Something to remember when Democrats attack Paul Ryan

These quotes could be used in ads to respond the Democrats charges that Paul Ryan is "extreme" or "radical."  From Fox News:
. . . In a late 2011 talk at the University of North Carolina, Bowles told the audience "this guy is amazing." "I always thought I was okay with arithmetic. This guy can run circles around me, and he is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere," Bowles said. "And the budget he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget." . . .
in a March 29, 2012, PBS interview, Bowles said that Ryan's plan to offer government payments to buy private insurance should nevertheless remain an "option" going forward. He even said "you would want to consider" a newer version of the Ryan plan that lets people keep traditional Medicare as an alternative.
Bowles repeated his sentiment that Ryan is a "very smart, stable, honest, hardworking guy."
In 2010 on the same program, Bowles said: "I wish we had more people like Paul who are thinkers and do their homework." . . .
Obama was similarly upbeat on Ryan's role in the Republican Party.
In 2010, Obama said at a Republican retreat that Ryan had "made a serious proposal" with his budget. . . .
In an interview this summer on a program called Medscape, Wyden discussed that proposal, saying: "It really starts from the proposition that no one would go out and buy a house without some idea of knowing what they're paying for.
"And much of what we're going to have to do with Medicare is to be sure that traditional Medicare with its purchasing power can be maintained, while at the same time we offer private sector choices, so that the two will strengthen each other. And in that sense, we recognize that much of the Medicare debate is not at all ideological," he said. . . .

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Negative interest rates?: No way is that going to happen

Would you loan someone $100 with the understanding that they will pay you back $95 a year from now?  That would make no sense.  You might as well just keep the $100.

So how do you push interest rates below zero?  Kenneth Garbade, a senior vice president in the Money and Payments Studies Function of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Research and Statistics Group, and Jamie McAndrews, an executive vice president and the director of research for the Bank, have this suggestion:
One way to push short-term rates negative would be to charge interest on excess bank reserves. The interest rate paid by the Fed on excess reserves, the so-called IOER, is a benchmark for a wide variety of short-term rates, including rates on Treasury bills, commercial paper, and interbank loans. If the Fed pushes the IOER below zero, other rates are likely to follow. . . .
The notion is that the tax will cause banks to want to quickly loan out the additional money and that this will force interest rates down below the near zero rate that they are now at.  But lower excess reserves mean a higher money multiplier and thus higher inflation.  If this increase is anticipated, nominal and real interest rates would actually rise.  Nominal rates would rise because of the higher inflation rate.  Real interest rates would rise because the government taxes nominal, and not real, returns.

The notion that this policy can increase investment only holds if people are making mistakes, that they think that the real interest rate is lower than it actually is. What this debate shows is how weak the economy is and how few people want to invest.  The government can only get more people to invest if they are making a mistake about what future inflation rates will be.



Judge Removed in Zimmerman case

It is very unusual for a judge to be removed from a case in this way.  I had thought Judge Lester was behaving improperly, but it is nice to have this decided.
A Florida appeals court today ordered Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. to disqualify himself in George Zimmerman's trial for the alleged murder of Trayvon Martin. 
The Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona, Fla., voted 2-1 that Lester should be disqualified. Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, had appealed to the court in early July for Lester to be removed. 
His motion to disqualify the judge came in response to Lester's order setting Zimmerman's bail at $1 million. In it Lester wrote that Zimmerman had "flaunted the system" and practiced "deception upon the court" after it was revealed that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had not told the court he had two passports and tried to hide the amount of money their defense fund had raised. record. They were also accused of speaking in code in reference to their assets. 
In a 17-page document O'Mara accused Lester of having a bias against Zimmerman, writing that "the court made gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman's character, advocated for Mr. Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes; offers a personal opinion about the evidence for said prosecution; and continues to hold over Mr. Zimmerman's head the threat of future contempt proceedings." . . .


Richard Dawkins: Does this really pass as intellectual arguments?

Why would anyone who is interested in intellectual debate make these types of arguments?  Unfortunately, what Dawkins thinks passes as intellectual debate is the way that a lot of liberals in academia think.  What is gained by this type of attitude?

UPDATE: This was posted yesterday.

Other posts.

Why even posting such drivel? Something posted today.

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More Media Ignorance of Simple Economics: Is cutting payments to doctors the same as cutting benefits to those receiving services?

One would think that even the media would understand that cutting payments is the same as reducing the quality of service.  But take this from the left wing Politifact (8/29/12):
In fact, the law limits payments to health care providers and insurers to try to reduce the rapid growth of future Medicare spending. Lawmakers said they hoped the measures would improve care and efficiency. Those savings, spread out over the next 10 years, are then used to offset costs created by the law (especially coverage for the uninsured) so that the overall law doesn't add to the deficit. Ryan's statement is exaggerated and we rate it Mostly False. . . .
Or take the Washington Post (8/15/12):

The Medicare Advantage cut gets the most attention, but it only accounts for about a third of the Affordable Care Act's spending reduction. Another big chunk comes from the hospitals. The health law changed how Medicare calculates what they get reimbursed for various services, slightly lowering their rates over time. Hospitals agreed to these cuts because they knew, at the same time, they would likely see an influx of paying patients with the Affordable Care Act's insurance expansion.
The rest of the Affordable Care Act's Medicare cuts are a lot smaller. Reductions to Medicare's Disproportionate Share Payments -- extra funds doled out the hospitals that see more uninsured patients -- account for 5 percent in savings. Lower payments to home health providers make up another 8.8 percent. About a dozen cuts of this magnitude make up the green section above.
It's worth noting that there's one area these cuts don't touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to. . . .
Similar comments are provided by The New Republic via NPR under the headline: "Who's Raiding Medicare? Not Obama."

You paid in to Medicare for years. Every paycheck. Now, when you need it, Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare. Why? To pay for Obamacare. So now the money you paid for your guaranteed health care is going to a massive new government program that's not for you. The Romney-Ryan plan protects Medicare benefits for today's seniors and strengthens the plan for the next generation.
It's not very subtle. And it's not very true. . . .

Yet, the funniest comments come from FactCheck.org, which points out that Obamacare "Stipulates That Guaranteed Medicare Benefits Won't Be Reduced."  So you cut payments to providers, but mandate that they keep providing the same level of service.  Well, that solves the problem for sure.  Why not eliminate payments and mandate that services remain unchanged?  The whole thing is just absurd.

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Nikki Goeser has an interview about getting the NRA's 2012 Sybil Ludington Women's Freedom Award

Her interview is available here.


Clint Eastwood speaks at the Republican National Convention

Pretty amazing speech when you consider that the teleprompter froze very early on.  

UPDATE: Still, the mainstream media has been less than happy with his talk, with attacks on the quality of the presentation.  Here are two pieces from the Washington Post.

Awkward, thy name is Clint Eastwood.The previous sentence is stunning, given that Eastwood has made a career on his cool stoicism and tough-guy patois. I mean, this is the man who played “Dirty Harry.”
And yet, after Eastwood’s speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, “awkward” may be the kindest term we can think of.
The Hollywood star’s appearance wasn’t announced until mid-week, and when he stepped on stage Thursday night — after a stirring documentary film about Mitt Romney’s life — the audience was clearly expecting a bravura performance. . . . .
He hemmed. He hawed. He mumbled. He rambled. . . . .
And here.

Now we know why political conventions are scripted.Mitt Romney delivered a good and personal acceptance speech Thursday night. His campaign produced a sterling video about the candidate. People who know Romney offered testimony about his values, his compassion and his business acumen. But all anyone seemed to be talking about when the convention ended was Clint Eastwood and an empty chair.The discomfort of Ann Romney, appearing on “CBS This Morning” on Friday, spoke volumes about how the Eastwood moment was received. She tried her best to be positive, but she clearly was surprised by what she had witnessed onstage. . . . 
The media reaction is discussed here.  This clip also mentions how the teleprompter froze during Eastwood's appearance.


Yahoo News' Washington bureau chief fired after saying: "[Republicans] are happy to have a party with black people drowning"

Yahoo News' Washington bureau chief David Chalian was fired after attacking Republicans as being racist.  What is interesting to me is not just that he had been bureau chief for Yahoo.  Before that he worked as political director at "PBS NewsHour" and before that worked at ABC News. Is it believable that he kept such intense political views to himself?  If not, why was he employed in such important positions at major news outlets?
. . . . The comment was made by David Chalian during live coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and was an apparent reference to the convention getting underway while a tropical storm-turned-hurricane barreled toward the Gulf Coast.  
"They are happy to have a party with black people drowning," said a voice off-camera, later identified as Chalian, as video of the Romneys played on screen. Other people could be heard laughing at the comment.  
A Yahoo! spokesperson confirmed to FoxNews.com that Chalian was let go, and said the company has apologized to Romney and his staff.  
"David Chalian's statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended," the spokesperson said in a statement. . . .


Mickey Kaus: "NYT proves Romney right on Welfare"

From Mickey Kaus' post:
The smoking gun is always in the last place you look: I had some serious doubts about Mitt Romney’s ad attacking Obama’s welfare “waivers”–until I read the New York Times editorial denouncing it. Now I know Romney’s ad isn’t as accurate as I’d thought. It’s much more accurate. 
The Times notes that one of the states proposing waivers from the 1996 welfare reform’s work requirements is Nevada–indeed,  Nevada was cited by the Obama Health and Human Services department when it quietly announced its plan to grant waivers on July 12 .**  Here’s how the Timesdescribes what Nevada wants to do:
[Nevada] asked to discuss flexibility in imposing those requirements. Perhaps, the state asked, those families hardest to employ could be exempted from the work requirements for six months while officials worked with them to stabilize their households. [E.A.]
“Exempted from the work requirements for six months.” That’s not just “weakening” work requirements–the safe, milder charge I chose to make a couple of days ago. It’s explicitly tossing them out the window for an extended period–“to allow time for their barriers to be addressed and their household circumstances stabilized”, in Nevada’s words.*** . . .

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Canadian High School fires "exceptional" physics teacher because he gave some students zeroes

From the Edmonton Sun:
. . . Dorval is the 35-year classroom veteran who generated national attention last spring when he refused to adhere to his principal’s “no-zero” policy.Rather than resuming his Physics lectures, Dorval will instead be facing a hearing on Sept. 10 at which the superintendent of public schools, Edgar Schmidt, will decide whether or not Dorval should be fired for continuing to give zeros to students who refuse to hand in assignments despite his Principal Ron Bradley’s demand that he stop.
The true shame of this is that an exceptional teacher appears about to be tossed because of the educational establishment’s devotion to a theory that has almost no basis in research.
Not only is the public’s common sense offended nearly every time and everywhere it is revealed that educrats have implemented no-zero grading, according to a study released Monday by Winnipeg’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy the empirical research on no-zero policies “is surprisingly weak.”. . .



Gov. Susana Martinez's Full RNC Speech 8/29/12

If Martinez were in her second term, she might be on the presidential ticket.


Concealed handgun permit holder stops stabbing outside school

From San Antonio, Texas:
A woman is in critical condition after she was stabbed outside her child's school Tuesday morning. 
The attack happened around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday outside the Bonham Academy on St. Mary's Street. Teresa Barron, 38, had just dropped off her child at the school when the child's father showed up, and the two got into an argument. The child's father, 38-year-old Roberto Barron allegedly then stabbed the woman several times in the upper body and neck area. 
Police say a bystander who happened to be a concealed handgun license holder pulled his weapon and ordered Barron to drop the knife. Barron surrendered and was taken into custody by the bystander and a school district officer. . . .
Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link.

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Tips for getting better legroom on airplanes at a discount

Fox News has the story available here.


Now the Liberal-Dems in Britain are pushing for wealth tax

So much for Britain trying to attract a lot of wealthy people from France.  This tax increase is unlikely to occur during the current government because the Conservative party won't go along.  But it signals that it is likely that the tax rate on higher income individuals will go up under the next government.  Still higher future taxes means that someone thinking of bearing the cost of moving from France will think twice before moving to the UK.

. . . . Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party, has proposed a one-time tax on the wealth (rather than the incomes) of high-net-worth Britons. The details aren’t clear, but Clegg says the country is facing an economic war caused by a prolonged recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest. . . . 
Chancellor George Osborn shot back, saying the plan would chase out the rich and make the odds of full recovery even worse.  Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the House of Commons' public administration committee, told the BBC that the tax could strangle the golden geese of Britain. “If the politics of envy made a country rich, we'd be very rich … Most rich people are contributing far more in tax than other people." . . . 
The debate in Britain mirrors the central debate in America’s presidential election: how much to tax the rich. Obama has called for raising their taxes. Romney calls for cutting them. 
Britain's tax distribution is less progressive than America's, with the top 1 percent paying about 24 percent of the total income taxes in the U.K. In the United States, the same group pays more than 35 percent. The top 10 percent in Britain pays 55 percent of income taxes, while in America the top 10 percent pays 59 percent. . . .
Here is figure from the BBC.  So why does Obama want to have a more progressive tax system than Europe?  The bottom 50% in the US don't pay any taxes.

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Senator Rubio: Government spending as wealth transfers to big corporations

“The biggest beneficiaries of big government are big corporations, and I’ll tell you why, because they can afford to hire the best lawyers in America to figure out the loopholes.  And if they really really don’t like the rules, they can afford the best lobbyists in America to try to change those rules.” . . .
Just last week, Mitt Romney was making a similar note that big government helps big business. 
. . . "Big business is doing fine in many places," Romney said last Thursday in Minnetonka, Minn. Liberal mainstream reporters were gobsmacked: They think the Republicans' stated agenda of free markets is simply a big-business agenda. But Romney showed he understands how the regulations, tax carveouts and subsidies of Obamanomics really work. 
Large corporations, Romney said, "get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses." . . .  
More than 70 percent of Energy Department green-energy loan guarantees went to companies with Obama donors or bundlers in high positions, according to author Peter Schweizer. Most famously, bankrupt solar-subsidy recipient Solyndra was largely owned by Obama bundler and frequent White House guest George Kaiser. 
Obama's other favorite loan guarantee program is the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which has given 75 percent of its loan-guarantee dollars to Boeing sales in the last three fiscal years. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney is Obama's export czar. Small businesses don't have that access. . . .



New York Times reporters Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis actually do a balanced report on guns after the Aurora shooting

I wish that the reporters would have mentioned that both the Columbine and Aurora Movie theater shootings were in places where guns were banned.  I also wish that they had mentioned that all the other theaters within 20 minutes of the movie theater killer's apartment allowed concealed carry.  Indeed, only one of the seven movie theaters within a 20 minute drive banned concealed handguns.

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More Wikipedia wackiness: "entry calls Mia Love ‘dirty, worthless whore’ and ‘House Nigger’"

A discussion of the most recent problems with Wikipedia entries can be found here.

Here is Mia Love's response.


Mia Love goes after Obama dividing Americans, If only she can win her congressional race in Utah, she will make a real difference

President Obama's version of America is a divided one, often pitting us against each other based on income levels, gender, and social status.  His policies have failed. We are not better off than we were four years ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker, or Hollywood campaign ad can change that. Mr. President I am here to tell you we are not buying what you are selling in 2012. . . .
UPDATE: "Mia Love tops Google searches after ‘rousing’ speech at GOP convention"

Mia Love, a 36-year-old black Mormon congressional candidate, exploded onto the national stage with her speech at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night.  
By Wednesday, "Mia Love" had become the fastest-rising search term on Google. 
If Love defeats incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson (D) in Utah’s newly formed 4th district, she will become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. 
In her speech, she talked about how her parents came to the United States from Haiti with "$10 in their pockets and a hope that the America they heard about really did exist." . . . .


Former Dem Rep. and 2008 co-chair of the Obama presidential campaign Artur Davis talks about Democratic rhetoric

From Real Clear Politics:
We don't need flowery words about inequality to tell us that, and we don't need a party that has led while poverty and hunger rose to record levels to give us lectures about suffering. . . . 
When you hear the party that glorified Occupy Wall Street blast success; when you hear them minimize the genius of the men and women who make jobs out of nothing, is that what you teach your children about work? 
When they tell you America is this unequal place where the powerful trample on the powerless, does that sound like the country your children or your spouse risked their lives for in Iraq or Afghanistan? 
Do you even recognize the America they are talking about? And what can we say about a house that doesn't honor the pictures on its walls? . . .

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Do the rich pay enough taxes?

Walter Williams has this discussion from the Manhattan Institute:
According to IRS 2007 data, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 22 percent of national personal income but paid 40 percent of all personal income taxes. The top 5 percent earned 37 percent and paid 61 percent of personal income tax. The top 10 percent earned 48 percent and paid 71 percent of all personal income taxes. The bottom 50 percent earned 12 percent of personal income but paid just 3 percent of income tax revenues. 
Some argue that these observations are misleading because there are other federal taxes the bottom 50 percenters pay such as Social Security and excise taxes. Moore presents data from the Tax Policy Center, run by the liberal Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, that takes into account payroll and income taxes paid by different income groups. Because of the earned income tax credit, most of America's poor pay little or nothing. What the Tax Policy Center calls working class pay 3 percent of all federal taxes, middle class 11 percent, upper middle class 19 percent and wealthy 67 percent. 
President Obama and the Democratic Party harp about tax fairness. Here's my fairness question to you: What standard of fairness dictates that the top 10 percent of income earners pay 71 percent of the federal income tax burden while 47 percent of Americans pay absolutely nothing? . . .

Some great income tax data is available from the Tax Foundation here.  Using this data it would be possible to show how the top tax rate has been associated with the top 10%'s share of taxes from 1980 to 2009.  See related discussions by the Heritage Foundation.

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Public school demands that boy's name be changed because it claims that sign language for name violates their anti-gun policy

From Grand Island, Nebraska:
Three-and-a-half  year old Hunter Spanjer, who is deaf, signs his name by crossing his forefinger and index finger and moving his hand up and down.
To his family, friends and those who know the Signing Exact English (S.E.E.) language that the Grand Island, Neb., boy uses, that gesture uniquely means "Hunter Spanjer."
But to Hunter's school district, it might mean something else. The district claims that it violates a rule that forbids anything in the school that looks like a weapon, reports KOLN-TV.
And Hunter's parents claim that Grand Island Public Schools administrators have asked them to change their son's sign language name.
"Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous," Hunter's grandmother Janet Logue told the TV station. "This is not threatening in any way."
Hunter's father Brian Spanjer said, "It's a symbol. It's an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E." . . .

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57-year-old permit holder kills gunman in robbery attempt

Jacksonville, Florida
A 57-year-old Jacksonville grandfather stopped off on his way home from work Monday night to fill a grocery list his wife left for him that morning.
But after entering the Dollar General at 1921 Dunn Ave., he was thrust into an armed robbery that ended with him firing his weapon and one of the two robbers lying dead on the floor.
Two unidentified men entered the store about 9:20 p.m., both with handguns, said Lt. Rob Schoonover of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“One of them had the clerk and one of them was at the front cash register,” Schoonover said.
The manager then alerted the customer to the situation.
“The customer, who had a concealed firearms permit and a firearm, fired at the suspect, striking him apparently two times, killing him,” Schoonover said. . . .

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Per capita GDP still below what it was in December 2007

From the WSJ:
Over that same stretch, the U.S. population grew 3.7%. As a result, GDP per capita is still 1.9% below its 2007 high mark. Assume that Wall Street economists’ GDP forecasts and Census Bureau population projections are in the right ballpark, and GDP per capita doesn’t look like it will surpass its old peak until the third quarter of 2013. . . .
The GDP data are available here. I had made a very similar point previously here.

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Only government would subsidize something when too much of it is already being produced

If you have too much renewable energy, possibly the solution is to let the market reduce the amount being produced.  But no.

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Another example that government can simply not keep politics out of its decisions

A company that was previously going to given recognition for all its good deeds for the Denver community doesn't get the award because it disagrees with a decision by the Federal government.  So is the goal to only encourage good Democrats to help out in the community?  From Fox News:

The Catholic owners of a Colorado-based business won an injunction recently against implementing an ObamaCare mandate -- only to be denied a proclamation now from the Denver City Council. 
Hercules Industries, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning manufacturer which employs 300 workers and has been in business in the Mile-High City for 50 years, was to be honored with a “Good Citizenship Award." The laurel was in recognition of contributions to the community, including the historic restoration of company headquarters and, ironically, its “generous employee health care coverage.” 
But the award was taken away after the owners of Hercules Industries, the Newland family, won the court injunction which said that they did not have to start providing employees with coverage that included abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization. As with several companies and colleges around the nation, the family that runs Hercules claimed that the mandates force them to violate their own religious beliefs. . . . .

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GM again suspends production of Chevy Volt

Last year GM sold 7,671 Volts.  This year they seem on track to double sales.  But less than 20,000 units is pretty small, especially compared to the huge subsidies provided by the government.  Auto News has this:
General Motors plans to idle the plant where it assembles the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid for four weeks starting next month, two people familiar with the plans said. 
GM will close its Detroit-Hamtramck plant from Sept. 17 until Oct. 15, one of the sources said. Union representatives last week told the plant's roughly 1,500 workers about the scheduled downtime, the source said. . . . 
It's the second time this year that GM has throttled back on Volt production. The Detroit-Hamtramck plant was idled from March 19 until April 16 amid swollen Volt inventories.
Volt demand has picked up this year, after sales last year fell short of GM's goals. GM sold 10,666 Volts through July, more than triple the 2,870 sold during the same period a year earlier. . . .  
Volt inventories have been whittled down, too, to 6,500 units, or 84 days' worth, as of Aug. 1. On March 1, just before the last production shutdown, GM had 154 days' worth. . . . 
UPDATE: But, as the commenter below notes, much of the Volt's sales are due to purchases from GE for its employees.
GE began purchasing Volts for its employees last month [March] in what it called "the largest order in history" of cars for its employees. However, the Volt numbers reflect a slow start to the GE Volt order. GE plans to buy 12,000 Volts by 2015. In effect, GE could buy 500 Volts each month in 2013 and 2014 and meet that target, without buying any Volt fleet vehicles this year. GE did say all fleet vehicle replacements in 2012 will be made with Volts, but it seems as if that could be a minor part of the Volt story if it is successful this year. 
The GE buying of Volts will continue to be a swing factor in month-to-month sales figures for the Volt, but the March data shows consumer demand for the vehicle is increasing at a critical time for GM, critical because of the excess supply. 
There have been more than 18,000 Volts produced and roughly half had been sold through February, a situation that led to the production halt and a more recent statement from GM that the production shutdown could be extended by a week. 
Analysts have also pointed to sales of the Nissan Leaf, down 29% for the past two consecutive months, as a sign that all is not well among U.S. consumers when it comes to the electric car market. 
However, the "inorganic source of demand," from GE and the trend in Leaf sales didn't reflect what was simply a good month for the Volt in March, once GM broke out the retail vs. fleet numbers on a conference call with analysts and the media. . . . . 
In addition, the Federal government has been making large purchases of GM cars, presumably also including the Volt.  This also brings into question how well the GM bailout has been going.  Here is a discussion from January this year.
Speaking of suspicious activity, an interesting statistic was revealed on GM's sales conference call. Government purchases of GM vehicles rose 32% from last year. This represents yet another conflict as the Obama Administration has a vested interest in GM's success as it spends more taxpayer dollars to help support the company as 2012 elections near. . . . 
GM sales spokesman, Jim Cain, government sales reportedly make up 5% of total sales and most of those sales are to state and local governments.  But 2% of 248,750 is still 4,975 units.  If even 10% of those sales are for Volts, the government may account for virtually all the remaining sales.

UPDATE: Military making big purchases of Volt.
The Pentagon is buying Chevrolet Volts to help “green up” the military—while propping up sales of the bailed-out automaker’s most politicized car. 
The Department of Defense began purchasing the struggling luxury electric car, which retails at $40,000, this summer as part of its goal to purchase 1,500 such green vehicles. The Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Calif. purchased its first two Volts in July, and 18 more vehicles will come shortly to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is based, according to military magazine Stars and Stripes. . . . 
GM is now offering the vehicle for as low as $169 per month, a financing deal that is generally reserved for $15,000 cars—a price so low that GM is reportedly losing nearly $50,000 per vehicle. The struggling automaker will again suspend production later this month after only 2,500 Volts drove off the lots last month. . . .
UPDATE: Advertising for GM's Volt in Europe banned as misleading.
. . . Now the commercial has been banned for misleading motorists who want to do their bit for the environment.The advertising watchdog’s ruling is a blow to Vauxhall’s Ampera, which beat the Range Rover Evoque to win the European Car of the Year award for 2012.Vauxhall insisted its claims about the Ampera were genuine and that once in ‘range extender mode’, it can indeed keep going for 360 miles. . . .

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Oklahoma is also increasing number of concealed handgun permits

Oklahoma has also seen an upward spike in concealed handgun permits (Oklahoma's Self Defense Act) that have been issued by a Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
As of July, 2012, there are 126,289 Oklahoma residents with active SDA licenses, according to the OSBI. . . . Applicants must be 21 or older and meet many requirements, such as being a U.S. Citizen, have no protective orders against them and no felony convictions.  They must also have two current passport photos and a state ID, such as a driver license, and two methods of payment — a $25 fee to pay to the sheriff’s office for fingerprints, a background check and handling the application, then a payment to the OSBI for the actual license, which is either $100 for a five-year license, or $200 for a license valid for 10 years.
From 1995 to 2007, the number of permits went from zero to 57,540.  But over the next five years there was 119% increase in the number of permits.  

While the numbers don't show the increase for the whole state for 2011, it does have this note.
For those in Pottawatomie County, 442 licenses were approved in 2011.
If statistics being tallied by the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office so far in 2012 keep at the current pace, the number of permits here will be much higher this year.
It’s estimated from sheriff’s office records that more than 300 applications have been made so far this year; it can take about 90 days from the time of application to final approval. . . . 


How to balance the budget the simple way

Daniel J. Mitchell has a nice discussion about how you can keep the Bush era tax changes and still balance the budget within five to ten years.

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How the bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises represents Occupy Wall Street types

This quote is available at Rotten Tomatoes.
Bane: We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you... the people. Gotham is yours. None shall interfere. Do as you please. Start by storming Blackgate, and freeing the oppressed! Step forward those who would serve. For and army will be raised. The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests, and cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened. Spoils will be enjoyed. Blood will be shed. The police will survive, as they learn to serve true justice. This great city... it will endure. Gotham will survive!


Comments on the accuracy of the Police shooting in the Empire State Building Shooting

The officers fired 16 shots at Jeffrey Johnson, with seven of them hitting Johnson, a hit rate of 43.75%. While one of the officers was fairly close, possibly eight feet or so, the other officer backed away and was much farther away when he fired his gun.  Three of the bystanders were hit by direct shots from the police and six others were hit by ricochet shots.

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Germany turns down Greece's request for 2.5 more years before they cut spending, there is a continual history of delays

Germany's patience is running thin on waiting for Greece to finally make their promised budget cuts. 
Germany’s economy minister has rejected calls for Greece to get more time to implement economic reforms, saying in an interview Sunday that Athens needs to respect the bailout deal reached with its international creditors. 
Philipp Roesler’s comments to ZDF public television come after a visit by Greece’s prime minister to Berlin on Friday, during which Antonis Samaras told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that his country needs ‘‘time to breathe’’ before it can make all the budget cuts and reforms demanded as part of its €240 billion ($300 billion) bailout packages. 
‘‘What the Greeks have asked for, half a year or two years, that’s not doable,’’ said Roesler, who is also the vice chancellor in Angela Merkel’s coalition government. He added that ‘‘time is always money’’ and all parties had agreed that additional funds for Greece weren’t up for debate. . . .
Remember this from last October?
Greece will miss a deficit target set just months ago in a massive bailout package, according to government draft budget figures released on Sunday . . . . 
If you need a reminder about what happened after the 2010 bailout, you can read about it here
Despite Greece's promisesgovernment spending is up over last year's already bloated levels, the deficit is bigger than ever, and it has utterly failed to meet the promised sell-off of some government assets.Not a single public bureaucrat has been laid off so far. . . .
The very high interest rates on Greek bonds -- 17 percent -- imply that lenders are highly certain that Greece will default long before their 10 year bonds are paid off. . . .
Well, that was in June 2011.  Now the Greek 10 year bond interest rate is 24%.

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100% effective marginal income tax rate?

Here are two stunning figures from the liberal Urban Institute.  If someone is facing anywhere near a 100% marginal tax rate, would they actually go out and work harder?  There is in fact a wide range of income for this hypothetical family with two children where the effective marginal income tax rate is above 80% for the range of income from about $15,000 to over $40,000.  The effect on people's incentives to escape poverty is obvious.

This last figure here does a good job of summarizing the point.  If you go from earning the poverty level in Alabama to twice that level, a $17,000 increase in income, you effective spending power goes up by only $6,852 -- implying a 60 percent marginal tax rate.

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The lost last four years

Later figures show that the drop, particularly for median net worth, has occurred since 2007.

Pew Research Center has gotten a lot of attention for this, but they term it as the "Lost Decade."  With median net worth, it is pretty clear that it is just the last four years.

The Wall Street Journal summarizes the dilemma here:
The income of the typical American family—long the envy of much of the world—has dropped for the third year in a row and is now roughly where it was in 1996 when adjusted for inflation.
The income of a household considered to be at the statistical middle fell 2.3% to an inflation-adjusted $49,445 in 2010, which is 7.1% below its 1999 peak, the Census Bureau said. . . .
Earnings of the typical man who works full-time year round fell, and are lower—adjusted for inflation—than in 1978. Earnings for women, meanwhile, are a relative bright spot: Median incomes have been rising in recent years and rose again last year, though women still make 77 cents for every dollar earned by comparably employed men.
The fraction of Americans living in poverty clicked up to 15.1% of the population, and 22% of children are now living below the poverty line, the biggest percentage since 1993. . . .

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Percent of NYC's adult population with handgun permits

With the shooting at the Empire State Building on Friday, I thought that I would show how hard it is to own or carry a handgun is in New York City.  There are 21,243 people in New York City with handgun permits.  With an adult population of 6,464,009 adults in 2012, that comes to a rate of about 0.3%.  Yet, only a fraction of these people are allowed to carry a concealed handgun.  In 2011, there were "about 4,000" permit holders, just 0.062%.  To put it differently, that is about 1 in every 2,570 adults.  And these aren't the adults that you would typically see just walking down the street.  The list included: Donald Trump Jr., Robert DeNiro, and Ronald Lauder.  As Bloomberg.com reported last year, "In New York City, it’s nearly impossible for most applicants to get concealed-carry permits."

The New York Post had a list in April 22, 2012 of those with permits to own a handgun, and they were quite prominent individuals.

Ronald Lauder: Worth $3.3 billion, No. 103 on Forbes 
Donald Trump: Worth $2.9 billion, No. 128 on Forbes 400 
Joseph Sitt: Coney Island developer with assets of $1 billion 
Andrew Farkas: Island Capital CEO used to employ Andrew Cuomo. 
Richard Fields: Hard Rock casino mogul 
Howard Stern: Recently inked $400 million deal with Sirius 
John Catsimatidis: Gristedes CEO worth $2 billion, No. 212 on Forbes 
John Mack: Former Morgan Stanley CEO 
Larry Gluck: Real-estate mogul owns Independence Plaza and heads Stellar Management. 
Adam Rose: Owner of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. 
Isaac Perlmutter: Marvel comics CEO worth $1.9 billion, No. 263 on Forbes. 
Tommy Mottola: Bronx-born recording exec worth $100 million 
George Klein: Real-estate mogul, CEO of Park Tower Group 
Ivan Seidenberg: Former Verizon CEO made $62 in 2009-2011 
Dana Duneier: CEO of Madison Avenue jeweler Clyde Duneier 
Albert Fried: Managing director of venerable Wall Street firm Albert Fried & Company. 
Martin Goodstein: Founder of Goodstein Management 
Donald Trump Jr.: First son of The Donald works for the Trump Organization. 
Eric Trump: Third son of Donald, he’s also in the family biz.
Note that the killer at the Empire State Building, Jeffrey Johnson, was not a concealed handgun permit holder.
Police say Johnson used a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun -- which held eight rounds -- and was carrying extra ammunition in his briefcase. He purchased the weapon legally in 1991 in Florida, but did not have a permit to carry it in New York City. . . .
Nor did he have a permit to even have the gun in New York City.
A loaded magazine was found in Johnson's briefcase. Johnson legally bought the gun in Florida in 1991, but he didn't have a permit to possess it in New York City, authorities said. . . . .
Despite another shooting in a gun-free zone, New York politicians issued calls for more gun control within three hours of the shooting. From the New York Daily News:
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: “For those of us in government, and in law enforcement, the news of yet another mass shooting so close on the heels of the massacres at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and in Aurora, Colorado, should make it crystal clear that our current laws have failed to protect the public from gun violence. We must redouble our efforts to protect public safety so that New Yorkers don’t have to live in fear of the next deadly attack.” 
Rep. Charlie Rangel: "We must unite to focus our policies on enacting stricter gun control laws" . . . 
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: "today's incident points to the need for sensible gun laws that ensure the safety and security of all." 
State Sen. Michael Gianaris: “It is long past time to fix our gun laws to prevent future tragedies from occurring.” 
State Sen. Jose Peralta: "The tragedy is yet another horrific reminder of the urgent need to act to curb gun violence and end the bloodshed on our streets." 
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: "We must redouble our efforts to pass tougher gun laws . . . ." 
The New Republic had this headline within a few hours of the Empire State Building shooting: "In Wake of Empire State Building Shooting, Will Politicians Finally Get Serious About Gun Control?" 

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