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3851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Debate Commission Co-Chair says selection of Candy Crowley was a "mistake" on: February 20, 2013, 01:54:14 PM
Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, admitted that the selection of CNN's Candy Crowley to moderate the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in October 2012 had been a "mistake."

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/02/19/Debate-Commission-Co-Chair-Yeah-Candy-Crowley-Was-a-Mistake
---------

Fahrenkopf is a Republican.  Democrats disagree.

Crowley stirred controversy by intervening in the town hall-style debate to support Obama's contention that he had referred to the Sep. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as a terrorist attack the day after it had occurred. In fact, as Crowley herself later admitted, Obama had not done so, referring only to "acts of terror" in general. In a CBS interview taped the same day, Obama declined to refer to the attack as a terrorist act, and subsequently supported a false story about a protest over an anti-Islamic video that never took place.

After Crowley backed up the president, some members of the audience burst into applause, in violation of the rules. The effect was not lost on the audience, which scored the debate as an Obama win--nor was it lost on Romney, who was sufficiently chastened that he refused to bring up the Benghazi issue again in the third presidential debate, even though that debate was specifically focused on foreign policy and national security.

Though it was likely not the only factor, or even the major factor, in Romney's defeat, Crowley's error slowed the new momentum that Romney had enjoyed since defeating Obama soundly in the first presidential debate. Her intervention also reinforced the media lack of interest in pursuing the Benghazi issue with the president.
--------------

As Crafty pointed out, Gingrich would have known he was there to debate both of them.  Romney was blindsided.  Never saw it coming.  He looked worse than Rubio needing water.

Not mentioned is the insinuation Pres. Obama made to Candy that the two of them had already discussed this:

"Get the transcript".  "Can you say that a little louder Candy."

"He did, in fact, sir..." "He -- he did call it an act of terror."

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/10/crowley-challenges-romney-on-libya-138693.html

Once again talking out of both sides of the mouth leaves a quote on record for all purposes.  Too bad that in the age of information we still have a partisan, lapdog press.
3852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: February 20, 2013, 12:17:57 PM
"China’s Army Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S. "

Interesting that it was the need to create a virtual private network to get around the Chinese firewall and censorship policies that allowed the discovery and geographic pinpointing of the espionage to a 12 story Chinese military building.

Obama administration:  "We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels..."
http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/02/19/white_house_we_are_talking_cyber_espionage_with_china

Phew!!  That ought to do it.

On second thought, if they believed "raising concerns at the highest level" will stop it, why admit the need to do it "repeatedly"?
3853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Retired Justice Stevens in defense of Kelo on: February 20, 2013, 11:57:24 AM
http://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/speeches/1.pdf
A speech by retired Justice Stevens defending Kelo.

Justice Stevens makes my blood boil but I am glad you posted this.  Stevens thinking on full display illuminates the differences between the competing ways of viewing the constitution and its role in limiting government and protecting individual rights.  

Before I go off on a layman's rant, may I ask of Bigdog, Crafty, others, do you agree with Stevens, or if not, what are the flaws of his thinking?

Stevens: "neither the text of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause, nor the common law rule that it codified, placed any limit on the states' power to take private property, other than the obligation to pay just compensation to the former owner."

Huh?

Justice Steves alleges that Kelo is model of judicial restraint.  Judicial restraint to Stevens is to look the other way when faced with government oppression of basic individual rights and liberties.

What individual right is the New London redevelopment plan tromping all over?  Obviously the right of private property ownership, the right to own your own home.  Is that right fully enumerated in the constitution?  No.  Was the right of privacy in Roe which Stevens concurred enumerated?  No.  Do you have the right to live in your home without being judged by coveters or tyrannical government about whether your usage, with no complaints on record, is optimal for the community??  Not under the Kelo/Stevens legacy.  

What did the constitution say about unenumerated or under-enumerated rights?  See the 9th amendment:  "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Did the founders and framers see a right to property ownership?  Yes, obviously so.  See the 5th amendment: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation".  Does this literally prohibit takings for any other purpose than public use?  No it implies it.

Were the framers aware of threats to private property ownership existing before the constitution was written?  Yes.  When was the following written, by whom, and how many framers owned a copy:  "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house..."??

What did Madison say when he originally opposed the Bill of Rights?   A listing of rights could be dangerous, leading to the erroneous conclusion that only those rights specifically listed were actually protected?  Prescient.

Had the framers written in greater length on "private property...taken for public use", wouldn't they just risk even more of the danger that Madison warned above?  The 5th amendment reference contributes powerfully to the idea that private property ownership was very much an unenumerated right in the framing, to be violated only for "public use".  Stevens is grasping to find that doesn't say "only" public use.  Would he also conclude that takings for other than public use do NOT require just compensation?  Why doesn't he conclude that?  Where was his narrow textual reading of the articles and amendments during his finding of trimesters in Roe?

When did we go from "public use" to public purpose meaning any purpose?  In previous case law he points to Berman.  Over 97 percent of the individuals forcibly removed from their homes by the “slum-clearance” project upheld by this Court in Berman were black, Justice Thomas happened to notice.  (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/04-108.ZD1.html)  No matter to Stevens.  Expanding on the creeping powers of government and eroding the rights of individuals in each incremental case is judicial restraint in Stevens' view.  Maybe we need a little less of that!

Justice Thomas wrote:  "The Constitution’s text, in short, suggests that the Takings Clause authorizes the taking of property only if the public has a right to employ it, not if the public realizes any conceivable benefit from the taking."

Like the stunned dissenters in NFIB v. Sebelius repeatedly questioned, what powers doesn't the federal government have if they have all of these?  Stated differently since this is about local government powers, what rights have you retained now that you lost all of these?  Very few.  If you follow the Stevens hypocrisy of original text selectivity carried forward by enough others, you will retain only those rights that are recognized by 5 elites on a given day, generally those linked in politics to liberal causes.  
3854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: February 19, 2013, 09:35:35 PM
Crafty wrote recently: "I note how hard the first Euro downturn hit the US markets."

That was back in the good old days when the European problem was Greece.  Then Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy. 

Now we have France making Obama look like a supply-sider and Germany shutting down all nuclear and choking itself over energy:

http://rt.com/news/germany-poland-nuclear-fukushima-574/
Germany is facing rapidly climbing energy costs after turning away from nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster, instead relying increasingly on renewable energy. Meanwhile, its neighbors are building nuclear power stations on its doorstep.

Who holds up Europe when France implodes and the German economy stalls?  The steady UK economy where they raised tax rates from 40% to 50% and panicked and lowered them to 45%, all since 2010.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/feb/13/uk-low-gdp-growth-bank-england-inflation
UK set for low GDP growth for at least two years, Bank of England warns.

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.
http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/198468.Margaret_Thatcher
3855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 19, 2013, 09:00:59 PM
Excellent points, all of them.  Singling this one out: 

"A large portion, over 30% are investors doing cash sales. In CA, from what I hear from realtors, up to 50% is money from China, and most of the rest is from REIT's.  Homeowner investors are taking out seconds on their property, or investment properties that they own, to buy.  (Surprise, surprise, surprise.)  This is not representative of a healthy market."

On other threads we have been discussing income tax rates in general and California in particular.  Both federal and state tax rates just went up in Calif on high incomes, tending to chase away productive investment and new hiring.  A surge of foreign cash coming in to buy existing homes may be a surprise, but not a contradiction to that theory.  Wealth coming in is not taxed, just new income.  Cash sales of existing home causes almost no new hiring for an investment that size, just a name change on the title.  For the seller it is a tax free transaction because of the homestead exemption and decreased values, and selling the home can be a ticket to leave Calif.  A surge of foreign cash buyers of existing homes in popular coastal areas does not in itself change the Calif employment situation.  Unemployment is currently 9.8% and likely to get worse.  Hard to wage a real recovery in housing when the most important underlying factors, business investment and employment, are so gravely ill.  MHO.
3856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Cass Sunstein, ends justify means on: February 19, 2013, 01:29:07 PM
Continuing in our get to the know the left series.

It’s For Your Own Good!
Cass R. Sunstein

Left thinker Sunstein reviews "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism"
by Sarah Conly which explains with a straight face why a system of "paternalist" government-based decision making is better than individual free choices.  I kid you not.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/mar/07/its-your-own-good/

"Conly convincingly argues that behavioral findings raise significant questions about Mill’s harm principle [coersion can only be to prevent harm to others]. When people are imposing serious risks on themselves, it is not enough to celebrate freedom of choice and ignore the consequences."
3857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: February 19, 2013, 01:03:34 PM
"financial remittances most often sent by Somalis in the U.S. back to family members in Somalia. Such remittances have become harder to make over fears that people sending money could be accused of aiding a terrorist organization such as al-Shabab."
-----------------

To the 'professional journalist' who wrote this for the AP:  The scrutiny is not over "fears".  It followed dozens of arrests and multiple convictions of Somali Americans in the Minneapolis metro on terrorism related charges including financial support to known, listed terrorist organizations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/us/24terror.html?_r=0
The [FBI's] first public account of a recruitment operation that it says has largely focused on Somali-American men from the Minneapolis area. Those young men included Shirwa Ahmed, 26, who carried out a suicide attack in northern Somalia in October 2008, becoming the first known American suicide bomber. Since then, at least five other recruits have been killed in Somalia, relatives and friends say, and four defendants have entered guilty pleas.

http://www.npr.org/series/102787287/the-somali-minneapolis-terrorist-axis
8 Charged In Terrorism Probe Of Missing Somalis
Prosecutors allege that the suspects provided financial support to young men from the Somali community in Minneapolis to go to Somalia and fight on behalf of al-Shabab, a group on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. Five of the Minnesotans have been killed.

Does the FBI have "fears that people sending money could be accused of aiding a terrorist organization"?

Besides a Somali magnet, Minneapolis is also a leading gay rights district.  Maybe Rep. Ellison can give a public lectures in Somalia about gay rights - and women's rights - while he is there.   Can't we all just get along?  I hope the Jihadists don't find out about his Catholic upbringing or his inconsistent Mosque attendance record.
3858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 18, 2013, 05:17:46 PM
Interesting.  I have only shot trap and shot skeet one time each a long time ago.  Does his gun show enough incline to be a skeet shot or is that a target shot?
To me, it looks like a shot at a static target. Probably a round of birdshot for the photo.

Yes.  The context of the photo release was that he said he was shooting skeet "all the time" at Camp David.  To support that claim they release a photo of him shooting last summer - at a target.
3859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gov. Hickenlooper: I drank the fracking fluid, a pro-energy Democrat? on: February 18, 2013, 05:08:21 PM
Gov of Colo, on my 2016 Dem short list, seems to be taking on the fracking opponents on the left (like the NY Times) by asserting that the fluid is completely safe.  He is such a newcomer that he doesn't even know the name Haliburton is a Democratic swear word.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/feb/12/colorado-gov-hickenlooper-i-drank-fracking-fluid/#ixzz2LGJz39zE

I drank fracking fluid, says Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times  February 12, 2013, 12:32PM

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper went to unusually great lengths to learn firsthand the strides the oil and gas industry has made to minimize environmental harm from fracking.

The first-term Democrat and former Denver mayor told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he actually drank a glass of fracking fluid produced by oilfield services giant Halliburton.

The fluid is made entirely “of ingredients sourced from the food industry,” the company says, making it safe for Mr. Hickenlooper and others to imbibe.

“You can drink it. We did drink it around the table, almost rituallike, in a funny way,” he told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “It was a demonstration. … they’ve invested millions of dollars in what is a benign fluid in every sense.”

Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota Democrat, found humor in the governor’s admission and asked if the experience was part of some bizarre occult practice.

“No, there were no religious overtures,” Mr. Hickenlooper responded.

While some laughed at the governor’s statement, he brought up the incident to make a serious point: that oil and gas companies have taken major steps forward in fracking technology.

The practice uses water, sand and chemicals injected into the ground at tremendous pressure to break apart rock formations and release fuel. Environmental groups and many other critics long have been concerned about the chemicals used in the practice and their potential effect on groundwater.

Mr. Hickenlooper stressed that the Halliburton food additive mixture is so safe, one can literally drink it. He also cautioned against state and federal lawmakers going too far with laws to force companies such as Halliburton to disclose the formulas for such products.

“If we were overzealous in forcing them to disclose what they had created, they wouldn’t bring it into our state,” he said.
3860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 18, 2013, 04:47:35 PM
Interesting.  I have only shot trap and shot skeet one time each a long time ago.  Does his gun show enough incline to be a skeet shot or is that a target shot?
3861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 18, 2013, 04:34:23 PM
How many decades has it been since we have built new refineries?


We have added some new and some expansions recently; it is only the 'complex' refinery type that hasn't been built since the 70s.  http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=29&t=6

We are down from 254 to 137 refineries in 30 years.  Total capacity is slightly up, but apparently not enough to meet demand in a stalled 2013 economy.

The other problem is that state laws require different blends in different seasons in 50 states.  Discontinuing an old product and ramping up a new product twice a year is disruptive to  production and price.  I'd like to see that problem fixed without a new federal law.

Gas was 1.82 when Obama took office.  Even if total production is up slightly, it did not keep up with demand even in a stagnant economy.

Oil prices have been more stable, only up a couple of dollars lately.
------------
Good, detailed article here on gas prices:
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/why-are-gas-prices-going-up-when-demand-is-going-down-feature
Looks like gas prices now are the lowest they will ever again be.  A refinery in Phillie is going down this summer that is 1/4 of the east coast capacity?!!
3862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 18, 2013, 11:30:25 AM
Drudge lead:


Didn't the Cheney task force call for more refining capacity 12 YEARS AGO?!
3863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: February 18, 2013, 11:25:47 AM
"Our silence here on the Sequester cuts disturbs me.  Do we agree to tax increases to avoid them?  This is serious stuff!   With the massive contraction of the American navy apparently in the pipeline, what substance to our alleged pivot to the South China Sea?  Does not the day come when the Chinese blow us off of Taiwain?"

Yes, we are screwed and no, signing on with even higher tax rates just makes it worse.

Dick Cheney was on the air last week warning very persuasively of the dire consequences to defense of the sequester.  He watched the last two times our military was gutted and the costly and difficult process of rebuilding.  

Ralph Peters, an noted hawk, came to the opposite conclusion:  http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/asking_for_defense_cuts_JMVPBqujQudb1Jc68tKeVP

A number of competing considerations come into play.  First is peace through strength (a principle defeated in the last election).  Real cuts in capabilities embolden the wrong people and cost us more in the long run.  OTOH, defense spending has been extremely wasteful, we are winding down two wars and we are disarming anyway under Obama/Hagel.  Perhaps we might use the reality that they will gut readiness anyway to force the domestic cuts now.


"What would be wrong in getting back money from the Chinese by selling them nat gas?!?

Yes, these are the kind of solutions we would pursue if we had our own best interests in mind.

" Not only would the greens be happy at weaning the Chinese off the toxic coal cancer that already reaches the US"

That falsely assumes the main point of environmental extremism is to protect the environment.

"...this then also give us counter pressures in matters pertaining to the China Sea and Taiwan."

I wonder if this excellent idea ever came up in the strategic level meetings that natural gas advocate, Amb. Huntsman, never had with his boss Pres. Obama during the years he was stationed there to dine with the communist politburo.  

Your comments on Rumsfeld are a reminder for those who say what difference would Hagel make.
3864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: February 18, 2013, 10:26:07 AM
"...note how hard the first Euro downturn hit the US markets"

Yes, we were blindsided by the failure of socialism.  The US used to lead Europe and the world in the other direction.
MSN Money: Rich world heads into recession
For the first time in 4 years, GDP growth in the 7 largest economies actually shrank.
http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=1f1fda46-56dc-4982-a96f-1b0a98fe6214

"Indeed is not part of the argument that current DOW numbers are due to international diversification of many of the constituent companies of the Index?"

Yes, but most are moving beyond Europe as well as moving beyond the US.  They can go into India, China, Brazil, or wherever they see growth, but at some point the planet is too small for large enterprises to escape economic failure in the largest economies.  Also some management within these companies will bet wrong on the Wesbury theory, that governments can set all the policy levers wrong and the economy will grow just fine anyway.

Crafty continued:  "I am seeing things that Euro may be heading for a double dip of what it has already experienced.  (What do people do with the bankruptcy of nanny fascism?)  If one no longer believes in the market as the supreme leading indicator (efficient market theory et al) and instead sees it as a zero sum gambling casino with the attention deficit disorder of massive training program algorithms of hedge funds, then one may conclude the coming Euro crackup may will hit the Dow hard and fast"

When it looks like zero-sum, it is time to be out - unless you are truly smarter and quicker than all the other players.  I don't know the future of the DOW but under what theory is it immune from everything happening around it? 

If the Fed expansion caused the housing bubble (I will post the Forbes piece today separately) then is it not the Fed expansion today causing artificially high stock prices?  When exactly does that correct, no one knows.

All these taxes, rules and regulations keep out startups and newer, weaker competitors, and actually help the entrenched players to a point.  The DOW, NASDAQ and S&P are indexes of the entrenched players, not of the economy as a whole.  The big health insurers just got 30 million new customers for example, and the subsidies to help to sell autos, furnaces etc.  But these lines can't go in opposite directions forever.  These companies are not fully insulated from the other troubles in the economies.  Yes, if I was in the market I would be very worried.  If gold were at 400 or even under a thousand I might say put it all there.  At 1600-1800 an ounce, who knows.  The money most of us have won't buy much gold.  No easy answer except to think wisely about playing defense.
3865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, McCain v. David Gregory on: February 17, 2013, 11:28:18 PM
Gregory is trying to argue why we should not be looking into it?  A coverup of what?

McCain showing a backbone answers the question:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/17/john-mccain-snaps-at-david-gregory-over-benghazi-do-you-care-whether-or-not-four-americans-died/
3866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Only 17 states plus DC set up Obamacare exchanges before deadline on: February 17, 2013, 07:04:53 PM
The deadline was Friday.
---------------------------

"The Department of Health and Human Services had encouraged states to run their own markets, or “exchanges,” that help the uninsured find coverage. Only 17 states and the District of Columbia took on the task, while seven states decided to split the duty with the Obama administration, according to a breakdown by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/16/after-obamacare-health-exchange-deadline-passes-26/#ixzz2LCxmemrv
-----------------
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/16/state-health-care-exchange-deadline-passed/1923257/
3867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 17, 2013, 12:42:50 PM
Milton Friedman had a license plate that said: MV=PQ, contending that each of four very important but difficult to measure variables are all intrinsically tied to each other, either proportionally or inversely.  The money supply times the velocity of money equals the total value of all the goods and services in the economy.

We are getting information that the Fed is monetizing 3/4 of trillion dollars a year in 'debt' that is neither collected in tax revenues nor borrowed in a market by a willing participant.  That new money is entering the economy by way Treasury checks at a rate of  $24,000 per second?   What could possibly go wrong?

Money is up and velocity is down from where it could be or should be.  With flat demand and no growth, prices look relatively stable.  (Unless as G M says if you have been to a gas station or grocery store lately, or healthcare or education or property taxes or anything else we have to pay for.)

Inflation is the increase in dollars relative to output, clearly we are doing that.  Consumer price increases are not tied to money but money times velocity, if you buy Friedman's thinking.

Obj wrote: "that is because this money is being held by banks.  When it enters circulation and the Fed stops keeping interest rates close to zero, watch out."

A bank reserve is money sitting still whether you count it or not.  Yes, if it were to invested and moving full speed in a fractional reserve system, it would grow in multiples.  The key to preventing or at least postponing a price spiraling crisis is our commitment to no-growth, anti-investment/employment policies.  What a miserable web we wove.
3868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - KY Senate 2014 on: February 15, 2013, 02:16:25 PM
Good points.  I am wondering who the Republican nominee will be.  Much of the dissatisfaction with McConnell in his home state comes from the right.

Also wondering what the Obama economy will look like 6 years into it while he takes one last shot at consolidating power.  If Democrats nationalize the election, it won't help candidates in the most conservative states.  Unemployment in KY is currently 8.1%.
3869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: February 15, 2013, 01:55:45 PM
This is the attack ad referred at the link:


Obama lost Kentucky by 23 points, not a rounding error or charisma deficiency.

The model (IMHO) for Dem victory in KY is probably Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota who ran with distance from Obama (http://heidifornorthdakota.com/issues/health-care/), not a Hollywood actress who would start from his left.
3870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, The wagon not the plowhorse on: February 15, 2013, 01:37:38 PM
"Industrial production declined 0.1%"
"Manufacturing, which excludes mining/utilities, declined 0.4% in January. Auto production fell 3.2%, while non-auto manufacturing declined 0.1%."
----------------
A Plowhorse can't pull a plow backwards.  The plowhorse analogy implies a very strong horse pulling a very heavy load at very slow, consistent pace.   But we aren't pulling a fixed load with a fixed force.  A good part of our load consists of people who could be helping us pull.

The wagon analogy reflects that.  The wagon has the productive people pulling it up a slight incline and it has the oldest, poorest and weakest among us riding if they are unable to help pull or even walk alongside without assistance.  The slight incline is the actual cost of governing, keeping the courts open, police, roads, etc.

The puller to rider ratio for the wagon shifts dramatically with every policy change.  When everyone who can pulls a little the wagon goes along quite easily and effortlessly.  But we take the strongest pullers and tie ropes at varying tensions around their arms and legs, and som duct to at least partially block their breathing.  We take the able bodied who aren't pulling much and tell them they are no help and can ride if they choose, a 34 million person shift in 4 years.  We take riders who are rested and ready to help pull, instead we pay them to keep riding.  At some point we wonder how the slight incline has become an unbearable slope.  We stall out and maybe slip backwards a little - until we recognize what is wrong and correct it.

3871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Race, religion, ethnicity? "food fight" becomes chaos at Mpls South High School on: February 15, 2013, 10:27:35 AM
I'm having a hard time figuring this out.  The media and others report it as racial, African Americans versus the Somalis.  Where do they think Somalia is and what race do they see?  It looks to me like local blacks' intolerance of minority, immigrant blacks - for being different?  Authorities will be reviewing surveillance footage.

A parent commented:  "You can't throw kids in a building and expect them to get along," she said. "It's a challenge for all of our students to live amid such rich diversity."

My two cents:  With a 50% graduation rate, how about we throw them into books and more math tests in place of the time we spend celebrating our rich diversity.

http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/191259371.html
http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/21199424/south-high-school-locked-down-after-food-fight-escalates-to-brawl
http://kstp.com/article/stories/S2932193.shtml?cat=1
http://www.kare11.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2165842137001&odyssey=mod|tvideo|news

Maybe their congressman Keith Ellison can bridge this gap and end the violence with smart liberalism, like Rahm did in Chicago.







3872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi Shame on: February 14, 2013, 11:35:07 PM
Our President never made a phone call.  He didn’t talk to Leon Panetta, or any military personnel, or Hillary Clinton.  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/14/white-house-no-phone-calls-benghazi/  He accepted the defeat at the first sign of a fight, then probably worked with his speechwriters on the Vegas event. 
They may have worked out the cover story about the video while the fighting was still going on, not knowing it would drag on for 7-8 hours before the last American was killed. 

No backup was ever ordered.  How do you not even try to help?
3873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pope Benedict challenged Islam to live up to the slogan: religion of peace on: February 14, 2013, 08:37:55 PM
Pope Benedict XVI challenged Islam to live up to the slogan, religion of peace. in the 2006 Regensburg Lectures:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/02/the-pope.php
3874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Chavez undergoing more treatments? on: February 14, 2013, 03:22:34 PM
Still no public appearance of Hugo Chavez.  The updates come only from the VP.  Has anyone else heard from him?

Chavez undergoing "delicate" cancer treatment: Venezuela's vice president
Reuters

    Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro (C) and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello (R) stand next to a painting of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as they attend the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of Chavez's attempted cuop d'etat in Caracas February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge SilvaView Photo

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is undergoing "complex" alternative treatments more than two months after having cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said on Wednesday.

The 58-year-old socialist leader has not been seen in public since he went to Havana for the operation on December 11, his fourth surgery for cancer in 18 months.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro did not give details of the alternative treatments the president was receiving. Chavez has never said what type of cancer he is suffering from, and critics accuse the government of excessive secrecy over his condition.

"Today our commander is undergoing alternative treatments ... they are complex and difficult treatments that must, at some point, end the cycle of his illness," Maduro said in comments on state TV.

The government, which rejects allegations it has not been transparent about Chavez's health, says he has completed a difficult post-operative period and has started a "new phase" of his recuperation. It has not given details of this new phase.

Any new vote in South America's top oil exporter would probably pit Maduro, Chavez's heir apparent, against Henrique Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state, who lost to Chavez in last October's presidential election.
3875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economic Obama 4 Year Scorecard: Wesbury losing vs. G M? on: February 14, 2013, 03:16:26 PM
Investors Business Daily says worst growth in 60 years!  Who predicted 0% growth?  Moving forward requires greater than 3% growth.  0.8% long term growth is more like a corpse lying in a morgue than a plowhorse working in a field.
--------------
Obama's first term, however, puts the paltry level of growth during Bush's second term in a newly favorable light. According to the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis), average annual real GDP growth during Obama's first term was a woeful 0.8%.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/021213-644194-obama-growth-record-is-worst-in-60-years.htm#ixzz2KuQGawCt
-------------
0.8% growth over his entire first term.  Worst in modern history.  Pathetic. 

Prospects for the future under current policies:  More of the same, best case.
3876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: February 13, 2013, 11:20:41 AM
Copying my comment to the new thread.

Glenn Beck is saying it is Rand Paul who hit it out of the park last night.  He was far more specific.  Rand Paul has also been shaping up his foreign policy views to be acceptable to conservatives, to be prudent in our support of allies, unlike his father's extreme refusal to project force.

Full text of the speech, 4 internet pages:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/12/full-text-of-rand-pauls-tea-party-response-to-state-of-the-union
3877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio! on: February 13, 2013, 10:56:37 AM
Crafty,  Good point, he is wrong about the rise in violence.  The rise is in media and public attention to it right now.  There are two points to be made in gun control, the wisdom or utter lack of it in these policies, but also the point that stomping all over the constitution is not an acceptable way to approach problems it no matter the efficacy.
--------

Van Jones, extreme liberal, commenting on Marco Rubio:

"Marco Rubio is dangerous for Democrats.  He is dangerous."

"This is a smart guy, Marco Rubio, but when he connects, that last 90 seconds, Marco Rubio, he's dangerous."

"He is dangerous for Democrats because he can connect in a way that other people with those ideas cannot."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/02/12/van_jones_marco_rubio_is_dangerous_for_democrats.html
----------------

Spanish language version of speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2ec6HQKsIg
3878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Michelle Malkin asks: Who failed Chicago? on: February 13, 2013, 09:29:46 AM
Could go under Glibness, failed programs, gun control, ACORN corruption or America's inner city, Michelle Malkin hits it out of the park.  How come the party of science doesn't tie policies to results?

Who Failed Chicago?

By Michelle Malkin - February 13, 2013
   
On Tuesday, President Obama and the first lady used the State of the Union spotlight to pay tribute to an innocent teenage girl shot and killed by Chicago gang thugs. On Friday, Obama will travel to the Windy City to decry violence and crusade for more gun laws in the town with the strictest gun laws and bloodiest gun-related death tolls in America.

Does the White House really want to open up a national conversation about the state of Chicago? OK, let's talk.

Obama, his wife, his campaign strategists, his closest cronies and his biggest bundlers all hail from Chicago. Senior adviser and former Chicago real estate mogul/city planning commissioner Valerie Jarrett and her old boss Richard Daley presided over a massive "Plan for Transformation" in the mid-1990s to rescue taxpayer-subsidized public housing from its bloody hellhole. How'd that work out for you, Chicago?

Answer: This social justice experiment failed miserably. A Chicago Tribune investigation found that after Daley and Jarrett dumped nearly $500 million of federal funding into crime-ridden housing projects, the housing complexes (including the infamous Altgeld-Murray homes) remained dangerous, drug-infested, racially segregated ghettos. Altgeld is a long-troubled public housing complex on Chicago's South Side, where youth violence has proved immune to "community organizing" solutions and the grand redevelopment schemes championed by Obama and company.

In fact, as I've reported previously, it's the same nightmarish 'hood where Obama cut his teeth as a community activist -- and exaggerated his role in cleaning up asbestos in the neighborhood, according to fellow progressive foot soldiers. As always, Obama's claims to success there were far more aspirational than concrete.

In the meantime, lucrative contracts went to politically connected Daley pals in the developer world to "save" Chicago's youth and families. Another ghetto housing project, the Grove Parc slum, was managed by Jarrett's former real estate empire, Habitat, Co. Jarrett refused to answer questions about the dilapidated housing development after ascending to top consigliere in the Obama administration.

But as the Boston Globe's Binyamin Appelbaum, who visited the slums several years ago, reported: "Federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale -- a score so bad the buildings now face demolition. ... (Jarrett) co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems." Grove Parc and several other monumental housing flops "were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the (federal) subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered."

Democrats poured another $30 million in public money into the city's public schools to curb youth violence over the past three years. The New York Times hailed the big government plan to fund more social workers, community organizers and mentors and create jobs for at-risk youth. But watchdogs on the ground exposed it as a wasteful "makework scheme." One local activist nicknamed the boondoggle "Jobs for Jerks" because "it rewards some of the worst students in the school system with incredibly rare employment opportunities while leaving good students to fend for themselves."

Obama and his ineffectual champions of Chicago's youth will demand more taxpayer "investments" to throw at the problem. But money is no substitute for the soaring fatherlessness, illegitimacy and family disintegration that have characterized Chicago inner-city life since Obama's hero Saul Alinsky pounded the pavement. As Heather Mac Donald noted in a damning indictment of the do-gooders' failures, "Official silence about illegitimacy and its relation to youth violence remains as carefully preserved in today's Chicago as it was during Obama's organizing time there."

Team Obama will find perverted ways to lay blame for Chicago's youth violence crisis on the NRA, Sarah Palin, FOX News, George Bush and the tea party. But as the community organizer-in-chief prepares to evade responsibility again, he should remember: When you point one finger at everyone else, four other fingers point right back at you-know-who.
3879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio's SOTU response on: February 13, 2013, 09:13:19 AM
My reaction is mixed.  He hit the right notes but in a venue and situation where it is impossible to hit it out of the park.  The main criticism seems to be that he paused a second to sip water once.

Good comments from Scott Conroy at Real Clear Politics:

"...Rubio's SOTU Response Was No Flop
...was a call for conservatives to govern by their principles and also an appeal to voters who have soured on the GOP in recent years, asking that they give the party another look.

Invoking the language and principles that infused Ronald Reagan’s conservative movement more than three decades ago, Rubio made a broad-based case for a small-government ethos.

“More government isn’t going to help you get ahead,” he said. “It’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It’s going to create uncertainty.”

Even as he looked forward, Rubio also recycled many of the key arguments Republicans have leveled against Obama since before the 44th president took office in 2009. He accused Obama of believing the free enterprise system is “the cause of our problems” and charged that “his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.”

In responding to the emotional high point of Obama’s State of the Union address, Rubio acknowledged the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., but added a defiant note that echoed boilerplate Republican language on proposed gun control measures.

“We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country,” he said. “But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.”
3880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - SOTU on: February 13, 2013, 08:59:20 AM
"We cannot JUST cut our way to prosperity."

The case that we have gone too far with cutting might have been strengthened by pointing to one thing that actually has been cut.

The lady who waited 6 hours to vote started to get that same feeling again as the speech went on and on.

He got a couple of things right, but that is his way - to take more than one side of an issue before turning sharply left.

His programs and proposals will not add one dime to the deficit.  Really?  They already added six trillion.

NY Times: [speech was] "proudly liberal"
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/opinion/from-obama-a-proudly-liberal-message.html?_r=0

Comments anyone?
3881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: February 12, 2013, 11:32:09 PM
"The public-duty doctrine holds that the government and its officials owe a legal duty to the public at large but not to any individual citizen....two exceptions... the “danger creation exception” and the “special-relationship exception."  http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1172&issue_id=52007

"If a suspect is taken into custody by law enforcement, a duty to protect -be it at the scene, during transport, or at the jail-exists.7 The majority of courts require a person to be in physical custody of police before that person has a special relationship with police."..."One federal district court has held a special relationship between the state and a confidential informant existed, and thus there was a duty to protect."  http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=341&issue_id=72004

3882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting thought pieces: The man who shot bin Laden on: February 12, 2013, 01:25:41 PM
Long piece on Esquire, March 2013.  Because of secrecy and security, this guy comes back and starts over keeping his claim to fame hushed.
http://www.esquire.com/features/man-who-shot-osama-bin-laden-0313?src=rss

February 11, 2013, 6:00 AM
The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is Screwed  By Phil Bronstein,  former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle


For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but abou3t the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced an skilled warriors carry on with their lives.
http://www.esquire.com/features/man-who-shot-osama-bin-laden-0313?src=rss
3883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Lawrence Summers says growth agenda on: February 12, 2013, 01:10:53 PM
Clinton's Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers says growth agenda.  Then he lays out an agenda that largely skips over taxes and regulations.  Good luck.  His points if they were numbered 3-8 are actually pretty good:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lawrence-summers-the-economic-growth-agenda-we-need/2013/02/10/86d41afa-7239-11e2-8b8d-e0b59a1b8e2a_story.html
3884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Please tell Vladimir I will have moire flexibility after my breelection on: February 12, 2013, 12:43:12 PM
"And where is the serious Rep response to this? , , ,"

SOTU Republican response is tonight immediately following the President.  Hopefully opposition to unilateral disarmament is in it.

Nearly all Republicans are strongly pro-defense.  Where is response of sane and responsible Democrats and independents to weakening the United States and making the world more dangerous?
3885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Preview of Rubio's Tuesday evening speech on: February 12, 2013, 10:08:49 AM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/rubio-readies-republicans-response-obama_701127.html

Rubio Previews SOTU Response: Says He'll Push Contrast on Policy, Tone
He’ll be broad, upbeat—and preview the coming disaster.
Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard (excerpt)

From the earliest days of Marco Rubio’s plucky campaign for the U.S. Senate, his diehard supporters spoke of the day that their man would have an opportunity to challenge Barack Obama – his policies, his vision, his rhetoric. They were certain that Rubio was so gifted an orator and possessed such a unique set of political skills that he would be able to make immediate and improbable leaps that most politicians could not execute. And it was obvious to them – this group the Rubio campaign hands called “three-percenters” because they were there in the days when their candidate was at just 3 percent in an early public poll – that the former Florida house speaker would belong on such an elevated platform.

He’s there now.

Rubio will deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight. It’s a difficult assignment – no one is actually on par with the president of the United States and several recent responders have struggled. But it’s one that certifies Rubio as one of the chief spokesmen for the Republican party – and for good reason. He is the best communicator in the GOP at a time when Republicans have struggled notably to sell their message.

In a thirty-minute interview in his Senate office late last week, I reminded Rubio that several of those who preceded him have failed. “Oh, thanks,” he says, laughing. “I haven’t thought about it that way. I guess if you don’t want the ball in your hands with the last thirty seconds in the game, you probably don’t belong in this game anyway.”

Rubio’s plan to “respond” to the president is rather straightforward. (He’s not actually responding to anything, of course, as his remarks are prepared well in advance of the president’s speech.) He will provide a contrast to the president in ways that are both obvious and subtle. Rubio says he intends to draw on his personal experiences growing up in Florida to explain to the country why Obama’s policies won’t work. The president has focused too much of our national discussion demonizing those who have had success, Rubio says, and paid too little attention to those trying to make it. He seeks to shift that emphasis with his remarks tonight – from a politics of class warfare to policies that elevate the middle class.

“The way I envisioned it is, I kind of went back to the people that I know [back] home,” Rubio explains, “whether it’s my friends from high school, or parents that I know from my kids’ school or kids’ teams, and if I had an opportunity to sit in front of them and if they gave me fifteen minutes to explain to them why it was that what the president wants to do is not a good idea and why what we want to do is a better idea – what would I say to them? And that’s how I’ve approached the speech – is to explain why it is that limited government, free enterprise is the best way to give people the opportunity to achieve a middle class lifestyle or more and leave their kids better off than themselves.”

To that end, Rubio will argue that there are costs to big government that may not seem evident in the lives of every day Americans. Among other things, he will focus on the president’s health care reform and the many failed promises that implementation of those policies will mean. It is not true, Rubio says, that those who want to keep their doctors and their insurance plans will be able to do so. And the tax dollars that are collected to fund Obamacare are dollars that will not be spent elsewhere in the economy. The challenges of Obamacare for business – particularly those small businesses with employees near the magic “50 employee” threshold for Obamacare regulations – will be extraordinary. The goal, Rubio says, is to make clear to Americans that Republicans opposed these policies and to preview the coming disaster.

“I wish we could avoid it,” he says. “But if we can’t, we have to at least have the credibility to say: ‘We told you this wouldn’t work; here’s a better alternative.’”

Rubio will also counter Obama’s anticipated proposals on energy, education, the economy, and debt – offering specific contrasts meant to provide a starkly different policy agenda from the one offered by the president. On debt, one of several areas in which Rubio believes the president is a failed leader, he wants to recast the familiar GOP argument. “The goal is growth,” he says, arguing that with pro-growth policies the federal government could generate an additional $4 trillion in revenues over the next decade, “more than any tax hike” under consideration. Rubio also wants to take arguments about debt from the theoretical and the long-term to the immediate and the short-term. “I think we have to link the debt to their lives. People understand that we have this debt and that their kids are going to get saddled with this in the future. And I think that’s a compelling argument. But I think an even more compelling argument, in conjunction with that one, is to explain to people how the debt is hurting them right now.”

“The debt has a direct impact on unemployment. Ever dollar that is being lent to the government is a dollar that is not being invested in our economy,” he says. “The immediate danger of the debt, and the one that speaks to people in the real world, is the fact that the debt is contributing to the fact that they don’t have a good job.”

Rubio, who has been in the news quite a bit lately talking up immigration reform, will raise the issue in the context of economic growth and opportunity. And while he will mention immigration this evening, it won’t dominate his appearance. Over the past several weeks, Rubio has run the conservative talk radio circuit in an attempt to sell that sizable chunk of the conservative movement on reform. While his principles for reform have been met with mixed reviews, with several pointing out a softening of the position he campaigned on three years ago, he’s mostly won praise even from those who don’t agree with him on the policy.

But Rubio’s remarks will likely provide a contrast to the president in other ways, too – particularly on tone. Rubio’s speech, expected to run between twelve and fifteen minutes, will be broad and upbeat. Leaks from the White House about Obama’s speech suggest it will be “combative” and “aggressive” and “specific.” Rubio’s response won’t be soft – he intends to lay out for the American people exactly how the president attacks his opponents and mischaracterizes their arguments. And Rubio will be blunt about how he views Obama’s idea of America. “On issue after issue – there is virtually no problem in America that he thinks doesn’t have a government answer, from concussions in football to the weather.”

Rubio’s remarks will be personal, sharing stories he’s heard from friends, relatives, and constituents to translate esoteric Washington policy debates into solutions for the day-to-day problems that Americans are having. Rubio will talk in some detail about the American dream – not as an ill-defined concept popular in modern political rhetoric, but in terms of what it means to the parent of a newborn who sees in his child the promise of a great country. He will attempt to speak to those Americans who are concerned about the current state of the union and despondent about its future. And even in a time of despair for his party, Rubio is determined to be optimistic – about the country, about its politics and even about the prospect of agreement with an increasingly intransigent president.

“We’re not just here to block everything the president’s for,” Rubio insists. “We’re not against everything the president’s for, we’re only against the bad ideas.”

3886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jay Carney, Oops, we do have a spending problem... on: February 12, 2013, 09:55:24 AM
Didn't President Obama and Nancy Pelosi just say we don't have spending problem?  It's almost a false argument.  Now Carney is sent out by the same President's handlers to say we do have a spending problem - but it's all healthcare.

Will they use this in future political science classes to illustrate what we mean by talking out of both sides of your mouth?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/02/11/carney_of_course_the_president_believes_that_we_have_a_spending_problem.html
3887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nancy Pelosi -"It's almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem" on: February 12, 2013, 09:47:25 AM
Nancy Pelosi with Chris Wallace shows at the link why powerful people like her don't normally do this kind of interview. 

Liberals have their own language and it permeates their thinking.  Sometimes it doesn't even make sense to her. 

"It's almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem"

This bizarre statement begs two questions: 1) We spend a trillion more than the most we have ever been able to figure out how to take in plus 150 trillion of unfunded liabilities.  Nancy, we have a spending problem.  2) What is "almost a false argument"?   Does she not know that in English that is a way of saying something is true?

"Nothing brings more money to the Treasury of the United States than ..." [public spending].

She believes so strongly that increasing the federal government's involvement in every area equals improvement.  She forgets that she never won that argument. The Soviet central control system never did outperform individual freedom and ingenuity.  It imploded.  Ayers, Alinsky, Obama and Pelosi all have this wrong.
------

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/02/10/pelosi_a_false_argument_to_say_that_we_have_a_spending_problem.html



3888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Amity Schlaes and Calvin Coolidge on: February 11, 2013, 05:01:52 PM
"Coolidge
By Amity Shlaes
Harper, 565 pages

Amity Shlaes built a great credibility IMO with her extensive research and journalism, breaking against conventional thought on the economics of the Great Depression: http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Man-History-Great-Depression/dp/0060936428

The Coolidge story can be added the list of other supply side economic successes in our short, federal income tax history.  Along with evidence that the Kennedy tax rate cuts lifted all vessels, Reagan's tax rate cuts doubled revenues inside a decade, Clinton-Gingrich capital gains rate reductions balanced the budget, and the 50 month hiring surge and 44% revenue surge after the Bush tax rate cuts, this I think closes the argument against the challenge that marginal tax are not as closely tied to economic performance as some of us claimed.   

Abject failure of current policies, opposite of supply side, makes the same case.
3889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: February 11, 2013, 04:12:08 PM
"The breakdown of the world financial system was not due to faulty rating agencies"

The work was faulty but it is just strange to single them out for missing what everyone missed.

CBO missed it the same thing that S&P missed.  SEC missed it, OMB, GAO, Fannie, Freddie, the administration, the Treasury, the Fed, the House committees, the Senate Committees, the Republican party, the Democratic party, every appraiser, every loan officer, every bank examiner, and the entire watchdog financial media all missed it.  But S&P surrounded by all nothing but misinformation and incompetence was supposed to know just when the wheels would fall off. Faulty work, but not exactly unique.

Nothing in defense of S&P's blindness and perhaps complicity, but why doesn't those same government agencies fire their own people first, who made the exact same mistakes, before they come out pointing fingers at a private organization?

S&P's job was to issue an opinion.  

Agencies controlling 90% of mortgages were responsible for running and overseeing the bad loan portfolios.

The government's response to discovering all this incompetence is to turn healthcare over to them next.
3890  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Evil in Connecticut and elsewhere on: February 11, 2013, 09:53:54 AM
The original story: "With almost no public announcement, Gov. Cuomo has put in place a policy that will send the mentally ill out on the street with no regard for public safety."

In the context of these mass shootings, there isn't much that can be said in flippant humor about that kind of public endangerment that is very far over the top, IMHO.

In Graham v. Connor they detained a guy for a short time for suspicious looking behavior an it turned out to be nothing malicious.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_v._Connor

This site refers to both cases and lays out specific tests for legitimacy of LE using force: http://www.laaw.com/howmuchforce.htm

I don't know of the facts you refer, but if police know a law abiding citizen is minding his own business, posing no threat, and then fire 60+ rounds at him, it is excessive by every test.  One round fired is excessive given only that information. 
3891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, The Petraeus/Susan Rice affair; and related matters on: February 11, 2013, 09:15:58 AM
The knives are coming out against Brennan.

Rick, Yes, or the facts are coming out against Brennan.  Seems to me this does not insulate the President.  He put himself out of the loop and stayed out, then promoted the guy who bungled it.  His refusals to be briefed in person in a back and forth manner prior, and his quick exit to Las Vegas for campaign demagoguery are looking rather irresponsible in hindsight. 

I am stuck on the coverup, false statements by the President, Carney, Clinton, the sick and twisted performance putting out Susan Rice to buy him time to get past his reelection, right up to the outgoing Secretary shouting down legitimate oversight with her outburst: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!

Ambassador Stevens may have had little of no knowledge of the (alleged) operation, but he knew of the dangers in general and the absence of security.  This theory doesn't fully explain why he was sitting there in harm's way.
3892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward American Creed: Dr. Ben carson, Johns Hopkins Neurosurgeon on: February 09, 2013, 04:32:07 PM
The Blaze calls this speech Epic Speech Gone Viral.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/07/prayer-breakfast-speaker-praises-jesus-gets-political-calls-political-correctness-dangerous-hammers-fiscal-irresponsibility/
Click where it says "watch the entire, 26-minute speech below"
Watch the entire video!


WSJ entitled the piece that follows: Ben Carson for President

Amazingly he said these things right in front of the current President.

Excerpted: "...make time to watch the video of Dr. Ben Carson speaking to the White House prayer breakfast this week.

Seated in view to his right are Senator Jeff Sessions and President Obama. One doesn't look happy. ... Raised by a single mother in inner-city Detroit, he was as he tells it "a horrible student with a horrible temper." Today he's director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and probably the most renowned specialist in his field.

Late in his talk he dropped two very un-PC ideas. The first is an unusual case for a flat tax: "What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he's given us a system. It's called a tithe.

"We don't necessarily have to do 10% but it's the principle. He didn't say if your crops fail, don't give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes. Some people say, 'Well that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10.' Where does it say you've got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs."

Not surprisingly, a practicing physician has un-PC thoughts on health care:

"Here's my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed—pretax—from the time you're born 'til the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members, and there's nobody talking about death panels. We can make contributions for people who are indigent. Instead of sending all this money to some bureaucracy, let's put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're gong to learn how to be responsible."

The Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon may not be politically correct, but he's closer to correct than we've heard in years."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323452204578292302358207828.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop
3893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: February 09, 2013, 02:09:57 PM
Prof. Laffer analyzes the problem superbly IMO, recognizing that the disincentives are on both sides, the employer and the potential employee. 

It is astounding to know that a small family in ordinary circumstances makes $45,000 (after taxes) without working at all.  You could stop the search for the disincentives right there but that isn't the worst of it.  He gives a specific example where a single mother of two faces marginal tax rates of 67 - 100% as they try to better themselves above that level.  The massive disincentive to improve one's lot ought to catch the attention of everyone who cares about either side of the problem, revenues to the government or the human side of getting people onto a more productive track.  It is the dilemma of these programs that should concern everyone involved, yet seldom is it written or spoken, especially in terms this precise.  (Maybe David Gregory will confront Dick Durbin with this tomorrow, or Steve Kroft will follow up with the President about real failure and solutions.)

Laffer skips one other key component: it is about risk, not just money.  A potential new job especially with a new company involves very high risk.  What if you don't like the work?  What if you aren't good at it?  What if the company goes under? What if the company does fine and you like the job but they let you go for all the wrong reasons?  The answer is that you just gave up your food, housing or healthcare subsidy for a high risk and a very low return.  It isn't happening.  Recipients of section 8 for example know you don't give up your qualification in a program, once you land it.  Far more likely under these perverse disincentives if you are conscientious and responsible is that you learn to live within the guidelines that are housing your family and keep reported income within the requirements. and stay on the program.  If not for yourself, you do it for the children.

If 67% is too high for the Phil Mickelson family, how does a 67-100% rate work for an unworking single mom of two?  We know the empirical answer, people are migrating onto these programs, not off of them.  Baseline thinking acknowledges that and understates it.  People don't need a calculator to see the impact of a marginal tax rate over 50%, sometimes approaching 100%.  They know it isn't worth it.

I have mixed feelings about enterprise zones.  I don't like creating uneven rules for taxation, but he is correct to point out we have virtually no current revenues there to lose and everything to gain. 

A smaller idea is to just waive many of these things, certain taxes and payroll regulations, in the start up of a new business.  Give them a moment to get going before throwing the book at them on most things.  No withholding and limited payroll compliance requirements in the first calendar year of a new business, especially where they are hiring someone who wasn't previously working.  Let the business get started, build a product, perform a service and get some revenues coming in before they have to pay taxes and staff and house a payroll department, human resources, accountants and attorneys. 

With all the compliance requirements, only a rich person can start a business and those very few are the ones we chase away. 

Government will get plenty of forms and revenues from new businesses in the long run if they first launch and survive the startup.
3894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: February 08, 2013, 07:29:17 PM
Correcting my own imprecise writings, I think we need to consider dropping the term U.S. "Dollar", a meaningless designation if the date of value is not specified.   Otherwise dollar would need to be written with a subscript of dollar date for inflation value calculations.  Economists use terms like year specified constant dollars, but really, to which part of the year do they refer?

Past inflation calculator:  http://www.westegg.com/inflation/

"Dollar" sounds like something solid, stable, constant, like a meter, a pound, a pint or a commandment.  Very misleading.

The correct term for the varying value of American paper money is:  "Federal Reserve Note".
3895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: February 08, 2013, 07:12:37 PM
A currency doing worse than the US$ is in trouble.

How is inauguration going?  No news for almost a month?
3896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: February 08, 2013, 07:09:10 PM
David Gregory host of Meet the Press has announced that due to the snowstorm he will not be confronting President Barack Obama this Sunday about his alleged non-involvement in the rescue not even attempted scandal brought to light this week in the Senate Benghazi hearings.  Nor, with snow falling on the east coast as we speak, will he be questioning Jay Carney about his bald faced lie to the American people about President Obama's continuous involvement in the rescue that never got ordered.  Said Gregory, "this is not just snow, it looks like heavy winds coming too.  I just don't see tough questioning happening in the face of this."

Just breaking, Steve Kroft of the CBS program 30 minutes said, "me neither".  "This is a big storm", said Kroft.  "I don't see how we can get to it this week."

Both professional journalists said they are committed, weather and other delays permitting, to get to the bottom of this no matter what it takes before the November 6, 2012 election or as soon as is professionally possible after that. 
3897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 08, 2013, 04:07:39 PM
Crafty, Your point is valid.  Looking backward is necessary in the search for lessons to learn.  But the rear view mirror is not the best consideration moving forward.  Those who are in stocks right now, in the face of so many negative factors, should have a strategy to get out quickly as well.

I recall laughing in Jan 2000 and showing charts around of the phenomenal returns from 1999, wondering why I didn't have more in Qualcomm that went up 2400% and JDSU that went up over 1000% and had a billion in the bank.  This was real and nothing could stop it - we thought - even without real earnings.  Looking backward did not tell you what was in front of you.  Harsh, unbiased analysis might have.  NASDAQ crashed in March 2000.  The best companies in the best technologies crashed, not just dot-coms.  America's most widely held stock Lucent lost 99% of its value.  The total loss in that crash was about $5 trillion.

I don't know what today's stocks are worth or what to do with information that doesn't make sense to me, except to warn that it doesn't make sense to me.

Not many good investment options available that I know of for the very few who have money.  Sitting on money is a sure loss.  Gold is already sky-high.  I would only say invest in funds that have good defensive strategies for the next correction.




3898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 08, 2013, 01:20:33 PM
Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday found 83% of those surveyed support stricter border control while 55% favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Which should we do first?
3899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 08, 2013, 01:15:40 PM
"Too bad we don't have a ton of natural gas to export to those who want Iranian energy , , ,"

As quoted in 'energy', our fascist Sen. committee chair is contemplating whether American suppliers should be able to export at all.

Follow the Kerry Doctrine.  Figure out what is right and makes sense and do the opposite - every time.
3900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 08, 2013, 01:04:48 PM
Great clip GM. ...

Yes, these shows invite him on as a contrary opinion and shout him down, right while it was going on.  I was trying to ask what economic theory supports the idea that what we are doing now leads to anything but collapse. Stomp out savings, stomp out investment, stop out employment, stomp out work. Dilute the dollar, limit revenues, explode expenses and liabilities, then ask: what could possibly go wrong?

I don't think Shiff is an optimist now (understatement).  But also he is no expert on the timing and magnitudes of collapses.  No one is.
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