8/01/2014

Have you ever wondered why Rotisserie chickens are so cheap? They actually cost less than a chicken that you could buy to fix yourself

Megan McArdle deserves a hat tip for pointing to this article by Cat Vasko:
A couple of years ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to roast a whole chicken, just because. I wandered around my local Ralphs for a few minutes looking for poultry that hadn't already been turned into individually shrink-wrapped meat units before asking for help. The gentleman I flagged down blinked a few times at my question. "Um," he answered finally. "You know we have chickens for sale up at the front of the store that have already been cooked, right?" 
I bought the raw chicken anyway. I took it home, rubbed it in butter and herbs, shoved a lemon half up its butt, and roasted it low and slow for the majority of the day. It turned out okay. For all the work it took, it certainly wasn't notably better than a store-bought rotisserie chicken, and with the other ingredients factored in, it cost significantly more. Right now, an uncooked chicken at Ralphs runs you $9.87, but a rotisserie chicken is $6.99; at Gelson's, you'll pay $8.99 for a cooked chicken or $12.67 for the raw version; and at that beloved emporium of insanity Whole Foods, a rotisserie chicken is $8.99, while a whole chicken from the butcher counter is $12.79 ... per pound. . . . 
Even Whole Foods' notoriously inflated prices don't offset that level of production. Instead, much like hunters who strive to use every part of the animal, grocery stores attempt to sell every modicum of fresh food they stock. Produce past its prime is chopped up for the salad bar; meat that's overdue for sale is cooked up and sold hot. Some mega-grocers like Costco have dedicated rotisserie chicken programs, but employees report that standard supermarkets routinely pop unsold chickens from the butcher into the ol' rotisserie oven. . . .


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Obama administration spies on Americans and now they are forced to admit they are spying on US Senators

Outrageously, the CIA engaged in surveillance of Senate emails.  When they were caught they "demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities."  Democratic Senators have "lost confidence" in Brennan, but is Obama talking about firing Brennan?  No. There is no criticism at all coming from the White House.  It makes it look as if President Obama has no problem with what the CIA did.  From Fox News:
The director of the CIA, offering a rare apology, has acknowledged an internal probe's findings that CIA employees in the Executive Branch improperly spied on the Legislative Branch by searching Senate computers and reading staffers' emails earlier this year.  
According to a declassified CIA inspector general's report, CIA officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read the emails of Senate staff, and exhibited a "lack of candor" when interviewed by agency investigators. The document, released Thursday by the CIA, is a summary of an internal CIA investigation -- which prompted CIA Director John Brennan to abandon his defiant posture in the matter and apologize to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders. 
Brennan also has convened an accountability board that will investigate the conduct of the CIA officers and discipline them, if need be. 
But the admission already has led to fierce recriminations from Senate lawmakers. 
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he has "lost confidence" in Brennan, and urged the administration to appoint an independent counsel to investigate. . . .

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Democratic party turnout in primaries is down more than the turnout for Republicans

While Republican turnout is down 1.4 percentage points, the turnout rate for Democrats is down by 2.6 percentage points.  I guess that I would like to see a regression that accounted for whether races were contested, but this is suggestive.  From The Hill newspaper:
And GOP operatives note that in other states soon facing a vote, like Tennessee next week, early voting is on the rise — an encouraging sign they see as indicative of Republican enthusiasm this fall. An operative engaged in House races pointed in particular to GOP turnout in the special election in Florida’s 13th District, when more than 40 percent of Republicans went to the polls, as evidence of strong enthusiasm from their party. 
The survey also showed that Democrats suffered a higher drop-off from 2010 than Republicans. Democratic turnout went from 8.7 percent of eligible voters in 2010 to 6.1 percent this year. Republican turnout dropped from 9.6 percent in 2010 to 8.2 percent.
McDonald said that’s largely because most of the action has been taking place on the other side, and that Democrats will tune back in once there’s a reason to. 
“We haven’t really seen Democrats have a reason to be interested in the election yet, because we’re not close to the fall election and their primaries haven’t been contested,” he said. 
Still, Democratic base constituencies become disinterested during the midterms at higher rates than GOP-leaning groups, which is why Democrats have a tougher fight to get their voters out this fall. . . .

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7/31/2014

Tennessee up to 471,882 permits in July 2014, Michigan at 558,403, Utah at 550,663, and Florida at 1,290,362

Click on above screenshots to enlarge them.  It is pretty amazing that just seven states now have a total of just seven states account for over 5 million concealed handgun permits.  Indiana has had about a 13 percent increase in the number of permits in just 9 months.

latestAfter about 6mnths or noted otherwise
Florida1,290,3621,215,7086%
Indiana557,789537,9644%
Michigan558,403425,97231%
Minnesota175,026159,9689%
Pennsylvania872,000
Tennessee471,882441,1717%
Texas708,048584,85021%Change from 2012 to 2013
Utah550,663535,8573%
5,184,173




Minnesota permits by county

















































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7/30/2014

A look at the types of things Lois Lerner called conservatives while writing on her government email account

If Lerner called conservatives these things on her government email account, imagine what she might be writing on her personal account.  But you would think that a government official would be somewhat circumspect in writing something down in a permanent form for others to see.  However may be she knew that these emails wouldn't be permanent!  From the WSJ:
newly discovered email shows that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner once referred to conservatives as "---holes," according to new documents released by House Republicans.In the November 2012 email exchange, Ms. Lerner also suggested that conservative "crazies" could threaten the nation's future.
Her comments came in a wide-ranging email conversation, apparently with a friend or family member, while Ms. Lerner was traveling in England. At one point Ms. Lerner wrote that she overheard two women saying the U.S. had bankrupted itself and is "going down the tubes."
"Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP," the person conversing with Ms. Lerner responded. "The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to."
"Great," Ms. Lerner replied. "Maybe we are through if there are that many ---holes." The word used by Ms. Lerner is redacted, with the first three letters blacked out.  . . .
Ms. Lerner adds later: "So we don't need to worry about alien teRrorists [sic]. It's our own crazies that will take us down." . . .

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Stunner: Three of the four women on "The View" support gun ownership for protection



Transcript

JENNY MCCARTHY: “People who would definitely disagree with the NFL ruling is a gun safety group that is trying to pressure Republican senators to support gun restriction laws for domestic abuser with a brutal PSA. Now, warning, get your kids out of the room. Because this is pretty disturbing. Take a look.”
[Everytown for Gun Safety Ad]
MCCARTHY: “Right? Effective, Lara?”
LARA SPENCER: “I would say highly effective. I mean so upsetting. Very strong message. And-“
SHERRI SHEPHERD: “For not getting a gun? For, for having gun safety?”
SPENCER: “Well right, but that’s, that’s the catch here.”
SHEPHERD: “Can I tell you, can I tell you the flipside of that. And that is absolutely so disturbing, but the flipside is when I was at my home and the alarm went off, and I ran to my son’s bedroom and Jeffery was crying, and I realized all I had to protect me and somebody coming around that corner was a daggone wicker trash basket. And I said to myself and “Everybody said to me, well get a bat.” You got one chance to use a bat and if they take it away. “Get pepper stray.” You know how close they got to get to you, if you use pepper spray? You got one of these? [makes a gesture like she’s holding a gun and makes a sound of cocking a gun] They’re not gonna come near you and your child! So when you’re standing there, and you don’t know how to protect your child ? Get a gun in your home!”
JULIET HUDDY: “Well I was gonna say when I was in my In my early twenties I had a stalker. A lot of people have that situation whether they are on TV or not on TV. And I remember feeling so vulnerable. And I just remember constantly going to sleep at night wishing that I could go over and grab my dad’s gun. You know? And keep it behind my bed. You know the knife? The butcher knife in the kitchen wasn’t gonna work for me. You know?”
SPENCER: “I have two kids. I would never want a gun in the house.”
MCCARTHY: “I’ve been in circumstances like Sherri where, you know people tried to break in and I’m with my son going, “I wish I had something to protect myself with.””
SHEPHERD: “I think that’s the thing when you’re standing there and if you’ve ever been in that situation where you have children and you go what do I have?”
MCCARTHY: “I used to think like you.”
SHEPHERD: “I used to think like you too. When you’re sitting there going-“
SPENCER: “What changed you?”
MCCARTHY: “That happened to me. They were trying to get in and I felt out of control and I had a child, and I was thinking to myself I wish I had a gun and I wish, you know, I have it very well protected now. There’s no way. Locked up.”
SHEPHERD: “Locked up, go to the gun range, know how to use it. There was a man who broke into a woman’s house. She was up in the attic. She had her two twins. He, as soon as he put his face in the attic she shot him. I betcha he’ll never try to break into that woman’s house again.”
MCCARTHY: “Long story short, don’t come at me and Sherri’s house!”  

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7/29/2014

Great speech by Congressman Thomas Massie: "Day 3 - Washington Under Siege"

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My newest piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Armed doctor saved lives"

My newest piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer starts this way:
On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Lee Silverman undoubtedly saved many lives. Using a handgun, the Delaware County psychiatrist stopped what both police and the district attorney described as a certain mass killing at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. 
The attacker, Richard Plotts, is a convicted felon, which bans him from legally owning a gun. But Pennsylvania's universal background check law did not stop him. Neither did the hospital's signs banning guns. 
The proposed federal law on expanded background checks that President Obama continually pushes is similar to Pennsylvania's and would not have stopped Plotts either. Indeed, it is hard to see how it would have stopped any of the other mass shootings during his presidency. 
At Mercy Fitzgerald, caseworker Theresa Hunt was killed when Plotts opened fire during a regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Lee Silverman. Fortunately, the doctor had his own gun and returned fire, hitting Plotts three times and critically wounding him. 
After firing all the bullets in his gun, Plotts still had 39 bullets on him, bullets that he could have used to shoot many other people. Silverman's three hits, however, made it possible for two other hospital employees to tackle the wounded attacker and secure his .32-caliber revolver. Plotts has since been charged with murder and attempted murder. 
Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux was clear: "Without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives. ... Without that firearm, this guy [Plotts] could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition." . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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7/28/2014

Median Household Income still much lower today than it was when the recession ended!



Click figure to enlarge.  The original figure is available here.

It is one thing to say that the economy is worse than before the recession hit.  It is another to say that we are lower now than when the "recovery" started.

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7/26/2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down DC's ban on concealed handguns, for non-residents DC is at least temporarily a constitutional carry area

A copy of the decision and some analysis of it along with key quotes is available here.

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7/25/2014

Obama correctly insisted for years that he had absolutely no legal authority to slow deportations on a broad scale, well forget about that

Remember Obama's repeated public claims that he had no legal authority to ignore immigration law and purposely slow deportations?  Presumably he repeatedly made that promise because he didn't want to scare voters that he might do something radical.  Well, now that he no longer faces voters again, that repeated point is being ignored.  From Politico:
Obama’s pledge to use his executive powers by the end of the summer marked both a dramatic reversal in rhetoric and a major strategic shift on immigration. The president is no longer emphasizing his own powerlessness but rather his determination “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.” 
The administration is examining how far it can go, legally and politically, to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Despite the flow of young Central American children across the southwestern border, Obama remains committed to taking significant action, according to senior advisers and advocates who have attended recent meetings with White House officials. 
In other words, Obama has signaled that he intends to do exactly what he’s long said he’s unable to do. . . .

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Obamacare: Jonathan Gruber blatantly lying about whether federally run health insurance exchanges get a subsidy

It is rare for a prominent academic to so blatantly lie repeatedly for purely political purposes.  Unfortunately, for MIT's Jonathan Gruber there are videos to prove it.  Here is a video of Gruber in January 2012 where he makes it completely clear that only state run insurance exchanges get federal subsidies (see discussion starting at 31:55 in video):


JONATHAN GRUBER: What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.
It is crystal clear that the subsidy was limited to only state run insurance exchanges to force states to set up their own exchanges.

Well, that was then and this is now.  This past week on MSNBC Gruber can be seen claiming that there was never any intention to limit federal subsidies to state run exchanges and that the exclusion of the subsidy was just a result of an unintentional "typo" (video available here, transcript from Grabien).
MATTHEWS: "Why would Democrats put in a poison pill that says, 'oh, if you don't have a state exchange you can't give subsidies and you can't have the individual mandate so the bill is dead.' Why do that? Where is the logic?" 
GRUBER: "Someone wrote today a clever thing. When we fight about the Constitution we wonder what the framers really mean. We don't have to wonder. We know what the framers meant. We can ask them. We can go to the people who wrote it and say did you ever intend this as a poison pill or is it a typo every single one says it's a typo? And every single one of them will say this is just a typo. So there is no mystery here. There is no wondering about original intent in writing the law. This is just a typo. And if the courts pass it and it makes it to the Supreme Court, we are talking about 7 million Americans who would become uninsured because of this typo, if they really interpret it this way. It's just crazy."
Gruber is racking up a long list of whoopers:  promises that Obamacare would "for sure" lower health insurance costs, hiding that he was being paid $400,000 from the Obama administration to help work on and promote Obamacare while pretending to be a purely independent analyst, and possibly changing his positions on health care issues after he started working for the Obama administration.

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7/24/2014

Fortunately, doctor with a gun critically wounded shooter who attacked hospital, gun-free zone sign didn't stop attack

This attack apparently occurred in a gun-free zone.  Here is a great quote from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"There's a sign on the door that says you have to check your weapons at the front," she said, "But you can't expect every crazy person to do that."
From Fox News about an attack at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, PA that was stopped by Dr. Lee Silverman:
A doctor who was grazed by gunfire from a patient in his office at a suburban hospital on Thursday helped stop him by apparently returning fire with his own weapon and severely injuring him, but not before a caseworker was killed, authorities said. 
The patient opened fire after entering the office with the caseworker, District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Witnesses reported hearing yelling before the gunshots. 
Several hours after the shooting, investigators had only limited information on what happened inside the closed office but believe the doctor, a psychiatrist, "from all accounts, would have acted in self-defense," Whelan said. 
The doctor, who suffered a graze wound to his head, "faced a situation where his life was in jeopardy," Whelan said. . . . 
Another doctor and a caseworker were among those who helped wrestle the patient to the floor of a hallway and grabbed his weapon after he had already been critically wounded from several gunshots, Whelan said. . . .
It seems extremely likely that this doctor was one on the almost 900,000 concealed handgun permit holders in Pennsylvania.  The Associated Press has information on how important that it was that the doctor was armed:
. . . Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that "without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives."
"Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition," the chief said. . . .
From Channel 13 WGME there is information on how the attack started:
. . . The caseworker killed at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital on Thursday afternoon was Philadelphia resident Theresa Hunt. Authorities say she had accompanied Plotts to an appointment with Silverman at a psychiatric crisis center next to the hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia. . . .
CBS News has some more details:
The patient, who had psychiatric problems, opened fire after entering the doctor's office with a caseworker Thursday afternoon, Whelan said. The female caseworker was killed. The doctor appears to have suffered only a graze wound and was expected to be released from treatment later in the day. 
Authorities have not publicly identified the gunman or his two victims. CBS Philly reports Whalen said the gunman was shot three times. Both the doctor and the suspect were taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment, according to the station. . . . 
The name of the attacker appears to be Richard Plotts. 

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7/23/2014

Fortune Magazine completely mangles story on gun sales "declining"

Fortune magazine's Laura Lorenzetti makes a lot of logical mistakes in her "news" article here.
It looks like Americans may be buying fewer guns this year. 
Smith & Wesson  SWHC , the 162-year-old gunmaker, lowered its guidance for the quarter and rest of the year, even as it reported better than expected sales in its fiscal fourth quarter that ended Apr. 30. Shares of Smith & Wesson’s stock had dropped nearly 9% by the close of trading Friday following the announcement
The company reported sales of $170 million in its fourth quarter, higher than the average analyst estimate of about $164 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue was almost 5% less than the year-earlier quarter. . . . 
The once high-selling gun industry may be facing a comedown as incidents of gun violence have soared this year. There has been an average of almost one school shooting every week for the past year and a half, the Washington Post reported earlier this month. . . .
Does reporter Laura Lorenzetti have any idea how inaccurate the Bloomberg claim is that there was one school shooting every week for the last year and a half?  The claim that increased gun violence is responsible for a drop in sales makes many errors.  Does a sales drop for Smith & Wesson imply an overall drop in gun sales?  No.

So what do the NICS checks numbers show on gun sales (click on screenshot to enlarge it)?  NICS checks are not a perfect measure of gun sales, but it is hard to see how its biases have changed in a systematic way this past year.

With the exception of background checks in January and February, 2014's background checks exceed those in 2013 and they are well ahead of those in 2012 for all months.  Fortune incredibly fails to even mention the explosion of gun sales right after Newtown and President Obama's re-election.  Does anyone believe that January and February sales in 2013 were normal sales to make comparisons with?  Even if Smith & Wesson's sales might be down for the last quarter, sales for the entire industry during the April through June quarter look like they are still higher than 2013.  How the Fortune reporter can spin a discussion from one gun maker into a general commentary on the entire gun industry is pretty disappointing.

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7/22/2014

Very amusing piece by Chris Friend on "Seeing red over Indian nickname debate"

The piece starts this way, but I strongly recommend that you follow the link and read the entire article:
Life is good. 
Summer is in full swing, the Trayvon/Zimmerman soap opera is finally fading away, government is probably reading only half our emails now, and the excitement of football is in the air. 
Most important, though, is that America apparently has solved all of its problems. Otherwise, how could you possibly explain the fact that a cadre of congressman — both Republican and Democrat — recently sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, every league team, and Redskins sponsor FedEx urging them — demanding, actually — that the Redskins name be changed because it was so racially demeaning to Indians. Oops. Native Americans. 
Sorry. 
Really? That’s the most dominant issue consuming our elected officials? Granted, if we had an Indian nickel for every boneheaded thing Congress does, we’d all be millionaires. But those congressmen need to be scalped for this one, and publicly admonished until they turn red-faced with embarrassment. 
This is no time for peace pipes. We must, without reservation, not just hold down the fort but go to war with those riding roughshod over hallowed American traditions — fighting the people who love nothing more than to chop away at things no one actually finds offensive. As with most issues though, we lack a political chief brave enough to tackle this type of political correctness. The biggest irony? If a leader painted this picture as the insanity that it is, it wouldn’t be his last stand, but a feather in his cap, because the vast majority of Americans recognize that using Indian names isn’t offensive, but complimentary. . . . 
 The rest of the piece is available here.

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7/19/2014

East Tennessee family restaurant posts "Guns are Welcome"




From WBIR in eastern Tennessee:

"As the owner, I wanted to stand my ground. I have that constitutional right. If you like it, that's great, if you don't, I'm sorry for you. I can't change who I am," said Sharma Floyd, with Shiloh Brew and Chew.
Floyd said she posted the signs about a month ago after reading a story out of North Carolina.
"They had put up a sign that said 'No Weapons Allowed' and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The convenience store manager was shot," said Floyd. "And that got me thinking. I lost a whole group of motorcyclists because they thought I didn't allow weapons. But I believe it's ok to carry as long as you have a permit."
The restaurant does not sell liquor, and Floyd said she asks anyone who orders a beer if they are carrying. . . .

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7/18/2014

Obama uses Russia's actions in the Ukraine to ban importation of AK-47s

The day before the tragic shooting down of a passenger airline the Obama administration banned the importation of AK-47s from Kalashnikov company.  Here is the Treasury order:
374. If I own a Kalashnikov product, is that product blocked by sanctions?  Am I able to resell a Kalashnikov product at a gun show or other secondary market?  
If a U.S. person is in possession of a Kalashnikov Concern product that was bought and fully paid for prior to the date of designation (i.e., no payment remains due to Kalashnikov Concern), then that product is not blocked and OFAC sanctions would not prohibit the U.S. person from keeping or selling the product in the secondary market, so long as Kalashnikov Concern has no interest in the transaction.  New transactions by U.S. persons with Kalashnikov Concern are prohibited, however, and any property in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest is blocked pursuant to OFAC’s designation of Kalashnikov Concern on July 16, 2014.  If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory. [7-16-2014]
Of course, these aren't the military versions of the AK-47 that are used in wars around the world, but civilian semi-automatic versions of the guns. 

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