Obama uses Newtown anniversary to call for more gun control

So much for keeping politics out of the events today.  From Obama's weekly presidential address:
. . . Over the past year, their voices have sustained us.  And their example has inspired us – to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities.  More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered.  
And on this anniversary of a day we will never forget, that’s the example we should continue to follow.  Because we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer.  We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. . . .
Even the Washington Post described Obama's address this way: "Obama marks Newtown anniversary with call for action on gun control"

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Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says Michael Bloomberg's $12 million push for gun control actually backfired federally

From the New York Daily News:
Blame Mayor Bloomberg for Washington’s failure to pass tougher gun laws, said the head of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. 
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says Hizzoner’s strident anti-gun crusade actually hurt his cause.
In an interview to be aired on C-SPAN Sunday, Leahy said, “Unfortunately, you have some on the left like the mayor of New York City, who actually didn’t help a bit with his ads.” 
The billionaire mayor used $12 million of his own money and led the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 
Leahy, a long-time gun owner, says Bloomberg’s crusade “actually turned off some people that we might have gotten for supporters” of legislation requiring background checks on guns. . . .

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Low Solar activity cycle and temperature changes

Do you think that the energy being emitted by the sun might determine the earth's temperature?  From Space.com:
The sun's current space-weather cycle is the most anemic in 100 years, scientists say.
Our star is now at "solar maximum," the peak phase of its 11-year activity cycle. But this solar max is weak, and the overall current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, conjures up comparisons to the famously feeble Solar Cycle 14 in the early 1900s, researchers said.
"None of us alive have ever seen such a weak cycle. So we will learn something," Leif Svalgaard of Stanford University told reporters here today (Dec. 11) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. 
The learning has already begun. For example, scientists think they know why the solar storms that have erupted during Solar Cycle 24 have caused relatively few problems here on Earth. . . .
As an aside, world temperatures right now are unusually low as compared to temperatures over the last billion or two billion years.  You would almost expect current temperatures to r

UPDATE: Another interesting study was reported in the Daily Caller:
A Swedish study found that the planet was warmer in ancient Roman times and the Middle Ages than today, challenging the mainstream idea that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main drivers of global warming. 
The study, by scientist Leif Kullman, analyzed 455 “radiocarbon-dated mega-fossils” in the Scandes mountains and found that tree lines for different species of trees were higher during the Roman and Medieval times than they are today. Not only that, but the temperatures were higher as well. 
“Historical tree line positions are viewed in relation to early 21st century equivalents, and indicate that tree line elevations attained during the past century and in association with modern climate warming are highly unusual, but not unique, phenomena from the perspective of the past 4,800 years,” Kullman found. “Prior to that, the pine tree line (and summer temperatures) was consistently higher than present, as it was also during the Roman and Medieval periods.” 
Kullman also wrote that “summer temperatures during the early Holocene thermal optimum may have been 2.3°C higher than present.” The “Holocene thermal optimum was a warm period that occurred between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago. This warm period was followed by a gradual cooling period.” . . .


Colorado Hickenlooper's state office computer not backed up?: Loses eight months of appointment data open to public inspection

So the state of Colorado doesn't back up the computer records for the governor of Colorado? From Channel 9 in Denver:
The governor's calendar is subject to public inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act. Exceptions in the law allow record custodians to withhold personal appointments and details of security arrangements. 
"Some personal information is kept on the calendar to help avoid conflicts when scheduling other events," Figa said. . . . 
Hickenlooper's staff has been reluctant to reconstruct his whereabouts during the lost calendar span because absolute accuracy could not be assured. His spokesman was unable to respond to questions about the lost calendar entries Friday, citing the demands on the governor's time that arose from the shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial. . . .


Top ten Hollywood Celebrities with greatest net worth

The top 10 list is obtained here.
1. Tom Cruise: $250 million 
2. Will Smith: $200 million 
3. Robert De Niro: $185 million 
4. Drew Carey: $165 million 
5. John Travolta: $160 million 
6. Demi Moore: $150 million 
7. Samuel L. Jackson: $150 million 
8. Bruce Willis: $150 million 
9. Denzel Washington: $140 million 
10. George Clooney: 


By over 2-to-1 margin the uninsured think that Obamacare is a bad idea, by 2.6-to-1 margin they think Obamacare will make them worse off

So Obamacare was done for the uninsured, but many more uninsured think that they Obamacare will make them worse off.  With all the money being spent, the people who we claim to be helping are saying this is making them worse off.  From the WSJ:
Less than a quarter—24%—of uninsured Americans think the health care law is a good idea, and half think it’s a bad idea, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday. That’s an 11-point dive in support from three months ago, when a September poll — before the troubled rollout of  the HealthCare.gov marketplace –found that 35% of the uninsured thought it was a good idea, and 32% thought it was a bad idea. . . .  
The number of uninsured adults who think the law will have a positive impact has stayed roughly the same at 20%, indicating that the rise in individuals concerned about the law’s effect comes from people who previously thought it wouldn’t make a difference. 
Some 42% of the uninsured said the health care law will have a negative impact on themselves and their families, compared to about a third who said the same in September. But the number of uninsured who think the law will have a positive impact has risen, too, from 12% in September to 16% this month. About four in one uninsured Americans said the law will not affect them, compared to half who said the same in September. . . .


Gun control advocates try to pressure gun makers through making people divest from them and generally make it so that they can't do business

People don't like demonstrators in front of their business.  It isn't too surprising that people will do what they can to keep from being harassed.  This pressure takes many forms.  Authorize.net, which is owned by Visa, won't handle the credit for companies that deal with guns.  Bank of America is forcing gun makers not to have accounts at their bank.  My concern is that these actions are driving gun makers out of business.  From the New Republic:
. . . Proponents of sensible gun control are increasingly turning to the approach used to such effect against apartheid South Africa and the tobacco industry and more recently also deployed against the fossil fuel industry. They are trying to force change by pressuring gun manufacturers themselves and, more specifically, the people, firms and institutions that invest in them. This shift is out of recognition that the manufacturers not only profit from the spread of firearms but have become increasingly central to the National Rifle Association and other groups that fight new gun regulations
The first target of the main pro-divestment group, Campaign to Unload, is Cerberus Capital Management, the private-equity firm that owns the Freedom Group, the big gun conglomerate that makes, among many other brands, the Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle that Adam Lanza used to gun down 20 children and six educators in  Newtown (The company is also known as Remington Outdoor Company). Campaign to Unload held an inter-faith protest outside Cerberus’ headquarters on Monday and plans much more in the weeks ahead. “When the political process becomes stalled, stigmatizing the industry helps loosen up the process,” said Jennifer Fiore, a Washington, D.C. resident who recently joined Campaign to Unload after helping lead Moms Demand Action, a nationwide group that sprang up after the Newtown shootings and now counts more than 120,000 members online. “Manufacturers are part of the problem, part of the reason why legislation has stalled, and we’d like to see the manufacturers and industry as a whole embrace what the public would like to see.” . . . 
It sure looks as if the divestment campaign’s initial goal—to, as Fiore put it, make Freedom Group a “hot potato”—is working. . . .
This is only part of the problem.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has put political pressure on banks to stop doing business with firearms manufacturers. 

There are other boycotts that have taken place:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which organized a successful campaign this summer to pressure Starbucks into banning guns from its cafes, is preparing a similar effort aimed at McDonald’s, founder Shannon Watts told POLITICO. 
It’s part of the larger political shift from gun control advocacy groups, and the recognition that like much of Obama’s second term agenda, gun control is buried under the reality of a divided Congress. . . .



More on 10-year-old boy suspended from school for pretending to shot an arrow when the rules talk only about "replica or representation of a firearm"

Zero tolerance is supposedly all about absolutely sticking to rules even when they are nonsensical.  But what does one make of this case?
"Horton characterized Johnny's transgression as "making a threat" to another student using a "replica or representation of a firearm" through the use of an imaginary bow and arrow," the statement said. . . 
So how is an imaginary bow and arrow a "replica or representation of a firearm"?  Equally troubling is how the student got suspended.
According to the institute, Jones was in the front of his fifth grade classroom on Oct. 14, when fellow student playfully rolled a folder into a tube and acted like he fired a shot at Jones. Jones, in turn, pulled out a pretend bow and arrow and acted like he discharged a bow. One classmate saw the exchange and informed a teacher. The teacher took the students into the hallway and the school's principal contacted Jones' mother, the statement said. . . .
Are we really training small children to turn in other students for such trivial actions?


Appearance on the Lars Larson Radio Show

Lars Larson describes the discussion this way.
We’re approaching to the one-year anniversaries of the murders at Sandy Hook and Clackamas Town Center.
Gun control has been one of the hottest topics of this year, but where do we stand on it as we approach these anniversaries?
Dr. John Lott, author of “More Guns, Less Crime” joined me on the program to talk about it…
The audio is available here.  Some additional information on the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting is available here.

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Florida appeals court moves to let people carry permitted concealed handguns on college campuses

A copy of the court decision is available here.  The very long article in Inside Higher Education starts this way:
A divided Florida appeals court ruled Tuesday that public colleges and universities -- except in limited circumstances -- lack the legal right to regulate gun possession on campus. 
The ruling came in a case involving a rule at the University of North Florida banning students from keeping guns in their cars. But the appeals court went beyond that rule (which it rejected) to speak more generally to the right of public colleges and universities to limit gun possession on campus, as local news media indicated they do. Under Florida's Constitution, the appeals court found, only the Legislature can make such restrictions, so most rules imposed by public colleges and universities would be invalid. 
The university had argued that a specific exemption in Florida law giving school districts the right to regulate guns in their facilities applied to public universities as well. The appeals court rejected that argument, saying that lawmakers specify different types of educational institutions in their regulations, so that references to school districts cannot be assumed to go beyond elementary and secondary education. 
The dissent to the ruling said that that the appeals court's ruling leaves public universities "powerless" to deal with guns on campus and that the decision "defies common sense."
The ruling in the case was 12-3 (with several concurring opinions) and could be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, but university officials have not indicated whether they will do so. . . . 
In an interview with First Coast News ABC, Lainez said, "As a single mom, I do travel from school and I feel that it's important for myself and many other students who are also concealed weapons license holders to be able to carry our guns when we go to school."
Here is an old piece that I have about gun free zones in Florida.

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Newest Fox News piece: "1 year after Newtown, support for stricter gun control has disappeared"

My newest op-ed piece starts this way:
President Obama has pushed hard for gun control this year and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent millions of dollars on ads, but the administration's promise to coordinate "a November lobbying effort and plan events to commemorate the first anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut" has gotten little traction. 
Last year the Newtown shooting, with it horrific slaughter, lead to an immediate national movement for gun control. But that was short-lived, and opposition to gun control is currently very strong. Indeed, it appears to be the strongest in decades. 
recent CNN poll finds the highest level of opposition to any new gun control measures since CNN started asking about it in 1989. Rising from only 28 percent opposed to new gun control measures then to 50 percent today. And it's not the only poll with such findings. Gallup finds that opposition to stricter laws has risen from 19 to 50 percent. 
What’s more, these polls don’t reflect that most people in favor of gun control don’t have strong feelings about it. Monthly Gallup polls from June to October this year reveal it’s just not viewed as a pressing issue. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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Obama unilaterally rewrites the Obamacare law yet again, delaying sign up date: Why is it that Obama keeps expecting private insurance companies to fix his mistakes

What would Obama's reaction be if private companies ever wanted more time?  He would probably attack them.  Originally, the deadline for individuals to be covered by January 1st was December 15th, then December 23rd and now December 31st.  Not only are there real problems with the data being given to the insurance companies, but now the Obama administration is giving the companies absolutely no time to double check that information and no time to even make sense that people have paid for their policies.  If you buy insurance at 11:59:59 PM on December 31st, Obama wants the insurance companies liable for the bills that you accrue at 12:00:01 AM on January 1st.  From Fox Business:
Another Obamacare deadline was pushed back on Thursday and now the White House is asking insurers to accept late payments and still give individuals coverage in the interim. 
The Department of Health and Human Services extended the deadline for individuals who want to be covered on the first of the year to Dec. 31 from Dec. 23. 
HHS is asking insurers to accept payments through this extended date and give consumers additional time to pay their first month’s premium while still offering coverage starting on Jan. 1. . . .



Appearance on Lou Dobb's show to discuss "Intelligence a liability in the judicial system?"

The interview with Lou on Fox Business can be obtained here.
This interview is from September 19, 2013, but it has only now been put up on Fox Business's website.


Biased media coverage on Obamacare signups, covering up how few people are actually signed up

The media keeps uncritically reporting the information provided to it by the Obama administration.  CNN has this figure.  364,682 people "signed up" is not a lot, but the numbers are even worse than that.

The problem is that the number of people who have actually paid their initial premium is just a small fraction of that.  They should have also included a fourth circle with 18,000 to 55,000 who have completely signed up for coverage.  From Healthy buzz:
That’s slow going, according to consultants and some insurers, raising the prospect that actual enrollment will be far lower than the figures HHS is releasing. 
“There is also a lot of worrying going on over people making payments,” industry consultant Robert Laszewski wrote in an email. “One client reports only 15% have paid so far. It is still too early to know for sure what this means but we should expect some enrollment slippage come the payment due date.” 
Another consultant Kip Piper, agreed. “So far I’m hearing from health plans that around 5% and 10% of consumers who have made it through the data transfer gauntlet have paid first month’s premium and therefore truly enrolled,” he wrote me. . . . 
Blue Shield of California said it has sent out thousands of payment request letters. “Members do not know they need to make their first month’s payment until they get this letter. Payments are trickling in and while we expect an uptick over the next week, members have until January 6 to make this payment,” spokeswoman Mia Campitelli wrote in an email. . . .
Unfortunately, it looks like all the mainstream media coverage is leaving this information out.

UPDATE: Sebelius' testimony from today.  Now do you believe that they didn't track this information?  If not, why not?


Another Obamacare disaster: Insurance plans under Obamacare won't cover care at top hospitals

Guess what the very sickest patients tend to go to university hospitals.  These hospitals have a relatively low success rate, but it is because of the difficult cases that they take, not because they do a bad job.  If you were to have these patients instead go to other hospitals, the failure rate would be even higher.  But Obamacare regulations define these hospitals as "inefficient" and prevent them from being covered by insurance plans.  From the Financial Times:
Amid a drive by insurers to limit costs, the majority of insurance plans being sold on the new healthcare exchanges in New York, Texas, and California, for example, will not offer patients’ access to Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, two top cancer centres, or Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, one of the top research and teaching hospitals in the country. 
Experts say the move by insurers to limit consumers’ choices and steer them away from hospitals that are considered too expensive, or even “inefficient”, reflects the new competitive landscape in the insurance industry since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law. 
It could become another source of political controversy for the Obama administration next year, when the plans take effect. Frustrated consumers could then begin to realise what is not always evident when buying a product as complicated as healthcare insurance: that their new plans do not cover many facilities or doctors “in network”. In other words, the facilities and doctors are not among the list of approved providers in a certain plan. . . .
A couple of years with these regulations could really damage these top quality medical care providers. 


Man wakes up to find multiple men trying to break into his house, uses gun to stop attack

From the Youngstown, Ohio newspaper:
[Roy Hahn] didn’t know it was 12:30 in the morning, so he wondered if it was his girlfriend arriving to their home on Niles-Cortland Road near U.S. Route 422 in Niles.
“I called my girlfriend’s name a couple times, but she didn’t answer it,” he said during testimony in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. 
He got up from his bed, walked to the kitchen and saw that “someome was prying the door open.” 
Moments later, he “looked out the window and saw someone or two people run to the front of the house, so I went back into my bedroom, I grabbed my shotgun, and I heard the front door being pried open, so I shot through the front door.” 
Hahn’s shotgun blast killed Terry Allen, 37, of Mineral Ridge and injured Burns, 33, of Mineral Ridge, but Hahn said he didn’t know that the shot hit anyone until Niles police arrived a short time later after Hahn’s call to Niles police. 
“There was two or three guys trying to get in the house,” he told the dispatcher. . . .



Do law schools really think that lawyers are stupid? Apparently, yes. Won't lawyers realize law schools are inflating grades?

Do law firms read the newspapers?  How about an article on lawyers in the New York Times?  Do you think that lawyers talk to each other about this large sudden grade inflation?  All these are obviously rhetorical questions.  So why would anyone believe that lawyers would look at a student's grade and not his ranking?

So my question is why do law schools think lawyers would fall for this trick when everyone knows that the trick is in place?  What is it that law schools know about how dumb lawyers are?  (Just kidding, I don't really think that lawyers are dumb.  I think that this tells us more about how dumb law school faculty are.)  From the New York Times:
In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University andGeorgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not. 
Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt. . . . 
Some schools bump up everyone’s grades, some just allow for more As and others all but eliminate the once-gentlemanly C. 
Harvard and Stanford, two of the top-ranked law schools, recently eliminated traditional grading altogether. Like Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, they now use a modified pass/fail system, reducing the pressure that law schools are notorious for. This new grading system also makes it harder for employers to distinguish the wheat from the chaff, which means more students can get a shot at a competitive interview. 
Students and faculty say they are merely trying to stay competitive with their peer schools, which have more merciful grading curves. Loyola, for example, had a mean first-year grade of 2.667; the norm for other accredited California schools is generally a 3.0 or higher. 
“That put our students at an unfair disadvantage, especially if you factor in the current economic environment,” says Samuel Liu, 26, president of the school’s Student Bar Association and the leader of the grading change efforts. He also says many Loyola students are ineligible for coveted clerkships that have strict G.P.A. cutoffs. . . .

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Largest participating religious group by county in 2010

Click on the figure to make it larger.

The original figure is available here.


A woman whose 17-year-old daughter has undergone 86 surgeries since birth loses her insurance

Obama keeps blaming misunderstood Cincinnati IRS office for IRS problems


California Obamacare exchange sharing people's personal data without their permission

If a private company were to do this, they would get into a lot of legal trouble.  From Fox News:
The California health exchange has admitted it has been divulging contact information for tens of thousands of consumers to insurance agents without their permission or knowledge in an effort to hit deadlines for coverage. 
Covered California said it was handing out consumer information as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by the new year, according to the Los Angeles Times. The consumers in question had gone online to research insurance options, but didn't ask to be contacted. 
Social Security numbers, income and other information were not provided to the agents, but names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were made available, exchange officials said. 
The names provided by Covered California include people who started an insurance application on the website but didn't complete the process. . . .


Google Maps serve as the IRS's eye in the sky

From the Daily Caller:
. . . redacted IRS letter dated Sept. 8, 2011 reveals that at least in one case the IRS’s examiners used photos of a property, obtained through Google Maps, as evidence to revoke the 501(c)(4) status of a homeowner’s association. 
“The road consists of a two-mile loop around the inside of the property. It goes not have any sidewalks or bicycle lanes. The examining agent printed and copied a map from Google Maps (www.google.com) into this report,”states the letter. . . .
Justice Alito anticipated where this technology is going in spying on people.
Justice Samuel Alito argued that this protection was insufficient, because the government could still spy on people from the air. While piloted aircraft are too expensive to use routinely, drones are not, or will not be. One might argue that if the police can observe and follow you in public without obtaining a search warrant, they should be able to do the same thing with drones. But when the cost of surveillance declines, more surveillance takes place.  . . . 


Gun registrations used to confiscate guns in New York City

This is the reason that many gun owners fear registrations.  From Fox News:
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is sending out letters telling gun owners to turn over their rifles and shotguns — or else face the consequences. 
New York City’s ban on rifles and shotguns that hold more than five rounds is now being enforced, according to a letter the NYPD is sending out to targeted city gun owners. . . .

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My appearance on the Dana Show on December 6th to discuss bill extending ban on plastic guns

It is always fun to be on with Dana Loesch.  My interview with her is available here.

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