspaper advertising next year around the world – but in the US, where internet penetration is high and newspaper audiences are shrinking, digital will overtake newspapers’ and magazines’ combined ad sales this year, eMarketer estimates.
“There’s no doubt we’re going out of business now,” one unnamed executive told Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which predicted a future of shrinking newsrooms, print deliveries only a few days of the week and more papers closing altogether. A USC Annenberg School study reached the stark conclusion that most printed US dailies would be gone in five years. . . .

More info is available here.


And this is an "increasingly conservative court"?

So who are the doctrinaire Justices? From the Washington Post:

Roberts, who appears less dedicated to federalism than was his predecessor and mentor, William H. Rehnquist, may be “gettable” on such a question. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the usual go-to conservative for liberals, is a realistic possibility. Even Justice Antonin Scalia, the court’s most irascible conservative, might be lured aboard. Alito’s past votes make him more of a mystery.

The court’s liberals — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — are solid on the question of Congress’s broad authority. On the other side, Justice Clarence Thomas has spent his 20 years on the court as a voice for the view that the Constitution mandates a far more limited role for the federal government. . . . .


Facebook helps solve another crime

From Fox NYC:

New York City detectives have used cutting-edge facial recognition software to capture a man suspected in a shooting at a barbershop.
The bullet grazed the 39-year-old man's head. He required stitches, but will survive.
Police say the man was beaten and shot on March 10 over a neighborhood dispute as he tried to get a haircut.
The victim knew the shooter but not his name, pulled up a Facebook photo and gave it to police. Authorities at the Real Time Crime Center fed the photo through the system and a match appeared: The suspect's prior mug shot. . . .
Authorities arrested the 37-year-old suspect about a day later . . . .

Thanks to Jeff Yager for the link.


Fox News: "Lawmakers question Justice investigator's independence in Fast and Furious probe"

Has the outcome of the DOJ investigation into Fast & Furious already been determined? From Fox News:

Two top Republican lawmakers are questioning the independence of the Obama administration investigator tasked with probing Operation Fast and Furious, saying it appears her office is choosing not to interview high-level political employees in the Justice Department.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa wrote a letter Thursday to Cynthia Schnedar, inspector general at the Justice Department, suggesting the office could be shielding close aides to Attorney General Eric Holder from scrutiny.
"Apparently, despite the advanced stage of its review, your office has not interviewed several key figures in Fast and Furious," they wrote of the controversial and defunct gunwalking operation undertaken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.
The lawmakers asked why it appears Schnedar has failed to interview three deputy attorneys generals, all appointees close to Holder. They are worried Schnedar's report, which is expected later this year, will avoid casting blame on the Justice Department. . . .



Appearance to discuss "Debacle" on Kudlow Show 03/13/2012

Grover talks on Debacle to the Daily Ticker


My newest Fox News Piece: "If lead bullets are banned, it could compromise self-defense"

My piece starts this way:

Lead poisoning from bullets? Sounds scary, but the push by the Center for Biological Diversity in a petition to the EPA is nothing new. The claim has been brought up many times, and even the EPA during anti-gun Clinton administration dismissed the fears about traditional, lead ammunition.
The lead in ammunition has never been shown to produce any health hazards, but a ban would produce a real health hazard, making it much more difficult for people to use guns to defend themselves. . . .

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So much for Obama trying to reduce the deficit

Obama's actions again don't match his rhetoric. From The Hill newspaper:

President Obama’s 2013 budget would add $3.5 trillion to annual deficits through 2022, according to a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

It also would raise the deficit next year by $365 billion, according to the nonpartisan office.

The CBO estimate is in sharp contrast to White House claims last month that the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $3.2 trillion over the next decade.
 . . .

The CBO report is available here.


New study for guns on college campuses

Jeffrey A. Bouffard, Matt R. Nobles, William Wells, and Michael R. Cavanaugh have a new paper entitled: "How Many More Guns?
Estimating the Effect of Allowing Licensed Concealed Handguns on a College Campus." An abstract is available here:
Among other arguments, advocates for lifting bans on carrying concealed handguns on campus propose that this would increase the prevalence of legitimately carried handguns, which might then deter crimes or be used to intervene in campus shooting incidents like the one that took place at Virginia Tech in 2007. Opponents suggest that increased prevalence of concealed handguns would lead to increases in other negative consequences, such as accidental shootings. Little empirical research has examined the potential outcomes of such a policy change, nor has existing research examined the prerequisite issue of whether lifting these bans would result in substantial increases in the prevalence of concealed handguns among students. Using a sample of undergraduate classrooms selected from five academic buildings at a public university in Texas, this study examines the potential impact of lifting the concealed handgun ban on the likelihood that a given classroom would contain at least one legally carried handgun. Results reveal that the impact of potential policy changes in this area vary based on the building under consideration and the measure of potential handgun prevalence. Limitations of the study and implications for future research on the issue of concealed handgun carrying on college campuses are discussed.

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More information available here.


Excerpt from new book at Fox News

The excerpt from the new book is available here. It is always appreciated if people share this link on Facebook or their websites. Thank you.


"D.C.’s made-up gun laws"

Emily Gets Her Gun series has some interesting stories.

Washington, D.C. police appear prepared to arrest gun owners even if they aren’t breaking the law. Transporting a gun through the District, whether as a resident or visitor, is not nearly as big of a legal risk as the police department experts say. . . .

A partial victory for gun ownership in DC.
The District has moved one step closer to showing due respect to the Second Amendment. Potential gun owners will now save hours of their time and hundreds of dollars as a council committee voted to eliminate hurdles meant to discourage the law-abiding from keeping arms in the nation’s capital.

The newly-drafted legislation eliminates the five-hour training requirement for gun ownership. As documented in The Washington Times’ “Emily Gets Her Gun” series, this turned out to be the most time-consuming and expensive barrier. The classes, which cost an average of $200, could not even be legally taken within city limits, calling into question the requirement’s constitutionality.

Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy Lanier asked the council to end the mandatory classes. She told The Washington Times that her department will instead provide a video online or at the registry office that covers gun safety and local laws. “I think it makes sense,” she explained. “We’ll be more consistent with what other jurisdictions do.” . . .
Her archives are available here.

From the Washington Times:
D.C. officials will do just about anything to keep law-abiding citizens from lawfully possessing a gun in the city. The Washington Times’ Emily Miller has found in the “Emily Gets Her Gun” series that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has been spreading false information about firearms ownership. As a result, residents and nonresidents who have done nothing wrong risk false arrest and gun confiscation. As of Friday, the MPD's Firearms Registration Office had not removed the incorrect information from its website.

The registry office supplies a 22-page written guide to prospective gun owners and answers their questions over the phone. The registration packet says that a gun can only be outside the home when “traveling directly to or from a lawful firearm-related activity (registration, hunting, shooting at a practice range, etc.).” This is inaccurate; residents can transport their registered handgun for any legal purpose as long as it is properly stored in their vehicle. The word “directly” is the source of false interpretation by the department, which has been advising the public that a D.C. resident taking his pistol to a shooting range in Maryland or Virginia could not legally stop for gas or for lunch.

Asked about this, D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson told The Washington Times, “They’re just making stuff up.” . . . .
DC doesn't make it easy to get the training to get guns. The list has gradually got more out of date, making it progressively more difficult for people meet DC's rules for getting a handgun permit.

The Washington Times’ Emily Miller has been closely documenting each step required in the process of exercising her Second Amendment right to keep arms. One of these is the mandatory gun “safety” course consisting of four hours of classroom instruction and one hour on the shooting range. For this, the city hands prospective gun owners a long list of instructors who have been certified by the Metropolitan Police Department to teach the class.

As Miss Miller revealed, this sheet of 47 phone numbers hadn’t been updated since September 2009. The majority were cellphones that went directly to voicemail when called, seven lines were out of service, two said they don’t teach the course anymore and one teaches the class only in Colorado and Georgia.

Within a month after Miss Miller’s story appeared, the registry office quietly posted an updated list of instructors online. The new document included Donna Worthy, an instructor who had been trying without success to get on the list for two years, along with another 15 new instructors. The police also deleted 14 obsolete names, undoubtedly saving other residents from wasting time making dead-end calls. The city additionally updated the detailed list of firearms that it will allow residents to purchase. . . .

More problems are discussed here.

As part of the ongoing “Emily gets her gun” series, The Washington Times’ Emily Miller has documented each step in the convoluted process the council concocted to thwart legal gun ownership. One of the most obnoxious hurdles she has found so far is the requirement that prospective gun owners undertake four hours of classroom and one hour of range “safety” training. As Mr. Mendelson explained to his colleagues Tuesday, “That training can’t be offered in the District of Columbia because our law is such that in order to handle a gun, it has to be registered to you. But you can’t register the gun until you’ve had the training.”

To break out of the difficulty, Mr. Mendelson proposes to clarify that the shooting portion of the training could happen within the city limits. In addition, he’d specify that individuals don’t need to take the test for each gun they purchase and that military personnel with firearms training wouldn’t have to waste their time taking a D.C.-specific class. Ballistic testing of each gun would also be eliminated.

These are all sensible steps in the right direction, but more must be done to reverse the District’s revival of the despicable Jim Crow-era gun laws.

Following the Civil War, many Southern states required blacks to obtain police permission before they could own guns - which, of course, was never granted. Ratification of the 14th Amendment forced officials to be a bit more subtle with their racially motivated laws. So in 1871, Tennessee came up with “An Act to Preserve the Peace and Prevent Homicide” that made carrying anything but expensive military pistols a crime punishable by a $50 fine and three months in jail. The statute put the price of self-defense beyond the reach of most blacks, and it even included an instruction to local sheriffs that its provisions be “strictly enforced.” . . .
UPDATE: Some things to remember about the debate over gun registration from 2009.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, announced last week that she wants to register guns. Her next move will be to try to confiscate them.
The speaker picked a television show with a viewership of 4.6 million to float the Democrats' coming gun-control push. Questioned on ABC's “Good Morning America” about the prospect of new gun-control laws now that “it's a Democratic president, a Democratic House,” she responded, “We don't want to take their guns away. We want them registered.” 
Politicians and bureaucrats routinely claim that registration helps solve crimes. If a registered gun is used in a crime and left at the crime scene, registration supposedly lets the police trace the gun back to the criminal. Though this turn of events might work on fictional TV crime shows, it virtually never occurs in real life. Criminals' guns are rarely left at crime scenes. When guns are left behind, it usually is because a crook has been seriously injured or killed and the police are poised to catch him anyway. 
The few guns left at crime scenes rarely - if ever - are registered to the perpetrator. If they are registered at all, it is to someone else, whose piece was stolen. Despite what Mrs. Pelosi might think, those who use guns to commit major crimes such as robbing and killing are unlikely to respect her request to file paperwork so the government can catalog the tools of their trade. . . . 

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Will absentee voting increase in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to require photo IDs for voting, but there seems to be a loophole regarding absentee ballots. Given the number of false Social Security numbers issued by the federal government, I am dubious that this will pick up many problems. According to the Morning Call newspaper:

Voters seeking to vote by absentee ballot must provide their driver's license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number, or a copy of a photo ID when applying for an absentee ballot. . . .

Still at least for those who show up at the polls, there will be a benefit. If I am reading this correctly, my prediction is that absentee voting will increase this year in Pennsylvania. Here is something that I previously wrote on this issue.


Venezuela's Hugo Chávez seriously ill and facing more cancer treatment, rumor swirl about who might take his place

It is good to know that Venezuela will be in such good hands. From the Financial Times:

. . . Mr Chávez has prevented a successor from emerging and senior government figures insist there is “no Plan B”. Still, speculation about who might replace the leader has centred on bus driver turned foreign minister Nicolás Maduro; the vice-president and former student radical Elias Jaua; and one of Mr Chávez’s former military colleagues, Diosdado Cabello, who was beaten by Mr Capriles in the elections to Miranda state in 2008. . . .

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Gallup numbers show unemployment getting worse the last few months

A lot of the differences between the Gallup and BLS numbers has to do with seasonal adjustments, but it is striking how the Gallup numbers show things getting worse the last few months.

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USA Today: Disabled access rule may close some hotel pools

Note that this is a result of regulations set by the Obama administration. This might explain why pools at several hotels that I have stayed at recently have been closed. Apparently, with just a day left before the regulations go into effect, hotels are still uncertain about what they have to do to meet the regulation. Here is a question: how many fewer hotels will have pools? For all the liberals out there who want to make people exercise more, how will this impact health? From USA Today:

Many hotels are faced with making improvements to pools by Thursday or falling out of compliance with the latest accessibility laws for disabled people.
Hoteliers must have pool lifts to provide disabled people equal access to pools and whirlpools, or at least have a plan in place to acquire a lift. If they don't, they face possible civil penalties of as much as $55,000.
There are about 51,000 hotels, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and most have pools.
The lifts are required by regulations made in 2010 stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act, a civil rights law that bans discrimination based on disability.
With just days before the deadline, some hotels are considering shutting their pools or whirlpools to avoid penalties or possible lawsuits.
The 93-room Town & Country Inn in Quincy, Ill., for instance, has halted reopening its newly renovated pool and whirlpool for fear that it would buy the wrong type of lift and not meet the new rule. . . .


Fox News: More on higher gas prices

My piece at Fox News discusses the high energy prices starts this way:

On Friday, President Obama announced that he was “making sure that my Attorney General is paying attention to potential speculation in the oil markets.” 23 Senators and 45 congressmen, all Democrats except for one independent, are calling for urgent action against the “speculators” they hold responsible.
These members of congress want the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use its new regulatory powers under a law Obama signed two years ago to limit the amount of oil that speculators can buy.
This isn’t a new concern.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama campaigned against "the special interest politics that put the interests of Big Oil and speculators ahead of the interests of working people," and surely implied that an Obama administration would end these high prices by clamping down on speculation.
Possibly that is why a new Washington Post/ABC News survey released on Monday shows that soaring gas prices have taken a toll on Obama, with 50 percent of American's strongly disapproving of Obama's economic performance -- the highest in the poll's history. . . .

Interestingly, Energy Secretary Steven Chu walks away from his past support for higher energy prices, though is it a political conversion? Or is he just qualifying it so much that he is only walking away from it temporarily. It seems pretty clear that it is the later.

"Let me first respond to your first statement, Senator," Chu said. "Since I walked in the door as Secretary of Energy, I have been doing everything in my powers to do what we can to reduce -- as we see these gas prices spike -- to reduce these prices. And the administration, the president, and I personally, yes we do acknowledge and feel the pain of not only American consumers, but American businesses when they see these prices increase."

"Are you saying that you no longer share the view that we need to figure out how to boost gasoline prices in America?" Lee asked

"I no longer share that view," Chu said.

"You did then, but don't now?" asked Lee.

"When I became Secretary of Energy, I represented the U.S. government and I think that right now, in this economic very slow but -- you know, return that we need to have these prices … will effect the comeback of our economy and we're very worried about that. So of course we don’t want the price of gasoline to go up, we want it to go down.” . . .

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How the costs of Obamacare are going to ramp up quickly

Over the eleven years from 2012-2022, Obamacare will add an average of $114 billion a year to the deficit. From 2015 to 2022, the average increase in the deficit rises to $148 billion a year. The CBO numbers can be found in Table 2 is available here. Of course, if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, that will increase the average annual deficit over the 2015-2022 period by about $7 billion a year.

Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link.

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Obama's broken Stimulus promises on GDP growth

Obama's promises for the Stimulus

Grover Norquist on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart mentions are book


What happens when shortages of organs make doctors desparate

The shortage of organs makes people to undesirable things. In particular, doctors will ignore signs of recovery. Wouldn't it be better if we let patients get paid for their organs? From the WSJ:

But what are you giving up when you check the donor box on your license? Your organs, of course—but much more. You're also giving up your right to informed consent. Doctors don't have to tell you or your relatives what they will do to your body during an organ harvest operation because you'll be dead, with no legal rights. . . . .

The current criteria on brain death were set by a Harvard Medical School committee in 1968, at a time when organ transplantation was making great strides. In 1981, the Uniform Determination of Death Act made brain death a legal form of death in all 50 states.

The exam for brain death is simple. A doctor splashes ice water in your ears (to look for shivering in the eyes), pokes your eyes with a cotton swab and checks for any gag reflex, among other rudimentary tests. It takes less time than a standard eye exam. Finally, in what's called the apnea test, the ventilator is disconnected to see if you can breathe unassisted. If not, you are brain dead. (Some or all of the above tests are repeated hours later for confirmation.)

Here's the weird part. If you fail the apnea test, your respirator is reconnected. You will begin to breathe again, your heart pumping blood, keeping the organs fresh. Doctors like to say that, at this point, the "person" has departed the body. You will now be called a BHC, or beating-heart cadaver. . . .

In a 1999 article in the peer-reviewed journal Anesthesiology, Gail A. Van Norman, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Washington, reported a case in which a 30-year-old patient with severe head trauma began breathing spontaneously after being declared brain dead. The physicians said that, because there was no chance of recovery, he could still be considered dead. The harvest proceeded over the objections of the anesthesiologist, who saw the donor move, and then react to the scalpel with hypertension. . . . .


More on Warren Buffett's delinquent taxes

From Bloomberg:

NetJets Inc., the private-plane company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), was countersued by the U.S. over $366 million in taxes and penalties.
NetJets in November sued the U.S., saying the federal government had wrongly imposed taxes, interest and penalties totaling more than $642.7 million.
Claiming the federal Internal Revenue Service wrongfully assessed a so-called ticket tax -- an excise tax on payments made in exchange for air transportation -- to private aircraft owners maintaining their own planes, the Columbus, Ohio-based company demanded refunds and abatements.
The federal government, in a revised answer and countersuit filed yesterday in federal court in Columbus, rejected NetJets’ claims and alleged that four of the company’s units owe unpaid taxes and penalties.
NetJets Aviation Inc. owes more than $302.1 million, and another unit, NetJets International, is liable for $52.9 million, the U.S. said. Executive Jet Management Inc. owes $10 million while NetJets Large Aircraft owes $1.19 million, the U.S. claimed. . . .

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Drudge Report's pro-Obama bias?

It has been hard to miss Matt Drudge's pro-Romney bias. He has done whatever he can to go after Newt and, to a lesser extent, Santorum. But pro-Obama? Really? Well, Andrew Breitbart made similar, if extremely brief, comments to me as are reported in this story. Andrew's comments to me were related in about one sentence, so I didn't get that much detail. It was part of our discussion about Drudge's bias against gun ownership.

It became very clear to me during the 2008 primary season that, for whatever reason, the Drudge Report was completely in the tank for the Obama campaign. When I addressed this concern with Breitbart, he readily agreed and admitted great frustration at what was happening. He even revealed that on several occasions he had tried to post prominent “negative” stories about Obama on the site but had seen Drudge take the highly unusual step of not only moving them down the page but also taking them off the site completely.

On some occasions, Andrew told me that Drudge even totally cut off his ability to update the web page and completely stopped linking to Breitbart’s site (which he interpreted as Drudge’s way of reminding him who the boss was).

There were many examples of this remarkable pro-Obama bias, but I will offer up just a few here as proof (you can have fun finding more on your own at the easily accessible Drudge archives on the bottom right hand portion of his site). . . .

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Obama's "reelection campaign doesn’t want to share financial resources with congressional Democrats"

From the National Journal:

In fact, Obama’s reelection campaign has a split personality when it comes to the general election. One side is confident and growing more so about the turbulent GOP primary, an improving U.S. economy, and better numbers for Obama in swing states. The other side harbors fears bordering on paranoia about massive spending by the GOP and outside super PACs for the party’s nominee.
“There is already unprecedented super-PAC spending going on,” Messina said. “There will be super-PAC spending in key states against us. We have to be prepared for that.”
To prepare for it, Obama’s campaign has put the rest of the Democratic Party on a starvation diet. Messina and senior White House adviser David Plouffe (Obama’s 2008 campaign manager) have told top Democrats that they won’t receive any cash transfers from Obama’s campaign or the Democratic National Committee. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sought commitments for $30 million, the amount distributed to them in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles. Not this time.
Messina said that the campaign fears outside groups will devote upward of $500 million to anti-Obama super-PAC TV ads as soon as the GOP nominee (likely to be Romney) is decided. By comparison, GOP nominee John McCain spent $333 million on his campaign, and outside groups spent $26 million supporting him. Obama spent $730 million in that campaign, and outside groups spent $88 million attacking him. . . .
Reid and Pelosi, according to Democrats aware of the sit-down with Plouffe and Messina, took their medicine without complaint. Democrats close to the situation said that the leaders emerged feeling that Team Obama was in full-blown panic mode about the need for campaign cash this fall. “They are just freaked out about super-PAC spending,” said one of Pelosi’s top allies. . . .

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New piece in Philadelphia Inquirer: Speculators smooth out the rough spots

My new piece with Grover Norquist in the Philadelphia Inquirer starts this way:

With regular gas prices topping $3.70 last weekend, angry politicians are blaming the higher prices on speculators and greedy oil companies. On Monday, The Hill newspaper reported that 23 senators and 45 congressmen, all Democrats except for one independent, called for urgent action against the "speculators" they hold responsible. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania demanded, "Consumers shouldn't be forced to pay higher prices at the pump because of speculative bets on Wall Street."

These politicians want the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use its new regulatory powers under a law signed by President Obama two years ago to limit the amount of oil that speculators can buy.

This isn't a new concern. Last April, when regular gas prices hit $4 a gallon, the president launched a Department of Justice investigation into what he called "manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices."

Unfortunately, neither the Democrats in Congress nor Obama appear to have a clue how markets work. The policy reminds one of Richard Nixon's attacks on speculators during the 1970s. . . .

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