C-SPAN2 showing my talk on "Dumbing Down the Court"

"Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench" will be shown twice this weekend on CSPAN2.

Saturday, October 19th at 11pm (ET)
Sunday, October 20th at 3:45pm (ET)


How your most private information is threatened by Obamacare

The Obamacare exchanges require that people have to put in their most personal information.  Well, it appears that hidden in the website's "source code" there is a very stark warning: 

"You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system," reads the disclaimer, which does not appear on the site's visible "Terms and Conditions" page
The disclaimer continues: "At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, intercept, and search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system." 
Now security experts are worried this paragraph beneath the surface at HealthCare.gov may represent an ominous sign -- that the U.S. government is ill-equipped to handle identity thieves. 
"This sounds as they're saying ... we're not guaranteeing we can protect anything you give us at all," security expert Morgan Wright told Fox News on Wednesday. . . .
Why this warning isn't made visible to people on the exchange is alarming.  The problem might go further as the "navigators," those individuals who will help people sign up for coverage, are not being really screened.  Besides people who have been associated with ACORN, navigators are turning out to be illegal aliens, people who have outstanding bench warrants, and others who have threatened people. From Fox News:
 Amid the ramp-up, state attorneys general have raised concern about the screening process for hiring the workers. Thirteen attorneys general warned in an August letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that training and safeguards in place for the navigators may be inadequate.  
They said the background check system "pales in comparison" to what is typically required for workers in programs receiving federal health dollars. . . .

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Media Matters gets judicial confirmations wrong

In its latest broadside against me, Media Matters attacks my Fox News column this week on judicial confirmations.  
But As Lott himself acknowledges, numerous analyses (including one by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service) have shown that President Obama's "rhetoric" is true -- his nominees have been blocked at unprecedented levels. Lott dismisses these studies by highly reputable sources because supposedly their "numbers are fundamentally flawed,"  a bold claim from a source whose research on gun violence has been repeatedly and seriously discredited. . . .
Ironically, Media Matters attacks my calculations but doesn't explain how my calculations were done, how they compared to the other studies that both I and they cite, and, most importantly,  why the method used in the other studies is preferable.  Unlike, Media Matters' name calling, I tried to explain the different approaches and why my approach was preferable.
But, these numbers are fundamentally flawed.
These studies don't look at what finally happens to nominees, only what happens at some arbitrary cut off date, such as last fall or at the end of a president's first term.
In reality, many of the longest confirmation battles involve nominations made during a president's first term and not finished until some time during his second term.
A president’s decision to make nominations late in a congressional cycle can also strongly influence the results. . . . 
Does Media Matters think that it is wrong to see what the final outcome is for nominees?  Apparently so, but no explanation is offered for why that is the case.  Does Media Matters think that it is wrong to take into account that Obama has been making his nominations relatively lated in the congressional cycle?  Apparently so, but again no explanation is offered.  No discussion is offered for why my arguments are wrong.

Finally, let me know that I have previously responded to the attack that I am "a source whose research on gun violence has been repeatedly and seriously discredited."

For the "repeatedly" claim see the response available here.
For the "seriously discredited" claim see the response available here.

There really isn't much else to respond to here.   I have no expectation that Media Matters will post my comments nor will they respond to what I write here, just at they have ignored my past posts on their "repeatedly" and "seriously discredited" attacks.  Presumably they just want to protect their readers from knowing that there is a response.

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British police being ordered to hide crime from being reported

From the UK Telegraph (May 12, 2013):
The head of the Police Federation will suggest a "fear factor" in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry is preventing officers from blowing the whistle on how crime statistics are being manipulated. 
The intervention by Steve Williams, chairman of the organisation which represents 130,000 frontline officers in England and Wales, is highly significant because it appears to confirm widespread public scepticism of how crime is recorded. 
Official figures show crime is at an historic low, despite cuts to police budgets and staffing levels. 
Mr Williams will say that police transparency on crime levels and other areas has been badly hit by the Leveson inquiry on Press standards, which examined alleged collusion between police officers and journalists. . . . .
 From the UK Daily Mail (May 14, 2013):
Police officers are afraid to speak out about the dubious practices being used to conceal true crime rates, a senior police leader has claimed. 
Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation, said officers were under huge pressure to keep crime statistics down. 
In some cases, mobile phone thefts were being recorded as lost property, while a spate of burglaries might be registered as a single offence. 
‘The latest crime figures showed a 5 per cent fall in crime but, based on the anecdotes I’m getting, I am not sure that is the case,’ he said. ‘Pressure is being brought to bear on frontline officers on the way they are recording crime. . . .
Generally, there is some evidence of increased politicization of the police in the UK.  From the Home Office's A New Approach to Fighting Crime has this (p. 3):
Increasing government interference in recent years has changed the focus of the police. They have become responsive to targets and bureaucracy rather than to people. They have become disconnected from the public they serve. only seven per cent of the public know to go to their Police authority if they have a problem. This has left communities feeling disempowered from the fight to cut crime. People no longer feel that the law will be on their side if they try to do the right thing. In Germany, two thirds of people said they would intervene to stop anti-social behaviour; in the UK two thirds would not. . . . .
While it is possible to reclassify a rape as an assault or a serious property crime as a less serious one, it is much more difficult to hide murders as some seem to suggest.

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How high US tax rates are causing companies to flee the country

There is a growing trend of US companies buying foreign companies and reincorporating overseas so a to reduce their tax burden.

The recent merger of California chip maker Applied Materials and Japanese company Tokyo Electron saved a lot of money by reincorporating in the Netherlands. From the New York Times:

. . . The merged company will save millions of dollars a year by moving — not to one side of the Pacific or the other, but by reincorporating in the Netherlands.  
When Applied Materials announced its deal for Tokyo Electron, it said that its effective tax rate would drop to 17 percent from 22 percent as a result. For a company that had nearly $2 billion in profit in 2011, that amounts to savings of about $100 million a year. 
Last year, the Eaton Corporation, a power management company from Cleveland, acquired Cooper Industries, based in Ireland, for $13 billion, and reincorporated there. The company expects to save $160 million a year as a result of the move. 
In July, Omnicom, the large New York advertising group, agreed to merge with Publicis Groupe, its French rival, in a $35 billion deal. The new company will be based in the Netherlands, resulting in savings of about $80 million a year. 
Also in July, Perrigo, a pharmaceutical company from Allegan, Mich., said it would acquire Elan, an Irish drug company, for $6.7 billion. Perrigo will also reincorporate in Ireland, bringing its effective tax rate to 17 percent from 30 percent, and saving the company an estimated $150 million a year, much of it in taxes. 
Ireland’s 12.5 percent corporate tax rate is a big draw for some companies. Earlier in the year, Actavis, based in Parsippany, N.J., bought Warner Chilcott, a drug maker with headquarters in Dublin, and said it would reincorporate in Ireland, leading to an estimated $150 million in savings over two years. 
“These companies are doing the math and seeing they can save a couple hundred million dollars by doing this,” said Martin A. Sullivan, chief economist at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit group that publishes analysis about global taxes. 
But the small fortunes saved by inverted companies amounts to billions in revenue not collected by Washington. . . .
The article has other examples:
Tyco went to Bermuda in 1997 to lower its tax bill. A year later, Fruit of the Loom moved to the Cayman Islands. And in 2001, Ingersoll-Rand reincorporated in Bermuda. . . . 


Map: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls, State-by-State

From Jezebel.  It would be an interesting to see how much of these changes you could explain based on these names being in the news or books.  It would also be interesting to see why some states tend to be much more stable in terms of name choices than other states.


Obama administration thinks owning 7 firearms is evidence of terrorist activity. Is this just the Obama administration's effort to make gun ownership difficult and costly?

So owning 7 firearms (4 pistols, 1 shotgun, and 2 rifles) is evidence of terrorist activity?  The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warn state and local law enforcement agencies to look out for people in possession of “large amounts” of weapons and ammunition, describing the discovery of “unusual amounts” of weapons as a potential indicator of criminal or terrorist activity.  Is this just the Obama administration's effort to make gun ownership difficult and costly?

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Obama intimidation of companies they regulate, thuggish behavior and corruption

Who knows what these insurance companies really believe.  Everyone is upset about IRSgate, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.  It is also an argument for why government shouldn't have this much power because that power will be abused.  From the Wall Street Journal:  
Health-department officials have pressured insurers to refrain from commenting publicly about the problems, according to executives at four health plans, who asked not to be named. . . . .
Two weeks ago I was talking to a fairly prominent person in the health care industry and he told me that Kathleen Sebelius was again pressuring health care companies that her department regulates to make donations to help out Obamacare.  The above quote was actually in reference to companies not 
Emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations, say executives at more than a dozen health plans. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska said it had to hire temporary workers to contact new customers directly to resolve inaccuracies in submissions. Medical Mutual of Ohio said one customer had successfully signed up for three of its plans. 
The flaws could do lasting damage to the law if customers are deterred from signing up or mistakenly believe they have obtained coverage. 
"The longer this takes to resolve…the harder it will be to get people to [come back and] sign up," said Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Mark Bertolini. "It's not off to a great start," he said, though he believes the marketplaces are "here to stay." . . .
If companies can't comment publicly about what they really believe about Obamacare, what else can they not comment on?

From CBS News:

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Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles account for less than half of one percent of the overall car market

Fewer than one out of every 200 cars is either a hybrid or an electric car, with most being hybrids.  With the large subsidies given these cars, these sales are pretty pathetic.  From the Wall Street Journal:
. . . Analysts and industry executives say Tesla, GM, VW and the current global electric vehicle sales leader, Nissan Motor Co., all face the same problem: current electric vehicle batteries are too expensive, and deliver too little usable driving range compared with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. 
The number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for sale in the U.S. has more than quadrupled to 15 vehicles since 2010 as auto makers roll out new models to comply with government mandates. But sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles account for less than half of one percent of the overall market, despite price cuts, discounted leases and government tax incentives that can add up to as much as $12,500 a vehicle depending on the state. 
GM has sold nearly 15,000 of its battery-powered Chevrolet Volt cars this year through August, aided by incentives and discounts. 
Nissan's approach is to argue that extending the range of electric vehicles to 200 miles isn't worth it because most people don't drive farther in a day than the Nissan Leaf's 75 miles of all-electric range. The Leaf costs $28,800 in the U.S. before federal tax credits.
Tesla is the lone auto maker to offer long-range electric vehicles with its Model S—and Tesla still hasn't shown it can steadily make money selling them. . . . .

Something amusing:

Top Gear: Jeremy drives the Tesla Roadster (series 12, episode 7)



Fast-food CEO (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) says Obamacare forcing people to be part-time

From Fox News:
Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. which is the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File,” that his company and others will choose to hire part-time employees instead of full-time employees because of increased costs from the health care law. 
He said in the six months in 2013 before the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate, which requires companies with over 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage to all full-time employees, employers were already reducing worker hours to prepare for the law. . . . .


"Obama family 'costs taxpayers $1.4BILLION per year'," Even Obama's dog costs over $100,000 a year, expenses exploited for political ends

Could Obama cut government costs by setting an example and trimming his own waste?  From the UK Daily Mail:
. . . Barack Obama and his family cost the taxpayer $1.4billion per year, according to a recently published book. 
By contrast, the British Royal Family costs less than $60million each year. . . .  
Two of the principal costs of the the Obama presidency - and any other presidency - are staffing and security, according to Robert Keith Gray's book Presidential Perks Gone Royal. 
When it comes to keeping the First Family safe, few would dispute that it is worth paying a high price to keep the President safe from harm. . . . 
Moreover, much of the money spent on Mr Obama's family goes to perks such as entertainment and household expenses. 
For example, the White House contains a movie theatre which is manned by projectionists 24 hours a day in case one of the family feels like a trip to the cinema. . . . .


What is in the Senate Debt Bill?: More spending, giving up Congress' ability to control the debt ceiling

How much McConnell will really benefit from this additional spending for Kentucky?  From The Hill newspaper:
. . . . The bill includes extra funds to fix flooded roads in Colorado, a $3 million appropriation for a civil liberties oversight board and a one-time payment to the widow of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died over the summer. 
It also includes an increase in authorization for spending on construction on the lower Ohio River in Illinois and Kentucky. The bill increases it to $2.918 billion. . . . . 
Section 115 of the text says government workers who are furloughed because of the shutdown "shall be compensated at their standard rate of compensation, for the period of such lapse in appropriations, as soon as practicable after such lapse in appropriations." 
Section 116 says states that funded a federal program will be compensated as well, and that the government will pay back states for these costs. . . .
I guess that I had hoped for more on the income verification question for Obamacare applicants.
The Senate bill uses H.R. 2775 as a vehicle for all of these changes. That bill was originally a House GOP bill that would have delayed all health insurance subsidies until a system is put in place to verify incomes for eligibility purposes. 
The Senate language does give that issue a nod, by including new rules for verifying household income to determine eligibility for subsidies to buy health insurance under ObamaCare. It specifically requires the government to "certify to the Congress that the Exchanges verify such eligibility." 
The secretary of Health and Human Services would have to submit a report to Congress detailing procedures used by the exchanges, and an inspector general report would be required by July 1. . . .
But the biggest loss is Congress' ability to control the debt limit.

The legislation also includes a McConnell-written proposal that would allow Congress to disapprove of the debt-ceiling increase. Lawmakers will formally vote on rejecting the bump of the borrowing limit - if it passed, it could be vetoed by Obama. . . . 

Politico has a list of the eighteen Republican Senators who voted against the deal.
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) opposed the deal . . . Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Pat Roberts of Kansas . . . The other Republican senators that opposed the bill: Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Tim Scott of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Florida, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Jim Risch of Idaho, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada. 


Corruption: White House discussed closing monuments with Park Service Director

One might think that this would be big news.  Using government resources for purely political goals seems like corruption to me.

REP. JOHN MICA (R-Fla.): I think nothing has resonated more with the public than to see an open-air monument such as the World War Two memorial, and closeby, the Martin Luther King memorial. It just seems that common sense did not prevail. Did you, now, you aid you take full responsibility for that action, is that correct? 
MICA: And did you discuss this with the Secretary of Interior at any time? 
JARVIS: Yes I did. 
MICA: And did she -- you didn't discuss it with anyone in the White House, did you? 
JARVIS: Several times on the phone with the White House, I presented, with the Secretary, my decision. But it was never the reverse. There was never information coming in. 
MICA: So you discussed with officials in the White House, your action, and you also discussed it with her.

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Guns in New Jersey might soon become a lot more unreliable and costs might soar

New Jersey has a law on the books that mandates when the technology is deemed available for guns to read a person's fingerprints before they are able to fire, and there is a chance that such a gun may soon be on the market.  I don't know if the final model of the Armatix gun that is available for sale is similar to what was discussed below, but if so, good luck having to make sure that you can find your watch quickly so that you can fire you gun.  From the San Francisco Chronicle from earlier this year:
The guns could be used only by their owner, who in some cases would have to wear a special watch or ring to be able to fire the weapon. The firearms could be configured to allow for multiple users, such as family members. 
Skeptics of the technology point out that, despite years of research and high hopes, such guns are still not available in the United States. But that may be changing. 
Belinda Padilla, the head of U.S. sales for a German company called Armatix, said the firm plans to sell a .22-caliber pistol in the United States by this summer that works only after its user activates it by entering a five-digit code into a wristwatch. The watch uses radio waves to communicate with the gun. . . .

The concerns are summarized here:
The NRA did not respond to requests for comment, but Scott L. Bach, the executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, said the technology is flawed, and could put gun owners in danger when it fails. He also questioned why law enforcement officers are exempt. 
“New Jersey’s smart-gun law is as dumb as it gets,” Bach, of West Milford, said in a statement. “It forces you to use an unproven technology to defend your life, and then exempts the state from liability when the gun goes ‘click’ instead of ‘bang.’ If it’s such a great idea, then law enforcement shouldn’t be exempt, and the free market should be allowed to determine its viability.” . . .
Can't find your watch quickly? There are other problems that are relevant for guns that aren't relevant for computers.  In particular, the shock from a gun plays havoc with electronics.

From NorthJersey.com:
And yet these so-called smart guns soon could be the only kind sold legally in New Jersey under a state law that has languished on the books for a decade. . . . 
It is unclear whether that model, which will fire only within range of a sensor embedded in a wristwatch, will trigger the New Jersey regulations. But advocates predict that the first sale is likely to create a domino effect as other companies and publicly funded groups — including one at the New Jersey Institute of Technology — are spurred to bring their own prototypes to the market. . . . 
So what about a finger print reading gun that seems to be the Holy Grail.  As Walt Mossberg notes, there are fingerprint readers and fingerprint readers.  
The iPhone 5S is the first digital device I've seen with a simple, reliable fingerprint reader—one you can confidently use, without a thought, to unlock the device instead of typing in a passcode. . . . 
There have been laptops and at least one other phone with fingerprint sensors, but they have generally been unreliable and people tended to stop using them. Apple is using a different technology that turns the Home button (which still performs its usual functions) into a rapid, accurate finger scanner. . . . .
This is pretty neat, but even Apple might have its problems.  Anthony Kosner at Forbes claims that the scanner has a 20% fail rate.  Suppose that they get the failure rate down to 5 percent, would you be willing to play Russian roulette with whether the gun works?

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Latest Fox News piece: Obama, other Democrats all wrong about Republican obstruction of judicial nominees

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

The Senate Judiciary committee will vote on either Wednesday or Thursday whether to confirm Robert Wilkins, President Obama’s nominee to the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals --  the court often referred to after the Supreme Court as the “second highest court” in the country. 
President Obama has spared little rhetoric in threatening Republicans should they dare defeat or delay Wilkins’ nomination. When Wilkins was nominated in June, Obama accused Republicans of being “cynically” engaging in “unprecedented”obstruction of judicial nominations. 
Democrats claim that any fair consideration would guarantee Wilkins’ quick confirmation. After all, as they point out, Wilkins was quickly confirmed as a District Court judge in 2010 “without opposition.” 
But it might not be such smooth sailing, for after getting on the bench, Wilkins has made a number of controversial rulings -- recently striking down Texas' voter photo ID law and upholding aggregate campaign finance donation limits
The president and other Democrats complain that Obama’s nominees are suffering the most difficult confirmations ever. Many newspaper articles agree, such as in theNew York TimesUSA Today , and the Congressional Research Service
But, these numbers are fundamentally flawed. . . .
Continue here.

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Boyden Gray on how Obama is trying to pack the D.C. Circuit court

From the Washington Times:

Last week the SenateJudiciary Committee approved the nomination of Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That party-line vote followed the committee’s hearing earlier this month on District Judge Robert Wilkins‘ nomination to the D.C. Circuit, the committee’s party-line vote in favor of Patty Millett’s nomination in August, and theSenate’s confirmation of the D.C. Circuit’s newest judge, Sri Srinivasan, in May. If this sounds like an unusual flurry of activity for one tiny court, that’s because President Obama has made tilting the court’s political balance a high priority for his second term. 
It’s an unfortunate strategy for several reasons. 
First, the D.C. Circuit doesn’t need more judges. According to one judge on the court, “[I]f any more judges were added now, there wouldn’t be enough work to go around.” That sentiment is confirmed by statistics provided by Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a Clinton appointee to thecourt. Over the past decade, the number of argued cases per active judge has fallen, and the court’s six senior judges do more work than their counterparts on other courts, who tend to be older. . . .

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Illinois Democrats are trying to make it legally very risky to carry a concealed handgun

Forget your concealed handgun permit card or your FOID card and it isn't just the loss of your license.  If Illinois Democrats get their way, you could face years in prison.  What legitimately would be accomplished by that?  Obviously, the point is to scare people into not getting concealed handgun permits.  From Fox News:
. . . The bill, sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Mike Zalewski, calls for more time behind bars for possessing illegal weapons. It increases penalties for unlawful use of weapons, including by felons or gang members. It would make probation less likely, imposing minimum prison sentences of three years in many cases. It would also require that offenders serve at least 85 percent of their sentences, up from 50 percent. 
The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action wrote in a website post that the bill will jeopardize concealed carry in Illinois by imposing tough penalties for individuals who carry a firearm without a concealed-carry permit or firearm owner's identification card
"This specific provision incorrectly targets otherwise law-abiding citizens, rather than deterring violent criminals with harsher penalties," the group said in an Oct. 10 statement. . . . .

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New Hampshire Gas Station Clerk with concealed handgun permit stops robbery, believes he saved his life

While I don't believe that the results will be any different than for citizens generally using guns defensively, it might be necessary for someone to do a serious study of defensive gun uses just at businesses. OSHA regulations undoubtedly have a lot to do with this.  From Nashua Telegraph:

When Shannon “Bear” Cothran was threatened by a knife-wielding robber on Monday morning, he didn’t think twice about what to do. 
Cothran, who was working after midnight at the Shell gas station at 301 Main St. in Nashua, pulled out his Ruger LCP .380 handgun. 
The robber turned and walked out the door, and Cothran called the police, bringing a swift end to the robbery attempt. 
Cothran believes his decision to carry a firearm might have saved his life Monday morning. But the owners of the gas station took a different view. 
Cothran says he was fired only a few hours later for violating a company policy that forbids store clerks from carrying guns. . . . 
After the incident, Cothran was asked to file a report with his employer, Nouria Energy, which owns and operates the gas station. He said the store manager and a district manager lobbied to save his job, but Cothran was terminated only a few hours later. . . .  
Police confirmed that the man approached the clerk and brandished a knife, but fled moments later when the clerk produced a firearm. 
Cothran, 29, said he had just finished helping another customer when the would-be robber entered the store, walked behind the counter and threatened his life. 
“He had the knife cocked back. It looked like he was going to stab me,” Cothran said. “I took several steps back, produced my sidearm, and informed him it was a bad idea and he didn’t want to do it, and he left.” . . .


Fewer than 4 tenths of one percent of those visiting Obamacare exchanges enrolled

The headline at the The Hill newspaper says "less than 1 percent of visitors to Obamacare exchange enrolled," but that is extremely generous to the exchanges.  It is actually less than 4 percent of that 1 percent.  From The Hill newspaper:
Less than one percent of people who visited healthcare.gov in its first week actually enrolled for coverage under ObamaCare, according to a new analysis. 
The consulting firm Kantar US Insights estimated that only about 36,000 people completed the enrollment process by Oct. 5, out of about 9.5 million unique visitors to the glitchy ObamaCare portal. 
The analysis also found that traffic to healthcare.gov plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13 as users encountered problems with the system. . . . .
Kantar, using data from nonpartisan research firm Millward Brown Digital, estimated that about 9.4 million visited the site during its first week. 
Of that number, roughly one-third tried to register and one-third of that group — 1.01 million — completed the registration process. 
Even fewer people were able to successfully log in (271,000) and enter the enrollment stage (196,000). . . . .
Are there a lot of errors in the code for the Obamacare exchange websites?   I don't know who Mike Adams is, but he wrote this up an interesting discussion at NaturalNews.com:
. . . I have personally looked at the Javascript code running part of the Healthcare.gov website. If you are curious how I got the code, I simply typed the URL of the Javascript code into the browser address field. The browser then pulls up the entire code block, because Javascript is client-side code (not server-side). 
What I am seeing in this code is nothing short of jaw-dropping. As people are now saying, this code is "CRAAAAAZY!" You almost can't even call it Javascript code. If you sat down 100 monkeys in front of 100 typewriters and told them to start banging away, I'm confident at least one of them would come up with something far better than the Healthcare.gov Javascript code. 
In fact, I am practically ROFLMAO just looking at this code. Any competent programmer in the world, upon seeing this, would just burst their britches in knowing the U.S. government spent $600+ million dollars on this project. Inside the code, the Javascript programmer comments are just off-the-charts hilarious. Comments found in the code include (yes, these are actual text comments from the script): 
"TODO: add functionality to show alert text after too many tries at log in"
"make sure we don't try to do this before the saml has been posted if (window.registrationInitialSessionCallsComplete)"
"Attention: This file is generated once and can be modified by hand"
"Fill In this with actual content. Lorem Ipsum"
"TODO: maybe modify the below to use a similar method instead"
Riddled with typos and errors in the error messages . . . .
Bizarre error messages also found in Obamacare code 
Error messages written into the code leave no doubt that the people who wrote the code are masters of chaos and confusion. Here are just a few of the error message I found by casually scrolling through the Javascript publicly posted on the Healthcare.gov website: 
"Exception in inconsistency adjudication process" 
"Notices are official messages that lorem ipsum." 
"Exception in triggering the Inconsistency Clock Service" (By the way, this error message confirms I was right in my public prediction about the system suffering from time clock synchronization errors.) . . .


Federalist Society Podcast: Dumbing Down the Courts

Dumbing Down the Courts - Podcast
Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
September 27, 2013
Curt LeveyJohn R. Lott Jr.Dean A. Reuter
What has caused the increased battles over judicial confirmations?  Which nominees have had the most difficult confirmations? Using the largest, most detailed data set on judicial confirmations ever assembled, a new book, Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench, shows that it is the smartest/most potentially influential nominees who have had by the far the most difficult time getting confirmed.
  • Mr. Curt Levey, President and Executive Director, The Committee for Justice
  • Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., Author, of Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

Audio is available here, click on the next line.
  Dumbing Down the Courts - MP3
Running Time: 1:04:40


Number of Concealed handgun permits in Florida reaches 1,177,051 in September 30, 2013

The data is available here and here.  The general links for statistical reports for Florida are available here.

With 2,541,460 permits issued and 168 revoked for revocations for firearm violations, the rate of Florida concealed handgun permits that have been revoked for firearm violations is only 0.0066 percent.  Since January 2008, there have only been 4 revocations for any type of firearms related violation -- an annual rate of about 0.696 revocations.  With an average of about 850,000 permit holders over that period, that is an annual revocation rate of 0.00008 percent, or less than one ten thousandth of one percent.

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Concealed handgun permit application in New Hampshire leads to arrest of someone who wrote racist graffiti

From Fox News:

Police say a detective combed through hundreds of gun permit applications in Concord, N.H., to find one with a distinctive lowercase "b'' that led to an arrest in a 2-year-old racist graffiti case. . . . 
The graffiti was scrawled in black permanent marker on the homes of several African refugee families in 2011 and 2012. The messages on the houses called the occupants "subhumans" and told them they are "not welcome." . . . 
A police affidavit said Detective Wade Brown went through about 1,500 handwritten gun permit applications as part of the investigation.


Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs' wife, helps raise money of anti-gun group

Laurene Jobs is a big giver to Democrats.  So perhaps it isn't too surprising that she is also giving to gun control activists.  From Politico:

Over the past several years, she’s been an active political donor, giving to campaigns for Democratic candidates in her state such as California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as causes such as school reform, according to California Secretary of State records. She recently made a $7,100 donation to Harris’s reelection campaign. 
She has also given to the president and a smattering of Democratic campaign committees and candidates nationally, according to Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org website. This year, she gave $2,600 to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat running for Senate, and attended a fundraiser at the home of venture capitalist John Doerr for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). In January, she joined her friend Ron Conway, another leading Silicon Valley investor, to help raise money for the anti-gun violence group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. . . . .

Conway is one determined guy on gun control.  From The Verge:

The 45 senators who blocked a gun control amendment despite its 90-plus percent approval rating may be in trouble with the white-haired godfather of Silicon Valley, "super angel" tech investor Ron Conway. 
"We will employ the most sophisticated social media campaign ever built to remove these people from office," Conway told The San Francisco Chronicle. "Our Congress has ceased to be representative. It is up to the citizens to remove those people who don’t represent them." . . . .


Zero Tolerance: Sober girl who went to pick up friend who had gotten drunk at party charged with drinking, even police said that she wasn't drinking

This zero tolerance policy involves drinking (or lack of drinking in this case).  It seems similar to the problem of imaginary guns.  From the Boston Herald:

“Don’t let friends drive drunk,” we tell our kids. “If you’ve been drinking, call mom or dad to come get you — no questions asked,” we tell them, too. “And if you can’t call your parents, call a sober friend.” 
Erin’s friend called sober Erin. Erin drove to a home on Main Street in Boxford and worked her way through a wild scene of partying teens until she finally found that friend — just as police from Boxford, Haverhill, Georgetown and North Andover showed up. They arrested a dozen underage drinkers and warned another 15 underage youths that they’d be summoned to court for drinking. 
Erin Cox was one of those told she’d be summoned for drinking — even though she wasn’t, even though Boxford police Officer Brian Neeley vouched for her sobriety in writing in a statement Erin’s mother, Eleanor, took to court Friday. She filed a lawsuit hoping to reverse the high school’s punishment: Erin was stripped of her captain’s position and suspended, mid-season, for five games.  . . . 
“But I wasn’t drinking,” she told me. “And I felt like going to get her was the right thing to do. Saving her from getting in the car when she was intoxicated and hurt herself or getting in the car with someone else who was drinking. I’d give her a ride home.” . . .
Asked what she had learned, Erin Cox said, “I just feel very defeated. When you’re in high school you’re supposed to stay perfect and be perfect, but everyone makes mistakes.” Asked if, knowing what she knows now, she was mistaken to get her friend, she said she would do it all over again. . . . 


How bad is the Obamacare signup mess?:It is such a mess we can't even tell yet

Will Obamacare have enough people sign up to make it work?  Aetna's CEO Bark Bertolini is nervous that there won't be.  From CNBC:
Aetna's CEO gave a harshly critical review Monday of the federal government's Obamacare marketplace, saying, "There's so much wrong, you just don't know what's broken until you get a lot more of it fixed." 
Asked on CNBC's "Squawk Box" if he knew that the rollout of Healthcare.govwould be problematic, the insurer's CEO, Mark Bertolini, said his giant company's role as an alpha tester for the system gave it a sense of how many problems thehealth insurance marketplace faced on the eve of its launch. 
"We were pretty nervous as we got further along," Bertolini said. "As they started missing deadlines, we were pretty convinced it was going to be a difficult launch." 
His fears have been realized, he said, and the technological debacle seen at Healthcare.gov is one similar to just the handful he's witnessed in his career. 
"It's nothing you ever like to repeat," Bertolini said. "Because it's very difficult. I've been there. It's career-ending in a lot of cases." . . .


Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasts Obamacare exchanges, says people should be fired

The most amazing thing to me from this clip is how all the other Democrats there just sit there in stunned silence as Gibbs explains the failures in the Obamacare rollout.  From Politico:
“This was bungled badly. This was not a server problem, just too many people came to the website, this is a website architecture problem. I think it is, again, excruciatingly embarrassing,” Gibbs said. “We knew there were going to be glitches, right? But these were glitches that go, quite frankly, way beyond the pale of what should be expected.” . . . . 
While Gibbs says that people should be fired over this, does anyone really think that will happen? 



So much for Democrats claims that they aren't willing to use the budget process to change Obamacare, they just aren't willing to make the changes Republicans want

From The Hill newspaper:
Labor unions are poised to score the delay of an ObamaCare tax in the bipartisan budget deal emerging in the Senate. 
The bargain under negotiation would make small adjustments to the healthcare law, including delaying the law's reinsurance fee for one year. The three-year tax is meant to generate revenue that will stabilize premiums on the individual market as sick patients enter the risk pool. 
The tax applies to all group health plans, but unions argue it will raise their healthcare costs while providing them no benefit.  
The reinsurance tax figured prominently in discussions at a recent AFL-CIO convention, where workers passed a resolution demanding changes to ObamaCare. . . .


Erik Wemple: "CNN’s Piers Morgan, talking himself into trouble"

Erik Wemple has this discussion at the Washington Post blog of Piers' recounting of his interviews with Larry Pratt and myself.  The  piece is somewhat long, but part of it is hear:
Jonathan Wald has a difficult job. He’s executive producer of Piers Morgan’s show on CNN, a set of duties that include taming a volatile and sometimes rude television personality. In an “extract” from his new book “Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God and George Clooney”published in the Guardian, Morgan describes an incident when Wald’s counsel came into play. 
On Dec. 18, 2012, just after the Newtown massacre, Morgan hosted Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America. They brawled on air about gun restrictions, with Morgan advocating more of them and Pratt on the other side. He told Morgan: “America is not the Wild West you’re depicting. We only have problems in our cities and in our schools where people like you have been able to get laws on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.” . . . . 
Bold text added to highlight a question: Relevance? Lott wrote today that the eyebrows mocked by Morgan are “deformed because I had a tumor removed from my forehead when I was a child. Piers was literally just a few feet from me during these interviews and could easily see my scars.” Best not to belabor the physical appearances of your guest.


Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper suggests that gun control groups stay out of newest state Senate recall

With control of the Colorado state Senate at stake, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is suggesting that national gun-control groups stay away from new recall battle.  In the recalls this last September, some claim that those pushing the recalls were outspent massively by gun control groups.
Victor’s group had virtually no money — even going so far as to spray paint their own yard signs to save money. They were outspent by the groups backed by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg by 10 or 20 times. . . .
From USA Today:

"But (it is) probably not a bad idea" for gun-control groups, such as the one established by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to curb their efforts if gun-rights activists collect enough signatures to force a recall vote on state Sen. Evie Hudak, a two-term Democrat from a suburban district north of Denver, he said.
If Republicans succeed in gaining her seat, Democrats would lose their 18-17 edge in the state Senate.
Petition organizers have until Dec. 3 to collect 18,900 signatures. "They're well-funded and there's a lot of energy behind this, a lot of frustration," Hickenlooper said. "I'm going to guess it's probably 50-50" that they will be able to get the recall vote on the ballot.
But, he noted, "I didn't think they'd get enough signatures for the first two." . . .


Piers Morgan goes on rants against those who appeared on his show, making fun of my scars from surgery

Here is Piers Morgan's discussion in The Guardian newspaper.  I am tired of being called part of the "gun lobby," but Piers attacking my eyebrows, seriously?  My eyebrows are deformed because I had a tumor removed from my forehead when I was a child.  Piers was literally just a few feet from me during these interviews and could easily see my scars.  I looked at the video and I also can't see any half-smirks on my face.  The discussion in Piers Morgan's piece started at about 4:20 into the clip.  Piers' misleading and inaccurate numbers on gun murders in Britain are available here.  From The Guardian:

We'd booked a pro-gun author called John R Lott, whose book is More Guns, Less Crime.  
"He fired over 100 rounds and killed 20 children," I told him. "Twenty children! At what point do you gun lobby guys say: 'We get it. It's time for change'?" 
"Right, it is time," he replied, to my astonishment. 
"Time to do what?" 
"To get rid of some of these gun laws that cause –" 
"To get rid of gun laws?" 
He nodded. "Look at what has happened. All these attacks this year have occurred where guns are banned. Look at the Aurora movie theatre shooting …" 
Unbelievable. This clown had actually come on my show on the night of this dreadful atrocity to advocate getting rid of existing gun control laws? I stared at Lott, who has weird pointy bushy eyebrows, and a permanent sneery half-smirk on his face. I wanted to reach across the desk and slap it off him. "There are about 35 gun murders a year in Britain," I shouted. "There are nearly 12,000 murders a year from guns in this country. When are you guys going to focus on that and stop telling me the answer is more guns? It is not the answer. Three hundred million guns in America isn't enough for you? How many more kids have to die before you guys say we want less guns and not more?" 
Lott said: "How else can you stop someone from shooting people?" 
And there, right there, was the utter insanity of the pro-gun lobby laid bare. They genuinely have no idea how you stop someone shooting people unless everyone else has a gun too. 
It's like the wild west has been beamed into modern-day America. And it's as terrifying as it's stupid. . . .
Of course, Piers makes multiple mistakes on the data.  When he wrote this book or did the show, the latest FBI UCR data was for 2011.  In that year, there were 8,653 firearm murders, not 12,000.  One could say that over the last four years that it has bounced around 9,000 firearm murders.  He also gets the number of gun murders wrong in the Britain, which was 73 in 2011 (including Scotland, England and Wales) and, unlike the US, they only count firearm murders where a conviction occurred.  Obviously there is still a big difference, but my response would still be that Britain's murder rate was even lower prior to their gun laws.  That the murder rate or gun murder rate has been very low in Britain before they had any gun control laws, but Piers would never deal with this issue.  Of course the substance here is more important than the specific facts (though it does show that Piers has a desire to embellish), but he never deals with the arguments of those on the other side.

The complete transcript of the conversation that Piers and I had is available here.
MORGAN: You just tried to make out, it's just an average old gun. He fired over 100 rounds and he killed 20 children. Twenty Children between five and 10. At what point do you gun lobby guys say, we get it? It's time for change?  
LOTT: Right, it is time.  
MORGAN: Time to do what?  
LOTT: To get rid of some of these gun laws that cause --  
MORGAN: To get rid of the gun laws?  
LOTT: Look at what has happened, all these attacks this year have occurred where guns are banned. Look at the Aurora movie theater shooting.  
MORGAN: What the hell has that got to do with it? Seriously? What has that got to do with it?  
LOTT: You never let me explain. Can I say something?  
MORGAN: -- gun-free zone.  
LOTT: Look at the movie theater one, for example. There were seven movie theaters showing the movie "Batman" movie within a 20 minute drive of where the killer lived. Only one of those banned guns. He didn't go to the movie theater closest to his home. He didn't go to the movie theater with the largest screen. He went to the one movie theater that banned guns. Now if you look at bans generally, you can't point to a place, Chicago, D.C., where we ban guns -- murder rates and violent crimes went up afterwards. In the U.K. and Jamaica, Ireland, island nations that have banned guns -- you can't find a place where murder rates have actually gone down. They have gone up usually by large amounts.