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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: Today at 11:03:47 AM
To all my good friends of that break-away faction of Judaism known as Christianity my warmest good wishes and prayers on this Good Friday-Easter weekend.

Your kind words are well-received from the break-away faction and the wishes go both ways!  I get to celebrate with family and pray in the Christian church this weekend.  During the past week enjoyed Passover leftovers with friends.  With all of that I feel doubly blessed - and then some.   smiley
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: April 19, 2014, 12:30:34 PM
"b. We are a union of states so the is in each contest in each state for who we want to empower as chief executive."

EXCELLENT soundbite!

Cleaning up the wording: 

We are a union of states so there is a contest in each state for who we want to empower as chief executive. 

Then the states's choices are weighted by size of their populations to balance the states' interests with proportional representation of/by/for the people. 

Not a perfect system but better than all the alternatives.

I am also curious what Bigdog thinks of the wisdom of the EC.   

3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Electoral college on: April 18, 2014, 01:35:24 PM
second post
Would someone be so kind (BD are you out there?) as to give the argument for the electoral college?

Bringing this request forward with a few thoughts. 

a. The central point and purpose of the constitution is to define limits on all rule and majority rule in particular.   Division of powers and super-majorities required on various important things are examples of this.
b. We are a union of states so the is in each contest in each state for who we want to empower as chief executive.
c. Because of the EC, a distribution of support is required to win.
c. In a close election like happened in Florida 2000, imagine that recount fiasco happening simultaneously in all precincts of all 50 states.

To those who oppose the electoral college I would ask, do you oppose the Senate and the Supreme Court as well.  Both are also designed to potentially deny or delay the majority their will.
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why Rahm Emanuel put Census Bureau under WH control on: April 17, 2014, 12:29:41 PM
I don't have a citation for it, but I have seen in several usually sound sources reports that the Census Bureau is changing the questions it asks with regard to health care and that the net effect will be that it will eliminate a consistent basis for data with regards to how many people do not have health insurance and that Team Obama will be able to, yet again, lie.

In other words, yet again the non-political agencies of our government are being politicized.
WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Congressional races: Energy State Dems in Senate Races Split From Obama on: April 17, 2014, 12:23:27 PM
Energy State Dems in Senate Races Split From Obama

Obama lost all of West Virginia's 55 counties in 2012 and won just 35.5 percent of the vote statewide.

11 Democrats last week urged Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the end of May.  Six of them face contested re-elections this year.

6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues - Victor Davis Hanson on: April 17, 2014, 12:16:42 PM
The two extreme positions of the Left and Right probably have little public support — on the one hand, blanket amnesties and open borders, and on the other, deportation of all foreign nationals who reside here without legal authorization.
Polls show that most Americans want something in between.
Close the border. Allow entry only to those who have legal permission. Ensure that employers hire only those foreign nationals who have valid green cards. Permit those who have resided here for a while, who are without criminal records and are employed, to apply inside the U.S. for either a pathway to citizenship or legal residence.

Require that those residing here unlawfully pay a fine for breaking the law and wait in line until immigrants who followed the law are first processed. Reform legal immigration to make it ethnically blind and predicated on skill sets and education rather than on proximity to our borders or on family connections to those residing here unlawfully.
The obstacles to reform are not bogeymen who want to deport everyone, but the disingenuous who prefer to deport no one. The culprits are not mustachioed villains who want to close the border, but the more sophisticated who want it to stay wide open. And the real reactionaries are not those seeking to make ethnicity incidental to legal immigration, but those who want to ensure that it remains absolutely essential.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - For the last 8 years on: April 17, 2014, 11:38:47 AM
In the first sentence of this clip, the Pres. swerved into a point I have long been trying to make, that their economic record goes back to:

"ever since we've been in public office"

And the country's policy direction has been ever since they've been in power. This goes back "6, 7, 8 years...", as he alludes.
The Obama / Leftist / Democratic / Government-centric economic record goes back to the day that Democrats took control of congress, Nov 2006 / Jan 2007, back when unemployment was 4.6% and workforce participation was millions ahead of where we are now.  These policies have brought on epic failure, besides crash, putting our economy on what looks like a permanently slower growth path with fewer and fewer people participating.  He didn't inherit the crash only from Bush; he inherited the collapse from himself, a congress led by Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden and Hillary.  That is when the political control arrow switched directions in Washington, not at his inauguration in 2009.

His policy answer now:  More of the same!
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons on: April 17, 2014, 10:39:50 AM
Hillary won't run and can't win.  Where do they get this stuff?   wink

Hillary Clinton’s top 2016 worry is ‘Obama’s economy’

"...count me as skeptical that she will run — and even more skeptical that, if she does run, she wins. Because, based on everything she’s telling people about the problems of inheriting the Democratic Party from President Obama, even she’s skeptical of her chances."

Not to mention his foreign policy failures, most easily tied to her!
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / New Spotlight on North Korea’s Horrors on: April 17, 2014, 10:08:19 AM
APRIL 17, 2014 4:00 AM
New Spotlight on North Korea’s Horrors
A U.N report exposes gulags and systematic torture going back decades.
By Marco Rubio

This week, Australian justice Michael Kirby, who led the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, is briefing members of the U.N. Security Council regarding the widespread atrocities being committed on a daily basis against innocent people by one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Given Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and other global challenges, the report of this U.N. commission has not received the attention it deserves.
Under the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean regime routinely engages in torture, arbitrary detentions, indiscriminate disappearances, starvation, and executions. North Koreans who pay insufficient homage to the country’s deceased founder, Kim Il Sung, can be sent to prison along with their families. Prisoners are often subjected to human experiments, denied food, and essentially worked to death in North Korea’s network of infamous prison camps.
Pyongyang continues to isolate itself and its people from the rest of the world. There is no freedom of the press or access to the Internet. If you are one of the “lucky elite” in North Korea to have access to a radio, the simple act of tuning your dial to a foreign broadcast could result in your imprisonment or even execution. Similarly, there is no freedom of religion, and members of North Korea’s dwindling community of Christians face significant persecution.

The horrific, systematic violations of human rights in North Korea have been going on for many years. And for far too long, these abuses have taken a back seat to international concerns about North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and other provocative behavior. Publicly and frequently documenting the widespread abuses and mistreatment of the North Korean people is an important step toward change and a potential deterrent to other would-be human-rights abusers.

This is exactly what the three-member United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea did with their report, after spending a year looking into the North Koreans’ plight. During hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, London, and Washington, the commission heard firsthand accounts from individuals who fled torture and inhumane conditions in North Korea. Some of them will join Justice Kirby in briefing Security Council members this week.

Their report concludes that crimes against humanity were committed in North Korea over a multi-decade period “pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the state.”

North Korea, unsurprisingly, refused to cooperate with the COI investigation. Many countries in the region did support the commission — with the important exception of China, which refused to grant the commission access to its territory, raising concerns about Beijing’s ongoing support for Pyongyang.

Yet despite these attempts to withhold access, more information about the brutality of the Kim regime is emerging, as North Korean defectors courageously share their personal stories of deprivation and, ultimately, survival. I was honored to be able to meet with a number of North Korean defectors on a trip to South Korea earlier this year and to hear their stories firsthand. They told me that it is important to recognize that exposing the regime’s heinous crimes against humanity as often and as publicly as possible is one of our most powerful tools against the continued brutality of the North Korean regime.

I am under no illusion that this commission will profoundly alter the present-day horrific human-rights situation for the long-suffering North Korean people. But I do believe that the work of the Commission of Inquiry will raise — and, indeed, already has raised — public consciousness about the deplorable plight of the North Korean people.

When we look back at the Holocaust and the murders of millions of innocents in Europe during World War II, many ask why we didn’t do more to stop those atrocities until it was too late for so many who did not survive to see the day the camps were liberated. Some hide behind supposed lack of knowledge, but in this day and age, we have no excuse. Anyone with an Internet connection can use Google Earth to view the modern-day gulags in North Korea.

It is time for the United States and for all who cherish freedom to make it our common cause to pressure the regime to open these camps for international inspection and to make clear that those involved in these horrific crimes will one day be held accountable.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia, STRATEGY AFTER CRIMEA Playing Putin’s Game - W.R. Mead on: April 16, 2014, 10:12:24 PM
Expect nothing but boldly fonted letters of disapproval and euro handwringing.

True, but in an election year we should be able to answer the question of what they should be doing.
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Rule of the Lawless on: April 16, 2014, 01:10:45 PM
I wonder if we will ever know why this suddenly heated up and why they suddenly backed down.  Why does the federal government still own 80% of Nevada?  How do we have armed resources available for this but can't defend our country 75 miles inside our southern border?  Will we waive the turtle protection when solar panels become the encroachment?  Again and again, it is whom you know (Harry Reid?), not what the law saws.

APRIL 16, 2014 4:00 AM
The Rule of the Lawless
Armed federal agents defend turtle habitat but fail to secure our national borders.
By Kevin D. Williamson
"our national borders are a joke, but the borders of that arid haven upon which ambles the merry Mojave desert tortoise are sacrosanct"

The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view.  This isn’t the rule of law. This is the rule of narrow, parochial, self-interested political factions masquerading as the rule of law.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia, STRATEGY AFTER CRIMEA Playing Putin’s Game - W.R. Mead on: April 16, 2014, 12:14:03 PM
Playing Putin’s Game

Long, serious piece with specific proposals.  Worthwhile read!
...  Our new policy towards Putin’s new Russia must begin with NATO. Before we can hope to induce Putin’s Russia to respect anything else, we must teach it that NATO is real and that we are in earnest. This probably cannot be done at this point without substantial and visible upgrades to NATO’s presence in the periphery states of the alliance. There will have to be more NATO installations and more US troops in places like Estonia and Romania. Right now, there is a non-negligible chance that Russia might try to create facts on the ground inside one or more of the Baltic Republics. The border defenses of those republics must be reinforced to make that impossible. That move may infuriate Putin but it will also be a healthy reminder of his impotence in the face of genuine allied resolve, and will make a serious war crisis less likely. There is a real security threat to the Baltic states, and any failure to address that proactively would be reckless imprudence.  There are burglars in the neighborhood and the windows and doors must be bolted shut.
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Donald Rumsfeld and the known unknown on: April 16, 2014, 12:05:11 PM

"I know that I do not know whether or not my tax returns are accurate."

Suggests tax simplification!
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left - Keystone causes "spewing" on: April 16, 2014, 11:51:57 AM
Leftist oppose Keystone XL because the heavy oil is worse than light sweet crude like they have at ANWR.

Fine, then what about oil from ANWR?  Who stopped that??!!

Oil from tar sands spews 17% more greenhouse gas than the average crude oil refined in the United States. ... That's a risk that climate champions such as Kerry and Obama shouldn't be willing to take.

New leftist dictionary: Exhale - to "spew" CO2. 

Climate Champions?  Obama leaves Air Force One on and idling during 15 day golf vacations, flies the family dog on a separate jet, and Kerry's pride is a $7 million, 76 ft imported yacht.  Good grief!

Kerry's Yacht - "a departure from the norm in the opulent world of yachting”:
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Hank Aaron on: April 16, 2014, 11:13:36 AM
The American flag burned at the same game where they honored him.  Unexpected wind shift...  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  If you were at the game Tuesday night, you watched as baseball legend Hank Aaron was honored and the team's latest division banner was unveiled. You might've missed the red glare of a firework bursting in air, burning holes in a nearby American flag at Turner Field.
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race & discrimination. on: April 16, 2014, 11:06:48 AM
ccp: "Perhaps someone should email him (Hank Aaron) the post of the history of racism and the two major American parties on the racism board." 

Another case where emotion trumps logic in the human brain.  His adoring fans are probably majority white and possibly majority Republican.  But the vocal hatred of a few is what hits the hardest and won't let go.  Returning fire with group hate back has a very unfortunate irony to it that he does not see. The casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in Union Army.  Still, more ultimately died from disease than did from enemy n The casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in Union Army.  Still, more ultimately died from disease than did from enemy fire.

Yes, I'll bet you could trace those hate letters back to Dem voters and we can trace everything from the freeing of slaves to the passing of civil rights legislation to the Republicans, but that makes no difference.

One day early in my housing rental side business a man named Fontaine came after me with an iron pipe behind an apartment building in a tough neighborhood of south Minneapolis while he was having some kind of a mental illness episode.  He kept saying, "you don't know who I am!"  All I could draw out of him was that he was a descendant of slaves and wanted me to know that I didn't know what he had been through - as if I had oppressed him then or was oppressing him now by offering low cost housing in a free market.  If logic were applied, then I am a white Minnesotan, the free-state home of Dred Scott, where we helped elect Republican Abraham Lincoln twice and sent the first troops to the war to free the slaves.  "The casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in Union Army."

I'm not expecting a thank you, but it would be nice to move someday past race to judging people by the content of their character.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science, carbon dioxide poisoning at 40,000 ppm on: April 15, 2014, 07:44:51 PM
Not funny, but rare - this is the first time I've seen this. Soon we will all suffer this.  Current atmospheric levels are 400 ppm.  The CDC toxic level is 40000 ppm.  We don't have much time...

1 hospitalized after carbon dioxide poisoning
Associated Press 9:19 p.m. EDT April 14, 2014

ROCHESTER, Minn. - A Rochester bar employee is hospitalized after being overcome by carbon dioxide from the restaurant's pop machine.  Authorities say 63-year-old Jerry Johnson was poisoned by the gas while working Monday morning at Rooster's Barn and Grill.  Deputy Fire Chief Vance Swisher tells KTTC-TV employees at Rooster's heard what sounded like something leaking. That's when Johnson went downstairs to check it out.  Swisher says a carbonation machine that puts the fizz into the restaurant's pop had malfunctioned and filled the basement with carbon dioxide.  Johnson collapsed when he went into the basement. A co-worker called 911.  Restaurant patrons and employees tried to pull him out, but turned back because they couldn't breathe. Firefighters had to use breathing tanks while inside the restaurant.   Mayo Clinic says Johnson is in serious condition.
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson, National Prayer Breakfast, new book on: April 15, 2014, 07:22:48 PM
National Prayer Breakfast speech one more time:

Ben Carson: White House wanted apology for ‘offending’ Obama
11:41 PM 04/14/2014

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson says the White House wanted him to apologize for “offending” President Obama after he famously delivered a conservative message at the National Prayer Breakfast last year.

Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, recalls the events surrounding his 2013 speech in his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future. The Daily Caller obtained an advance copy of the book, which is set for release May 20.

“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes of Obama, “but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential - Scott Walker on: April 15, 2014, 03:17:13 PM
Gov. Scott Walker up by 16 with 59% job approval in yellow state Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Public Radio / Wisconsin Survey

20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, Bret Stephens, Rand Paul on: April 15, 2014, 02:04:42 PM
I wonder what any Rand Paul supporters here think of the specific points made by Stephens, such as this one:

Dick Cheney, who opposed driving all the way to Baghdad when he was defense secretary in the first Bush administration, later went to work for Halliburton. "Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government and it's a good thing to go into Iraq."  Mr. Paul's conclusion: "9/11 became an excuse for a war they already wanted in Iraq."

Let's dissect that a little.  The circumstances for not going into Baghdad a decade earlier were different - a misleading and empty comparison. The reasons to want to go into Iraq prior to 9/11/01 were lengthy including the violation of all agreements made in the original ceasefire, supporting terrorists - yes, nuclear inspection refusals and shooting daily at American aircraft.  To focus on the Halliburton profit take is to join and validate the shameful left, in my view.  The Ron Paul view , and Rand Paul too if he embraces it, is that we shouldn't have been there in the first place enforcing those agreements, leaving him/them again with only the strange bedfellows of the far-left.

Let's accept that we all have different views on foreign policy.  People including Bill Krystal (and Crafty) heavily faulted Rumsfeld and Bush for staying too long with a failed strategy in Iraq.  But that is VERY different from the statement above which attacks the motive of the American - Republican Vice President, not just the strategy of the people who disagree with him, even on his own team.

Besides rejecting the winning concept of peace through strength, needlessly attacking your own side below the belt is not exactly Reaganesque.
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race & discrimination, Hank Aaron on: April 15, 2014, 09:26:26 AM
Hank Aaron is among my heroes in sports. At least for a time, he was the all time leader in the home run of sports.  We had Harmon Killebrew, but Hank Aaron was the best.

He experienced some extreme race hatred at that time and saved the hate mail to never forget. 

Too bad that this much later he would want to want to cast aspersions on "all of the Republicans".

In case Hank Aaron is reading the forum: The hate mail you received was not from 'all of us' and maybe not from any of us, and the reason we don't like Barack Obama as President is because of his policies, not his race.  If he was Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean, the opposition would be the same or worse.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine, US pays Russia $1 Billion, invasion pays handsomely on: April 14, 2014, 11:50:22 PM
We not only prevented Ukraine from fighting back by disarming them, we are paying Russia for their trouble.
It seems wrong to me.

US Pays Half Of Gazprom's Overdue Invoice With $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Priorities on: April 14, 2014, 11:28:11 PM

This story is amazing.  The Feds concede the loss of control, turn it to state and local authorities and then ban them from any enforcement.  If it's not safe or secure 75 miles in, then  its not safe anywhere - it's not like we have another line of defense somewhere further in.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 14, 2014, 03:30:12 PM
Lurch in drag?

The photo did remind me of those quizzes where you guess which of these beautiful women used to be men.

With Sec. Kerry, is he Lurch, or is he Mr. Ed - the talking horse.    wink
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness / Glibness cabinet, Burwell on: April 14, 2014, 03:17:14 PM
The plot keeps thickening on Rhodes Scholar, level trash inspector Sylvia Burwell:

"The agency Burwell heads, the Office of Management and Budget, is responsible for the president’s budget. But OMB also has another, lesser-known responsibility: fact-checking presidential speeches. Every proposed presidential utterance is scrubbed for accuracy by OMB."

Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie:

“if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.”

Burwell was OMB director when Obama declared on Sept. 26, 2013: “Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health-care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.”
"Burwell should explain to Congress and the American people how her office allowed blatant falsehoods to get into presidential speeches, including whether political aides overruled career policy advisers who warned that the president’s claims were untrue." - Marc Thiessen, Washington Post

26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China Property Collapse Has Begun on: April 14, 2014, 02:39:23 PM
As predicted here...

China Property Collapse Has Begun

Nothing is going right for Hangzhou at this moment.  Walmart will be closing its Zhaohui store in that city on April 23 as a part of its overall plan to dump marginal locations—about 9% of the total—in China.

Thanks to the world’s largest retailer, another large block of space in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, will go on the market at a time when there is generally too much supply.  The problem is especially pronounced in the city’s premium office market.  Hangzhou’s Grade A office buildings at the end of 2013 had, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, an average occupancy rate of 30%.

The real weakness, however, is Hangzhou’s residential sector.  The cause is simple: massive overbuilding.  Sara Hsu of the State University of New York at New Paltz writes that Hangzhou faces “burgeoning swaths of empty apartment units.”

Hangzhou’s market has not yet collapsed.  There are still secondary sales, for instance.  Singapore’s Straits Times reports Allen Zhao, a businessman, has been looking to sell his two-bedroom flat in Hangzhou for 2 million yuan.  His neighbor just let go a similar unit for 1.7 million.  If Zhao also sells for that amount, he will make a profit, but he will be disappointed.  “That is not much more than the price I paid in 2012,” Zhao told the paper.  “Now I’m regretting not selling earlier—more bad news about the property market keeps coming in every day.”

New homes also face price pressure.  Developers in Hangzhou are now offering deep discounts, and investors and owners are noticing.  And not just in that city.  “It seems that the 30% price cut in Hangzhou really changed the way Chinese people think about real estate,” writes Anne Stevenson-Yang of J Capital Research, “and I doubt there is any turning back from here.”  (more at link)
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, How Did Harry Reid Get Rich? on: April 14, 2014, 11:28:18 AM

National Review   AUGUST 15, 2012

Try this thought experiment. Imagine that someone grows up in poverty, works his way through law school by holding the night shift as a Capitol Hill policeman, and spends all but two years of his career as a public servant. Now imagine that this person’s current salary — and he’s at the top of his game — is $193,400. You probably wouldn’t expect him to have millions in stocks, bonds, and real estate.

But, surprise, he does, if he’s our Senate majority leader, whose net worth is between 3 and 10 million dollars, according to When Harry Reid entered the Nevada legislature in 1982, his net worth was listed as between $1 million and $1.5 million “or more,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. So, since inquiring minds inquire, let’s try to figure out how Reid’s career in public service ended up being so lucrative. He hasn’t released his tax returns, which makes this an imperfect science, but looking at a few of his investments helps to show how he amassed his wealth.

In 2004, the senator made $700,000 off a land deal that was, to say the least, unorthodox. It started in 1998 when he bought a parcel of land with attorney Jay Brown, a close friend whose name has surfaced multiple times in organized-crime investigations and whom one retired FBI agent described as “always a person of interest.” Three years after the purchase, Reid transferred his portion of the property to Patrick Lane LLC, a holding company Brown controlled. But Reid kept putting the property on his financial disclosures, and when the company sold it in 2004, he profited from the deal — a deal on land that he didn’t technically own and that had nearly tripled in value in six years.


When his 2010 challenger Sharron Angle asked him in a debate how he had become so wealthy, he said, “I did a very good job investing.” Did he ever. On December 20, 2005, he invested $50,000 to $100,000 in the Dow Jones U.S. Energy Sector Fund (IYE), which closed that day at $29.15. The companies whose shares it held included ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips. When he made a partial sale of his shares on August 19, 2008, during congressional recess, IYE closed at $41.82. Just a month later, on September 17, Reid was working to bring to the floor a bill that the Joint Committee on Taxation said would cost oil companies — including those in the fund — billions of dollars in taxes and regulatory fees. The bill passed a few days later, and by October 10, IYE’s shares had fallen by 42 percent, to $24.41, for a host of reasons. Savvy investing indeed.
Here’s another example: The Los Angeles Times reported in November 2006 that when Reid became Senate majority leader he committed to making earmark reform a priority, saying he’d work to keep congressmen from using federal dollars for pet projects in their districts. It was a good idea but an odd one for the senator to espouse. He had managed to get $18 million set aside to build a bridge across the Colorado River between Laughlin, Nev., and Bullhead City, Ariz., a project that wasn’t a priority for either state’s transportation agency. His ownership of 160 acres of land nearby that stood to appreciate considerably from the project had nothing to do with the decision, according to one of his aides. The property’s value has varied since then. On his financial-disclosure forms from 2006, it was valued at $250,000 to $500,000. Open Secrets now lists it as his most valuable asset, worth $1 million to $5 million as of 2010.

How Reid acquired that land is interesting, too. He put $10,000 into a pension fund his friend Clair Haycock controlled, to take over the 160-acre parcel at a price far below its assessed value. Six months later, Reid introduced legislation that would help Haycock’s industry, a move many observers said appeared to be a quid pro quo, though Reid and Haycock denied that the legislation was the result of a property deal.

We don’t know how much more money Reid has or how he made all of it. For that, we’d have to see his tax returns.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 14, 2014, 11:18:53 AM
Republicans will not be able to go after new HHS Secretary (former trash sorter) Sylvia Mathews Burwell politically, on substance, because she is young, female and attractive.


29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Central Planning on: April 14, 2014, 10:35:15 AM
'Smart growth' means that leftist, centrally planned governments will tell you where you may work, live and travel.

Relying on the excellent work of Katherine Kersten, we’ve written before about the left’s big plans for the Twin Cities. The Metropolitan Council, an unelected body, wants to steer new jobs, homes, and economic development to areas within one half mile of major transportation stops. These stops will mostly be in the urban core and inner-ring suburbs.

In these favored areas, tax dollars will be lavished on high-density housing, bike and pedestrian amenities, and subsidized retail shops. The money thus lavished will come from people who live elsewhere.

The transportation needs of the rest of the metropolitan area will take a back seat. Money to improve highways and bridges will shrink. Congestion will grow and traffic safety will suffer. Residents will be pushed into “stack and pack” high-density housing.

As Kersten observes in her latest column on the subject, such a regime “is a tough sell in a democracy in which people believe they have a right to govern their own towns with their neighbors.” Accordingly, it is being promoted as the price the Twin Cities region must pay to remain “economically competitive” with peer regions. The Council insists that without its program — which it markets as Thrive MSP 2040 — the Twin Cities will lose jobs and creative young professionals to more enlightened metro areas like Portland and Seattle.

Intuitively, though, it seems obvious that, in Kersten’s words, people don’t move to a metro area for light rail; they move for opportunity. Similarly, intuition tells us that rigid central planning around a leftist agenda does not promote opportunity.

The facts bear this out. According to the Council’s own data, between 2000 and 2010, while the Twin Cities were was losing population and New York and Los Angeles were experiencing a mass exodus, Atlanta gained 415,000 residents; Dallas-Fort Worth 318,000; Houston 241,000, and Raleigh, North Carolina 190,000.

What do these “people magnets” have in common? Less burdensome government regulation and fewer land use restrictions. Both are strongly correlated with greater economic growth. Thus, Kersten concludes that the Council’s plan will push the Twin Cities in exactly the wrong direction.

In reality, though, Thrive MSP isn’t about competing with other areas for jobs and creative professionals. Rather, it’s about implementing a vision of how, as a matter of leftwing ethics and aesthetics, we should live. People always seem to vote with their feet against this top-down, authoritarian approach.

The Council’s other rationale for Thrive MSP is concern about the economic plight of the region’s low-income households. Here, the Council may be sincere. However, as Kersten shows, these households are likely to suffer most from its misguided policies:

The council deplores our region’s lack of “affordable housing.” Yet its drive for densification likely will significantly increase housing prices, which will harm low-income residents. Rents will rise, too. In Portland, for example, income-adjusted median gross rents in high-poverty areas rose more than 2.5 times the increase in the rest of the metro area during densification from 1999 to 2009.

The “gentrification” that accompanies transit-oriented development often disproportionately displaces low-income households, driving them from the urban core to more dispersed areas with less transit. Low-income families also suffer disproportionately when bus service must be cut to pay for light rail serving well-heeled suburbanites, as frequently occurs.

Kersten reminds us that the Twin Cities already has a very low rate of business formation and, in recent years, taxes as well as labor, property and energy costs have escalated substantially. Thrive MSP seems designed, almost diabolically, to exacerbate these trends and render them irreversible.
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A Clinton trash sorter to run our health care system on: April 14, 2014, 09:34:29 AM
Clinton administration memories from an Obama cabinet appointee.

Don't get me wrong, Sylvia Mathews Burwell is a Rhodes Scholar level trash sorter.  And we believe her about what she decided was important and not important in what they found, took, hid and discarded from Vince Foster's office - the day that he died.
Members questioned Sylvia Mathews, a former White House aide, in laborious detail about what she had found in Mr. Foster's garbage on the night he died. Other than a few routine documents, the garbage contained nothing that shed light on Mr. Foster's thinking, said Ms. Mathews, who is now chief of staff at the Treasury Department.

Republicans on the committee found it significant, however, that Ms. Mathews had also managed to retrieve a special bag of garbage containing classified and sensitive papers that was usually destroyed by the Secret Service. The contents of that bag were never examined by anyone to see if Mr. Foster had left anything in it that might shed light on his state of mind.

Ms. Mathews said that she got the bag from the Secret Service and began looking briefly through it, when she discovered that it contained all of the classified garbage from the West Wing. Concerned about a possible security breach, she sought Mr. Nussbaum's opinion about whether to continue looking through it. She said she was told by Mr. Nussbaum that since Mr. Foster did not have a classified garbage bin in his office, it was doubtful that there would be anything from Mr. Foster in the bag. Therefore, she said, Mr. Nussbaum told her to return the bag unexamined to the Secret Service to be disposed.

The White House said after the hearing that a Secret Service agent on detail that evening said Mr. Nussbaum had been mistaken and that in fact there had been a special classified garbage bin, or "burn bag," in Mr. Foster's office. But the agent also said Mr. Foster's classified bin had never been emptied into the bag that Ms. Mathews had retrieved.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy, Is This What We Want?? on: April 14, 2014, 09:11:15 AM
Whatever one thinks about the US' role in the world, and whether or not we should be the world's policman, can we just agree on one obvious certainty - under this leadership and mindset the US is going to defend no one.

Under any real threat of aggression, the non-nuclear states of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are going to fold like Asian Ukraines, falling first for the neo-liberal-US 'guarantee' of their security, and second for non-threatening rhetoric of their power hungry neighbors.

Let Asia Go Nuclear  | The National Interest  | April 14, 2014

America’s policy of opposing the proliferation of nuclear weapons needs to be more nuanced. What works for the United States in the Middle East may not in Asia. We do not want Iran or Saudi Arabia to get the bomb, but why not Australia, Japan, and South Korea? We are opposed to nuclear weapons because they are the great military equalizer, because some countries may let them slip into the hands of terrorists, and because we have significant advantage in precision conventional weapons. But our opposition to nuclear weapons in Asia means we are committed to a costly and risky conventional arms race with China over our ability to protect allies and partners lying nearer to China than to us and spread over a vast maritime theater.

None of our allies in Asia possess nuclear weapons. Instead, they are protected by what is called extended deterrence, our vaguely stated promise to use nuclear weapons in their defense if they are threatened by regional nuclear powers, China, North Korea and Russia. ...  More at link

As we build down our arsenal, de-fund our ships, bring home our troops, and focus on our bureaucracy at home, what is Plan B for securing our allies? 
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ukraine, Russian Military Takeover Of police headquarters In Kramatorsk on: April 14, 2014, 08:12:59 AM

pro-Russian forces taking control of the police headquarters in Kramatorsk

Takeover Of A Local Government Building In Kramatorsk, In The Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine, April 12, 2014

A video that clearly shows the ontology of the takeover of a local government building in Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region. First, organized spetsnaz teams enter--guns blazing. They are followed by organized bands of less well armed "titushky" ( paid $ 500 if they participate in a takeover) and these are followed by local protestors--mainly poor, some ideological-- (many of whom are reportedly encouraged with payments of $50 for participation in protests). Phase one and two of such a takeover is chillingly recorded in this video. This is a planned, military and paramilitary operation.
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Now it is Sebelius who won't get to keep her health plan on: April 13, 2014, 10:44:09 AM

Sebelius: The Greatest Hits Collection
It's been quite a year for the outgoing HHS secretary. And now she won't get to keep her health plan.

Kathleen Sebelius, who has presided over the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, is expected to resign as Secretary of Health and Human Services. The news comes less than two weeks after she told the Huffington Post that she would "absolutely" stay in office through November. A Journal editorial notes that her departure "before the election reckoning" is "best understood as one more attempt to dodge political responsibility."

It's been quite a year for the former Kansas governor. At around this time in 2013 Ms. Sebelius was pressuring private companies she regulates to make "independent" donations to outfits promoting ObamaCare.

But the aggressive sales job could not overcome defects in the product. October brought the failed launch of the website, which Ms. Sebelius initially characterized as simply the result of surging consumer demand for ObamaCare and a "great problem to have."

December brought more embarrassing news as Ms. Sebelius waived the law's individual mandate to buy insurance by categorizing ObamaCare itself as a hardship worthy of exemption.

This was just one of many on-the-fly rewrites the administration claimed the authority to make under a law passed by Congress and signed by the President. As recently as last month, Ms. Sebelius enacted what a Journal editorial called "ObamaCare Delay Number 38"—an extension of the deadline for individuals to enroll in an insurance plan— just weeks after she told Congress that such a delay would not occur.

Though she is leaving now, her legacy is secure, as her name adorns several of the most consequential federal cases resulting from the law. Halbig v. Sebelius  is testing whether the Obama Administration can continue to subsidize insurance exchanges created by the federal government, even though the law says it cannot. And the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius test whether the Obama Administration can force the owners of private businesses to violate their religious beliefs.

Of course there's a reason that the law isn't called SebeliusCare. She is merely the person charged by the President with imposing the law upon American patients and doctors. Her resignation doesn't change the fact that Democrats will remain politically accountable for a law sold on a fraudulent promise from Mr. Obama.

But this latest news does mean that not even the Secretary of Health and Human Services will get to keep her insurance plan.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Sylvia Burwell on: April 11, 2014, 12:19:48 PM
I heard that new Health Secretary has private sector experience.  Turns out it was giving money away at private foundations.

A graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University as well as a former Rhodes Scholar, Burwell also was President Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Before joining the Clinton White House she was chief of staff to then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

After leaving Washington, Burwell worked in philanthropy. She ran the global development program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In January, 2012 she was named president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, which gave $959 million in cash and in-kind contributions worldwide in 2011, according to its website. She held the job until Obama chose her for OMB in March, 2013.

Her White House connections are deep. National Security Adviser Susan Rice helped introduce Burwell to her husband, lawyer Stephen Burwell, with whom she has two children. The two women first met as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was a dormitory mate at Harvard.

When Obama nominated Burwell last year as his budget director, she went before the Senate as Obama and Republicans were squaring off in another battle: raising the federal debt limit and dealing with the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.  She was confirmed on a 96-0 vote.
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: April 11, 2014, 12:08:08 PM
I appreciate the Wesbury posts.  That said, I don't recall him telling us we were not experiencing Plow Horse growth this past winter.  Spinning only the positive?  Positive economic performance reported last fall was adjustted downward, BTW.

"After a winter hibernation, the Plow Horse economy has woken up and is ready to go"

What say BW about this chart I posted?
Workforce participation down (by 9 million).  Food stamp participation up (by 77%).  Fewer people pulling the wagon; more people riding on it; incline getting progressively steeper.  What could possibly go wrong?
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: John Hinderacker, Powerline vs. Washington Post on: April 11, 2014, 10:21:28 AM
I don't know if anyone has followed this.  Post "journalists" were busted taking false Koch brothers Keystone XL talking pints directly from Dem party.  They keep correcting without correcting.  I recall that Dan Rather also ran up against Powerline fact checking, came up with the 'false but true' defense - and lost.

My Questions to Juliet Eilperin, and a Message to Jeff Bezos, by John Hinderacker

Over the last few minutes, I sent the following four tweets to Washington Post reporter/Democratic Party propagandist Juliet Eilperin:

    Why won’t you answer my questions about whether your false reporting on Keystone is coordinated with the Democratic Party?

    You know perfectly well that Keystone has nothing to do with Koch. Why do you perpetrate a lie, along with Whitehouse and Waxman?

    You know that Keystone would damage Koch economically. Why do you perpetrate a falsehood based on 3% leasehold ownership?

    The public demands answers. You are going to have to account for your false reporting. Did you coordinate with the Dem Party?

If you follow me on Twitter @jhinderaker–as you should!–you can retweet these tweets. You can also tweet messages directly to Ms. Eilperin @eilperin. We are not going to let this rest until we get answers from the Washington Post and from Henry Waxman and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Finally, Jeff Bezos, this is for you: I have no idea what your political views are, but I assume you are a Democrat, like most rich people. Maybe you knew, when you bought the Washington Post, that it is nothing but a corrupt mouthpiece for the Democratic Party. If so, nothing about the Post/Keystone scandal will surprise you; on the contrary, you will probably applaud the Post’s latest effort to fool its readers so as to promote the Democratic Party’s interests.

But on the off chance that you thought you were buying a real newspaper, you should be shocked to learn that the Post cannot respond to a simple question: does the Post coordinate its reporting with Congressional Democrats, or does it not? If the Post were an honest paper–a real newspaper, part of an actual free and independent press–that would be an easy question to answer. That the Post is unable to respond speaks volumes. If this isn’t what you thought you were buying, you should clean house.

37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: April 11, 2014, 10:12:31 AM
I could swear I saw Huckabee's name appear at the top of a poll cited on FOX the other day , , ,

I think that was for Iowa.

Adding to my previous: Huckabee is thinking of running.  Hillary is thinking about running.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: April 11, 2014, 10:09:03 AM
If women are underpaid by 23% for the exact same work, why isn't the unemployment rate for women 0%?
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: April 11, 2014, 09:59:24 AM
POTH reporting is like a bad dream where a bunch of scattered images are thrown together but make up no useful story.

"We can’t make water." Actually not true.  Water is a byproduct of hydrocarbon combustion.  We are making it at twice the rate of carbon dioxide:  CH4 +2O2 = CO2 + 2H2O.   And we don't destroy water by 'using' it.  We are moving it around in a closed system, by drinking, flushing, irrigating.  Who is he calling fact-deniers?  What does any of this have to do with immigration; immigrants could move there, not work, and collect food stamps?

Not mentioned, agriculture now uses larger machines and employs fewer people.  Oops.

Where do you live that you see 36 states through tornado coverage on television?  As (denier) Rush L said after a Republican election victory, the NY Times will have to send foreign correspondents out there to see what is happening.  This is what they came up with.
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential: Pence, Walker, Bush, Rubio, Jindal on: April 10, 2014, 05:50:50 PM
The name (Gov) Mike Pence comes up again:

Gov. Scott Walker attended Marquette Univ. 4 years, did not graduate.  He is looking at finishing now through correspondence, 'not for political reasons':

Jeb Bush not really running, just clearing a path for Marco Rubio...

'Reason' asks, Can Bobby Jindal's Health Plan Get the Republican Party on Track?
The Louisiana governor's proposal could be a turning point for the party.
Jindal’s plan was a challenge to his fellow Republicans to take health policy more seriously, to reckon with the tradeoffs it requires, and to begin the process of unifying around an alternative. It was a declaration, of sorts, that Republicans and the right could—and should—be wonky and policy focused too.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: April 10, 2014, 05:30:30 PM
“After theology—economics is the most important science to study because the two things that impact everyone are God and the market.”

42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: April 10, 2014, 12:21:52 PM
I wonder if Pres Obama knows how Nixon's second term went.
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Lincoln's 1860 campaign song on: April 07, 2014, 10:10:05 PM
I was looking for a quote or slogan about liberty in his reelection. Came across this song from his first election:
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: April 07, 2014, 10:03:58 PM
Very bummed to see that Sen. Lee might have some dirt , , ,  cry

It doesn't seem that anything came out of this against Mike Lee.  The accusation is that he did business with someone he knew once and that it was not investigated.  Then they combined the story with Harry Reid, a known crook. I did not see the connection.
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Caption This on: April 07, 2014, 02:49:58 PM
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Foreclosures in MN on: April 02, 2014, 10:56:37 PM

Foreclosures way down. In Hennepin County (Mpls, suburbs) foreclosure rate is now 0.68%.


The Plowhorse Trot - ?   )

The Titanic had fewer drownings in the 6th year after the crash as well.
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: April 02, 2014, 10:50:52 PM
By this measure we are still worse than the bottom of the Obama recession.

Source: Econ Prof. John Taylor, Stanford.

Reagan cheated by using pro-growth policies.  Anyone can grow the economy that way!
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Comparing Recoveries, people working on: April 02, 2014, 10:38:15 PM
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Foreclosures in MN on: April 02, 2014, 10:13:58 PM

Foreclosures way down. In Hennepin County (Mpls, suburbs) foreclosure rate is now 0.68%.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues Constitutional Law: Top 9 all-time USSC Justices? on: April 02, 2014, 09:49:37 PM
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