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4051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics on: January 24, 2011, 09:55:01 AM
Interesting interview with Thomas Sowell. Quoting the last question and answer below about why he gave up on Marxism.  Interestingly Milton Friedman didn't change his mind at U. of Chicago.  Watching the government from the inside did.

He just came out with a 4th edition of Basic Economics, they joke about how thick it is.  Buy the book.  Read it all.  And read the chapter he took out and posted on the internet.  There is a lifetime of wisdom there.  The easy and failing government answers to today's problems aren't new.
----
I read that you identified yourself as a Marxist in your college days. What prompted your change in ideology?

TS: I was a Marxist I guess for a decade from about the time I was 20 to 30 roughly. What changed my mind was not anything I had read. I was a Marxist when I went into Milton Friedman’s course at [the University of] Chicago and I was a Marxist when I came out of it.

What changed me was working as an economic intern in the government in 1960 and discovering what the government bureaucracies were like in terms of their motivations and how they do their job. I immediately realized government is not the answer. Life taught me. I think that is true for most people.

Most of the leading conservatives were not conservatives when they were young. Milton Friedman was a liberal, he even described himself in his autobiography as Keynesian in his thinking. Friedrich Hayek was a socialist. Ronald Reagan was so far left that the FBI was keeping an eye on him. So you run through the list — of course the whole neoconservative movement was on the left initially. And the same thing happened in Europe and elsewhere. A lot of the indoctrination that takes place in educational institutions begin to erode when people get into the real world and start thinking for themselves.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/24/thomas-sowell-speaks-to-thedc-about-the-financial-crisis-health-care-and-his-ideological-transformation-from-marxism-to-conservatism/#ixzz1By5Svi1F

4052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: January 21, 2011, 01:41:01 PM
I posted the Chua story, but didn't read the backlash. It was a little extreme, in the early part I thought she was joking.  I agree with this part of the previous post, we could all learn 'a little' from her.  Intensity to a point makes sense, but not that extreme.  No sleepovers? maybe.  No play dates ever? No sports allowed.  All parent determined. That sounds sick to me.  Allowing positive friendships to foster was important part of parenting IMO.

I grudgingly read Andre Agassi's autobiography where he expresses his hatred for the game that his readers and fans love.  His father was Iranian and driven to make his kid the best in the world at any and all costs including keeping out of school, hitting balls at all hours, tweaking the home ball machine to shoot at him at 140mph and sending him away at a young age.  With all the promos to the book I thought he was just an ungrateful kid.  Reading the book I just got more and more squeamish about the level of abuse he experienced and the childhood he missed.  As I wrote about CEO level obsessions, I don't think being number one at the expense of all other aspects and balances in life is the sweet spot.  

All of that said, 'a little' or even quite a bit more discipline like those Chinese mothers have would be very helpful for most kids floundering in American education.  Inner city schools have 50% dropout rates and we are not talking about college.  I would say that like successful management styles, as the parent, the coach or the educator, you want to get the kid moving in the right direction without always making them feel like it is being forced on them by someone else.
4053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - The Birth on: January 21, 2011, 12:52:46 PM
CCP, I hear what you are saying regarding the birth records.  I read through all the links and documents at WND last night.  More about his early childhood than I ever wanted to know.  They do a pretty responsible job of covering it and I googled around elsewhere.  Apparently the story has changed regarding which of two hospitals he was born in.  But also missing is any indication she left the island at age 18 and pregnant or was even still seeing the Kenyan.  Barack Obama Sr. at least as a family man was quite a jerk.  Barack Jr. says his father left when he was 2, a story likely passed on by his mom but really there is no indication the dad ever met the kid or acknowledged him in the first ten years.  He headed to Harvard, she to Seattle.  He makes no mention in interviews or letters acknowledging the marriage or the child.  He refers in one letter to his wife but is clearly referring to the one back home.  He is very focused on his educational opportunity but not whatsoever as to how that will benefit this family. Then there is the mom, Stanley Ann.  She falls for the African student at 17, almost 18.  Names her child after him, (changes his name at least 2 more times as life goes on), doubtfully married Obama Sr. but likely wanted to or pretended they did - for 'legitimacy' - this is 1961.  Falls for another foreigner, 2 different dates with different locations for that 'second' marriage, probably falsified back to facilitate adoption of young Barry before age 5.  She understood the danger of moving herself and her son to then communist (and Muslim) Indonesia, then did it.  Sutoro tries to get out of going back, but they all go.  She likely renounced his US citizenship (Barry Jr.) at that time to lessen the dangers he would face, giving him the Sutoro surname and calling him Muslim and Indonesian.  Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship. Later dumps the kid on her parents, ('typical white folks').  Interrupt here to say: none of this is the young child's fault, but it was his childhood. 

The bureaucracy in one place says old passports records shall be destroyed after so many years and in another place says they are retained since 1925.

My take.  a) This bizarre story is nothing like saying 911 was an inside job.  The constitution requires natural born citizenship, plenty of good Americans have been excluded from consideration for the Presidency for that, and this young fellow had a mixed up early childhood involving two other nationalities withmany relevant documents are missing, altered or fraudulent.  b) Stanley Ann was pregnant roughly 30 days after starting at U of Hawaii. Stanley Ann and Obama Sr. were in the same Russian language class.  c) Other than conception, assuming he was the father, there didn't ever seem to be a relationship to speak of between Stanley Ann and Barack Sr. much less a marriage, nor did he ever see himself as a father in any sense we would recognize beyond sperm donor status, except for a visit 11 years later in Hawaii after the Sutoro Indonesia fiasco. Very unlikely that he brought her back to Kenya (where he already had at least one wife) from Hawaii while he was finishing 5 years of degrees in 3, even in the summer.  d) Assuming Stanley Ann did renounce Barry Jr's citizenship for her next radical, flighty move, that renunciation was likely fraudulent and not young Barry's fault at kindergarden age. e) the missing documents aren't going to prove he was born out of the U.S.  Even then, he was born to an American mother in between her semesters at Honolulu and Seattle, with no father.  It would be a twist of constitutional intent to say he is anything other than a natural born citizen IMO.

Somewhere in the gossip were the stories that Kenyan relatives said she gave birth there and that the white Grandmother said something like that.  No corroboration of any of that.  More likely she did get a first passport around the time of the early preganancy in hopes of traveling the world, marrying, moving, visiting etc.

Is there a photo anywhere of a proud father Barack Sr. seen anywhere with a 7, 8, or 9 month visibly pregnant Stanley Ann? I don't think so. Or with newborn Barry or the 3 of them? I don't think they were traveling together anywhere much less Kenya.  Then she moved from Hawaii to Seattle to start school 15 days later, without Obama Sr.  That is a difficult move if you are hurrying back from Kenya (not close to Hawaii)!

(http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/another_look_at_obamas_origins.html)
Obama knows little about the wedding (of Stanley Ann and Barack Sr.).  He writes in Dreams, "In fact, how and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a bill of particulars that I've never quite had the courage to explore. There's no record of a real wedding, a cake, a ring, a giving away of the bride."

In his fair-minded biography, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage, Christopher Andersen concedes, "There were certainly no witnesses -- no family members were present; and none of their friends at the university had the slightest inkling they were even engaged."

In July 2008, speaking at a university roundtable, Michelle Obama said of Barack's mother that she was "very young and very single when she had him."
----
The mainstream media, meanwhile, paid more attention to the origins of Trig Palin than to those of the president
---
I continue to oppose him based on his public policy agenda.
4054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 20, 2011, 04:35:46 PM
"for states to pass laws requiring that candidates provide proof of citizenship to be on a ballot"

proof of *natural born* citizenship

Pretty good idea to pass a law setting a process, since there doesn't seem to be any guideline on how to stop an ineligible candidate if all challenges were dismissed without a hearing.  The successful challenge would have to happen in a blue or contested state to make any electoral difference.

If he was born offshore to an American mother from Kansas, and McCain was born overseas but both parents were American - maybe the ground he was born on was an American base - it sounds to me like splitting hairs finer than what is explicit in the constitution.  If the mom had renounced her citizenship or even written something to change her address (and the newborn to be) to no longer reside in America, then maybe they have something, but that is not what is alleged as I hear it.  Just as on the flip side, I don't see how a birth from a foreigner in the US on vacation splits up the citizenship of a family.

Challenge Obama on his record and his governing agenda.
4055  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan, Strong yen on: January 20, 2011, 01:04:22 PM
"Japan IS having fiscal issues.  Plus the population is aging.  No question, the article posted by GM is correct.  So WHY is the YEN so strong???  It has appreciated nearly 50% in the past couple of years.  I'm just curious if anyone has an opinion.  Frankly, I don't get it."

Interesting question JDN, I have not followed currency values lately.  I would warn though that names like strong and weak currency have meanings beyond the connotation.  Japan built its economic might as a manufacturer and exporter.  "Strong' currency may be good as a store of value or for import transactions, but lousy for exporting, so Japan has its own currency problem.  'Right-sized' might be the currency term countries shoot for, not strong or weak.  The strength mentioned is measured against currencies in serious trouble.  Charting against oil or gold might be more telling.The time frame, last couple of years, is a bizarre financial time - still sorting itself out. Maybe there is a timing difference between our crisis, Europe's and theirs. Taking this statement from the article: "Japan has no difficulties financing its deficit and there is no sign that it could face a sovereign debt crisis in the near future." - That is not the crisis level the Euro and dollar face today.  

If China moves purchases to yen that were in dollars, that has a double effect on the currencies as they compare to each other. (I see Crafty hit that same point.)
----------
I found this article helpful: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Stefan-Karlsson-s-Blog/2010/0917/Why-is-the-yen-so-strong (written last Sept)

"There are two causes for the strong yen. The first is the persistent deflation in the Japanese economy. While British consumer prices rose by roughly 3% and while they rose by 1-2% in the United States and the Euro area, they fell by roughly 1% in Japan.

Deflation first of all causes the relative purchasing power of the yen to gradually rise, and secondly given the fact that most central banks have near zero short term nominal interest rates, real interest rates are in fact higher in Japan than in most other countries.

The second reason is the increased safe haven demand caused by the European debt panic and the slowdown in the U.S. economy.

As long as these factors persist, it will be difficult for the Japanese government to really reverse the trend."
-------
Note the ending, the Japanese government is wishing to reverse the trend.  Stable currency is better than a 'strong' currency, deflation is no picnic, inability to export has an inevitable job and income killing effect, and even if they had no problems, sickness in the world financial system is bound to spillover.
4056  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The American (and first world) cultural context on: January 20, 2011, 12:18:47 PM
My own 2 cents or less.  Breaking and entering in my view is a violent crime (keyword breaking).  Even a burglar entering an unlocked home or private property poses a potential threat of violence upon discovery or confrontation that no one deserves, and a threat of violence is form of violence.  A car theft immediately limits the mobility of the car owner, a physical crime against that person, not a property crime. The distinction to be made is victimless, not non-violent, if you can argue that a crime is victimless or if the damage done is fully repairable, then a remedy short of incarceration might apply.  In general, penalties are too small and the system too forgiving for most real crimes IMO.  Maybe incarceration rates would be lower if the consequences were more feared.  
4057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: January 19, 2011, 12:45:51 PM
Bigdog,  Excellent article with specific and realistic recommendations/solutions.  (Same type of thinking at a much simpler level could be applied to education.)
4058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Hansen at NASA, The Tom Friedman of Climatology on: January 19, 2011, 12:11:40 PM
(Of course Tom Friedman is the NY Times columnist who openly envies the more efficient Chinese system that doesn't rely on checks and balances or consent of the governed. Friedman's free speech however is not at the expense or sanction of the U.S. government.)

The Tom Friedman of Climatology
 
January 18, 2011 John Hinderacker, Powerlineblog.com

One of the striking features of our political era is that increasing numbers of liberals are coming out of the closet as enemies of the Constitution and of democracy. The latest is James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen is, to be blunt, an awful human being and one of the worst of the global warming fraudsters. Under his guidance, NASA's data have become so unreliable as to be an embarrassment to any scientists who may still be in the picture.

Hansen was in China in November, but only recently have his public comments there received the publicity they deserve. Hansen revealed himself as the Tom Friedman of climatology: how much better things would be if we could do away with that pesky Constitution and the democracy it protects! Pat Michaels reports:

    The nation's most prominent publicly funded climatologist is officially angry about [Congress's refusal to enact cap and trade], blaming democracy and citing the Chinese government as the "best hope" to save the world from global warming. He also wants an economic boycott of the U.S. sufficient to bend us to China's will. ...

    According to Mr. Hansen, compared to China, we are "the barbarians" with a "fossil-money- 'democracy' that now rules the roost," making it impossible to legislate effectively on climate change. Unlike us, the Chinese are enlightened, unfettered by pesky elections. Here's what he blogged on Nov. 24:

        "I have the impression that Chinese leadership takes a long view, perhaps because of the long history of their culture, in contrast to the West with its short election cycles. At the same time, China has the capacity to implement policy decisions rapidly. The leaders seem to seek the best technical information and do not brand as a hoax that which is inconvenient."

Historically, the Communist Chinese have tended to shoot those whom they found inconvenient--as opposed to climate realists, who not only don't shoot the alarmists, but confine themselves to arguing against them with scientific evidence.

    Mr. Hansen has another idea to circumvent our democracy. Because Congress is not likely to pass any legislation making carbon-based energy prohibitively expensive, he proposed, in the South China Morning Post, that China lead a boycott of our economy:

    "After agreement with other nations, e.g., the European Union, China and these nations could impose rising internal carbon fees. Existing rules of the World Trade Organization would allow collection of a rising border duty on products from all nations that do not have an equivalent internal carbon fee or tax.

    "The United States then would be forced to make a choice. It could either address its fossil-fuel addiction ... or ... accept continual descent into second-rate and third-rate economic well-being."

And this guy has been on the payroll of the United States of America for decades! Global warming has always been about political power, not science. As public opinion turns ever more decisively against the alarmists, we can expect more naked totalitarianism from the climate left.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/
http://liten.be//GWfsZ
4059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 19, 2011, 11:50:42 AM
GM, If going down this path was worthwhile I would want to see his first passport application with attachments. The intent of that rule (I assume) was to make sure a President didn't have international rather than American loyalties.  Whoops.

His current address is his evidence of eligibility for office; the challenge should have been when he first put his name on a ballot for President. The burden of proof goes to the other side(IMO) since he was accepted on the ballot in 50 states and administered the oath of office.  Looks to me like no one plans to provide any more documents.

Opponents can focus on these questions or focus on opposing and defeating leftist governing - hard to do both effectively. Personally I want him challenged and defeated over governing philosophy and anything/everything else IMO detracts from that message. 

If a document saying otherwise existed, this was the largest blunder ever by the Clintons for all their Nixonian research into people who threaten their power.  Bill Clinton is campaigning for an uncontested mayor race in Chicago when he thought he would be head of the UN by now, or hanging out with the first spouses of Spain and France. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1173949/The-day-Carla-met-match-Mrs-Sarkozy-upstaged-Spains-real-princess-glamour-showdown.html
4060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics 2012 on: January 19, 2011, 10:53:27 AM
Crafty, Too early I suppose but the House and Senate races in 2012 will be very interesting and just as important as the Presidential race.  How it goes into threads is your call.

The House did a total flip twice in the last 3 cycles when the reelection rate was historically 98%.  In the Senate I count 13 vulnerable Dems and 2 vulnerable Rs.  A net change of 3 would make a 50-50 tie with the deciding vote possibly going to Vice President Rubio.
4061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Senate 2012, Conrad out on: January 18, 2011, 01:15:35 PM
Our congressional thread disappeared with the election.. Just a political moment ago Dems had the House and 60 seats in the senate.  For 2012 no matter how Obama does, it will be hard for Dems to either swing the House back or to not to lose more ground if not the majority in the Senate because too many Dem incumbents have to defend their seats in red states.

North Dakota recently had 2 Dem senators in a state Bush carried by 28 points.  Byron Dorgan withdrew last year and Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Kent Conrad opted out for 2012 today.  A Republican former governor won Dorgan's seat in Nov. with a 55 point margin.

Kay Bailey Hutchison R-Texas is also stepping out but that just gives a large red state R party more time to find their best conservative candidate, likely to be to the right of Hutchison and likely to win.

Just like the lame duck, Obama's best chance to cut any favorable deal with congress on anything including a healthcare re-write or tax or entitlement reform going forward is now, before his  reelection contest.
4062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 18, 2011, 12:40:33 PM
Obama suddenly worried about excessive regulation, unbleepingbelievable, CCP, I feel your pain.  It is a head fake and I hope I am wrong.  One very insightful criticism of Bush was that he gave supply side a bad name without ever implementing it.  Producers don't respond to tax rates alone.  Regulations at this point are probably more harmful to job creation than taxation. 

If Obama got to only talk about both sides difficult issues for the next two years, he could win in '12, no contest.  In between talks to the nation he will be forced to make hard choices.  I can't imagine those choices will include cleaning up the regulatory burden that keeps manufacturers from manufacturing and health providers from innovating. 

A perfect example blew up in everybody's face.  He was (all talk) going to favor responsible offshore drilling, framing his opponents to favor irresponsible drilling.  But it was one of his approval sites that blew up and now we have no drilling.
4063  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with the adrenaline dump on: January 18, 2011, 12:24:17 PM
Great topic and great ideas.

At roughly the same time as the original post, 5rings had a nutrition post in answer to a different question that I think applies equally here, go to health and nutrition thread for specifics.  I would add caffeine limits to the healthy eating advice.  If I wish to be calm in an unexpected, adrenalin charged moment, I will wish I did not have a second, third or fourth cup of coffee that morning or any other altering substance.

"having to stave off someone harassing me on the street"

I had the good fortune of attending an anger management class.  I remember two themes of advice in the class, one was how extremely often that alcohol is a factor when conflict goes too far.  The other was called keeping your basket less that half full.  We all have issues we have to deal with, work, home, bills, stress, kids, IRS, injuries, whatever.  Make time and deal with them one by one.  Don't let yourself get so near the boiling point that the next smallest thing might set you off. On the flip side, don't assume the other guy is not one comment or dirty look away from flipping. In other words, the more he shows he is a jerk, the more avoidance you need.  My guess is that a typical harasser described above is 99.9% of the time not worthy of what you are preparing for in martial arts. 
4064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Milton Friedman on: January 17, 2011, 10:10:53 AM
There are a few people like Lincoln and Reagan that should post in with the founding fathers.  The late Nobel winning economist Milton Friedman would fit well with that company.  Here he speaks in 1978 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN.  You wouldn't know that he missed the debate of the last couple of years.  Real Clear Politics posts a few videos each day of opinion maker highlights of the last day and sneaked this video in with them yesterday:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/01/16/milton_friedman_on_socialized_medicine.html
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Counterpoint: The NY Times writes their editorial Saturday as if we hadn't already had the debate and the groundshifting election on this issue in the past year with their warning of 'The Truth and Consequences of Repeal': http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/opinion/16sun1.html
4065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and Cognitive Dissonance: Centrally Planned Economies on: January 15, 2011, 08:59:55 PM
Following up here on Crafty's post on Energy about solar manufacturing closing here and moving to China.  It should go to Fascism and Constitutional Issues as well.  

Who do we think we are as a federal government tryiing to pick winners and losers in any industry much less energy?  We are so invested now in failed subsidies and wishful industrial planning that we think it is a bad thing to find out we can get solar made somewhere else for less.  If solar is our energy future, then we are a consumer of solar energy, not necessarily the hardware manufacturer. The price dropping is a good thing if we are wanting to widely use solar to produce energy and conserve the planet.  We are not a low cost manufacturer; that is not our niche, why would we think otherwise?  And we can't have low cost energy without low cost manufacturing.  Why are we pretending we know enough to accurately pick winners and losers in a business supply chain?  In which Article did we derive that power?

This is the thinking of a leader whose total personal private business experience is zero and a cabinet whose total experience is less than 9% private sector; with roughly 0% in the private energy industry.  They honestly have no idea how an industry or a market or a free economy works.  That void is what gives them the confidence to keep picking winners and losers after being wrong so many times.  Paraphrasing Rumsfeld, they don't know that they don't know. They don't know that markets have mechanisms for optimizing the allocation of resources, or that bureaucrats can't and don't have to.  The central power should set  ground rules and get out of the way.  

This is nothing new.  One might recall that cash for clunkers took mostly Fords off the road and put mostly new Hondas and Toyotas in their place.  We were subsidizing Toyota while we were suing them over brakes (probably wrong about that too).  No lesson was learned because in the federal mindset we were only experimenting with play money, not the scarce resource that a capitalist would have to invest.  Over at General Motors we bought the company to make them profitable (which article authorized that?) then passed regulations to tear into the profits.  The regulator and the regulated became one and the same.  The conflicts and complications could confound even the best of the all-knowing.

Makes you wonder who in central planning knew to subsidize Microsoft, Cisco, Qualcomm, Google or Facebook, or J.K Rowling - at just the right time.  That's right, no one did.

Random people coming off of spinning fair rides blindfolded could pin tails on donkeys with the same accuracy and consistency as our glib central planners.  
4066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How to cut government spending, Chapter 9 for states on: January 15, 2011, 05:57:56 PM
Excellent idea, Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy for states.  Extending the ability to reorganize to the states makes perfect sense.  If they are already relying on federal subsidy, then they are already insolvent  There has to be a relief valve.  Union guarantees in the private sector mean nothing if they implode the company.

Just the option or threat of bankruptcy can be a powerful negotiating tool.
4067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Parenting Issues: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on: January 15, 2011, 10:43:37 AM
A Chinese mother, Yale Law Professor Amy Chua, tells her story about Chinese mothering.  The toughness she describes is a bit scary, even offensive by permissive western standards.  I am lucky that my daughter is almost that tough on herself so I don't have to do it.  smiley

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

"...when Western parents think they're being strict, they usually don't come close to being Chinese mothers."

"In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that "stressing academic success is not good for children" or that "parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun." By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way."

"What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences."
4068  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Obama's head fake with a conservative House and centrist Senate on: January 14, 2011, 04:06:00 PM
CCP, Agreed.  The R-House needs to get good bills passed that can make it through a more centrist senate and sent to a leftist President that will call him out exactly on this question, head fake or move, on as many key issues as possible.  If he moves to the center, the country benefits and so do his reelection chances.  If he vetoes and holds a hard left line, he is exposed for what he still is coming into reelection. And if the bills are lousy or unpopular or don't make it through the senate, he gets cover.  

I didn't watch the memorial; I hear he was at his best.  He has a gift of delivering scripted oratory, but he has worn out his gift of muddling issues and positions.  I don't think he can regain that magic.  His future success in politics will rely on a real move to the center and having weak opponents.  His free pass with the media is only partly a free pass with the media.  They had it partly going again with this comeback kid stuff at the lame duck.

I do business in the black inner city.  He will win 95% of that vote again, but not with magical turnout or excitement levels this time.  Nothing has changed or improved there whatsoever, same old, same old.  They went from once a year to twice a year emergency assistance, temporarily with stimulus money - that is the ability to move around and get a free month's rent, and easier food stamp qualification, but unemployment is worse and education, behaviors and attitudes are all the same as any other recent time.  Businesses and jobs are not moving in, start ups aren't starting up.  Having tried this and failed (hard left governing and the excitement of a half black President) is worse for Democrats politically than not having tried it.

Large numbers of highly educated suburbanites still lean left, but again, the magical sway he had with true independents there is gone.  He will have to earn every vote.  States like Ohio and Florida are lost for him at this moment with a short time to recover.  It has been 80 years since R's held more representative seats at the state level.  That shift happened on his watch.

p.s. Oil prices today and tomorrow are the fault of this crowd and the cowardly RINOs who joined them over the last 10-20 years, unless you believe that high energy prices destroying the capitalist economy is a good thing. Many including Obama believed that in opposition but now he stands accountable for (lousy) production and employment in our economy.  His Columbia and Harvard educated brain needs to get around the idea you don't get to have it both ways, a highly functioning economy with no energy production or usage.  Subsidized green jobs, cash for clunkers, buying auto makers, setting mileage standards out of reach, blocking ANWR, offshore, nuclear, Presidential visits to battery plants, blocking the growth of the grid, criminalizing CO2... these do not constitute a successful economic plan.
4069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - move to the middle on: January 14, 2011, 12:29:52 PM
CCP, One difference is that Clinton started by running as a centrist.  In 1992 Democrats saw themselves as  electoral college losers.  Other than 4 failed years of Carter all they could remember for a generation was 20 years of Nixon twice,Ford, Reagan twice and Bush, and were up against a somewhat competent, hugely experienced incumbent.  Clinton was the head of a group positioning to be electable centrists.  Liberalism was known to fail in 40 states for Dukakis and 49 for Mondale.

For Clinton it was all about Clinton.  For Obama I think it is all about moving the nation and the policies to the left.  He was the no. 1 liberal in the senate and running in the context of the 2006 sweep and still running against a damaged George Bush (not on the ticket).  What Obama is experimenting with now is a series of head fakes, not moves.  With the first few they have no affect because people know him.  He talked about growing private sector jobs but grew the public sector instead for example.  He cut the big tax deal but had nearly no choice except wait and cut a worse one.  Talked offshore then banned more offshore etc.  Right now no one knows how far he will go with his head fakes, but his point in keeping power and popularity is to further implement what we call leftism, not to move to the middle. (MHO)
4070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / World food prices on: January 14, 2011, 12:08:57 PM
Yes, droughts freezes and floods, the Fed flooding dollars, how much fertile farm land is lost from food production by convoluted incentives to grow energy instead of food while leaving ready energy in the ground, and are we still really paying farmers to not grow at all??

We are collectively so slow and so stupid about correcting public policies regarding ongoing self inflicted wounds.

In the context of the torture distinction discussion I am hesitant to call misguided democratic policies fascism, but if/when we keep doing it until people are starving then maybe that is what it is.
4071  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: January 13, 2011, 07:35:48 PM
GM, I agree.  What I am getting at is that process needs to be possible and needs to be utilized.  These people need at some point to be identified and marked, as sufficient information emergess,  so they will fail the instacheck.  It isn't happening so we are bound to repeat this and lose rights ourselves.  Everyone who came in contact with him seemed to know of his mental health deterioration.  Like getting your elderly parents at some point to quit driving, there needs to be a mechanism that is used. In child protection we have what we call mandatory reporters. The doctor, teacher etc. are required to report possible evidence.  Very soon I think there will be bills floated in her name like we had with the Brady bill, further restricting rights of law abiding citizens. Maybe it will be forced tests for all in Obamacare with results in your government issued, embedded chip sad if we don't quickly think of a better way.  Zen wrote: "we all are ultimately responsible for our own safety".  Please tell that to the 11 month old daughter I left out of the story, twice sent by separate ambulance to the emergency room in negligent crashes; the fatality was a woman properly standing in a median crosswalk.  After conviction for child endangerment and vehicular homocide and real time served,she is again driving and 'no threat', with no oversight.  Hopefully unarmed.

From the other posts I think we are looking in the same direction but need answers.  There is a privacy issue and a liberty issue competing with a public safety issue.
4072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 13, 2011, 05:26:41 PM
We learned in the Wizard of OZ that a new snow fall has a cleansing affect on the earth and I am grateful to have another new snowfall every day so far this year.  I assume the extreme cold and snow is because of greenhouse warmth and maybe CO2 is seeding the clouds.

We are slipping on this thread, where is my friend Guinness?
4073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: (former) Gov. Tim Pawlenty R-MN. 2nd tier candidate series on: January 13, 2011, 05:06:12 PM
Posting about Tim Pawlenty on the assumption that all of the 1st tier candidates are defective, including Obama. Romney - Health care, Newt - personal past, Palin - being Palin, Huckabee - longer story but I don't favor him.

Also on the assumption that we need someone with executive experience of some meaning, we don't have a governor from NY or Calif available, Texas - don't know. Takes us into the middle size states for some level of relevant executive experience.  Carter was from Georgia, Clinton Arkansas, Dukakis - Mass, etc.

Tim Pawlenty won in Dem state twice, even in the storm of 2006.  Governed with good popularity without selling out conservatism too badly.  Handled a few challenges like closing budget gaps without raising taxes and catastrophe of the bridge collapse.  Was a minority leader of the state House prior to Gov.  Mentioned here for underwhelming people, but again making the rounds where he has quite a bit of experience and is gaining familiarity.  Likable, common sense guy, sticks to his principles, very non-threatening to moderates and independents. Not a Martin Luther King of orators, but his political savvy and skills are very good and easily underrated.  Kind of the opposite of the vocal right that is so hated but without a major distinction in policies. Less polarizing.  Pawlenty was probably McCain's correct choice and adviser's first choice.  May very well be VP choice in '12 if he never comes up from 2nd tier for top of the ticket.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/01/12/pawlentys_book_highlights_humble_qualities_big_achievements___108511.html

January 12, 2011
In Book, Pawlenty Touts Achievements, Humility
By Scott Conroy and Erin McPike

Unlike the recent works published by his potential competitors for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Tim Pawlenty's "Courage to Stand" is notable for its overt humility and avoidance of sweeping statements that might be perceived as hyperbolic.

The former Minnesota governor's attempt at a pre-presidential campaign tome is similar to those penned by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in that it is part biography, part vindication of his own political record, and part policy prescription for America's future. But he spills more ink describing specific examples of his leadership as chief executive of his state while taking a more humble approach.

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It's not that Pawlenty is particularly shy about touting his accomplishments. It is instead a matter of tone. As the low-key Minnesotan puts it on page 97, "Because of human frailty, it's important that leaders avoid the temptation to be self-righteous. Confidence and strength are one thing; a false notion of personal perfection is another."

Pawlenty has been positioning himself as the "anti-Romney" in the nascent race by touting his blue-collar background as the son of a businessman in contrast to the wealth and privilege that Romney was born into, and that theme shines through in "Courage to Stand."

Although the author repeatedly touts his social and economic conservative bona fides, it is Pawlenty's accommodation and humility that permeates the book. "Today, two lightning-rod issues associated with social policy are abortion and gay marriage," Pawlenty writes. "I'm pro-life and in favor of traditional marriage, but when I talk about these issues, I watch my tone."

And in a sentence that could be perceived as a not-so-subtle jab at the tenor of Romney's book, "No Apology", Pawlenty writes, "Sometimes an apology is itself a sign of strength."

But at least as pronounced as the contrasts with Romney's work are the differences between Pawlenty's book and Palin's 2009 No. 1 bestseller, "Going Rogue."

While Palin writes about her triumphant exploits as a starting guard on her state championship high school basketball team, Pawlenty seems unashamed to note that he never made it past the junior varsity level in hockey - yet he still exudes passion for the sport.

While Palin's book portrays a take-no-prisoners approach to politics, in which the former small-town mayor takes on the old bulls to defeat an incumbent Republican for the governorship, Pawlenty writes about how his career ambition was to become a dentist when he enrolled at the University of Minnesota. Later on, he opted not to run for the Senate race he intended to pursue in 2002 after getting a phone call from Vice President Cheney asking him to defer to Norm Coleman for the good of the GOP.

"Going Rogue" is replete with rampant score settling with former staff members and political adversaries, whom Palin almost portrays as modern-day Dickensian villains, while "Courage to Stand" has scarcely a negative word about anyone and praises Democrats ranging from Bill Clinton to John Mellencamp.

It's clear that Pawlenty strives to be perceived as genuine and relatable, and he would rather accept being labeled "boring" than risk becoming polarizing or accused of political posturing.

Perhaps more important is that the 50-year-old provides dozens of specific examples from his government experience thus far to cast himself as ready for the next office - and that will be a major theme in his likely presidential campaign in contrast to some of the front-runners, like Palin and Romney.

Romney's first book, "Turnaround" - published in 2004 - is a 384-page case study about his leadership of the Salt Lake City Olympics. He presents his many challenges and how he approached them, the national security aspect of the event and the funding and budgeting associated with the Olympics. A six-page epilogue discusses his ascension to the Massachusetts governorship. His second book in 2010 is devoted mostly to his national platform and largely glosses over his record in his one term as governor, as he chooses instead to sharply critique President Obama's performance.

Pawlenty's book, by contrast, pulls out a few examples of record-setting tax cuts and how he achieved them, as well as his handling of a nine-day government shutdown over a budget battle in 2005.

He also discusses his trade missions to China, which could prove to be a critical issue in 2012 - particularly with the likes of Romney and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels potentially in the race.

And in a three-page passage deep into the part of the book that delves into his gubernatorial record, Palwenty walks through how he navigated a $1.6 billion deal with Essar Steel, a major corporation based in India that hoped to develop a manufacturing plant in Minnesota's Iron Range. Upon learning that the company was doing business with a plant in Iran, Pawlenty forced a choice on the company, showing how he prioritizes security matters with economic development and how he may approach diplomacy.

There's also a chapter devoted to the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis and his response to the tragedy. Pawlenty takes the time to point out that a Democrat in the state called one of his staffers during the first few hours of emergency response to say how he was going to use the disaster to denigrate the governor. Pawlenty, who refuses to name the Democrat "because what he did was so awful," calls it "one of the most disgusting examples of low politicking I've seen in my entire career."

He even exposes his doubts about running for a second term and his decision to ignore the advice of political consultants about going negative toward the end of his re-election race. And he artfully handles how his education in "Minnesota Nice" crept into his line of work.

But can Pawlenty's nice-guy Midwesterner image work in today's hot-button political culture? In an appearance on "The View" on Tuesday, Pawlenty turned to the most frequently referenced conservative president of the modern era to make his case.

"People shouldn't confuse being nice or thoughtful or civil with being strong," Pawlenty said before dropping Ronald Reagan's name. "He had strong views, but he presented himself in a civil, thoughtful, decent, kind manner. There were almost no instances where Ronald Reagan yelled, screamed, judged, condemned."
4074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: The New Congress is from the Heartland on: January 13, 2011, 04:40:52 PM
This piece makes an and powerful observation about the shift in congress.  Not just ideology, but geography of influence is changing.  The more urban group's power is diminishing, Nancy Pelosi from San Fran, Charlie Rangel from Harlem, Ellison of North Minneapolis, John Conyers of Detroit, Waxman from L.A., Barney Frank - Boston.  Coming into greater power are people from further out in America's heartland, like suburban Cincinnatti, Richmond, Bakersfield, Twin Cities' suburbs, Janesville, etc.  A Harvard ecucated lawyer from Madison out, a businessman from Osh Kosh in.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47167.html

The heartland Rises
4075  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: January 12, 2011, 12:09:35 PM
P.C. wrote: " Sounds to me like the Sheriff wasn't very proactive in heading this guy off, he could have on a number of contacts with Jared, had him held for a 72 hour mental evaluation under AZ law."

I was carefully trying to think of what in gun law could or should have stopped this pyscho's purchase without destroying everyone else's rights.  But first you would have to mark this sick man with a searchable record of what he had become.  A background check wouldn't pick anything up if his friends, family, teachers and even the sheriff all had looked the other way.

I drove a bipolar woman against her will to the emergency room during an episode.  She thought she was going to see her doctor, but he had said to take her to the emergency room.  The doctor there heard and ignored my concerns, declared her no threat, prescribed her a narcotic and she was back in the same emergency room the next day this time with the 72 hour hold followed with criminal charges for killing someone with her car.  For about 3/4 of a second I gave that same doctor an icy stare I think he will remember. 

A slippery slope but somewhere we need to look into what your rights are or are not, as people around you see your grip on reality deteriorating.
4076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: January 11, 2011, 11:21:38 PM
"anxiety about falling home prices is based on (1) limited sample... (2) confusing home prices with homebuilding, (3) forgetting that lower prices are as beneficial to buyers as they are harmful to sellers and (4) grossly exaggerating the importance of housing."

"the $6.4 trillion of home equity in the third quarter was only 11.9% of estimated household wealth, which was $54.9 trillion. The Journal's reference to "$12.2 trillion in stocks and mutual fund shares" leaves out retirement accounts, bonds, rental property, farmland, precious metals and family-owned businesses, among other things."

-Alan Reynolds cuts through the noise nicely.  It's too bad that reported economic data are so often full of flaws.  If we fix the employment and income situation, housing will take care of itself.  Foreclosures now have to do with jobs and income, not valuations IMO.
4077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 11, 2011, 03:05:20 PM
The shooter was a registered independent who didn't bother to vote in 2010 (and Giffords opponent was a tea partier!), hardly following the right wing in lock-step.  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/house/jared-lee-loughner-was-a-regis.html  His grudge with Giffords was that she blew off his question a few years ago: 'What is government if words have no meaning?'.  His friend says he said back to him, 'Dude, no one's going to answer that,' http://liten.be//AE3ip

Inspiration for the shooting? Friend says: "I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what's happening. He wants all of that." Tierney (the friend) thinks that Loughner's mindset was like the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: "He wants to watch the world burn."

Blaming right wing radio or politicians is strange considering he didn't vote and more interested in drugs and video games that in Palin or Limbaugh or anyone else.  Can't speak for the psycho-blockhead but I know my anger at government and Washington is exactly the same if I listen to Rush L or CBS News, Air America or All Things Considered.  CCP nailed it, the anger inside comes from what the opposition is doing not from what the host is saying. You listen because it resonates.  My radio has been off for months and my anger is the same. The most effective parts of all those shows are when they play politicians, especially opponents, in their own words, in full context.  Horrible time to blame a victim, but another idea is stop encroaching on liberties and negligently running our country if you want less anger in the country.  Everybody who was awake last Nov. saw that anger and revulsion reached the majority, not just psychos and 'paid entertainers'.  The well meaning congresswoman knew, from her own interviews, that healthcare 'reform' was the biggest invasion of our privacy in our country's history.  

The DLC had targets on their map back when Palin was still registered as a Wasilla housewife with the FEC.  They should be accusing her of trademark infringement, not murder incitement.  http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253055&kaid=127&subid=171

Again, the CAUSE of the shooting is found inside this psycho's brain.  This was obvious when he kept shooting after hitting the target of his obsession, if not sooner.  He rode a cab to the event (Does one way cash fare sound familiar?) because (IMO) this was a suicide killing.  He expected to be shot after a few of his shots and no one showed up with a gun until after his jammed and was wrestled away.

Excellent insight of P.C.: the calm responsible decision making of the concealed carry holder (see 'armed citizen' post) was quite impressive. An innocent man who had gotten to the murder weapon could easily have been shot in the chaos of the moment.

4078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 10, 2011, 03:55:23 PM
BD, Thanks for the reminder/clarification on the theater exception.  You still may get out better if the people closest to the exits would calmly whisper why they are leaving and to pass it on.  smiley  We just removed more than 63 congress people without shooting, so the violence message here is also false.  Especially false to claim validity to murdering a young girl.  

GM,  I thought of that and fear an overreaction too.  I will reconsider my proposals as this unfolds. I write with the confidence of knowing no one ever takes my advice and I assume there already are plenty of laws.  If you aim and wrongfully kill it is murder. If you advocate killing a federal judge, from a position of authority, pretending to represent God and church, then that is a crime or could be construed that way if it in fact happens(?)  But shooting into a crowd and killing any and all until you run out of ammunition is terror, and we are fighting terror on many fronts.  We decided to fight it pre-emptively because there is no effective alternative.  Cheering on a senseless acts of terror and openly and seriously encouraging more of it is not religion or protected free speech (from this armchair amateur untrained jurist).  It is not synonymous or analogous to expressing strong views on issues or using war or death analogies in sports or political competitions or in humor or casual speech.  I may not trust our government to draw the line, but there is a line.  Hiding behind a church or a Mosque is what our enemies do.  I have visited many churches and this is not what they teach or how they attained a protected status in this country.
4079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: January 10, 2011, 01:32:43 PM
One of my 'moderate' friends always brings up gay marriage as the example to explain why he hates things the 'far right', the 'right wing' and 'Christian conservatives, though he is basically a conservative.  He asks, how does gay marriage hurt his marriage, which is a pretty good question. 

I have a few new friends through sports who are supposedly gay and we have thankfully not yet discussed preferences or politics. 

The Tea Party Republican Senate candidate of Colorado had some weird view that gayness doesn't really exist or that these people can be retrained.  People knew that was nonsense and it probably kept him out of a very winnable, crucial seat.

To my gay friends and  all the others out there, you deserve all the rights of liberty and pursuit of happiness of anyone else.  Westboro pretend church is wrong, God doesn't hate gays.  Ken Buck is wrong.  God created a predominantly hetero society with a minority of people with a gay orientation.  Whether atheist or Jew/Muslim/Christian, it is an observable fact of human existence. 

Procreation comes from heterosexual bonding, that is the norm and that is the survival of the species. That goes best for children,family and society when we strive for a lifelong bond.  Some of us haven't married yet.  Some never will. Some did and it didn't work out.  A few are attracted to the same sex.  If it is private and consensual, then it is your right to pursue happiness.  Not so for attraction to children, animals or corpses because of the consent issue.  We draw lines of morality and behavior hopefully for good reasons.

Everyone should be able to designate their sister, brother, neighbor or gay lover to inherit or handle their affairs if/when they are unable, if they don't have a spouse.

The problem arises when this gift or right of liberty for all or for some starts to take away something else of value and chipping away at our language, our meanings and the positive traditions of our society is a sign.  When we can't recognize that a child has its best shot at life with a married, loving mother and father (gender terms used intentionally) all living under one roof (and I say that as a single father raising a teenage daughter).  When we start muddying up or banning the terms man and woman, husband and wife, mother and father, intact family or the concepts of marriage and of parentage, then we have gone too far.
4080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 10, 2011, 12:48:56 PM
Prentice, Excellent story regarding the armed tackler. Tragic that someone prepared like him wasn't standing closer when it happened. 

Bigdog: Like hollering Fire in a crowded church, that group deserves no protection for that behavior IMO.  I hope  intent to incite criminal violence and terror acts like this is a crime.  If not I would start by revoking their tax exempt property status.  Then they can spend their time, like the rest of us, having to work to pay property taxes, before they travel to celebrate brutal acts of terror and carnage.  http://www.snco.us/Ap/R_prop/Listing.asp?PRCL_ID=0973503030001000

Whatever law enforcement tools we want to come down hard on extreme Islamic organizations supporting terrorism, same should apply to these religious phonies.  They were an annoyance and an embarrassment when they celebrated the deaths of our heroes killed overseas.  But this is direct support of criminal and terror acts IMO right here at home and Guantanamo might be a better setting for their protest.

If political view is the question (it isn't), both the fake church and the screwed up activist sound more to me like the Reverend Wright's "God Damn America" and "America's Chickens...have come home to Roost!" than it sounds like anything I heard in a tea party speech or Christian sermon: 'Peace be with you'.

GM: "showing signs of serious mental illness". I too would look mostly at the 5 inches between his ears for what went wrong, not the political movement or obsession of the moment.
4081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: January 10, 2011, 01:33:55 AM
"[Pres. Obama] called Gibbs' salary at 172,000 a year modest, yet he set 200,000 a year as a single filer as being "rich". Where is his line?"

Maybe 172k or 200 is not rich if the cost of living is high around DC and if that type of job requires maintaining a nice home in two places, etc. Same goes for other people and other circumstances.   If he acknowledges that regional and circumstantial differences mean that any federal progressive or punitive scheme will not fit all evenly or fairly, the only remedy with fairness is to tax every dollar of income the same no matter who legally earned it, how or where.

The serious answer to the above BTW is that you are rich after you have accumulated enough to pay for everything you and your family will ever need without having to sell off your assets.  That is an unknowable number and certainly none of anyone else's business.  Nor is it a crime or a sin or a behavior that hurts others unless you did something wrong to earn it.
4082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US State Dept. says: “The words in the old form were ‘mother’ and ‘father’ ” on: January 10, 2011, 12:51:41 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/07/AR2011010706741.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/07/passport-applications-soon-gender-neutral/#ixzz1Abs8dcgC

"Parent One, Parent Two to replace references to mother, father on passport forms."

  - I still don't think this will 'recognize' all the 'different types of families'.  Is anyone really ready to designate themselves as Mommy Two?  Sounds like a first alternate in case the first string mommy is not available. 

“We find that with changes in medical science and reproductive technology that we are confronting situations now that we would not have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago” - Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services.

  - No. Males are not impregnating males and females are not impregnating females. Are they? http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2008/feb/08020103  Plumbing and electrical supply stores understand gender distinctions better than our all-knowing, all-caring government.

“Changing the term mother and father to the more global term of parent allows many different types of families to be able to go and apply for a passport for their child without feeling like the government doesn’t recognize their family,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council.

  - Why are we so narrow and judgmental to limit the relationship to a child with up to two parents?  Is this some outdated, animal/species tradition we are arbitrarily protecting?  What if 3 or more or an entire community want to adopt a child (it takes a village) and there is no form to accommodate them.  Not even a box to check and say 'additional parents listed on the attached pages? Discrimination!  And the child gets stigmatized for not having a place to designate Parent Seventy seven like he/she is not a parent at all.   If this is about medical possibilities, what about a designation for your up-line clone?  That is not a parent.  I try to be facetious but they probably have the rest of these possibilities already written for next year's form.

Are we still tracking gender of the applicant?  Why? With only two choices?  In 2011??  With medical 'advances' are there not more than two gender possibilities?  Aren't 'stigmatizing' in-betweeners and gender neutral people?

We have so far to go to ever become truly inclusive, but getting away from sexist terms like of mom and dad is quite a start.
4083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 09, 2011, 11:41:25 AM
To the previous post here, 27 shots into the Governor? The last 26 sound like sending a message to whoever wants to try being sane and rational next.  And we ask why more moderate Muslims don't stand up and step forward.
---
"In Pakistan, the Zardari government is likely to fall in 2011."

This piece, Warcast 2011, could go under Geopolitics but has interesting insights on Pak-Afghan and our involvement.  I will excerpt that here and read it all if you want.  Also interesting regarding Iraq, Israel and Iran. Read it all if you if you like the excerpt.  I don't agree or disagree, just taking it in.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/01/08/2011_warcast_108473.html
...
In Afghanistan, we will see the largest yearly number of American and coalition casualties since the war there began in 2001. Our military operations will be accelerated, bigger and more far-reaching this year because President Obama may still draw down the surge of troops into Afghanistan this summer. (the news this week of an additional 1400 combat troops being sent in will proves the acceleration). The biggest question is whether the Karzai government - increasingly uncooperative with our military operations - seeks to assert greater control over those operations.

Vice President Biden's declaration that we will be out of Afghanistan "come hell or high water" in 2014 raises the likelihood of open conflict between Karzai and Afghanistan commander Gen. David Petraeus to a near-certainty. Petraeus is frustrated at the lack of progress in establishing local government operations where military operations have temporarily cleared areas of the Taliban. Karzai - looking ahead three years - will be less cooperative as the year goes on. Karzai's 70-member "high peace council" will be meeting with Pakistani representatives in talks designed to reach an accommodation with the Taliban. Those talks will not produce a peace agreement, but pressure by Karzai on Petraeus to reduce military strikes to incent the Taliban to talk peace will result in greater tensions.

In neighboring Pakistan, the Zardari government is likely to fall in 2011. As recently as this past weekend, the second largest party in the Pakistani coalition government - the Muttahida Qaumi Movement - quit the government and joined the opposition. Corruption, rising inflation and the government's poor performance during the 2010 floods have combined to weaken the Zardari government to the point that a military coup - or a parliamentary move to "temporarily" replace Zardari with a military strongman -- is more likely than not.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf would like to return to power, but more likely is the ascendance Gen. Ashfaq Kayani. Gen. Kayani, commander of the Pakistani military, plays a closely-held poker hand. He often chooses to turn a blind eye to American military strikes at terrorists in the Pakistani northern tribal regions, but he is keeping his options open in all directions.

The black swan hovering over Southwest Asia is what Kayani would do if he were to replace Zardari. Kayani, according to Pakistani media, quietly thwarted American aid legislation designed to ensure civilian control over Pakistan's military. Kayani, like Karzai, is making his own plans based on the Obama administration's plan to withdraw from Afghanistan no later than 2014. At that point, the Taliban will be neither defeated nor sufficiently disrupted to no longer be a threat to Pakistan. If he takes power, Kayani will move to force al-Qaeda and the Taliban back into Afghanistan and attempt to contain them there. His cooperation with American military operations will be sporadic, aimed only at that containment. ...
(author Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush)
4084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: January 09, 2011, 11:01:27 AM
Great list Ragsbo, great post!  My favorite:

"Kick the UN out of the USA and use that real estate for something useful."

Personally, I would scale it back instead, pay one share not the lion's share, offer them Peoria not NY, let countries bring about 3 people each, no UN staff, let them meet and pass all the non-binding resolutions they want while we turn more to OECD or an association of democracies to work on larger issues.

The full cost of UN incompetence, over-reach and counter-productivity is hard to measure. The facade of the UN resolutions Saddam accepted in 1991 caused the war we are still fighting IMO.  Now they seek carbon regulation and world taxes.
4085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: January 08, 2011, 06:12:18 PM
Morris has it right.  I like the 3 month idea, if not 30 days.  Keep the heat on until something meaningful happens.  Don't need to raise the debt limit much if the budget gets balanced.

BTW, may I suggest for the category: 'Hot to gut government spending'.  It is not something superficial needed or a little trim job when we are bleeding a trillion dollars every 7 months now.  Redefine entitlements and put zero based budgeting on everything.  Justify every dollar, sunset it and start again from zero justifying again.  Increased spending on interest means decreased funds for something else.  Hold hearings on unintended consequences and negative behavioral affects of our social policies and put those on hold that have serious issues, which should be most of it.

Within the 3 months we should have a new, simple, lower, wider, flatter, fairer tax code passed through at least one house to match spending cuts as the way to stimulate the economic growth we so badly need.
4086  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 08, 2011, 05:55:52 PM
6 dead including a 9 year old girl, 18 injured, short range in a crowd.  Should not need DNA or expert testimony, nor should his reasons matter.  I would like to see him tried and hanged by sundown before others can copy.  Whatever his motive or message is, this should not earn him a soapbox to tell it.

We (who survive) will live our lives in and out of metal detectors and cameras with emptied water bottles because of nutjobs like this one.
4087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: January 08, 2011, 12:40:25 PM
"Property tax is a direct assault on liberty. Liberty is at stake when you have to pay rent(property tax) to the government." (Freki)

"The idea that someone cannot hunker down outside of the money economy is disconcerting" (CD)

 - Very interesting.. If there was once a right to be left alone it sure has passed us by.

The focus now I think has to be just lower spending, lower taxes can follow.  Far fewer and more effective programs.  Get back to the basics.
4088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics: Illegals voting on: January 07, 2011, 05:42:54 PM
Prentice,  Illegals voting is outrageous.  So is having the Census count them as residents for representation.  Go one step further: The safe havens that attract and protect them but don't let them vote receive disproportionate representation for themselves.
4089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics: Pardons on: January 07, 2011, 05:25:07 PM
BD, Nice post on pardons.  Seems unfair but I still like the concept that there is some avenue available to right a wrong.  The worst I think are the last day or lame duck pardons especially with the perception they were about selling influence rather than administering justice.  Framers did not envision a Lincoln Bedroom or that the power could be transferred to the First Lady's brother. Ford pardoning Nixon made sense that he (allegedly) believed it in the best interest of the nation, he exercised a recognized power, and then the voters  exercised theirs - out he went.

Note that the top 10 list did not include 'Reagan's grant' of conditional temporary resident status because the IRCA 1986 was an act of congress, signed by Reagan, not a Presidential pardon: http://www.oig.lsc.gov/legis/irca86.htm.  Interesting footnote was that Sen. Kennedy voted against the 1986 law because (I would guess) that the conditions were unacceptably restrictive. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/23/washington/23amnesty.html.
4090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government spending, budget process: Texas on: January 07, 2011, 04:34:03 PM
Please correct me if I am wrong, but lost in this discussion is that Texas has NO INCOME TAX.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_income_tax
And that compares HOW with California, NY or my home state??

If Texas added a 1% income tax, the top rate in Calif. would still be roughly 1000% higher.

Regarding Krugman, what a bunch of BS to compare budget struggles and leave that small fact out!

I happen to believe income tax is the best tax (if low, flat, simple and fair) because that is where the money is.  Unfortunately once you open that door, endless escalation and abuse of it is your future.

Property taxes don't come with a source of money to pay them so eventually they take your property unless you have an enduring source of - income.  Still it sounds like property taxes aren't much worse in Texas than California where by contrast they collect $54 Billion off the personal income tax alone (2008). http://www.lao.ca.gov/2009/tax/revenues_0209/revenues_020609.aspx  Calif had Prop 13, the beginning of tax revolt, but I don't know where that stands now.

"Estimated at 10.5% of income, California's state/local tax burden percentage stands at 6th highest national
"California's 2011 Business Tax Climate Ranks 49th "
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/15.html

Besides leaving no state income tax out of a state budget comparison, Nobel Laureate Prof. Krugman suddenly drops California (at 12%) out of his comparison when he refers to Texas' below average unemployment rate as being no big deal. 

I would not buy a used car from this man.
4091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: January 07, 2011, 04:07:03 PM
Will raising taxes billionaires satisfy them?

No, it won't and satisfying opponents shouldn't be the goal.  Don't pass anything that hurts the economy, hurts employment or moves us anywhere in the wrong direction.

Tax the rich, means tax the rich first, then call the rest of us rich.  Their goal as I see it is big, intrusive government, and that will require collecting revenues from every imaginable direction.

Very funny that the President called Gibbs salary 'modest' at 3 1/2 times the median.  He means modest for someone nearly as brilliant as himself, but it is a rare acknowledgment that merit plays a valid role in compensation.
4092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 07, 2011, 11:22:57 AM
I guess it is leadership and persuasion skills.  It took amazing organizational skills to even get these really long bills written by staffers well enough to be acceptable to her majority caucus and to the negotiators from the senate to pass health care, financial regulations, cap/trade, etc. etc. in such a short time.  The ability to have skilled and motivated staffers working around the clock to get these done.  The ability to know exactly what buttons to push to keep a caucus of 200+ on the same page.  We keep calling it ObamaCare but it seems like it was staffers within the Pelosi camp who got all this done.

What she did not do is bring the American people with her.  Last March I fully expected (and so did she) that the wishy washy public would gradually flow over to their side and accept another great big government monstrosity growing into our lives.  Maybe the turn of the public without any leadership against this program was the real story of last year.  If health care was the holy grail, maybe they should have gone cautious and responsible with everything else as they slid it through, rather than all-out, round-the-clock leftism.
4093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 07, 2011, 11:05:40 AM
Yes, adding people to the roll can not lower costs.  CBO estimates were based on known false assumptions run various ways (including gold sales tracking for tax collections) until they kept it for a minute under a trillion.  Then they required the 'doctor fix' and other bills to continue.  Eliminating choices and competition lowers quality, not cost.  I would add in hypothetical numbers, if you tell everyone who makes between 25k to 35k that they have to make under 24k to get free health care, their share of national income is bound to decrease.

One of the socialistic theories is that if you eliminate a few percent of profit, costs drop by the same amount, hence all the non-profit hospitals.  To me that is a lack of understanding of the role of an incentive system in economics and prevents resources from flowing to their most valuable use.  The more crucial the industry, the less we utilize the strongest forces known to lower costs and increase quality and innovation. I don't know any examples of collective institutions out-performing for-profit industries.

A good friend is a cfo of a big hospital group here.  State law requires hospitals to be non-profit.  They pay themselves huge sums (IMO) to run a 'non-profit' building, then they own various 'for-profit' businesses inside the hospital such as the monopoly pharmacy on the first floor. 
4094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues- Sports Illustrated on: January 07, 2011, 12:52:44 AM
With their more controversial issue coming soon I just wanted to compliment Sports Illustrated for getting something right last month, picking one of our little buddies from girls sports as Sportskid of the Year 2010:
http://www.sikids.com/photos/29241/2010-si-kids-sportskid-of-the-year-jessica-aney/1

Jessie has been my sports hero for about 3 years.  You have to see the photo with her family (#9) to realize how small these girls are.  If anyone of adult size had the efficiency of movement and utilization of strength she has, the power and control generated would be unimaginable.  The top men tennis pros came to town for an exhibition last year but everyone left there talking about the earlier play of the 11 year old girls. Her best friend and doubles partner was world champion at 9 and flown around the world to compete while we met Jessie at a small tournament near their hometown.  Totally humble, unaffected and into her craft, she taught herself a one-handed backhand while the others all need two. At 11 or barely 12 playing high school level she beat the top player from each of the top three schools to reach the state finals in tennis, and her best sport is hockey.  Bet on gold for team USA the first time she plays hockey in the Olympics.
4095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 06, 2011, 11:25:32 PM
CCP,  If you or I agreed with her agenda I think it would be easier to see what an effective leader she was in terms of advancing and passing legislation.  I'm surprised she wanted to stay on.   Bizarre to me but I think it means she really believes in what she is doing. From my point of view the election proved they are wrong.  From her point of view, they aren't done.  She is a historic person, first woman Speaker and largely the architect of big programs that could become permanent, including national healthcare, cap and trade carbon regulation, Don'tAskDon'tTell, internet regulation, tax hikes on the wealthy, and ultimately gay marriage.  The election past was a misunderstanding.  The public is a step behind them in enlightenment and with the turnout of a Presidential election, her plane could get re-fueled so they can finish their work and lock in the programs. 

Her members support her for the shared accomplishments. They got big things done and they have no new members, tea party equivalents, to shake things up.  The returning caucus is quite a bit to the left of those of the last 4 years because the moderates from weaker Dem districts were weeded out.

From where we sit these leaders rarely seem like the brightest light.  Was Bob Dole the most influential or charismatic Republican of his time? Gerald Ford? Mitch McConnell? Denny Hastert?  For the Dems, Tip O'Neill, Jim Wright, Tom Foley?  I guess they all have behind-the-scenes-skills (see bigdog's post) and maybe they rise to the top as a compromise away from the more flamboyant and controversial personalities.
-----
PS. Going back a couple of posts, thank you GM for the NY snow removal video.  I post some winter stories but I think readers in warmer places just think we're nuts for living here.  I needed something today from a garage that the city blocked with a wall of snow against it higher than the garage doors, now frozen as hard as rock.  I considered cutting a new doorway on the side but decided to leave it until spring.  Bloomberg is a bit of a glib one himself.  Good to see him squirm a little.  Imagine that, a snowfall of 20 inches in a northern climate - the urban leaders look so surprised.  Out in the x-urbs, people have trucks, plows, a plowing contracts or major investments in giant snowblowers.  But they also have space; you have to put the snow somewhere.
4096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: January 06, 2011, 12:39:07 PM
**California isn't broken...the state will [not default on its debt payments,is [not] addicted to spending and [does not have] a hostile business climate**

That is good news for everyone.  How did they fix it or was it all just a big misunderstanding? lol.

It seems that these expert statisticians cherry pick categories (venture capital funding, not employment, for example) and time frames (GDP rise from 1999 to 2009, not the last 2 years) to make a nice writing and present all the positive data as a percent or comparison to something else.

"...the state's unemployment rate is above the national average, but that is largely due to a bleak time for the construction industry"

Above average? That's it?? It is at 12% of the labor force!  Construction down is unique to California? Unemployment is 6.4% in Minnesota with construction stopped, 2.8% in North Dakota where energy production is legal.  I can think of other, large factors causing 'above average' unemployment in Calif.  Comparing to other states understates the problem when the nation is sick and your fever is among the worst.

Funny what words carefully chosen can do, it is also true that the Great Depression was a period of above average unemployment.
4097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: January 06, 2011, 11:46:51 AM
"where would Iraq be today if we had not done as we did"

Nuclear armed.

They were 5-7 years away in 2002, according to ISG, not an imminent threat.

Time flies.
4098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Privacy & Big Brother: Give me your Social Security number! on: January 05, 2011, 11:07:16 AM
If you have a speeding ticket in our state, I can already look up your birth date.  If you write me a check, I know your bank account number.  This new law could post under housing, tax policy or Glibness, but nobody cares politically about a landlord's paperwork issues, so let's turn it around the other way.  If you want to mow a lawn, shovel a walk, change a light bulb or a faucet washer for me, fine, give me your social security number.

New law effective 5 days ago (who knew?) requires a rental property owner to file a 1099 for anyone everyone that provided $600 of service in a year - that is $50/mo.  The only way to know if it will reach $600 per year is to track it from the first dollar and require a W-9 before the mower sets a wheel on the property and before the first dollar changes hands.  Part I required on the W-9: Exact name and exact matching social security number, not last 4 digits or any effort at privacy protection.

Those my age now look back and see how many people you would have your ss# by now as this new law carries over to every other area of money changing hands.

What could possibly go wrong? Besides bad landlords with info to sell, all the predator would have to do is stand in front of a vacant property, hire out small jobs, collect identity theft info and leave without paying while the work is in process.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/01/new-law-creates-big-tax-headache-rental-property-owners

Write to your new member of congress.
4099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 04, 2011, 07:00:46 AM
BD, There was humor intended that did not come through.  My timing was lousy because of reading along without having the time to post.  I'm sorry for making things worse.  I was sincere in saying I appreciated the original post. - Doug
4100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, Time etc. on: January 04, 2011, 01:27:54 AM
This analogy may not work but... one of my best friends in college, scary to think he became a brain surgeon, use to say of drugs and music, I paraphrase best that I can recall: let them take the acid and the coke and the heroin, bands like the Doors, the Stones, the Dead, Pink Floyd. Then we buy the album for five bucks and enjoy the effects without risking the brain damage and overdoses of taking all those drugs ourselves.

In this case we have (figuratively) sent Bigdog to study Time magazine, the UK Guardian, and institutions of higher learning at very high risk to himself while we can sit back in our easy chairs in secure locations and read just the best of the best of what he finds there.  I, for one, appreciate it and hope that he is able to eventually get out those places unharmed.

He mentioned going there not just for news.  Besides his reasons and cross checking information, we should not lose touch with what other people are reading and thinking even if the motive is just to persuade or defeat them.  We want the diversity of opinion here so (IMO) Let it Be.  Attack or criticize based on specifics in the posts.  Here goes.

It is strange to have Time which I guess is now CNN write about something/anything being under-reported.  It should be the readers telling them what was under-reported. Still I found it interesting.  (Also I want to read the 20 predictions again more closely.)

Point 1 includes the proverb about breaking Iraq so we have to fix it. True, that was our policy but it was BS to me in this sense.  Iraq was broken before we got there, unless you can make the case that rape, torture and gassing your people into submission is normal or functional (unbroken).  GM's take was correct IMO. The fun and profit in the media of harping on Iraq left with Bush.  It made no sense with a new and enlightened Commander in Chief.  With Afghanistan I think the press is mostly blocked from knowing anything helpful.  In war that has some validity.  What the press prints, the enemy knows.

They are right-on regarding the Somali story being a huge, under-reported, also not that far away - I believe there were 24 Somali-based, al Qaida related arrests in Minneapolis this past year.  I suppose that doesn't sell until an airliner turns into fireworks.  Same with tragedies like Congo and Sudan.  People can't find an angle to relate to it or do anything about it; famine, rape and pillage is normal there. If peace or prosperity broke out that might be news.  The Iran power struggle could have been the story of the year.  Our press had nothing to report (no inside scoop) and our country did nothing to help.  I wish Rahm had said never let an uprising against a tyrannical regime go to waste. 

Bias from my point of view pops in on this one: '8. The Rise of Europe's Anti-immigrant Right'.  Seems to me the story missed was the immigrants coming in and revolting against Europe.  I have posted at least three different videos of that on this forum.  Friends elsewhere (readers of Time and Newsweek?) mostly have no clue about what is happening there, where here it was harshly argued.  One was a private grocery store ransacked for made in Israel products in a 'suburb' of Paris, home of the car fires. Another showed riots as Sweden couldn't allow spectators to watch their own national team play a home Davis Cup match because the opponent was Israel and the site was Sweden's 3rd largest city Malmo, an Islamic stronghold where a third of the city is 'foreign born', soon to be an Islamic majority city. Different video, same story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLUBtc1iWvc - I wonder what Time's coverage was.  Watch and imagine there would not be some political backlash.

The oil spill story I thought was the story of the year.  It played no part in the election that followed and hardly a word was written after the fix.  Either it was way overblown while it was happening or horribly neglected by the media in followup.  The lack of domestic drilling to match our consumption is still one of the worst, self-inflicted wounds in our economy and of all geopolitics. I have read nothing worthwhile yet about what we learned from this disaster.

Maybe those criticizing Time knew what they were doing.  BD followed by posting an interview of Justice Scalia.  smiley  It was short, but I love to hear people like that in their own words instead of having their minds read by punditry.
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