Bloomberg paying for ads that both support and oppose Democrats who voted against the Senate background check bill last April, was he not serious about gun control?

This is actually pretty funny.  The most endangered Senate Democrats this next year just happen to be the ones that voted against the background check bill in the Senate last year.  They were also the ones that are getting the most help from the Democratic Senate Majority PAC, which Bloomberg just gave $2.5 million to.  But these were also the Democrats that Bloomberg was attacking in last year.  Bloomberg has enough money to spend some on adds attacking these Democrats and then give even more to finance ads that will defend them, but does that mean that Bloomberg wasn't really serious about pushing them on gun control?  From Mediaite:
After donating $2.5 million to the Democratic Senate Majority PAC, America’s favorite Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, is signaling that his great crusade against guns is running out of steam. . . . 
“There had been information that I had as recently as two weeks ago that he was resisting pressure from both [Sens. CharlesSchumer (D-NY) and [HarryReid (D-NV) to defend Mark Pryor, or not to attack Mark Pryor, on the gun issue,” MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell said of Bloomberg’s latest move on Tuesday. 
Mitchell observed that Bloomberg had previously appeared to be “single issue focused on guns at the risk of jeopardizing Senate for Democrats.” TIME Magazine reporter Mark Halperin confirmed that Bloomberg not only resisted pressure from the two highest ranking Democrats in the Senate, but also former President Bill Clinton, who asked Bloomberg to temper his enthusiasm for attacking politicians who oppose stricter gun laws if those politicians happen to be Democrats. 
Halperin added that, while there are many Democrats in the Senate up for reelection this year, they all enjoy some advantages; including strong fundraising, weak Republican challengers, and incumbency itself. These incumbents, he insisted, may hang on in November in spite of six-year midterm headwinds, but attacking these Senate Democrats from the left could imperil them by reducing the base’s enthusiasm. 
CNN reports that the Democratic Super PAC to which Bloomberg donated millions has already gone up with ads in support of some of this election cycle’s most embattled Senate Democrats, including Pryor, Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Begich (D-AK). Each voted “no” on a resolution that would have banned high-capacity magazines in April of last year. Thus, Bloomberg has financially rooted himself on both sides of the guns issue. . . .
Given that Bloomberg ran a $12 million ad campaign in the run up to the Senate background check vote, that he spent money on other races and on guns leading up to the Newtown anniversary, and that he spent $14.1 million in ads for the entire year, it is very clear that the $2.5 million that he gave to the Democratic PAC is much greater than the amount that he spent on ads against Senate Democrats who voted against the background checks after their vote.

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For those who weren't aware: Top federal income tax rate now 45 percent, top capital gains tax up 10 percentage points

From Politico:
. . . Democrats have pushed through several new taxes on the well-to-do — many coming online this year — making the top tax bite steeper than advertised. By how much is a matter of opinion, but some experts say the true top rate is about 45 percent — 5 percentage points higher than the usual sticker price or higher still depending on what’s included in the mix. . . . 
Taxes on capital gains, for example, top out at 25 percent, once various surcharges are included, a sharp increase from 2012. . . . 
Thanks to quirks in the law, some may be subject to the tax but not paying it while others who are exempt may nevertheless be paying it, said David Kautter, managing director of the Kogod Tax Center at American University. . . . 
The health care law also imposes a new 3.8 percent “net investment” tax on capital gains, dividend, interest and other investments, in addition to the regular 20 percent capital gains tax. That’s expected to generate $123 billion over a decade. . . .  
That will cut the after-tax income of the top 1 percent, who earn at least $506,000, by about $50,000 or about 4.5 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center. The bite is much bigger for the very rich. Those who earn at least $2.6 million, enough to put them in the top one-tenth of 1 percent, will lose about $322,000 or about 6.2 percent of their income. . . . .

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CNN President Jeff Zucker gets in the gutter to attack Roger Ailes

Was Ailes comment that CNN was getting out of the news business tough?  Sure, but they have added shows such as one that looks at exotic food from around the world.  After all you have the New York Daily News running this story.
In September, Zucker tapped cable veteran Albie Hecht to run HLN. Hecht, who has no real background in news, has specialized in entertainment programming at the helm of Nickelodeon and Spike TV. . . . . 
Bolstering Zucker’s case for change,  CNN’s most-watched show is the food-centric travelogue “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” and its third-most-watched program is Morgan Spurlock’s “Inside Man.” . . .
Zucker's attack back seems quite different in nature.  If bringing up factually challenged Gabe Sherman is the best Zucker can do, he is in trouble.  From Politico:
"For CNN to also throw in the towel and announce they're out of the news business is quite interesting," Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter. "That means Fox has won the cable news wars. [Zucker] had a big hit with a whale one night [the documentary Blackfish]. I guess he's going to do whales a lot. If I were Discovery, I'd be worried." 
On stage Friday, Zucker called Ailes' claim a "silly criticism" meant to deflect attention from a new biography by Gabriel Sherman, which paints a critical portrait of the Fox News chief and has been the subject of much media attention
Sherman's biography" confirms what we've known all along" about Fox News and its pro-Republican message, Zucker said. . . .

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So why don't pollsters regularly ask which political party is closer to voters' views on guns?

I have often wondered why pollster don't regularly ask this question: Which party is closer to you on gun control?  It turns out that The Economist/YouGov poll did ask this question for a while during 2010.  Does the double digit lead that Republicans have over Democrats on this issue explain why gun control isn't included when pollsters ask about everything else from the economy to health care to foreign policy.  Here are the results that I found for 2010.

The Economist/YouGov polls from other points in time is available here.



Racial Quotas for School punishment: If quota reached for the month on punishment, does that mean that they can commit offenses at no cost?

Some pretty scary stuff from the Obama administration.  Fox News:
Education experts blasted a recent Department of Justice directive, which they say seems to advocate a racial quota system for punishing school kids for such transgressions as being late or chewing gum in class. 
The memo, jointly released by the departments of Justice and Education on Wednesday, urges public schools to ditch so-called "zero tolerance" policies the feds claim disproportionately affect minority students. The letter, which was sent to all public schools, said even well-intentioned policies are discriminatory if they end up being applied in greater proportion to minority children. 
“Schools ... violate Federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race," read the letter. "Examples of policies that can raise disparate impact concerns include policies that impose mandatory suspension, expulsion, or citation (e.g., ticketing or other fines or summonses) upon any student who commits a specified offense — such as being tardy to class, being in possession of a cellular phone, being found insubordinate, acting out, or not wearing the proper school uniform.” 
Experts interviewed by FoxNews.com said punishments should be meted out to school kids who break the rules - without regard to their race. . . . .


63-year-old grandmother shoots armed robber who broke into her home

A clear case where a gun offsets a big strength differential between the attacker and the victim.  From AWR Hawkins at Breitbart:
On January 5th, 63-year-old grandmother Elzie Pipkins shot and killed an armed robber who was targeting her house for the second time in a matter of weeks. 
The robber, Devon Antonio Young, had robbed Pipkins's Shreveport, Louisiana, home in mid-December, stealing her .38 revolver. Thereafter Pipkins went to a pawn shop and bought another revolver so she would be able to "protect her own." 
According to the Shreveport Times, on Sunday night Pipkin heard her granddaughter talking about a man walking toward the front door. The grandmother went to check, but before she could get to the door Young "done bust in the house and said, 'Nobody move.'" Pipkins' granddaughter said, "Oh Lord, Granny, he has a gun." . . . 
When she opened the safe she placed one hand on "a bag of change" and one on her handgun. Pipkins said, "here you go," reaching the bag toward the robber. He took a hand off his gun to grab the bag and Pipkins turned and shot him in the chest. . . . .
Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link here. 



Remember the Obama administration claim about protection people from inferior health insurance?: If you need top quality care, WalMart has in the past offered better insurance than Obamacare

"Significant donor" to Obama heading up the IRS targeting probe

From Fox News:
Republicans claim the Justice Department's investigation of the IRS targeting scandal is "compromised," after revealing that it's being led by one of President Obama's political supporters.  
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the lawmakers said they've learned trial attorney Barbara Kay Bosserman is leading the probe. They detailed federal campaign finance records showing she's given more than $6,000 to Obama's two presidential campaigns -- and urged Holder to remove her from the case.  
"By selecting a significant donor to President Obama to lead an investigation into inappropriate targeting of conservative groups, the Department has created a startling conflict of interest,"  Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote in the letter. "It is unbelievable that the Department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government's systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the President's policies. . . .


Colorado State Senator who supported allowing staff to have guns at school feels even more strongly about bill after shooting as his child's high school

Could you imagine what a big story it would be if a Democrat state Senator who had a gun bill that he claimed would have stopped these attacks with more gun control had this happen at his child's school, it would have been big news.  State Sen. Ted Harvey's bill is available here.  Fortunately, there were people with guns who were able to very quickly stop the attack.  From an article by my son Maxim at Fox News:
The 18-year-old student who stormed into his Colorado school last month with a shotgun and a bandolier of bullets across his chest, fatally shooting a classmate and setting fire to the library, provided fresh ammunition for one lawmaker's bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in schools. 
The Dec. 13 incident struck a chord with Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey, whose own son attends the school, in Centennial. Harvey, whose wife is a schoolteacher, said armed teachers at Arapahoe High School might have been able to act even more quickly than the two staff members being hailed as heroes after running toward the library, where James Pierson, 18, had gunned down Claire Davis and ignited a Molotov cocktail.
“I don't want my wife and kids to be sitting ducks,” Harvey told FoxNews.com. . . .



Did Sebelius lie in testimony to Congress?: Her testimony directly contradicts the testimony of contractors

Darrell Issa certainly believes that this is the case, and at least from what I can see Sebelius' testimony contradicts what the contractor directly testified happened.  Someone got this discussion very wrong.  From Politico:
Issa wrote that Sebelius misrepresented that the contractor MITRE was conducting ongoing security testing on HealthCare.gov and that it had not flagged security risks before the website’s launch. He also wrote that the company said it was not asked whether the launch should proceed, while Sebelius testified that it “had made recommendations to CMS, as is required.”

“Providing false or misleading testimony to Congress is a serious matter,” Issa wrote, and asked Sebelius to “correct the record.” . . . .

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Greta Van Susteren: Obama should spend his own money on giving his wife a birthday gift, especially when it costs $800,000


Robert Gates: Hillary Clinton admits her changing position on Iraq war was purely political

From the Washington Post:
Gates offers a catalogue of various meetings, based in part on notes that he and his aides made at the time, including an exchange between Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that he calls “remarkable.” 
He writes: “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.” . . . 
UPDATE:  The Fallout?


Robert Gates: Obama asked troops to fight in Afghanistan (including my son) even though he didn't believe in the war

Sending 18, 19, 20 year old kids to fight and die in a war that you aren't really interested in fighting nor that you care about is pretty bad.  The book is described as unusual for a former cabinet member to write a book with such a bitter tone about a president and how it is so particularly unusual for Gates given that people view him as someone who it is very difficult to get angry.  From the Washington Post:
In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” . . . 
As a candidate, Obama had made plain his opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion while embracing the Afghanistan war as a necessary response to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, requiring even more military resources to succeed. In Gates’s highly emotional account, Obama remains uncomfortable with the inherited wars and distrustful of the military that is providing him options. Their different worldviews produced a rift that, at least for Gates, became personally wounding and impossible to repair. . . . 
In “Duty,” Gates describes his outwardly calm demeanor as a facade. Underneath, he writes, he was frequently “seething” and “running out of patience on multiple fronts.”

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Colorado state Sen. whose son was at high school with recent shooting speaks out about need to arm teachers and staff

It tells you a lot that the various gun control groups were unwilling to comment on this story.  I have been on multiple shows with representatives of these groups where they attack the NRA for not going on talk shows immediately after an attack.  Why won't these guys discuss some news that might be somewhat uncomfortable for them?  From Fox News:
The 18-year-old student who stormed into his Colorado school last month with a shotgun and a bandolier of bullets across his chest, fatally shooting a classmate and setting fire to the library, provided fresh ammunition for one lawmaker's bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in schools.
The Dec. 13 incident struck a chord with Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey, whose own son attends the school, in Centennial. Harvey, whose wife is a schoolteacher, said armed teachers at Arapahoe High School might have been able to act even more quickly than the two staff members . . . .
Harvey has introduced a bill to allow school districts in Colorado to let teachers carry guns. He sponsored the bill prior to the shooting, but says that the tragedy cements the measure's importance.
“It validated why I think an armed person in the school is a good thing,”  Harvey told FoxNews.com.
Pierson's 80-second attack started after he asked to see the school’s librarian and debate coach, whom he was angry with. He did not find the coach, and instead ended up shooting Davis, a student he didn’t know and who died after clinging to life for more than a week. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the sight of an armed official  likely prevented further casualties and was a “critical element to the shooter’s decision” to commit suicide. . . .
Many schools in Colorado do not have armed guards, noted Harvey.
“Not every school in Colorado has an armed guard roaming the halls," Harvey said. "I think the situation that resulted at Arapahoe high school is not what we would have seen at other schools.”
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Violence Policy Center – all groups that support more gun control – declined to comment or did not answer questions from FoxNews.com about the bill. . . .
If Students for Concealed Carry ever have another national convention, this is one person they might want to invite. 

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Newest Fox News op-ed: "Why most Americans believe the US economy is poor (and they're right)"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
It has been over four-and-a-half years since the economic “recovery” began, yet a new CNN poll indicates that almost seven out of every ten Americans considers the economy to be in poor shape.   
Democrats want to claim that the economy is improving at the same time that they will be pushing Monday for a continued extension of unemployment benefits. Democrats also refuse to acknowledge that up to two years of unemployment insurance benefits actually creates unemployment
Indeed, people are so worried about the job market that they are clinging to their current jobs at remarkably high rates. 
Quit rates that usually rise after recessions, particularly after long recessions when they have stayed with jobs they might not care for, are still lower over the last three months than they were during the recession. 
But how can that possibly be?   
The official unemployment rate keeps falling. We are told that the job market is improving.  Are Americans just not realizing that things are getting better? Or do they perceive of something that the unemployment numbers are not picking up? . . .

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Corporate donors give to Democrat think tank in hopes of buying political protection

So much for the notion that corporations are conservative, they are interested in making profits and that depends more and more on political decisions.  From the WSJ:
President Obama is calling in the political cavalry, notably John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff before he became America’s most powerful unelected liberal by founding the Center for American Progress. So it’s instructive to inspect the list of corporate donors that Mr. Podesta’s think tank released last month.
Mr. Podesta founded the alternative to the Heritage Foundation in 2003, but it has long resisted disclosing its donor list. The motivation to do so now seems to be that it would be embarrassing to keep mum amid the current Democratic political campaign against businesses that give to conservative candidates or causes. All the more so with Mr. Podesta in the West Wing. . . .
Whatever the motive, the list of 58 corporate donors is revealing about the ways of the modern regulatory state. It certainly blows apart the myth that corporate America is “conservative” in any modern political sense of that word. It’s more accurate to say that Fortune FT.T +8.00% 500 CEOs think they must buy political protection from the left. So it’s no surprise to see the list is heavily weighted toward the most politicized parts of the economy.
Health insurers are there in force (eight), befitting their new role as public health utilities. That includes the insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, whose silence amid the make-it-up-as-you-go start of the ObamaCare shows it is now essentially a business partner of the Obama Administration. . . .

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Sun News' Brian Lilley on how gun registration leads to gun confiscation

Of course, in the US we have had a number of cases such as California, Chicago, and New York City (both now and in the past) where gun registration lead to confiscation.  Other obvious cases come from the UK and Australia, and as Lilley points out Canada.


CNN: Former White House Official says "[Obama] is really good at campaigning, maybe not governing"