Latest NICS data

Source available here.  Note that between 2008 and 2011, while NICS checks rose 29.4 percent, violent crime rates have dropped significantly.

Violent Crime 457.5 to 387.5 per 100,000 people, a 15% drop
Murder 5.4 to 4.7 per 100,000 people, a 13% drop
Rape 29.7 to 26.4 per 100,000 people, an 11% drop
Robbery 145.7 to 114.3 per 100,000 people, a 22% drop
Aggravated Assault 276.7 to 242.2 per 100,000 people, a 14% drop

Some data on how NICS checks have changed over time before and after Obama became president.

Labels: , ,

Abound Solar declares bankruptcy

Just this week Abound Solar announced it was declaring bankruptcy.
Abound Solar, a solar panel maker that received a $400 million loan guarantee from the federal government, announced on Thursday that it would file for bankruptcy amid plummeting prices and intense competition from Chinese manufacturers in the solar equipment market.
The failure of Abound, which tapped about $68 million of the loan guarantee before the Energy Department cut off its credit last September, comes after the collapse last year of Solyndra, another high-tech solar panel maker that had received federal funds. . . .
Abound Solar, of Loveland, Colo., with manufacturing in Tipton, Ind., had been struggling for months. In February, it announced it was closing its factory to conserve resources while it tried to start production of a more advanced product. The company produced panels that made electricity directly from sunlight using a chemistry called cadmium telluride, which was intended to have a cost advantage over the more common silicon cells. But that cost advantage eroded as silicon cells plunged in price.
Abound said it would file for bankruptcy next week and dismiss its 125 employees. . . .

Labels: , ,

"Sen. McCaskill (D-MO) Hiding On ObamaCare"

This is pretty tough local media coverage from Columbia, Missouri.


Let me get this straight, the Obama administration tells the Supreme Court that Obamacare has taxes so that it will be declared constitutional, but then tells the voters these aren't really taxes

Some how the Obama administration only remembered that these were taxes when it needed to make arguments before the Supreme Court.  From Fox News:

First it was a penalty. Then it was a tax. Now it's a penalty again.
The war of words over what to call the fine attached to the federal health care overhaul's most controversial provision continued Friday, as the White House took issue with the Supreme Court's argument -- even though that argument alone spared President Obama's law.
The five-justice majority argued that, while the fine imposed by the law for not buying health insurance would otherwise be unconstitutional, the fine is actually legal under Congress' authority to tax.
Ergo, the fine is officially a "tax" in the eyes of the court. The law stands.
But in a case of biting the hand that feeds, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday the fine is still just a "penalty."
Calling it a "tax" causes obvious political problems for the White House. Obama fought that label vigorously when selling the bill in 2009. . . .

Labels: ,


Congressman Issa releases details of secret wiretap applications in Fast & Furious case

There is an error is this story (though not in the part that I quote).  The claim is that the government "allowed" the guns to walk when in fact they ordered gun dealers to sell guns to people that the government knew were Mexican drug gang members.  This comes from the whistleblower who has supplied other information to Congressman Issa. 

Let's put the points together. 

1) Multiple gun dealers ordered to make gun sales that they didn't want to make, and they were order to make those sales precisely because the government believed that the people they were selling the guns to were Mexican drug gang members.

2) The government knew that these guys were taking guns to Mexico, but neither traced these guns nor told the Mexican government that the guns were being taken there.

3) That the government did not try to arrest these guys despite having wiretap evidence that they were taking the illegal guns to Mexico and that there were straw purchases.

4) That despite Holder's testimony on multiple occasions (one as recently as June 7, 2012) the wiretap applications that were sworn to before a federal judge did have explicit information on gun walking.  Top political appointees at DOJ thus did know about the gun walking program at least in March 2010, months before Brian Terry was killed.

From Roll Call:

. . . According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.
Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.
The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased. . . .
While Issa has since said he has obtained a number of wiretap applications, the letter only refers to one, from March 15, 2010. The full application is not included in what Issa entered into the Congressional Record, and names are obscured in Issa’s letter.
In the application, ATF agents included transcripts from a wiretap intercept from a previous Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that demonstrated the suspects were part of a gun-smuggling ring.
“The wiretap affidavit details that agents were well aware that large sums of money were being used to purchase a large number of firearms, many of which were flowing across the border,” the letter says.
The application included details such as how many guns specific suspects had purchased via straw purchasers and how many of those guns had been recovered in Mexico.
It also described how ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.
In at least one instance, the guns were recovered at a police stop at the U.S.-Mexico border the next day.
The application included financial details for four suspected straw purchasers . . . .
Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy,” the letter says. . . .
More information on Holder lying to Congress.  CBS's Sharyl Attkisson has more information here:

. . . . The Justice Department approved the wiretap application on March 15, 2010. . . . The affidavit describes in detail how ATF agents had surveilled multiple suspected gun traffickers for Mexican drug cartels, but made no arrests or interdictions. Previously, Holder had testified that the wiretap application gave no hint of gunwalking.
"Contrary to the Attorney General's statements, the enclosed wiretap affidavit contains clear information that agents were willfully allowing known straw buyers to acquire firearms for drug cartels and failing to interdict them-in some cases even allowing them to walk to Mexico. In particular, the affidavit explicitly describes the most controversial tactic of all: abandoning surveillance of known straw purchasers, resulting in the failure to interdict firearms," says Issa. . . .
But the former head of ATF, Kenneth Melson, appeared to support the Republican position on the wiretaps when he testified to Congressional investigators on July 4, 2011. Melson said that he read through the Fast and Furious wiretap applications after the scandal broke publicly and "it was apparent to me that (ATF agents) were suggesting that there was probable cause to believe that this information-that these straw purchasers were taking guns across the border."
Melson says as a result, he cautioned his colleagues to distance from a Feb. 4, 2011 statement the Justice Department made to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) claiming there had been no gunwalking. . . . Melson testified, "and said, you know, you better back off, you better back...the statement in this letter, this Feb. 4 letter to Senator Grassley, because I don't believe we can say that in light of the information that our agent was swearing before a federal district court judge to get the wiretap."
The wiretap application disclosed that Fast and Furious suspects had already purchased nearly 1,000 firearms in Fast and Furious, that they had not been arrested, and that many of the weapons had already been recovered in criminal hands in Mexico. Nine months later, two weapons in the case were used in a shoot-out with illegal immigrants and the Border Patrol that ended in the death of Special Agent Brian Terry."The fact that ATF knew that Target 1 had acquired 852 firearms and had the present intent to move them to Mexico should have prompted (Justice) Department officials to act" back in March of 2010, says Issa in a letter detailing some of the wiretap affidavit contents. "Target 1's activities should have provoked an immediate response by the (Justice Department) Criminal Division to shut him and his network down."
However, Holder has repeatedly testified (03:22) the wiretap affidavits gave no hint of gunwalking. Most recently on June 7, 2012, Holder testified, "There is nothing in those affidavits as I've reviewed them that indicates that gunwalking was allowed. That's--let's get to the bottom line and so I didn't see anything in there that would put on notice a person who was reviewing either at the line level or at the Deputy Assistant Attorney General level you would have knowledge of the fact that these inappropriate tactics were being used.". . . .

Labels: ,

Many Republican governors are still putting up opposition to Obamacare

The fear that I have is that once many of these institutions are enacted some of the structure of the private market will be destroyed and it will be costly to replace it.  Despite Obama's claim that everyone should fall in line now, it is nice to see that some states are delaying putting it in place.  From Politico:

. . . Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell and Rick Perry all responded to the Supreme Court’s decision by saying they’ll keep fighting — even as the White House on Friday made clear its response: Fine, we’ll do it without you.
The Republican governors’ message was clear on a morning Republican National Committee conference call, when Jindal and McDonnell stressed their continued defiance of the Affordable Care Act and said they will resist implementing the state-based health insurance exchanges for which the law calls.
“Here in Louisiana, look, we refused to set up the exchange. We’re not going to start implementing Obamacare,” Jindal said. “We have not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars, we are not implementing the exchanges, we don’t think it makes any sense to implement Obamacare in Louisiana.”
The response from GOP governors was similar elsewhere. . . .


Holder's statements in press conference after House's contempt vote contradict his statements last December to the Senate

AG Eric Holder: "Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided and politically-motivated investigation during an election year. By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety."
Holder also makes this outrageous claim:
"When concerns about operation Fast & Furious first came to light I took action,and ordered an independent investigation into what happened.  We learned that these flawed tactics used in this operation began in a previous administration, but I made sure that they ended in this one."

See the discussion starting at 2:37, particularly at 3:00.  After grilling by Senator Cornyn, Eric Holder admitted that the two programs were quite different on very important grounds.
3:31 AG Eric Holder:  Senator, I have not tried to equate the two.  I have not tried to equate "Wide Receiver" with "Fast and Furious."
Holder then goes on to admit the two programs are quite different.

Labels: ,


Very Inaccurate Fortune article by Katherine Eban falsely claims that BATF never intentionally let guns go to Mexican drug gangs

New Fortune article by Katherine Eban claims that the BATF "never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels."  Here is the first substantial paragraph in her piece (politically biased words highlighted):
Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one. . . .
There are many problems with this piece, besides it is written as an opinion piece, not a news story.  A very significant problem that isn't even mentioned in the piece is that, as CBS's Sharyl Atkisson discovered, the Obama administration demanded that gun dealers make gun sales that they didn't want to make. Here is an example of several gun dealers who only made these sales because they were told to do so by the BATF told their story to Atkisson, and they wanted to know what liability that they will face if they make gun sales that they thought were to people who were prohibited from getting the guns.

Now combine this with the fact that these guns weren't traced and that the Mexican government was not involved so that they could trace the guns on the Mexican side of the border and you have a real disaster.  You have the testimony of agents saying that they were warning officials that the guns weren't being traced.  Also compare it to the Wide Receiver case where despite actually trying to trace the guns and having the Mexican government's involvement the government wasn't able to successfully trace the guns.  If you can't successfully trace the guns when you involve the Mexicans and put tracing devices on the guns, why would anyone try Fast and Furious' approach?

Katherine Eban's biases can be seen throughout the piece.  Take the quote she has from BATF agent Dave Voth: "In Arizona," says Voth, "someone buying three guns is like someone buying a sandwich." I have a hard time believing that anyone would take this quote serious.  When was the last time that you had to wait to have a background check done when you went to buy a gun?  And when was the last time that you bought a sandwich when there was a one in twelve chance that you would have to wait up to three days to buy your sandwich because the background check couldn't be completed quickly?

Let me summarize:
1) Emails between gun dealers and BATF indicate that BATF was forcing dealers to make sales that they didn't want to make and that they were being made precisely because the BATF believe that the sales were being made to criminals.

2) Sharyl Atkisson interviewed several gun dealers who indicated to her that they only made these sales because they were told to do so by the BATF.  The BATF even
 video tapping the guns that they ordered gun dealers to sell going out of the stores (see video below).

3) Roll Call and CBS' Sharyl Atkisson reported on Friday that the wiretap application indicated that the government had evidence that gun trafficking was occurring, that the BATF watched the guns being bought by the suspected straw purchasers, and even followed them in some cases, but BATF then ended it surveillance without interdicting the guns. 
Liz Marlantes at the Christian Science Monitor pushes Eban's piece on Fox 
News Sunday.

Public Radio KCRW: To the Point: Holder Held in Contempt of Congress over 'Fast and Furious' -- Katherine Eban, David Corn, Evan Perez, and myself

It seems there's no end to the controversy over 'Fast and Furious,' the ATF operation which involved the sale of guns that reached Mexican drug lords and were involved in the death of a US Border Patrol agent. . . . .
The following video shows the BATF video tapping the guns that they ordered gun dealers to sell going out of the stores.

Labels: , ,

How come only conservatives get blamed for dysfunctional government?

David Gregory: "What happens if it is struck down in part or in whole by a 5 to 4 decision? Would that not underscore how dysfunctional our government is, the major institutions of our government are? That is a real nightmare scenario, I think, for the political class in this country." 
Why isn't it dysfunctional if the Supreme Court only approved it by a 5-4 margin? 
"Chief Justice Roberts....he has spoken publicly about how on big controversial decisions, he thinks a 5-4 majority on the Court overtime undermines the Supreme Court. And only fuels the view that our major political institutions are too polarized. He's taken a big step here. He's going to be cheered for that by some on the Right and the Left, criticized I'm sure, as well, by some on Right."
So does this mean that the four liberal justices who voted in a block are the polarizers? 

Labels: , ,

Newest Fox News piece: Holder contempt citation -- just remember that people died because of 'Fast and Furious'

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
People died.  It is something to remember during today’s historic House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Never before has a sitting attorney general been held in contempt.   
With all the hoopla over past scandals from Watergate to Filegate to Pardongate, the cover up was always worse than the crime.  Yet, in "Fast and Furious," the guns that the US government supplied to Mexican drug gangs have been used to kill one American border agent and over 300 Mexican citizens and commit numerous other crimes. 
To date, because of administration stonewalling, we don't have answers to the most basic questions.  Why would the Obama administration give drug gangs guns without trying to trace them? Why not inform Mexican officials about the program so that the Mexicans could try tracing the guns on the Mexican side of the border? Why start pushing untraceable guns to Mexico at the same time that the Obama administration was making theirwildly false claim that 90 percent of crime guns in Mexico were from the US? . . .

UPDATE: In my piece I mentioned that the Democrats who voted against Holder were under real pressure not to do it.  Politico has this:

The Georgia Democratic Party refused on Friday to denounce antagonistic comments the recently-elected chairman of its convention delegation made regarding U.S. Rep. John Barrow.
The Rev. Joseph Lowery, who was just last week unanimously elected chairman of the state party’s convention delegation, said Barrow had betrayed his party by green lighting a Republican-championed effort to charge U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt, the first instance in which federal lawmakers had imposed the sanction on a member of any presidential cabinet.
“You are a Republican hiding in Democrat’s clothing,” Lowery said of Barrow. “He doesn’t count in the Democratic column. He might as well go on and be a Republican.”
For the state’s most vulnerable incumbent pol, it was an unusually strong reprimand from a party-endorsed voice. . . .

UPDATE: The final vote was 255-67.

The vote was 255-67 with one lawmaker voting not present. Seventeen Democrats broke ranks to vote in favor of contempt, while two Republicans voted against the measure.
The vote was preceded by a heated floor debate.
“It’s important to remember how we got here,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a speech ahead of the vote. “The Justice Department has not provided the facts and information we requested. … It’s our constitutional duty to find out.”
The GOP-led House took the step over the alleged failure to provide additional information about the failed gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious which was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- a division of the Justice Department led by Holder.
Democrats walked out of the chamber ahead of the vote.
“What is happening here is shameful," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who argued House Republicans are more politically motivated in attacking Holder than getting to the bottom of the failed operation, in which at least two of the guns were connected to the fatal shooting of U.S. border agent Brian Terry. . . .
More are following Pelosi's lead that the vote was motivated by Holder's attempt to stop voter suppression.  Seriously?
AME expressed its “profound disagreement” with the contempt vote and also suggested that Holder had been unfairly targeted for his effort to curtail voter suppression laws. . . .

Labels: , ,

Chris Matthews says criticisms of Holder over "Fast and Furious" are due to racism

Chris Matthews (at 6:38): “I don’t want to start too much forest fire here but it is my instinct: is this ethnic Mr. Mayor?”Willie Brown: I think that it has some ethnic flavor to it.  It will be interpreted by some in that vein.  And yYou have to be very careful in a Democracy that you don't give people the opportunity to make that case factually.  And what DI is doing is in fact giving some individuals the opportunity to make that case . . . . Matthews: Well I just do it because it smells like it to me. . . .
Matthews isn't the only one making this claim.  Al Sharpton has made a similar claim here

Holder also made the claim to the New York Times: "This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we're both African-American."

Labels: , ,

Remember Pelosi's claim that Fast and Furious investigation is all about Republicans "going after Eric Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn voter suppression initiatives in the states"

"Don't forget they are going after Eric Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn voter suppression initiatives in the states.  This is no accident, it no coincidence, it is a plan on the part of Republicans."
Mark Levin responds to Pelosi's statement.

Mark Levin mentions over 200 Mexicans killed with guns given out by operation Fast and Furious.  It turns out that number might be low.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation": "We've had over 300 Mexican nationals killed directly attributable to this Fast and Furious operation, where they brought those guns into Mexico. A former Marine and a Border Patrol agent by the name of Brian Terry lost his life.  With Watergate you had a second-rate burglary."

Labels: , ,


Is it the threat of not being re-elected that keeps politicians honest?

A lot of academics treat politicians like they treat firms in that it is the treat of re-election that they say keeps politicians from deviating from their constituents' interests.  But there is a problem with that.  Politicians don't have any chance of living forever, and we often know in advance of their last election when an election will be their last.  The problem is that this threat of non-election can't work if everyone knows at what point the politician won't be running for re-election again.  

From the WSJ.com's Political Diary:

The 78-year old Mr. Hatch is a lock to win reelection in November in this heavily Republican state. He will be the longest serving Republican in the Senate and says he will serve one last term.
Other such cases involve term limits.  As I have argued in my past work, such as my book Freedomnomics, the solution is to rely on a politician's preferences.  If you can put into office a politician who values the same thing as his constituents, you can solve the "last period" problem.  If the politician then deviates from his constituents interests, he will lower his own level of utility.  In my book, I apply this point to a lot of examples such as friendships and Supreme Court appointments.


Yet another Obama misstatement

Again, I personally don't care about these things, but since Democrats make such a big deal about the slightest misstatements by Republicans, I have decided to keep track of them.



So how is Obama doing on his promise of no excuses?

Zimmerman passed a lie detector the day after the shooting

Why has this has gotten no news coverage?  Whatever the problems with lie detectors, the police asked Zimmerman to do it and he did it without a lawyer.  Zimmerman certainly acts like an innocent guy. From The Smoking Gun:
A day after killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman passed a police lie detector test when asked if he confronted the teenager and whether he feared for his life "when you shot the guy," according to documents released today by Florida prosecutors.According to a “confidential report” prepared by the Sanford Police Department, Zimmerman, 28, willingly submitted to a computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA) “truth verification” on February 27.  Investigators concluded that he “has told substantially the complete truth in regards to this examination.”
Zimmerman, the report noted, “was classified as No Deception Indicated (NDI).”
Along with questions about whether his first name was George and if it was Monday, Zimmerman was asked, “Did you confront the guy you shot?’ He answered, “No.” He was also asked, “Were you in fear for your life, when you shot the guy.” Zimmerman replied, “Yes.” . . .


Germany won't back down on its austerity plans

German is holding firm.  It is amusing to see that they are starting to speak down to Obama in the same way that he has constantly been lecturing them.  Are they behaving irrationally?   From Der Spiegel:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rebuffed recent criticism of Germany's handling of the euro crisis from Barack Obama, telling the US president to get his own house in order before giving advice.
"Herr Obama should above all deal with the reduction of the American deficit. That is higher than that in the euro zone," he told German public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday night. It is easy to give advice to others, he added,Obama, worried about the impact of the debt crisis on the global economy and financial markets -- and on his own prospects for re-election --has been urging Europe to step up its efforts to tackle the problem.
In the interview, Schäuble also reiterated his opposition to euro bonds, saying countries must remain individually liable for their public debt as long as they were taking sovereign decisions on how the money was being spent.
"If you spend the money from my account, you won't be frugal with the money," said the finance minister. He added that he was against devoting large sums of money -- for example from the European Central Bank -- to fight the crisis. The roots of the crisis needed to be fought credibly, he said, adding that that was succeeding in Ireland and Portugal, which have both received international bailouts. "It's not succeeding so well in Greece," he added. . . .
UPDATE: George Soros weighs in an interview with Der Spiegel:

'A Tragic, Historical Mistake by the Germans'With the EU summit set to start on Thursday, pressure is on European leaders to find a way out of the euro crisis. Investor George Soros is pessimistic that a solution will be found and says time is extremely short. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he warns that Germany could develop into a hated, imperial power.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In Germany, once the motor of European integration, people are openly discussing the possibility of leaving the euro zone. Many Germans believe that a return to the deutschmark would be cheaper than to remain stuck in a flawed currency union. Are they right?
Soros: There is no question that a breakup of the euro would be very damaging, very costly, both financially and politically. And the biggest loss would be incurred by Germany. Germans have to bear in mind that, effectively, they have suffered practically no losses so far. Transfers have all been in the form of loans, and it is only when the loans are not repaid that real losses will be incurred. 

Here is a question: why exactly would countries returning to their own currencies be so bad?  Here are the 10 EU countries who are not using the Euro.
United Kingdom Bulgaria Czech Rep. Denmark Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Romania Sweden
Are they doing worse relative to other countries?  It is hard to see how that is the case.  Poland for example has done very well without being in the Euro and so has Germany.  The difference between countries seems to depend a lot more on whether the countries followed an austerity type policy, with those controlling government spending doing much better.

Labels: , , ,

Elizabeth Warren blasts Romney comment that “corporations are people.”

Politico has this:

It was almost as if she was behind a lectern at Harvard again, teaching a lesson.
Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren took direct aim at Mitt Romney at an Obama fundraiser on Monday, dredging up his remark that “corporations are people.”
“No, Mitt, corporations are not people,” she exclaimed. “People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick,… they live and they die. Learn the difference. . . .
If this is what is taught at Harvard, we are in bad shape.  Here is the point that Romney was making.  Corporations are made up of people who work together.  Corporations don't exist independently of people.

Labels: ,


NBC doctors another video tape: Jerry Sandusky case

Last week you had Andrea Mitchell show caught splicing together a tape of Mitt Romney that completely distorted what he said.  Prior to that you had NBC doing something similar on George Zimmerman's 911 call.  Now apparently, NBC has done something similar with child predatory Jerry Sandusky.  From Reuters:

In the Sandusky interview with NBC, Costas asks, "Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?" according to an NBC News transcript.
Sandusky responded, "Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?"
But in the "Today" version, which was played for jurors and is still available on YouTube (here), the exchange was repeated.
The interview was originally aired correctly on NBC News' new magazine show, ‘Rock Center' on November 14. The erroneous version that repeated the exchange aired the following morning on ‘Today.'
In a statement, NBC's Lynn said: "Under subpoena, NBC News turned over three versions of the Costas interview to prosecutors, including the 'Today' version with the error in it. Prosecutors used the 'Today' version, not realizing it included a technical glitch, and played it for the jury.
"After court that day, NBC News executives had a series of discussion with the prosecutors, and after some internal investigation were able to determine that the glitch originated on 'Today.' NBC News executives explained the situation to the court, and Judge Cleland sought to remedy the situation by giving the jury instructions to regard only a transcript of the full interview that was subsequently provided to them, not any audio that was played for them by prosecutors." . . .
A source on the prosecution team acknowledged that prosecutors played the ‘Today' version, which contained the error, without reviewing it carefully beforehand.
"Was it embarrassing?" the source asked. "It was certainly embarrassing. Was it a mistake? It was clearly a mistake." The source also said NBC News executives expressed regret to the court.
"Did they say, ‘I'm sorry?' I can't recall those exact words,'' the source said. "Were they apologetic? Yes." . . .


So who really wants a "top down" economy?

It is becoming a constant theme in Obama's talks that Republicans want to run the economy from the top down.  You would think that the press would realize that government mandates and central planning are the ultimate "top down" way to run things.  Obama obviously doesn't understand this, but companies don't dictate to consumers what they will buy.  

I heard another speech today that said virtually the same thing, but here is something that he said on Friday.
The Republicans who run Congress, the man at the top of their ticket, they don’t agree with any of the proposals I just talked about.  They believe the best way to grow the economy is from the top down. So they want to roll back regulations, and give insurance companies and credit card companies and mortgage lenders even more power to do as they please. They want to spend $5 trillion on new tax cuts -- including a 25-percent tax cut for every millionaire in the country.  And they want to pay for it by raising middle-class taxes and gutting middle-class priorities like education and training and health care and medical research. . . .

Here is a similar claim from his big economic address a couple of weeks ago in Cleveland.
Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe deeply in the theory that we tried during the last decade -- the theory that the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.  So they maintain that if we eliminate most regulations, if we cut taxes by trillions of dollars, if we strip down government to national security and a few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed, and that will automatically benefit us all.  . . . 

UPDATE: Here is what I heard from his speech today (June 25th) at the Oyster River High School in Durham, New Hampshire.
I believe they’re wrong.  I believe their policies were tested, and they failed.  (Applause.)  And that -- my belief is not just based on some knee-jerk partisan reaction.  It’s based on the fact that we tried it.  And you look at our economic history.  In this country, prosperity has never come from the top down.  It comes from a strong and growing middle class.  (Applause.)  It comes from successful, thriving small businesses. (Applause.) . . . 

Labels: , ,

Concealed handgun saves man's life in National park

Remember the claims that there was no reason for people to carry handguns with them when they are in national parks?  From Arizona Central:

. . . A Tempe man who was attacked by a bear in his tent near Payson was in surgery Sunday afternoon at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn with severe but not life-threatening injuries.
The unidentified 30-year-old man was sleeping at 5 a.m. when the black bear attacked him at Ponderosa Campground in the Tonto National Forest just off Arizona 260 about 12 miles northeast of Payson.
"He was bitten in the head and the left arm," said Jim Paxon, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
"The bear drug him around the tent, but he did not receive skull-crushing or neck-crushing injuries to his brain stem, so that's a marvelous thing."
As soon as the bear attacked, the man's fiancee, in the tent also, screamed and escaped from the tent with her small child.
The bear went to a nearby campsite, where a camper shot the animal several times with a 9mm handgun, and the bear disappeared. . . . .

Labels: , ,

Is this donation to the Obama campaign legal?

There are donation limits, and I think that it is pretty clear that a private citizen can't simply cover what are real campaign costs in an amount that exceeds what he is legally allowed to donate. From Fox News:
An anonymous donor has offered to pay up to $20,000 of the cost of extra security for President Obama's visit to a New Hampshire college town after the town asked the Obama campaign to foot the bill.
CBS Boston reports Jay Gooze, the Town Council Chair in Durham, announced Sunday a local resident has offered to cover the cost of the president's Monday campaign stop.
“We are grateful for this generous offer,” Gooze told CBS Boston.
Gooze says the resident stressed he or she believes the town did the right thing by asking the Obama campaign to pay up, and he or she felt donating the money is the right thing to do.
The town caused a controversy when they asked the Obama campaign to cover the $20,000 to $30,000 cost of extra police, fire and EMS services for his visit to the University of New Hampshire because the city couldn't afford it. The Obama for America campaign refused.
 Durham Town Manager Todd Selig tells CBS Boston residents had mixed reactions to the standoff. . . .
UPDATE: Compare it to Boston picking up Obama's security costs?  Will the city pick up the costs for Romney?  Will they do it for just one fund raiser or as many as Obama wants to make?  The Boston Herald has this discussion:
“It’s an atrocious waste of taxpayer money,” said David Tuerck, a government ethics watchdog with Suffolk University. “There is no taxpayer interest in any of this. It’s all about getting him re-elected, and the campaign should pay for everything.” . . .“(It’s) the president of the United States, and I respect the office he holds,” [Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino] told WBZ-radio. “I’m not gonna let petty politics play any part of what the presidential visit (means) to the city of Boston.” . . . 
This last quote from Mayor Menino makes it sound as if Boston will only pick up Obama's security costs.


Newest New York Post piece: "A Nation too scared to quit"

I hope that this piece gets shared widely as I think that the information in it is pretty important.  The piece starts this way:

In case you missed it, hiring fell a staggering 9 percent last month. The hidden secret is how bad hiring has been throughout the “recovery.”
Economists say the recovery started in July 2009 — but the jobs picture still looks more like a recession. 
New hires not only fell during the recession, they’ve kept on falling during the “recovery” — something that isn’t supposed to happen. 
The economy has added jobs for 20 months, but very slowly. The total actual number of jobs has grown by just 1 percent during the 36-month “recovery.” In all past recoveries since 1970, the average job growth in the first 36 months is 7 percent. 
The story gets even worse when we look more closely at that small increase in jobs. 

In the year and half before the recession, new hires averaged 5.25 million per month. During the recession (December 2007 to June 2009), they fell dramatically to 4.39 million, hitting 4.2 million per month in December 2008, right before Obama became president. . . .
Note: the word actual was missing from the piece as it was published in the NY Post.

Labels: ,