Will Obama's legacy be to reintroduce slavery?: Obama threatens jail for man who wants to shut down business

When Federal government demands backdoor to his system, Lavabit Founder, Ladar Levison, wants to shut Down His Service and Feds respond by threatening his arrest.  Threatening someone with jail for shutting down their business sure sounds like Obama is demanding that they continue working at a particular job and do that job a particular way even when they don't want to do it.  Isn't that what slavery is?  From NBC News:
The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.

"I could be arrested for this action," Ladar Levison told NBC News about his decision to shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, in protest over a secret court order he had received from a federal court that is overseeing the investigation into Snowden. 
Lavabit said he was barred by federal law from elaborating on the order or any of his communications with federal prosecutors. But a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that James Trump, a senior litigation counsel in the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., sent an email to Levison's lawyer last Thursday – the day Lavabit was shuttered -- stating that Levison may have "violated the court order," a statement that was interpreted as a possible threat to charge Levison with contempt of court. . . . 
Levison, a 32-year-old entrepreneur who ran his company out of a Dallas apartment, said in a public statement last Thursday that he made "the difficult decision" to shut down Lavabit because he did not want "to become complicit in crimes against the American people." . . . 
Levison stressed that he has complied with "upwards of two dozen court orders" for information in the past that were targeted at "specific users" and that "I never had a problem with that." But without disclosing details, he suggested that the order he received more recently was markedly different, requiring him to cooperate in broadly based surveillance that would scoop up information about all the users of his service. . . .
Fortunately, President Obama assures us that there is no domestic spying.

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Ezra Levant on what environmental activists know and how they get paid to protest

The story is available here.


A giant political slush fund for Democrats that will have real privacy concerns: Obamacare navigators

Money to "community groups" and "advocates" sure seems like From The Hill newspaper:
. . . The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced $67 million in funding for “navigators,” which are people and community groups who will help people make sense of their options under the healthcare law. 
HHS had initially said navigators would receive $54 million in grants, but officials said they pulled an extra $13 million from the healthcare law’s prevention fund to help broaden the reach of the program. 
“Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the marketplace,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. “A network of volunteers on the ground in every state — health care providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates, and local elected officials — can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled.” 
All told, more than 100 organizations in 34 states received grants on Thursday. . . .
Meanwhile, this ramp up is cutting corners on security, which was probably too weak in any case.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi set off the alarm on Friday.
Bondi said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person’s private information to fall into the wrong hands. 
“Because of time constraints, HHS [is] cutting back on the requirement to become a navigator, meaning they're not going to be doing background checks. They're not going to be fingerprinting these people,” said Bondi in an interview with Fox. 
“And it's more than navigators. It's people that assist the navigators. Now, these navigators will have our consumers throughout the country's most personal and private information — tax return information, Social Security information. And our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft.” . . .
Note also the earlier information on how these "navigators" will be given access to the data hub with all sorts of sensitive information.
The massive, centralized database will include comprehensive personal information such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. It will compile dossiers based on information obtained from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and for some reason the Peace Corps. The Data Hub will provide web-based, one-stop shopping for prying into people’s personal affairs. . . . 
The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators . . . .

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Government double standard on religion: Georgia High School Mural posts “God is Dead” quote

Would that school assign books that wrote about positive religious experiences?  Say the Bible for example.  Hardly.  But for some other "approved" literary works it is OK.  Isn't the Bible considered a literary work?  Would the school count the Bible as helping students understand the US or world history?  You would think that it was a very important book in understanding what motivated people such as America's founders.  But I assume that the answer is "no" to that also.  At this point it really isn't a question of whether one is religious or not, but one of consistency.  From Fox News:
A Georgia high school project that has sparked outrage among some students and parents will not be taken down, the district decided.
Alcovy High School leaders will instead meet with students to explain the context behind a poster featuring the quote, “God is Dead” from Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible.”
“It made my daughter very uncomfortable,” Crystal Mitchell, a student's parent told MyFoxAtlanta.com.
“If my child can’t pray in school and they’ve taken religion out of school, for this to be plastered on the walls of school, is a huge concern for me,” Mitchell said.
But the school contested that thousands of students read the book each year, and the project is meant as a reflection of the play, not as a religious statement. . . .


Vote Fraud: 163 poll workers in Ohio retired because of a "high error" rate (read fraud)

Hamilton County in Ohio has seen it problems with vote fraud.  Just last month veteran poll worker, Melowese Richardson, was sentenced to five years in prison for voting multiple times.  The county was also investigating 39 other voter fraud cases.   Now the county is retiring 163 other poll workers for their high rate of errors.  From Cincinnati.com:
. . . That includes 94 workers at 16 precincts that will be completely restaffed because of a high number of errors.   
The others failed to vote themselves and/or performed poorly on Election Day.
Those 163 poll workers represent about 5.6 percent of poll workers – the most ever who aren’t being asked back.   
The move comes as board of elections officials continue to work to find the 2,905 poll workers needed to staff the county’s 545 polling locations. . . .
Here is a particular example where everyone "knew there were problems."
. . . Willis, 74, of Madisonville, has been a poll worker for more than 35 years. . She loved seeing neighbors and looked forward to election days. But the last two elections, she said, the board of elections moved her and she ended up working at the same polling location as Richardson.   
“They knew there were problems,” Willis said. None of them, she said, was the result of her work.   
“To work there all this time and for them to let me go mainly because of Melowese’s behavior isn’t fair,” Willis said.   
Board of elections staff pointed out the assessment showed the problem extended beyond Richardson, and that the polling location had problems as a team. . . .



Gallup: Obama's Economic Approval Slips to 35%

There is a positive side for Obama in these numbers.  He had an even worse approval rating for the economy during the summer of 2011.  
While Obama's job rating on the economy is down from June, and on the low end of the range Gallup has recorded since 2012, it is still better than the 26% it fell to in the summer of 2011. That period represents a recent low point for Americans' views of both Washington leaders and the economy, owing to the clash between Obama and the Republicans in Congress over raising the federal debt ceiling in July 2011. . . .
A Fox News poll indicates that even most Democrats don't believe that Obama is offering any new ideas to finally get the economy going.  Overall, only 20 percent of Americans think that Obama is offering new ideas (click on next two figures to make numbers larger).

 The Fox News poll also has Obama obtaining the lowest approval rating of his presidency.

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So what upsets the New York Times about the Ashton Kutcher movie on Steve Jobs?

Greg Gutfeld: "Gun Control Contradictions - 'The Five' Fox News - 8-15-13"

Just for fun: The longest straight line that you can sail without hitting land


Is the world really overcrowded?: Sure doesn't look like it

If the world's population was concentrated in Texas at the same concentration as NYC, would we say that the world had no room for other people?  Hardly.


What is happening to the economy?: Sales at Walmart's US stores open for at least a year fell 0.3%, their FIFTH CONSECUTIVE QUARTERLY DROP

Is the decline at Walmart due to the economy?  Is it due to internet retailing?  Is it that Walmart just isn't operating very well right now?  From the UK Guardian:
Walmart dampened hopes of a widespread economic recovery Thursday as the world's largest retailer reported lackluster sales for the last three months.
Sales grew slower than expected as the retailer said consumers reined in spending and traded down to lower-priced products. Wal-Mart cut its forecast for profits and sales for the year.
Profits rose slightly to $4.07bn in the quarter ending July 31 from $4.02bn a year earlier. But sales at US stores open at least a year – a key retail measure – fell 0.3%, their fifth consecutive decline. "The customer remains challenged," Walmart US president Bill Simon said.
Chief financial officer Charles Holley said: "The retail environment remains challenging in the US and our international markets, as customers are cautious in their spending." . . .
Walmart's explanation?
Retailer blames higher payroll taxes and fuel costs for consumers' increased caution despite positive economic outlook . . .  
Sears and Kmart have also been suffering, but the pattern is interesting in that online sales are rising.
-- Domestic comparable store sales declined 3.6% in the first quarter of 2013, as much of the country experienced a cooler spring than last year. Sears Canada's comparable store sales declined 2.6% in the quarter; 
-- Our online business on sears.com and kmart.com grew 20% over the prior year first quarter 
Meanwhile, Amazon's online sales also increased by a similar 22% during the first quarter, though profits were down.

All this makes one think that internet sales are substituting for brick and mortar stores.

Left wingers, such as the Daily Beast, have another bizarre theory that Walmart's sales are low because they aren't paying workers enough.
They’re just not shopping more at Walmart. . . .  Now, there are several explanations for this. Consumers could be hampered by the rise in the payroll tax. Or people who used to shop at Walmart may be choosing to shop elsewhere. I prefer a simpler solution.
People tend to shop with the wages they earn. . . .
The biggest problem in the economy is the refusal of companies, now in the fifth year of this expansion, to boost wages broadly. The rich are continuing to do well. But the typical worker just isn’t getting a meaningful wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average hourly earnings for workers in the private sector have risen by a scant 1.9 percent in the past 12 months. Quarter after quarter, corporate America collectively puts up big profits, buys back shares, rewards executives handsomely, pays dividends—and then effectively freezes wages. And then executives at stores that cater to the bottom half of the income ladder wonder why nobody shows up. “Where are all the consumers?” read a plaintive email from a Walmart executive earlier this year. “And where is all their money?” . . . Walmart prefers to blame external factors for its woes. 
If higher wages generated more profits for Walmart, would you have to pass a law to force them to pay the higher wages?  Walmart unilaterally paying more wages won't increase overall sales.  What it will do is increase the prices of its products.  If higher wages got more productivity from the workers, Walmart would surely take that into account in their decision.


Forcing prostitution in public places in Switzerland

I have to say these "sex boxes" hardly see like they provide much privacy.  Is the lack of privacy one way to cut back on prostitution?  From the UK Telegraph:
The drive-in "sex boxes" as they are being called, will be officially opened on August 26, as part of a drive by authorities in Zurich to regulate prostitution, combat pimping and improve security for sex workers.
The nine garage-style structures, located in a former industrial zone in the west of the city, have been organised with typically Swiss precision.
Drivers will have to follow a clearly marked route along which up to 40 prostitutes will be stationed.
Once they have chosen one of the women and negotiated a fee, they will drive into one of the wooden sheds, which are hung with posters advocating the use of condoms and warning of the risk of Aids.
The sex boxes are equipped with alarms which the prostitutes can activate if they feel in danger from a client. . . . Men who solicit street workers outside three new approved zones, including the cluster of sex boxes, will face fines of up to 450 francs (£310). . . .


Charles Krauthammer on Obama's lawlessness

Here is a partial list of lawless actions by Obama.  It isn't an issue of whether one agrees with the changes Obama wants.  It is a question of how those changes are being made.  From the Washington Post:
. . . On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder, a liberal in a hurry, ordered all U.S. attorneys to simply stop charging nonviolent, non-gang-related drug defendants with crimes that, while fitting the offense, carry mandatory sentences. Find some lesser, non-triggering charge. How might you do that? Withhold evidence— for example, the amount of dope involved. 
In other words, evade the law, by deceiving the court if necessary. . . .   
 . . . Indeed, the very next day, it was revealed that the administration had unilaterally waived Obamacare’s cap on a patient’s annual out-of-pocket expenses — a one-year exemption for selected health insurers that is nowhere permitted in the law. It was simply decreed by an obscure Labor Department regulation. 
Which followed a presidentially directed 70-plus percent subsidy for the insurance premiums paid by congressmen and their personal staffs — under a law that denies subsidies for anyone that well-off. 
Which came just a month after the administration’s equally lawless suspension of one of the cornerstones of Obamacare:the employer mandate. 
Which followed hundreds of Obama­care waivers granted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to selected businesses, unions and other well-lobbied, very special interests. . . . 
In 2012, the immigration service was ordered to cease proceedingsagainst young illegal immigrants brought here as children. Congress had refused to pass such a law (the DREAM Act) just 18 months earlier. Obama himself had repeatedly said that the Constitution forbade him from enacting it without Congress. But with the fast approach of an election that could hinge on the Hispanic vote, Obama did exactly that. Unilaterally. . . .
Click on the obamalawless tag below to get a longer list of Obama's lawless behavior.


With the NSA audit and the DEA cases, does anyone still believe that Obama is honest about no domestic spying?

When Obama said that there was no domestic spying was he ignorant of this NSA audit?  From Fox News:
. . . Despite repeated claims by officials that the NSA does not spy on Americans, the Post reports that the bulk of the infractions involved improper surveillance of Americans or foreign targets in the U.S. Some of the infractions were inadvertent, caused by typographical errors resulting in U.S. calls or emails being intercepted. Others were more serious.
The Post reported that the most significant violations included the unauthorized use of information on more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders. In another incident, the Post reported that a “large number” of calls from Washington were intercepted in 2008 after the Washington area code 202 was confused with the code 20, which is the code for dialing to Egypt.
In total, an NSA audit from May 2012 reportedly found 2,776 incidents in the prior 12 months of improper collection and handling of communications.
In another case, the special court that oversees the NSA did not learn about a new collection method until it had been underway for months. The court ruled the method unconstitutional, according to the Post. . . .
All the collection of telephone numbers of Americans, who they called, how long they talked, and where they called from seems like domestic spying, but we were told that they weren't listening to the calls.  From the Washington Post:
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been the recipient of multiple tips from the NSA. DEA officials in a highly secret office called the Special Operations Division are assigned to handle these incoming tips, according to Reuters. Tips from the NSA are added to a DEA database that includes “intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records.” This is problematic because it appears to break down the barrier between foreign counterterrorism investigations and ordinary domestic criminal investigations. 
Because the SOD’s work is classified, DEA cases that began as NSA leads can’t be seen to have originated from a NSA source. 
So what does the DEA do? It makes up the story of how the agency really came to the case in a process known as “parallel construction.” Reuters explains:
Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.
. . .  There’s another reason the DEA would rather not admit the involvement of NSA data in its investigations: It might lead to a constitutional challenge to the very law that gave rise to the evidence. . . .
UPDATE: Senator Leahy expresses concerns over NSA problems and plans to hold another inquiry.
. . . Leahy's announcement about the additional hearing comes a day after an internal NSA audit published by The Washington Post revealed that the spy agency had repeatedly broken privacy rules or overstepped its authority. 
"The American people rely on the intelligence community to provide forthright and complete information so that Congress and the courts can properly conduct oversight. I remain concerned that we are still not getting straightforward answers from the NSA," Leahy said in a statement.  
"I plan to hold another hearing on these matters in the Judiciary Committee and will continue to demand honest and forthright answers from the intelligence community." . . . 
More on Democrats jumping ship at Fox News:
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called the latest reports "extremely disturbing."  
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said: "Reports that the NSA repeatedly overstepped its legal boundaries, broke privacy regulations and attempted to shield required disclosure of violations are outrageous, inappropriate and must be addressed." . . .
Another article in The Hill has this:

Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) warned Friday that recent revelations of privacy violations by the National Security Agency (NSA) were “just the tip of a larger iceberg.” . . .
But the problem is that they just can't tell us what the violations are.
Udall and Wyden, who both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement that the new leak vindicated past claims that “violations of [privacy] laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged.”  
They implied, however, that privacy violations when far further than was revealed Thursday. 
“While Senate rules prohibit us from confirming or denying some of the details in today’s press reports, the American people have a right to know more details about the scope and severity of these violations,” they said. . . .

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Over 95 percent of the highest paid state employees who work for Kansas work for the university system

Not too surprising, but it is useful to document.  From KansasWatchDog.org:
. . . Of the 1,000 highest-paid public employees in Kansas last year, nearly all of them were on the payroll of one of the state’s six public universities. 
I pulled the data on state employee salaries from KansasOpenGov.org. While the site is operated by the Kansas Policy Institute, a free-market think tank that emphasizes small government and fiscal prudence, all the figures were compiled through information provided by the Kansas Department of Administration
In all, only 46 of Kansas’ top 1,000 highest-paid state employees work somewhere other than a state university. That’s less than 5 percent. . . .

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Mt. Juliet, TN City Employees may Soon Carry Guns At Work

By a 4 to 1 vote, the city gave its initial approval to letting city employees carry concealed handguns.  What is most interesting is how the bill changed through the process.  From a local TV station in Tennessee:
City commissioners in Mt. Juliet passed an ordinance that would allow employees with valid carry permits to bring a gun onto city property.
It was the ordinance's first reading.
The ordinance would permit all city employees to have a gun on their person while performing their city duties.
"Anytime that you can get in here, as government body, and remove any barriers to people's rights to self protection, and self defense, I think that's a good thing," said Mt. Juliet Vice Mayor James Maness.
He was one of four commissioners who voted in favor of the ordinance. The proposal started out to allow guns in parking lots, and was then amended to allow city managers to carry guns, and eventually was changed to allow all employees with a valid permit to bring a gun to work.
"We're not granting anyone extra rights, we're just choosing not to deny them the rights they already have," Maness said.
The ordinance raised red flags for Commissioner Jim Bradshaw, the lone no vote against the ordinance.
"I was just really, totally shocked the other night the way this ordinance started out and got turned and twisted," Bradshaw explained.
Bradshaw said his opposition has nothing to do with the right to carry a gun. He just does not feel it is sound policy to allow employees to carry guns while they are working. . . .

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George Will on Obama's Lawlessness

These articles are starting to pile up.  From the Washington Post:

President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. Desperation fuels arrogance as, barely 200 days into the 1,462 days of his second term, his pantry of excuses for failure is bare, his domestic agenda is nonexistent and his foreign policy of empty rhetorical deadlines and red lines is floundering. And at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality. 
Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.” 
He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.” . . .


"More 'Fast and Furious' weapons appear at Mexico crime scenes"

From Fox News:
Three more weapons used in Operation Fast and Furious have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, Fox News confirms. 
CBS News first reported earlier this week that the guns had been tracked down. According to Justice Department documents, all three are described as WASR-10 .762-caliber Romanian rifles and all three were traced to a gun shop in Glendale, Arizona. The exact locations where the guns were recovered, and what crimes the guns may have been used in, was not immediately clear. 
The documents further state that two of the three guns were purchased by Uriel Patino, who is believed to have purchased 700 weapons with encouragement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The third was bought by Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in 2012. 
The Justice Department has acknowledged encouraging gun stores in the U.S. to sell weapons to purchasers who trafficked them to Mexican drug cartels. The Department said that the goal was to capture a major cartel leader. . . .

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"Obama’s approval rating on economy drops to 35 percent"

From The Hill newspaper:
A new poll finds President Obama’s approval rating on the economy dropping to 35 percent, even as he travels across the country delivering policy speeches and pushing proposals to boost job growth and investment.
The survey from Gallup, released Thursday, finds a 7-point drop in support for Obama’s handling of economic issues, down from 42 percent in June.
His rating on taxes and the deficit also dropped 5 points from last month’s poll. Thirty-six percent approve of Obama’s handling of tax issues and 26 percent approve of his approach to the deficit.
Gallup noted that Obama’s ratings on the economy fell alongside a slide in Americans’ overall economic confidence over the same period.
The president’s overall approval dropped 3 points to 44 percent. . . .

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In the new military you can't even keep your views about homosexuality to yourself, Senior Master Sgt questioned about views and then relieved of duty

From Fox News Radio:
A 19-year veteran of the Air Force said he was relieved of his duties after he disagreed with his openly gay commander when she wanted to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality. . . . 
“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk told Fox News. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.” 
The Liberty Institute is representing the Christian airman in case the Pentagon decides to retaliate. 
“Are we going to have a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for Christians so we don’t get harassed for our beliefs?” attorney Hiram Sasser asked Fox News. “Here’s a guy who wants to have his religious liberty and serve in the military. He shouldn’t have to believe in gay marriage in order to serve.” . . .

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More Obama adm fraud: "DOJ, FBI admit they inflated claims about mortgage fraud crackdown last year"

Great, the Obama administration inflated the claimed about of mortgage frauds by a factor of FIVE just before last November's election.  From Fox News:
The Justice Department and FBI have quietly acknowledged they grossly overstated the scope of a mortgage fraud crackdown, which the administration heralded with much fanfare a few weeks before last year's presidential election.
According to a memo circulated by the FBI and a correction posted online by the Justice Department, the number of defendants, the number of victims and the size of the losses are, in reality, a fraction of what officials claimed last October.
Attorney General Eric Holder and other law enforcement officials claimed in early October that the initiative charged 530 criminal defendants on behalf of 73,000 victims who suffered over $1 billion in losses. The so-called Distressed Homeowner Initiative, which targeted fraud schemes against distressed homeowners, was highlighted in a press release and press conference at the time.
Holder, talking to the cameras on Oct. 9, called it "a groundbreaking, year-long mortgage fraud enforcement effort."
. . . The feds now admit that the number of criminal defendants charged was more like 107, not 530. The number of victims was 17,185 -- still a large number, but roughtly one fourth the size of the original headcount. And the losses totaled $95 million -- not $1 billion, as originally claimed.
The DOJ and FBI had long been dogged by claims that their numbers were inflated. Bloomberg has been reporting since October that the cases cited by Holder included charges filed during the George W. Bush administration. . . .


Dramatic: Houston: Woman with concealed handgun permit stops six armed robbers who held up a Denny's, apparently saved lives of family members

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Cases like this one from Houston deserve to get a lot of national attention.  The story has everything: a woman against huge odds (six armed robbers) and she saves lives.  If the robbers had killed multiple people, the story would surely have gotten national attention.

This is also a case that demonstrates why one shouldn't limit magazine size.  If the woman had been in New York (even assuming that she had been allowed to carry), she would only have been allowed just seven bullets to fight off six men.  Even if these robbers had obeyed the law, they would have had at least 42 bullets between them and they probably would have brought extra magazines.  What is apparently not understood by gun control advocates is that law-abiding people who carry will almost always bring just the magazine that is in their gun.  It is simply not convenient to carry around another magazine given the small odds that the law-abiding citizen will have to use them on any given day.  But criminals who know that they are going to use their gun will bring many magazines with them.  From Channel 2 TV in Houston:
A woman opened fire on a group of robbers at a local Denny's restaurant.
At around 4 a.m. Thursday, a man who does not want to be identified, said his brother was robbed by six men with guns at a Denny's off the Gulf Freeway in southeast Houston. . . .
His brother's wife was in the restroom at the time, but when she exited the restroom she saw the group of suspected robbers. Police said that's when she pulled out her gun and shot at them.
"She said she came out of the restroom and saw my brother on the floor. That's when she started doing what she gotta do. She got a license and she'll do anything to protect her kids and my brother," he said.
Police said there was a shootout, but it is not known how many shots were fired at the time. However, police said the gunshots did hit cars in the parking lot.
No bystanders or customers were injured.
The group of suspects fled the scene. . . .
"Self-defense saved my brother's life," he said. . . .
Amazingly, there virtually no detailed news stories on this case: KTRK and KHOU.

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"White House rejects call for ‘Gun Free Zone’ around Obama, Biden," What works for Obama apparently doesn't apply to other Americans

Like every one from Rosie O'Donnell, David Brock, Jim Carrey, Justice Stephen Breyer, former Mayor Richard Daley, and many others, Obama says that his safety justifies allowing guns to defend himself.  He just doesn't think that the same rules should apply to others.  From The Hill newspaper:
President Obama needs armed security because he faces “serious, persistent and credible threats on a daily basis,” the White House said in response to a petition meant to undercut his push for new gun controls. 
The “We the People” petition was submitted nine days after the elementary school shooting last year in Newtown, Conn. It called for the elimination of armed guards that protect the president and vice president and the establishment of "Gun Free Zones" around them — a reference to a federal law that bans firearms on school grounds.  
The petition garnered more than 40,000 signatures, enough to trigger an automatic response from the White House.  
The White House dismissed the call to disarm the president's security detail, noting that Congress mandated full-time protection of the president after the third assassination of a sitting president in 1901. . . .

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97% of the jobs added this year are part-time jobs.

So far this year there have been 963,000 new jobs.  Of those, 936,000 are part time jobs (272,000 for economic reasons and 664,000 for noneconomic reasons).  To put it differently, an incredible 97% of the jobs added this year have been part-time jobs.  28% of the jobs added were part-time jobs where people had tried for full-time jobs.  From the BLS.gov.


Is insurance a problem for schools that allow staff and teachers to have guns to protect against mass shootings?

From the Arkansas Times:
An item yesterday about the Clarksville School District's plan to have more than 20 teaches and staff members carry concealed weapons next school year as a security measure prompted a lot of discussion yesterday, including on the topic of insurance. 
In Kansas, a major insurance company has said it will not insure schools that allow district employees to carry weapons. It prefers that people with guns be uniformed, qualified law enforcement officers. Clarksville has provided security guard training and additional weapons training for its staff members, but they will be carrying concealed weapons and they will continue normal duties, not work solely on security. 
I asked Superintendent David Hopkins about insurance and he sent this repsonse by e-mail:
"I have spoke with them and as of now there is not an issue. I don't expect one either."
Other schools have allowed teachers to carry guns (such as the Harrold Independent School District in Texas that has had it since 2008) and presumably since they have continued to operate, insurance has presumably not been a problem.   

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Some information on vote fraud

Janice Borkenhagen has collected links for articles on vote fraud available here.


What do gun control advocates think passes for "effective messaging"?: Take full advantage of tragedies when they happen

Here is the advice that the PR company hired by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  The bottom line is to take advantage of tragedies when they occur.  Here are some quotes from their "playbook."
P. 40: The debate over gun violence in America is periodically punctuated by high-profile gun violence incidents, including Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, the Trayvon Martin killing, Aurora, and Oak Creek. When an incident such as these attracts sustained media attention, it creates a unique climate for our communications efforts.The purpose of this section of our guide is to present some advice about how to make sure our communications are powerful, impactful and appropriate to these unique circumstances.We believe that the following nine guideposts should be helpful both when we encounter high-profile incidents that attract national attention – and when a similar dynamic occurs in a local community.  
p. 40: #1: Don't hesitate to speak out
There can be a tendency to adopt a quiet “wait and see” attitude when a high-profile gun violence incident happens. The truth is, the most powerful time to communicate is when concern and emotions are running at their peak. While we always want to be respectful of the situation, a self-imposed period of silence is never necessary.  
p. 41: #3: Don't assume the facts -- and don't wait for them.
Experience tells us that the specific facts of a high-profile gun incident are revealed over time. If we jump to conclusions about those details, we could find ourselves at odds with reality as events unfold.So, the smartest thing to do is avoid linking our message and arguments to any one set of partially-revealed facts. We shouldn’t assume the facts.But, we also shouldn’t argue ourselves into inaction while we await clarity about details.The clearest course is to advance our core message about preventing gun violence independent of facts that may shift on us over time. (“While we don’t know the specifics of this tragedy, we know far too many people are killed by weak gun laws in this country.”) Of course, once a fact is clearly established, it makes sense to rely on it to advance your case. 
P. 42: #4: Ask hard questions. 
One way to link our arguments to an event without being trapped by shifting circumstances is to ask questions – ones that point to approaches and policies that we favor, but that resonate with special emotional power at the time of a high-profile shooting.Where did the gun come from? Did the shooter have to undergo a background check before he got the gun? Did the shooter have a permit for the gun? Did the shooter own more than one gun? Did he have high capacity ammunition magazines with him? How many rounds did he have on him? Did the shooter have to observe any kind of waiting period before he got his hands on the guns? Or did he get them right away no questions asked?  
p. 44: #8: Don't let policy speak drain the emotion from the moment.
There is often a compelling case to be made for immediate action, pivoting from the emotion of a high-profile incident to calls for legislative action or specific policy changes. Those who seek to make that pivot have to be careful not to drain the emotional power out of the moment.An emotionally-driven conversation about what can be done to prevent incidents such as the one at hand is engaging. A dry conversation about legislative process and policy is far less engaging.Choice of language, constantly connecting the policy to how it impacts people’s lives, and avoiding being dragged into the nuances of specific policy prescriptions are all critical here. 

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Lois Lerner hides IRS regulatory discussions in her private email account

Using false identities and private email addresses appears to be standard practice in the Obama administration (see here, herehere, and here).  Lois Lerner has been caught in multiple lies about what happened at the IRS and now it is discovered that she was hiding regulatory discussion in private email addresses so that she hasn't had to turn in those emails when she got previous congressional requests.  From Fox News:
House Republicans on Tuesday asked an IRS official at the center of their probe into the agency targeting Tea Party groups for documents related to her personal email account, after learning she allegedly used the account for official business. 
The request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to official Lois Lerner states she sent documents related to her official duties from her IRS email account to an account labeled ‘Lois Home.’ 
“This raises some serious questions,” wrote committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “To understand the extent to which you may have used a non-official email account for official purposes, … we request that you produce all documents and communications housed in your msn.com account.” 
Issa suggested such activity could violate federal records requirements, creates difficulties in filing Freedom of Information Act requests and “frustrates congressional oversight obligations.” . . .
A tough op-ed about the IRS abuse of power is provided here by Senator Rob Portman.

Now an IRS whistle-blower has confirmed what many had suspected but could not prove — the misconduct involved not only Ms. Lerner and the Washington office generally, but specifically included the IRS chief counsel, one of only two Obama political appointees in the entire agency. Several news outlets have now reported that the chief counsel may have met with the president at the White House on April 23, 2012, just two days before the IRS issued a revised set of “be on the lookout” instructions to IRS agents reviewing tax-exempt applications that appear to target Tea Party groups for more stringent review.  Perhaps most troubling, the White House’s timeline of events — who knew what and when — has changed repeatedly since news of improper targeting first became public. 
And the scope of the scandal is growing. Just a few days ago,congressional investigators released emails suggesting that staff at the Federal Election Commission were engaged in conservative targeting of their own, perhaps with improper help from Ms. Lerner and the IRS. Now evidence is mounting that one of the most powerful agencies of the federal government — the Securities and Exchange Commission — has also engaged in political targeting. In a letter to the chairwoman of the SEC, congressional leaders revealed that documents produced for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform “indicate that the SEC has been under immense pressure from elected officials and special interest groups as part of a government-wide effort to stifle political speech.” 
With each new revelation we discover more incompetence, and more examples of politicized enforcement of the law — all enemies of good governance. . . .


Americans feel much safer walking on their streets than people in other countries

This data is from the International Crime Victimization Survey by the UN for 1989 to 2005 (click on pictures to make it bigger).  While the percent of people across all countries who feel threatened by burglary is 29 percent, in the US it is 16 percent, with only Denmark having a lower percent.  For people being threatened on the street, Americans apparently feel much less endangered walking around their neighborhoods than people in other countries by a 19 to 27 percent rate.  Interestingly, about twice as high or higher a percentage of people in Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria feel at risk.

So why do Democrats require IDs to buy guns but oppose them for voting?

The Washington Post has a piece on North Carolina's new voter ID law:
. . . The measure requires voters to present government-issued photo identification at the polls and shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days. It will also end pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-old voters who will be 18 on Election Day and eliminates same-day voter registration.
Democrats and minority groups have been fighting against the changes, arguing that they represent an effort to suppress the minority vote and the youth vote, along with reducing Democrats’ advantage in early voting. They point out that there is little documented evidence of voter fraud. . . .
The Justice Department has suggested it will fight the new law, which comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act. States like North Carolina are no longer required to obtain preclearance from the Justice Department for such changes after the Court struck down the formula used for determining which states and jurisdictions with a history of voter suppression require preclearance.
The Justice Department is also looking to challenge a new Voter ID law in Texas and has also fought against a new Voter ID law in Florida. . . .
So where are the DOJ lawsuits over requiring IDs to buy guns?  Don't they also discriminate minorities?


More of scandal uncovered with Lois Lerner

Sean Hannity has the video and the discussion available here.
Lerner: So everyone is screaming at us right now: "Fix it now before the election.  Can't you see how much these people are spending?"


Obama uses taxpayer dollars to fund left-wing labor protestors?

It looks like the Obama administration helped give this labor union group some seed money to help get it started.  From Reason magazine:
Labor activists using tactics adopted from the Occupy Wall Street movement are crashing restaurants across the nation in an effort to raise wages for workers – and they’re getting taxpayer money to fund the effort. . . . 
According to tax filings for ROC United, the parent organization that has launched the smaller chapters operating in many cities, the group got $180,000 in government grants during 2010 and another $60,000 in similar grants during 2011
The organization’s budget was about $1.72 million in 2010 and $2.65 million in 2011 – meaning taxpayer dollars accounted for a little more than 5 percent of their operating costs.  
Other funding for ROC’s initiatives comes from the usual left-wing sources, including grants from the Tides Foundation, a group that also gets tax dollars from the federal government, as a previous Watchdog.org investigation uncovered.. . .


Government black box rules for cars are the end to privacy and make car theft easier

Apparently even if you don't take your cell phone with you, the government can still track you with your car.  These rules not only make it  easier for the government to track you, but they apparently they also make it easier for people to steal your car!  From Fox News:
A proposed federal rule that would require black boxes or event data recorders (EDRs) in every U.S. automobile may mean “Big Brother” could be in your passenger seat for every drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rule requires all light passenger vehicles be equipped with an EDR by Sep.1, 2014. Ninety-six percent of new cars already have them - measuring such inputs as speed, lateral acceleration, pedal effort, seat belt use, wheel spin, steering wheel turn and direction. . . .
 But he also said he fears that for all their potential good, the EDRs present a massive privacy dilemma, and an opportunity for fraudsters.
 "They can take that odometer and roll that odometer back to zero,” he said. “They can change the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is in the computer. And once they do that, then it's okay for them to very simply steal the motor vehicle and move it away."
Kowalick points out  that YouTube has hundreds of clips that demonstrate how to hack into automobile EDRs. . . .
The potential for malfeasance is huge, but so is the access EDRs give to law enforcement and insurance companies, who could download EDR data to determine whether a motorist  is at fault in an accident. . . .

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Who's "political IQ" is higher?

If you want to do the survey, I suggest you do it before you click on the picture above to make it larger.

PEW Research has a computer survey (nonrandom) on political IQs available here.  If you want to do the survey, I suggest you do it before you click on the picture above.  Generally men and those with the most education do better on the survey.  I wouldn't have guessed where older or younger people would have out preformed each other.  Older people seem to be much more likely to correctly identify people and younger people seem more likely to identify flags and symbols.

Yet, these are trivial questions.  If only 57% can identify China's flag or 55% can identify who is the attorney general, I can only imagine that a much smaller percent would correctly guess the content of a particular law.

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Is California's $70 billion high-speed train obsolete before it is even built? A colossal waste of money?

With California and US taxpayers on the hook for $70 billion to build a train across the state starting this year, Elon Musk might have already made it a waste of money.  The government would have a slower, more costly way of moving people that few would want to use.  Musk isn't promising to make this system operate, but he is arguing that it could be done.  From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Almost a year after Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SpaceX, first floated the idea of a superfast mode of transportation, he has finally revealed the details: a solar-powered, city-to-city elevated transit system that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. In typical Musk fashion, the Hyperloop, as he calls it, immediately poses a challenge to the status quo—in this case, California’s $70 billion high-speed train that has been knocked by Musk and others as too expensive, too slow, and too impractical. 
In Musk’s vision, the Hyperloop would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes. He describes the design as looking like a shotgun with the tubes running side by side for most of the journey and closing the loop at either end. These tubes would be mounted on columns 50 to 100 yards apart, and the pods inside would travel up to 800 miles per hour. Some of this Musk has hinted at before; he now adds that pods could ferry cars as well as people. “You just drive on, and the pod departs,” Musk toldBloomberg Businessweek in his first interview about the Hyperloop. . . .

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Government sponsored insider trading

From the WSJ:

Several times a month, the Labor Department invites news reporters to a sealed room for an early look at soon-to-be-released reports such as the unemployment rate. One organization attending in recent years stands out from the rest. 
Founded by an investment firm and now owned by the Deutsche Börse stock exchange, Need To Know News has operated with an overriding mission: sending data directly from the government through high-speed lines to financial firms that are able to trade on it instantly. Some have paid $375,000 a year for the service. 
The ability of such an organization to gain a position at the heart of the government's system for releasing economic reports turns on its head an embargo arrangement created decades ago to give writers time to digest complex data and produce reports for broad public dissemination. . . .


Obama makes wealthy Americans flee the country at the same time he is offering asylum for uneducated people

Obama's Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 is having a real impact, scaring away many of the most productive Americans.  At the same time we are offering asylum for poorly educated foreigners we are scaring away many brilliant minds.  From the WSJ:
The U.S.'s crackdown on global tax evaders is leading to a record number of people renouncing their citizenship, and its effects are being felt keenly in Asianow the world's wealthiest region by household assets.
A growing number of wealthy Americans in Asia—and others with green cards—are exploring whether to renounce their U.S. citizenship or give up their green cards to avoid onerous tax obligations.
Globally, more U.S. citizens have renounced their citizenship in the first and second quarters than all of 2012 combined, and 2013 is already on track to becoming a record year for renunciations. A total of 1,130 names appeared on the latest list of renunciations from the Internal Revenue Service, according to Andrew Mitchel, a tax lawyer who tracks the data. That is far above the previous high of 679, set in the first quarter, and more than were reported in all of 2012. . . .

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California's new proposed gun control laws

From the San Jose Mercury News:
Public Safety Committee will hear bills already passed by the state Senate that would ban all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, make it a crime to leave a gun unlocked when you're out of the house and require those who own high-capacity magazines to get rid of them. 
And while a few bills -- such as a 10 percent tax on ammunition and a ban on using lead ammunition for hunting -- now seem less likely to advance, many others are waiting to be heard in coming weeks. So gun control will be at the fore even as lawmakers grapple with about 1,000 bills on such subjects as health care reform, fracking and environmental regulations. 
"We're going to be open to amendments and suggestions from the administration and the Assembly, but we think we've hit the sweet spot in a lot of these areas," state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told this newspaper. . . .


Ten defensive gun cases from June

These cases are primarily from June.  What is interesting is how five of these robberies involve multiple robbers.  

Anaheim, Ca.: California grandma fires .357-magnum gun to scare off burglary suspect

A 72-year-old California woman who fired her gun at an alleged attempted burglar said her priority was to protect her wheelchair-bound husband.
Jan Cooper of Anaheim said she loaded her .357-magnum Smith & Wesson revolver and called 911 when she saw the man jump over her backyard fence and attempt to break into the home through her sliding glass door, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, reported Wednesday.
Cooper warned the dispatcher she was firing her gun.
"You'd better get the police here. I don't know whether I hit him or not. I'm not sure. He's standing at my door, my back door. He's in my yard," Cooper told the dispatcher. . . .
Newark, NJ: Business Owner Pulls Own Gun, Kills Robber In Newark
. . . Around 3:20 p.m., the suspect walked into an unidentified business in the 500 block of Central Avenue in Newark with a loaded gun and a backpack, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and Newark police.
The suspect announced a robbery, and ordered the owner to fill the backpack with money and gold. The suspect said he would shoot the owner’s family members if the owner did not comply, authorities said.
But the owner fought back. He pulled his own gun, and shot the suspect. . . .
North Philadelphia, Fla: Robber shot by store owner in North Philadelphia
Police say a store owner shot a man who tried to rob his store in North Philadelphia.It happened around 11:00 a.m. . . .
According to investigators, the suspect entered the store and tried to reach into the cash register.
So, the 70-year-old owner told police, he shot the bandit in the ankle.
The wounded robbery suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment. . . .
Brunswick, Fla: Homeowner shoots knife-wielding man on porch, police say 
A homeowner who answered his doorbell at 11 p.m. Saturday night shot a masked man who lunged at him with a knife, the Glynn County police said.The homeowner told police his doorbell rang, but he saw no one outside, Capt. Marissa Tindale said in a release.
When he doorbell rang again, he answered the door but had his handgun for safety when he stepped onto his porch, Tindale said.
A man wearing a mask approached and lunged at the homeowner who opened fire with his .45-caliber handgun, she said. . . .
Charlotte, NC: Delivery driver says he was carrying gun when 5 tried to rob him
Wells said he had a bad feeling from the start, when a pizza order was called into Hungry Howie's last week. . . .
"The call came in for a $74 order, first red flag. Second red flag: it was cash," Wells said.
Wells was also suspicious because he said there was a similar call three weeks ago that ended with another driver being robbed.
This time, Wells decided to grab his gun and went to the address, which was a church parking lot on Delta Lake Drive in the university area.
"I saw the four young men sitting right there on the bench and the fifth one was right behind the pillar trying to hide," Wells said.
Wells said the men surrounded him and that's when he showed them the gun tucked in his pants.
"I said, 'Now that we're at this point, do you have the money for this food,' I said, 'or not?' And one guy said 'No, we don't have this money for the food,'" Wells said.
Wells said he got back in his car and left. He said the incident won't stop him from future deliveries because "I knew that I was protected. I was completely protected." . . .
Jacksonville, Fla: 2 suspects dead in home invasion
Two people are dead after what the Jacksonville Sheriff Office is calling a home invasion in the Fort Caroline area. . . .
Officers found that a group of suspects had tried to break into the home.
"They barged in guns pointed at us screaming get on the ground, where is your money, where is your money. And the next thing I know boom, boom, boom, boom," said "Big John" who lives in the home and did not want to be identified.
One of the people inside the home fired shots, hitting at least one of the intruders, 24-year-old Aaron Antwan Harris. . . .
L.I. pharmacist fights back and shoots at robber
A pharmacist on Long Island defended himself from an attempted robbery by firing shots at the suspect Friday afternoon. . . . 43-year-old Marc Gumpert entered the pharmacy and demanded the drugs Ritalin and Dilaudid.
The 34-year-old pharmacist complied and handed over the drugs, but followed Gumpert outside. The pharmacist saw Gumpert inside his car. Gumpert saw the pharmacist, got out of his car, pulled out a knife and walked towards the pharmacist.
Authorites say the pharmacist fired one shot that hit the ground and struck the back tire of Gumpert’s car. Gumpert got back into the car and drove away heading northbound on Bedford Avenue. . . .
Jonesboro, GA: Jonesboro homeowner surprises burglars, shots fired
A Jonesboro homeowner fired his gun at burglars Saturday night who managed to flee through an open window.
Clayton County police say at about 10:30 p.m. the man returned to his home on Sterling Ridge Lane to find three thieves taking items from the house.
The homeowner fired his weapon at the men.
Stanley Short has lived in the neighborhood for the last three years.
He told CBS Atlanta News home break-ins are becoming pretty common in the area.
"It's been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood. A few people [are] reporting houses have been in, and basically [it's] teenagers," said Short. "Actually we didn't hear no shots [fired last night] because it was inside." . . .
Salisbury, NC: Truck Theft thwarted by armed owner
Authorities say a Salisbury man caught his neighbor in the act of stealing his truck and held him at gunpoint until officers arrived.Tuesday morning, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office got a call from James Lambert. He said he was holding someone at gunpoint who had tried to steal his truck. Lambert told deputies he was in his house on Hildebran Road when he heard the truck start up. He said he ran out of the house with a pistol and saw Richard Lee Wright III, 19, also of Hildebran Road, in the driver’s seat of his 1993 Ford Ranger. . . .
Ft. Caroline, Fla: Fort Caroline homeowner kills intruder
A burglar is shot dead by the owner of the home he was breaking into.
"During that home invasion robbery attempt there was gunfire. One person was struck, transported to Shands where he has since died", said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Sgt. TK Waters. . . . . 
Waters says multiple men attempted to break into the home.  He says when the first person was shot, the others fled. . . . 
Houston, TX: Man fatally shoots 2 intruders after home invasion in North Houston
Police said three men broke into an apartment, demanded money and showed a gun, but what they didn't know is the resident also had a gun and shot two of them to death.Neighbors at Oak Leaf Village heard gunshots around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Houston police said there was a home invasion at one of the apartments.
Lila Pena's husband, Javier Ortiz, got out his gun and fatally shot two of the men. . . . 
Here is something from July:

Reidsville, NC: Business owner fatally shoots break-in suspect
Authorities say a business owner fatally shot a break-in suspect early Monday in Rockingham County.
According to Sheriff Sam Page, the shooting occurred between 3:15 and 3:30 a.m. . . .
Sheriff Page says two suspects were breaking inside the business when an alarm sounded. The business owner, who lives down the road, responded to the alarm and confronted the suspects, Page said.
The suspects were pushing rolls of copper wire when the owner approached them, Page said.  The copper was later valued at $4,940.
Page says the business owner and suspects “got into a scuffle,” during which the owner shot one of the suspects.
“Apparently one suspect apparently charged (the owner) and to defend himself he fired a shot, subsequently hitting one of the suspects who then ran around the front of the house and fell and died at the scene,” Page said.
The suspect who was shot died, while the second suspect ran away from the scene, Page said. . . .
“At this time all indications are (the business owner) was acting in a manner of self-defense,” Page said. . . . 

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