Random Gun Items

I was surfin’ the ‘net and came across some interesting tid-bits. I haven’t seen this info published for a while and frankly, it’d skipped my attention. We need to keep all of this in the forefront because it indicates we are not a nation of sheep.

From Gunbroker.com


December Background Check Stats

Data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported 1,407,155 checks in December 2009, ranking the month in the top five for most NICS checks of all time.

This figure, while being a 7.6 percent decrease from the 1,523,426 checks conducted in December 2008 — the beginning stage of an ongoing surge in firearms and ammunition sales — is an increase of 14.4 percent over checks in December 2007.

Year-to-date background checks for 2009 total 14,033,824, an increase of 10.4 percent over the same time period last year. The total number of background checks reported since the beginning of NICS is 110,017,832.

Firearm Sales Up as Murders Drop

The FBI recently issued its preliminary 2009 crime report, showing that the number of murders in the first half of 2009 decreased 10 percent compared to the first half of 2008.

If the trend holds for the remainder of 2009, it will be the single greatest one-year decrease in the number of murders since at least 1960, the earliest year for which national data are available through the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Also, the per capita murder rate for 2009 will be 51 percent lower than the all-time high recorded in 1991, and it will be the lowest rate since 1963—a 46-year low.

Final figures for 2009 will be released by the FBI later this year.

According to gun control supporter dogma—”more guns means more crime”—the number of privately owned firearms must have decreased 10 percent in 2009. To the contrary, however, the number rose between 1.5 and 2 percent, to an all-time high.

For the better part of the last 15 months, firearms, ammunition, and “large” ammunition magazines have been sold in what appear to be record quantities. And, the firearms that were most commonly purchased in 2009 are those that gun control supporters most want to be banned—AR-15s, similar semi-automatic rifles, and handguns designed for defense.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation already estimates record ammunition sales in 2009, dominated by .223 Remington, 7.62x39mm, 9mm and other calibers widely favored for defensive purposes.

California Police Chiefs Association Calls for Firearms Microstamping Study

NEWTOWN, Conn. — In a recent letter to California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) expressed concern over the “hasty implementation” of firearms microstamping in California and called for further in-depth study of the technology before it is implemented by law in California. Microstamping will have a second look

In the letter, CPCA Acting President Susan E. Manheimer wrote, “There are too many unanswered questions with microstamping in its current iteration” and raised concerns that “statements about the capabilities of microstamping may have been technologically premature.” In 2007, CPCA supported legislation (AB 1471) to require firearms microstamping in California.

Firearms microstamping is the process by which firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin, so that in theory the information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired. Legislation mandating microstamping in California was signed into law in 2007 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and was slated to take effect this New Year’s Day (2010); however, since the technology remains encumbered by patents it cannot be certified by the California Department of Justice and therefore has not been implemented.

The letter continues, “We support further research of microstamping in light of the new information that has surfaced since California passage of the legislation.Publicly available, peer-reviewed studies conducted by independent research organizations conclude that the technology does not function reliably and that criminals can remove the markings easily in mere seconds. We believe that these findings require examination prior to implementation.”

The CPCA also expressed concerns over implementing the technology during a very difficult budget environment and the negative impact on law enforcement budgets which are already under significant pressure.

Oh, by the way, Lady Di has posted a great video for Scott Brown. It deserves to be distributed as wide as possible. Go see it at QUICKWIT

Pelosi’s Record on Employment and Job Growth

Over the Holidays, Nancy Pelosi discussed her achievements since taking the position of Speaker of the House. For the country, it’s tragic. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t think so. Here’s an analysis from the Heritage Foundation.

Speaker Pelosi’s Job-Killing Agenda

After a three-week holiday break, the House of Representatives returned to session yesterday, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) marked the occasion with an op-ed detailing her “record of achievement” and outlining her agenda for the rest of the 111th Congress. Pelosi writes: “At the halfway mark in this Congress, our priorities are clear: strengthening the security of the American people and building a new economy that offers our families lasting prosperity.” But the 111th Congress is not the first Congress Speaker Pelosi has presided over. When Pelosi was first handed the gavel in January 2007, the U.S. economy employed 137.3 million people and our nation’s unemployment rate stood at 4.6%. According to the Labor Department’s most recent report, the U.S. economy has shed 6.3 million jobs since then, and 10% of our workforce is now unemployed.

Speaker Pelosi goes on to claim that President Barack Obama’s failed stimulus has “created or saved” 1.6 million jobs so far, but even the White House has abandoned its controversial “saved or created” jobs accounting scheme after more than 90,000 of the 640,000 jobs it claimed to create were found to be completely fraudulent. Pelosi then touts the Cash for Clunkers program as another success despite the fact the program did nothing to create auto sector jobs, led to a crash in auto sales, and did nothing to help the environment. Pelosi also celebrated the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which only further bankrupts our states and inched us ever closer to government-run health care.

Even worse then her past “accomplishments” is Speaker Pelosi’s future agenda, which basically calls for super-sizing the policy failures mentioned above. First on the agenda is President Obama’s health care plan which, like SCHIP, expands health insurance coverage through the welfare state. Both the House and Senate bills achieve over half of their health insurance expansion through Medicaid, which is a welfare program. The taxes and employer mandates used to pay for the expanded coverage are going to hit small businesses hard at a time when we desperately need them to be creating new jobs to move us out of recession.

After health care, Speaker Pelosi is promising continued action on the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation, which is built on the same failed policy ideas behind Cash for Clunkers. A Heritage Foundation analysis of the Waxman-Markey energy legislation found that for a household of four, energy costs (electric, natural gas, gasoline expenses) would rise by $436 in 2012 and by $1,241 by 2035, averaging $829 over that period. Higher energy costs would also increase the cost of many other products and services. Overall, Waxman-Markey would reduce gross domestic product by $393 billion annually and by a total of $9.4 trillion by 2035.

Finally, Pelosi promises “the most sweeping reform of the financial industry since the Great Depression.” But as Heritage fellow James Gattuso has previously demonstrated, the House financial overhaul bill would give financial regulators sweeping powers to control firms deemed “too big to fail” and establish a fund for FDIC to use to resolve the affairs of firms it takes over. The real-life effect of the new powers would be to signal to markets that firms are supported by the federal government and guaranteed against failure — thus leading them to take more undue risks, not less. Pelosi will have essentially created a permanent TARP.

We share Speaker Pelosi’s vision for “swift action to restore accountability to Washington and opportunity for the middle class, to create good-paying jobs for our workers, to use innovation to power America in a global economy and build a strong and smart national defense.” But as business owners, small and large, across the country are saying, Speaker Pelosi’s big government solutions are not the answer.

Rangel and Dodd strike again

I wonder how many of you heard about this over the Holidays. The democrat duo raised the debt limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow the two organization to pay required dividends to their bond holders. If the debt limit wasn’t raised, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have been in default—again!

What should have happened was that they be allowed to default, and like any other corporation, go into bankruptcy, have all asset sold off and cease doing the democrats money laundering. But that didn’t happen. We can only hope. These two organizations directly led to the housing and mortgage collapse and should be disbanded.

It won’t be too soon that Dodd scurries off to oblivion.

Thank you, Chuck Asay, for keeping this in front of us.

Value vs. Worth (Revised: Jan 12, 2010, 0930CST)

I was thinking about this subject over the weekend. I was listening to a local radio show, Capitalist Pigs, on KCMO-710AM. The host and guest were discussing the new “Wall Street Reform Act” being pushed by Charlie Rangel. Rangel is about to rape our financial system again. His first one was to the housing and mortgage system with his malfeasance and failure to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I believe a podcast is available from the station’s website. It’d be worth your while to listen to it.

In this new bill are two provisions. One would allow Obama “in case of bank runs,” to freeze your accounts—freeze anyone’s accounts, or everyone’s accounts. Think of this scenario. You want to buy a car from an individual. You have the funds in your Money Market account. You go to the bank and are told, “Sorry, that exceeds acceptable withdrawal limits and your account is now frozen.”

And who sets those trigger limits? The Obama White House.

If this happens, what will you do for cash? For those purchases you normally buy with cash such as gas for your car, groceries, personal items from your local Wally World, clothes for your kids? The suggested method would be to use credit cards. Debit cards, because they are drawn directly against your bank accounts would likely be frozen as well, would not be an option so the reviewers believe.

The second item in the bill would have a much worse effect overall and it’s a much misunderstood function—allowing the value of assets to float. That change in the bill would be to prohibit the shorting of stocks. Hedge funds.

Selling short is a method of making money when the value of a stock goes down. In the usual view of stock trades, it’s “buy low and sell high.” Selling short is the same. Shorting is the option to sell stocks at an established price. If the price of the stock goes down, you buy at the lower price and have a guaranteed sell at the higher agreed upon price. If the price goes up, you lose. The ability to selling short is a mechanism to establish value. It creates a market for a falling stock and creates pressure against a free fall in that stock’s value. Establishing value is critical to the maintenance of a free market economy.

Without the ability of the market to establish value by market forces, you have an imposed value system such as that of the old Soviet Union before it’s breakup. There was no free market in the Soviet Union. The value of market items, commodities, currency was fixed by the Soviet government. The Soviet currency, the Ruble, was, for all practical purposes, worthless on the international market. Because the value of the Ruble was fixed and had no value relationship with foreign currencies. That made the Ruble incompatible with the international currency exchanges. When the Soviet Union needed to buy products from foreign markets, like grain from the US to feed it near-starving people, the Soviets had to sell gold on the open market to acquire the necessary foreign currency.

That is the direction the US Dollar is heading.

The concept of Value versus Worth is a difficult concept to understand. The definitions below from Arizona Business Sales begins to explain the differences.

Value vs. Worth (From http://arizonabusinesssales.com)

The Seller wants to receive a fair value for their business and the Buyer needs to see the worth in acquiring the business. This may sound simple, but it is not. The Seller’s perception of a fair value for his business may not be the same as fair market value, which is the price that is occurring in the market place. The Seller may not be motivated enough to settle for fair market value if it is less than their perceived fair value based on their own preferences and circumstances. On the other hand the Buyer may say “Yes, I see the fair market value and how it was derived but the business is not worth that much to me.”

Why these different views? Because the terms used have different meanings.

Value is explained as “relative worth with respect to excellence, usefulness, importance and high esteem.” Example: The owner of a tow truck may say he will sell it if someone agrees with his view of its value. A Buyer may reply that he see other trucks at the same price with more worth.

Worth means “good enough or important enough to justify – as in ‘is it worth buying.” Example: One person will buy a certain make of car because they believe in its worth at the given price, while another person may not see that worth. One sees the justification in buying but the other sees no justification in the purchase.

Value and worth are both subjective terms. Some say that commodities such as gold, silver, copper and oil have absolute values. I disagree. Absolute value is useless if you have no common means of exchange. If the currency, the medium of exchange, is worthless, value is meaningless.

In short, value is price you would like to receive or pay for a product. Worth is that price that you place on it. You put a product on sale. The price is $5. A buyer approaches and says, “I’ll buy it for four dollars.” If you accept that price, then the worth of the product is $4, not the initial “value” you placed on it at $5.

If you have no common means of exchange, you cannot “buy” the commodity regardless of price. Others claim that gold and silver are common means of exchange. The fallacy of that is if you have gold and I have ammunition and a gun, I can exchange my “lead” for your gold. In that context perhaps ammunition would be the most common means of exchange. I don’t suggest that as an optimal financial system. It wouldn’t work for long and would be disastrous in the end.

Over this last weekend, John McCain accused the democrats of purposely attempting to destroy the American economy. I’m surprised it took this long for McCain to understand what is happening. Look at history. It was the destruction of the Russian economy leading up to and during WW1 to create the climate that lead to the communist control Soviet Union. It took the destruction of the German economy after WW1, the so-called Wiemar Republic, that created the climate for the National Socialist party to come to power. Remember, the Nazis were SOCIALISTS—state socialism, fascism like that of Italy, but socialist nonetheless. The parallels between fascism and communism has been been ignored but the end result is the same, state control of the economy, of the primacy of government, absolute power over the populace and the destruction of personal liberty.

Could the democrats be creating the climate for a Socialist takeover? Some assert that. It is a possibility. I do not believe the American people would just stand by and let that happen. Americans are not sheep like the Euros appear to be. We would resist.

Getting back to the subject, the democrats continue to run the printing presses. The more currency in circulation, the less it is worth—its value has decreased. This means that instead of a $1 value of an item, it will take $1.25 tomorrow to buy that same item.

Inflation. If you want to learn the costs of rampant inflation, research the Wiemar Republic and the inflation of the German currency at that time. It’s an eye-opener.

My wife and I are taking steps to lessen the impact if the Wall Street Reform Act passes. It won’t be enough. But I hope those plans will prepare us to weather the storm until it passes.

I would suggest that you do your own research and make plans too. I think we’re going to need them.

What is the value you place on your country, the Constitution, your personal liberty?
What is the preservation of our nation, our liberty, the future of our children worth? Your livelihood? Your life? What what would it be worth if you did nothing? Perhaps your soul.

Value vs. Worth (Revised: Jan 12, 2010, 0930CST)

I was thinking about this subject over the weekend. I was listening to a local radio show, Capitalist Pigs, on KCMO-710AM. The host and guest were discussing the new “Wall Street Reform Act” being pushed by Charlie Rangel. Rangel is about to rape our financial system again. His first one was to the housing and mortgage system with his malfeasance and failure to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I believe a podcast is available from the station’s website. It’d be worth your while to listen to it.

In this new bill are two provisions. One would allow Obama “in case of bank runs,” to freeze your accounts—freeze anyone’s accounts, or everyone’s accounts. Think of this scenario. You want to buy a car from an individual. You have the funds in your Money Market account. You go to the bank and are told, “Sorry, that exceeds acceptable withdrawal limits and your account is now frozen.”

And who sets those trigger limits? The Obama White House.

If this happens, what will you do for cash? For those purchases you normally buy with cash such as gas for your car, groceries, personal items from your local Wally World, clothes for your kids? The suggested method would be to use credit cards. Debit cards, because they are drawn directly against your bank accounts would likely be frozen as well, would not be an option so the reviewers believe.

The second item in the bill would have a much worse effect overall and it’s a much misunderstood function—allowing the value of assets to float. That change in the bill would be to prohibit the shorting of stocks. Hedge funds.

Selling short is a method of making money when the value of a stock goes down. In the usual view of stock trades, it’s “buy low and sell high.” Selling short is the same. Shorting is the option to sell stocks at an established price. If the price of the stock goes down, you buy at the lower price and have a guaranteed sell at the higher agreed upon price. If the price goes up, you lose. The ability to selling short is a mechanism to establish value. It creates a market for a falling stock and creates pressure against a free fall in that stock’s value. Establishing value is critical to the maintenance of a free market economy.

Without the ability of the market to establish value by market forces, you have an imposed value system such as that of the old Soviet Union before it’s breakup. There was no free market in the Soviet Union. The value of market items, commodities, currency was fixed by the Soviet government. The Soviet currency, the Ruble, was, for all practical purposes, worthless on the international market. Because the value of the Ruble was fixed and had no value relationship with foreign currencies. That made the Ruble incompatible with the international currency exchanges. When the Soviet Union needed to buy products from foreign markets, like grain from the US to feed it near-starving people, the Soviets had to sell gold on the open market to acquire the necessary foreign currency.

That is the direction the US Dollar is heading.

The concept of Value versus Worth is a difficult concept to understand. The definitions below from Arizona Business Sales begins to explain the differences.

Value vs. Worth (From http://arizonabusinesssales.com)

The Seller wants to receive a fair value for their business and the Buyer needs to see the worth in acquiring the business. This may sound simple, but it is not. The Seller’s perception of a fair value for his business may not be the same as fair market value, which is the price that is occurring in the market place. The Seller may not be motivated enough to settle for fair market value if it is less than their perceived fair value based on their own preferences and circumstances. On the other hand the Buyer may say “Yes, I see the fair market value and how it was derived but the business is not worth that much to me.”

Why these different views? Because the terms used have different meanings.

Value is explained as “relative worth with respect to excellence, usefulness, importance and high esteem.” Example: The owner of a tow truck may say he will sell it if someone agrees with his view of its value. A Buyer may reply that he see other trucks at the same price with more worth.

Worth means “good enough or important enough to justify – as in ‘is it worth buying.” Example: One person will buy a certain make of car because they believe in its worth at the given price, while another person may not see that worth. One sees the justification in buying but the other sees no justification in the purchase.

Value and worth are both subjective terms. Some say that commodities such as gold, silver, copper and oil have absolute values. I disagree. Absolute value is useless if you have no common means of exchange. If the currency, the medium of exchange, is worthless, value is meaningless.

In short, value is price you would like to receive or pay for a product. Worth is that price that you place on it. You put a product on sale. The price is $5. A buyer approaches and says, “I’ll buy it for four dollars.” If you accept that price, then the worth of the product is $4, not the initial “value” you placed on it at $5.

If you have no common means of exchange, you cannot “buy” the commodity regardless of price. Others claim that gold and silver are common means of exchange. The fallacy of that is if you have gold and I have ammunition and a gun, I can exchange my “lead” for your gold. In that context perhaps ammunition would be the most common means of exchange. I don’t suggest that as an optimal financial system. It wouldn’t work for long and would be disastrous in the end.

Over this last weekend, John McCain accused the democrats of purposely attempting to destroy the American economy. I’m surprised it took this long for McCain to understand what is happening. Look at history. It was the destruction of the Russian economy leading up to and during WW1 to create the climate that lead to the communist control Soviet Union. It took the destruction of the German economy after WW1, the so-called Wiemar Republic, that created the climate for the National Socialist party to come to power. Remember, the Nazis were SOCIALISTS—state socialism, fascism like that of Italy, but socialist nonetheless. The parallels between fascism and communism has been been ignored but the end result is the same, state control of the economy, of the primacy of government, absolute power over the populace and the destruction of personal liberty.

Could the democrats be creating the climate for a Socialist takeover? Some assert that. It is a possibility. I do not believe the American people would just stand by and let that happen. Americans are not sheep like the Euros appear to be. We would resist.

Getting back to the subject, the democrats continue to run the printing presses. The more currency in circulation, the less it is worth—its value has decreased. This means that instead of a $1 value of an item, it will take $1.25 tomorrow to buy that same item.

Inflation. If you want to learn the costs of rampant inflation, research the Wiemar Republic and the inflation of the German currency at that time. It’s an eye-opener.

My wife and I are taking steps to lessen the impact if the Wall Street Reform Act passes. It won’t be enough. But I hope those plans will prepare us to weather the storm until it passes.

I would suggest that you do your own research and make plans too. I think we’re going to need them.

What is the value you place on your country, the Constitution, your personal liberty?
What is the preservation of our nation, our liberty, the future of our children worth? Your livelihood? Your life? What what would it be worth if you did nothing? Perhaps your soul.

What’s the slowest you’ve flown?

From time to time, I receive stories from Internet friends that I just have to post for my blogger buds. This is such one. I think Brigid will like this as well.

(H/T to Norm Glitz.)

What was the slowest you ever flew the Blackbird?

Brian Shul, Retired SR-71 Pilot via Plane and Pilot Magazine

As a former SR-71 pilot, and a professional keynote speaker, the question I’m most often asked is “How fast would that SR-71 fly?” I can be assured of hearing that question several times at any event I attend. It’s an interesting question, given the aircraft’s proclivity for speed, but there really isn’t one number to give, as the jet would always give you a little more speed if you wanted it to. It was common to see 35 miles a minute. Because we flew a programmed Mach number on most missions, and never wanted to harm the plane in any way, we never let it run out to any limits of temperature or speed. Thus, each SR-71 pilot had his own individual “high” speed that he saw at some point on some mission. I saw mine over Libya when Khadafy fired two missiles my way, and max power was in order. Let’s just say that the plane truly loved speed and effortlessly took us to Mach numbers we hadn’t previously seen.

So it was with great surprise, when at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked, “What was the slowest you ever flew the Blackbird?” This was a first. After giving it some thought, I was reminded of a story that I had never shared before, and relayed the following.

I was flying the SR-71 out of RAF Mildenhall, England, with my back-seater, Walt Watson; we were returning from a mission over Europe and the Iron Curtain when we received a radio transmission from home base. As we scooted across Denmark in three minutes, we learned that a small RAF base in the English countryside had requested an SR-71 fly-past. The air cadet commander there was a former Blackbird pilot, and thought it would be a motivating moment for the young lads to see the mighty SR-71 perform a low approach. No problem, we were happy to do it. After a quick aerial refueling over the North Sea, we proceeded to find the small airfield.

Walter had a myriad of sophisticated navigation equipment in the back seat, and began to vector me toward the field. Descending to subsonic speeds, we found ourselves over a densely wooded area in a slight haze. Like most former WWII British airfields, the one we were looking for had a small tower and little surrounding infrastructure. Walter told me we were close and that I should be able to see the field, but I saw nothing.

Nothing but trees as far as I could see in the haze. We got a little lower, and I pulled the throttles back from 325 knots we were at. With the gear up, anything under 275 was just uncomfortable. Walt said we were practically over the field—yet; there was nothing in my windscreen. I banked the jet and started a gentle circling maneuver in hopes of picking up anything that looked like a field. Meanwhile, below, the cadet commander had taken the cadets up on the catwalk of the tower in order to get a prime view of the fly-past. It was a quiet, still day with no wind and partial gray overcast.

Walter continued to give me indications that the field should be below us but in the overcast and haze, I couldn’t see it. The longer we continued to peer out the window and circle, the slower we got. With our power back, the awaiting cadets heard nothing. I must have had good instructors in my flying career, as something told me I better cross-check the gauges. As I noticed the airspeed indicator slide below 160 knots, my heart stopped and my adrenalin-filled left hand pushed two throttles full forward. At this point we weren’t really flying, but were falling in a slight bank. Just at the moment that both afterburners lit with a thunderous roar of flame (and what a joyous feeling that was) the aircraft fell into full view of the shocked observers on the tower. Shattering the still quiet of that morning, they now had 107 feet of fire-breathing titanium in their face as the plane leveled and accelerated, in full burner, on the tower side of the infield, closer than expected, maintaining what could only be described as some sort of ultimate knife-edge pass.

Quickly reaching the field boundary, we proceeded back to Mildenhall without incident. We didn’t say a word for those next 14 minutes. After landing, our commander greeted us, and we were both certain he was reaching for our wings. Instead, he heartily shook our hands and said the commander had told him it was the greatest SR-71 fly-past he had ever seen, especially how we had surprised them with such a precise maneuver that could only be described as breathtaking. He said that some of the cadet’s hats were blown off and the sight of the plan form of the plane in full afterburner dropping right in front of them was unbelievable. Walt and I both understood the concept of “breathtaking” very well that morning, and sheepishly replied that they were just excited to see our low approach.

As we retired to the equipment room to change from space suits to flight suits, we just sat there-we hadn’t spoken a word since “the pass.” Finally, Walter looked at me and said, “One hundred fifty-six knots. What did you see?”
Trying to find my voice, I stammered, “One hundred fifty-two.” We sat in silence for a moment. Then Walt said, “ Don ’t ever do that to me again!”
And I never did.

A year later, Walter and I were having lunch in the Mildenhall Officer’s club, and overheard an officer talking to some cadets about an SR-71 fly-past that he had seen one day. Of course, by now the story included kids falling off the tower and screaming as the heat of the jet singed their eyebrows. Noticing our HABU patches, as we stood there with lunch trays in our hands, he asked us to verify to the cadets that such a thing had occurred. Walt just shook his head and said, “It was probably just a routine low approach; they’re pretty impressive in that plane.” Impressive indeed.

Little did I realize after relaying this experience to my audience that day that it would become one of the most popular and most requested stories. It’s ironic that people are interested in how slow the world’s fastest jet can fly. Regardless of your speed, however, it’s always a good idea to keep that cross-check up…and keep your Mach up, too.


Random Items for a Saturday

As a followup to Thursday’s post, from Michael Ramirez…


Just some highlights dredged from The Heritage Foundation…

QUICK HITS (from the Heritage Foundation)

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports today that the economy shed 85,000 net jobs in December, keeping the nation’s unemployment rate at 10%.
New revelations that the Timothy Geithner-led New York Fed told AIG to withhold information from the public about details of its government bailout have securities lawyers wondering if federal securities laws were broken.
President Obama’s decision to suspend sending any detainees being held in the Guantánamo Bay detention facility back to Yemen raises new questions about whether the facility will be shuttered at all.
A day after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Obamacare “health care to nowhere” the White House tried to secure the support of the Democratic Governors Association, but instead Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) told Time: “It is a huge load on the states at a time when we are still climbing out of the recession.”
Due to pressure from the Civil Rights Division of the Obama Justice Department, the Chicago Police Department is seriously considering scrapping their police entrance exam.

“Systemic failure—in the White House.” The Heritage Foundation reports where the actual “systemic failure” actually occurred.

The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem

It may have taken President Barack Obama two weeks to deliver a speech on the failed Flight 253 bomb attack without blaming President Bush, but he should still be commended for finally owning up for the massive intelligence failure. President Obama told the American people yesterday: “The U.S. government had the information . . . to potentially uncover this plot and disrupt the attack. Rather than a failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had. … Ultimately, the buck stops with me . . . and when the system fails, it is my responsibility.”

But while the President is right to admit the system failed and that it is his fault that it did, he is still clueless about why. The President promised he would direct “our intelligence community immediately begin assigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high-priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively — not just most of the time,
but all of the time.” And he added: “In addition to the corrective efforts that I’ve ordered, I’ve directed agency heads to establish internal accountability reviews, and directed my national security staff to monitor their efforts.”

But this failure of our intelligence system was not just about lack of accountability. It was about empowerment – or more specifically the lack thereof. The system simply moved too slowly because there was a lack of urgency about the war on terror. Intelligence personnel were not empowered to employ their ingenuity and resourcefulness to connect the dots. Adding layers of “internal accountability reviews” will only make the bureaucratic stupor worse. It is people’s resourcefulness and initiative that will stop the next terrorist attack, not a bureaucratic process.

And from the day he stepped into office, President Obama’s actions have done nothing but kill the initiative and morale of our intelligence employees. From day one, he made it clear that he believes the war on terror is a civilian criminal justice problem to be managed, and not a war to be won. That is why he took the responsibility for interrogating detainees from the CIA and gave it to the FBI. That is why he has failed to seek the renewal of key investigatory authorities authorized under the USA Patriot Act, instead settling for a six-month extension tacked on to the Defense appropriations bill. It is why instead of promising victory in Afghanistan, he sent fewer troops than were required and gave al Qaeda a set date for our withdrawal. It is why he has failed to approach Congress with legislation establishing a legal framework for handling terrorism detainees. It is why he is pushing for Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be prosecuted in civilian court despite his previous guilty plea in a military tribunal. And most demoralizing of all, President Obama has allowed Attorney General Eric Holder to re-investigate nearly a dozen CIA interrogators and contractors for their past efforts in the war on terror.<

This is an issue of leadership. The President of the United States sets the tone and then the message filters down. Our intelligence personnel failed to follow-up on the leads that could have prevented Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from even boarding the plane because their leader had sent the message that fighting the war on terror was not a high priority. Finally, it now seems that the President is ready to start acting like protecting the American people is not just a duty: it is his first duty.


And finally, a cartoon to round off the week.