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4001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 29, 2011, 10:53:51 AM
I knew I was wasting my time.  embarassed

Amazing to get locked into a viewpoint so rigidly that you won't even admit YOUR right to exist.  A way of thinking we call 'centrism'??

Good luck.
4002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 29, 2011, 09:54:41 AM
"the "right to exist" is not a black and white concept"
  - Really, it is.

"It is hard to define."
   - No, it isn't.  A disputed border or foreign policy issue maybe, but the right to exist is a yes or it is a no.

Under American law, how do you feel about your right to exist?  Is it not a  bigger and starker issue if your neighbors all vow to kill you, destroy you and move your house off the map, than restrictions let's say on the the setback of your side yard or the height of your fence?

The Palestinian question should be enlarged to re-certify all the nations denying Israel's right to exist. I heard our ambassador to Israel just say (if I heard him correctly) that at a recent point in time something like 21 of the last 26 UN resolutions were about condemning Israel. Here is a list of 224 of them:   Other than the strength of the hatred they face, is Israel really the most dangerous and threatening country on earth?  Is self defense threatening?  Or is the UN, who accepted the regimes of Libya and Syria to serve on the UN Human Rights commission, the most misguided institution on earth?
4003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Implosion coverage: Pres. Obama losing Jewish vote, Black support also tanking on: September 28, 2011, 10:06:36 PM
"Disapproval among Jewish voters exceeded approval of Obama's presidency for the first time during the current administration. Jewish approval of Obama’s performance as president declined to 45%, with another 48% disapproving and 7% undecided.",7340,L-4128190,00.html

Black support dropped from 98% at election time to 58% approval today.  Washington Post/ABC News poll:

"With only 26 percent of Americans approving of Obama's handling of the economy..."
   - Who are these 26%?  Can we give them a lie detector test?

Dick Morris speculates Obama may not stand for reelection.  Join the club.  I was saying that when approvals were in the 70s.  Stranger things have happened.
4004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: September 28, 2011, 02:54:05 PM
I take that Wesbury report as a mixed bag, some measures up, some down.  What we call his relentless bullishness is really just some positive spin on a sick, but fairly stable economy.  We are lucky that there are some signs of life out there if you look closely enough.  Unemployment is not getting better or worse lately.  The future keeps getting worse in the sense that a) we are going to owe a whole hell of a lot more than we did when we finally get out of this malaise, b) our currency is being undermined, therefore our wealth will be eroding long past the beginnings of real recovery, and c) we have not done anything yet to address any of the underlying problems.

It is a matter of definitions to point to anything like 0.1% or 1.0%  growth for examples and say this is no recession.  He may be technically correct but people know that what quacks like a duck is really a duck.
4005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: September 28, 2011, 01:00:46 PM
For JDN, you keep mixing and matching CO2 with pollutants, as do so many others.  Fine, but when you make that jump you are weighing in on global warming and causation. No indication that you read or believe the numbers I posted.  That's fine too. Would love to be disproven if false on those miniscule amounts of CO2 elevation and alleged total warming that I cited that are being used to justify anti-economic, anti-freedom policies.  The shoreline in Florida has not moved and wildfires are not new in Texas.
GM, This passage of yours made me think of the ancient city of Atlantis - still lost - as compared to New Orleans now re-built or the national recovery from the amazing tsunami in Japan.  People in my neck of the woods are having record business years (3M) shipping safety equipment in large quantities by petroleum powered jet air freight what Pompei had no shot at.

"Also for the people living without an advanced electrical grid and petrochemical energy resources, they are much more vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters. Imagine the preindustrial cities in the US and europe..."

It takes resources and it takes energy to solve problems.  The global warming scare is all about limiting our use of known energy and in quest for a less prosperous, more equal civilization.  In fact the reverse strategy, allowing more freedom and building a more prosperous economy actually takes you further toward better health and safety.
4006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Physics on: September 28, 2011, 12:29:54 PM
Explaining someone else's joke is dangerous territory, good chance of screwing up.  The joke writers can correct me or build on this. 

In layman's terms, the theory of relativity is about things that happen really fast - messing with the concept of time as we know it - all based on the speed of light, a constant, which is now being challenged. Arrive at your train destination before you departed, that kind of thing... The tachyon is some sub atomic particle that scientists are messing with to violate the limits of the speed of light and threatening Einstein's great theory.  In comes the old joke line, like the priest and the rabbi or the man and his dog go into a bar and the bartender says..., only this time the events are happening in reverse order, messing with our concept of time.

A bartender says "Hey!  We don't serve tachyons in this establishment".
Two tachyons walk into a bar.

4007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 28, 2011, 12:19:04 PM
Agree, Dennis Miller is a good endorsement for Cain.  He has a good radio show, good audience - worse times I think than the bigger shows, he has good guests, good insights and he is what I would call a common sense conservative - a talented guy.  The guys with bigger radio shows than his mostly don't endorse, nor do most good columnists or pundits this early, in time to make a difference.  Cain, Romney, Perry, they all need people of some notice to start joining their side.  Romney got Pawlenty, oh well.  Perry has Bobby Jindahl.  The huge one for Obama was actually Oprah in time for Iowa.  Probably didn't help her career but she went out on a limb and it certainly helped his to gain traction and more endorsements.
4008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: September 28, 2011, 11:59:00 AM
JDN,  (Jumping in late to what should have been dropped?) What I took from the article in context of the current global warming info and debate, warming is about 0.8 degrees Kelvin total over the entire history of fossil fuel use.  Admitting that has nothing to do with whether you believe man's component is a 0.01 degree component or a 0.1 degree component or none of it.  The alarmists predicted (did you see the movie?) the oceans will rise and the polars will melt and the ocean front location will move inland by hundreds of miles and that people will perish etc.  THAT is what politicians and editorialists tell us is the CONSENSUS.  

What I took from the Reason piece is that these observations don't match that theory. (It's the end of the world as we know, to R.E.M. music) Warming in the amounts of tenths of a degree per century especially if it was naturally caused and ended over 10 years ago instead of accelerating out of control as predicted does not threaten mankind or planet earth.

JDN as I understand it, you set up a straw man.  The article doesn't prove there was no global warming.  It wasn't supposed to.  "Garbage" if the premise was that it proves or disproves something specific. It wasn't.  It just shows vague evidence that we are experiencing situation normal here on planet earth, year after year, in spite of all we do that is wrong.  Mankind and earth's ability to adapt is remarkable; that was their point.  You even quoted it.
There is a website called that posts great articles and studies relating to living in a world where the atmospheric level of CO2 has grown by a whopping total of ... one part per ten thousand per century?    Elevated CO2 levels (on that scale) are a fact.  Causation and consequences are topics of study.  They find out things like that elevated CO2 levels enhance plant growth, every indoor hydroponic grower already knows that, and that process consumes more CO2 and exhales more Oxygen (O2).  Anyone who enjoys the fresh oxygen of a walk through a forest is going to love planet earth over the next century - with perhaps one more part per ten thousand per century of oxygen to breathe.  smiley
4009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Cain continued on: September 28, 2011, 10:10:04 AM
"Cain later completed a master's degree in computer science and entered the business world where he led several companies--most recently Godfather's--and chaired the National Restaurant Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. His résumé--from mathematician and rocket scientist to restaurateur and now politician"

Crafty: "That is a far more interesting resume than most people realize..."
Even that impressive list skips over a couple of very big ones: He rose to VP at CocaCola - that's a pretty good employer (understatement) if you are from the Atlanta area.  And he was my neighbor 6 years when he rose to VP of Minneapolis based Pillsbury, quite a legend of a global company at least in that day and around these parts.  Either of those stints alone is a business background better than almost anyone in politics in memory. Romney or Romney's father may be among  the rare other exceptions.  (

Masters in computer science (from Purdue!) at that point in time was rocket science.  It was a look into the future from the very leading edge and seeing what could be done in a most amazing industry; what they saw then has now been done.  Mathematics as a degree is one that applies across all disciplines.  Not exactly fluff like most.  The constitutional office of President would do well to have more of its occupants trained in a discipline that analytical thinking as a matter of course.  Not exactly a trait of the current White House.
Not buying individual short term polls, but Zogby just put Cain in first, up by 10 points, and that was before the news of him winning the Florida straw poll.  The rise in attention also helps fund raising which is the blood of survival in their business.

I'm not endorsing, just gathering the info.  I have a couple of concerns as well (never held elective office, for one).  What I would say is that even if Hermann Cain is not the nominee, it is a very very good thing for the cause of rescuing the country that he is gaining in stature and exposure.

My answer to the cancer question is that a) he has been fully forthcoming, and b) he better have a really good VP choice.  JFK (no callous intent, rest his soul) improved both his reputation and the prospects for his legislative agenda by dying in office.  In Cain's case, Presidents have great health care.  If he dies in office, he would have died anyway.  If he has to turn over his duties temporarily or permanently to his VP, that's why we have one and that's why we vet them.
4010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Senate 2012 on: September 28, 2011, 09:12:27 AM
One scenario:

"If Republicans were to sweep the tossups, they would have a 55-45 majority, tying them for their largest advantage since 1928. With a large number of Democrats up for re-election in 2014, many of whom occupy seats in red states, that would probably give Republicans working control of the chamber."
4011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Charles Schwaub - Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur on: September 28, 2011, 08:59:02 AM
"What we can do—and absolutely must—is knock down all hurdles that create disincentives for investment in business.  Private enterprise works."

Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur
Someone took risks to start every business—whether Ford, Google or your local dry cleaner.


In his speech before a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8, President Obama said, "Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers."

He is right. We can spark an economic recovery by unleashing the job-creating power of business, especially small entrepreneurial businesses, which fuel economic and job growth quickly and efficiently. Indeed, it is the only way to pull ourselves out of this economic funk.

But doing so will require a consistent voice about confidence in businesses—small, large and in between. We cannot spend our way out of this. We cannot tax our way out of this. We cannot artificially stimulate our way out of this. We cannot regulate our way out of this. Shaming the successful or redistributing income won't get us out of this. We cannot fund our government coffers by following the "Buffett Rule," i.e., raising taxes on Americans earning more than $1 million a year.

What we can do—and absolutely must—is knock down all hurdles that create disincentives for investment in business.

Private enterprise works. I founded Charles Schwab in 1974, when America was confronting a crisis of confidence similar to today's. We had rapidly rising inflation and unemployment, economic growth grinding into negative territory, and paralyzed markets. The future looked pretty bleak.

Sound familiar?

Yet I had faith that our economy would recover. My vision was simple: Investors deserve something better than the status quo. I launched the company with four employees, a personal loan on my home, and an audacious dream. I didn't know exactly how we were going to do it, nor could I foresee that over the decades we would end up building a business that serves over 10 million accounts. But we went for it.

Enlarge Image

What's the potential power of the entrepreneur's simple leap of faith? The success of a single business has a significant payoff for the economy. Looking back over the 25 years since our company went public, Schwab has collectively generated $68 billion in revenue and $11 billion in earnings. We've paid $28 billion in compensation and benefits, created more than 50,000 jobs, and paid more than $6 billion in aggregate taxes. In addition to the current value of our company, we've returned billions of dollars in the form of dividends and stock buybacks to shareholders, including unions, pension funds and mom-and-pop investors.

The wealth created for our shareholders—a great many of them average Schwab employees—has been used to reinvest in existing and new businesses and has funded a myriad of philanthropic activities. We've also spent billions buying services and products from other companies in a diverse set of industries, from technology to communications to real estate to professional services, thereby helping our suppliers create businesses and jobs.

That's the story of one company. There are thousands more like it, and a consistent supportive voice from Washington could enable thousands more ahead.

The simple fact is that every business in America was started by an entrepreneur, whether it is Ford Motor Co., Google or your local dry cleaner. Every single job that entrepreneur creates requires an investment. And at its core, investing requires confidence that despite the risks, despite the hard work that will certainly ensue, the basic rules of the game are clear and stable. Today's uncertainty on these issues—stemming from a barrage of new complex regulations and legislation—is a roadblock to investment. We have to clear that uncertainty away.

As we did after 1974, our country can and will thrive again. But the leaders of both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike, must lend their voices to encourage and support private enterprise, both for what it can do to turn our economy around and for the spirit of opportunity it represents.

They need to review every piece of existing legislation and regulation with a clear eye to what impact it will have on business and growth. If something is a job killer, put a moratorium on it. Stop adding to the litany of new laws and regulations until we've had time to digest those in place and regain some certainty about the future. Proposed laws and regulations should be put to a simple test: What will this do to encourage businesses and entrepreneurs to invest? What will it do for jobs?
4012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Physics on: September 28, 2011, 08:44:23 AM
TD, CW,  You run in fast circles if you can tell that joke without some explaining.   wink
A bartender says "Hey!  We don't serve tachyons in this establishment".
Two tachyons walk into a bar.
4013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 28, 2011, 08:18:09 AM
Thanks for the kind words. (humbled face)  GM, some work left to do but I did just get it published on a site with something like a million reads - here!  The longer version when ready will go over at Cognitive Dissonance. It is hard to find an ending point to a story about leftist economic nonsense.  It just keeps coming.
4014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Economic Bugaloo, Porkulus II?? Try Stimulus No. 7 on: September 27, 2011, 06:16:51 PM
First, that is beyond funny and very telling that Obama's top advisers cannot correctly find Colorado on a map!

With all due respect to Ed Morrissey, I have this one counted as Stimulus 7.  Excerpting from something I wrote before vacation but hadn't posted yet:

1)  TARP = Troubled Asset Relief Program  The trigger for the collapse was the impending tax increases and regulatory influx promised by the Dem congress and the new administration on the investors in the American economy.  The famed Troubled Asset Relief Program was from all sides, Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson, with all the consensus co-authors:  Obama and his team, McCain and his advisers, in case he would win, and the Fed including Chairman Bernancke and President of the NY Federal Reserve Timothy Geithner - seriously.  $700 billion bailed out banks that the Feds had to insure anyway, that made sense, but it also bailed out investment houses and insurance companies (both with political ties to both parties) and believe it or not, foreign central banks.   We sure don't want any spill over from Europe, do we? Can anyone say Greece Sept 2011?!

2) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: This was the Obama Stimulus One passed Feb 17, 2009.  This one has the signs on the 'shovel-ready projects. Spending in the hundreds of billions that we don't have and is paid for, slandering the already dying reputation of Sir John Maynard Keynes who has been room temperature and unable to defend himself since 1946.  Stimulus One even had its own website: Recovery.Gov.  You can track the money there.  What could possibly go wrong?  Let's see... Things got worse. !  Why?  The liberals say it was too small!  Only $787 Billion.  Yes, only. What's a piddly amount like 787 billion going to do to stimulate a big economy like ours?  Seriously.

3) Quantitative Expansion = The second half of the Fed's Dual Mission was alive and well, monetary meddling.  Dilute and devalue our currency to the tune of $600 billion (all these estimates are conservative) in the name of stimulating the economy to full employment.  Did it work?  Hell no.  Why?  The liberal brain trust says it was too small, lol (laughing and crying at this point).  Was there more?  Yes.  See QE2, no. 5) below, and 6)!  This was a 'one time' injection - diluting our currency to trick people into a 'wealth effect'.  Now it is what we do all the time.  Does it work? No.

4) Stimulus Two is the fourth stimulus - you do the math. Whoops, we don't use the S-word anymore; that name was already losing its shine and polling poorly among focus groups.  It was Sept 2010 at this point and by now the Stimuli all seemed to run together, people losing track of the number, does anyone really remember this one?  The guys at 'Hot Air' forgot:  Ed Morrissey writes that the Porkukus of Sept 2011 was No. 2 when in fact it is number 7; we've got three more to go.  And these guys are paid professionals!  Hundreds of billions more in the stimulus formerly known as Stimulus Two, what does it matter now - it's all play money, see no. 3.  We must do something even though it is just more, really less of the same.  It was designed and timed to soften the blow of the 2010 elections with Dems then polling south of the south pole.'See, we are doing something.'  Still they held big government doctrinism above their warped view of Keynesianism and promised to stay hellbent on raising tax rates at the first of the year.  Did Stimulus Two work?  NO and no, politically and economically.  Why not?  Too small!  And so the story went out: "things were worse than we thought when we got here".  "It's Bush's fault."  Seriously.  Did this really happen?

5) QE2:  What else can you do when QE1 and Stimuli 1-4 are not enough?  the House Senate and President all had their hands tied with deficits and debt to the tune of a trillion and a half and 14.3 trillion respectively and rising, so the Fed stepped in again.  Why?  See no. 3) above.  The previous expansion was simply too small - obviously.  The second wave would take the total up to a whopping $3 trillion of US Treasury buybacks done with fictitious, 'expansionary' (dilution/devaluation) dollars.  What could possibly go wrong?  Increase in money supply, decrease in the value of all US dollars, future spiraling price increases, and a direct hit to eveyone's standard of living and the value of everything they own.

6) QE3, Fed is STILL buying back at the rate of $300/yr. What was the definition of insanity again?  

7) The Plan, The Obama Jobs Plan = "Pass the Bill" - Sept 2011:  We are right back to where we started - $8 trillion later and U6 still at 16.9%.  The President is voting 'Present'.  Tweaking a little short term injection here for permanent increases there.  He proposes what can't possibly help and what can't possibly pass and then he can blame someone else.  Plausible deniability - that should do it!  Problem solved - in the best minds of the Obama brain trust.  Seriously, charged with one of the biggest economic challenges in history, that is the best they can do.
4015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 27, 2011, 02:26:00 PM
DF,  You make good sense to me on the role of government, immigration and foreign policy.  The only area I disagree is in the details of the Patriot Act.  I don't want to lose any privacy either but I don't think I lost any with that.  If a known terrorist reaches me by accident, cell phone to cell phone, it would not be outside of the principles of a free and secure society that law enforcement may find that out and want to pursue it with me.  McCain is yesterday's news, now we need to figure out what to do with these guys.

From my point of view, a) Obama and all of his left governing big government philosophy must go, b) conservatives with clear principles are actually more electable than mushy moderates because they can articulate a clear difference, and c) as Obama used to say, this is our moment.  It is no time to put up a weak, unqualified, unprincipled or ineffective leader.

My perfect candidate is someone with the oratory and clear thinking of Marco Rubio, with the detailed knowledge of the complex bills of government like Paul Ryan, with the executive in government  experience 2 terms or more like Rick Perry, with the private sector experience Romney or Hermann Cain and with the foreign policy experience of General Petraeus. That fantasy candidate isn't available now and never will be.  So we will take a chance now and place our bets on one of these guys.
4016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: September 27, 2011, 02:04:34 PM
GM,  Agree.  I'm not against putting a measurable limit on driving in law if it is backed up in science.  What I'm saying is that the tie between blood content and delayed reactions / loss of concentration will be more difficult to establish for THC than it was for alcohol.  Before texting while driving bans were codified, distracted driving was already illegal.  I hope that being totally incoherent while driving is already prohibited, no matter the drug or mental defect. 

4017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: September 27, 2011, 01:16:00 PM
The Colorado law is a farce in terms of doctor involvement, ailments and prescriptions.  Actually setting a limit fro drivers and administering a test *when justified* makes some sense, but the data and studies on the effect will not be as predictable and consistent as it is with alcohol. The effect varies more person to person.  Some in moderate usage drive safer with lower speeds and greater following distances.   

Strange to test for the least dangerous drug unless you also test for prescription drugs, amphetimine, coke, opiates, etc.

4018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 27, 2011, 01:06:11 PM
Might also add that Texas has a river across the border, different than other states not as suitable for fencing.  The point to most citizens far away really has to do with results.  We can't have sovereignty without security.

I had the opportunity to check out a different liquid border over the weekend, slipping in and out of Canada by canoe unnoticed.  The Boundary Waters on the US side and Quetico Park on the Canadian side combine for about 2 million acres of virtually untouched northern lakes and forests wilderness.  Some border security there but no fence.  God's creatures roam freely! (  Drifting from the topic, highly recommended for a father-son, family or friends adventure.  
4019  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: September 27, 2011, 12:16:57 PM
"I was working with a veteran officer when the Kobe Bryant case first hit the news, that officer made a statement assuming Bryant was guilty..."

Not sure how it ties to the current discussion, but I read the police interview transcript of Kobe at the time.  Seemed pretty obvious that he was guilty of adultery not rape.
4020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 97.5% of fatal crash drivers had no trace of the most commonly used illegal drug on: September 27, 2011, 11:23:00 AM
"Researchers say about 2.5% of the fatal crashes were attributable to marijuana compared with nearly 29% attributable to alcohol."

Less than 1/10th the effect of alcohol is implied, even the low number of 2.5% involves only crashes in question enough to order the test; the total may be lower yet.  They mix results of trace levels with intoxicating levels. They mix correlation with causation.  No mention that I saw of testing for and removing other factors, for example the drivers in fatal crashes who test positive for marijuana may have been more likely to have taken something else as well. No mention of testing for control the drivers who didn't cause fatal crashes.
4021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela post Chavez on: September 27, 2011, 10:01:41 AM
I would much rather see Hugo Chavez leave power defeated in elections by the Venezuelan people than to die prematurely as a pretend national hero, but I can't say I will be actively  praying for his health or recovery.   In one of the elections he stole IIRC the polls showed him losing 40-60 and his election apparatus put him winning 60-40.  Where I live the margin and theft for Obama's 60th senate vote, Al Franken, was just a few hundred votes.  Different facts, same lesson IMO, the margin of victory or loss matters.

Wishing you a peaceful and successful transition to more freedom, less government and better government than these last dozen years.  What happens in Venezuela matters throughout the hemisphere and the world.
4022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 27, 2011, 09:32:22 AM
Trans-continental might have been the word he was looking for...
I am also not a Ron Paul fan but I sympathize with the sentiment that libertarians and conservatives shouldn't allow themselves at this point in the process to be rolled over by Dems in our party in disguise. Besides lacking a foreign policy Ron Paul has also failed a test of leadership in terms of drawing more people and more elected officials into the libertarian movement.  I don't like the multi-party systems, but he would not prevail there either.  We need someone who will win 51% and 270 electoral votes and advance conservative-libertarian smaller government principles.

Not my first choice, but I think Romney will be the candidate and I'm not completely sure what I think about that.  I am hoping that his Massachusetts stint was just mid-life crisis phase and that his core if he has one is more center-right. He is too much of a poll watcher but that puts the impetus back on us to keep moving the issue polls rightward and in the direction of individual liberty.  He is not going to slash federal government in any big way but If he cannot more clearly identify his own differences with the left, win those arguments and energize the right, then he will lose as did centrist McCain.  Perry did not turn out to bevery pure in his conservatism either.  Bachmann is not ready nor the right person.  Cain, like Bachmann over the summer might have his moment now and we will see if he rises to it.  He has some amazing strengths but so far has appeared not ready.  Must give credit to all of them, that this past half year was the time to step forward and give it your best shot and many did.  You can't say that for the imploding Dem field of one.

Equally important to winning the election is to govern successfully with persuasion, leadership and competence which means making bold moves and bringing the country with you.

It comes down to (IMHO) small government and large freedom vs. big government and small freedom on the domestic side.  On foreign policy there is a lot of confusion write now on all sides but we need clarity projected as to what America stands for.  And it comes down to judicial picks, don't forget.  Let's concede for a moment that Bush was a RINO for all his domestic spending and McCain too for different reasons.  The difference between having John Roberts and Sam Alito defend your constitutional rights over Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are stark.  Those 4 named may be offsetting votes on key constitutional issues but if all 4 had fallen in one direction or the other, and to say that is all the same and makes no difference is 'crazy talk'.  Certainly the left would not agree with you.
Thomas Sowell has a column today adding his wisdom to the mix.  I agree with him on the specific points.  What he doesn't address with Perry was the inarticulateness that just killed us with the last Republican.  Good and decent is what we want, but you have to be able to command the stage and explain your principles if as the leader you are going to draw more people and support.

Superman vs. Warm Body
By Thomas Sowell

One of the problems in trying to select a leader for any large organization or institution is the tendency to start out looking for Superman, passing up many good people who fail to meet that standard, and eventually ending up settling for a warm body.

Some Republicans seem to be longing for another Ronald Reagan. Good luck on that one, unless you are prepared to wait for several generations. Moreover, even Ronald Reagan himself did not always act like Ronald Reagan.

The current outbreak of "gotcha" attacks on Texas Governor Rick Perry show one of the other pitfalls for those who are trying to pick a national leader. The three big sound-bite issues used against him during the TV "debates" have involved Social Security, immigration and a vaccine against cervical cancer.

Where these three issues have been discussed at length, whether in a few media accounts or in Governor Perry's own more extended discussions in an interview on Sean Hannity's program, his position was far more reasonable than it appeared to be in either his opponents' sound bites or even in his own abbreviated accounts during the limited time available in the TV "debate" format.

On Social Security, Governor Perry was not only right to call it a "Ponzi scheme," but was also right to point out that this did not mean welshing on the government's obligation to continue paying retirees what they had been promised.

Even those of us who still disagree with particular decisions made by Governor Perry can see some of those decisions as simply the errors of a decent man who realized that he was faced not with a theory but with a situation.

For example, the ability to save young people from cervical cancer with a stroke of a pen was a temptation that any decent and humane individual would find hard to resist, even if Governor Perry himself now admits to second thoughts about how it was done.

Many of us can agree with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's contention that it should have been done differently. But it reflects no credit on her to have tried to scare people with claims about the dangers of vaccination. Such scares have already cost the lives of children who have died on both sides of the Atlantic from diseases that vaccination would have prevented.

The biggest mischaracterization of Governor Perry's position has been on immigration. The fact that he has more confidence in putting "boots on the ground" along the border, instead of relying on a fence that can be climbed over or tunneled under where there is no one around, is a logistical judgment, not a question of being against border control.

Texas Rangers have already been put along the border to guard the border where the federal government has failed to guard it. Former Senator Rick Santorum's sound-bite attempts to paint Governor Perry as soft on border control have apparently been politically successful, judging by polls. But his repeated interrupting of Perry's presentation of his case during the recent debate is the kind of cheap political trick that contributes nothing to public understanding and much to public misunderstanding.

Those of us who disagree with Governor Perry's decision to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend the state colleges and universities, under the same terms as Texas citizens, need at least to understand what his options were. These were children who were here only because of their parents' decisions and who had graduated from a Texas high school.

Governor Perry saw the issue as whether these children should now be allowed to continue their education, and become self-supporting taxpayers, or whether Texas would be better off with a higher risk of those young people becoming dependents or worse. I still see Governor Perry's decision as an error, but the kind of error that a decent and humane individual would be tempted to make.

I have far more questions about those who would blow this error up into something that it is not. Error-free leaders don't exist -- and we don't want to end up settling for a warm body.

Ultimately, this is not about Governor Perry. It is about a process that can destroy any potential leader, even when the country needs a new leader with a character that the "gotcha" attackers demonstrate they do not have.

4023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Physics on: September 26, 2011, 11:18:25 PM
"one 60-billionth of a second faster"..."My gut reaction, however, is that this is a false alarm. Over the decades, there have been numerous challenges to relativity, all of them proven wrong. "
Interesting stuff.  I recall an experiment 10-12 years ago where they also allegedly made light travel slightly faster than the speed of light for a very short time.  Nothing seemed to come out of that in terms of theories discarded or product commercialized.  The speed of light is already pretty fast.

4024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: September 26, 2011, 11:39:57 AM
GM,  Hard to say what the slip was there.  He wasn't equating Jews with janitors, that doesn't make sense.  I think when he said Billionaire he thought Soros and then Jew stuck in his mind. All (one) Jews he knows are billionaires and want higher taxes on themselves?  When I think Soros I think flaming lib, not Jew.  When I think billionaire I think jobs and how few new ones we have - billionaires and jobs.
4025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Green Free Market solutions on: September 26, 2011, 10:52:14 AM
"I thought Cain had a great night last night in the debate, but his comment about abolishing the EPA in my opinion in political terms was profoundly stupid.  It plays right into some of the deepest fears independents have about the Republican Party."

The EPA should stay, the department of energy should go.  The only interest the government has in stopping energy production is to place reasonable protections for the environment, the jurisdiction of the EPA.  I believe all states have their own EPA, ours is the PCA - Pollution Control Agency.  The role of the EPA should be to monitor and review these state agencies for errors and omissions that are wrongfully allowing spillage over into other states, and then report that information back to the congress for necessary federal action.
4026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government stragulations: We Need a Regulatory Time-Out, by Susan Collins on: September 26, 2011, 10:46:37 AM
As important as the substance is to see from where this is coming, one of the Senate's most left leaning Republicans.  I disagree with her on policy; it is not a one year break from governmental stupidity and excess that we need.  How about a structural reform requiring that any regulation large enough in scope to cripple the economy of a state or the nation would have to go through the House and Senate in order to become federal law.

The Economy Needs a Regulation Time-Out
Why send jobs overseas by creating more rules for American business?


Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to a company that sells packaged walnuts. Believe it or not, the federal government claimed the walnuts were being marketed as a drug. So Washington ordered the company to stop telling consumers about the health benefits of walnuts.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule on fossil-fuel emissions from boilers that—by the EPA's own admission—would cost the private sector billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The owner of a small business in Maine told me the proposed rule would require him to scrap a new, $300,000 wood waste boiler he recently installed.

No wonder America's employers dread what is coming next out of Washington. Our country cannot afford regulations run amok at a time when no net new jobs are created and unemployment remains above 9%. But at least we're safe from health claims about walnuts.

America's overregulation problem is only getting worse. Right now, federal agencies are at work on more than 4,200 rules, 845 of which affect small businesses, the engine of job creation in our country. More than 100 are major rules, with an economic impact of more than $100 million each.

No business owner I know questions the legitimate role of limited government in protecting our health and safety. Too often, however, our small businesses are buried under a mountain of paperwork that drives up costs, prevents the hiring of workers, and impedes economic growth.

Business owners are reluctant to create jobs today when they're going to need to pay more tomorrow to comply with onerous new regulations. That's what employers mean when they say that uncertainty generated by Washington is a big wet blanket on our economy.

I have asked employers in my state what it would take to help them add jobs. No matter their business or the size of their work force, they tell me that Washington must stop imposing crushing new regulations.

America needs a "time-out" from the regulations that discourage job creation and hurt our economy. I have introduced legislation to impose a one-year moratorium on any "significant" new rules that would have an adverse impact on jobs, the economy, or America's international competitiveness. A one-year moratorium on such regulations is a common-sense solution that would help create jobs.

Under my bill, certain rules would be exempt from the moratorium: those that are needed in emergencies, such as to respond to imminent threats to public health or safety, and those affecting crime, the military and foreign affairs. My bill also excludes rules that would reduce the regulatory burden on the private sector. Unfortunately, those rules that actually reduce regulatory burdens and promote jobs are few and far between.

That EPA rule on boilers is a good example of why we need a regulatory time-out. According to a recent study by the American Forest & Paper Association, if the rule went into effect as written it could, along with other pending regulations, cause 36 American pulp and paper mills to close. That would put more than 20,000 Americans out of work—18% of that industry's work force.

Once those mills close, the businesses that supply them also would be forced to lay off workers. Estimates are that nearly 90,000 Americans would lose their jobs, and wages would drop by $4 billion—just because of over-regulation.

But even that is not the end of the story. People and businesses would still need paper. Where do you think we would get it? We'd be strengthening the economies of other countries like China, India and Brazil, while weakening our own.

American businesses need pro-growth economic policies that will end the uncertainty and kick-start hiring and investment. American workers need policies that will get them off the sidelines and back on the job.

In sports, time-outs are called to give athletes a chance to catch their breaths and make better decisions about the next play. American workers and businesses are the athletes in a global competition that we must win. They need a time-out from excessive regulation so that America can get back to work.
4027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / liberal fascism: President Solyndra And his mean green wealth-wasting machine on: September 26, 2011, 10:29:56 AM
Long detailed piece linked below on the Solyndra fiasco by Steven Hayward

From my point of view it is important to note that the problem here is not that it failed.  We are actually worse off when this fascism appears to succeed because then it will never end.  It is important to oppose all this governmental cronyism in its concept and in all its iterations.  When the friends of the public officials get goodies and preferences that the rest of us don't get and have to pay for, it is morally and constitutionally wrong before we find out its failure and all the scandalous details.
4028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Is it President Romney? on: September 26, 2011, 10:13:12 AM
The only question I would ask my most trusted generals on don't ask, don't tell and gays in the military is, will this help you win wars?  We have never strived for fairness in the military for people with flat feet or color blindness.  To think this is about fairness or civil rights is to forget or ignore the mission.

The question asked was(quoted from this thread): "do you intend to circumvent the progress that’s been made..."

 - I did not know that we were winning wars faster or beating tougher opponents now than before the gay fairness agenda hit the military. It does seem to me that if I were a commander I might deploy people more intelligently if I am allowed to know this most basic information about each soldier along with every thing else I can know  before I make the assignments and choose the combat teams.
Referring to the Maureen Dowd piece, if the general election debates come down to knowledge and understanding of the inner workings creative destruction and entrepreneurial, dynamic capitalism, Romney will hold his own with the community organizer.  The sooner that dead weight is lifted from an enterprise the better it will perform and the sooner that person will move on to were they really are most valuable.  That is a strength not a weakness of economic freedom and capitalism.  The Governor will handle answering for his private sector experience better than he handles his as chief executive of the most liberal state.
Romney regarding the Texas economy under Perry, 'he was dealt four aces'?  If Obama was dealt four aces he would not recognize real economic growth opportunities if they hit him over the head; he would discard at least 3 of them and hope to get more fairness, equality and diversity in his hand.
I was out of contact during this debate and Florida straw poll, but the reaction of others already posted here and elsewhere seems to be pretty much in agreement.  If Rick Perry is unable to articulate his thoughts or his governance, that is good to know right now. We've had that in a recent President and it didn't work.   If Hermann Cain is improving and has quite a gift for oratory outside of the debates and interviews, then he can serve the cause in that role, but probably not as President.  I sympathize with the anyone but Romney sentiment but will predict at this juncture that it is going to be Romney, so the question (from my point of view)  is how well can these contests pull him right and lock him into an agenda acceptable to me and an agenda that actually will be bold enough to rescue the Republic.  That question remains unanswered.  We don't know what kind of President he will be but my thought now is that it is time to work harder through the House and Senate incumbents and candidates to influence the agenda going forward.  This nomination process is likely over in an instant this winter and the addition of new and less vetted candidates won't make things easier or better.
Michael Barone gives good commentary here though I disagree with his conclusion that there still might be a white horse (color neutral horse) that will ride in and save the conservative side of this election.

Still Looking for a Candidate to Replace Obama
By Michael Barone

The Republicans' presidential debate Thursday night sponsored by Fox News and Google gave primary voters and caucus-goers at least one good reason to reject every candidate on the stage. The interesting question now is whether someone else will enter the race -- at just about the same point in the election cycle in which Bill Clinton entered the Democratic race in 1991.

The spotlight was hottest on Rick Perry, the frontrunner in national polls since he announced his candidacy in Charleston, S.C., on Aug. 13, the same day that Michele Bachmann won the straw poll in Ames, Iowa.

Perry's problem was not just that he punted on the tough question of how to respond to a terrorist takeover of nuclear-armed Pakistan. Even the smooth-talking Mitt Romney might have had trouble with that nightmare scenario. And Perry was right to cite our informal alliance with India as a source of leverage.

The problem was that Perry was couldn't respond cogently to utterly predictable questions and was unable to articulate his pre-scripted criticisms of Romney. A case can certainly be made that Romney has flip-flopped on issues. But Perry failed to make it.

Perry defended his order requiring HPV vaccinations by citing his talks with a woman with cervical cancer -- but they took place only after his order. He failed to fend off attacks on his criticisms of Social Security in his book "Fed Up!," saying he was only endorsing the longtime exemption from the program for state and local public employees.

He failed to explain why Texas, with its large legal and illegal immigrant and young populations, has a high percentage of people without health insurance.

He was eloquent in defending Texas's in-state college tuition for children of illegal aliens, but his stand is hugely unpopular with Republicans outside Texas. And he failed to point out that it helped him win a respectable 38 percent from Latino voters in the 2010 election.

Mitt Romney clearly benefited from his greater experience over the years and his superior preparation in recent weeks. But he also benefited from the fact that no one challenged him convincingly on claims that he is unlikely to be able to sustain.

He sloughed off Perry's accurate charge that he supported the Obama administration's Race to the Top education program -- a defensible position, but not a popular one for Republicans.

He repeated now what has been his standard defense of his Massachusetts health care program. But someday someone is going to nail him on his insistence that its individual mandate to buy insurance covers only 8 percent of the population. It actually applies to everyone.

He avoided Perry's claim that he deleted defenses of the program from the paperback edition of his book. He won't be able to deftly dodge that forever.

If he overtakes Perry in the polls -- a likely possibility after the Texan's stumbling performance -- he will likely become the pinata for the rest of the field, a role he figured to play before Perry entered the race.

None of the other seven candidates on the stage made a convincing case for advancing to the top tier. The closest was Rick Santorum, who was eloquent and knowledgeable on foreign policy. But his answer on gays in the military was cringe-inducing for people on all sides of the issue.

Michele Bachmann refused to back down from her statement relaying the claim of a woman who approached her saying that the HPV vaccine caused retardation in her child. Bachmann has made headway by championing the instincts of ordinary hardworking citizens over the supposed wisdom of experts. But on vaccinations the experts are right.

Pundits are fixated on designating a frontrunner, but the polls in this race -- witness Romney's rise and fall and Perry's rise -- have all the solidity of cotton candy. Bachmann's numbers peaked in July, Herman Cain's in June, Ron Paul's and Newt Gingrich's in May -- and not at high levels. Santorum's haven't peaked at all.

Could another candidate give a better performance than Perry and deliver more sustainable responses than Romney? To judge from their performances in various public and private venues the answer is yes for Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie.

Each has taken himself out of the race. Each still has time to get in. Most voters are ready to reject Barack Obama. But not necessarily for one of those on the stage Thursday night.
4029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rant & thought piece: Oil prices and Greek debt on: September 20, 2011, 01:02:45 PM
Linking a couple of current topics,  I offer this thought for comment:

Even though the U.S. is perhaps the number two producer of oil in the world with enormous reserves statutorily off limits to production and left in the ground, no increase in production, even a million barrels a day from just one of these untapped sources, would have any impact on oil prices, because oil prices are global and the globe is sooo big - we are told.  No change at the margin can make a difference.

Out of the other side of the mouth, the same people tell us the little bankrupt nation of Greece is bringing down the Euro and all of Europe, even a primary reason, just behind Bush's fault, as to why the Obama administration had no chance to turn around the American economy.

Good grief, people, which is it?  Factors and events at the margin matter or they don't?
4030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: September 20, 2011, 12:33:30 PM
"There is still a huge shadow inventory of homes yet to be foreclosed on. There is still air in the bubble and the market has not yet found the floor."

True.  PP has documented that very well.  Housing will recover only after more people start making significantly more money.  Some say 20-30 years, some say never.  I say the economic recovery will begin very quickly after our disastrous economic policies are corrected, and housing will always be a major part of household expense priorities.   

In total, there is still an oversupply of homes and they are mostly still over-valued - for our economy and demographic.  A bold change in economic policies will be extremely hard to achieve no matter who wins the next election.

But if we do turn the economy around and real incomes grow, along with the very likely and  unfortunate onset of future inflationary growth, today's debts and sunken investments become trivial and a prosperous people will be busy buying, building and re-building homes again as their largest investment and expense.
4031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: socioeconomic class in the US on: September 20, 2011, 12:09:45 PM
"Why can't I use any amount of money I wish to give to support any cause I wish to support and advocate for in a free society?"

Well that is one side.  The flip side is that those who give more money have more access and more influence right or wrongly.

Only because the (non-rich) majority has built and tolerates a system of spoils and preferences centered on unequal treatment under the law.

"I do not have any good answer."

I do (IMHO):  Tax every dollar of income the same no matter who earned it and how.  Slash government spending  from 65% transfer payments, robbing Peter to pay Paul back to just defending our country and governing.  If that is what the majority wanted from government, the rich would have no disproportionate advantage.  'Crazy talk.'  smiley

Don't confuse the repub power structure with the republican voters, they often have different beliefs and different agendas.

Yes, what I call elected Republicans versus conservatives.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Community Reinvestment Act, No child left behind, prescription drug benefits for some, targeted tax breaks and targeted subsidies for the few, trillion dollar deficits, hundreds of trillions in unfunded liabilities, these and thousands of other examples exist with the support and funding authorized by elected Republicans in their eternal quest to be reelected, but they are not conservative, libertarian or even constitutional IMHO.
4032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re:Wesbury, no recession? on: September 20, 2011, 11:50:01 AM
It depends on what the meaning of is is.

"climbing at a 1.5% to 2% annual rate"

Recession is not dictionary defined but agreed widely among economists to be the term for when real growth goes negative for 2 or more quarters.  By that definition, you don't know if you are already in one for a delay of more than 6 months, more like a year with revisions to numbers always coming out.  Also widely agreed among economists, breakeven growth in our economy is no less than 3.0 - 3.1%.  At zero to 2% growth going forward, if true, he is technically correct, but we are moving backwards and experiencing what ordinary people with their eyes and ears open would call an extended recession or worse.
4033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy, Baraq's dilemma on: September 20, 2011, 10:45:07 AM
A good, neutral summary of the Obama years, interesting points throughout.  

Friedman writes, "it could be argued that [Obama] was elected because of September 2008. Prior to the meltdown, John McCain had a small lead over Obama, who took over the lead only after the meltdown. Given that the crisis emerged on the Republicans’ watch, this made perfect sense."  This isn't quite right.  The 2008 election was the Dems to lose all the way through.  McCain enjoyed a Palin euphoria at the very start of September (anyone remember that?) that solidified his shaky base and intrigued others but wore off quickly.  The general accumulated hatred toward Bush extended to McCain and then McCain was front and center displaying his lack of economic knowledge and competence during the crisis.  A lot like Obama Sept 2011, McCain was calling for a cancellation of a debate for a crisis that he had no insights on or plan any different or better than anyone else's.  The right answer economically in that election was clearly not a sharp left turn; it was just that there was no sharp turn in any other direction available.  

Friedman writes of the anti-war left, but in fact that has turned out to be the anti-Bush/Republican war left.  They have been amazingly silent and tolerant of what in large part has been the continuation of the Bush foreign policy in the major conflicts.  Can anyone imagine what the uproar to the Libya conflict would have been under a Republican.  And it is not only the left who has war fatigue 10 years into this, really more like 20 in the case of Iraq.  

The beginning of the toppling of Saddam proved to other tyrants that the U.S. could take decisive, surgical, successful actions against them as well.  The reality of these drawn out conflicts now with low support is that we are actually less capable today of bold, decisive action.

If Obama's hands are politically tied on foreign policy for 14 months (in Friedman's analysis), all major regional players, rivals and enemies across the globe know it.  That does not bode well for events overseas in that time. The key issues and circumstances that will dominate the next election are not all known yet.  There are always surprises and as he correctly points out, facts on the ground here are encouraging new surprises there.
4034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Disparity and Governmental Cronyism on: September 20, 2011, 09:14:16 AM
"if the rich own too much, it simply is not good for the general population"

That is the myth and perception held by the people that governments use to expand their own power and destroy your wealth and opportunity. 

Crafty correctly attacked the term 'crony capitalism' recently. Correct because capitalism requires freedom and free movements of capital on a level playing field.  Can we call it 'Governmental Cronyism'.  Picking winners and losers with governmental power, central planning and control and using state power to build up and take down enterprises is not anything to do with economic freedom or capitalism.  It is third world economics, and yes you will find it running rampant in the third world.

Show me a monopoly and I will show you that it was set up and maintained by government power.  The phone company, the electric company, the post office.  Oligopolies, same thing.  A very few oil companies, big defense contractors, auto companies, highly regulated and maintained by the government with huge barriers to innovation or new entrants.

Freedom has a different dynamic called creative destruction.  As you get more and more successful and richer and richer, you get more snobbish and averse to new ideas that could either threaten your own market share and cash flows or would simply not yield enough return for you to bother with.  And then in comes the new player with disruptive innovation which is often simpler and lower in cost. The real new innovations must come from outside the dominant enterprise.  There are a million examples.  Hayes modems (anyone remember them) did not invent wireless data.  Microsoft wrote some wireless operating systems but not any that truly innovated and changed the way people do things.  Microsoft, the most feared monopoly of our time, even started naming their product after the year instead of the new capability.   Pushing oil companies to dominate wind and solar is fruitless and stupid.  Even if they were successful, why would we want it to be the same players that dominated the last century to dominate going forward?  Instead unleash freedom and let the chips fall.

We have educational freedom (to some extent) and therefore we have educational disparity.  If someone else goes on to achieve multiple PhD's and I am a tradesman, how does someone else moving forward hurt me? It doesn't, unless we find out that favors and unequal protections from government were bought and paid for with that success.

When we have advances in economic freedom, disparity increases because people  make unequal use of their newly found freedom.  That has NOTHING to do with kleptocracies and third world cronyism that has crept into our system.  Growing and protecting the disparity with unequal treatment under the law is wrong and forbidden by our widely ignored constitution and should be stopped, but fighting off wealth creation in the name of alleviating disparity just hurts everyone.

Never explained is how I am worse off for living among rich and successful people and all the opportunities that presents.  I am not worse off for it.  Nor how people born today in places like Haiti or Republic of the Congo that lack rich and successful people will be better off than us.  They aren't.
4035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 19, 2011, 11:33:16 PM
As written, the Cain 9-9-9 plan it is far better than today's tax system.  Problem is that bill on the drawing table isn't identical to the law that gets passed or the law as it evolves 30 years and 50 years later.  Social security was to be a 1% tax rate only up to a cap of $1400 income.

From a letter today in the WSJ: "Mr. Cain's plan has all the potential to make his 9-9-9 Plan a 29-29-29 Plan following the European welfare state."  In other words, don't open that door!

The idea behind the 'Fair Tax' that made it unworkable was that it required the repeal of the amendment authorizing the income tax.  Otherwise you just end up with more of all the taxes once the political pendulum swings back the other way.

In defense of Cain, 9% on business and 9% on individuals is all we collect now so it is not outrageous to consider making that the rate on each and get rid of the deductions.

But in this era of divided government where half the voters want tax rates raised on the rich, we aren't about to from 40% income tax to 9.

Herman Cain, like some others, is not going to be the nominee or the President, but at this point in the race it is good thing to put out the idea that we could be taxed at far lower rates, take in more revenues and prosper again. 
4036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Bias - Meet the Depressed with David Gregory on: September 18, 2011, 10:47:24 PM
It is so old to complain about media bias so I apologize in advance, but that lightweight David Gregory was way over the top today IMO.  At the start of his interview with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell must have said may I have permission to treat this one as a hostile witness.  What a jerk, Gregory.  What a bunch of loaded questions.  'The President wants to [grow jobs and solve the debt problem] but wonders whether he has a partner with the Republicans'.

They play a clip from Speaker Boehner, Gregory asks, "Isn't this classic politicians double talk, talking out of both sides of their mouths?"  No attempt whatsoever to hide his hatred or bias.  McConnell was professional and directly answered the questions without complaint.  Then, guess what?  Next guess was former President and out comes the gushing and fawning.  It was supposed to be friendly because it was supposed to be about just some global do-gooding Clinton is up to.  Fine. Instead they used Clinton to answer the other side of the same questions and issues, but with the hosts' friendly and helpful kid gloves.  If hostile is how best to question and Bill Clinton is who they send up, then rough him over too.  If he is too old, too removed or too fragile, leave him out of it.

Yes, former Presidents deserves respect.  So do the leaders of the senate.

Here is the link:
Please don't watch.  The internet hits just encourage them.
4037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations, Linked Statehood on: September 18, 2011, 06:06:15 PM
It occurs to me that if the UN is going to take up action to make sure everyone who deserves statehood is included,  any proposal to add Palestine should also add Taiwan. Who represents them? PRC?  Let  China veto the proposal.

Alternatively, we could amend the proposal to read: Palestine in, U.S.A. out.  Then I might vote for it.
4038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re.ChiTrib editor: Say, maybe it’s time for Obama to withdraw from 2012 on: September 18, 2011, 04:17:22 PM
Halfway through I was feeling rather proud of my prediction that Pres. Obama will not be the Dem nominee in 2012.  Then the story twisted; it turned out to be a fluff piece for Hillary - in her hometown newspaper.  Give me a break.  It is Barack's policies that are unpopular; people like him personally.

Hillary and Barack were identical in the campaign on all issues, except that Obama opposed the individual mandate.  Go figure.  Hillary was going to be the one ready to take the 3am phone call, so Obama put her in charge of taking that call, at least on foreign policy.  What time do they call and tell you your economic plan is leading us backwards?

I wouldn't hardly call this switching candidates.

They keep thinking they just aren't getting their message across.  But it's the POLICIES, stupid.
4039  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: September 16, 2011, 06:02:35 PM
It was late to start here and now starting to slip away, but I am grateful for another most beautiful and glorious summer.
4040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law: Justice Stephen Breyer - Making Our Democracy Work on: September 16, 2011, 05:56:08 PM
'Making Our Democracy Work' or what I might call 'Ending the limits on government', Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a book about his view of the role of the Court and other branches:  Has anyone here read this book?

Radio show host Hugh Hewitt had what I thought was a very civil and informing interview yesterday with Justice Breyer.  I only heard part of it and look forward to going through it more thoroughly to better understand Breyer's view.

Hewitt is an excellent interviewer, a conservative talk show host,  a graduate of Harvard, of Univ. Of Michigan Law School, worked in the Reagan administration and is a professor of constitutional law.  Breyer is perhaps the most important voice on what I see as the expanding-government-powers side of the Court.  Hewitt does not try to explore their differences, just tries to draw out the Justice's view.

Breyer's main point while I was listening (in my words) is that the elected branches are far closer to the people and deserve great leeway.   The 9 Justices (really 5 in close decisions) are unelected.  The founders couldn't have contemplated all we face today and therefore justices should only limit the actions of the other branches in only extreme situations, narrowly and selectively.

I largely disagree.  I mostly don't care what any 50.1% or 60% majority would want for federal powers if they are not specifically authorized to do it in the constitution [except for when those expanded powers favor my own agenda  wink].  For a lot of great ideas like minimum wage, family leave, health care, and a thousand and fifty distinct federal social spending programs, we should amend the constitution if we want instead of disregarding it IMO.  If something new really is a great idea, we can pass a state law in all states or at least the states that what it.  O-RomneyCare is an example of doing large programs state by state.  A constitutional amendment similar to the federal income tax amendment authorizing a federal healthcare mandate would make the current crisis moot.  Otherwise, words have meanings and the U.S. Constitution is the highest law.  How does one argue that those powers were not left to the people and to the states?  (Justices don't discuss pending cases.)
I started to cut and paste, but it's a two hour interview, better go with just a link.
4041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Who said Ponzi? (continued) on: September 15, 2011, 11:03:59 PM
Krugman: (GM posted this previously in the thread) "Social practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics..."
How about Chris Matthews and ... Tim Russert:

 Mr. Russert: "Everyone knows Social Security, as it's constructed, is not going to be in the same place it's going to be for the next generation, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives."

Mr. Matthews: "It's a bad Ponzi scheme, at this point."

Mr. Russert: "Yes."
The list of who compared Social Security to Ponzi might be limitless.  But if SS is a Ponzi scheme and everyone knows it, why is it off-limits for a serious candidate to say aloud what a Nobel Naureate and Meet the Press star host also have said.

What article in the constitution gives congress that power anyway?
4042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US-China: 'Eclipse' by Arvind Subramanian on: September 15, 2011, 10:34:27 AM
'The Economist' editorializes on a new book forecasting China to become the world's predominant economy and superpower.  The author says there is little the U.S. can do; the editorial questions that.  Obviously the full script for what happens next in the world has not been written.  My view is that the economic rise of competing economies is a good thing, except if they are our military enemies.  With China, who knows.  Also I don't agree with his numbers; we aren't down to a 13-12 economic advantage over China right now.  With the U.S., a real  challenge coming from elsewhere should be reason enough to get focused on getting our own act back together.
The celestial economy
By 2030 China’s economy could loom as large as Britain’s in the 1870s or America’s in the 1970s

Sep 10th 2011 | from the print edition

IT IS perhaps a measure of America’s resilience as an economic power that its demise is so often foretold. In 1956 the Russians politely informed Westerners that “history is on our side. We will bury you.” In the 1980s history seemed to side instead with Japan. Now it appears to be taking China’s part.

These prophesies are “self-denying”, according to Larry Summers, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama. They fail to come to pass partly because America buys into them, then rouses itself to defy them. “As long as we’re worried about the future, the future will be better,” he said, shortly before leaving the White House. His speech is quoted in “Eclipse”, a new book by Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Mr Subramanian argues that China’s economic might will overshadow America’s sooner than people think. He denies that his prophecy is self-denying. Even if America heeds its warning, there is precious little it can do about it.

Three forces will dictate China’s rise, Mr Subramanian argues: demography, convergence and “gravity”. Since China has over four times America’s population, it only has to produce a quarter of America’s output per head to exceed America’s total output. Indeed, Mr Subramanian thinks China is already the world’s biggest economy, when due account is taken of the low prices charged for many local Chinese goods and services outside its cities. Big though it is, China’s economy is also somewhat “backward”. That gives it plenty of scope to enjoy catch-up growth, unlike Japan’s economy, which was still far smaller than America’s when it reached the technological frontier.

Buoyed by these two forces, China will account for over 23% of world GDP by 2030, measured at PPP, Mr Subramanian calculates. America will account for less than 12%. China will be equally dominant in trade, accounting for twice America’s share of imports and exports. That projection relies on the “gravity” model of trade, which assumes that commerce between countries depends on their economic weight and the distance between them. China’s trade will outpace America’s both because its own economy will expand faster and also because its neighbours will grow faster than those in America’s backyard.

Mr Subramanian combines each country’s share of world GDP, trade and foreign investment into an index of economic “dominance”. By 2030 China’s share of global economic power will match America’s in the 1970s and Britain’s a century before (see chart). Those prudent American strategists preparing their countrymen for a “multipolar” world are wrong. The global economy will remain unipolar, dominated by a “G1”, Mr Subramanian argues. It’s just that the one will be China not America.

Mr Subramanian’s conclusion is controversial. The assumptions, however, are conservative. He does not rule out a “major financial crisis”. He projects that China’s per-person income will grow by 5.5% a year over the next two decades, 3.3 percentage points slower than it grew over the past two decades or so. You might almost say that Mr Subramanian is a “China bear”. He lists several countries (Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Greece, South Korea) that reached a comparable stage of development—a living standard equivalent to 25% of America’s at the time—and then grew faster than 5.5% per head over the subsequent 20 years. He could find only one, Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania, which reached that threshold and then suffered a worse slowdown than the one he envisages for China.

He is overly sanguine only on the problems posed by China’s ageing population. In the next few years, the ratio of Chinese workers to dependants will stop rising and start falling. He dismisses this demographic turnaround in a footnote, arguing that it will not weigh heavily on China’s growth until after 2030.

Both China and America could surprise people, of course. If China’s political regime implodes, “all bets will be off”, Mr Subramanian admits. Indonesia’s economy, by way of comparison, took over four years to right itself after the financial crisis that ended President Suharto’s 32-year reign. But even that upheaval only interrupted Indonesia’s progress without halting it. America might also rediscover the vim of the 1990s boom, growing by 2.7% per head, rather than the 1.7% Mr Subramanian otherwise assumes. But even that stirring comeback would not stop it falling behind a Chinese economy growing at twice that pace. So Americans are wrong to think their “pre-eminence is America’s to lose”.

Bratty or benign?

If China does usurp America, what kind of hegemon will it be? Some argue that it will be a “premature” superpower. Because it will be big before it is rich, it will dwell on its domestic needs to the neglect of its global duties. If so, the world may resemble the headless global economy of the inter-war years, when Britain was unable, and America unwilling, to lead. But Mr Subramanian prefers to describe China as a precocious superpower. It will not be among the richest economies, but it will not be poor either. Its standard of living will be about half America’s in 2030, and a little higher than the European Union’s today.

With luck China will combine its precocity in economic development with a plodding conservatism in economic diplomacy. It should remain committed to preserving an open world economy. Indeed, its commitment may run deeper than America’s, because its ratio of trade to GDP is far higher.

China’s dominance will also have limits, as Mr Subramanian points out. Unlike America in the 1940s, it will not inherit a blank institutional slate, wiped clean by war. The economic order will not yield easily to bold new designs, and China is unlikely to offer any. Why use its dominant position to undermine the very system that helped secure that position in the first place? In a white paper published this week, China’s State Council insisted that “China does not seek regional hegemony or a sphere of influence.” Whether it is precocious or premature, China is still a tentative superpower. As long as it remains worried about the future, its rivals need not worry too much.
4043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: September 15, 2011, 10:19:45 AM
GM: "Rubio has my vote when he runs for president."

Yes.  I will waive my two-term Governor rule whenever he makes the jump - Rubio has an upside risk of greatness well worth taking.  That video is without notes, presumably without knowing the questions.  He is succinct, articulate and right on the money with each answer.  He connects the immediate question, a 'jobs' bill with what we should do now and a clear vision forward.  He never loses sight of what makes America great and what is the proper role of government.
4044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will: Economy should render Obama speechless on: September 15, 2011, 10:10:02 AM
George Will is making good sense today, calling out economic foolishness for what it is.  The cost of saving each job that wasn't even saved was 5 times the median income.  Layoffs at Bank of America and the Postal Service: "Such churning of the labor market would free people for new, more productive jobs — except that to reduce unemployment, the economy needs a 3 percent growth rate, triple today’s rate."

Economy should render Obama speechless
By George F. Will
Thursday, September 15, 2011 - Updated 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — In societies governed by persuasion, politics is mostly talk, so liberals’ impoverishment of their vocabulary matters.

Having damaged liberalism’s reputation, they call themselves progressives. Having made the federal government’s pretensions absurd, they have resurrected the supposed synonym “federal family.” Having made federal spending suspect, they advocate “investments” — for “job creation,” a euphemism for stimulus, another word they have made toxic.

Barack Obama, a pitilessly rhetorical president, continues to grab the nation by its lapels but the nation is no longer listening. This matters because ominous portents are multiplying.

Bank of America, which reported an $8.8 billion loss last quarter, plans 30,000 layoffs out of a work force of nearly 300,000. The Postal Service hopes to shed 120,000 of its 653,000 jobs (down from almost 900,000 a decade ago). Such churning of the labor market would free people for new, more productive jobs — except that to reduce unemployment, the economy needs a 3 percent growth rate, triple today’s rate.

Consumers of modest means are so strapped that Wal-Mart is reviving layaway purchases for Christmas. The Wall Street Journal reports that Procter & Gamble, which claims to have at least one product in 98 percent of American households, is putting new emphasis on lower-priced products for low-income shoppers.

During the debt-ceiling debate, The New York Times [NYT], liberalism’s bulletin board, was aghast that Republicans risked causing the nation to default on its debt. Now two Times columnists endorse slow-motion default through inflation: The Federal Reserve should have “the deliberate goal of generating higher inflation to help alleviate debt problems” (Paul Krugman) and “sometimes we need inflation, and now is such a time” (Floyd Norris).

For two years, there has been one constant: As events have refuted the Obama administration’s certitudes, it has retained its insufferable knowingness. It knew that the stimulus would hold unemployment below 8 percent. Oops. Unemployment has been at least 9 percent in 26 of the 30 months since the stimulus was passed. Michael Boskin of Stanford says that even if one charitably accepts the administration’s self-serving estimate of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus, each job cost $280,000 — five times America’s median pay.

The economic policy the “federal family” should adopt can be expressed in five one-syllable words: Get. Out. Of. The. Way.

Instead, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose department has become a venture capital firm for crony capitalism and costly flops at creating “green jobs,” praises the policy of essentially banishing the incandescent light bulb as “taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”

Better to let the experts in his department and the rest of the federal family waste other people’s money.
4045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for the American Creed - Marco Rubio on the Jobs Plan on: September 15, 2011, 09:46:55 AM
This is an excellent, short  interview, it covers the Obama plan, what is okay in it, that overall it isn't a serious attempt to grow jobs, what needs to be done, what works, the amazing potential for growth we have right now if we would just do a few things. 

It would save me a lot of time and trouble writing my views on the issues if I could just post a quick video of Marco Rubio answering a few basic questions each morning.

Just 2 1/2 minutes, please watch.
4046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 14, 2011, 12:54:06 PM
Evan Bayh, yes.  Kucinich from the left.  What does he have to lose?  Jim Webb's name  (D-VA)  came up on the board - he's not afraid of offending anyone.  We were arguing about whether Gov. Huntsman uses chopsticks properly; Sen. Webb was Secretary of the Navy.
4047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, Also NV-2 on: September 14, 2011, 12:38:15 PM
19 point gain in NY-9, surpassed only by a 20 point gain for the GOP in Nevada district-2 post-Obama.  McCain and Obama tied at 49-49 in 2008, Mark Amodei R-NV2 just won it 57-37.  Nevada districts 1 & 3 are in the south population centers, NV-2 is all the rest of the state.
4048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Keynesian Stimuli on: September 14, 2011, 10:39:53 AM
Besides that the Keynesian Stimulus doesn't work in the first place, these failed Obamanomic attempts weren't Keynesian anyway.

Mike Whalen, The Washington Times,Mon 9/5/2011  
And now a word from a job creator …

As a job-creating entrepreneur out here in the hinterlands, I am amazed at the Keynesian priests in Washington calling for more stimulus fueled by debt.

“The Rev.” Paul Krugman, “the Rev.” Robert Reich and their many cohorts argue that the stimulus was too small to offset falling aggregate demand and that the prescription for our laggard economy is another, bigger stimulus.

Those who talk about Keynesian economic theory think economic contractions are worsened and prolonged because consumers and businesses hunker down in caution, causing aggregate demand to fall. We can all agree this has happened.

According to the Keynesians, the remedy for today’s economic problem is for the federal government, as the single biggest actor, to “prime the pump.” As government money starts to ripple through the economy, consumers and businesses will be encouraged and cautiously respond with limited increases of their own. Vroom! The economic engine steadily revs up in billions of responsive steps until happy days are here again. This pump-priming reaction is termed the “multiplier effect.”

I think John Maynard Keynes would be horrified at the slavish adherence to this simplistic strategy by so many policymakers and economic thinkers, as his theory was much more complex. This thinking might be correct under circumstances other than those in which we find ourselves. If the ratio of our national debt to gross domestic product was low - say 25 percent - and the federal government had run surpluses before the downturn, this college freshman-level Keynesian analysis would have great weight. Put another way, if Uncle Sam were a rock-solid financial entity with low debt to value and he had judiciously used debt for capital improvements that were accretive in value, as the biggest dog on the porch, a stimulus might work.

But with a national debt of more than $14 trillion and unfunded, future “off the books” debt of Social Security and Medicare combined at $104 trillion in present value, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve, Uncle Sam ain’t the man he used to be. This in turn makes American businesses that are sitting on a pile of cash focus on deleveraging. The American consumer is doing the same. In fact, from where I sit, it appears as though everyone except Uncle Sam is working like mad to strengthen his balance sheets. The legitimate fear across the country is that Washington’s refusal to join our common-sense parade will result in higher taxes, more regulations, more inflation and Japanese-style stagflation. In other words, Washington’s attempts at stimulus through spending are having the opposite effect. Businesses and consumers stay hunkered down.

I know this is counterintuitive to the college-freshman Keynesian analysis from above, but as a business owner, I can tell you an additional stimulus would create more fear and further dampen demand in the private sector. Keynes was correct in focusing on aggregate demand as critical, but the confidence context and potential behavior responses have to be considered, and that requires real-world, Main Street knowledge - not just textbook theory. In this environment, if the federal government announced a real road map to fiscal soundness, the impact would be truly stimulating. If American businesses and consumers saw that Washington was really cutting, not just reducing future increases, there would be tremendous relief and an increase in confidence across the country. Job creators would sing “hallelujah”; they would get off their wallets, start hiring, and then you’d see that Keynesian multiplier kick in.

Modern Keynesians suffer from the misguided notion that government is the great engine that will restore our economy to prosperity. In fact, the great engine is a diverse system of private citizens anxious to go to work to provide for their families and build their businesses.
4049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Weiner Seat - Brooklyn and Queens go Republican! on: September 14, 2011, 10:14:32 AM
Nice coverage by Prentice on this:

This is a big deal.  8 point R victory, 19 point swing in the district since Obama won it by 11 in 2008. In a Dem year, Weiner ran unopposed in 2006 and won 100% of the vote.

This means that Obama is a net loss if he campaigns for a senate and congressional candidate in districts and states as conservative as NYC!  We already saw him have to drive around Wisconsin where he won by 14% just 3 years ago.

The Duck is not Lame, he is radioactive.

(If someone else on the Dem side would like to enter the Presidential nomination race, today would be a good day to jump in.)
4050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: September 14, 2011, 10:00:09 AM
"While I am quite sympathetic to the conclusion, I object to the methodology. The Salvation Army is not a charity as likely to appeal to someone from SF as from South Falls."

That would be Sioux Falls, largest town in S.D.  smiley

I'll never forget when some years ago the daughter of Keith Ellison's predecessor, a prominent leftist in her own right, told us in a small social group (in my Republican friend's living room - drinking his wine and eating his food) that "the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats care more about others and Republicans care more about themselves". 

The study above may not be scientific but is about as stereotypical as you can get for a red state vs. blue state behavior comparison.  Salvation Army I think is about as well-known symbol as there is for helping the poor anonymously and out of your own pocket.  So they took the above hypothesis and tested it.  It failed.  More work is needed on that hypothesis.  wink
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