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3951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left: Sustainable Capitalism by Al Gore et al, WSJ on: December 17, 2011, 11:51:09 AM
Al Gore is giving voice to researchers: "Rob Bauer and Daniel Hann of Maastricht University, and Beiting Cheng, Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim of Harvard" and others who found that: "sustainable businesses realize financial benefits such as lower cost of debt and lower capital constraints".

The assumption is that corporate managers otherwise only look to next quarter's earning, all are really Enrons imploding without a new focus.  But the great corporations of today already are the ones who perform well year after year and decade after decade by looking our for long term interests.

Get ready for ESG Metrics to be a required MBA course and a fast growing major across the fruited, liberal academic plain.  Who is your company's Chief ESG Officer?
-----
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203430404577092682864215896.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism
How businesses can embrace environmental, social and governance metrics.

By AL GORE AND DAVID BLOOD

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, when the United States was preparing its visionary plan for nurturing democratic capitalism abroad, Gen. Omar Bradley said, "It is time to steer by the stars, and not by the lights of each passing ship." Today, more than 60 years later, that means abandoning short-term economic thinking for "sustainable capitalism."

We are once again facing one of those rare turning points in history when dangerous challenges and limitless opportunities cry out for clear, long-term thinking. The disruptive threats now facing the planet are extraordinary: climate change, water scarcity, poverty, disease, growing income inequality, urbanization, massive economic volatility and more. Businesses cannot be asked to do the job of governments, but companies and investors will ultimately mobilize most of the capital needed to overcome the unprecedented challenges we now face.

Before the crisis and since, we and others have called for a more responsible form of capitalism, what we call sustainable capitalism: a framework that seeks to maximize long-term economic value by reforming markets to address real needs while integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics throughout the decision-making process.

Such sustainable capitalism applies to the entire investment value chain—from entrepreneurial ventures to large public companies, seed-capital providers to institutional investors, employees to CEOs, activists to policy makers. It transcends borders, industries, asset classes and stakeholders.

Those who advocate sustainable capitalism are often challenged to spell out why sustainability adds value. Yet the question that should be asked instead is: "Why does an absence of sustainability not damage companies, investors and society at large?" From BP to Lehman Brothers, there is a long list of examples proving that it does.

Moreover, companies and investors that integrate sustainability into their business practices are finding that it enhances profitability over the longer term. Experience and research show that embracing sustainable capitalism yields four kinds of important benefits for companies:

• Developing sustainable products and services can increase a company's profits, enhance its brand, and improve its competitive positioning, as the market increasingly rewards this behavior.

• Sustainable capitalism can also help companies save money by reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency in the supply chain, and by improving human-capital practices so that retention rates rise and the costs of training new employees decline.

• Third, focusing on ESG metrics allows companies to achieve higher compliance standards and better manage risk since they have a more holistic understanding of the material issues affecting their business.

• Researchers (including Rob Bauer and Daniel Hann of Maastricht University, and Beiting Cheng, Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim of Harvard) have found that sustainable businesses realize financial benefits such as lower cost of debt and lower capital constraints.

Sustainable capitalism is also important for investors. Mr. Serafeim and his colleague Robert G. Eccles have shown that sustainable companies outperform their unsustainable peers in the long term. Therefore, investors who identify companies that embed sustainability into their strategies can earn substantial returns, while experiencing low volatility.

Because ESG metrics directly affect companies' long-term value, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations and the like—investors with long-term liabilities—should include these metrics as an essential aspect of valuation and investment strategy. Sustainable capitalism requires investors to be good investors, to fully understand the companies they invest in and to believe in their long-term value and potential.

We recommend five key actions for immediate adoption by companies, investors and others to accelerate the current incremental pace of change to one that matches the urgency of the situation:

• Identify and incorporate risk from stranded assets. "Stranded assets" are those whose value would dramatically change, either positively or negatively, when large externalities are taken into account—for example, by attributing a reasonable price to carbon or water. So long as their true value is ignored, stranded assets have the potential to trigger significant reductions in the long-term value of not just particular companies but entire sectors.

That's exactly what occurred when the true value of subprime mortgages was belatedly recognized and mortgage-backed assets were suddenly repriced. Until there are policies requiring the establishment of a fair price on widely understood externalities, academics and financial professionals should strive to quantify the impact of stranded assets and analyze the subsequent implications for investment opportunities.

• Mandate integrated reporting. Despite an increase in the volume and frequency of information made available by companies, access to more data for public equity investors has not necessarily translated into more comprehensive insight into companies. Integrated reporting addresses this problem by encouraging companies to integrate both their financial and ESG performance into one report that includes only the most salient or material metrics.

This enables companies and investors to make better resource-allocation decisions by seeing how ESG performance contributes to sustainable, long-term value creation. While voluntary integrated reporting is gaining momentum, it must be mandated by appropriate agencies such as stock exchanges and securities regulators in order to ensure swift and broad adoption.

• End the default practice of issuing quarterly earnings guidance. The quarterly calendar frequently incentivizes executives to manage for the short-term. It also encourages some investors to overemphasize the significance of these measures at the expense of longer-term, more meaningful measures of sustainable value creation. Ending this practice in favor of companies' issuing guidance only as they deem appropriate (if at all) would encourage a longer-term view of the business.

• Align compensation structures with long-term sustainable performance. Most existing compensation schemes emphasize short-term actions and fail to hold asset managers and corporate executives accountable for the ramifications of their decisions over the long-term. Instead, financial rewards should be paid out over the period during which these results are realized and compensation should be linked to fundamental drivers of long-term value, employing rolling multiyear milestones for performance evaluation.

• Incentivize long-term investing with loyalty-driven securities. The dominance of short-termism in the market fosters general market instability and undermines the efforts of executives seeking long-term value creation. The common argument that more liquidity is always better for markets is based on long-discredited elements of the now-obsolete "standard model" of economics, including the illusion of perfect information and the assumption that markets tend toward equilibrium.

To push against this short-termism, companies could issue securities that offer investors financial rewards for holding onto shares for a certain number of years. This would attract long-term investors with patient capital and would facilitate both long-term value creation in companies and stability in financial markets.

Ben Franklin famously said, "You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again." Today we have an opportunity to steer by the stars and once again rebuild for the long-term. Sustainable capitalism will create opportunities and rewards, but it will also mean challenging the pernicious orthodoxy of short-termism. As we face an inflection point in the global economy and the global environment, the imperative for change has never been greater.

Mr. Gore, chairman of Generation Investment Management, is a former vice president of the United States. Mr. Blood is managing partner of Generation Investment Management.
3952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom: Mother Jones on NDAA on: December 17, 2011, 11:25:33 AM
Compromise language: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."

I am still confused by the status of the controversial clause, holding indefinitely (or not) US citizens taken on US soil believed to be terrorists, and perhaps the confusion is intentional in the compromise language.  This author is saying (if I am reading him correctly) that the other media's take on it is wrong and that the actual meaning will have to be determined in the courts once a President acts on it.
---------
Quoting the Mother Jones author: "It does not, contrary to what many media outlets have reported, authorize the president to indefinitely detain without trial an American citizen suspected of terrorism who is captured in the US. A last minute compromise amendment adopted in the Senate, whose language was retained in the final bill, leaves it up to the courts to decide if the president has that power, should a future president try to exercise it. But if a future president does try to assert the authority to detain an American citizen without charge or trial, it won't be based on the authority in this bill.

So it's simply not true, as the Guardian wrote yesterday, that the the bill "allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay." When the New York Times editorial page writes that the bill would "strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military," or that the "legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial," they're simply wrong.

The language in the bill that relates to the detention authority as far as US citizens and permanent residents are concerned is, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."

As I've written before, this is cop-out language. It allows people who think the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks gives the president the authority to detain US citizens without charge or trial to say that, but it also allows people who can read the Constitution of the United States to argue something else. "
3953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 17, 2011, 11:08:46 AM
I agree with the points well-articulated by Prentice.  It seems odd in a crucial national and global security question that we leave without declaring any kind of victory, defeat or followup plan.  We are declaring our adherence to a politically calculated timetable, no matter the outcome, after all the investment and sacrifice.

Lost in translation throughout the Middle East is that we didn't mean 'democracy,' we meant consent of the governed in a way that individual liberties would flourish.  Not old oppression replaced with new oppression.

Soon our on the ground intelligence gathering capabilities from both the Af-Pak and Iran-Iraq regions will go back to Sept 10 2001 levels, this time with two radical Islamic nuclear threats possible.  What could possibly go wrong?
3954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud: Clinton Curtis on: December 16, 2011, 10:53:14 AM
Bigdog,  Very interesting story.  I never heard that story at the time.  I heard more about what Maxine Waters was trying to get at regarding Diebold.  He is very believable - up to a point.  He does go rather seamlessly from what he knows to other conclusions such as the communist China story at the end.  Asked: was this [the flip the result program] used, he said: 'I have no idea'.  He talks of writing code to rig one machine I think, pressing a secret button, and goes to flipping the result of a larger election.  I did not follow that.  Although no one went to jail over finding a stack of Al Franken ballots in the trunk of a car.  Normally one precinct irregularity doesn't flip an election result.  In both Florida 2000 and with the 60th Senator, the errors were perhaps greater than the margin.

Here is a youtube that expands on Curtis' story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7tjnuG-l6g

One reaction I have is that this supports the argument in favor of further education.  Why is it that so few people can read source code?  I realize it is hard to build with hardware capacity so small and simple that it is only capable of holding one basic program that can only add one vote from each ballot to the count, not switch or timer based iterations, but it needs to be done.

Our polling places have election judges present from both sides (and where I vote there is a paper ballot to count against the machine reading it).  Where would these machines go for re-programming?  One corrupt employee would stay after everyone leaves?  Like any question of tainted evidence, isn't there a chain of custody with a voting machine?  The machines aren't just free for tinkering?  And isn't the penalty for rigging or triggering the switch program a felony for each incident, for each person involved?

More than 30 years ago I was selling some of the first fully automated teller machines, a labor saving technology that perhaps caused the Jimmy Carter's and Reagan's unemployment problems. wink  On every install I would joke with the technicians about rigging my card to trigger the dispensing of ALL the cash.  I would get a laugh out of that, but amazingly you never hear of it happening on any brand machine at any bank over more that 3 decades.  The ability to write and verify security into programming has been available for a very long time.

This story may explain some elections in Venezuela, where exit polls had a 40 point flip and where control of the machines and polling places was with all with the regime, more than it explains Florida 2000 or other irregularities here.
3955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: December 15, 2011, 12:04:53 PM
I have been one of Wesbury's biggest defenders (until now) and there is some validity in what he says, but this video overall is perhaps a last straw for me.  

One point of validity: Republicans should not base their campaign now on the assumption that all economic news will be all doom and gloom 10 1/2 months from now.  The economic news at election time could be slow growth.  If Wesbury's forecasts are about right the growth rate will be 3.5%, just over breakeven growth, in the period coming into the election.

Totally missed in his one-sided, wrong sided simplification are these points IMO:

a. Power in Washington on domestic policies changed hands and changed direction in Jan 2007, not Jan 2009 and Senator Obama's fingerprints are all over that disastrous shift two years before his presidency.  Unemployment was 4.7% before the new power in Washington announced to investors and employers that conditions favorable to growth would be ending soon and that if you hold capital assets, you should sell them off soon before the new policies coming are fully in place.

b. Growth I believe would be 7% or more (not 2 - 3 1/2%) IF we combined this much idle capacity and investment capital sitting on the sidelines with aggressive, pro-growth policies.
 
c. Unemployment if measured against the number of jobs we used to have in the economy would be >11%, not 8.6%.  

d.  Even using his timeframe and his numbers, the idea that we will have went from 7.9% unemployment at the start all the way back to 7.9% on election day 2012, after 4 long years under Obama, is hardly a persuasive, Democratic talking point.
3956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: December 15, 2011, 10:41:51 AM
You quote my question and then don't answer it.  I can only go backwards and circular to answer yours - again.  I assume that is your intent.  

As far as the times we engaged and you were proven right, scratching my small brain, nothing comes to mind.  I suppose you are remembering your claim of no damage to the French supermarket ransacked by 'free speech', Israel's non-existent right to exist, Huntsman's two terms, NOAA is a third grade blogger, or that mid-level ATF administrators can declare war in Mexico without congressional approval.  Now this:

"no one cares in America about the huge death toll in Mexico."

Excrement that never ends (hint to moderator).  JDN, speak for your f'g self.

You prefer the term liberal to internet troll but you have neither proven that you are the former nor proven you are not the latter.
3957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: December 15, 2011, 12:11:05 AM
Please post all the facts for us to review.  In the meantime, if you don't enjoy participating in the conjecture while we wait for the facts, have you considered staying off the thread?

This is the rambling of a guy who had a putdown today for other people's intelligence:

Yes, it truly is a scary thought, but BINGO?  huh

To my knowledge, no FACTS have come out to prove this is a "false flag operation".  Conjecture, hyperbole and wishful thinking is one thing.  But facts....  Any facts anyone?

That said, frankly I don't understand why it would even affect gun control in America.  I mean 10's of thousands of Mexicans have already been gunned down
by the Cartels.  What's a few hundred more guns that frankly/obviously given the death count, could have been bought elsewhere?  Surely if it was a "false
flag operation" to promote gun control in America they could have done better.  Frankly, and sadly, no one cares in America about the huge death toll in Mexico.  I truly doubt
if it would even affect gun control in America one way or another.

But facts.  Everyone agrees the ATF "sting" went bad.  But I bet a lot of stings go bad.  I think even GM would agree, it's easy to criticize law enforcement after the the fact.  Although
I agree with his point, it wasn't the best plan I've ever heard.   smiley

Criminal act?  I suppose selling drugs is a "criminal act" but somehow the DEA does it undercover.  As BbyG's article pointed out, the DEA launder's money, but that is illegal too. Still,
I doubt if they will be arrested.  Somehow it's "legal".  An "act of war"?  Gee, I don't hear Mexico declaring an "act of war".  That's pretty silly.   In contrast, Mexico is considering doing the same to track weapons. 
Radical steps need to be taken to stop the Cartels; but all ideas don't work.  No one seems to have the solution.

Odd, given I'm the "liberal" that I'm the one defending the ATF.  But as been pointed out elsewhere, unless the facts to the contrary come out, the "conclusion" is that
it was a sting gone bad - even BbyG's post said the same.  Shit happens.  I'ld like to think all law enforcement actions work out perfectly, but that's not reality.

That said, IF there is a coverup, or if there was a political, i.e. gun control motivation, and there is PROOF, then let the chips fall.  But please, don't call this a "limiting second amendment"
issue without any proof.  It is a "scary THOUGHT", but to date, it is only a "thought" but that "conclusion" does it even resemble the proven TRUTH...
[/quote]
3958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Video Clips of Interest - Extreme sports enthusiasts, extreme video on: December 14, 2011, 11:22:46 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/EEu42L0ufBY%26rel%3d0%26hl%3den_US%26feature%3dplayer_embedded%26version%3d3

A friend was showing me a soccer based volleyball game at the 3:28 mark.  Who needs hands? Also the video illustrates what I can't put into words about the excitement of mountain skiing on steep slopes in deep powder.  Really, the whole thing is breathtaking - have a look.  (less than 5 minutes)
3959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: December 14, 2011, 01:22:38 PM
BBG, A little further up the thread I wrote: "It is not legal for me to knowingly supply a criminal operation...a felony...if you or I did it."

Only to have 'someone' twist it beyond recognition: "As some have improperly implied, it wasn't a felony..." for the government to run a sting operation".  Clearly nothing to do with what I wrote.  Then to compare ** selling legally with no knowledge of supplying a criminal operation, with knowingly supplying a criminal operation and a foreign civil war that we all should know will go wrong...    Suffice it to say, invest your time in straw, circular and backwards arguments at your own risk.  For me, it spoils the fun.


** "My point is it seems a bit hypercritical to complain about guns being sold in Mexico provided by us as a sting operation yet are sold legally across the counter here in America."  

It is not legal for citizens or gun dealers to knowingly seek out and supply a criminal operation across the counter here in America, as the government apparently did in this operation.  What a bunch of excrement.
3960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: December 14, 2011, 01:21:10 PM
My favorite fights on the board are between GM and Crafty on privacy.  smiley  I'm busy now but will come back later with popcorn...
3961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 14, 2011, 12:51:32 PM
That is quite a mixed and roundabout endorsement of Romney: "When ideas are new and unfamiliar, they're not executable. When they're executable we need people who can execute."  I love the intro: "Week 3,334 of Mitt Romney's quest for the presidency hasn't been a good one."  Also, he is 'frugal' in that he 'personally U-Haul's family gear between vacation homes'.  Perhaps Gingrich is exactly what Romney needed - if he survives the challenge.

On the Massachusetts health care, Romney just can't say it out loud, but it is a very liberal state and that is what THEY wanted, and he delivered.  Romney hasn't ever personally had a problem with the cost of coverage, the cost of health care, the cost of gas or the cost of a loaf of bread.  Romneycare is a state plan.  Other state's can look at it, learn from it and judge it against their own state constitutions and their own polling data if they want to.  On the federal level he has committed to repealing PelosiObamaCare on the first day possible and a second term Pres. Obama will not.  That is enough contrast to bring into the general election on that issue.

Too early to say this with Newt still leading by double digits, but don't rule Newt out for the VP spot.  That still puts him on the stage and in the debates as the most articulate attacker of the opponent.
3962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics - Greed in capitalism is not the same as exploitation on: December 14, 2011, 09:24:44 AM
An extension of the Keyfabe post, that pro wrestlers may not really be trying to destroy their opponent, is the misunderstanding of the concept of greed in economics.  An implication is falsely made that in a free market we are all trying to destroy each other, and the rich will take all and leave you with nothing if we don't stop them.  But that doesn't make any sense.

Greed in economics means acting in your own self interest and may include providing for your spouse and your children, maybe your parents, other family members and your place of worship, your charities, your neighborhood, community, your boy scout troop, your environment, your nation, etc and the need to keep your own business interests moving forward to provide for all those 'self' interests.

The fact that people act in their own long term self interest in business and economics is a central tenet in a logic based system that allows the players in the economic system to understand what the other players will do and to make adjustments so that transactions take place and business relationships prosper.  The successful business (the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker) will seek to get the best price (low) from his suppliers and labor, etc. and to get the best price (high) from his customers in a competitive environment, not to destroy them but to keep them as suppliers and customers and to grow the business with them.
3963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Keyfabe on: December 14, 2011, 08:51:37 AM
Very interesting!  I never thought of the similarities between pro wrestling and perhaps climate science, or the pretend fights between the regulators and regulated in mortgage business.
3964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 14, 2011, 08:47:38 AM
"All the sales and inventory data that have been reported since January 2007 are being downwardly revised. Sales were weaker than people thought," NAR spokesman Walter Malony told Reuters.
---------
We should keep a count of large stories people would already know if they read the forum.  Something akin to the term bullsh*t comes to mind for what our expert thought of housing figures reported by the Realtors assn previously.

Nearly all economic data is wrong; people need to constantly look past and through data for the meaning.  Often it is Wesbury pointing that out.  Also Scott Grannis is excellent on that.  Measures like unemployment, inflation, poverty, or housing can only be watched for trends in a flawed measurement, not accuracy.
--------
My latest economic indicator is anecdotal.  A major residential window supplier, who sees investment into their existing homes as well as new construction, told me yesterday he has seen more improvement in the business in the last few months than in the last few years.  Keep in mind we are talking minor growth from unimaginable lows and the unemployment rate here is closer to 5%, half of the rate of the troubled areas of the country. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/metro.nr0.htm
3965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: December 13, 2011, 11:04:29 AM
'many/most white collar jobs now list a college degree as a prerequisite'

Yes in big corporations though I very often see things like Masters of Engineering or equivalent.  If you are the best in your profession, doors open up for you. More often I know people with PhD in Physics etc working in other sectors and the credential merely establishes they are smart and trainable.  With employment law and escalating mandates etc. we may be evolving back toward an entrepreneurial economy where merit may surpass credentials for criteria - at least in some sectors.

I have been hired in a degree required situation where the boss didn't have one.
3966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Japan's Earthquake on: December 13, 2011, 10:24:51 AM
Interesting story today that the cause of the nuclear accident at Fukushima was the earthquake and not the tsunami, opposite of what has been reported to date:

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011

SENTAKU MAGAZINE
Real cause of nuclear crisis

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the operator of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Station, has been insisting that the culprit that caused the nuclear crisis was the huge tsunami that hit the plant after the March 11 earthquake. But evidence is mounting that the meltdown at the nuclear power plant was actually caused by the earthquake itself.

According to a science journalist well versed in the matter, Tepco is afraid that if the earthquake were to be determined as the direct cause of the accident, the government would have to review its quake-resistance standards completely, which in turn would delay by years the resumption of the operation of existing nuclear power stations that are suspended currently due to regular inspections.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20111213a1.html
3967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 13, 2011, 10:12:57 AM
Didn't Kagan also work on Obamacare?  - I believe she denies that.  Last I heard Republicans were looking at a 2 month gap in her records. 

Why does a question arise over Thomas and Obamacare?  - No reason to my knowledge but the left has called for his recusal.  The best they could come up with that I know of is that his wife has worked hard for its repeal.
3968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Education: College degree or equivalent: MIT OCW on: December 13, 2011, 10:00:34 AM
As the cost of college goes up and up and up, one thing missing in the value of the degree debate is the second part of what they call college degree or "equivalent".  (Link below)

With the college search process in full gear, soon I will know more about the inner workings of college pricing.  Our family income is very low, but does that mean she will get money paid by someone else or get loans.  The idea of loans equal to a large home mortgage just for a basic 4 year is unacceptable to me.  My understanding at the high priced places is that most don't pay asking price.  Some places pay money for ACT scores and for academics, but it is all very confusing.  Girls at her level in sports are getting recruited and some money may come related to that.  The girls a notch better than her in sports are getting full rides. 

There is definitely value in having the best technical people also develop real communication skills and for the communications people to have a deeper understanding of math, science, engineering and business.  Hard to measure value, but it is important.  The price problem is similar to health care.  As 3rd party pay grows, how can the consumer hold down the cost?  It is also hard for me to see if there is competition on price with quality or is higher education really just one large racket.  I know they compete for the high end students but they all seem to fill up with numbers of students, one way or another.

One avenue out of the cost mess is to achieve the equivalent in learning and don't pay the institution.  For the ordinary person that may not work and it doesn't work in every field, like medicine, but an amazing amount of information is out there for the taking.  Read the forum here for knowledge.  Also I like this site:

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/

2000 courses online, free.  No tuition, no admissions screening, no degrees.  Just courses, syllabuses, tests, lecture notes, etc. from one of the greatest technical institutions in the world on an amazing array of topics.

Google: 'MIT OCW' (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Open Course Ware)
3969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Myths of the New Deal and Great Depression, Economics Video on: December 13, 2011, 09:22:40 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xWAgt_YCNuw

Myths of the New Deal

This video by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity does a good job of exploding the key myths that have surrounded the Great Depression and the New Deal for decades. It is remarkable that the facts this video sets forth are starting to become well known, after many years of obfuscation, due to the work of Amity Shlaes and others  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/12/myths-of-the-new-deal.php
3970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / American Creed /Constitutional Law: Kagan Recusal on Arizona Immigration Law on: December 13, 2011, 09:11:09 AM
Already posted by Prentice on Immigration Issues, but also interesting in how it might apply to other cases or situations.  My understanding is that neither Kagan nor Thomas will recuse on the health care case. (?)


Justice Elena Kagan will not take part in [Arizona v. U.S., 11-182], presumably because of her work on the issue when she served in the Justice Department in the Obama administration.

3971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 12, 2011, 11:39:13 PM
"Careful GM.  Bret Baier report today reported that the deficit is on track to come in under $1T this year.  This is about 33% down from the peak.  Another $250B and the statement will be true."

Baier is likely referring to the fiscal year with 10 months remaining and Obama is saying rather specifically: half of 1.3T ($650 billion) within his first term, which really is this fiscal year.  Not spoken in the numbers is the total amount added to the debt, which is his central point - the burden of paying the interest.

Another lead indicator of misery subsiding will be the food stamp count, up more than 50% under Pres. Obama.  Economic growth at the main street / kitchen table level is measured in number or percentage of families not needing assistance on something as basic as food - or health care.

Food stamp recipients at record
Recession, disasters, Obamanomics drive spike in assistance

THE WASHINGTON POST Thursday December 8, 2011

WASHINGTON — The nation’s struggling economy and an uptick in natural disasters have prompted more Americans than ever to apply for federal food aid.

More than 46.3 million people received a total of $75.3 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, in fiscal 2011, according to U.S. Agriculture Department statistics released on Monday.
-------------------------
Flashback 3 years:

Food stamps recipients nearing record 30 million
November 26, 2008|WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON — Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

3972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 12, 2011, 11:16:29 PM
"Krauthammer's criticism of Newt is correct."

Those were strong words.  Newt should get out front correcting this.

3973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tim Tebow vs. Pres. Obama on: December 12, 2011, 10:42:59 PM
Tim Tebow: “My teammates make me look a lot better than I am”
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/12/tim-tebow-my-teammates-make-me-look-a-lot-better-than-i-am/

Pres. Obama: Tonight I can report, I directed [the CIA Director], I was briefed on a possible lead, I met repeatedly with my national security team, I determined that we had enough intelligence, today at my direction, I called President Zardari, these efforts weigh on me every time I as Commander-in-Chief... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/osama-bin-laden-dead-obama-speech-video-transcript_n_856122.html

"Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22-out-of-30 top al Qaeda leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement." 
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57339492-503544/obama-ask-bin-laden-if-im-an-appeaser/

Contrasting leadership styles.  You would think this President could at least pretend to be humble and have surrogates like the VP or media toot his horn for him.  IIRC, Reagan had some humility that added to his likability.  Pres. Obama will brag more about getting unemployment down to 8% than Pres. Reagan did about getting the real economic growth rate up to 8%, after asphyxiating stagflation.
3974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Unforced Errors on: December 12, 2011, 09:36:53 PM
Crafty wrote: "What a kitty response to the psuedo-brouhaha!  He should have pushed back and said that the chattering class was missing the point-- as it so often does-- the point being to challenge Perry to put up or shut up concerning the allegation in question.  Instead of the patricianly guilt he displays, he should have no apology-- "Yes, I have money, and I earned it.  Its a reason I should be president.  Look at what I did for turning the Olympics around!  Let me do that for America!".

We didn't see Newt kittying out to the brouhaha over his comments on the Palestinians, did we?"
----------------------
I agree on both points.  The Romney bet attempt was stupid on many counts.  On the other, they were asked what your family ever had to cut back on or do without and Romney said he didn't grow up poor.  There are a bunch of other directions he could have ran with that to show he learned those lessons anyway.  Or he could have graciously shown admiration for the family of one of his competitors.  Perry didn't have running water in his earliest years, neither did Clarence Thomas.  Isn't it amazing what can happen in when people grow in freedom...
----------------------

Newt leads in Iowa, leads in South Carolina, leads in Florida and these are double digit leads.  Ggaining in NH now single digits and will get a bump up there if the momentum is clearly his, and he just won another debate by all accounts.

He said he would prove he could be a disciplined candidate by being one.  So what does he do next, Monday morning with all this momentum...

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/12/gingrich-challenges-romney-to-a-bet/

Londonderry, New Hampshire (CNN) – Newt Gingrich responded to a call Monday by GOP rival Mitt Romney to return the money he received from mortgage giant Freddie Mac by issuing his own challenge.

"If Gov. Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain that I would be glad to then listen to him," Gingrich told reporters...
---------------------

Here we go again.  This is wrong on so many levels.  (Please correct me if I am wrong) He is throwing the 'capitalism is exploitation' message of the occupy movement back at Romney for participating in risk based ventures.  Meanwhile he is dodging his own problem.  The Freddie Mac money involved a mind blowing amounts of money for... trading off influence gained as speaker to put lipstick on a pig?  Not an ordinary pig but one that played a key part in bringing down the economy.  Those payments deserves real explanations; a legitimate attack on a vulnerability of the frontrunner.  So he humors it away with a bet joke while taking a shot at the creative destruction aspect of free enterprise, giving fodder to the salivating leftists who couldn't believe the 'right wing social engineering' gift they received earlier in the year.

Who would get mileage out of this?
Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/12/12/387503/gingrich-romney-bain-money/
CNN: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/12/gingrich-challenges-romney-to-a-bet/
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/mitt-romney-freddie-mac-newt-gingrich_n_1144548.html

A few conservatives comment:
Charles Krauthammer: Newt's Attack On Romney Is "What You'd Expect From A Socialist"  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/12/krauthammer_newts_attack_on_romney_is_what_you_expect_from_a_socialist.html

Brit Hume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y36HeSMNZuQ

Hugh Hewitt: http://www.hughhewitt.com/blog/g/33529b9b-4546-4a0f-a91f-a7d8d606eef0
3975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security: Allen West v. Glen Beck, the right torn on defense clause on: December 12, 2011, 08:14:50 PM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/see-becks-passionate-interview-with-allen-west-over-indefinite-detention-bill-stance/
3976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 09, 2011, 09:48:05 AM
"UBS advice for a euro collapse: ‘tinned goods, small calibre weapons’ "

Nice catch there GM of another case of famous people caught reading the forum. Swiss banks come here for investment advice.  Who knew?

Besides silver dimes, I wonder what the smallest pieces of gold are that one could buy, because it will be so hard to get change for bullion after the collective collapse of the currencies.
3977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Right to bear arm on: December 08, 2011, 12:02:23 PM
Going back to the foreignpolicy.com Mexican Roulette piece where bigdog wrote: "I will not be defending this" and GM wrote: "What a steaming pile of MSM product."

I am struck by statements like this in the piece:

"Let's start with the obscenely irresponsible laws that cover gun sales in America. For instance, anyone without a criminal record can legally purchase as many rifles and other long guns as they want in the United States."

I wonder what other exercising of constitutional rights is "obscenely irresponsible".  You rarely hear that criticism against overuse of other freedoms like speech or religion.  Only abortion comes to mind where the backers a 'right' want something that already kills a million a year to remain 'safe, legal and rare'.

Using a firearm to commit a crime is highly illegal in 50 states and federal law (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/3559.html).  Conspiracy in that context I'm sure is similarly prohibited and punished.  The export of firearms is a strictly governed activity:  http://www.bis.doc.gov/licensing/exportsoffirearms.htm

It is not legal for me to knowingly supply a criminal operation or to knowingly export to anyone, shipped through anyone, without proper governmental authorization.  The dead Mexicans and dead border agent scandal wasn't just a stupid idea.  It is a felony, or more like an act of war, if you or I did it.

The article though, it seemed to me, was criticizing law-abiding gun ownership transfers, which are not the question here.
3978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: December 08, 2011, 11:16:45 AM
"But I doubt if one way or another it [a flood of cross-borders guns] had an impact on the number of dead in Mexico.  Or if you believe it did, aren't you indirectly saying that you support gun control?"

I'll leave the question posed to others, but that thinking also explains our non-response to Iran for **building** explosive devices that killed hundreds or thousands American servicemen and women.  They would have been blown up anyway.
-----------------
** update for clarity: knowingly supplying to enemies of the U.S. for the express purpose of killing hundreds or thousands of American servicemen and women.

I didn't mean to say merely the act of building devices.

3979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Japan's Earthquake: on: December 08, 2011, 11:10:00 AM
Amazing video.  Click for a very short graphical look (33 second video) at the force that hit Japan that day. 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/07/japan-double-tsunami-nasa-satellite?newsfeed=true

Japan was hit by 'double tsunami'

Scientists recreate how multiple waves from undersea quake merged into single front that devastated north-eastern Japan

The tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan on 11 March was created by at least two wave fronts that merged to form a far more destructive "double tsunami", scientists in the US have said.

Waves created when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck off the coast came together to create a "merging tsunami" captured by satellites for the first time, according to Nasa and researchers at Ohio State University. Peaks and troughs on the ocean floor helped channel the waves into one huge wave, amplifying its destructive force, they said.

The tsunami swept across a long stretch of coastline, swallowing up entire towns and villages, and leaving almost 20,000 people dead or missing.

Nasa said two of its satellites and a European satellite happened to be passing over the tsunami on the day of the disaster. They were equipped with instruments capable of measuring changes in sea levels to an accuracy of a few centimetres.

"Nobody had definitively observed a merging tsunami until now," said Y Tony Song, a research scientist at Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory in California. "It was a one in 10 million chance that we were able to observe this double wave with satellites."

Song said the same phenomenon could have caused the Chilean tsunami in 1960, in which 200 people in Japan and Hawaii were killed. He described previous attempts to acquire images of similar waves as they travelled towards land as "like looking for a ghost".

The satellite images show how two wave fronts merged to form a single, bigger wave far out at sea. It was then pushed in a certain direction by underwater ridges and mountain chains, sustaining its force as it roared towards the shore.
3980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - adultery on: December 08, 2011, 11:00:58 AM
Besides the character issue, adultery and other sins kept secret have the potential to expose a President (or anyone else) to blackmail in any of its many forms, like support for certain causes for reasons we won't understand.

Just in the hypothetical, the list of Clinton pardons comes to mind: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pardonchartlst.htm
3981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Jon Favreau, Pres. Obama's speechwriter on: December 08, 2011, 10:50:40 AM
The meaning of Obama speech writer might depend on the reader's own bias.  For me it was a Wizard of Oz moment, seeing Toto pull the curtain back a little.  We know the President gives great sounding speeches.  We know his policies don't exactly match his rhetoric.  And we know that without the teleprompter he is not the same orator.  That leads me to great curiosity aimed at the person behind the words in the speeches. 

They used to call Karl Rove 'George Bush's brain', but he was a strategist more than a writer.

They all have speechwriters and they all work with their speechwriters to get the message they want.  With Obama, that importance of that relationship is exceptional.

Interesting that the person behind the teleprompter is a very smart guy, valedictorian of Holy Cross, Catholic and in his 20s, at least until now.  For one thing, it takes a very, very, very smart guy to believe that government could replace the aggregate wisdom of all individual decisions made in the marketplace. 

Obama calls Favreau his mind reader.
3982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed -Constitutional Law: Electoral College on: December 08, 2011, 10:18:43 AM
This story is interesting to me in that they are trying to implement popular vote without a constitutional amendment.  Still I don't see how you end the electoral college without many states voluntarily giving up power they currently hold to states like Calif, NY etc.  Noteworthy is that only one side supports the movement.  Ending the electoral college is analogous to me to ending the equal representation of states in the Senate.  Like McConnell, I don't agree that a popular vote system would be preferable if you could implement it.  Just like we forgot in the Middle East, we weren't trying to implement a majority rule system.

A case is made that only battleground states have a say in national elections and that solid blue and solid red states never get any attention.  Missing in that argument is that the solid blue and solid red states already have a candidate that represents their consensus view.  It is the divided states that are struggling to decide which candidate represents them best.  The attention to battleground states is unfair IMO only when favors are offered like ethanol subsidies, if they constitute unequal treatment under the law.  But those of course are already banned elsewhere in the constitution. 

3983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 05, 2011, 11:37:34 PM
If Newt did not win a national election in 1994, only his district not the election for Speaker, because electors were involved, then no President has ever won a national election. 

I asked about two term governors and you post Huntsman was Governor of Utah for two terms.  A term in Utah is 4 years.  His second term was from 2009-2009.  He didn't serve his second term.  You already know that, from your own post: "Following his term as governor..."(singular) , so you go from falsehoods to insults (right of Attila the Hun as some here prefer).  Who needs it. 

Everyone else I have encountered here comes in pursuit of the truth. 
3984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Newt, Huntsman, others on: December 05, 2011, 04:05:29 PM
Moving this over from Newt thread.

"What "national election" did Newt win?

He nationalized the 1994 congressional elections for the first time in 40 years, got all the candidates to run across the country on the same platform with him as leader, and he won - for the first time in 40 years.   Did you really need that explained?  If you don't agree it's a fact, then you must agree it is a well-supported opinion.  No?  Much better documented than any Huntsman foreign policy experience, what foreign policy decision did he make, lol.

"He was governor of Utah for two term."  Which two terms as a Governor did Huntsman serve?  Good grief.  Then he wasn't Ambassador?   "He did balance the budget."  Was it previously out of balance.  Did he fight off those entrenched, liberal, Utah special interests everyday to get that done, lol.  None of them have promised to come in and balance this budget.  Whether he will be a fiscal conservative or not in Washington is another blank canvas.
3985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich in the race on: December 05, 2011, 12:46:48 PM
"Doug, I notice you were a big Cain fan, another conservative favorite, and you say you are an, "unforgiving family values voter" but I notice you are awfully quiet now on the subject of Cain since his withdrawal."

Cain is not relevant to me out of the race. Besides the allegations and perhaps affair and lie about the affair, he did not show even familiarity with many crucial foreign affairs questions. When I defended him against early allegations, there was no indication to me they were true.  I also posted that I liked other tax plans better than Cain's and his trademark was the tax plan.  I agree, morality matters (!), but Cain was not going to be President anyway, we discovered along the way.  The one of greatest disappointment to me is Gov. Perry. I like Romney's marital history over Gingrich's.  As a single parent, I also have learned you can't always judge the other person's circumstances perfectly from afar.

"But we didn't determine whether you are a voter we are trying to attract."

That part was not intended negative, just directional.  You have been posting economic views IMO more compatible with the other side.  That is your right and your choice.  The choice for the Republican candidate is for Republicans, in my case we are trying to offer a conservative alternative to the choices normally available and the current fight on the inside is against making our candidate mostly the same as theirs.  Since Reagan, we have had Bush Sr. a centrist tax raiser, Dole who had no pro-growth compatibility with his running mate Jack Kemp, a big spending W. Bush, and McCain who made a career out of tearing down Republicans to advance himself as the nominees (from my perspective).  That is a LONG drought! It is a wide open club, not at all private one.  All you have to do is share some core principles.  You, not me, get to decide if you share those principles.  Newt speaks quite eloquently about a certain direction for this country, but he disgusts you - an indication we aren't on the same page.  I like Huntsman's economic plan.  I think you like him in spite of his plan.  I tried to flush that out last week. 

"I would think the Republicans would welcome any vote from anyone with open arms."

No, I wish for people who favor the other philosophies, a larger controlling redistributive government for example, to vote their own conscience over on the other side of the aisle.  Maybe they are right.

My perfect candidate would take qualities pieced together from several of the candidates (and that isn't going to happen so I will vote for one of these).  Part would come from Cain, the business, entrepreneurial, executive experience and bold conservative economic views in particular.  I like Romney's presentation.  He looks and sounds like a President, exudes competence and has a wide range of experience. I thought early the nominee should have at least 2 terms as governor of at least a middle sized state, then Perry jumped in with 10 years successfully running a G13 country equivalent with views ALMOST identical to mine.  I have not ruled him out for me, but inability to articulate a view is a killer politically.  Newt has passion and substance, won a national election, balanced a budget, and already was next in the line of succession behind the VP to be President.  Watch the Huckabee forum - they aren't going to stump Newt by asking for a book recommendation, a supreme court case or a favorite founding father, much less a key issue he never contemplated. (He has other flaws.)  He has visualized this and prepared for this job for a very long time.  I would take his passion with Romney's focus and Perry's conservatism and Santorum's commitment to family, but it doesn't work that way.
3986  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 05, 2011, 11:41:36 AM
Question for GM or others with law enforcement familiarity:

I am seeing police reports (in Minneapolis) that come just from officers performing a lookup on license plates.  It occurs to me that it is an automated process where they shoot a picture of the plate and the computer checks it for warrants, expired plates, current license, good or bad driving record etc. These are on the fly situations without any indication of any other lawbreaking.  Do you know if that is so?

Example: Received in my email today from police regarding a former tenant still claiming to live at our address:

"While doing directed patrol in the xth Pct, I observed listed vehicle, license xxxxx, being operated in the above area.  I did a routine check on the license plate, and this showed the registered owner was shown to have a suspended Mn driver's license.  Arrested Party: xxxx xxxxxx - 27/ Address: xxx xxxxx.
3987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 05, 2011, 11:03:47 AM
"I can't wait for the ads" [presumably DNC and anonymous outsider groups airing constant prime time advertising loaded with innuendo about a candidate's unfaithfulness more than a dozen years ago as the country goes down in decline]?  - That's what you hope the campaign is about?  I would counter with 60 second, unnarrated videos of the President's terrible golf swing; this occurred while he was President!  We can run the economic headlines in the subtitles.

"Obama compared to Gingrich is a SAINT."  - What we know about Obama's fidelity is a record of no accusations- yet.  Marital fidelity is considered an indicator that one as President would be faithful to his country's best interests.  Didn't someone add Eisenhower, HW Bush and perhaps Reagan in his first marriage to the list of Democratic Presidential cheaters, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and WJC, all since women's suffrage. President Obama already has a record of not supporting his country's best interest to judge IMO, running up the debt, devaluing the currency, investing in failed and corrupt companies with taxpayer money, leaving our oil in the ground while paying Brazil to drill.  We won't need innuendo from his bedroom to judge what he would do as President.  OTOH, I think Nixon was faithful.

"Think women vote.... or not...."

People who tolerate no sin are left, as usual, with no politician to support.  "Did some blow" comes to mind, distrusting white people, despising the clingers of middle America, running guns into international crime rings, etc.  With 11 months left, I would not assume this President will be without his own scandals. 

"Heck, even I find Gingrich disgusting...."

But we didn't determine whether you are a voter we are trying to attract.  If you don't also see the positive side of the Gingrich message that is grabbing the momentum by storm, perhaps you are among the voters we wish to defeat this coming year.

If the majority of people are already irreparably offended by Newt, why would attack ads be necessary?  If he can't get through the family values voters in Iowa and elsewhere, he won't be the candidate anyway.  But it's funny how the attacks on the person only make someone like me, an unforgiving family values voter, want to jump up to defend him.

The questions of 2012 IMO will be of bigger vs. smaller government and collapse vs. growth of our private economy, and surrender vs. survival in our global security interests.  Now that you mention it though, I am wondering if this President ever had pre-marital sex before Rev. Jeremiah Wright of "God DAMN America" fame proudly joined them in Holy matrimony.
-----
There is no Republican social security proposal that takes benefits away from current recipients or people near retirement age but that is good reminder of the disingenuous smears that are sure to come.
3988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 04, 2011, 08:21:39 PM
Crafty, thank you. He made a mistake that day and has been remarkably consistent and disciplined since then.
3989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Huckabee Fox Candidates Debate Video Link on: December 04, 2011, 12:04:30 PM
http://www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2011/12/video-watch-the-entire-huckabee-gop-presidential-forum/
3990  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Newt and right wing social engineering on: December 04, 2011, 11:28:35 AM
I am a day behind here but I dug back through the right wing social engineering question yesterday.  I know this happened back in 2011 so maybe it is no longer relevant.   wink  

Here is the passage, full context, on Meet the Press Sunday 5/15/2011:  
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43022759/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/meet-press-transcript-may/#.TtrtZ3JK0QY

MR. GREGORY: What about entitlements? The Medicare trust fund, in stories that have come out over the weekend, is now going to be depleted by 2024, five years earlier than predicted. Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors...

REP. GINGRICH: Right.

MR. GREGORY: ...some premium support and--so that they can go out and buy private insurance?

REP. GINGRICH: I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors. But there are specific things you can do. At the Center for Health Transformation, which I helped found, we published a book called "Stop Paying the Crooks." We thought that was a clear enough, simple enough idea, even for Washington. We--between Medicare and Medicaid, we pay between $70 billion and $120 billion a year to crooks. And IBM has agreed to help solve it, American Express has agreed to help solve it, Visa's agreed to help solve it. You can't get anybody in this town to look at it. That's, that's almost $1 trillion over a decade. So there are things you can do to improve Medicare.

MR. GREGORY: But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.

REP. GINGRICH: I, I think that, I think, I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the--I don't want to--I'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.
-------------------------
Summarizing the Ryan Plan:  (http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2011/April/05/ryan-plan-for-medicare-vouchers-vs-premium-support.aspx)

... convert Medicare into a premium support program for which the government will spend a specific amount for beneficiaries' care, a fundamental shift from the current fee-for-service program....limiting the amount of money the federal government spends...the government would pay a percentage toward the insurance premium for each individual; there would likely be more help for low-income and sicker people. And enrollees could kick in more money to get better coverage. (It is the plan described in Gregory's question.)
------------------
(Doug:) Gingrich did not say Ryan’s Medicare reform is right-wing social engineering.  He was asked what he thought of Ryan's plan and said he didn't like right wing social engineering.

A distinction lost in ALL reporting:

Washington Post: Gingrich: Ryan budget plan ‘right-wing social engineering’
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/44/post/gingrich-ryan-budget-plan-right-wing-social-engineering-sunday-talk-shows/2011/05/15/AF4OtE4G_blog.html  11:57 AM ET, 05/15/2011

PBS News Hour: Gingrich Calls GOP Budget 'Right Wing Social Engineering'
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/05/gingrich-keeps-ryan-budget-at-arms-length.html

CBS: Gingrich slams GOP Medicare plan despite the fact he once said he'd vote for ithttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20063202-503544.html  

Slate: Gingrich on Ryan Plan: "Radical" and "Right-Wing Social Engineering"
 http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/05/16/gingrich_on_ryan_plan_radical_and_right_wing_social_engineering.html

Fox:  Gingrich Calls GOP Medicare Plan 'Right-Wing Social Engineering'
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/16/gingrich-calls-gop-medicare-plan-right-wing-social-engineering/

Wall Street Journal:  Gingrich Blasts House GOP's Medicare Plan
Presidential Candidate Calls It 'Right-Wing Social Engineering,'
Agrees With Obama About Need for Insurance Mandate
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703509104576325350084379360.html?KEYWORDS=Gingrich+Calls+GOP+Medicare+Plan
-----------------------
Then in the aftermath:

Ryan argued Monday that his proposal is not “radical,” as Gingrich alleged in the interview over the weekend. And he questioned why Gingrich was choosing to align himself with Democratic critics of the GOP budget proposal.  "With allies like that, who needs the left?" Ryan quipped

Gingrich went "On the Record" with Greta van Susteren Tuesday night to respond to criticism over his comments.  He told van Susteren. "I made a mistake and I called Paul Ryan today, who's a very close personal friend, and I said that."  (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/17/gingrich-apologizes-paul-ryan-right-wing-social-engineering-criticism/)

In a conference call Tuesday with conservative bloggers, Gingrich said that he was unprepared for a series of “gotcha” questions on individual mandates and the Ryan budget, both of which had been major stories for days before the interview.  “I didn’t go in there quite hostile enough, because it didn’t occur to me going in that you’d have a series of setups,” Gingrich said, according to the Washington Examiner. “This wasn’t me randomly saying things. These were very deliberate efforts to pick fights. (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/newt-plays-the-palin-card-i-wasnt-ready-for-those-gotcha-questions.php)

In a live interview with Rush Limbaugh Thursday afternoon, Gingrich said he hadn’t actually criticized Ryan’s plan in his Sunday appearance on “Meet the Press,” and that he wasn’t referring to the Wisconsin congressman when he said those words.

Hotair later Thursday:  It’s true that Gregory didn’t mention Ryan’s name in his first question, but he did reference Republican plans to change Medicare and cited “premium support” — a hallmark of Ryan’s plan, which Gingrich surely would have known. Even if you cut Newt some slack there, Gregory did explicitly mention Ryan’s plan in his follow-up, which Gingrich proceeded to describe as a “too big a jump” and an example of “radical change.” But we needn’t quibble with the semantics. Plain and simple: If this was all a big misunderstanding about who he was talking about, why didn’t he say that three days ago? (http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/19/gingrich-to-rush-limbaugh-my-right-wing-social-engineering-comment-wasnt-directed-at-paul-ryan/)
------

(Doug:)  There is no reference in the top 100 Google results to 'Right Wing Social Engineering' that is not attributable to Newt.  It's not in the lexicon. Social engineering is what the other side does.  He made it up the term, it's inflammatory IMO, and he was dying to use it - to boldly be a different kind of Republican - on who can jump right over the fence like the person who sat on the bench with Nancy.  This is a guy who at the top of his career had his lunch stolen by a triangulator, and he was trying something.

He made a mistake, I get it, but what was he trying to do?  Forget about Ryan.  What in the top 100 threats our republic faces right now is the problem of right wing social engineering, that a focused and disciplined candidate kicking off his campaign needed to draw to my attention?  My moderate friends would say right wing social engineering is the insistence on gender roles for bride and groom or the stubborn belief that a small life with a heartbeat is a life.   But no.  This was about spending restraint that could come out of Washington if Republicans exert too much power.  He landed a hard punch on the only Republican in the country at the time who was getting any traction.  Good grief.  Then he apologized, said he didn't mean it, then he said it didn't happen.  He meant something else.  

Triangulators do not have coattails.  Another way, with a dozen years in the solutions business, would have been to work with his friend Paul Ryan so the plan would NOT be too radical.

I wonder if this is something that Jon Stewart could try to run with...
http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/jon-stewart-lets-gingrich-be-his-own-punchline-video.php
3991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: December 03, 2011, 02:22:11 PM


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204397704577070850124861954.html
These are the guys we are not helping?
---------------
Syria Would Cut Iran Military Tie, Opposition Head Says

By JAY SOLOMON and NOUR MALAS

PARIS—A Syrian government run by the country's main opposition group would cut Damascus's military relationship to Iran and end arms supplies to Middle East militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the group's leader said, raising the prospect of a dramatic realignment of powers at the region's core.

Burhan Ghalioun, the president of the Syrian National Council, said such moves would be part of a broader Syrian reorientation back into an alliance with the region's major Arab powers. Mr. Ghalioun's comments came Wednesday, in his first major media interview since he was made SNC leader in October.

Mr. Ghalioun also called on the international community to take aggressive new steps, including the possible establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria.

"Our main objective is finding mechanisms to protect civilians and stop the killing machine," Mr. Ghalioun, a 66-year-old university professor, said from his home in south Paris. "We say it is imperative to use forceful measures to force the regime to respect human rights."

Underscoring those concerns, the United Nations human-rights commission estimated Thursday that Syria's crackdown on its nine-month uprising has claimed "much more" than 4,000 lives, a toll that has grown by the hundreds in recent weeks.

    “ Stop the killing machine ” -- Burhan Ghalioun

This year's political uprisings in the Middle East increasingly have devolved into a power struggle pitting the U.S. and its Arab allies, such as Saudi Arabia, against Iran and its allies. Syria is viewed as the central prize, due to its strategic position and role in the Arab-Israeli struggle.
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The U.S. Senate approved economic sanctions on Iran targeting the country's oil industry adding to pressure from European countries that oil exports should be targeted. Benoit Faucon discusses these developments and potential impact on oil prices.

Syria would also appear ripe for realignment. President Bashar al-Assad's government is Iran's closest military and strategic ally in the region. Damascus and Tehran coordinate closely in funneling arms and funds to the Hezbollah movement that controls Lebanon and the militant group Hamas, which is fighting Israeli forces.

Mr. Assad and many of his top officials are Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. The regime's alliance with Iran, which is Shiite-dominated and Persian, is seen as unnatural by Syria's Sunni Arab majority; Mr. Ghalioun called it "abnormal." The SNC, and Syria's broader opposition, generally support dissolving the ties.

Such a position is welcomed by U.S. and European officials, who believe Mr. Assad's overthrow could cripple Iran's ability to project its power into the Palestinian territories and Egypt.

"There will be no special relationship with Iran," Mr. Ghalioun said in the interview. "Breaking the exceptional relationship means breaking the strategic, military alliance," he said, adding that "after the fall of the Syrian regime, [Hezbollah] won't be the same."

Mr. Assad, or members of his Alawite sect, could remain in power, of course. But should Damascus break from Tehran, diplomats believe, Iran's own pro-democracy movement, snuffed out in 2009, could be reinvigorated. Efforts to contain the spread of sophisticated weapons systems could also be aided. Skepticism remains high, however, that such a development will help solve the Arab-Israel conflict, as new governments from Egypt to Tunisia appear just as committed to the Palestinian cause.

The Syrian National Council, formally established in October, serves as the face of Syria's opposition to the international community and has proposed to lead a one-year transition to democratic rule. It is the broadest-based opposition coalition since protests broke out in Syria in mid-March, unifying Sunni Muslims, Christians, Kurds, youth committees and others.

But several Damascus-based political dissidents, and newer movements for political change, say the council was formed largely outside Syria and doesn't adequately represent the spectrum of Syrian society. Factions within the SNC have differed over issues of regional autonomy, the question of foreign intervention in Syria's crisis and the role of religion and Arab nationalism in any new state. The organization has also been hobbled by the lack of operating territory inside Syria and the cohesion of Mr. Assad's military and government.

U.S. and European officials have voiced particular concern about the SNC's lack of representation for women and religious minorities. They have also said that Sunni religious groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, could end up dominating the council.

But in recent days, U.S. officials have said Mr. Ghalioun is effectively building bridges between Syria's political factions.

"He's doing an impressive job," said a U.S. official. The officials added that momentum seems to be building behind the SNC, particularly after the Arab League nations voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to impose financial sanctions on the Assad government.

Mr. Ghalioun acknowledged in the interview that the SNC has faced challenges in uniting Syria's opposition after more than 40 years of the Assad family's dictatorial rule.

He said Syria's Kurdish minority has 33 parties, making the choice of representation difficult. He said the SNC has also made a special outreach to Christians, including sending a mission to the Vatican, amid fears that Christians' religious, economic and political rights could be curtailed in a post-Assad Syria.

Indeed, he said Syria, though roughly 70% Sunni Muslim, has a history of religious and ethnic diversity that would never allow it to be dominated by Islamist parties or Islamist law.

"I don't think there's a real fear in Syria of a monopoly of Islamists, not even 10%," he said. "The Muslim Brotherhood has largely been in exile for 30 years and their internal coordination is non-existent."

Mr. Ghalioun, too, has lived abroad for decades following the seizure of power by the Baath Party and a coup by Hafez al-Assad—Mr. Assad's father—as president in 1970. Mr. Ghalioun has served as a political sociology professor at the Paris Sorbonne University, while intermittently returning to Syria to agitate for political reform. A self-declared secular Sunni, he has called for religion and state to be separate.

His role as opposition leader could end as early as this month under the committee's bylaws, but discussions are under way to potentially extend his term.

In the interview, Mr. Ghalioun stressed that Syria will remain committed to reclaiming the Golan Heights territory from Israel, which Damascus lost during the 1967 Six Day War. But he said Syria would focus its interests through negotiations rather than armed conflict or the support of proxies.

He added that a new Syrian government would normalize relations with neighboring Lebanon after decades of dominating the country through its militarily and intelligence channels. A U.N. investigation has charged members of Hezbollah with assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, a charge the group has denied.

The SNC's president joined the U.S. and European Union with charging Iran of assisting Mr. Assad in cracking down on the political rebellion. Tehran has repeatedly denied this charge. But Iranian officials, as well as Hezbollah, have been vocal in their support for the continuation of the Assad regime.

Mr. Ghalioun and the SNC have been conducting stepped-up negotiations with the Arab League, Turkey, Russia and European powers in recent days to find ways to protect Syrians and guarantee the supply of humanitarian aid, according to participants in the talks. The SNC president has met with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Turkey, which on Wednesday joined the Arab League, U.S. and European Union in imposing financial sanctions on Mr. Assad's government, has raised the possibility of establishing a buffer zone inside Syria to protect civilians from Mr. Assad's forces. Mr. Juppé and the U.S. are pressing a plan to protect international monitors inside Syria.

The SNC's chief visited the Turkish border this week to meet the commanders of the Free Syrian Army, which is made up of defectors from the mostly Sunni mid-ranks of the Syrian military. The FSA has claimed responsibility in recent weeks of at least one attack on a state security building. But Mr. Ghalioun said he had reached agreement with the FSA's commanders that their military operations would focus solely on protecting Syrian civilians and not on offensive operations.

"We don't want, after the fall of the regime in Syria, armed militias outside the control of the state," Mr. Ghalioun said. "They assured us they will implement our agreement and abide by requests not to launch any offensive operations."

Mr. Ghalioun echoed Western confidence that President Assad's leadership is untenable in the long-term due to Damascus's mounting financial woes and diplomatic isolation, saying Mr. Assad can survive only "months" more in office. U.S. and European officials believe it could take much longer.

The SNC believes Damascus's foreign-exchange reserves are now below $10 billion, its leader says; Damascus officially cites between $17 billion and $18 billion. He also said that Syria's economy will contract by at least 10% this year. Syrian economists say the government is projecting growth of around 4%.

"There isn't even 1% chance that Assad will survive," the SNC president said. "His only choice to carry on…is to continue the killing. They know that if they stop, they're over."
3992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 03, 2011, 02:14:25 PM
"I think we've found a slogan for Newt's campaign!"

Be nice now, you will be using those nose plugs soon.   wink
3993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - George Will rips both on: December 03, 2011, 01:20:43 PM
Very impressive defense of Newt.  There is more negative comment out there, I didn't want to pile on until I knew we had people up to the task of answering. ) Vetting him now only makes him stronger.  Some follow up:  

On the Pelosi park bench scene, yes he said it was stupid - the single most stupid thing he has done in recent memory.  Forgiveness is fine but a smart man calling a calculated move stupid now is (IMO) a brush off of the question - what he was thinking when he did it.  

Freddie Mac, mortgage historian for millions of dollars?  Not totally candid.  Lobbyists don't call it lobbying.  He was taking money to help a very anti-conservative program be more palatable to conservatives.  Mortgages are now going from 90% federal to 100%, without reform.  

On the positive side of mandate support, unlike Pelosi-Obama, Newt included the option of posting a bond instead of being forced to buy an insurance product one may not want.  Holding people personally responsibility for their own expenses is conservative.  Bringing the federal government further into healthcare is not. (MHO)

Good point on the electronic medical records.  
-----------------
George Will yesterday called Gingrich the least conservative candidate of the bunch.  Ripped Romney perhaps worse.  (His wife works for Perry.)  A few specifics with mostly broad brush swipes, Newt has somehow rubbed G. Will the wrong way over the years.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/romney-and-gingrich-from-bad-to-worse/2011/12/02/gIQArsM3LO_story.html

Romney and Gingrich, from bad to worse  (I think the editors write the titles)
By George F. Will, Published: December 2

Republicans are more conservative than at any time since their 1980 dismay about another floundering president. They are more ideologically homogenous than ever in 156 years of competing for the presidency. They anticipated choosing between Mitt Romney, a conservative of convenience, and a conviction politician to his right. The choice, however, could be between Romney and the least conservative candidate, Newt Gingrich.

Romney’s main objection to contemporary Washington seems to be that he is not administering it. God has 10 commandments, Woodrow Wilson had 14 points, Heinz had 57 varieties, but Romney’s economic platform has 59 planks — 56 more than necessary if you have low taxes, free trade and fewer regulatory burdens. Still, his conservatism-as-managerialism would be a marked improvement upon today’s bewildered liberalism.

Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.

Granted, his grandiose rhetoric celebrating his “transformative” self is entertaining: Recently he compared his revival of his campaign to Sam Walton’s and Ray Kroc’s creations of Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, two of America’s largest private-sector employers. There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich’s unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages. His Olympian sense of exemption from standards and logic allowed him, fresh from pocketing $1.6 million from Freddie Mac (for services as a “historian”), to say, “If you want to put people in jail,” look at “the politicians who profited from” Washington’s environment.

His temperament — intellectual hubris distilled — makes him blown about by gusts of enthusiasm for intellectual fads, from 1990s futurism to “Lean Six Sigma” today. On Election Eve 1994, he said a disturbed South Carolina mother drowning her children “vividly reminds” Americans “how sick the society is getting, and how much we need to change things. . . . The only way you get change is to vote Republican.” Compare this grotesque opportunism — tarted up as sociology — with his devious recasting of it in a letter to the Nov. 18, 1994, Wall Street Journal (http://bit.ly/vFbjAk). And remember his recent swoon over the theory that “Kenyan, anti-colonial” thinking explains Barack Obama.

Gingrich, who would have made a marvelous Marxist, believes everything is related to everything else and only he understands how. Conservatism, in contrast, is both cause and effect of modesty about understanding society’s complexities, controlling its trajectory and improving upon its spontaneous order. Conservatism inoculates against the hubristic volatility that Gingrich exemplifies and Genesis deplores: “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.”

Obama is running as Harry Truman did in 1948, against Congress, but Republicans need not supply the real key to Truman’s success — Tom Dewey. Confident that Truman was unelectable, Republicans nominated New York’s chilly governor, whose virtues of experience and steadiness were vitiated by one fact: Voters disliked him. Before settling for Romney, conservatives should reconsider two candidates who stumbled early on.

Rick Perry (disclosure: my wife, Mari Will, advises him) has been disappointing in debates. They test nothing pertinent to presidential duties but have become absurdly important. Perry’s political assets remain his Texas record and Southwestern zest for disliking Washington and Wall Street simultaneously and equally.

Jon Huntsman inexplicably chose to debut as the Republican for people who rather dislike Republicans, but his program is the most conservative. He endorses Paul Ryan’s budget and entitlement reforms. (Gingrich denounced Ryan’s Medicare reform as “right-wing social engineering.”) Huntsman would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Gingrich’s benefactor). Huntsman would end double taxation on investment by eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends. (Romney would eliminate them only for people earning less than $200,000, who currently pay just 9.3 percent of them.) Huntsman’s thorough opposition to corporate welfare includes farm subsidies. (Romney has justified them as national security measures — food security, somehow threatened. Gingrich says opponents of ethanol subsidies are “big-city” people hostile to farmers.) Huntsman considers No Child Left Behind, the semi-nationalization of primary and secondary education, “an unmitigated disaster.” (Romney and Gingrich support it. Gingrich has endorsed a national curriculum.) Between Ron Paul’s isolationism and the faintly variant bellicosities of the other six candidates stands Huntsman’s conservative foreign policy, skeptically nuanced about America’s need or ability to control many distant developments.

Romney might not be a Dewey. Gingrich might stop being (as Churchill said of John Foster Dulles) a bull who carries his own china shop around with him. But both are too risky to anoint today.
3994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 03, 2011, 01:20:12 PM
"Just read BD's post.  Makes sense to me."

"All of this distracts from an emerging truth: The global economy is rapidly falling into a new recession."

True, and excellent data is presented.

We are a cause, not a victim, of the global downward trend, IMHO.  The only country capable of real leadership chose economic decline as a national economic policy and direction, and it is all interconnected.  Instead of fixing underlying problems, now we will monetize Europe? With what?
3995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left and the right. on: December 03, 2011, 01:27:32 AM
Robert Mundell (just taking a stab at it) is one I greatly admire. 

Looking forward to any memorable stories from Prof. Ginsburg. 

Walter Heller, who I mentioned, was a Keynesian with quite an interesting bio.  Later a Ted Kennedy adviser working on national health care and gas rationing in the late 1970s, but I believe he was noticeably to the right of the current writings of Prof. Krugman:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Heller  (1915–1987) was a leading American economist of the 1960s, and an influential advisor to President John F. Kennedy as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, 1961-64.

He was a Keynesian who promoted cuts in the marginal federal income tax rates. This tax cut, which was passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress after Kennedy's death, was credited for boosting the U.S. economy. Heller developed the first "voluntary" wage-price guidelines. When the steel industry failed to follow them, it was publicly attacked by Kennedy and quickly complied. Heller was one of the first to emphasize that tax deductions and tax preferences narrowed the income tax base, thus requiring, for a given amount of revenue, higher marginal tax rates. The historic tax cut and its positive effect on the economy has often been cited as motivation for more recent tax cuts by Republicans.

The day after Kennedy was assassinated, Heller met with President Johnson in the Oval Office. To get the country going again, Heller suggested a major initiative he called the "War on Poverty", which Johnson adopted enthusiastically. Later, when Johnson insisted on escalating the Vietnam War without raising taxes, setting the stage for an inflationary spiral, Heller resigned.

In the early phases of his career, Heller contributed to the creation of the Marshall Plan of 1947, and was instrumental in re-establishing the German currency following World War II, which helped usher an economic boom in West Germany.

Heller was critical of Milton Friedman's followers and labelled them cultish: "Some of them are Friedmanly, some Friedmanian, some Friedmanesque, some Friedmanic and some Friedmaniacs."[1]

Heller joined the University of Minnesota faculty as an associate professor of economics in 1945, left to serve in government, and returned in the 1960s, eventually serving as chair of the Department of Economics. He built it into a top-ranked department with spectacular hires, including Nobel Prize winners Leonid Hurwicz (2008) and Edward C. Prescott (2004).
3996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left - Nobel on: December 02, 2011, 07:00:18 PM
Bigdog,  I am sorry for my ad hominem attack on Nobel prize winners.  In the context of all my previous posts, I was only referring to:
 a) I cannot connect Paul Krugman the columnist with the scholarly work he did previously,
 b) Al Gore and the IPCC who made wild inflammatory claims not even following their cherry picked data, and
 c) Pres. Barack Obama after a partial term in the Senate and a minute or two in his job.

These examples devalue IMHO the international gold standard for scholarly work.  I appreciate being held to account for my statements that go over the top.

FWIW, I was taught economics by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who was also economic adviser to Presidential candidate Sen. Kennedy.  He taught us that his answer is the answer.  I envy those who had the prominent conservative professors, or those who present more than one viewpoint well, as I assume you strive for in your teaching.  I never personally met one.  
3997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 02, 2011, 06:39:11 PM
"Average weekly earnings ... declined 0.1% in November but are up 1.8% versus a year ago."

"the drop in unemployment was also due to a 315,000 decline in the labor force" (People quit looking for work, why?)

The current economic growth rate is around 2%, it was 2.5% last quarter.  Breakeven growth is roughly 3.1%.  Typical or healthy growth rate coming out of a downturn this large is much higher.  Average annual real GDP growth rate from 1983 to 1990 was 4.1% according to the Joint Economic Committee of congress:  http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2001/03/the-real-reagan-economic-record
3998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 02, 2011, 03:00:43 PM
Looking at bigdog's link I think my earlier post is wrong.  The controversial provision is NOT in the bill that passed, if I now understand it correctly.  Senators vote differently depending on how the roll call is taken or did they get that many calls last night? I will come back to repair that post of mine.  Another version of the story:

http://www.huntingtonnews.net/14849

Detainee Amendment Defeated in Senate; Sen. Paul Forced Voice Vote to Prevent Erosionn of Constitutional Rights

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 14:25 Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Sen. Rand Paul prevented the passage of an amendment that would have further eroded Americans' constitutional rights. Offered to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012 (S.1867), amendment No. 1274 would have allowed the U.S. government to detain an American citizen indefinitely, even after they had been tried and found not guilty, until Congress declares an end to the war on terror.
3999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending is too low on: December 02, 2011, 01:08:33 PM
Posted elsewhere that leftists think govt spending is too low.  huh

Voters sent a message to Washington a year ago.  We had fights over "CUTS" that would cripple public services last summer.  Still spending is up anther 5%.  Why?  Because of, as Crafty has argued, the services baseline budget calculations still in place, so a cut isn't a cut, it is any number lower than what some elitists in the bowels of DC determine is enough to keep excesses constant.

A larger look at what they are stealing from the economy below.  A smarter parasite would not seek to kill off the host.
4000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left- Krugman: Not enough government spending on: December 02, 2011, 12:43:00 PM
Today's column is that Europe is spending too little, but his argument is the same here.  A Nobel Laureate (aren't they all?), I don't know what it would take to call him a discredited economist/pundit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/opinion/krugman-killing-the-euro.html?_r=1
... And here, too, we desperately need expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to support the economy as these debtors struggle back to financial health. Yet, as in Europe, public discourse is dominated by deficit scolds and inflation obsessives.

So the next time you hear someone claiming that if we don’t slash spending we’ll turn into Greece, your answer should be that if we do slash spending while the economy is still in a depression, we’ll turn into Europe. In fact, we’re well on our way.
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