Did Senator Kirsten Gillibrand make up false claims about sexual harassment in the US Senate?

Why won't Senator Gillibrand name the names of Senators who supposedly engaged in sexual harassment?  Gillibrand wants to have it both ways.  She wants to have the publicity from claiming the incidents occurred but she doesn't want to actually let the people who supposedly did this defend themselves.  Unfortunately, Howard Kurtz doesn't go quite far enough on this discussion.  He assumes that her claims are true (and they may be), but what if they aren't?  What if she is making up claims just to help herself out politically?

UPDATE: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) comes to the same conclusion that I did.  
Johnson said members should have a chance to defend themselves, after Gillibrand detailed instances in a forthcoming book where she said some colleagues referred to her as "fat,” "porky” and “chubby.” 
"Well, if you are going to throw out accusations, my guess is you probably ought to name names," Johnson said on NewsMax TV. "If you are going to throw around those kind of accusations, you ought to give people a chance to defend themselves." . . .


More evidence that Eric Holder is covering up the IRS scandal?

What possible reasonable justification could the Obama administration have for not providing contact information for a former employee?  From Fox News:
A top House Republican is demanding the Department of Justice hand over contact information on a former employee accused of having a conflict of interest in the IRS targeting scandal investigation.
In a Sept. 3 letter, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, once again asked Attorney General Eric Holder for information on Andrew Strelka’s whereabouts.
“Despite notifying [Oversight and Government Reform] Committee staff that the [Justice] Department no longer employs Mr. Strelka, the department has refused to assist the committee in speaking to Mr. Strelka directly,” Jordan wrote. “The department’s efforts to prevent the committee from learning Mr. Strelka’s whereabouts suggest the department has cause for keeping him from speaking with the committee.”
Jordan says he wants Strelka’s contact information so the Oversight Committee can conduct a transcribed interview. The letter gives Holder a Friday deadline for the information. . . .

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Eric Holder and racial cases: Abusing the power of the federal government in the Trayvon Martin and Ferguson, MO cases?

US Attorney General Eric Holder is still trying to go after George Zimmerman.  Dragging out the legal case like this over years imposes massive costs on George Zimmerman -- not only does it impose legal costs on him, but it makes it very difficult for him to plan his life.  Holder's actions here are a real criminal penalty that are being imposed on Zimmerman.  Either charge Zimmerman with something or eventually let go of the case.  From Grabien.com:
REPORTER: “There is a big announcement that you made years ago about the investigation in Trayvon Martin shooting. Have you ever finished that civil rights investigation? Are you ever going to finish that? 
HOLDER: “That investigation is ongoing. In fact, in anticipation of that question, I was asked — I asked, give me, you know, the best we can where do we stand. That matter is ongoing. There are active steps we are still in the process of taking. There are witnesses who we want to speak to as a result of some recent development. So that matter is still underway.”
From Politico:
Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged Thursday that even as his department has been opening new investigations stemming from the racially-charged shooting death of African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. last month, federal prosecutors have still not concluded a long-pending probe into the shooting death of another black teen, Trayvon Martin, in Florida in 2012. 
Last November, Holder told the Washington Post he expected a conclusion "relatively soon" to the probe into the shooting of Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. In July 2013, a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman was acquitted of murder. Holder promptly announced that the Justice Department would probe the case to see if prosecution on federal charges was warranted. . . .
Experts and former prosecutors have said they are very doubtful the Justice Department will file a federal criminal case against Zimmerman, although his acquittal on state charges does not legally preclude doing so. . . .
So despite "experts and former prosecutors" saying it is doubtful that federal criminal charges will be brought against Zimmerman, the Obama administration continues harassing Zimmerman.

Here is another clip from the same press conference about how the federal government can use its massive resources to make life difficult for a small town, when it appears that Holder made up his mind before any evidence was actually collected.  Others have noted how Holder is personally invested in" the Ferguson case, having put in more than 40 FBI agents on the ground."  Holder has publicly spoken out about what he perceived of as police hassling him when he was younger, though the evidence that those incidents actually involved race was never provided.  What is extraordinary here is that the local prosecutor is a Democrat and Holder clearly doesn't trust him to do a reasonable job.  From Grabien.com:
REPORTER: “Mr. Attorney General, can you give us a little more texture on why you decided to launch this investigation? Your own conversations there — you talk about review of documented allegations. Give us the universe of what went into this. 
MORAN: “We looked at a number of things in our initial and preliminary assessment and whether or not to open the investigation. It included not only discussions that the Attorney General had with residents of Ferguson two weeks ago but also, other meetings that the Civil rights division and Community relations service and other Justice Department officials have had with residents. We’ve looked of course at public records and other pieces of information that are available to make an assessment that this was indeed an appropriate opening for a pattern and practice investigation. Moreover, the civil rights division met with city leaders in Ferguson yesterday and they expressed a strong willingness to assist us, and in fact were extremely open to this investigation. So we will have cooperation from our local residents.” 
REPORTER: “What public records are we talking about?” 
MORAN: “There are a number of pieces of information that we looked at which would have included demographics and public records related to cases that may have been filed by private litigants. There are a number of different things we looked at.” 
REPORTER: “Mr. Attorney General, what about your visit struck you to the point where you felt comfortable able to move forward with the investigation? And then secondly, what do you say to supporters of the police that this investigation is premature and in fact unfair to the police department?”  
HOLDER: “Well, I would say that, as Molly said, the assistant attorney general said, the decision to go ahead was based not only on what I heard while I was out there, which was fairly compelling, and there was a certain continuity in similarities and the kinds of things that I was hearing whether it’s the traffic stops, revenue raising on the basis of traffic stopped; traffic stops that occurred in certain parts of the area. But in addition to that and in response to the earlier question, there has been a review of documentary evidence indicating that there are problems. I do not think there is any question that there is a basis to begin a pattern or practice of investigation. So with regard to those who might be concerned that we are somehow being premature, all we are saying at this point is we are opening an investigation to see whether or not there are in fact problems. I think the fact that we have pledges of local cooperation is an indication that there are issues felt even there at the local level, indicating the need for us to work together to make the situation better. But I want to emphasize, as I said in the prepared remarks, the vast majority of the people who serve — the American people in a law enforcement capacity in this country do so honorably, do so quite well. The vast majority of police departments do so, I think, quite well. But where we find problems, it is incumbent upon us given our statutory responsibilities to use federal law to make sure that in fact occurs.” 
REPORTER: “[indecipherable] You know, this is the same when we read a lot of stuff and you said there is no question that there is justification for opening it. But, I mean, it just sounds like, we talk to people, we read some stuff. But what specifically? Are there cases that specifically predicated the opening of this?” 
HOLDER: “[indecipherable] when you say, we read a lot of stuff. I mean, that’s kind of what we do. You know —“ [crosstalk] 
REPORTER: “There is no question, but there is no question to you. But for people who do not know what you read and don’t know what you’re looking at, what specifically have you seen that said, yes, we have to open this investigation?” 
HOLDER: “Molly maybe can get into more of the specifics, but there are variety of documents and materials that are contained in the public record that exists about the percentages of stops that occurred that involve certain ethnic groups and whether those are consistent with the numbers of people who make up the population. There were whole variety of things that you all have reported on that I think given us a good factual basis to proceed.”

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Review of Frank Miniter's new book "The Future of the Gun"

My review of Frank Miniter's new book "The Future of the Gun" is available here.


Concealed handgun permits in Orange County, California "surge," but are still very low

This year there are about 2.4 million adults living in Orange County, California.  Despite the "surge," there are few permit holders, representing just 0.07 percent of the adult population.  Even if all those applying for permits had their requests granted, that would still mean just about one-tenth of one percent have a permit.  The LA Times notes:
According to the analysis, permits are spread throughout the county, but certain cities — including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda — have a higher concentration of licensees. Others, including Santa Ana and Garden Grove, have had much fewer approved permits. . . .
Not to surprisingly, giving the training costs to get a permit, it is the well-to-do areas of the county that are getting the permits.


Despite massive government tax and regulatory subsidies, Electric car sales are stalled

Not only is there a large tax credit per car, but the federal government subsidizes massively subsidizes electric cars via its MPG regulations (here and here).  From the LA Times:
Electric car sales are not charging the marketplace. A new study by online automotive research company Edmunds.com suggests the segment may have run out of gas.
Sales of electric drive vehicles are stuck at about 3.6% of all new car sales for 2014, Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said.
That's below the 3.7% market share for 2013, and it's not likely to grow any before the end of the year.
And that's during an otherwise robust sales season. Total figures for August were higher than any time in the last decade.
Automakers sold about 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. in August, an increase of about 3% from August 2013, according to initial industry estimates released Wednesday.
"The whole automobile market has grown," Caldwell said. "We’re not seeing electric vehicles as part of that growth." . . .



Another example of no consequences when Obama adm did something wrong. Does John Brennan staying on as CIA Director mean that Obama approved of CIA spying on Senate?

This appears to be yet another example where the Obama administration did something outrageously bad and there were no consequences.  Senators are angry that Brennan first denied that the spying was occurring and then refused to acknowledge any real wrongdoing.  If Obama really believed that Brennan didn't understand or appreciate the seriousness of the spying, isn't it likely that he would have removed Brennan?  If Obama really believed that such spying was wrong, wouldn't removing Brennan have been a good signal of that disagreement?  If only to placate angry senators who view the executive branch spying on their overseers in congress as an outrage, you should think that Obama would remove Brennan.   From The Hill newspaper:
. . . "The CIA's spying on its overseers in Congress and Brennan's failure to acknowledge any serious wrongdoing by the agency demonstrate a tremendous failure of leadership,” he added.  
“There are still significant unanswered questions about the search of the Senate Intelligence Committee's computers — and Director Brennan and CIA leadership must be accountable to Congress on this matter," said Udall. 
The CIA’s inspector general caused a shockwave on Capitol Hill a month ago, when it concluded that five agency officials had “improperly accessed” Senate Intelligence Committee computers to review staffers’ files and emails. 
The snooping was conducted through a network to share files for the Senate committee’s report on the CIA’s history of “enhanced interrogation” techniques, such as waterboarding. 
The admission set off a whirlwind of criticism for the agency and validated charges from committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who accused the CIA of unconstitutionally violating the separation of powers during a March floor speech. 
It was especially bad news for Brennan, who had flatly denied Feinstein’s allegation as groundless and “beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.” . . .



U.K. authorities had refused to give child medical treatment he needs, parents take child out of country, UK seek extradition to force family back to country

Socialized medical system in the UK can't give a young boy suffering a brain tumor the specialized medical treatment he needs.  So the family, trying to save the boy's life, takes the boy out of the country.  In response, the government puts out a criminal warrant for the family.  From the Associated Press:
The grandmother of a 5-year-old British boy with a severe brain tumor accused U.K. authorities on Monday of cruelty for seeking an arrest warrant and pursuing the family abroad after his parents removed him from a British hospital against medical advice.
Hours later, a Spanish judge ordered the parents' detention for 72 hours while a court in Madrid considers whether to grant Britain an extradition request. 
Grandmother Patricia King told the BBC it was an "absolute disgrace" that her son and daughter-in-law were accused of child neglect after they took Ashya from Southampton General Hospital last week. The family says U.K. authorities had refused to give Ashya the kind of treatment he needed. 
The family has criticized Britain's health care system, saying he needs an advanced treatment option called proton beam therapy and that it wasn't being made available to him
King's parents were arrested Sunday in southeastern Spain after a European arrest warrant was issued by Interpol at the request of British police. Their son is receiving medical treatment for a brain tumor. After his parents' arrest, he was admitted to a Spanish hospital. . . .

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Obama's judicial nominees being pushed through the Senate at fast clip

From Politico:
The Senate barely does anything these days — except approve judges that could shape the law for a generation. 
Since Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed Senate rules in November to ease the approval of most of President Barack Obama’s nominees, Democrats have churned through confirmations of dozens of new judges — giving them lifetime appointments that will extend the administration’s influence for years to come. Over a roughly equivalent period during the 113th Congress, the Senate confirmed 36 district and circuit court judges before the rules change and 68 after, according to Senate statistics
Republicans have fought Democrats at every step, using their remaining procedural tools to stymie quick approval of judges and many executive branch nominees whose sway over regulations are magnified by today’s congressional stalemate. But the days of epic confirmation fights are over now because all nominees — save for those to the Supreme Court — need only a bare majority for approval after Democrats used the unilateral “nuclear option” to change the rules. . . .
Of course, the comparison of 36 to 68 is quite misleading as it takes a while at the beginning of every Congress to get the judicial nomination process up to speed.

UPDATE: The WSJ has this discussion on court packing.



Another broken promise by Obama: immigration

The problem with US corporate income taxes isn't just that we have the highest rates in the world, but that we make American companies pay that high rate on money that they earn in other countries

From Megan McArdle at Bloomberg View:
If you're writing about inversions, and you don't prominently mention global taxation in the first few paragraphs, then your article is not serious and anyone with even a smidgen of actual interest in the issue should stop reading. . . . 
The purpose of an inversion has never been, and never could be, and never will be, "ooh, Canada has a 15 percent tax rate, and the U.S. has a 35 percent tax rate, so we can save 20 points of taxes on all our income by moving." Instead the main purpose is always: "If we're incorporated in the U.S., we'll pay 35 percent taxes on our income in the U.S. and Canada and Mexico and Ireland and Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, but if we're incorporated in Canada, we'll pay 35 percent on our income in the U.S. but 15 percent in Canada and 30 percent in Mexico and 12.5 percent in Ireland and zero percent in Bermuda and zero percent in the Cayman Islands." . . .