Google wants to know everything about even iPhone users: “What Google really wants is for everybody to be signed in to their Google accounts all the time.”

Quartz has a very interest article available here about how Google is constantly acquiring detailed personal information about people whether they realize it or not.  Google plans on making it so that iPhone users are signed into Google at all times.
Regulators—who Google said in that post had ”been calling for shorter, simpler privacy policies”—quickly realized what the changes meant. European authorities opened an investigation into the new policy, calling it a breach of EU law. More than two years later, many cases remain unresolved. France and Spain have both slapped fines on Google, though the combined €1.05 million ($1.45 million today) is roughly as much as the revenue Google will make in the time it takes you read this article. The investigation is ongoing in another four countries, including Germany. . . .  
Keeping you signed in on all apps fills this gap in Google’s knowledgeBut just as importantly, it makes a big difference to how the company measures whether ads—the lion’s share of its business—are working.
For example, you may have seen an ad for something on YouTube on your phone, looked it up using the Amazon app on your tablet, and eventually bought it on your computer. Unless you were logged into YouTube when you first saw the ad, Google can’t tell if the sale was a result of the ad, and can’t prove to advertisers—who spend half their mobile budgets with Google—that the money was well spent. It also can’t tell if it’s shown you the same ad over and over again to no effect—information it could use to target ads better. . . .


Obama has more federal judges confirmed than George Bush

Obama not only has more federal judges confirmed, but his judges are much more liberal than Bush's were conservative.  The confirmations represent a real change in the federal bench.  From Politico:
Over the course of his presidency so far, Obama’s nominated 301 judges and gotten 237 confirmed. By this point in his presidency, Bush had nominated 267 judges and had 234 of them confirmed.As of April 4, Obama has gotten 44 circuit court judges and 191 district court judges confirmed. As of April 4, 2006, Bush had 43 circuit court and 189 district court judges confirmed. . . .
Obama has thus appointed 25 percent of the 179 circuit court judges and 28 percent of 677 district court judges.  Because Democrats can confirm anyone they want, the number of nominations is probably a better measure of Obama's impact and that means he will soon have about 35 percent of the federal bench (301/856).  He is clearly on track to appoint over half of the circuit and district court judges.

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Media Matters, TPM, and others mislead over my interview on MSNBC: Gun-free zones on military bases

An analysis of Media Matters' attacks on me is available here.  So far their attack has been the lead story on their website for almost an entire day.  Do you think that Media Matters and TPM don't like me?



Why campaign donations should be secret

There is a real cost to making campaign donations public.  Take an example from this week: 
Mozilla -- most famous for its Firefox browser -- patted itself on the back for standing up for equal rights when it forced out CEO Brendan Eich Thursday after only a week on the job.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based organization infuriated many employees and users last week by promoting Eich. The hullabaloo centered on Eich’s $1,000 donation in 2008 to support Prop 8, the California initiative that barred same-sex marriage in the state.
The dating website OkCupid, which says 8 percent of its users are gay or lesbian, boycotted Firefox earlier this week, telling its users not to use Mozilla's software to access the site in light of Eich's promotion. . . .
Imagine the impact that public information on donors could have on the willingness of people to make donations against powerful politicians. 


Gun-free zone debate getting serious discussion in the media, the debate is changing some

Something after the Fort Hood shooting is different.  The problem of gun-free zones is getting a serious discussion.  Previously many in the media had even denied that there were even gun-free zones on military bases.  I can't recall news stories so openly discussing problems with gun-free zones.  From Fox News:
MARTHA MACCALLUM, GUEST HOST: One of the first questions to come up after this shooting is why were none of these victims armed? John Lott is a FoxNews.com columnist. His son was at Fort Hood yesterday. Lott asks why his son can carry a concealed handgun whenever he is off the base from Fort Hood and can protect himself and others. But on the base he and his fellow soldiers he says are defenseless. Why would that be?
Texas Republican Congressman Steve Stockman is behind a bill that he hopes will change that. Congressman, good evening. Good to have you here.
MACCALLUM: You go so far as to say you believe that the extent of these shootings happens because these soldiers on this base are not allowed to be armed.
STOCKMAN: That's absolutely right. In fact, this is a 20-year experiment that's failed. This has only been in place 20 years. We're not talking 50 or 100 years. This has only been 20 years. And since it's been in place you see a rapid increase in this kind of violence on bases. And John Lott's absolutely right. As he walks off the base, he can carry a gun.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, it is extraordinary in many ways when you think about it. And in fact, after the original Fort Hood massacre the restrictions were tightened on this base, correct?
STOCKMAN: Yes, this is a bizarre response. I know there are some generals that are saying hey, we shouldn't still allow them to protect themselves, but these are young men and women we say we want them to protect us. And it only makes sense if we're trusting them to protect us -- we should trust them to protect themselves. And this is a notion that we need to give them the right to protect themselves. It's a crazy notion that we train them and then we don't allow them to -- to say you can't have a gun. It doesn't make sense.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, the fact of the matter is, when you look at all of these mass shootings there's one thing that ultimately ends the violence, and it is when that person generally is confronted with a gun. And that's what happened here. A brave military police officer on that base, a woman, stepped in and stopped it, right? . . .
From National Public Radio has this from Alan Greenblatt:
For John Lott, Wednesday's mass shooting at Fort Hood was a test of personal beliefs that struck uncomfortably close to home.
His son is serving at Fort Hood and was close enough to the activity hear shots and screaming.
But he wasn't in a position to respond. Department of Defense policy forbids soldiers and sailors, in most circumstances, from carrying weapons at installations.
That frustrates Lott. For years, he has been promoting the idea — including in his book "More Guns, Less Crime" — that relaxing gun restrictions would make for a safer society.
"Even though my son just got back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he had his gun with him all the time, he isn't able to have his gun with him on the base," Lott says. "We somehow don't trust people to carry a gun on base here."
Lott is not alone in this debate. With the third mass shooting at a military facility in five years, some members of Congress want to reexamine the policies that leave soldiers unarmed on base. . . . .
From USA Today:
At a hearing Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked about revisiting policy about prohibiting soldiers from carrying personal arms on U.S. bases, suggesting it might be helpful for self defense.
Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, disagreed, saying military police carry weapons for law enforcement purposes and that was "appropriate." . . . 

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Not that anyone is surprised, but is this the appropriate forum for a TV news anchor?: Piers Morgan with the Brady gun control people

Everyone knows Piers views on gun control.  How could you not know his views?  Yet, I wonder if it is appropriate for a TV news anchor to make an appearance at the Brady Campaign.  The screen picture is taken from a video at USA Today.

The appearance occurred last year and also got coverage at the Hollywood Reporter.



Seriously? Aetna CEO: "Only 11% Of ObamaCare Signups Have Been Uninsured"

KERNEN: “In spite of the government, you're doing OK.”SORKIN: “What is your latest read on the website, if you will.”BERTOLINI: “You know, I think too much is being made of the website. We've all had website failures from time to time, and this was a particularly big problem, but I think, really, is the program working behind the website—”SORKIN: “OK, so what about the pool?”BERTOLINI: “So right now we see that only 11 percent of the population is people that were formerly uninsured that are now insured. So we didn't really eat into the uninsured population. So, is the program working? We saw people that were very adept at shopping, so economics always works, so if I can find a cheaper policy versus the the one I already have, in the individual market, I'll go and buy that. We didn't see a whole lot of shift. As a matter of fact, employers shied away from moving their employees into public exchanges because they didn't like the way it rolled out. And so, we saw employers pull back from thinking about the public exchanges for their employees. So what we saw was a shift from the individual insured market onto the public exchanges where they could get a better deal on the subsidy.”


Cleveland Clinic CEO: "Three-Quarters Of ObamaCare Signups Have Higher Premiums"

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove: "Well for the people who have signed up about 3/4s of them find that their premiums are higher than with other insurance."



The notion of revealed preference: Why employers are not indifferent between providing insurance and giving workers a higher wage to compensate them for buying insurance themselves

  1. From the oral argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

  2. MR. CLEMENT:  . . . If they take away the health care insurance, they are going to have to increase the wages to make up for that. And they're going to have to pay the $2,000 penalty on top of it, plus they're going to have to violate their ­­ their own interest which is, we actually ­ we believe it's important to provide our employees with qualified health care.

  3.  JUSTICE KENNEDY: Okay, the last is important. But just assume hypothetically that it's  a wash, that the employer would be in about the same position if he paid the penalty and the employer pardon me, an employee went out and got the insurance and that the employee's wages were raised slightly and then it's ­­ and that it's a wash so far as the employer are concerned, other than the employer's religious objection, but just on the financial standpoint. Can we assume that as a hypothetical. Then what would your case be? 
If Hobby Lobby were really indifferent between these two outcomes, would they be willing to spend all the money and time on fighting this case in court?  There is the general issue of revealed preferences, and in this case employers are clearly indicating which choice they prefer by their actions.  If it wasn't for the law, we know which choice they would prefer.  We also know how that choice changes with the law in place.  

Finally, Clement is clearly right that in order for Hobby Lobby's employees to be the same, they would not only have to have higher wages to compensate them for the lost insurance, but the firm would also have to pay $2,000 per employee.  $2,000 per employee might not seem like much to the Justices, but say an employee is receiving $40,000 per year.  Everything else equal in terms of insurance, would they be indifferent to their wages being cut by 5% to $38,000?


Do people feel safer if they own guns in the home?

An analysis of polling data of whether people feel safer owning guns in their homes is available here.


My appearance on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America to discuss bans on guns at military bases and at NFL stadiums

The audio of the interview is available here.