Very rare spider (only two ever found) put a halt to highway construction

From Fox News:
A rare spider discovered at a construction site in San Antonio has shut down a $15 million project as federal and state officials consider ways to continue without disrupting the arachnid’s natural habitat. 
The spider, identified as a Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver, is an endangered, non-venomous species that lives in caves, has no eyes and is virtually translucent. Josh Donat, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, said the recent discovery is only the second time the species has been spotted in more than 30 years. 
"This is the second individual spider that's ever been found,” Donat told FOX 29. “It's not like we found 1 of 5,000 individuals in a species. This is the second time this species has ever been seen by human eyes.  The last time it was seen was 32 years ago in 1980 in a little piece of property not far from here." . . . .

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Please explain why the Federal government is searching for parole violations for person who made the anti-Muslim movie

The Obama administration is falsely blaming the problems in the Mideast on this movie.  Just listen to Jay Carney here:

This discussion in the Weekly Standard nails it:
Carney’s comments lie outside the range of plausible spin, even by Obama administration standards, and if his bosses believe them—as we fear they do—are simply delusional. But they are not without consequence. . . . They all send the message to America’s enemies that if you kill our diplomats and lay siege to the our embassies, the first move the American government will make is to denounce .  .  . Americans. Our leaders apparently believe that the way to protect Americans from extremists and terrorists abroad is to tell other Americans to shut up. . . .
The Associated Press reports that the Federal government is checking the film maker for parole violations and the only reason suggested is because he was involved with this movie.  Note also how the AP accepts the Obama administration claim that this film maker is responsible for the violence.
A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff's station but was not arrested or detained, authorities said early Saturday. . . .

Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film.

Violent protests set off by the film in Libya played a role in mob attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials. U.S. Embassy gates in Cairo were breached by protesters and demonstrations against American missions spread to Yemen on Thursday and on Friday to several other countries. . . . .
UPDATE:  A consequence of the Obama administration publicly making an example of Nakoula.
Social media websites are flush with death threats for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the newly unmasked 55-year-old filmmaker behind the anti-Islam film that is being blamed for nearly a week of violent unrest in the Middle East.Nakoula was detained briefly over the weekend in California after federal officials questioned whether the production of the film violated the terms of his probation, which stemmed from a 2010 arrest for bank fraud. In response to security concerns, law enforcement kept him under heavy guard during his transport to a local police station.
“Insallah [God willing], we will kill him,” one Facebook user, Shayan Khan, wrote from Karachi, Pakistan.
Some YouTube users envisioned particularly imaginative demises for Nakoula in the comments section of a video related to his detention.
“I wanna torture him with a shot [to] his knee cap, then blow his eyes with [a] knife, take a chain saw and cut his penis, then a hot rod would be given to his ass, then kill him until he is hanged till death,” funkyfolk1110 wrote. “Kill this bastard,” said another user. 

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Google hypocrisy on property rights: It is fine for it to "fork" others programing, but not for others to do it to Google

No one really denies that Google forked the Sun's Java when it designed the Android operating system.  What concerned Oracle, which had bought Java from Sun, was that Android use of Java was incompatible with Java.  Google's successful legal defense largely rested on Tim Bray who had designed Java and Google had hired Bray to work for them a couple of years ago.  Here is a statement from Bray:
But I think there’ll be lots of forks, and I approve. I suspect that basement hackers and university CompSci departments and other unexpected parties will take the Java source, hack groovy improvements into it, compile it, and want to give it to the world. They’ll discover that getting their creation blessed as “Java” requires running the TCK/trademark gauntlet, which isn’t groovy at all. So they’ll think of a clever name for it and publish anyhow.

Which is terrific. I see no downside, and I see huge upside in that the Java mainstream can watch this kind of stuff and (because of the GPL) adopt it if it’s good, and make things better for everybody.
So Google's argument was that when it was doing the forking, it was fine, even good.  Obviously, both Sun and Oracle didn't see it the same way and were worried that the incompatibilities would hurt programing for their version of Java.

Well, what a difference a few months makes.  Now Google is forcing Acer to drop the release of a new operating system to compete with Android that involves forking of Android.  Google of course is now making the same argument against Acer that Oracle made against Google.
In a blog post today, Rubin called out Alibaba's Aliyun platform as a forked version of Android that's modified to the extent that it's incompatible with other Android devices. As a member of the Open Handset Alliance, Acer is forbidden from using such an operating system, he said.
"Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers, and consumers," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "Non-compatible version of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem." . . .
The irony of this is not lost on Alibaba:
"Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem so of course Aliyun OS is not and does not have to be compatible with Android," said John Spelich, vice president of international corporate affairs for Alibaba. "It is ironic that a company that talks freely about openness is espousing a closed ecosystem." . . .

Google said that while it built its own operating system, Alibaba took elements of Android to build Aliyun. . . .
So didn't Google take parts of Java in building its own operating system?  Could someone please tell me what I am missing here?  Thank you.

UPDATE: The two examples are becoming even more closely linked.  Alibaba claims that its new Aliyun operating system is not a "forked" version of Android, just as Google claimed that Android had not "forked" Java.  Google obviously had to eventually concede that it had forked Java, but their defense was that it was great to have a lot of innovation.  Will it become clear that not only is Google making the same argument that it railed against before but that Alibaba hasn't forked anything?  From CNET:
Chinese search giant Alibaba is disputing Google's claim that Alibaba's new Aliyun operating system is a forked and incompatible version of Android and thus can't be used by phone maker Acer.
In a blog post yesterday, Google's Andy Rubin said "the Aliyun OS incorporates the Android runtime and was apparently derived from Android."
CNET asked Alibaba's John Spelich about Rubin's/Google's claims and about whether there are elements of Android in Aliyun, and here's what we got in response: "They have no idea and are just speculating. Aliyun is different." . . .
But Spelich told CNET in an e-mail that Aliyun is "not a fork. Ours is built on open-source Linux." And he added that Aliyun "has our own applications. [It's] designed to run cloud apps designed in our own ecosystem. [It] can run some but not all Android apps."

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University of Colorado still leaves some very important gun-free zones

The problem with making dorms gun-free zones is that if students can't have their permitted concealed handguns where they live, they aren't going to be able to have the guns with them at other places on campus.  All college freshmen are required to live on the college campus.  Overall, 18,000 students live off campus out of a total of about 28,200 -- thus about 63.8% live off campus.  Given that there were about 5,663 new freshmen in the fall of 2011 and a very small additional number of 85 in the Spring of 2012, that means that there are about 4,487 non-freshmen living in campus housing and probably many of those are probably sophomores and juniors. Some are families though it is in family housing that there are some exceptions made for permit holders.  Given that permits aren't allowed until the student is at least 21 years of age, the constraint will be binding on only a small fraction of the student body.

However, there is an important concern.  There will indeed be certain areas on campus where a killer will know in advance that no one will be able to protect themselves and my guess is that if an attack is going to occur someplace, it will be at one of those locations.  Thus, I think that the statement by Jim Geddes shown below is correct.  Here is a news story about the changes from the local Boulder, CO newspaper, The Daily Camera.
. . . CU had a campus-wide ban on guns that was overturned in March when the state Supreme Court ruled that the school cannot bar concealed-weapon permit holders from bringing their weapons to the university's campuses. That prompted CU officials to rework contractual agreements for students living in the dorms and revise the regents' policy on weapons.

Regent Jim Geddes, R-Sedalia, said he appreciates campus officials' comprehensive review of gun policies, but has concerns about some of the restrictions.

CU's Boulder campus has banned guns from its dorms and is allowing them in a about a dozen family housing cottages and in a limited number of Athens North family housing units.

Guns are entirely banned from ticketed events, including everything from football games at Folsom Field to concerts in Macky Auditorium.

"At the end of the day, you still have created some gun-free zones on campus," Geddes said. "Creating a gun-free zone without taking some other measures to protect our students within those zones has shown over and over again to be a failed policy." . . .


So was Obama ever offered a tenured position at the University of Chicago Law School

This is a pretty incredible claim.  Clearly the New York Times reporter ignored what she was told by Richard Epstein on this score.  Nor was it the only thing that she did report in her generally glowing article on Obama.  I was also interviewed by Kantor in 2008 about my experiences with Obama and she didn't use any of the material that I gave her because Obama's campaign simply asserted that the conversation didn't happen.  From the Daily Caller:
“Other faculty members dreamed of tenured positions; [Obama] turned them down,” wrote Times White House Correspondent Jodi Kantor, author of “The Obamas,” in a July 30, 2008 profile of the president’s twelve years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

And yet, according to longtime University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein, Obama was never actually offered a tenured faculty position.

“I have no idea where Jodi got her story” about the tenure offer, said Epstein, adding that he immediately wrote Kantor to tell her she was wrong. Epstein was, then, a member of the faculty, not the school’s dean. . . .

Kantor softened her position when asked via Twitter about Obama’s alleged tenure offer.

“[T]he general idea was that tenure would go through,” Kantor replied. “That said, I don’t know the fine print on the offer.” . . .

“I wish I still had my email to Jodi,” he lamented, “because I wrote Jodi Kantor in no uncertain terms that the matter had never come to the faculty, and that under no circumstances would an offer to Obama be tenured. Indeed I was completely taken aback by the story.” . . .
It is hard to see that Obama could get a tenure track position, let alone a tenured position, from the University of Chicago.
Of his 12 years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Time Magazine said in 2008: "Within a few years he had become a rock star professor with hordes of devoted students."  But student evaluations obtained by the Examiner tell a different story. In 2003, only a third of students recommended his courses.
"It went steadily down in the last five or six years that he was there. He was among the lowest-ranked professors," Tapscott said.
Nor did the future president leave any record of scholarly writings, while similarly credentialed colleagues had a prolific presence in law journals.
"He showed up to class, he gave his lectures and he was gone," Tapscott said.  . . . 



Did US Ambassador to Egypt order Marines not to carry "live ammunition"? Did US really have 48 hour notice of attacks?

This claim seems to be the result of statements from Marines themselves:
Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson “did not permit U.S. Marine guards to carry live ammunition,” according to multiple reports on U.S. Marine Corps blogs spotted by Nightwatch. “She neutralized any U.S. military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.”

Time magazine’s Battleland blog also reported Thursday that “senior U.S. officials late Wednesday declined to discuss in detail the security at either Cairo or Benghazi, so answers may be slow in coming.”

If true, the reports indicate that Patterson shirked her obligation to protect U.S. interests, Nightwatch states.

“She did not defend U.S. sovereign territory and betrayed her oath of office,” the report states. “She neutered the Marines posted to defend the embassy, trusting the Egyptians over the Marines.”
Wouldn't you think that a lot of extra security precautions would have been taken on the 9/11 anniversary?  Presumably this would be done so as to reduce the probability that a Marine would accidentally shot an Egyptian, though that some would believe a Marine was likely to do that would probably have an irrational fear of guns.  In any case, even if that turns out to be false statements from Marines an even worse story comes from the UK Independent:
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.

Mr Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy's security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely.

Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya. . . .
Or this story from the Jerusalem Post:
Egypt's General Intelligence Service warned that a jihadi group is planning to launch terrorist attacks against the US and Israeli embassies in Cairo, according to a report Tuesday by Egypt Independent, citing a secret letter obtained by Al-Masry Al-Youm.

According to the report, the attack is being planned by Global Jihad, the group suspected of killing 16 Egyptian border guards in Sinai on August 5.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reportedly obtained a copy of the September 4 letter, sent to all Egyptian security sectors, warning that Sinai- and Gaza-based Global Jihad cells were planning attacks on the two embassies. . . .
UPDATE: I also received this information from someone who has been an embassy Marine guard.
MSGs are armed with sidearms.  Nowadays they MAY have a few shotguns or rifles, but those will be secured unless the end of the world is coming.  And the State Department discourages shooting back.   THEY DO NOT have M60s, M240s, M2s, or ANY explosive weapons.  Were the Marines denied ammunition?  I doubt it.  But they were UNDOUBTEDLY under STRICT RULES OF ENGAGEMENT to not lose a round outside the building (i.e. outside nominal U.S. territory) . . .

Under the Vienna Convention, host nation security forces are responsible for protecting the integrity of ALL foreign diplomatic missions within the host nation.  Theoretically, when host nation intelligence assets determine a threat is developing, or the State Department informs the host nation Foreign Ministry that a credible threat is developing, THEY'RE supposed to beef up external security.
Supposed to.  And if you think Egyptian and/or Libyan intelligence didn't know what was brewing, I have a unilateral disarmament treaty I'd like to sell you (after all, that IS a State Department function: peace through a position of weakness, with kind words and a bazillion dollar foreign aid check). . . .
 Important UPDATE: Even CNN has this update.
Three days before the deadly assault on the United States consulate in Libya, a local security official says he met with American diplomats in the city and warned them about deteriorating security.
Jamal Mabrouk, a member of the February 17th Brigade, told CNN that he and a battalion commander had a meeting about the economy and security.
He said they told the diplomats that the security situation wasn't good for international business.
"The situation is frightening, it scares us," Mabrouk said they told the U.S. officials. He did not say how they responded. . . . .
  Libyan President also says that this attack wasn't the result of the movie.
Libya President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf said Sunday that 50 arrests have been made in connection with last week's "preplanned" attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

"The way these perpetrators acted and moved -- I think we, and they're choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no, this leaves us with no doubt that this was pre-planned, determined," Magariaf said on CBS's "Face the Nation." . . .
From ABC's This Week: 
RICE: First of all, there are Marines in some places around the world. There are not Marines in every facility. That depends on the circumstances. That depends on the requirements. Our presence in Tripoli, as in Benghazi, is relatively new, as you will recall. We've been back post-revolution only for a matter of months. . . .
RADDATZ: I'm pretty sure there are Marines in Paris. Why weren't they in Tripoli? And I think that's a question the State Department is looking at right now. And Benghazi, I think you had 25 or 30 people in the entire consulate. How many of those really were security? They overran the perimeter so quickly and were able to get to that main building so fast, that is a huge question. . . .
Apparently, the US Department of State wasn't too concerned about anything happening on 9/11.


No wonder the turnover rate for government employees is so low: Government workers work 4 to 5 weeks less per year than private sector workers

From Federal News Radio:
Federal employees work about a month less per year than private sector workers, according to a report by conservative think tank Heritage Foundation.
The report found federal employees work on average of 38.7 hours a week, compared with 41.4 hours per week in the private sector. That difference adds up to 3.8 fewer weeks per year that feds work compared with private sector workers.

"From a budgetary perspective, shorter work hours in the public sector may cause governments to be less efficient in converting tax dollars into public services. More broadly, the perception that government employees do not work as hard as private-sector employees runs counter to the spirit of public service," according to the report.

Heritage found state and local government employees work even fewer hours — 38.1 hours per week or 4.7 weeks less per year than private sector workers.

Heritage used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey to reach its findings. Heritage notes the survey only measures work time and not work effort or work effectiveness.

One federal union called Heritage's findings "utterly misleading."

"Private sector averages are low because so many private, non-union employers provide absolutely no paid time off. No sick leave, no vacation, no holidays. That is the disgrace, not the fact that public sector employers recognize that all workers need some paid time off," said Jacqueline Simon, public policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, in an emailed statement. . . .

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Two ways of looking at how hard it is to get a job

The Wall Street Journal yesterday had this diagram.
If one looks at hires instead of openings as the measure of how many real opportunities there are and includes both the unemployed and those who have given up looking for work, you end up with a quite different graph than what is shown by the WSJ. I would argue that both of these changes give a much more accurate picture of how hard it is to get a job.

BTW, nice new piece by Walter Williams available here.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius violates Hatch Act

So will Sebelius get a suspension?  Will the media give this much coverage?  Will it bother Americans that Taxpayers are essentially paying for political campaigning?  From Fox News:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated federal law when she campaigned this winter for President Obama, federal investigators announced Wednesday.

Sebelius broke the law by making “extemporaneous partisan remarks” during a speech in February at a Human Rights Campaign Event in Charlotte, N.C., according to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). She made the comments in the city that would later host the Democratic National Convention.

"One of the imperatives is to make sure that we not only come together here in Charlotte to present the nomination to the president, but we make sure that in November, he continues to be president for another four years," Sebelius said, according to the agency and reported first by The Hill newspaper. . . .
the agency investigates at least 100 cases such cases annually with “a great majority” of them being resolved internally and violators getting a suspension. . . .
She also discussed state politics in the Feb. 25 speech, urging voters to defeat a ballot proposal opposing gay marriage and to elect a Democratic governor, according to The Hill.
See also here for an update.


Median income for Americans has fallen by 4.1% below what it was when he became president

The percent of Americans in poverty and without health insurance remains higher than when Obama became president and income for the median American keeps falling.  From the Financial Times:
The median income of American households dropped to its lowest level since 1995 last year, extending its decline during President Barack Obama’s tenure and highlighting the depth of the damage to the middle class inflicted by the recession and weak recovery.
According to annual data from the Census Bureau, median income adjusted for inflation – a closely watched measure of the financial health of average Americans – fell to $50,054 in 2011, or 1.5 per cent below its 2010 level and 4.1 per cent below its score when Mr Obama took office in 2009.
Although real median income had already started to slide beginning in 2008, before Mr Obama entered the White House, the fact that he was not able to reverse that downward trend could expose him to criticism from Mitt Romney, his rival, that his policies have not aided the middle class. In addition to the drop in overall median income, the data also showed a rise in income inequality last year. . . .

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Marc F. Bellemare's Trading Game

Bellemare at Duke provides a simple, very useful game for showing students the value of free trade.  The set up is available here.


Does DOJ Inspector General report protect DOJ Officials?

From William La Jeunesse at Fox News:
The report and accompanying accounts cite a failure in leadership and a lack of accountability and oversight up and down the chain of command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Justice Department itself and other offices. It says many senior executives knew the U.S. was helping traffic guns to Mexico that killed people but did nothing to stop it. 
"We found no evidence in Operation Fast and Furious that the ATF or the (U.S. attorney's office) attempted at any point during the investigation to balance the risks to the public safety against the long-term benefits of identifying trafficking networks and participants," the draft report says. . . . 
The documents obtained by Fox News, while incomplete, provide an early glimpse into the finger-pointing that will follow the expected release later this week or early next week of the complete IG report. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the report, which will be scrutinized on Capitol Hill, will provide him the basis to discipline or fire those found most culpable. 
While the report blames Newell and Voth for poor judgment, attorneys for the two say higher-ups and the entire ATF chain of command were aware of everything they did. . . .
The most important part of the news story might be this:
Attorneys for the three contend that the report's conclusion that the strategy for Fast and Furious was hatched in Phoenix is not true. MacAllister's attorney claims that it was "part of the overall ATF Southwest Border strategy to deal with an international criminal enterprise engaged in firearms trafficking." . . . 
UPDATE: Some are pointing to the fact that one of the Fast and Furious guns was used in an assassination plot.  But I think that it is a mistake to make this argument because if the criminals wanted to assassinate someone that gun would have simply been replaced with another gun.  From the Daily Caller:
Drug cartel operatives used weapons from Operation Fast and Furious in a failed attempt to assassinate a high-ranking Mexican law enforcement officialthe El Paso Times reports in an article that follows up on an initial report from Breitbart News’ Mary Chastain
The gun — which “was seized in Tijuana in connection with a drug cartel’s conspiracy to kill the police chief of Tijuana, Baja California, who later became the Juárez police chief” — is tied to Fast and Furious. . . .


Obama increases regulations by 7.4% during his first three years

This would imply that Obama could increase regulations by 10 percent or so since he became president.    That is pretty incredible given that Obama has only been president for 5% of the time since Roosevelt became president.  From CNSNews:
Over the past three years, the bound edition of the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages – a 7.4 percent increase from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011. In 2009, the increase in the number of pages was the most over the last decade – 3.4 percent or 5,359 pages.
Over the past decade, the federal government has issued almost 38,000 new final rules, according to the draft of the 2011 annual report to Congress on federal regulations by the Office of Management and Budget. That brought the total at the end of 2011 to 169,301 pages.
That is more than double the number of pages needed to publish the regulations back in 1975 when the bound edition consisted of 71,244 pages. . . .
Randy Johnson, senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, distributed a handout of a Congressional Research Service analysis of a 2008 study commissioned by the Small Business Administration that estimated the annual compliance price for all federal regulations at $1.7 trillion that year.
Seventy percent of the regulations were economic, accounting for $1.236 trillion of the annual cost. The other regulations were, in order of cost, environment regulations ($281 billion), tax compliance ($160 billion) and occupational safety and health and homeland security ($75 billion). . . .

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New GAO report: there are over 8 million concealed handgun permits in US

From the new report:
According to state reporting, there were approximately 8 million active concealed carry permits in the United States as of December 31, 2011. . . .
This number is an estimate based upon state reporting to GAO. Given that many states reported approximate numbers and some states that issue permits were unable to provide the number of permits, the number is likely understated. 
Earlier this year I had argued that there were about 8 million permits.


Brad Pitt speaks out forcefully on gun ownership

Brad Pitt simply knows too much about guns.  People who rely only on the media for their information on guns are likely to be the most fearful.  From the San Francisco Chronicle:
. . . Pitt tells British magazine Live, “I absolutely don’t believe you can put sanctions or shackles on what is made. Nor do I want to pretend the world is different than what we witnessed that night… 
“America is a country founded on guns. It’s in our DNA. It’s very strange but I feel better having a gun. I really do. I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel the house is completely safe, if I don’t have one hidden somewhere. That’s my thinking, right or wrong. 
“I got my first BB (air) gun when I was in nursery school. I got my first shotgun by first grade. I had shot a handgun by third grade and I grew up in a pretty sane environment. I was in the U.K. when the shootings happened and I did hear the discussion about gun control start again, and as far as I know it petered out as it always does. 
“It’s just something with us. To turn around and ask us to give up our guns… I don’t know, we’re too afraid that we’re going to give up ours and the bad guys are still going to get theirs. It’s just in our thinking. I’m telling you, we don’t know America without guns.”

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The most accurate polls in the 2008 presidential election

From Costas Panagopoulos, Ph.D. at Fordham University.  He writes:
For all the derision directed toward pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not far off from the actual nationwide voteshares for the two candidates. On average, pre- election polls from 23 public polling organizations projected a Democratic advantage of 7.52 percentage points on Election Day, which is only about 1.37 percentage points away from the current estimate of a 6.15-point Obama margin in the national popular vote. . . . 



Obama administration put Seal Team 6 members and their families at risk

Here is one cost of leaking information.  From Fox News:
The Vaughns spoke with Fox News as part of an ongoing report on the war in Afghanistan for an upcoming episode of the "Fox Files." While the Vaughns do not believe their son was part of the bin Laden mission, they said the entire team shared the victory, and eventually the shock, of being named. 
“Aaron called me and said, 'Mom, you need to wipe your social media clean of any reference to me or any of my buddies. Just disconnect completely,'” Karen Vaughn said her son warned after Vice President Biden publicly identified the SEALs on May 3, 2011 -- two days after the raid.  “He [Aaron] actually said to me, 'Mom, there's chatter, and all of our lives could be in danger, including yours' ... then I realized all of those families, you know, you're talking about a community of around three hundred families who were all of a sudden made targets by this administration.” . . .


Be careful of some claims that life is getting better for black males

All this seems pretty obvious to me, and it is hard to believe that people would measure the high-school drop out rate by not looking at the entire black population of that age group.  From the WSJ:
That has significant implications for evaluating the progress of black Americans, according to a book published this past week. The number of incarcerated Americans has grown far quicker than the general population, and today a large-enough portion of young black men are behind bars to skew findings by surveys that omit them, the author says. 
Among the generally accepted ideas about African-American young-male progress over the last three decades that Becky Pettit, a University of Washington sociologist, questions in her book "Invisible Men": that the high-school dropout rate has dropped precipitously; that employment rates for young high-school dropouts have stopped falling; and that the voter-turnout rate has gone up. . . .


More on gun sales surging

Seems like a pretty rational fear to me.  From CNBC:
What’s driving the demand that has gun makers cranking up production?Speculation has focused on fears of a coming regulatory crackdown on gun ownership. Liberal administrations tend to be anti-gun and so, the thinking goes, an Obama re-election would set the stage for stricter gun purchasing requirements. Hence, people are buying now in anticipation of difficulty later. . . .

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Democrat Congressional Candidate quits race after being found to have committed vote fraud

Well, even the Maryland Democratic party has found a vote fraud case.  From the Washington Post:
A Maryland Democratic candidate quit her congressional race Monday after her own party told state officials that she had committed fraud by voting in both Maryland and Florida in recent elections. . . . 
“The Maryland Democratic Party has discovered that Ms. Rosen has been registered to vote in both Florida and Maryland since at least 2006; that she in fact voted in the 2006 general election both in Florida and Maryland; and that she voted in the presidential preference primaries held in both Florida and Maryland in 2008,” wrote Yvette Lewis, the state party chair. “This information is based on an examination of the voter files from both states. We believe that this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation.” . . .


Is the Obama administration falsifying information on the deportation of illegal aliens

From the Examiner:
. . . Throughout his reelection campaignPresident Obama has touted his administration's "historic number of deportations." But many believe the figures given to backup his assertions are fabricated. In fact, members of the Department of Homeland Security have been critical of Obama and his DHS appointees especially those in charge of border security and immigration enforcement. . . .
In a surprising move, on August 23 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents filed alawsuit in Texas, which argues that the Obama administration’s amnesty program commands ICE officers to violate federal law and their oaths to uphold and support federal law. . . .
The DHS internal documents also reveal a discrepancy between arrests and actual removals. Specifically, ICE has reported 221,656 arrests yet report 334,249 removals for 2012 so far -- a discrepancy of nearly 112,000 removals. ATEP accounts for 72,030 removals within this discrepancy, but there are over 40,000 removals that remain unknown. . . .
Internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee reveal that President Obama and other administration officials have falsified their record to achieve their so-called historic deportation numbers. . . .
Lamar maintains that since 2011 the Obama administration has included numbers from a Border Patrol program that returns illegal immigrants to Mexico right after they cross the Southwest border in their year-end deportation statistics. . . .
He claims that a single illegal immigrant can show up at the border and be removed numerous times in a single year – and counted each time as a removal. When the numbers from this Border Patrol program are removed from this year’s deportation data, it shows that removals are actually down nearly 20% from 2009. Another 40,000 removals are also included in the final deportation count but it is unclear where these removals came from.

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These videos examine the widely held belief that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child with his slave, Sally Hemings.

Wikipedia won't let Novelist Philip Roth correct error in post about his book

This is not surprising.  Wikipedia is a cesspool that collects the worst things that are written on someone or something, and many times the errors are impossible to correct.  From Fox News:
You can’t make this stuff up. 
Wikipedia refused to correct an error about a major work of literature, even after the error was pointed out -- by the author himself. 
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth penned the book “The Human Stain” about a college professor deemed a racist for an innocent comment he made in class one day, despite the character's secret, African-American heritage. The Wikipedia entry for the book incorrectly noted that it was inspired by the life of writer Anatole Broyard. 
But when Roth petitioned to have the mistake corrected, he was told he could not. Roth, the work’s author, wasn’t a reliable enough source. 
“When, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the ‘English Wikipedia Administrator’ … that I, Roth, was not a credible source,” the literary lion wrote in an essay “An Open Letter to Wikipedia” in The New Yorker.  . . .


Newest Fox News piece: "Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?"

My piece starts this way:
With 12 dead and 58 wounded, the July 20th shooting at the Cinemark Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado was sure to result in a lawsuit. On Friday, the first suit was announced, claiming Cinemark has “primary responsibility.” The theater did have responsibility for the attack, but not for the reasons that the lawyers bringing the case think. 
The lawyer bringing the suit, Attorney Marc Bern, with the New York city law firm of Napoli, Bern, Ripka and Scholonik, suggested the theater should have had security guards the night of the attack. Yet, checking bags or metal detectors at the front of the theater that night wouldn’t have prevented the attack. The killer brought his guns in through an emergency backdoor. 
Armed security guards at movie theaters are rare in low crime areas, such as Aurora, especially on less crowded weeknights. And, with an audience fleeing the theater, armed guards may have experienced difficulty getting quickly inside. 
So why did the killer pick the Cinemark theater? You might think that it was the one closest to the killer’s apartment. Or, that it was the one with the largest audience. 
Yet, neither explanation is right. Instead, . . . 

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GM is losing about $49,000 per Volt that it sells?

If you are going to subsidize every unit of a model car you are selling by $49,000 (plus of course the Federal government is giving another $7,000 tax credit), you would think that you should be able to sell a lot of those cars, right?  Apparently, GM still can't get people to buy the Volt.
Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

And while the loss per vehicle will shrink as more are built and sold, GM is still years away from making money on the Volt, which will soon face new competitors from Ford, Honda and others.

GM's basic problem is that "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced," said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group. . . .

GM's quandary is how to increase sales volume so that it can spread its estimated $1.2-billion investment in the Volt over more vehicles while reducing manufacturing and component costs - which will be difficult to bring down until sales increase. . . .

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More evidence of how Google copied Apple for its ideas

Ever wondered why Google was able to so quickly provide a copy of the iPhone but took so long to copy the iPad.  If Google was able to come up with the idea of their phone on their own, why was it so difficult for them to come up with a Tablet.  It might be that Google has to see what some one else is doing on a lot of ideas before they do it themselves.  The Cult of Mac has this discussion:
When Motorola announced its latest Android-powered smartphones earlier this month, Schmidt publicly admitted that Google was “late to tablets.” He also revealed that only 70,000 of the 1.3 million Android activations each day are for tablets. So why was his company, which was so quick to follow the iPhone just three years earlier, so far behind the iPad?

Because despite the fact that Schmidt was still on Apple’s board during 2008-2009, he didn’t get so much as a peek at the iPad. He didn’t even know it existed, because Steve Jobs made sure he was kept in the dark about its development. We all know how Apple’s co-founder felt about Google’s answer to the iPhone, and he didn’t want a repeat of that for the iPad.

Google wasn’t “late” to the smartphone party, because Schmidt knew exactly how to crash it. But without any knowledge of the iPad before its launch, it took him and Google a whole lot longer to come up with a competitor. . . .



So much for the Democrats claim that they want to control the deficit

This is from an editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Drew Johnson wrote up:
Among the 21 new spending proposals included in the Democratic Party platform are:
• $453 billion over ten years to fund an expansive stimulus-like job creation scheme;
• $18.4 billion over ten years to get the transportation sector to buy into alternative fuels:
• $6.5 billion over five years for global food security and agriculture research;
• $5 billion in one-time funding for clean energy handouts;
• $5 billion in one-time funding to force the government into the broadband Internet business;
• $980 million over ten years for government-funded abortions (if taxpayers' pay for 10 percent of abortions); and
• $45 million over five years to support American Indian and Alaska Native languages.
In total, the Democratic Party platform recommends $674.8 billion in additional federal spending over the next decade. . . .


Obama ignores another inconvenient law: Obama's concern about disenfranchisement is very selective (even if you believe his claims about Voter IDs)

From Investors' Business Daily:
. . . The administration has taken various states to court to block voter ID laws on the grounds it will disenfranchise voters. But it has no qualms about the disenfranchisement of military voters overseas through its failure to comply with and enforce the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, passed by Congress in 2009 and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
The law acknowledges the difficulties caused by time and distance for deployed soldiers in exercising the right to vote they put their lives on the line to protect. One of the key provisions required each military branch to create an installation voting assistance office (IVAO) for every military base outside an immediate combat zone. . . .
Last week, however, the Pentagon's inspector general reported that attempts to locate and contact IVAO offices at overseas military installations failed about half the time. . . .
The estimated cost of establishing functioning IVAOs at all overseas military bases not in combat zones is estimated at between $15 million and $20 million a year. We wasted $530 million on Solyndra but can't afford a relative pittance to ensure our soldiers are not disenfranchised. . . .


David Plouffe on why Obama should veto the 2011 debt agreement between Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders: “We will not get credit for doing anything."

Bob Woodward on Obama's haphazard way of dealing with the debt limit talks and his concern to get credit for any budget agreement.  Congress was upset that Obama had defaulted on a deal at the last moment, and now Obama was upset that he would be left out of the deal.
. . . Boehner said he believed that he and the others — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — had a plan. He told Obama: We think we can work this out. Give us a little more time. We’ll come back to you. We are not going to negotiate this with you.
Obama objected, saying that he couldn’t be left out of the process. . . .
Reid, the most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill, spoke up. The congressional leaders want to speak privately, he said. Give us some time. . . .
. . . Reid arrived in the Oval Office with his chief of staff, David Krone. . . .
It was highly unusual for someone to pass the ball so completely to a staffer. The 44-year-old Krone outlined the plan, including a secret Republican pledge to count $1 trillion in savings from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan toward deficit reduction. That was surprising. Earlier, Boehner had not been willing to accept this accounting gimmick.“I don’t trust these guys,” the president said dismissively. Krone either would not or could not conceal his anger. . . .
“Mr. President, I am sorry — with all due respect — that we are in this situation that we’re in, but we got handed this football on Friday night. And I didn’t create this situation. The first thing that baffles me is, from my private-sector experience, the first rule that I’ve always been taught is to have a Plan B. And it is really disheartening that you, that this White House did not have a Plan B.” Several jaws dropped as the Hill staffer blasted the president to his face. . . .
“You can’t veto,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the group. “You cannot be responsible for default.” Anything had to be done to prevent it. Anything to preserve the global economy.“If he caves,” said David Plouffe, Obama’s senior political adviser, “it will have long-lasting political repercussions that we may never get out of. If we draw a line in the sand on something this important and cross it, we may never be able to come back.”Accepting a two-step deal would not work, Plouffe said. “We will not get credit for doing anything. We’ll look like we got bullied by a bunch of very unpopular and irresponsible people.”Geithner had to deal with the possibility that the House bill could reach Obama’s desk. “My recommendation to the president would be, we’ve got to sign this. If that’s what they offer us, we sign it.” . . .

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France's richest man moves to Belgium, coincidence?

Is it just a coincidence that Bernard Arnault, France's richest man and chief executive of luxury group LVMH, is moving to France at the same time that the country is increasing its top tax rate to 75 percent?  Arnault says that his move was not triggered by the tax hike.  Note though that he just happened to make a similar move during the last Socialist presidency, though that time he moved to the US.
. . . Arnault, who emigrated to the United States during the last Socialist presidency in 1981, has been critical of Hollande's tax initiative, telling Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Wednesday he opposed the move.
But he was not becoming Belgian to cut his tax bill, he said.
"Contrary to information published today, Bernard Arnault clarifies that he is and will continue to be a fiscal resident in France. His possible acquisition of Belgian nationality will not change this situation or his determination to develop LVMH and create jobs in France," he said.
Arnault is ranked as the world's fourth richest man with a total wealth of $41 billion, according to Forbes magazine. In a year, he jumped from seventh position, benefiting from his company's rising sales in Asia. . . .
The Financial Times reports that even Mr. Hollande's government recognizes that incentives matter.  More bizarrely they are exempting sports and movie stars.  Might they think that sports and movie stars are the most mobile?
French business leaders have stepped up the pressure in recent weeks on Mr Hollande to limit the tax, fearing an exodus of top earners and a drought of foreign investors and managers willing to come to France. 
On Wednesday, Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man and head of the luxury goods group LVMH, met Jean-Marc Ayrault, the prime minister, for talks in which he was reported to have discussed the impact of the government’s tax plans
Responding to business concerns, Pierre Moscovici, the finance minister, said last week that the 75 per cent levy would be introduced in “an intelligent manner” to avoid prompting an exodus of high earners
The websites of the newspapers Les Echos and Le Figaro reported yesterday that the 75 per cent rate would include other marginal taxes that would in effect render the new rate at 67 per cent. They said it would be limited to salary, with sports and other professional stars able to avoid the tax. . . . 

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