News of the Week for Mar. 18th, 2013

 

News of the Week for Mar. 18th, 2013

 

Gun Rights

‘Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act’ proposed in Maryland
A Maryland state senator has crafted a bill to curb the zeal of public school officials who are tempted to suspend students as young as kindergarten for having things — or talking about things, or eating things — that represent guns, but aren’t actually anything like real guns.

Schakowsky: Assault Weapons Ban ‘Just the Beginning’
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the Democratic Party’s leadership in the House of Representatives, suggested to Jason Mattera at a Feb. 13 women’s rights rally that plans for an assault weapons ban and private-sales background checks were only the beginning of a broader gun control agenda extending to handguns as well.

Guns of Law-Abiding Husband Confiscated After Wife’s Single Voluntary Mental Health Visit
Just last week, the California Senate approved a $24 million funding bill to expedite the process of collecting guns from owners in the state who legally acquired them but have since become disqualified due to felony convictions or mental illness.

We Have Language for S. 374, the Transfer Ban
Shumer had kept the bogus “background check” bill under wraps, only putting forth a shell bill with no specifics. Well, he applied the text through an amendment at the last minute, before it passed. John Richardson has the details, including the text. I’ve only skimmed the details, but here’s the key problems

Bill: No gun show access for 11 and younger
A bill just introduced in the state Assembly would bar children younger than 12 from entering a gun show in New York. The bill was put forward by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who hails from that trackless wilderness and sportsmen’s paradise known as Manhattan.

Colorado House Bill 1224: Magazine Ban Worse Than Advertised
Jon Caldara, President of the Independence Institute, demonstrates how HB 13-1224 would ban almost all magazines in Colorado. You may have heard it will only affect magazines over 15 rounds. Not so.

US assault weapons ban heading for defeat in Senate
President Barack Obama’s bid to renew a ban against military-style assault weapons narrowly won the backing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday and headed to the full Senate, where it appears certain to fail.

Colorado sheriff says new state gun laws won’t be enforced
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke won’t enforce new state gun measures expected to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, arguing the proposed firearms restrictions give a “false sense of security.”

Man pulls bodyguard’s gun on burglars, guess who’s facing prison time
The Linen King’s home is not his castle

Woman to Rep. Moran: “Why aren’t you pro-choice [on] self-defense for women?”
Good question — which is why Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) evaded it by complaining about the length of the questions. Bear in mind that Moran held this townhall meeting specifically to discuss legislative responses to the Newtown shootings; it was titled “Preventing Another Newtown: A Conversation on Gun Violence in America.” If it’s a conversation, shouldn’t Moran be prepared to, y’know, converse? Instead, Moran refused to address the issue of self-defense for women

University bans depiction of guns on posters

Hide the Decline

Environment &
“Green Energy”

Era of the Pharaohs: Climate was HOTTER THAN NOW, without CO2
And yet … Alexandria was NOT a flooded island. Weird
A new study has confirmed that at the time of the Pharaohs the world’s climate was significantly hotter than it now is for thousands of years – and yet the seas don’t appear to have risen, nor did the various other doomsday scenarios foretold by climate alarmists take place.

Safer Nuclear Power, at Half the Price
Transatomic is developing a new kind of molten-salt reactor designed to overcome the major barriers to nuclear power.

Climategate 3.0 has occurred – the password has been released
A number of climate skeptic bloggers (myself included) have received this message yesterday. While I had planned to defer announcing this until a reasonable scan could be completed, some other bloggers have let the cat out of the bag. I provide this introductory email sent by “FOIA” without editing or comment. I do have one email, which I found quite humorous, which I will add at the end so that our friends know that this is valid.

James Hansen’s Policies Are Shafting The Poor
I was reading an interview with Adrian Bejan (worth taking a look at), and I got to musing about his comments regarding the relationship between energy use and per capita income. So I pulled up GapMinder, the world’s best online visualization software. Here’s a first cut at the relationship between energy and income.

Enviros Claim Wind Farm Could Cause Cancer, Diabetes
Conservation groups in Southern California sued the Department of the Interior on Tuesday in an attempt to block construction of a wind farm they claim could cause nearby residents to develop health problems ranging from diabetes to cancer to attention deficit disorder.

Obama Will Use Nixon-Era Law to Fight Climate Change
President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.

Marcott’s hockey stick uptick mystery – it didn’t used to be there
At Climate Audit, Something odd has been discovered about the provenance of the work associate with the Marcott et al paper. It seems that the sharp uptick wasn’t in the thesis paper Marcott defended for his PhD, but is in the paper submitted to Science.

The Marcott-Shakun Dating Service
Marcott, Shakun, Clark and Mix did not use the published dates for ocean cores, instead substituting their own dates. The validity of Marcott-Shakun re-dating will be discussed below, but first, to show that the re-dating “matters” (TM-climate science), here is a graph showing reconstructions using alkenones (31 of 73 proxies) in Marcott style, comparing the results with published dates (red) to results with Marcott-Shakun dates (black).

McIntyre finds the Marcott ‘trick’ – How long before Science has to retract Marcott et al?
Steve McIntyre has made what I can only describe as a stunning discovery as to why there is a sharp uptick in the main Marcott et al graph being touted by the media from its publication in Science.

Whistleblowing Scientist Who Challenged Environmental Regulation Sues UCLA
After 35 years at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. James E. Enstrom is suing UCLA to keep his job. Following many years of disagreement over research on air pollution and its implications for environmental regulations, UCLA finally refused to reappoint Enstrom after he engaged in successful whistleblowing against a member of the department. When UCLA told Enstrom he was being let go because his research failed to accord with the department’s “mission,” Enstrom turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

Obamacare

Government in Healthcare

Applying for Obama plan not easy
Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes.

Paul Ryan: Obamacare Will “Collapse Under Its Own Weight”
‘I think the country will be asking for alternatives and it’s our job to offer them’

Insurers warn of sticker shock due to health care law’s new taxes, requirements as it expands
Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people.

Your surprise ObamaCare taxes of the week
Wow, hey, whaddya know? Starting in 2014, your employer (and, by extension, you) will begin paying a fresh new $63 annual ObamaCare fee, to cover the extra cost of insuring other people’s pre-existing conditions.

War & Terror

60 Pipe Bombs Found Outside Philly

Pyongyang scraps armistice amid heightened saber rattling
Saber-rattling rose Monday to new levels on the Korean peninsula, as Pyongyang officials “scrapped” the armistice credited for nearly 60 years of uneasy peace and then failed to answer a hotline phone.

U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans’ finances
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

Hacker Begins Distributing Confidential Memos Sent To Hillary Clinton On Libya, Benghazi Attack
Armed with confidential memos to Hillary Clinton that were stolen from the e-mail account of a former White House aide, a hacker has distributed some of the documents to a wide array of congressional aides, political figures, and journalists worldwide.

Strategic U.S. bombers fly practice nuclear strikes in Korea
United States B-52 bombers carried out simulated nuclear bombing raids on North Korea as part of ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises, Pentagon officials said on Monday.

U.S. Cancels Part of Missile Defense That Russia Opposed
The United States has effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.

Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them
Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled in a decision released Friday.

National

Mitt Romney’s older brother interested in Levin seat
The older brother of presidential candidate Mitt Romney is interested in running for the Michigan Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin in 2014.

In 2010, Ashley Judd accused Apple customers of ‘financing mass rape’
Using graphic language in an opinion piece about “conflict minerals,” potential U.S. Senate candidate Ashley Judd in 2010 accused those who buy Apple products of “financing mass rape.”

Obama Dark Money Group to hold ‘Founders Summit’ at Luxury Hotel
Campaign finance reform groups have ‘no plans’ to protest money for access, spokesmen say

Wis. education officials want students to wear ‘white privilege’ wristbands
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction runs several programs that heavily emphasize racial issues in public schools.

Judge Halts New York City Soda Ban
A state judge on Monday stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration from banning the sale of large sugary drinks at New York City restaurants and other venues, a major defeat for a mayor who has made public-health initiatives a cornerstone of his tenure.

NYU Professor Compares Drinking Large Sodas to Drunk Driving
In an op-ed in the New York Daily News on Friday, Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at NYU, has attempted to turn the debate about Bloomberg’s sugary-drink ban on its head. The supporters of the ban, she claims, are the true champions of liberty. Her piece is entitled “Liberty from big soda.”

Meet the Fired Republican Staffer Who’s Taking on Hollywood Over Internet Freedom
Back in November of last year, Republican staffer Derek Khanna faced a dilemma that, unlike the problems faced by many of his peers in the GOP, had nothing to do with the election. Specifically, Khanna had authored a memo on copyright reform for his then-employers, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) that shot down three “myths of copyright” – that is, that “the purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator of the content,” that “copyright is the free market at work,” and that “the current copyright legal regime leads to the greatest innovation and productivity.” Khanna’s memo was meant to get the ball rolling on a discussion of copyright policy within the GOP, with the goal of allowing some form of modest legislation to be crafted on that topic. What is more, the memo had been approved through the usual channels, and had been posted a few weeks back, to adulation from both conservatives and liberals.

The Revolt Against FEMA
Sandy victims criticize FEMA flood maps, slow progress

FDA head says menu labeling ‘thorny’ issue
Diners will have to wait a little longer to find calorie counts on most restaurant chain menus, in supermarkets and on vending machines.

Charter Schools Surging in Big Blue Mass
America’s most successful anti-blue idea is thriving in a deep blue state: Democratic lawmakers in Massachusetts want to lift caps on charter schools and charter-school funding in 29 low-performing school districts. This has charter proponents very excited.

The Battle Against School Choice in New Hampshire
A program that would help low-income students attend any private or public school they want, or to be homeschooled, is under fire

Government Advertises for Nearly 2,600 New Jobs Since Sequestration
This includes 107 new positions at the Department of Homeland Security, which has freed illegal immigrants citing budgetary constraints.

Cincinnati poll worker indicted for voting for Obama six times
Fox News reports on the latest developments in the case of Melowese Richardson, the Cincinnati poll worker who admitted to voting multiple times, and has now been charged with six counts of multiple voting in 2012, plus some charges from previous years

‘It sounds like a war zone’: Chaos in Brooklyn as 100 teenagers ‘riot’ on the streets following vigil of 16-year-old who was shot dead by NYPD plainclothes cops
Two plainclothes NYPD officers shot and killed a 16-year-old Brooklyn resident after police say he pointed a gun at officers on Saturday
When police approached to speak with the young man, cops say he turned on them and aimed a .357 caliber revolver at them
Peaceful protest for Kimani Gray turned chaotic tonight as 100 people rioted and threw bottles at officers

Malice or Incompetence?
Recently I came across a news article estimating that 80% of NYC graduates cannot read and write and are functionally illiterate. I’d bet those numbers are not far off across the country, and it wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was what my son told me when I discussed the matter with him.

Increased brain uptake and oxidation of acetate in heavy drinkers
This study used 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy to test whether chronic heavy drinking is associated with greater brain uptake and oxidation of acetic acid, providing a potential metabolic reward or adenosinergic effect as a consequence of drinking.

G.O.P. to Put Digital Strategy at Center of New Structure
As part of a rebuilding effort after its 2012 electoral losses, the Republican National Committee on Tuesday announced plans to put an enhanced digital strategy at the center of its operation, led by a new chief technology officer.

A Song of Fire Ice
Gaia seems to like fossil fuels much more than many of her followers. Earlier today, Japan announced that it successfully accessed ocean deposits of a new, relatively clean-burning, and hyper-abundant energy source: fire ice. More accurately called methane hydrate, fire ice exists under Arctic permafrost and deep underwater, primarily on seabeds along continental shelves. Up to this point it has seemed out of reach. Not anymore

NAACP chief slams Solicitor General
The grilled shrimp appetizer had just arrived at the 128th annual press-pols Gridiron dinner Saturday night when NAACP President Benjamin Jealous fell into conversation with a fellow white-tied dinner guest about the Supreme Court’s recent argument over the Voting Rights Act.

Rand Paul: Tea Party is like the American Revolution – The Occupy movement more like the French Revolution
Speaking yesterday at a National Review breakfast, Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky. explained what he thought about the Tea Party movement vs. the Occupy Wall Street movement, as Jon Ward reports in the Huffington Post.

Fla. Lt. Gov. Resigns from office
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll who once represented a firm at the center of an Internet gambling scandal has resigned from office.

Orson Scott Card: Blacklisted for Defending the Family
There’s a price to be paid by countermoonbats with courage enough to stand up for decency and sanity in a culture that is swirling down the toilet. Ask Orson Scott Card.

McConnell: Dems in 2016 ‘Looking Like a Rerun of The Golden Girls‘
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quipped that “2016 looking like a rerun of The Golden Girls” for the Democrats in a surprising populist address to CPAC this morning.

Republican National Committee to build platform to share voter data
In an effort to sharpen its digital arsenal, the Republican Party is building a platform with outside groups that will give GOP vendors, campaigns and committees access to its massive warehouse of voter data

SA family loses bid for asylum in US
A white South African family has lost their court bid for asylum in the US.
The family, a couple with two children originally from Durban, claimed they were in danger in South Africa because another family member had been racist and his victims wanted revenge.

‘One America News Network’ Wants To Give Fox News Some Cable News Competition
Soon, Fox News may not be the only news network with a majority of right-leaning opinion commentators on cable TV. Herring Broadcasting, the San Diego-based company that owns Wealth TV and conservative newspaper The Washington Times, has announced the launch of One America News Network, timed to this week’s CPAC event.

Koch Brothers Mulling L.A. Times Bid
The controversial industrialists, who have a long history of funding Republican political causes, may team with the conservative owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Obama’s Plans for the Suburbs: And How to Stop Them
Last Friday’s headlines focused on President Obama’s address at Argonne National Laboratory, where he proposed to spend $2 billion on an energy-security trust fund for renewable fuel research. Obama boldly pledged “to shift our cars entirely . . . off oil.”

Poll: Majority Back Republican Ideas Until They Hear that the Ideas Came From Republicans
Shortly after the November election, I joked that maybe Republicans should all switch parties en masse just to confuse everybody. They media wouldn’t know whom to attack, other Democrats wouldn’t know whom to smear, and maybe the public would vote on ideas instead of party ID and other factors.

Sen. David Vitter to Block Obama’s Labor Department Replacement
Since Friday, as expected, the White House has announced that Barack Obama would indeed nominate Thomas Perez to replace Solis. However, as more light is shed on Thomas Perez and his questionable qualifications for Secretary of Labor, opposition is growing.

Union Hypocrisy On Display: SEIU’s Union Staff Votes To Strike
There’s nothing more embarrassing for union bosses than their own unionized staff striking against them or, in this case, threatening to strike.

Andrew Cuomo tells local governments to consolidate

Economy
& Taxes

The GOP congressman who destroyed Obama’s sequester scare story
The Obama administration has employed a variety of tactics to frighten the public about the possible consequences of sequestration. Air-traffic control towers will be shuttered. Children will be thrown off Head Start. The nation’s guard against terrorism will be lowered.

Illinois Is Accused of Fraud by S.E.C.
For the second time in history, federal regulators have accused an American state of securities fraud, finding that Illinois misled investors about the condition of its public pension system from 2005 to 2009.

Greek unemployment reaches record 26 percent
Unemployment in debt-crippled Greece rose to a record of 26 percent in the last quarter of 2012, as austerity measures combined with a deep recession took a harsh toll on the workforce.

Krugman Can’t Admit He Was Wrong on Austerity: Latvia PM
Latvia’s Prime Minister hit back on Friday at Paul Krugman’s criticism of Latvia’s austerity measures, saying the Nobel Prize-winning economist has “difficulty admitting his own mistake.”

More than 25 percent of Americans raiding 401(k)s to pay bills
More than 25 percent of Americans are dipping into 401(k) retirement accounts to pay bills, according to a recent report.

Modern Day Xenophon Wanted: The Education of Cyprus?
This semester I taught Xenophon’s neglected treatise The Education op style=”text-align: justify;”f Cyrus, which many observers have compared to Machiavelli’s Prince. Seems now we could use a modern-day financial Xenophon to update it as The Education of Cyprus, where, according to news out within the hour, there is going to be a four-day “bank holiday” to prevent a total run.

Majority Of Cypriot Parties Refuse To Support Deposit-Loss Law
Cyprus president Anastasiades to tell Eurogroup he lacks support and votes to pass levy

Europe Does It Again: Cyprus Depositor Haircut “Bailout” Turns Into Saver “Panic”, Frozen Assets, Bank Runs, Broken ATMs
Late last night, after markets closed for the weekend, following an extended discussion the European finance ministers announced their “bailout” solution for Russian oligarch depositor-haven Cyprus: a €13 billion bailout (Europe’s fifth) with a huge twist: the implementation of what has been the biggest taboo in European bailouts to date – the impairment of depositors, and a fresh, full blown escalation in the status quo’s war against savers everywhere.

Europe Announces Stunning Bailout For Cyprus — Bank Depositors To Get Instant 10% Tax Before Banks Reopen This Week
Eurozone leaders and the IMF on Saturday announced an unprecedented levy on all deposits in Cypriot banks as the sting in the tail of a 10-billion-euro bailout for the near-bankrupt government in Nicosia.

Cyprus bails-in depositors to reduce cost of Eurozone bailout – a turning point in the Eurozone crisis?
Well, we said it was going to have an impact well beyond its size (0.2% of Eurozone GDP).

International

Fukushima Radiation Proves Less Deadly Than Feared
It is two years since Japan’s 9.0- magnitude earthquake, one so powerful it shifted the position of the Earth’s figure axis by as much as 6 inches and moved Honshu, Japan’s main island, 8 feet eastward. The tsunami generated by the earthquake obliterated towns, drowned almost 20,000 people and left more than 300,000 homeless. Everyone living within 15 miles of Fukushima was evacuated; many are still in temporary housing. Some will never be able to return home.

Japanese politician banned for wearing wrestling mask to meetings
A local politician elected in the southern Japan city of Oita in February has been banned from council meetings for refusing to take off his full-face wrestling mask.

Toronto District School Board sics police on sarcastic blogger

Zimbabwe: Young children targeted in radio raids by the police
The illegal seizure of wind-up radios reached new levels this week with reports that the police are now using primary school pupils to source information about the receivers.

336 million abortions under China’s one-child policy
More than half a billion birth control procedures, including at least 336 million abortions, have been performed in the name of the one-child policy, China’s Health ministry revealed yesterday.

D-Day for Press freedom
MPs are urged not to vote on new law on papers

Opinion

Why do the Koch Brothers get all the sunshine?
Here’s a couple of data points that bear serious thought this week by transparency advocates celebrating Sunshine Week and by everybody else who cares about protecting and preserving a free and independent press:
1,130 – Number of results for search term “Koch Brothers” on The New York Times web site.
64 – Number of results for search term “The Tides Foundation” on The New York Times web site.

How the demographic shift could hurt Democrats, too
Since the November election, in which President Obama won huge majorities among minority voters, it’s been taken as gospel that the Republican Party must, for its own survival, seek to appeal to those groups by moving to the left on topics such as immigration reform. But as the nation becomes more diverse, the demographic shift can cut the other way, too: Some Democratic voters are likely to move to the right.

The Sequestered Life of Julia
A meticulous new analysis examines the benefits of government-administered socialism among a representative cross section of individuals. It is an insightful departure from the usual studies of socialism that analyze only collective benefits to society using statistics about such things as income quartiles and poverty levels. The new study is 27 pages and can be accessed as a PDF file via this link.

The Administrative State in One Photo
The then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (and may she remain forever a former Speaker) took a lot of ridicule during the debate over the passage of Obamacare when she said that we’d have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. I thought the critics had this all wrong. It was, in fact, the most intelligent thing she ever said, albeit unintentionally. What counts is, as Machiavelli put it, the “effectual truth” of the matter. And the effectual truth of modern American government is that Congress no longer enacts laws in the meaningful sense of the word. Instead, they pass wish lists, and delegate the actual lawmaking to unelected administrators.

Defining Bullying Down
THE March 3 death of Bailey O’Neill, a 12-year-old boy in Upper Darby, Pa., was widely attributed to bullying, based on allegations that a classmate hit the boy in the face in January. He suffered a concussion, his family said, and eventually seizures.

Beautifully Medieval California
At about dusk, I close two large metal gates to my driveways. The security lights come on, and I enjoy intramural life. I am not protecting my dogs from coyotes, although there are many in the vineyard, but rather the farmhouse from the odd array of visitors, the lost, and criminals that can make up the now normal nighttime world of central California. If you doubt me, just peruse the Fresno Bee for the sort of things that occur nightly.

Do as I Do, Not as I Say
Sheryl Sandberg says that the only difference between the sexes is that men can’t nurse children, but her own experience shows otherwise.

To Win, We Must First Admit We Lost
Excusing defeat is a sure way to keep losing. In the 2012 election, conservatives, libertarians, and tea party groups were outworked and outvoted by an array of forces that should have been demoralized and bitter, but instead focused on their common enemy and working together.

The New Affirmative Action
Making diversity the goal of preferences doesn’t eliminate bias.

On Branding and Self-Ghettoization
Actually, I like that idea of a speaking circuit [of sending conservatives out to speak on college campuses]. And specifically of bloggers and “minor players.” Further, you need a group that is not directly linked to any of the Conservative players.
Then, it’s not “The College Republicans Hosting [Whomever],” rather it’s “The Open Ideas Society* Hosting [Whomever].”

Obama’s Second Term Troubles Have Begun
In the aftermath of President Obama’s now-obvious-to-all sequester overreach–in which he first predicted the end of the world as we know it, then backed away from those claims once the cuts went into effect, then attempted to inflict maximum pain on the American people, and is now blaming the Secret Service for the stupid and unnecessary decision to shut down White House tours–something is changing.

L.A. is Tammany Hall West
Everything that’s wrong with the corruptocracy known as Los Angeles is contained in this L.A. Times report about the departure of Tim Leiweke as head of Anschutz Entertainment Group—and there’s little doubt, given how the details were spaced out in the 1,000-word story, that reporters David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum didn’t realize what they were telling us.

A country with too many laws is effectively a country without any laws
Too many laws, or laws enforced arbitrarily, simply become a trap for the unwary. Such was the case for a Maryland woman driving on Interstate 95 in bad weather, with wind speeds gusting up to 40 miles per hour. Because the winds were ferociously buffeting her car, the woman (who remains anonymous) dropped her speed from the maximum limit of 65 MPH down to 63 MPH.

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