Audio from my hosting Jason Lewis Show on June 13th and 14th

Hosting Jason's national radio show for two days was a lot of fun.  We covered everything from the economy to health care to gun control.  You can listen to the archives for the three hours on June 13th and 14th here.  Please let me know what you think!

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IRS and NSA concerns collide in poll

With IRS data being used to harm political opponents, is it much of a stretch to think that the NSA data could be used the same way?  From Rasmussen Reports:
There is little public support for the sweeping and unaccountable nature of the National Security Agency surveillance program along with concerns about how the data will be used. 
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters nationwide believe it is likely the NSA data will be used by other government agencies to harass political opponents. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 30% consider it unlikely and 14% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) . . .



It is too bad that this bill wasn't a law a few years ago, we might still have Intrade

The Obama administration has killed Intrade, which allowed for prediction markets for everything from elections to stock markets.  If this bill had been law, we might still have these prediction markets operating.  From the New York Daily News:
Rep. Peter King proposed a measure that would set a common federal standard for online gaming, but said that it would also give states and Native American tribes the right to opt-out of a federal system and keep their own internal gaming practices. . . . 


North Carolina is close to expanding where concealed handguns can be carried

Virtually all the states in the country allowed concealed handguns in places that serve alcohol.  It looks like that there will soon be one more.  From Channel 5 in
North Carolinians with concealed handgun permits would be able to carry firearms in more places – including businesses that serve alcohol, funeral processions and playgrounds – under a bill that the Senate gave tentative approval to Wednesday. 
The legislation is a broad measure that backers say will broaden the application of Second Amendment rights and increase penalties for certain gun crimes. 
"We should not fear the armed citizens protecting themselves, protecting their families ... they don't commit crimes," said Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover. . . . .


CBS confirms that Sharyl Attkisson's computer was hacked several times by very sophisticated source

Here we have a reporter's computers (both work and personal) hacked last fall by a very sophisticated source right around the time that she releases a news report using leaked information on Benghazi.  From The Hill newspaper:
CBS News said Friday it has confirmed that a computer used by one of its reporters was hacked by an unknown party several times in 2012, and that it’s taking steps to investigate who is responsible for the attack. 
“A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012,” a statement from CBS reads in part. “CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.” 
CBS said a party remotely accessed Attkisson’s accounts and “executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.” The breach was covered up using “sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion,” according to CBS. . . .

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.com notes that this hacking coincided with a news report that she did "relying on anonymous military sources that called into question the Obama administration’s claim that they couldn’t have responded in time to assist in the attack."


With six month anniversary of Newtown, Obama and Bloomberg continue major push for more gun control, but no explanation for how the law would have stopped that attack

info@barackobama.com sent out the following email today in support of the passing background checks.
My mom, Dawn Hochsprung, was the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Six months ago today, she was shot and killed in her school, along with five of her coworkers and 20 of her students.

In the weeks and months after that horrible day, lawmakers from across the country told us, the families of the victims, that they'd take action to make our communities safer. What we found out is that, for some of our members of Congress, those were empty promises.

And in those six months, thousands more people have been killed by guns.

I've been doing everything I can to reach out to members of Congress. But my voice isn't enough. Today, on the six-month anniversary of Newtown, every single person who cares about reducing gun violence in America needs to recommit to this fight.
In her last minutes, Mom was just as brave and caring as I knew her to be. After telling everyone to hide, she went running into the hallway, saw the gunman, yelled and lunged at him in an effort to protect the school she loved.

I miss her every second of every day. I'm getting married in just a few weeks -- to a guy she was rooting for, in a dress we picked out together -- but because a dangerous man got his hands on a gun, my mom won't be there to see it.

I'm still grieving -- and I'm not alone. On average, 33 Americans are killed by a gun every single day. That's 33 new families a day who mourn like I do.

If a background check saves even one life, and keeps even one family from hurting like this, then this fight will all be worth it. I think my mom would like to know that the tragedy that fell on Newtown meant that another tragedy could be stopped before it even started.

I'm asking you to join me today, six months after that horrible day, to keep this fight going -- take action for my mom, Dawn, and the 25 other people who we lost in December.
What does Newtown have to have with background checks?  No notion of how these laws would increase crime.  Again, Obama is making the argument that if one life is saved to justify this law, but the real question is the net effect effect it has on crime.

And from Bloomberg:
Mayors Against Illegal Guns will launch a bus tour that will travel to 25 states over 100 days to build support for background checks legislation. Legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers failed in the Senate in April.
The mayors group is also holding events in 10 states calling for lawmakers to expand background checks and urging senators who opposed the bill to reconsider. Those events, which include gun violence survivors and gun owners, will be held in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. . . . 

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Even Cornyn's amendment to Immigration Bill keeps troublesome measure of 90 percent apprehension rate

We are in trouble when even the best Senators don't understand the problems with how the apprehension rate is measured.
Republicans argue that Cornyn’s RESULTS amendment to secure the border is not radically different from language already in the bill. Both Cornyn’s proposal and the broader bill call for 100-percent monitoring and a 90-percent apprehension rate of illegal entrants along the Southern border. The crucial difference is that Cornyn’s amendment would require these goals be met before an estimated 11 million immigrants receive permanent legal status in 10 years. . . . .
My discussion on the problems with this 90 percent measure is available here.



If Obama thinks that gun-free zones are such a great idea, let's make the White House a gun-free zone

The Daily Caller has this word about a petition on the White House’s official petition website to make the WH a gun-free zone (see here).  

Eliminate armed guards for the President, Vice-President, and their families, and establish Gun Free Zones around themGun Free Zones are supposed to protect our children, and some politicians wish to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms. Those same politicians and their families are currently under the protection of armed Secret Service agents. If Gun Free Zones are sufficient protection for our children, then Gun Free Zones should be good enough for politicians.


Horrible story of retired Vet who went in for counseling and found his 100 year old antique guns confiscated

From the Daily Herald:
Arthur Lovi sat down with a therapist one day last August to talk about some things that were bothering him. He had high blood pressure, and his physician suggested he talk to someone.
He already spoke to a VA psychiatrist once a month — he has persistent memories from his days as an Air Force crash rescue helicopter pilot in the 1960s — but he agreed. He’d been through a lot lately and figured it couldn’t hurt to get some of it out.
“I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders,” he said.
Lovi told her about the loss that had been all around him the past few years: his mother, a 3-year-old granddaughter who drowned, a son-in-law lost to a drug overdose, and worst of all, his wife of 33 years…
…After the session, Lovi’s therapist was concerned. She called the Arlington Heights police to report he had made a threat against the first doctor who saw his wife. . . .
According to an Arlington Heights police report, officers contacted the doctor who diagnosed the cold. The doctor told police he "did not feel like his safety was in immediate jeopardy."
But that night about 11 p.m. there was a knock at Lovi's door. His son answered and saw four or five police officers standing outside. . . .


When Bill "Mr. Triangulation" criticizes Obama for relying too much on polls you know Obama is in real trouble.

 From Politico:
At another point during a closed-press event Tuesday, Clinton implied that Obama or any president risks looking like “a total fool” if they listen too closely to opinion polls and act too cautiously. He used his own decisions on Kosovo and Bosnia as a point of reference. 
The former president also said commanders-in-chief should avoid over-interpreting public opinion polls about whether the United States should get involved in crises overseas. . . .

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Obama's push for gun control, not going away

Politico announces that the administration will start pushing gun control again next week:
Vice President Joe Biden will try to restart the dormant gun control push next week with an event to tout the administration’s progress in combatting gun violence. 
The June 18 White House event will mark the first time Biden or President Barack Obama has held a public event on gun control since the Senate rejected expanded background checks for gun purchases April 17. . . .
But Biden apparently couldn't wait until the 18th.  Democrats are trying to divide the Republican party on the issue by blaming two Senators for forcing the other Republicans to vote against.
“On the gun issue, I don’t care what your position is -- I called 17 senators out, 9 of whom were Republicans. ... Not one of offered an explanation on the merits of why they couldn’t vote for the background check. But almost to a person, they said, ‘I don’t want to take on Ted Cruz. I don’t want to take on Rand Paul. They’ll be in my district.’ 
“I actually said, ‘Are you kidding? These are two freshman,’” Biden said, according to the pool report.  . . .
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg is trying to put more pressure on the few Democrats who voted against the new regulations. 
Bloomberg is contacting more than 2,000 Democratic New York donors telling them not to give money to Sens. Max Baucus, Mark Begich, Mark Pryor and Heidi Heitkamp after they joined Republicans to block a bill expanding background checks on gun sales, POLITICO’s Mike Allen reports in Playbook. . . .
Of course, Baucus isn't running for re-election and Heitkamp isn't up again for 5 more years.

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Newest piece in the New York Post: The real hole in the border bill

My newest piece starts this way:
As the Senate begins to debate immigration-overhaul legislation today, skeptics of the bill are focusing on the wrong problem. 
Under the bill, illegal aliens already in the country could start obtaining “probationary” legalization once the Homeland Security Department submits a plan for catching 90 percent of the illegals trying to sneak in. 
Critics focus on whether that legalization is truly “probationary.” The real issue is: How do we measure the rate of apprehending illegals? 
Catching 90 percent of those trying to enter the country illegally sounds impressive. But, if measured as it is by the US Border Patrol, we’re almost already there, supposedly apprehending 86 percent of illegals. . . .

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A very detailed review in "The Free Market" of my newest book "At the Brink"

David Gordon has a very detailed review of my newest book available here.  The review starts this way:

John Lott is best known to the public for his outstanding analysis of gun control legislation, but his research as an economist extends far beyond that topic; and he here gives us a devastating account that covers the full range of the Obama administration’s economic policy.

Readers stirred to anger by the simpleminded statism of Paul Krugman will be delighted by Lott’s demolition of several of his claims. To those who urge that high taxes on the wealthy discourage invest- ment, to the disadvantage of us all, Krugman often recalls the palmary era of the 1950s. Did we not then see very high tax rates together with high rates of economic growth? “In the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years.” (p. 200, quoting Krugman)

Lott is a master of economics statistics, and he quickly exposes a fatal flaw in Krugman’s argument.  . . .



The remarkable partisan shift on NSA tracking your telephone calls. Can one explain the increased Democrat support without resorting to the fact that a Democrat is in the White House?

I am not sure if the numbers are directly comparable because the government tracking wasn't nearly as extensive back in 2006, but with a Democrat in the White House Democrats go from opposing tracking by a 61 to 37 percent rate to supporter it by 64 to 34 percent.  Republicans still support it though at a lower rate.  Independents go from opposing it to supporting it.  Given that the tracking is so much more extensive, can one explain the increased Democrat support without resorting to the fact that a Democrat is in the White House?



Very sloppy claims that more government funding is necessary on guns

I get that researchers always want more money, but people have to take those desires with a grain of salt.  Just because researchers want more taxpayer money, doesn't mean that it is really needed.  Just about everyone would say they need more money from the government if they were asked and researchers are no different.  From the New York Times:
. . . President Obama has included $10 million for gun-related research in his 2014 budget, the first federal financing for the topic in years, and the panel’s chairman, Alan I. Leshner, said the report was a first step to deepen evidence about the public health implications of guns. The panel was assembled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council at President Obama’s request.
“Policies are made on the basis of facts and values, and we are the facts people,” said Mr. Leshner, who is the chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We are trying to provide a tool for the country to address this very difficult issue more productively than it has been able to do in the past.”
Among the panel’s recommendations was a call for better data on guns. For example, there is no national count of how many guns there are in the country. And while federal law enforcement authorities, like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, gather data on specific guns, they track only those used in crimes, and often the details are not accessible to researchers. One database, the National Violent Death Reporting System, which compiles information on deaths from police departments and medical examiners’ offices, covers only about a third of the states. . . .
The problem is also that creating this data isn't bias free.  The people who create it could have a political agenda and the concern is that the Obama administration could use political criteria on who they decide to give the money too.  The lopsided bias in terms of how this report was put together shows why we shouldn't trust the Obama administration to look at these issues objectively.

A copy of the report is available here.  Here is what the study writes on concealed carry research:
Even when defensive use of guns is effective in averting death or injury for the gun user in cases of crime, it is still possible that keeping a gun in the home or carrying a gun in public—concealed or open carry— may have a different net effect on the rate of injury. For example, if gun ownership raises the risk of suicide, homicide, or the use of weapons by those who invade the homes of gun owners this could cancel or outweigh the beneficial effects of defensive gun use (Kellermann et al., 1992, 1993, 1995). Although some early studies were published that relate to this issue, they were not conclusive, and this is a sufficiently important question that it merits additional, careful exploration. . . . . 
Seriously?  They act as if no research has been done on these questions since 1995, and I wouldn't even count Kellermann's research as providing serious research.  His research did a poor job of looking at the risks of guns in the home.  Yet, they make a claim that more research is needed in this area without even acknowledging all the research that has already been done.


Job Growth in the current recovery has continued to fall farther and farther behind job growth in previous recoveries

However one compares the current recovery to previous ones, job growth in the current recovery is falling further behind previous recoveries.  The gap is at or near the largest the gap has been compared to recoveries after either mild (2.63%), severe (9.65%) or average (7.00%) recessions.


Gallup: Democrats are much less informed about IRS scandal and also think that the matter is less serious and that Obama doing a good job on it

More information on the Gallup poll is available here.  Republicans are following this scandal the most closely and think that Obama is doing the worst job, followed by independents who are following it the next closest and finally Democrats.

The question is one of causation here.  Do Democrats not follow this because they don't believe it will prove to be significant or are to they not realize that it is significant because they aren't following it?  Or are both true?