Federal government program to subsidize hiring costs so much to run that states aren't taking the Federal money

Boy, this is a surprise.  A Federal government program is so costly that despite the subsidies states don't want to touch it.  From the WSJ:
Under the federal law, states were invited to submit ideas for "re-employment demonstration projects"—initiatives that motivate companies to hire people who are collecting unemployment checks. The government plans to initially pick 10 winners and reward those states with waivers to federal unemployment-insurance and labor allows, allowing them for the first time to fund programs out of their own unemployment-insurance trust funds. 
But seven months after the federal law was passed—with bipartisan support as part of the tax relief act—many states say they won't apply because they don't have the funding to set up and comply. This situation has surprised some original sponsors and frustrated some employers. . . . 
But Larry Temple, executive director of the Texas Workforce Commission, says the state isn't planning to pursue the program, because the cost has since become clear—hundreds of thousands of dollars, he estimates, compared with $100-per-job seeker it spends now. "We're going to have to shut down our program," Mr. Temple says. "We have run out of money." . . . .

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"Private city in Honduras will have minimal taxes, government"

My son Maxim has this news story up at Fox News:
Small government and free-market capitalism are about to get put to the test in Honduras, where the government has agreed to let an investment group build an experimental city with no taxes on income, capital gains or sales. 
Proponents say the tiny, as-yet unnamed town will become a Central American beacon of job creation and investment, by combining secure property rights with minimal government interference.  
“Once we provide a sound legal system within which to do business, the whole job creation machine – the miracle of capitalism – will get going,” Michael Strong,  CEO of the MKG Group, which will build the city and set its laws, told FoxNews.com. 
Strong said that the agreement with the Honduran government states that the only tax will be on property. 
“Our goal is to be the most economically free entity on Earth,” Strong said. . . . .


Antonin Scalia calls Richard Posner a liar for his review of Scalia's new book

Calling Posner a "conservative" is really quite misleading.  I don't know that he was ever a conservative, but he surely is someone who disdains precedent.  Since Posner references Easterbrook's foreword to Scalia's book, I thought that I would mention that Easterbrook has personally commented to me that his voting record actually lines up more with Diane Woods (a Democrat appointee on the 7th Circuit) than it does with Posner.  Posner's review of Scalia's new book with Bryan Garner is very tough, some would argue mean, and Scalia argues is dishonest.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday escalated a war of words with a prominent appeals court judge, saying the judge lied in a recent criticism of Scalia's judicial philosophy. 
Scalia, 76, the longest-serving justice and a leading conservative on the court, said Judge Richard Posner, of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lied in a review in August of a book co-authored by Scalia. 
In the review, Posner accused Scalia of deviating from his own strict, text-based approach to interpreting law when he struck down a District of Columbia handgun ban in 2008 by considering the legislative history behind the law. 
"To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie," Scalia said in an interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler. 
Scalia and legal scholar Bryan Garner were discussing their new book, "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts," published by West, a unit of Thomson Reuters. . . . 
Scalia fanned that debate on Monday, saying Posner was only able to make such an assertion because he was writing in a non-legal publication, The New Republic. "You can get away with it in The New Republic, I suppose, but not to a legal audience." . . .
Ed Whelan has a discussion of Posner's attacks on Scalia and Garner's book available here.  Garner also has a response here:
Most of Judge Posner’s criticisms of our research were founded on the assertion that the cases cited used, in their rationales, more than the single canon being illustrated. That would be a telling criticism if the purpose of the cases had been to show the authoritativeness of the canon. But that was not the purpose. In choosing cases, we wanted examples that (1) contained lively problems that could be readily explained without bogging down readers, and (2) involved discrete textual points. We were looking for interesting issues that would illustrate good textualism—through our explanations. All the canons discussed are well established and have been frequently applied; the examples are there merely to show how each particular canon works. That a given court considered other factors besides the canon is quite irrelevant to our purpose. Indeed, it would be very hard to find examples in which a single canon was the sole basis for the decision. . . .

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The concealed carry debate on college campuses heats up

From Fox News:
For the past two years, dozens of states have debated allowing college students to carry concealed weapons on campus. The issue is heating up in the Peach State where Georgia Tech students say an uptick of campus violence, has made them uneasy. Some want the right to carry concealed weapons on campus. 
“Concealed weapons holders are significantly less likely to be arrested or convicted of crimes than the remainder of the population," Robert Eagar of Students for Concealed Carry said. "However, the second they step on to the campus the argument is made they become irresponsible -- and can no longer carry their weapons safely."  
Three Tech students were robbed near campus in Atlanta in August. More recently, a student asleep in his dorm room behind three layers of security woke up to a gun pointed at his head. He was unharmed, but robbed.  Students who fear crime on campus, rallied this week for the chance to protect themselves. 
“We're not advocating for vigilante justice -- we're advocating that firearm is a last resort for defense,” Eager said. “Criminals know the population here at Georgia Tech is unarmed so we make an ideal target. Carrying high end laptops, cell phones, text book, whatever money you have. They know we have zero chance of defending ourselves against a criminal.” . . .
They sum up legislative debate this way: 
Twenty-one states ban carrying a concealed weapon on school grounds, 24 states leave it up to the university.  Earlier this year, Colorado’s Supreme Court, ruled in favor of Students for Concealed Carry. They argued the University of Colorado’s  prohibition on guns violated the state’s concealed carry law, students are now allowed to exercise their right to bear arms. A year earlier a state Court of Appeals overruled an Oregon University System prohibition on the carry of firearms. . . . 
Left out of their discussions are the recent changes in Wisconsin and Mississippi.

Another piece appears in the WSJ and raises the canard that "college campuses creates a potentially combustible situation, given the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse among college students."  Yet, no one actually points to any cases where this type of incident has occurred.  An article is also available from the New York Times available here.

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Mexico doesn't appear to be satisfied with the Obama administration's report on Fast & Furious

It isn't obvious to me why anyone should just accept the Obama administration's report.  And the Mexican government surely isn't taking their word as the final word on the subject.  From Fox News:

Mexico's Attorney General's Office said it is studying a U.S. Justice Department report on Operation Fast and Furious, a federal undercover sting that allegedly allowed some 2,000 weapons to be smuggled south of the border. 
The AG's office said Friday in a statement that "the introduction of weapons into the nation's territory without compliance with applicable legal requirements constitutes a crime." 
"Therefore, it is incumbent on the AG's office to determine whether as a consequence of 'Fast and Furious' this crime was committed, independent of the conclusions of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General," it added. 
A careful analysis of that report is being conducted to determine if it can "provide information within the scope of previous relevant inquiries," the AG's office said.
It noted that "there are also institutional channels for the exchange of information with the U.S. authorities." . . .


Stage 4 cancer patient stops robbery with shotgun

The Associate Press has a story from Laketon Township, Michigan of a defensive gun use.  While there is no evidence that the victim here was targeted because of his cancer, it is quite common for robbers to target cancer victims so as to steal their pain medicine.

A 63-year-old man with stage 4 lymphoma, steady nerves and a double-barreled shotgun thwarted a break-in at his western Michigan home and convinced two suspects to surrender, police said. 
Dixon Smith said he confronted the two young men just before noon Thursday after they climbed the stairs to the second floor of his home in Muskegon County's Laketon Township. 
Smith and police believe one of the suspects picked the front door lock with a credit card.
"I'm still trying to calm down," Smith, who was home alone working in his second-story loft, told MLive.com for a story published Friday. "Within three minutes I see a guy with a hoodie walking past my front window." 
"They made it almost to the top stair. I came out and told them to lay down," he said of the frightening experience. "Tell you what, you've got a shotgun, you're waiting, you hear them on the stairway coming for your bedroom." . . . .
Thanks to Victor Mair for the link to this story. 


An interesting History of Government involvement in the Running of Harvard: The early years

I don't see how alumni control is responsible for American universities doing so well, though I can definitely believe that it is the lack of direct government control that is important.
. . . Harvard was established as a public institution in 1636 by the authorities of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Its value to Massachusetts is exemplified in the Commonwealth’s post-independence state constitution, ratified in 1780, which includes a section about the university’s function and boundaries. 
CommentsWhen Harvard alumni dominated the Massachusetts legislature, the university was given support and consideration. But, in the 1840’s, mass immigration, fueled by the Irish potato famine, altered the state’s demographic balance, enabling populists to gain control of the legislature. 
CommentsAlmost immediately, Harvard came under attack for being too elitist, too exclusive, and too expensive. Even its curriculum was challenged. Over the next two decades, the state increasingly impeded Harvard’s functioning by, for example, refusing to release funds and obstructing the appointment of professors. This behavior culminated in 1862, when the legislature blocked a university president’s appointment. 
CommentsIn response, Harvard requested that it be placed “out of the reach of ordinary political strife and change” and into the “hands of alumni who have the interests of education most at heart.” On April 29, 1865, this radical proposal scraped through the Massachusetts General Court (the state’s bi-cameral legislature), owing to intense lobbying and the goodwill generated by Harvard alumni’s distinguished service for the Union during the Civil War. Since then, Harvard’s Board of Overseers, has been controlled exclusively by alumni. . . .
Here is an interesting fact, though again there is no evidence that it is alumni control versus independence from the government that is responsible.
Today, 19 of the top 20 American universities in US News and World Report’s much-watched rankings are controlled by alumni (defined as 50% or more representation on the Board of Trustees). The only exception, the California Institute of Technology, has a board with 40% alumni representation. Of the top five, three (Harvard, Yale, and Columbia) are managed entirely by alumni, and two (Princeton and Stanford) are under 90% alumni control. Alumni run the show even at public institutions such as Purdue (90%) and Michigan (63%). On average, alumni make up 63% of the boards of the top 100 US universities, both public and private. . . . 

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Obama administration's policies responsible for shutting down hundreds of coal fired power plants

This so-called "war on energy" by the Obama administration is replacing cheaper energy with much more costly forms. From the Daily Caller:
“This is further evidence that EPA is waging a war on coal, and a war on affordable electricity prices and jobs. EPA continues to ignore the damage that its new regulations are causing to the U.S. economy and to states that depend on coal for jobs and affordable electricity,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE, in a statement. However, ACCCE notes that EPA policies may have played a role more than 4,800 megawatts of announced closures not included on in their report which would bring total shutdowns to 241 coal generator in 30 states — more than 36,000 MW of electric generation or 11 percent of the U.S. coal fleet. The most affected states include Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, which will see a combined 103 coal-fired generators shut down. . . .

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So was Obama a child raised in hardship?: Washington Examiner shows Obama lived in privilege

See the video here:

I found the story about how Obama got the fine for a wealthy slumlord reduced to only $50 very interesting.  Here is a guy who cut off heating and running water to 1,500 tenants during the middle of winter.  The slumlord forced the people out of their apartments during the winter.

Also the report points out that 31 Obama bundlers received clean energy loans and bailouts worth $16 billion.  Eight of the 10 states getting hte most money from the stimulus were heavily Democratic.


Everyone in White House but Obama does about face on Libyan attack

From Fox News:
After the White House for the first time Thursday explicitly called the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya an act of terror, President Obama ducked an opportunity to clear up the confusion about the ever-changing narrative -- appearing to hold firm to the story that an anti-Islam film was to blame. 
The president spoke Thursday at a town hall hosted by the Spanish-language Univision. He declined to get into specifics, even as lawmakers said after an intelligence briefing that there clearly was "some pre-planning" in last week's deadly attack. 
Instead, Obama launched into an explanation about how the U.S. saw something it's seen before, where "there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the Prophet Muhammad" and that is used "as an excuse by some to carry out inexcusable violent acts" against the U.S. . . .
See also the discussion here

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"Conservatives are more thoughtful than liberals in processing emotions like fear"

Researchers at London University College found differences in brain structure for liberals and conservatives.  From Reuters:
"The brains of liberals tend to be more active in situations involving conflict or uncertainty.  Whereas Conservatives are more thoughtful than liberals in processing emotions like fear."

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On Univision, Obama Admits Breaking Promises

The interview actually has Obama blaming the Republicans for him not being able to pass immigration reform during his first year in office when in fact his party completely controlled Washington during that period of time.
. . . In 2008, he told Univision’s Jorge Ramos, “What I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.”
On Thursday, he backed away from that promise. He said, “My biggest failure so far is we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done,” and he made a series of excuses.
But as Jorge Ramos said directly to President Obama Thursday, “A promise is a promise, and with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.”
The president then proceeded to give a condescending civics lesson to the audience: “In our system of government, I am the head of the executive branch. I’m not the head of the legislature, I’m not the head of the judiciary.”
Hispanics don't need a lecture. We want leadership.
The president can cast blame wherever he wants, but a real leader leads. He doesn’t sit by and make excuses. And remember: President Obama’s own party had control of Congress for two full years. If he’d wanted reform, he could’ve made it happen. There really is no excuse. . . .
More on the interview from Politico is available here.


"Napolitano: Obama’s Plan to Waive Welfare Work Requirements is Illegal and Unconstitutional"

Judge Napolitano doesn't pull any punches:
. . . A report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office reveals that members of the administration don’t even have the authority to change the work requirements, yet the Obama administration plans to move forward anyway. Are they breaking the law?
Judge Andrew Napolitano weighed in on Fox and Friends this morning, and said, “The short answer is they are breaking the law.”
He said there’s definitely a precedent for the executive branch to interfere a bit with the manner in which laws are enforced, but in this case the president is ignoring a clause that was one of the great accomplishments of the partnership between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, which required welfare recipients to work.
“It’s wrong, it’s illegal, it’s unconstitutional, but he’ll get away with it. He has very little respect for the Congress, very little respect for the Constitution, very little respect for laws that he disagrees with.” . . .

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With only 8 out of every 100 murders ending in arrest, is it at all surprising that Venezuela's murder rate has soared to 67 per 100,000 people?

The US murder rate is about 4.5 per 100,000.  Venezuela's is over 67 per 100,000.  From Fox News:
In 2011 there were 18,850 murders, up from 4,550 in 1998, along with 16,000 kidnappings, up from a few hundred in 1998. Only eight out of every 100 murders committed in the country of 28 million end in an arrest. 
"Venezuela has become a criminalized state," said Vanessa Neumann, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, according to USA Today. "You have drug traffickers and Colombian guerrillas operating in the country, and government officials have become involved with them. That makes it difficult to combat crime." 
While Chavez has blamed the uptick in violence on capitalism and American culture, some argue that it is actually the socialist leader?s own rhetoric has made things worse. . . . .

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The average tax rate for the top 1% rose during Obama's first year in office at the same time that their after-tax incomes plummeted

Average Federal Tax Rates, 1979 to 2009 By Income Group    

You might have heard about incomes falling during the recession.  Well, the people who experienced the biggest drops were those at the top incomes, and the drop was pretty brutal.  After-tax income for the top 1 percent fell from $1,120,500 in 2008 to $866,700 in 2009 -- a 23 percent drop.  It had already fallen from $1,373,700 in 2007, so from that point there was a 37 percent drop.  Yet, despite this big drop in income, they also were the only ones who faced an increase in their average Federal tax rate.  Of course, Obama raised marginal tax rates for the lower income groups, even as he lowered their average tax rates.

The after-tax income for the highest income 20%, fell by 9%.

By contrast (see Table 3), after tax income rose slightly for the bottom 20% of households and fell slightly for the second and third quintiles.  The income for the 3rd quintile fell by 0.25% between 2008 and 2009.

Some hard numbers from the report regarding the first figure above.
For the lowest income group, the average rate fell from 7.5 percent in 1979 to 1.0 percent in 2009. Almost two- thirds of that decline came between 2007 and 2009, largely as a result of new refund- able tax credits, as discussed earlier. Declines in earlier years were mainly caused by increases in the earned income tax credit, especially in the 1990s. Payroll tax rates rose steadily for the lowest income group, offsetting some of the decline in their individual income tax rates.
Households in the middle three income quintiles saw their average tax rate fall by 7.1 percentage points over 30 years, from 19.1 percent in 1979 to 12.0 percent in 2009. That decline was due primarily to declines in individual income taxes. The average tax rate for that group fell somewhat in the early 1980s and then fluctuated within a fairly narrow band through the 1980s and 1990s. Between 2000 and 2003, the rate declined by 3.1 percentage points, reflecting numerous changes in law enacted in 2001—such as the expansion of the child tax credit, reductions in tax rates, and increases in the standard deduction for married couples—that lessened taxes for households in the middle quintiles. The average tax rate on the middle quintiles then rose slightly over the 2003–2007 period, before falling 2.8 percentage points from 2007 to 2009. 
The average tax rate for households in the 81st to 99th percentiles of the income distri- bution also reached a low point in 2009, about 4 percentage points below its 1979 level. That rate fell in the early 1980s and then crept up over the remaining part of that decade and the 1990s, so in 2000 it slightly exceeded its 1979 level. The average tax rate for that group fell 2.9 percentage points between 2000 and 2003, crept up from 2003 to 2007, and then fell another 1.7 percentage points from 2007 to 2009.

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Cost of Federal government regulations totaling about $1.8 trillion, more than 10% of GDP

The Small Business Administration study by Nicole Crain and Mark Crain estimates that "the annual total cost of all federal regulations in 2008 was $1.752 trillion." Hardly the $88.6 billion that the OMB claims exists in 2010 dollars.  Yet, CEI adds up the estimates form different government sources and comes to a number very close to the Crain & Crain number.
Current federal regulations plus those coming under Obamacare will cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion annually, more than twenty times the $88 billion the administration estimates, according to a new roundup provided to Secrets from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. 
And it could grow, warned the author of the report, Clyde Wayne Crews, a CEI vice president.Complying with Health and Human Services Department requirements alone, he revealed, costs $184 billion a year, yet regulators are still drafting the rules for the 2,400-page Obamacare law that kicks into gear in 2014.Crews has made a working project of his "Tip of the Costberg"report which he regularly updates. In it, he compares the cost of regulations estimated by federal agencies to a much broader list of estimates from multiple federal and independent sources. And even then, he said, it doesn't include hard-to-calculate costs associated with antitrust intervention, regulation of electricity networks, or the cost of constrained access to natural resources." 
While OMB officially reports amounts of only up to $88.6 billion in 2010 dollars," said Crews, "the non-tax cost of government intervention in the economy, without performing a sweeping survey, appears to total up to $1.806 trillion annually."But, he added, "according to back of the envelope surveys and roundups, with gaps big enough to fit the beltway through, that up to $1.806 trillion annually and in many categories perhaps even considerably more, is a defensible assessment of the annual impact on the economy." . . .

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Obama administration makes it appear as if former SEALs were part of Ambassador Chris Stevens security team

Presumably the Obama administration misled everyone about the former SEALs role so that it looked as if the Obama administration wasn't irresponsible in letting the Ambassador not be properly protected.  From the Washington Guardian:
The two former Navy SEALs killed in last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were not part of Ambassador Chris Stevens' official security detail but took up arms in an effort to protect the facility when it was overrun by insurgents, U.S. officials tell the Washington Guardian. . . . 
“Woods and Doherty weren’t part of the detail, nor were they personally responsible for the ambassador’s security, but they stepped into the breach when the attacks occurred and their actions saved others lives -- and they shouldn’t be lumped in with the security detail,” one senior official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the State Department. . . .


Yet more Wikipedia Problems, Doctored information put up for pay

It is nice to know that some people are able to get their wikipedia entries "fixed," that is for a fee.  Was this a charge ever made against the Encyclopedia Britannica   From Fox News:
Wikipedia users are up in arms over accusations that a trustee was providing front-page exposure and favorable edits to paying clients. 
Roger Bamkin is a trustee for the the Wikimedia Foundation UK, the group behind the open-source encyclopedia. He is also a paid consultant, according to a CNET report, and has reportedly been using his position within Wikipedia to forward the cause of his clients. 
The country of Gibraltar, which Bamkin has been representing, was featured in Wikipedia’s coveted “Did You Know” main page section seventeen times in August. Most other entries appear just once (with the exception of the Olympics), giving Gibraltar access to an enviable hundred million page views per month -- and really annoying some of the site's editors. . . .  
Wales admitted he didn’t know all the details of the case, but concluded that if the facts were true, Bamkin should resign from his post or sever ties with his client. . . .



Chicago's gang problem, role of cuts and changes in police policies

Murder during the first six months of 2012 was up by 38% to 263.  From the Christian Science Monitor:
The police and city officials say street gangs are responsible for 80 percent of all shootings this year. Chicago recently surpassed Los Angeles – the longtime gang capital of America – in total gang membership and activity, say crime experts. 
Just how many gangs operate in the Chicago area is debatable – sources say between 59 and 70, with as many as 150,000 members. But the big street gangs that dominated here in the early 1990s have splintered into as many as 600 factions, according to police. These splinter groups identify with the heritage of the long-established gangs – borrowing their name mainly as a brand – but they tend not to be bound by their rules. 
Whereas the historic gang warfare was between monolithic crime organizations that controlled thousands of members each, today's street violence more often stems from personal squabbles and retaliatory conflicts among smaller hybrid groups whose control extends only a few blocks. . . .
Rahm Emanuel has certainly left his stamp on the police department.  Here is an article from last October.
As the Chicago Reader reports, despite Emanuel's claim that "nearly 750 additional officers" have been deployed to Chicago's neighborhoods over the course of his first 100 days in office, the number of Chicago police officers has actually decreased slightly. As of last Wednesday, the force is down 260 since last October and short 700 officers compared to five years ago. The bulk of the 750 "new" cops were redeployed from special operations units created by former top cop Jody Weis. 
Earlier this month, McCarthy said his department would "trim the fat on executive staff," not the police force, to deliver $1 million in budget savings. Meanwhile, since he was appointed earlier this summer, McCarthy has repeatedly vowed to make "quality of life" arrests -- such as noise violations or public drinking, as two examples -- a priority for his force. McCarthy has claimed such "sweating the small stuff" helps prevent larger crimes, like shootings, before they happen. . . . 
Shortly after that Emanuel cut more from the budget.
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police on Wednesday dismissed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's call for massive cuts -- reportedly to the tune of $190 million of the Chicago Police Department's $1.3 billion budget -- as a "stunt." . . .

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David Corn falsely claimed that the now famous Romney tape was "complete" when he knew that it was not

Legal Insurrection has the goods here where David Corn finally admits that the "complete" tape was known not to be the complete tape.  The discussion is available here.


Yet another ranking of competitiveness showing that the US has dropped dramatically over the last few years

From Fox News:
The United States’ reputation as home to one of the world’s freest economies continues to decline, according to an international report released Tuesday.The U.S. dropped to 18th worldwide, compared to 10th in 2008 and third from 1980 to 2000, the 2012 Economic Freedom of the World report found. The findings are based on information through 2010.
“The U.S. is on the wrong track,” said co-author James Gwartney, a Florida State University economics professor.
He says the 48-page report shows countries with the freest economies grew more rapidly and achieved higher income levels for citizens, while the United States' decade-plus course of government expansion, increased debt and regulation and other moves created a “system of crony capitalism.”
“The declining economic freedom rating of the U.S. provides confirmation of this trend,” Gwartney concludes.
The report, published in the United States by the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute think tank, again ranks Hong Kong first among 144 countries, followed by Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland.
The U.S. also ranked behind Finland and Denmark – “two European welfare states,” the study authors also pointed out. . . .

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Obama In 1998: "I Actually Believe In Redistribution"

Media Matters coordinates media coverage of Fast and Furious with Obama Justice Department

So will George Soros funded Media Matters lose its tax exempt status over this political coordination?  From Fox News:
. . . The emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and published by The Daily Caller, often show department public affairs chief Tracy Schmaler communicating with Media Matters bloggers. Sometimes, the emails were in response to inquiries. Other times, Schmaler was pitching ideas, according to the Caller.  
In a January 2012 email chain, Schmaler sent a Media Matters writer lines from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's comments at a recent hearing. She reportedly underlined passages where the California Republican tries to explain the difference between Operation Fast and Furious and other anti-gunrunning operations under former President George W. Bush.  
Hours later, an article appeared on Media Matters' site titled "Rep. Issa Ties Himself in Fast and Furious Knots."  
Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson, also a Fox News contributor, said the emails show "moment-to-moment coordination" between the department and Media Matters. . . .

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How has the issuance of concealed handgun permits by sex and race changed in Texas since 2000?

In raw numbers the first figure means that the number of permits issued per year for women rose from 8,994 to 31,614 and for men rose from 44,113 to 112,111.  Meanwhile, the share of permits going to whites fell from 92% to 86% over this same period.  The information for various years is available from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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Partisan beliefs about government size depend on who is president

Gallup explains this remarkable partisan change in views this way:

The fact that Democrats for most of the Bush administration were more likely than Republicans to say the government had too much power probably reflected Democrats' negative views on government power in the Bush years in terms of fighting terrorism, the Patriot Act, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Once Obama took office, however, these partisan views changed, and Republicans' concern about government power overtook Democrats'. This partly reflects Republicans' views on the role of government spending and government power in domestic and economic affairs. . . .
The strange thing about this explanation is that Obama has continued the Patriot Act and the vast majority of Bush's approach to fighting terrorism. 

Another interesting finding is that Independents are much closer to Republicans today in their views on whether government has too much power than they are to the views of Democrats.  While 82% of Republicans thought that the government was "doing too much," that position was held by 62% of Independents and only 24% of Democrats.

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Some EMTs and firefighters want to be able to carry guns for protection

Being an EMT can sometimes mean having a dangerous job, and it isn't just racing through traffic and worrying that someone will run into your vehicle.  Sometimes they run into violent patients or others.  From Dayton, Ohio:
Some emergency medical services workers say they now routinely face more violent patients and dangerous situations. But the prospect of armed EMTs worries critics who question whether it would improve their safety or lead to other problems. 
Tim Holman, chief of German Twp. Fire and EMS in Clark County, said he is weighing the pros and cons to allow his paramedics and emergency medical technicians to carry concealed handguns on the job, because they encounter belligerent and unpredictable people, and police are not always immediately available to subdue or arrest troublemakers. 
Holman in September 2011 hosted a forum at the EMS World Expo in Las Vegas called, “Is it Time to Arm our EMTs?” He said some EMS departments across the country are considering arming their crews, because the job is becoming more dangerous and there has been a string of violent and deadly attacks on medical responders. 
“It is a hot topic, and I am trying to make it a hotter topic, because it is something that needs to be looked at because we cannot depend on law enforcement to protect us,” he said. . . . .


The wrong lesson is being learned from the Aurora Shooting: Push to re-establish gun-free zones for University of Colorado campuses

Last week I pointed out that the Aurora shooting took place in the one movie theater near the killer's home that banned permitted concealed handguns.  Because of a state Supreme Court decision the University of Colorado has just implement rules to let people carry guns on college grounds.
A state lawmaker from Boulder plans to bring forward a bill in the next legislative session that would allow universities to create their own gun policies.

Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, will hold a forum this week with University of Colorado faculty members to discuss a legislative strategy that could give the regents the authority to ban guns on CU campuses.

The Colorado Supreme Court in March overturned CU's longstanding gun ban when it ruled the university cannot prohibit those with concealed-weapons permits from bringing their firearms on campus. Last week, the board voted to amend the university policy to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.

Faculty members at CU have expressed serious concern -- "collective dismay," according to one professor -- that concealed weapons are now allowed in classrooms. . . .

"The Legislature doesn't have expertise on campus safety," she said.

But even if the bill passed, it's uncertain whether the CU Board of Regents -- which has been Republican-controlled in recent years -- would vote to reinstate a gun ban. . . .

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Federal Grants being used to get major network TV shows to plug Obamacare

Why should federal dollars be used to promote Obamacare using existing hit TV shows?  Why is a new  TV show being pitched using government money: "Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan"? Discussion is available here.


Obama administration lets politics influence decision to sell GM stock

Remember Obama's promise not to let politics interfere with how GM was run?  Politics entered the discussion of sales of GM stock last year.  Even the timing of the IPO was influenced by politics.  Other examples are available here, here, and here.  There were other issues such as "Obama reassured Michigan Congress members on Sunday that GM will not move its headquarters out of the Renaissance Center as part of its bankruptcy restructuring efforts" and changes in whether a plant would be closed
The Treasury Department is resisting General Motors' push for the government to sell off its stake in the auto maker, The Wall Street Journal reports. Following a $50 billion bailout in 2009, the U.S. taxpayers now own almost 27% of the company. But the newspaper said GM executives are now chafing at that, saying it hurts the company's reputation and its ability to attract top talent due to pay restrictions. Earlier this year, GM presented a plan to repurchase 200 million of the 500 million shares the U.S. holds with the balance being sold via a public offering. But officials at the Treasury Department were not interested as selling now would lead to a multibillion dollar loss for the government, the newspaper noted. . . .

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NASA spending huge $ each year maintaining buildings it no longer uses

Any private company would sell off unused property or lease it out.  From Fox News:
A recent review of NASA’s land holdings on earth revealed a new challenge for the agency: poorly maintained, aging facilities once used for research and development or space vehicle construction, now essentially useless. 
NASA spends about $1.1 billion annually on maintenance and upkeep of its more than 5,400 buildings, landing strips and other unique sites; but approximately 9 percent of its real property assets aren’t being used, NASA told FoxNews.com. The solution, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG): lease them. 
Kennedy leases a clean room where Apollo capsules were readied 40 years ago to Lockheed Martin. Boeing is building space taxis in a processing hangar where shuttles were once routinely readied to soar. And there are plenty of others, from Rolls-Royce and Google to local schools and, in areas where businesses aren’t interested, parks, gardens and visitor centers. . . .



Pharmacist uses gun to prevent theft of drugs

From USA Today:
WINSLOW TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- A pharmacist pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at a would-be robber as he chased him from his store, authorities said. It was not known whether any of the shots hit the holdup man, who had demanded narcotic painkillers. 
"I'm no hero, but I thought, 'Either him or I,'" John Agyemang, who opened Jolin's Pharmacy only three months ago, told WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. 
In a brief interview with the Associated Press, the pharmacist, busy Thursday waiting on customers, said he had spotted a gun on the robber. . . . 
"He could have shot me dead and nobody would have known because it's not a busy area," he told KYW-TV in Philadelphia.The robber demanded OxyContin and other painkillers, the pharmacist said. . . . .


Democratic Congressional Candidate Faces Voter Fraud Allegations: Voting Twice?

Part of the discussion here is about the unwillingness to prosecute those who have been caught committing vote fraud.


The impact of the recent multiple victim public shootings on support for gun control

From the Associated Press:
The July 20 mass shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others did not move opinion on gun rights, where 49 percent oppose gun control measures and 43 percent said limits on gun ownership would not infringe on the constitutional right to bear arms. . . .

The AP-NCC Poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications from Aug. 16-20, using landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen adults. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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Chicago Folds on Teachers' Union demand on tying pay to evaluations

This is very disappointing.  The pay increases seem like a secondary issue to making sure that public school teachers have the right incentives.  The media reports on whether the pay increases will be 4% a year or the agreed to 3%, 2%, 2%, and 3%.  From the LA Times:
In one of the central disagreements of Emanuel’s proposed reforms, the union says it preserved so-called “step and lane” pay increases for teachers, in which teachers receive raises for each year of service. The district had hoped to tie teacher compensation to student scores on standardized tests; the union says only 30% of teachers’ evaluations will come from student test scores, the minimum under Illinois state law. . . .
In other words,  the unions gave up nothing.  The minimum agreement was what the union had to agree to under state law.

Will the media ever note that about 40% of public school teachers in Chicago send their kids to private schools?  Probably not.

UPDATE: A slightly different notion of what is in the contract is available from the Associated Press:

Emanuel, who did not personally negotiate the deal but monitored the talks through aides, has pushed hard for a contract that includes ratcheting up the percentage of evaluations based on student performance, to 35 percent within four years. The union contends that is unfair because it does not take into account outside factors that affect student performance such as poverty, violence and homelessness. . . .
Is this all that Chicago was asking for?  To go from 30 to 35% over four years?  I suppose that I thought that more was being asked for.

UPDATE: The increase in work time is trivial and still leaves Chicago teachers the best paid, least worked teachers around.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel did win a longer school day—to seven hours from five hours and 45 minutes. But the city had already agreed to a union demand to hire 500 additional new teachers to help fill the longer school day, and the average teacher will work a mere 15-20 minutes more per day.

Emanuel got rolled by the CTU. Their “concessions” are laughable: Student achievement now accounts for 30 percent of teacher evaluations, but the State of Illinois already requires 25 percent. Teachers will receive raises of 3 percent, 2 percent, and 2 percent over the next three years, on top of automatic step-and-lane pay hikes that are already set in stone. And the school day will be longer, but teachers won’t be teaching any more hours; the city is required to hire hundreds more teachers to fill out the longer school days. All told, the deal will cost Chicago hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. This is a resounding defeat for Rahm Emanuel and the education reform movement. . . .

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Obama remains silent on Public School teachers strike in Chicago

Obama refuses to oppose teacher union in Chicago.  Teachers strongly opposed evaluating teacher quality, but Obama couldn't even make a public statement disagreeing with that position.

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Could you imagine the reaction if the Bush administration asked the removal of a movie? What if they ordered a filmmaker taken from his home in the middle of the night on the pretense of checking if he had violated his probation?

No one really takes the Obama administration seriously that the attacks in the Middle East are all (or even mainly) because a movie.  But the Obama administration has done something that a Republican  adm would have been viciously attacked over.  Fine the movie is quite bad in many senses of the word, but with the Obama administration claiming that the attacks are being motivated by the film and tripping over itself to get the movie removed from the internet and put pressure on the filmmaker, one has to wonder whether this will encourage more bad behavior in the Middle East.
1) "Google will not remove anti-Islam film from YouTube following White House request for review"
Google will not remove the YouTube video that has been cited as the spark for demonstrations raging across the Middle East and North Africa, the company announced Friday.The decision comes following a White House request for the trailer for ‘Innocence of Muslims’ to be reviewed under the company’s policies.The Obama administration was not explicitly asking YouTube to remove the film, but to check if it meets their standards."The White House asked YouTube to review the video to see if it was in compliance with their terms of use," Press Secretary Jay Carney said. . . .
2) The Obama administration is using the FBI to "track" down a filmmaker for making a movie that offends someone, or some group.  Is this for real?
The Innocence of Muslims, a movie that has enraged radical Islamists who have rioted and committed murders in the Middle East this week, was partially shot on a set that Paramount's TV unit helped to build for its TV show JAG, and a man with five decades of movie and television experience is helping the FBI figure out who is behind the controversial film. . . . 
The FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were interviewing Veluzat on Thursday, and Veluzat told The Hollywood Reporter that both law-enforcement agencies instructed him not to speak with the press or other interested parties about what he knows about The Innocence of Muslims. . . .
3) How about the filmmaker being rousted from his bed in the middle of the night?  Glenn Reynolds has this comment:
WHY BARACK OBAMA SHOULD RESIGN. Just for the record, this is what it looked like for a man who made a film that made the Obama Administration uncomfortable: . . .Here’s the key bit: “Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.” . . .