IRS Dance Video: Your tax dollars spent wisely

How could you possibly spend so much money on a video like this?  Of course, this is trivial compared to the scandal over the IRS targeting Obama's political opponents.  From Politico:
New acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel is already on the defense. Late Friday, he said the new TIGTA report will show “an unfortunate vestige from a prior era.” Calling the expenses from the conferences “inappropriate,” Werfel emphasized that steps have been taken to make sure similar incidents don’t happen in the future. 
“Sweeping new spending restrictions have been put in place at the IRS, and travel and training expenses have dropped more than 80 percent since 2010 and similar large-scale meetings did not take place in 2011, 2012 or 2013,” he said. 
After news broke earlier this year that the IRS had used thousands of taxpayer dollars to create “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island” parody videos, Boustany demanded the agency turn over all videos “depicting television or movie parodies.” 
The video released Friday came from that request. 
The TIGTA report will detail the cost of hundreds of IRS conferences, including the Anaheim conference, price-tagged at $4.1 million and “paid for in part with about $3.2 million in unused funds from the IRS’s enforcement budget,” according to the Post. . . .


A couple of interesting fast food facts

The source of the facts is available here.


Actor Woody Harrelson on Obama

From Details magazine:
DETAILS: So you dislike Democrats as much as you dislike the GOP? 
Woody Harrelson: It's all synchronized swimming to me. They all kneel and kiss the ring. Who's going to take on the oil industry or the medical industry? People compare Obama to Lyndon Johnson, but I think a better comparison is between Obama and Nixon. Because Nixon came into office saying he was going to pull out of Vietnam, and then he escalated the war. A lot of us were led to believe that Obama was the peace president, but there are still, I think, 70,000 troops in Afghanistan. . . .


The Obama administration scandal that is being ignored, Kathleen Sebelius pressured firms she regulated for donations

The Obama administration is arguing that Sebelius' behavior was perfectly legal.  After all, who would be concerned about government officials calling up and pressuring the companies that they regulate for donations?  Fortunately, Republicans are giving this some attention.  From Fox News:
Congressional Republicans on Thursday escalated their call for an independent investigation into whether Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius broke the law when she sought donations from private companies for an independent ObamaCare project.  
Three top Senate Republicans wrote a letter to the HHS inspector general asking his office to launch a probe. It follows a previous GOP call for a review by another internal watchdog, the Government Accountability Office.  
At issue is Sebelius' effort to solicit donations and other assistance from various charities and executives for a nonprofit group that is helping sign up people for benefits under the federal health care overhaul.  
HHS argues the practice was legal, since the Public Health Services Act allows a secretary to seek funding for nonprofits operating in public health.  . . .

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Illinois finally adopts concealed carry law: All states finally have a concealed handgun law on their books

Illinois becomes the last state to allow concealed carry.  However, the rules are extremely restrictive, including the longest training period in the country and one of the highest fees.  Both will make it difficult for poor people to get permits to carry.  Guess who restrictions on carrying on public transit are going to impact most?  Again, poorer individuals.  From the Associated Press:
. . . An 89-28 vote by the Illinois House on Friday sealed the compromise worked out after the federal appeals court ordered in December that Illinois end its ban on concealed carry by June 9. Earlier in the day, the Senate OK’d the plan 45-12. Both margins are big enough to withstand a gubernatorial veto. . . . 
The plan would prohibit the possession of guns in such places as schools, taverns and parks, but would allow a gun to be kept securely in a car. It did not include an earlier proposal to eliminate all local gun ordinances, including Chicago’s current ban on assault weapons, but would curb local control on handguns and lawful transportation of firearms.
It would require the Illinois State Police to issue a concealed carry permit to any gun owner with a Firearm Owners Identification card who passes a background check, pays a $150 fee and undergoes 16 hours of training — the most required by any state. . . . 
But Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, a supporter of tougher restrictions, negotiated with House members and others to forge Friday’s compromise. It overrides local regulations on handguns or those that further restrict the ability of lawful gun owners to transport unloaded or broken-down weapons. It would leave other current ordinances intact, but ban future assault-weapons prohibitions. 
Chicago got what it wished in terms of nearly two dozen specific places declared gun-free, including mass transit buses and guns. Emanuel said in a statement the bill “strikes a better balance between the rights of gun owners and the unique public safety needs of Chicago.” . . .
On to DC?  Will people finally be able to carry concealed handguns in our nation's capitol?

The Chicago Tribune has some additional notes:
Under the proposal, concealed weapons would be banned from numerous sites, such as CTA and Metra buses and trains, casinos, government buildings and stadiums. But lawmakers said the bill would allow people to carry concealed weapons in restaurants where alcohol is served but more than half of the sales are for food. 
A five-year concealed weapons permit would be issued to applicants. Law enforcement could object, and an applicant could appeal to a seven-member board designed to have people with such credentials as former judges orFBI agents. A person would have to complete 16 hours of training before getting a gun. . . .
The new law won't allow reciprocity with other states.
The legislation that lawmakers passed Friday, under orders from a federal court, doesn't contain any reciprocity language. 
That means that anyone who wants to carry firearms in public in Illinois — even those already approved in other states — will have to get an Illinois permit. That in turn means paying a $300 non-resident fee (double the in-state fee) and taking 16 hours of training. . . . . 


Black Louisiana State Senator switches from being a Democrat to a Republican

The above video is from a campaign ad run by Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guillory.  From the Lafayette Advertiser:

Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guillory has joined the Republican Party, becoming the first black Republican senator in Louisiana since Reconstruction, according to a report in The Advertiser. This is the second time Guillory, of Opelousas, has switched parties; the lawmaker was a Republican before running for the state House in 2007. 
Guillory is scheduled to announce his new affilitation during the @large Conference, an event aimed at attracting black conservatives to the Republican Party
Guillory has a conservative voting record and has long been an ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, particularly on education and retirement issues. . . .



With 88 IRS employees so far identified as being involved in targeting conservatives, does anyone believe it was limited to "a few low level employees"?

From CNN:
The Internal Revenue Service has told House GOP investigators they have identified 88 IRS employees who may have documents relevant to the congressional investigation into targeting of conservative groups, according to a congressional source familiar with the investigation. 
The IRS asked these employees to preserve all the "responsive documents" on their computers, and it has been in the process of collecting it all to comply with congressional requests for information. The IRS missed its May 21st deadline to turn over documents to the House Ways and Means Committee. 
The same source said the IRS argues it missed its deadline because of the scope of documents it is collecting. 
The request for documents was a bipartisan one, but Republicans are privately preparing to seize on the fact that if nearly 90 IRS employees may have been somehow involved in this targeting, it is evidence that the controversy extends well beyond the mistakes by a few low level employees. . . .


Pennsylvania Democratic State Representative Jesse White uses fake internet names to attack those supporting tracking

From Fox News:
A state legislator accused of using fake names to attack supporters of fracking says he's sorry.
An investigation by Pittsburgh TV station KDKA concluded that Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Jesse White used several different names to post harsh comments about supporters of natural gas drilling.
The comments targeted two specific supporters -- calling them "trolls," "moles", and "dumber than a box of rocks."
The posts even identified one opponent's farm and encouraged people to boycott his products.
The website where the posts were made traced all the names back to White's legislative e-mail address.
Yesterday, White posted a statement on his Facebook page apologizing for what he calls an error in judgment. . . .
UPDATE: More stories here and here.

White initially denied the accusations and then refused to answer questions for a while before the evidence got so overwhelming that he eventually admitted what he had done.

A Fox News video is available here.


Will government caused flight delays mean more fines for airlines?

The full airline petition can be read here.  The Obama administration is refusing to comment on their request.  Here is an article from The Hill newspaper.
A pair of airline lobbying groups is asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) to not count flights that were delayed because of the sequester from its usual tally of late airplanes.  . . .
But in a petition submitted to the DOT this week, Airlines for America (A4A) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA) said flights were held back in April because of air traffic controller furloughs that were attributed to the sequester. 
“Airlines for America and the Regional Airline Association ... hereby request that the Department grant a limited exemption ... that would exclude all flights in the month of April 2013 from the ‘chronically delayed flight’ designation/status due to the substantial delays and disruption to air travel that occurred from the Federal Aviation Administration decision to implement daily ground delays and reduce air traffic control personnel as part of its sequestration implementation plan adopted in response to the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” the groups wrote in their petition.The FAA purposely delayed flights at major airports from April 21-27 because the agency furloughed about 10 percent of its air traffic controllers in response to the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. Congress quickly passed abill to give the FAA flexibility to move money around in its budget to end the flight delays as passenger complaints mounted.  . . .

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Zero Tolerance: "Reaction to 6-year old bringing tiny toy on bus"

The video from Fox News is available here.


New piece at Fox News: "Gun control just got even more difficult"

My newest piece starts this way:
Gun control, an already difficult task, just got even more difficult. 
The 3D printing revolution is well under way. This wonderful new technology will allow small companies and even individuals to manufacture a wide range of items, such as medical devices that fit each individual’s unique size and shape. 
However, it is increasingly obvious that guns and gun parts can be made, even including entire assault weapons. 
Unfortunately, the initial regulatory proposals will likely increase crime. As usual, new technology is hard to stop, and the Department of Homeland Security last week declared: "Limiting access [to 3D-printing to make guns] may be impossible." 
Until now the stumbling block has been to design a gun that would be sturdy enough, something that can withstand the explosion when a bullet is shot down the barrel. In other words, you don’t want the gun to go off like a grenade in your hands instead of hitting the target. . . .

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Oprah goes political in commencement speech, but doesn't know what she is talking about

I just don't see why anyone would think that it is appropriate to go political, let alone heavy handed political, in a commencement speech.  One is presumably supposed to give a talk about life's lessons.  Yet, Oprah seemed to think her role at a commencement speech at Harvard was to give a political speech.  The fact that she doesn't know what she is talking about almost seems besides the point.
Oprah Winfrey fired some political shots during a commencement speech at Harvard University on Thursday. . . .
Winfrey went on to address gun control, arguing that “the vast majority of people in this country believe in stronger background checks.”
“Because they realize that we can uphold the Second Amendment and also reduce that violence that is robbing us of our children,” she said, referencing the Sandy Hook shooting last year. . . .
Moving on to immigration, the talk show host endorsed “a clear path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants who reside in this country.” . . .
A discussion on the problems with background checks is here and a discussion on the political support for them is here.  At least if one is going to go heavily political at a university, one hopes that the speaker has something deep to say, not warmed over generalities.

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Obamacare as Democrats own private piggy bank to fund political causes?

Stuart Taylor has a tough piece here on additional abuses in Obamacare. From Forbes:
A little-noticed part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act channels some $12.5 billion into a vaguely defined “Prevention and Public Health Fund” over the next decade–and some of that money is going for everything from massage therapists who offer “calming techniques,” to groups advocating higher state and local taxes on tobacco and soda, and stricter zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants.

The program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has raised alarms among congressional critics, who call it a “slush fund,” because the department can spend the money as it sees fit and without going through the congressional appropriations process. The sums involved are vast. By 2022, the department will be able to spend $2 billion per year at its sole discretion. In perpetuity. . . .

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IRS scandal hassled broad range of conservative groups

As someone who recently tried to set up a 501(C)(3), the law is very simple: you make a proposal and the IRS is just supposed to check to see if what you propose is legal.   If you are worried about whether they will do what they promise to do, that is for later investigations.  These investigations are completely inappropriate.  From McClatchy:
A group of anti-abortion activists in Iowa had to promise the Internal Revenue Service it wouldn’t picket in front of Planned Parenthood.

Catherine Engelbrecht’s family and business in Texas were audited by the government after her voting-rights group sought tax-exempt status from the IRS.

Retired military veteran Mark Drabik of Nebraska became active in and donated to conservative causes, then found the IRS challenging his church donations.

While the developing scandal over the targeting of conservatives by the tax agency has largely focused to date on its scrutiny of groups with words such as “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, these examples suggest the government was looking at a broader array of conservative groups and perhaps individuals. Their collective experiences at a minimum could spread skepticism about the fairness of a powerful agency that should be above reproach and at worst could point to a secret political vendetta within the government against conservatives. . . .



62% of Americans want the Senate to stop considering the gun control bill

So much for the belief that Americans want something done on gun control.  I have previously discussed how the other polls over state support for the gun control bill.  Now this poll by Reason-Rupe Surveys shows that even many of those who support the bill doesn't really care strongly about the issue.  The vast majority of Independents and Republicans want the Senate to stop considering the gun control bill.  Even most women want the Senate to drop it.  There are only two groups who feel otherwise: Democrats and liberals.
President Barack Obama has vowed to keep pushing for new gun control measures and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the failed gun vote in the Senate was “just the beginning.” However, the latest Reason-Rupe national poll finds just 33 percent of Americans feel the “Senate should debate and vote on gun control legislation again,” while 62 percent want the Senate to “move on to other issues.” . . .


Mother and son use gun to stop man who broke into their home at 1 AM

From WYFF TV 4 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Marshville, N.C.: Union County deputies say a 25-year-old man was killed after he broke into a home in Marshville.
Investigators said Robby Blount kicked in the door of the home around 1 a.m. Thursday, wearing a mask and waving a gun.
Deputies said a woman and her son were in the home. One of them called 911, while the other got a shotgun and shot Blount once in the chest, killing him.
Investigators have not yet identified the woman or her son, nor said which one fired the fatal shot. . . .
Thanks to Brian O'Connor for the link.


Prosecutor in Zimmerman case tried to hide evidence

At some point when does this hiding of evidence and other games go to far (see several stories here)?  From the Miami Herald:
A court employee who retrieved photos and deleted text messages from Trayvon Martin's cellphone has been placed on administrative leave after an attorney testified that prosecutors didn't properly turn over the evidence to the defense, an attorney said Wednesday.
Former prosecutor Wesley White said he was ethically obligated to reveal that Fourth Judicial Circuit Information Technology Director Ben Kruidbos retrieved the data that weren't turned over.
Kruidbos was placed on leave shortly after White testified during a hearing in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder case on Tuesday. White said Kruidbos was interviewed by state attorney investigators twice before the action was taken.
White said he wasn't surprised of possible evidence violations by Zimmerman prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
"I was saddened by it, but I'm not surprised," he said.
White first learned about the evidence through Kruidbos more than a month ago, he said. . . .

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/29/3422519/lawyer-zimmerman-prosecutor-withheld.html#storylink=cp


Austan Goolsbee reminds people that the Inspector General's report on his possible abuse of IRS was never released

The Weekly Standard provides a review here:
In August 2010, Austan Goolsbee, serving at the time as economic adviser to President Obama, told reporters during an anonymous background briefing that Koch Industries doesn't pay corporate income taxes. That statement was made at the same time that top Democrats, including President Obama himself, were demonizing Charles and David Koch, the owners of Koch Industries, for giving money to Tea Party groups. Goolsbee's remark led to a federal investigation, the results of which have never been released. . . .
Now Goolsbee makes a bizarre tweet here:

Without the inspector general's report, we don't know where the White House came up with the claim that Koch Industries doesn't pay corporate income taxes. But earlier this month, Austan Goolsbee offered a new explanation in light of the unfolding IRS scandal. Goolsbee wrote on Twitter:
@joerepublic1 there was no secret info on koch bros. It came fr/heresptimes.com/2003/12/28/Sta… but was a mistake--one of the other Koch bros.
— Austan Goolsbee (@Austan_Goolsbee) May 14, 2013


So much for Lois Lerner's claims that the IRS corruption were limited to some low level workers in Cincinnati

Remember these claims from Lois Lerner:
Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the “absolutely inappropriate” actions by “front-line people” were not driven by partisan motives. 
Rather, Lerner said, they were a misguided effort to come up with an efficient means of dealing with a flood of applications from organizations seeking ­tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.

During that period, about 75 groups were selected for extra inquiry — including burdensome questionnaires and, in some cases, improper requests for the names of their donors — simply because of the words in their names, she said in a conference call with reporters. . . .
But it turns out that it wasn't limited to low-level front line people, targeted almost 500 groups (not 75), and people involved were probably driven by political motives.

Now we have this from NBC News:
Additional scrutiny of conservative organizations’ activities by the IRS did not solely originate in the agency’s Cincinnati office, with requests for information coming from other offices and often bearing the signatures of higher-ups at the agency, according to attorneys representing some of the targeted groups. At least one letter requesting information about one of the groups bears the signature of Lois Lerner, the suspended director of the IRS Exempt Organizations department in Washington. . . .
From the Daily Caller:
David French, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 27 Tea Party groups, told The Daily Caller that the IRS’ Cincinnati office was not the only unit targeting Tea Party and conservative groups for increased scrutiny. 
“We’ve dealt with two offices in California, the one in Cincinnati of course, and one in Washington, D.C. So when that story came out on Friday, we knew instantaneously it was false, because we had personal dealings with four different IRS offices from coast to coast and that was in connection with our representing 27 Tea Party groups and conservative groups in 19 states,“ French said, adding that the two California offices were located in Laguna Niguel and El Monte. 
“We knew from the beginning that this was not just a low-level Cincinnati employee operation,” French said. . . .


Texts show Trayvon Martin was in "hostile" mood the day he was shot by Zimmerman

Martin's past drug use might be irrelevant, but these texts seem pretty relevant to me.  The question is how far back in time the texts should go.  From CNN:

The filing said the texts were mostly with "Witness 8," and the messages showed Martin and the friend were "hostile and angry with each other at various points throughout the day." . . . 
Also in the document, Zimmerman's attorneys say the court should also consider text messages sent before that day, because they establish Martin's marijuana use and fights he had been involved in.
"This (fighting) evidence is admissible in support of Mr. Zimmerman's self-defense claim regarding the abilities and capacity of Trayvon Martin as an experienced fighter," Zimmerman's attorneys wrote. . . .


Something that I agree with the Obama administration on: Privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority

Obama might be doing this for a weak reason, solely to reduce Federal debt and not for the increased efficiencies produced by private ownership, at least he is doing it. From Fox News:
. . . Created in 1933 by President Roosevelt, the TVA brought electricity to Appalachia, with the goal that wiring up Tennessee, parts of North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi would help bring prosperity to an impoverished region.
But in his new budget, President Obama ordered a strategic review of the TVA with an eye toward selling it to private interests.
Though the TVA operates solely with income from ratepayers, it has a debt of some $25 billion. While that debt is not backed by the federal government, it is included in the overall federal debt numbers.
By selling the TVA, Obama can give the appearance of immediately erasing $25 billion in red ink from the books.
Or can he?
Some are now questioning whether shedding the TVA would yield the kind of payoff Obama anticipates, while Republican lawmakers in the region remain uncharacteristically protective of this government-sponsored company. And ratepayers worry that if the TVA changes hands, their power costs could go up. . . .



Vegan diet for mom kills 11-month-old breastfeed baby

This is from an old article at Fox News:
A vegan mother and father were up before a court Tuesday in Amiens, in northern France, accused of "neglect or food deprivation" leading to the death of their 11-month-old baby daughter.
Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou only fed their tiny daughter, Louise, with the 37-year-old mother's milk at their home in Saint-Maulvis, a small village 90 miles north of Paris. She died in March 2008, weighing just under 13 pounds and suffering from pneumonia and a vitamin deficiency. A doctor called to the family's rundown house refused to issue a burial permit.
Louise's parents became vegans after watching a television program about how cattle were slaughtered for food. . . . 
The article here (in French) discusses more about the vitamin deficiencies in the mother's breast milk because of her Vegan diet.


Most women and men think that children are better off if there mother stays at home

Readers of the UK's telegraph.co.uk/politics say the one law that they want changed is to let them again own handguns

From the UK Telegraph, the proposal getting the most votes is:
Repeal the ban on hand guns and re-open shooting clubs, proposed by Colliemum. They write: "After all, why should only criminals be 'allowed' to possess guns and shoot unarmed, defenceless citizens and police officers?" 
Obviously, this isn't a scientific poll, but the fact that a whooping 83% of those participating preferred this proposal to any of the other ones.  The proposal with the next highest support was a "flat tax."

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Louisiana makes some small changes in its gun laws

If you are really serious about having a concealed handgun permit for the rest of your life, this might be a marginally attractive deal, but I doubt that too many people are going to rush out right away and get a $500 life time permit.  Sure people save some time in not having to refile for a permit every 5 years, but why not share some of the administrative cost savings with the permit holders?  The change in allowing off-duty police officers to carry on school campuses seems small, not just because it will effect so few people, but also because it is hard to see why anyone would object to letting police carry off-duty to begin with.  Guns.com has this:
Lawmakers in the Bayou State are . . . approving a bill last week that would allow the state to issue lifetime concealed carry permits and passing a bill on Tuesday that would allow off-duty police officers to carry their firearms on school campuses. 
A third bill, one that would penalize journalists, bloggers or media outlets for publishing the names of concealed carry permits may also gain approval, pending a last-minute review by a conference committee. 
Prior to the passage of House Bill 265, Louisiana gun owners who wanted to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home had to renew their concealed carry permit every five years and pay a fee of $125.  Now, though, assuming Gov. Bobby Jindal signs HB 265 into law, gun owners can purchase a lifetime CCW permit for $500 provided they agree to undergo firearm training and education classes every five years. . . .



Storm gathering to force Eric Holder to resign

From Jake Tapper at CNN:
The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress earlier this month, according to CNN's chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.
"In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material – this is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy," Holder testified before Congress on May 15.
But some are pointing out that the attorney general would have signed off on a search warrant on Fox News reporter James Rosen's personal email account. The search warrant was obtained in part because there was probable cause to believe Rosen had broken a law or acted "at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator."
"The Department of Justice has really overstepped the bounds,"said First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams, author of upcoming book "Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment."
"Accusing a reporter of being a criminal, of violating the espionage act no less, for doing nothing more or less than asking questions of a government official ... That's usually called journalism, not espionage," said Abrams. . . .
Jonathan Turley has this op-ed in USA Today:
In the end, Holder was the best witness against his continuing in office. His insistence that he did nothing was a telling moment. The attorney general has done little in his tenure to protect civil liberties or the free press. Rather, Holder has supervised a comprehensive erosion of privacy rights, press freedom and due process. This ignoble legacy was made possible by Democrats who would look at their shoes whenever the Obama administration was accused of constitutional abuses.  
On Thursday, Obama responded to the outcry over the AP and Fox scandals by calling for an investigation by ... you guessed it ... Eric Holder. He ordered Holder to meet with news media representatives to hear their "concerns" and report back to him. He sent his old sin eater for a confab with the very targets of the abusive surveillance. Such an inquiry offers no reason to trust its conclusions.The feeble response was the ultimate proof that these are Obama's sins despite his effort to feign ignorance. It did not matter that Holder is the sin eater who has lost his stomach or that such mortal sins are not so easily digested. Indeed, these sins should be fatal for any attorney general.
From Fox News:
“It seems to me clear that the actions of the department have in fact impaired the First Amendment,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said earlier this month. “Reporters who might have previously believed that a confidential source would speak to them would no longer have that level of confidence.” . . . 
On the other side of the aisle, liberal pundit Bill Press has joined in the call to remove Holder, tweeting that he should be fired. 
Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor, said what makes the recent criticism different from the Republican-led grilling over Fast and Furious, which was linked to the fatal shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, is the bipartisan outcry.
“You're starting to see Democrats join Republicans to call for (Holder's) resignation,” Trippi said. “Whenever you see both sides doing that, it means there's real trouble. It doesn't mean he's in trouble of having to be forced out or resigned yet. It means it's a lot more serious than other events he's had to take on.” . . . 

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Homeowner uses gun to defend himself against 21-year-old with shovel

From Orangeburg, SC:
Orangeburg County deputies say a 21-year-old was fatally shot Sunday night by a homeowner after breaking in to his victim's home. 
According to Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, DeShawn Randolph used a shovel to break a back window and enter a home on Kings Road just after 11 p.m. Sunday night. 
Deputies say the homeowner grabbed a gun and fired shots down his hallway, killing Randolph. . . .


Colorado State Senate President facing recall election over his support for gun control

Democrat Senate President John Morse looks almost certain to face a recall election.  If he were to lose, it would send a powerful message.  From Fox News:
. . . Morse has mounted a campaign to urge voters not to sign petitions. In an indication of the national stakes, that push is largely funded by a $20,000 contribution from a national progressive group called America Votes. The Morse campaign said the donation came through the group's local Colorado office.
The recall group's main funding comes from a $14,000 contribution from a nonprofit run by a local conservative consultant, Laura Carno. She said that contribution was made possible by some out-of-state donors.
"People in other states that are further down this road, like New York and Massachusetts, are calling up and saying `What can we do to help?"' Carno said. "This isn't what Colorado stands for."
In an interview, Morse seemed resigned to facing a recall vote after signatures are verified. He believes national gun-rights supporters are using his district to make a national statement about the political peril officials face if they take on gun control.
"That's what's going on here. They want to take out the Senate president," Morse said. . . .
TO me the issue should be framed this way: Democrats passed a tax on people obtaining guns.  They refused to place a cap on what that tax could be and they refused to exempt poor people from having that tax.  Democrats, including Morse, have to explain why they passed laws that will primarily disarm law-abiding poor people from being able to own guns, particularly those poor minorities who live in high crime urban areas.  Why don't Democrats want to allow poor blacks to defend themselves?



UP to 75% of health insurance plans could pay 40% tax within next 10 years: Another reason why Obamacare won't let you keep your current policy

The 40% tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans will hit the vast majority of plans over the next decade.  Here is one of the finer points that was missed in the health care debate: the "Cadillac" tax wasn't indexed for inflation.  From the NY Times:
. . . Bradley Herring, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, suggested the result would be more widely felt than many people realize. “The reality is it is going to hit more and more people over time, at least as currently written in law, ” he said. Mr. Herring estimated that as many as 75 percent of plans could be affected by the tax over the next decade — unless employers manage to significantly rein in their costs. . . .
The trend is accelerating. The percentage of employers revising their plans as a result of the tax has increased to 17 percent this year from 11 percent in 2011, according to a survey of United States companies released this month by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. . . .
This makes no economic sense.  Suppose that you want to get rid of tax credits for health insurance.  First, you aren't getting rid of them.  You are replacing these credits with income based transfers under Obamacare.  Second, the 40% tax rate is unrelated to the income tax rate that people are paying.  This 40% tax rate means that lower income tax rate people will face greater disincentive to get Cadillac plans than higher income individual.  Obamacare is making the system amazingly complicated.

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The current count on what states are doing on Obamacare, the financial consequences

I think that the Kaiser Family Foundation is counting DC as a state.  From The Hill newspaper:
As of May 10, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 17 states will run their own exchange, seven will partner with the federal government and 27 will default to a federally run exchanges. 
Another 29 support the Medicaid expansion, while two are weighing their options. The rest will not accept the expansion. . . .
A thought: I can't image that states really believe that they can count on the Federal government to keep picking up the costs of the Medicaid expansion.  Four or five years down the road when the budget deficit is getting worse, there will be real pressure to cut spending and this will be a prime target.  If the number of states supporting the expansion stays below 30, it could make a big difference for what happens financially since 21 states have a total of 42 Senators, enough to maintain a filibuster.


3D printer produced a gun for only $35

As I have warned in past posts, one uses one of these plastic guns at one's own peril.  But the cost of these guns is amazingly low.  From the Sydney Morning Herald:
The gun only costs $35 to make on a 3D printer, with instructions downloaded from the internet
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said on Friday police easily made two Liberator plastic guns on a $1700 home 3D printer. From 16 parts it only took police 27 hours to build the guns. . . .
In order to function and keep the gun from exploding on you, two metal parts needed: a steel barrel and firing pin.  I don't know how much those parts will add to the price of this guns if they are made using a 3D printer that uses metal, but you would have to believe that it can't be that much.  In any case, Cody Wilson, the guy who put the original 3D gun together, used a metal nail for the firing pin.

UPDATE: Apparently, someone named "Joe" figured out how to make a cheaper gun and he apparently demonstrates that generic Polylac PA-747 ABS fed is stronger than the more expensive ABS plastic and shows nine shots being fired (though the footage is interrupted).  This engineer figured out how to make the gun for only $25.  


DOJ wanted to track James Rosen's emails "indefinitely"

From the UPI:

U.S. prosecutors asked a judge to defer indefinitely notifying a Fox News reporter his email was being monitored in a national security probe, records indicate. 
Court documents unsealed this week show U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen argued in 2010 the normal practice of notifying people of such monitoring within 30 days should not apply to James Rosen, who was being investigated in a national security leak case, The Hill reported Friday. . . .


President of an electric car company advocates a higher tax on gasoline

Isn't this obviously self serving?  So does anybody believe that these environmental firms aren't pushing for public policy that increase their profits?  From The Hill newspaper:

Tesla Automotive CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said climate advocates need to “reframe” the argument on climate science. . . .
Musk also said he had a solution — albeit one Republicans have outright rejected — for reducing carbon emissions.
“The thing they’ve got to do is try to put a tax on carbon,” he said, inducing cheers. . . .

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More Democrats turning on Obamacare

Democrats are continuing to show their concern over the damage created by Obamacare.  It isn't just unions, but some of the prime congressional authors of the bill are also calling it into question.  From the New York Times:
. . . Democrats are petrified of reopening a politically charged law that threatens to derail careers as the Republicans once again seize on it before an election year.
As a result, a landmark law that almost everyone agrees has flaws is likely to take effect unchanged.
“I don’t think it can be fixed,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said in an interview. “Everything is interconnected, 2,700 pages of statute, 20,000 pages of regulations so far. The only solution is to repeal it, root and branch.”
Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and one of the law’s primary authors, said: “I’m not sure we’re going to get to the point where it’s time to open the bill and make some changes. Once you start, it’s Pandora’s box.”
As the clock ticks toward 2014, when the law will be fully in effect, some businesses say that without changes, it may be their undoing.
“Are we really going to put the private sector in a situation where there’s a real potential mess for posturing points?” Mr. DeFife asked. . . .
A couple of interesting notes in the article.
Health insurers are focused on another goal: repealing a new tax on insurance companies that takes effect next year. The tax is expected to raise more than $100 billion over 10 years. Insurers say the cost will be passed on to consumers and businesses in the form of higher premiums. . . .
The obstacles are huge, beginning, Republicans say, with President Obama, who has publicly said employers face no significant problems carrying out the legislation. . . .
Guess what a tax on health insurance companies will raise the cost of health insurance.  Anyway, I hope that people remember that Obama kept on claiming that there are no problems with the health care law.  In any case, it will be interesting to see if Democrats blame Republicans for not fixing it despite the fact that Obama says that there is nothing to fix.

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The new etiquette with Google's wearable computers

Great, people wearing Google Glass into the restrooms.  Nice to know that everything is able to be filmed.  From the New York Times:
Mr. Starner said privacy protections would have to be built into these computers. “The way Glass is designed, it has a transparent display so everyone can see what you’re doing.” He also said that in deference to social expectations, he puts his wearable glasses around his neck, rather than on his head, when he enters private places like a restroom. 
But not everyone is so thoughtful, as I learned this month at the Google I/O developer conference when people lurked around every corner, including the bathroom, wearing their glasses that could take a picture with a wink. . . .

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Scarborough, Carl Bernstein outraged by Obama's explanation for 'Inexcusable' Seizure Of AP Phone Record

Lisa Myers: "The Obama administration critics would also say that their prosecution of leaks is 'selective.'  That they didn't have that much problem when details leaked about the successful raid on the compound on Osama bin Laden."

The video here has Scarborough go after Axelrod for excuses in AP Gate.


Oregon teenager caught in plans to use bombs at his school

It is always amazing how many different types of bombs people can make.  Who knew that you could make an effective bomb from Drano (directions available here and to a simpler design see here)?  All you need is aluminum foil, Drano, and seltzer water.  From Fox News:

An Oregon teenager was arrested Saturday after he allegedly built bombs with the intent of waging a "Columbine-style" attack on his high school, authorities say.  
17-year-old Grant Acord will be charged as an adult with attempted aggravated murder and also faces six counts of manufacturing and possessing a destructive device after investigators found six bombs in a secret compartment in his bedroom, Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said. . . . 
He said Acord had written plans, a checklist and a specific timeline for the attack. The bombs investigators found included pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, a Drano bomb and a napalm bomb, Haroldson said. . . .

Seriously? California moving to regulate e-cigs the same as tobacco cigarettes

Why don't liberals let people determine what they want to do to their own bodies?  I don't believe that there are significant 2nd hand effects from regular cigarettes, but does any one want to seriously argue that there are 2nd hand effects from e-cigs?  Even the proponents of these regulations aren't claiming that. In addition, e-cigs are used to quit smoking.  If you make them more difficult to use, some people who would have switched will continue using regular tobacco cigarettes.  Is that what Democrats really want?

From the Sacramento Bee:
Electronic cigarettes would be subject to the same prohibitions as regular cigarettes under a bill passed Friday by the Senate. 
Perhaps you've had this experience: you're sitting in a bar and you see what appears to be someone smoking a cigarette, blatantly violating an indoorsmoking ban; you get a little closer and realize that the person is in fact drawing on an e-cigarette, exhaling vapor that's distinct from the acrid smoke produced by conventional cigarettes. 
That would no longer be possible under Senate Bill 648 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, that would ban e-cigarettes inside public buildings, near a playground, inside restaurants and on an airplane. It would also restrict the places where e-cigarette companies could advertise. . . . 

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/05/senate-votes-to-regulate-e-cigarettes.html#MTRecentEntries#storylink=cpy... 


Ultimate irony: "Consumer protection" law may prevent Tesla cars from being sold in North Carolina

Liberals love "consumer protection" and electric cars so it is some what ironic that consumer protection laws are being used to prevent those cars from from being sold in North Carolina.  From Fox News:
Tesla Motors is fighting a bill in North Carolina that would effectively ban the company from selling its electric cars in the state, pitting it against auto dealers who say the car maker has an unfair advantage selling directly to consumers online. . . . 
The argument from dealers in North Carolina has mirrored those from the national association and in other states: franchise dealers invest more locally, showing commitment to communities and customer service that Tesla can't match. 
"It's a consumer protection," said Bob Glaser, president of the NCADA, "and why we say that is a dealer who has invested a significant amount of capital in a community is more committed to taking care of that area's customers." . . .
Here is a brief economics lesson: Shouldn't it be obvious that this "consumer protection" is just a way of protecting local jobs from competition?