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4051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed, Constitutional Law, Unenumerated Powers on: June 01, 2011, 11:38:21 PM
Bigdog, Thanks for the invitation to revise and extend ...

"Now Doug, if you can find where I said that the federal government shall run all aspects of private housing, then we can discuss this."

I hope I didn't say you said that.  You express well and the written record provided by our generous host is always available.  Let me backtrack and see if I can explain my concerns more accurately.  

Stossel said, as you quoted: "end at keeping the peace, enforcing contracts, and property rights."

Sometimes I say I am pro-government - in the sense that government should defend our shores and keep the roads and libraries open.  But I know it's more than that.

Here you are being the literalist, which is good in constitutional law, and sometimes you pull our leg a little, which is also good in the human spirit and sometimes I can follow you and sometimes it flies over my head.  In this case I don't believe and I don't believe that you believe that Stossel thinks the constitution authorizing federal government powers is 8 words long.  I took that as a figure of speech meaning that government has gone way beyond where it should have gone or where it was authorized to go.

The exercise of finding, reading and posting the passages you referenced was good for me.  It didn't say what Stossel said (an admission of my guilt and my answer to your direct question), it didn't say exactly what I thought it said, and it certainly doesn't authorize (IMO) all the crap that is coming our of Washington today or over the last several decades, unless the reader has quite an imagination.

An example of what it doesn't authorize is the housing mess that I think was the first card to fall bringing down the economy this most time.  I invite you to address that...

Of the roughly $3.8 trillion a year that we are spending right now, of which I think over 60% of it is the federal government writing taxpayer based checks to individuals, how much of that do you think is directly authorized in those sections or envisioned by the framers?

Specifically, let's figure out what authorized the federal takeover of housing, the issue of the most recent collapse.  (I would be happy to expand the question to health care or auto manufacturing or a host of other things.)  What authorized the federal government to take over the mortgage business, 90% then and nearly 100% now.  It isn't spelled out; was it envisioned or intended?

I think it was Freki who pointed out something that a lot of people are missing.  Yes, we have read into the constitution through the interstate commerce clause the power to regulate almost anything including something that is grown by yourself and consumed by yourself on your own private property and sold to no one.  But the power to regulate commerce is not the power to participate in the market, unless words have no meaning.

The most telling clause I re-discovered about how large and intrusive a federal government the framers envisioned IMO was where they wrote that the congress needs to convene at least once each year, on the first Monday of December, if they haven't already made other plans to get together.  How does that compare with what we do today?

On a more positive note, if we can all agree that the constitution as written or as interpreted does NOT limit the size, scope or intrusiveness of government in any meaningful way (I know no one else said that), maybe we can all work together and amend it until it does.
4052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 01, 2011, 12:55:12 PM
(From liberalism thread, BD post)
Stossel: "The Founders knew [where government should end and personal responsibility begins].  Government should end at keeping the peace, enforcing contracts, and property rights."  I wonder if Stossel has read Article I, section 8 and the vesting clause of Article II. 

Okay, I'll bite.  Where does it say the federal government shall run all aspects of private housing?  I've read it twice now and still can't find it.

The closest I could come is: "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections..." with Fannie Mae being the militia and private contracts being the insurrection.  Am I close?
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To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
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"The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America...."
4053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 01, 2011, 12:15:39 PM
"For the first time since the founding of the Republic, people are visibly mad.  They are pushing back against the growth of government."

Good catch by BD on that erroneous statement.  People have been visibly mad many other times and conservatives have been pushing back unsuccessfully for a very long time.

More accurately stated from my point of view, those of us who are mid-fifties and any other age have ALMOST never seen a successful or meaningful push back against the growth of government, not during Reagan and not during Bush, and we aren't likely to see one now.

My point in commendation was regarding the exposure of fixed pie thinking.

From the first Laffer link:  "But considering all this occurred with their man in the White House for 8 years..."

G.W. Bush is "their man in the White House" ??  When did George Bush rein in the size or scope of government?  George Bush gave supply side economics a bad name without ever trying it, IMHO.  

"Reagan had the good fortune to take office at the tail end of a 16 year secular bear market..."

This passes for political economic analysis of the Reagan era.  Wow.

For the second link: "Art Laffer, Economist, B.A. Econ Yale '63, MBA/Ph.D. Econ Stanford '65/'71  His last name says it all--his views on the economy are a 'laffer'."  - We haven't moved very far past Weiner jokes.  In spite of his wrongheadedness about bullishness expressed in the video while the economy was moving full speed ahead, I can't think of a single cause of the Housing bubble and collapse that Laffer favored or supported in terms of policies.

The implication of playing a summer 2006 video in hindsight of a fall 2008 collapse is to suggest that this mess wasn't avoidable. (?)

That economists can't and don't predict recessions accurately is a fact.  I look to economists for policies and their effects, not predictions.  Obviously Schiff got that one right and Laffer got it wrong.  In the 25 years leading up to it the crash predictors were generally the ones that were wrong.  Give Schiff some credit here but he isn't exactly pushing the agenda that followed as the anti-Laffer, bigger yet government policies very soon took center stage.  

The first thing Laffer got wrong was his premise, saying that we aren't raising taxes anytime soon, yet the 100% clear message sent and received 3 months after that with the election sweep of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama congress was that yes, in fact we are.  The announcement of serious tax rate hikes coming along with all the uncertainty about when and by how much was the trigger IMO for what was about to happen next, hardly Laffer's doing.  At the time of the video, we were in the midst of 50 months of continuous job growth.  Laffer made some now embarrassing statements about inherent strength, but I doubt he favored the federal government taking over 90% of private mortgages or favored the increasing push to have those loans made with cash back instead of money down, or favored making any of those loans on any factors other than creditworthiness.  I doubt he even favors the mortgage deduction!  Laffer'ss opponents, Barney Frank, young Barack, and all the Dems and all the willing RINOs who watched over those expansions and abuses (not Schiff) favored or at least tolerated all of that.

I reject the notion that all of this collapse was necessary and inevitable (in August 2006) and that we then needed the big government push to lock our private economy in at the lowest point for 3 or more years following the collapse.
4054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Huntsman WSJ on: June 01, 2011, 11:08:34 AM
Great Cain video!  I hope that Perry, Bachmann and Palin jump in, along with Huntsman, to complete this field.  Let's have some fun before we make our final decision.
--------------
Huntsman (or his writers) hits all the right notes in this piece.  Doesn't sound like he thinks centrism is solving anything.  I don't equate make "hard decisions now" with calls elsewhere for compromise on core fiscal principles. 

Small point of fact check, Huntsman didn't get the memo that we aren't the second highest taxer of corporate profits in the developed world anymore.  Japan's new, lower rate went into effect April 1, 2011.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576357450908758760.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Our Current Time for Choosing
Anyone who disagrees with Paul Ryan's Medicare reforms has a moral obligation to propose an alternative.

By JON HUNTSMAN

This year marks the centennial anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth—and America finds itself at a crossroads that brings to mind the title of that great man's famous speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy: "A Time for Choosing." We should not underestimate the seriousness of the responsibility. This is the moment when we will choose whether we are to become a declining power in the world, or a nation that again surpasses the great achievements of our history.

We are over $14 trillion in debt, $4 trillion more than we owed just two years ago. In 2008, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product was 40%. Today it's 68%, and we are fast approaching the critical 90% threshold economists warn is unsustainable, causing dramatic spikes in inflation and interest rates, and corresponding declines in GDP and jobs.

Unless we make hard decisions now, in less than a decade every dollar of federal revenue will go to covering the costs of Medicare, Social Security and interest payments on our debt. We'll sink even deeper in debt to pay for everything else, from national security to disaster relief. American families will fall behind the economic security enjoyed by previous generations. Our country will fall behind the productivity of other countries. Our currency will be debased. Our influence in the world will wane. Our security will be more precarious.

Some argue for half-measures, or for delaying the inevitable because the politics are too hard. But delay is a decision to let America decline. The longer we wait, the harder our choices become.

The debt ceiling must be raised this summer to cover the government's massive borrowing, and we must make reductions in government spending a condition for increasing the debt ceiling. This will provide responsible leaders the opportunity to reduce, reform, and in some cases end government programs—including some popular but unaffordable subsidies for agriculture and energy—in order to save the trillions, not billions, necessary to make possible a future as bright as our past. It also means reforming entitlement programs that won't deliver promised benefits to retirees without changes that take account of the inescapable reality that we have too few workers supporting too many retirees.

I admire Congressman Paul Ryan's honest attempt to save Medicare. Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare's ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.

These aren't easy choices, and we must make them at a time of anemic economic growth and very high unemployment. That's why we must also make sweeping reforms of our tax code, regulatory policies and other government policies to improve our productivity, competitiveness and job creation.

The United States has the second-highest corporate tax rate in the world. We are losing out to countries that make it more attractive for businesses to invest there. Our tax code should encourage American businesses to invest and add new jobs here. We need a tax code that substitutes flatter and lower rates for the bewildering and often counterproductive array of deductions and loopholes, and that provides incentives to encourage savings, investment and growth.

We also need to pursue, as aggressively as other countries do, free trade agreements. Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside the U.S. We won't remain the most productive economy in the world if we embrace the mistaken belief that we can prosper by selling and buying only among ourselves, while other countries seize the extraordinary opportunities for economic growth that the global economy offers. Finally, we must reform public education, so that it prepares our children for the economic opportunities of this century, not the last one.

When I was the governor of Utah, we cut and flattened tax rates. We balanced budgets and grew our rainy-day fund. And when the economic crisis struck, we didn't raise taxes or rely on accounting gimmicks to hide obligations. We cut spending and made government more efficient. We increased revenues by facilitating a business environment in which innovators and job creators could expand our economic base. Utah maintained its AAA bond rating, and in 2008 it was named the best-managed state in the nation by the Pew Center on the States. We proved that government doesn't have to choose between fiscal responsibility and economic growth.

We should not accept that election-cycle politics make it too hard to make the decisions that are necessary to preserve the most productive and competitive economy in the world. This is not just a time for choosing new leaders. This is the hour when we choose our future.

Mr. Huntsman, a former Republican governor of Utah, served as U.S. ambassador to China from August 2009 to April 2011.
4055  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 01, 2011, 10:50:52 AM
I prefer to see politicians like Rep. Weiner taken down based on the (lack of) merits in their political arguments, but must admit a little revenge-like pleasure in seeing this jerk distracted and squirming on a personal matter.  In the middle of his non-denial defense, he just can't keep himself from put out his personal attack against Justice Thomas' and his wife, regarding healthcare while he is allegedly trying to make a point on a debt ceiling vote. 

I wonder if Bob Schieffer or Dick Gregory will call that attack on Thomas racist.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/bob-schieffer-trump-racism_n_854817.html  http://www.mediaite.com/tv/newt-gingrich-i-have-never-said-anything-about-president-obama-which-is-racist/

I was more impressed with the sincerity of O.J. Simpson combing the world's golf courses for the real killer, and with the Roger Clemons, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong campaign against steroids, than with Weiner's effort to find and prosecute the real Twitter-hacker.

Who knew that liberals could also be targets of comedy. Letterman and others missed out on a couple of good years bypassing on these potential targets for ridicule.
4056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 01, 2011, 10:15:29 AM
The Stossel piece is EXCELLENT.  I wish our new Governor, ready to shut government down over keeping a tax increase promise on the rich, could see the segment on Maryland where the same policy cost their state revenues, jobs and millionaires.

Amazing how so many highly educated people and highly important organizations - OMB, CBO, DNC, NYT, POTUS, all liberals and most conservatives - can keep basing policies, predictions and arguments on the patently false, fixed pie theory.

The statements on camera of Prof. Arthur Laffer, saying (paraphrasing)that this economy has an amazing potential for new growth right now if only we could get the policies right, tells us once again that many famous and influential people out there are reading the forum.  wink
-------------
Economist Art Laffer says we “can bring the fiscal situation back under control pretty quickly” by privatizing Fannie, Freddie, AIG and GM, cutting back on entitlements and instituting a flat tax.  If we do that, says Laffer, we’ll have “huge economic growth.”

But huge economic growth is the antithesis to the current governing agenda.


4057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 01, 2011, 09:10:04 AM
The point that it is merely opinion is fair enough.  

Rodgers apparently didn't get the memo that we weren't going to use Nazi analogies to describe people who haven't committed genocide. (Glen Beck was savaged for that.)  Rodgers stoops that low twice in the piece, once again in the middle for readers who may have missed the beginning - or was he committing a "Goebels-style" atrocity himself by repeating his falsehood?

Opinion piece yes, laced with false facts.  I hate to impugn her but maybe Rodgers piece is more in the spirit of Ann Coulter than George Will.  Does the the CSM or CNN run columns like hers often?  I have not known George Will to open his criticism with a blatantly false statement.  Seems to me he makes a painstakingly effort to quote his opponents accurately.

Rodgers opens his post-Nazi analysis with: "detractors are complaining that he didn’t have the guts to release photos of Mr. bin Laden’s corpse."

I have not seen that written, even in the vile comment sections of Like telling BD to read more case law, maybe I need to read more conservative commentary.  wink

Maybe in the spirit of Nazi analogies I will re-open my only partially flawed comparison of abortion to the holocaust that angered people here beyond words.  Add the corollary that roughly 5 Justices on the Supreme Court and nearly all liberals are modern holocaust enablers.  See if CNN will run with that.

Civil discourse in the Obama supporter era continues.

I would like to come back on other threads to discuss the merits of the piece, like touting "the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished".  He skipped one; Obama has endeared us to the third world by mimicking their economic policies.
4058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 30, 2011, 11:01:14 PM
Besides being a paleo-conservative I am now a contemporary-originalist.  Reading the pdf I am more informed and more confused than ever about what that means.

"originalists continue to disagree about the role of “original intentions” and “original public meaning"

Original meaning to me is something that laymen are capable of understanding, not just the Court's best trained and closest observers.
-----
I also believe the constitution is a living, breathing, growing, changing, evolving document - and it does that seldom and slowly through the AMENDMENT process, exactly as the framers designed it, as the ratifiers ratified it and as the public understood it to mean.   smiley
4059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Yemen on: May 30, 2011, 10:04:49 PM
No one wanted to fund real intelligence, intervene or be the world's policeman, so here we are, watching to see where al Qaida takes hold next.  We have long known of the presence and risks in Yemen.  Even the so called on the horizon plan requires an American base - on the horizon.  It won't be in Mogadishu, in pirate territory or anywhere else on the Horn, so that means on the Arabian Peninsula inciting al Qaida even more.  And the thousand year war goes on.  We're going to need some bases.  We don't even have a base right in Iraq yet.  Or an exit plan in Afghan.  I'm just glad that Libya was resolved in "days and not weeks".

Crafty, what do you make of it?
4060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, non-capitalism on: May 30, 2011, 09:16:42 PM
Thanks Andraz,  That was a great reply.  We are very lucky to have one who respects Karl Marx on our Marxism Stalinism thread!

Shifting quickly to where we disagree, or at least where I don't buy Marxism:

"A capitalist is someone who lives off the surplus of someone elses work."

No.  That is false in 2011 (IMO) and I would also say false in 1867 as well.  He or she employs and  CREATES the surplus of another's work.  A capitalist is one who (long sentence coming) accepts and enters a risk/reward relationship investing in a faith in the value of other peoples work and procures the machinery and real estate and research and investment in labor agreements, directs orchestrates, innovates and competes for one thing to secure a reward for his troubles but also as a consequence brings advancement, employment, opportunity, fruits of labor and benefits and security and bread and bacon and retirement dollars, kids racing skis and traveling soccer fees and gas for the family vehicle etc. to everyone he hires, by successfully betting on the success of the others he invests in.  A capitalist is also one who bets wrong, takes on risks and loses.  Then he reverts back to laborer if he can - in a world without a government paying out a thousand and fifty distinct social spending programs making all those choices so much more confusing.

Laborers without capital would be like a roomful of musicians - without instruments, music or a conductor.  

A digger for example has no capability whatsoever without a shovel and no competitiveness or productivity without something something made by Caterpillar or equivalent.  If you want to win contracts burying cable you will need $20,000 for the machine.  If you have that and want to be an independent, you can be the capitalist and the laborer, just like I am in my industry.  If you are strictly a worker and not the capitalist, then you need to hook up with the capital and the capitalist by applying for a job from someone who sees enough reward to choose that business over opening a bakery or a butcher shop etc.

One of the beautiful things is that in a free society, you can switch from laborer to capitalist in less than one lifetime.  We don't have tatoos, piercings or other markings to say which class you are, unless you choose to have one. I used to work at least 2 jobs at a time, tuck away what I could until I could afford to borrow and invest enough to get started and duplicate that success doubling and quadrupling what I had.  Now I work twice as hard and age twice as quickly from the stress.

Show me where capital isn't equally important to labor.  Labor is nothing without capital and capital is nothing without labor.  Even the public sector is loaded with capital and they are NOT any more efficient with it. The balance of power shifts sometimes, mostly to the side of labor as they have more votes.  When the power imbalance is too far off, the excess guarantees and benefits to labor collapse the capital structure until failure sets in for all.

What I learned so far about Marx is that he was more of a philosopher of the human spirit than he was a designer of the specific economic systems falsely attributed to him: "Marxist economy doesn't exist".  To us, a successful Marxist economy may be a fiction, achieving the creative energy of Hollywood or the innovative energy of the old Silicon Valley without the involvement of business owners, venture capitalists, commercial bankers, business brokers, risk capital, mutual funds, excess profits, losses, bankruptcies or capital gains.  To Andraz, perhaps it is something still possible but difficult to design and achieve.  
4061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: May 30, 2011, 04:34:59 PM
"When the farming was state run on state owned lands [in China], the production of rice was minimal. When the lands were turned over to the farmers and they could enjoy the profits from their efforts, amazingly enough the amount of rice produced skyrocketed and the standard of living for these peasants radically improved."

Didn't the Pilgrims discover the same thing in this country early in that venture?

Yet we keep turning back. 

We await the examples of when and where utopia succeeded.
4062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: May 30, 2011, 04:28:11 PM
Very funny - I thought it was a parody!

The "chilling possibility" that "Chief Justice John Roberts is one vote short of moving the Supreme Court to a position so conservative on states’ rights that it would be to the right of the Tea Party’s idea of limited government."

NO!  NOT LIMITED GOVERNMENT!!!!  Read into the constitution? by a supreme Court??  Who knew?  grin

Are they not admitting aloud that we now have exactly 5 justices who DON'T see it that way?!

In other words, Presidency 2012 and Senate 2012!  Our constitutional form of limited government is at stake.
4063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar, & Gold/Silver on: May 30, 2011, 03:54:39 PM
Interesting stuff here.  Sorry I missed until now the followup on Robert Mundell's view in Crafty's post a week ago. That was a good catch.  He makes very important, contrarian points.  In all economic issues we have a multitude of different forces pushing and pulling in different directions.  Mundell is far smarter than me and points out an aspect that was not previously addressed here.  Nothing against him personally but to note his perspective, he is a Canadian, working in the US (Columbia) and consults with Europe and China.  It was his work making the Euro possible that won his Nobel, not his previous work designing the Reagan plan.

About the Euro going away (mentioned in the thread), I don't know about that, but if it did go away we would just face the more complicated world we had before, with a separate Deutch Mark, Pound Sterling, Belgian Franc etc. etc.  It seems more logical for Europe to boot out the countries not complying fiscally and economically, than to end the currency.

Former WSJ editor Bartley wrote that he and Milton Friedman used to argue publicly over fixed vs. floating currency acknowledging he took no pleasure being spanked by Milton Friedman, a mentor of his I'm sure. There are good arguments on both sides of this.  Basically a fixed rate eliminates distractions and excuses and force good money supply policies, a floating rate can adjust constantly to balance the real supply and demand forces on the currencies.   Mundell is taking the side of fixed exchange rate between U.S. and Euro, which is consistent with his work making the single currency in Europe possible.  In other words, locking the currencies would eliminate the next quantitative expansion.  In the sense that we don't trust the economic future of Europe and vice versa, I'm not sure I see that wisdom.

We had a friendly argument here recently regarding weak or strong dollar.  Mundell (I think) is saying we need a neutral dollar, which is correct, the only question is how best to get there.

I intuitively disagree with linking a currency to an inferior economy, whichever way that arrow may point, Germany with Greece, etc. or even a post-2012 America with Europe.  If we were Germany, we should boot out Greece, and for Greece I would strive to fixthings and link back to the Deutch Mark or new, improved Euro, like Hong Kong and others have done with the US$.

For the dollar or the U.S. in general, I think I would care less about the Euro and work directly on getting our own house in order. I can't see how there is a sound monetary policy possible in the context of our other problems: unfunded and supersized government alongside our strangulated, private former production capability. 

It is good to be warned by Mundell about how forces now in play could cause deflation and also good to be warned by everything else including our lying eyes about inflation setting in.  These diseases both pose risks for different reasons.

Instead of the shining city on a hill, we seem more like a teetering teeter-totter unbalanced on a two or more sided cliff, with a host of different problems that could easily cause the next fall off the precipice in any one of these directions.  A dearth of energy, the highest corporate taxes on earth, Carter-like individual tax rates coming, complete uncertainty about all taxes, a budget deficit unbalanced by 60% to the tune of a trillion and a half a year, 6 trillion over 4 years?, 50% of us and growing not participating, burning off our food supply as energy but not even start to make up for the real energy production we prohibit - eliminating our biggest export and starving the third world, putting a cap on everything down to exhaling.  Take all that in and devise a plan that keeps our purchasing power constant and our debts honored.  To me it is just a bad joke. 

Mundell alludes to these other problems requiring solutions:  "To supercharge the U.S. recovery, he also recommends permanently extending the Bush tax rates and lowering the corporate income tax rate to 15% from 35%. "

That is far more aggressive than those who call for lowering rates to the OECD average.  I take that to be symbolic of his larger view of economics that none of this gets fixed without restoring growth to the economy. 
------
Inflation means too many dollars relative to the supply of goods and services.  Deflation means that demand to too weak to maintain price levels.  If we leave so many things this screwed up for very much longer, how can anyone accurately predict which direction we will fall.
4064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism = Stalinism, not Marxism? on: May 30, 2011, 12:14:03 PM
[False] "implication of Marx with epic failures, ...  Marxism /= Stalinism /= Leninism /= Maosim...."

It seems to me that we could resolve this dispute by referring to the failed, oppressive economic and governmental systems of these failed states as 'Stalinist' rather than socialist, communist or Marxist.  Same goes for describing or warning about any the same moves here and elsewhere toward a more powerful central government and away from the constitutionally limited government we once knew, based on individual liberties explicitly including economic liberties and thankfulness to God.  I, for one, would be happy to start referring to these programs, policies and proposals as Stalinist and quit smearing the confusing and misunderstood work of Karl Marx.

If the real thrust of Marx's work would give us specific insights into how to solve current economic problems, please post.

I can't imagine that the bizarre state of affairs in China today is any closer to Marx's true vision than the other failed examples. (I see GM covered that!)

From the link: "[Marxism] is opposed to the Church because of its restriction of the mind, and to liberalism (the meaning of liberalism in 1961?) because of its separation of society and moral values. It is opposed to Stalinism and Krushchevism, for their authoritarianism as much as their neglect of humanist values."

Earlier in that same chapter: "Marx fought against religion exactly because it is alienated, and does not satisfy the true needs of man. Marx's fight against God is, in reality, a fight against the idol that is called God. Already as a young man he wrote as the motto for his dissertation "Not those are godless who have contempt for the gods of the masses but those who attribute the opinions of the masses to the gods." Marx's atheism is the most advanced form of rational mysticism, closer to Meister Eckhart or to Zen Buddhism than are most of those fighters for God and religion who accuse him of "godlessness."

Why would anyone who is rational fight against other people's religion if it is peaceful and consensual?
4065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: May 29, 2011, 03:13:35 PM
Likewise, that is a nice article.  Judges here generally run unopposed and win with 99+% of the vote, but I agree that having a mechanism available to expose and remove them short of impeachment tends to keep them on track doing the best job they can.

I also like that BD has friends out there opposing both the ABA and the work of Sandra Day O'Connor, no matter the issue.  smiley
4066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - A view from the left on: May 29, 2011, 02:50:35 PM
Covering for a left gap of political thought on the board, I offer the view of Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame to tell us what he thinks of Obama's challengers:

http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/markos-moulitas/163049-the-gops-cast-of-clowns


The GOP’s cast of clowns
By Markos Moulitsas - 05/24/11 06:23 PM ET

On Sunday night, Tim Pawlenty released another of his oddball videos, reminding people yet again that he was running for president.

Such periodic reminders aren’t a bad idea, since it only takes 10 minutes for the average person to forget he exists. But at least give him props — he’s actually attempting to be the Bob Dole of 2012 in a year in which nearly all serious Republicans have decided they have better things to do than lose to President Obama.

So rather than a high-caliber presidential field, the Republicans have put together a cavalcade of clowns.

There’s Mitt Romney, granddaddy of Obama’s healthcare plan — the same healthcare plan that base Republicans now consider worse than Hitler. Flip-flopping on the individual mandate is familiar territory for Romney. Remember, he was for a woman’s right to choose before he was against it, he was for gay rights before he wanted them relegated to second-class citizens, he was for the assault-weapons ban before he was against it, he was for raising the minimum wage before he wanted it eliminated, he was for limits on carbon emissions that he now opposes, etc., etc., etc.

And all that flapping around is for naught. The GOP base holds grudges.

Newt Gingrich rolled out his presidential campaign by bashing Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Medicare-killing budget. “I am against ObamaCare imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change,” he proclaimed on a Sunday morning talk show. The resulting howl marked the birth of yet another GOP litmus test — you are either for destroying Medicare, or you are Republican In Name Only. Thus, the architect of the 1994 conservative revolution in the House was declared by Rush Limbaugh (among others) to be a RINO.

Now, after a week of trying to walk back the slam on the Ryan budget, questions about past support for an individual healthcare mandate and something about a $500,000 Tiffany’s bill, Gingrich declared that he will no longer answer “gotcha” questions about anything he’s said or written in the past. As one person quipped on Twitter, “Gingrich thinks his record has fallen ill & he can cleanly divorce it.”

How about Sarah Palin? True, the half-term governor is too lazy to finish anything, but she’s never too lazy to start something. While she’d suffer an epic double-digit loss to Obama in a Mondale-like shellacking, enough of the primary-deciding GOP base adores her. If she runs, she’s a real threat for the nomination. But she won’t. It’s that “lazy” thing.

Jon Huntsman mocked the birthers, has supported an individual mandate, served in the Obama administration, believes in climate change and is Mormon. Good luck with that.

Fox News loves cardboard pizza mogul Herman Cain. Rick Santorum still exists. Gary “Who?” Johnson thinks drug legalization is his ticket. And Ron Paul will collect millions from his fervent fans to win 15 percent of the vote.

Which leaves Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is (don’t snicker) a real threat to win the nomination if Palin stays out. She’ll raise a ton. Has real Tea Party cred. She gets to camp out in next-door Iowa, and will appeal to the kind of people who show up to caucuses. She might be the person who could lose even worse to Obama than Palin, but the GOP primary electorate doesn’t concern itself with “electability.”

Finally, as a reminder, there’s also Tim Pawlenty. Because I’m sure you’d forgotten already.
4067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: May 29, 2011, 02:43:43 PM
Asking the wrong question is a great way to get the wrong answer.

JDN wrote: "Huntsman's ace up the sleeve is his ability to appeal to centrist and independent voters."

BD clarified: " ...  he first has to appeal to Republicans to win the primary." 

  - Absolutely correct.
------------------------

McCain is a centrist famous for his moderation.  He actually won the primaries, got to run against the number one far leftist, least experienced senator and lost.  Unique times certainly, but there is more to it.

The question for the Republicans is: Who can win the hearts minds and passions of the conservatives first, AND appeal to the sensible middle of the spectrum.  JDN's ace point assumes (IMO) the conjunction right OR center, really right VERSUS center, when the question is who unites right AND center.

I've been to countless Republican nominating conventions where the contention is stated as conservative principles versus electable centrist and who wins depends on the year and the crowd.  The best candidates of course start with all the core principles of their party or their movement and then take that appeal to the center with persuasion (or obfuscation) rather than abandonment of principles. Reagan on the right and the Obama 2008 campaign on the left are examples.

McCain won the endorsement without winning the hearts and minds of conservatives. He started the general campaign still needing to reach to the right before he could reach to the middle.  Neat trick if you can do it.  Obama left his convention with the left in his hip pocket and only needed to reach to the middle, with reassurances, good endorsements, billion dollar advertising and Greek column, music-filled obfuscation.  When McCain reached back to the right, Obama took the middle and the prize money.

Reagan won by espousing nothing but core principles.  In the general election, twice, all he needed to do was reach into his own heart and explain why he believes what he believes.  When the going got tough coming into 1984, the opponents chose their most highly qualified opponent for him.  Reagan didn't shift down to growth-economy-lite or cold-war-lite to solidify his appeal to the middle.  He stuck with core principles, explained and explained them, and won 49 states.

The assumption from the far-centrists is that conservatives have no choice if the party goes RINO, where we all know centrists can jump ship at the first sign of trouble.  Therefore the RINO is always preferable...  Good luck with that centrist theory in 2012.  After the McCain experience and the countless RINO positions of the 8 year W. Bush Presidency, don't think that people of tea party / fix-these-problems-now passion are going to hold their nose one more time.  The candidate that abandons the right will lose a 2 party fight to this incumbent for certain and more likely would lose in a 3-way fight as their is no chance IMO that the movement we call tea party is going to sit still in '012.
4068  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Michele Bachmann on: May 29, 2011, 01:47:07 PM
I watched the Bachmann video at Crafty's link (and have seen her many other times).  Articulate, detailed about a national security issue (and monetary and constitutional issues), speaks mostly without notes or prompter. She is on the Intelligence committee with national security clearance and knowledge, also Financial Services Committee.  Credible with conservatives to give cover for a difficult vote that could spark a tea party challenge.  She appreciates the contention between the national security interest and general opposition to expanded powers.  She explains with enough detail to show why we need these powers to track terrorists.

That said, is Bachmann best suited in a legislative or executive capacity?  If it is executive, that would be without experience running in a room full of governors.  But she is making quite an effective national firestorm right where she is.  

Garfield was elected President from the House - so it is possible.  

Bachmann's appeal is to conservatives. She has limited appeal to independents and none to Democrats IMO.  Probably best suited IMHO right where she is, holding elected Republicans to their promises and their principles.
4069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 27, 2011, 01:22:24 PM
"asked if I was illegal, I could legally and politely say": ...   ninguno de su negocio ??  smiley
------
Murder and euthanasia can save the taxpayer money too, wrong criteria and wrong topic.  My point is that discrimination as an accusation is thrown around so loosely that fear of that accusation is both ubiquitous and somewhat meaningless.  

Some indication that you may be from elsewhere (and need documentation) is more like some indication that you were drinking some (also not illegal) but may cause a further look or test for which you have already given 'implied consent'.  The burglary tools in themselves may not be illegal.  As a landlord, those same tools of mine may be in plain view and misconstrued without explanation.

GM explained and that is reasonable, but I also don't like it when they ask me where I am coming from and where I am going either for having a pinhole leak of white light out of a red tail light lens.  Engage in conversation is what they do to look for other things.  I agree with the JDN right to not engage but not necessarily agree its your best strategy.
----------
"in CA there are a lot of predatory employers, paying illegals less than minimum wage, no benefits, unsafe working conditions, etc.  I have no sympathy for those employers."

  - Agreed, if true, for those obvious cases. In the accusation will be the word 'knowingly' plus they are breaking plenty of other laws.

"Cut off the jobs, and you take away the incentive to be illegal and come to America."

  - No.  Cut off the jobs and the welfare simultaneously, add  real enforcement and they will not come.  Let's lock in at least the agreement we already discovered!

I'm not aware of ever showing identification to get a job.  Of course I haven't gotten one recently either and my local accent is very authentic.  sad   My town in Colo has the illegals problem. The bank there required two forms of photo id to open an account. I never carry a passport and it's expired anyway.  I started out the door and they were willing to lose me as a customer to be consistent on their policy, then I remembered my Vail season pass has a mug on it, and they accepted that.  What did that prove?
---------
We beat around the bush on immigration.  The problem continues because the executive branch in charge of enforcement doesn't like the law and the opposition party is split about it.  The flagrant business may still exist out there but this isn't overall a private sector issue.  The Arizona enforcement law created a healthy debate.  Still meaningless if the Feds do nothing. Catch and release. The sanctuary city phenomenon is a violation of federal law, harboring and co-conspiring?  The transportation dept. wouldn't nor would any other department or agency accept rogue municipalities failing to follow federal law.  If a law is wrong, unconstitutional or meaningless, repeal it or strike it down, not just selectively ignore it.  Otherwise, enforce it - at all levels.
4070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "No verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing" on: May 27, 2011, 12:13:03 PM
Great post BBG!  The issue of methane escaping is separate from the issue of ground water contamination but perhaps part of the ad hominem attacks against all energy production.  I don't see why methane producers would want methane to escape.  If true perhaps we ne a capture technique, not a ban on production.

Following up to that post and a subject Crafty started with an NY Times series (Feb 27 2011 post over in Energy Politics) attacking the production techniques of natural gas: "Regulations Lax...Tainted Water Hits Rivers".  I read that piece with skepticism.  As with liberal media techniques on other topics, they find a claim with a credible sounding source, in the Ron Bailey piece it was Cornell University, get it into the NY Times and then repeat it across the country before anyone can disprove the negative.  The NYT piece was loaded with question marks and "may do this" and "may do that" and very light or absent of real data or contamination samples.

I followed up with a long, hard-to-follow post March 8, same thread, discrediting the allegations.  Most damning I thought and buried in my post were the specific, actual statements quoted that I copied and pasted out of a pdf and reprinted, where nearly all the state regulatory agencies of nearly all the natural gas producing states denies that this has ever happened in their state. These include all the states referenced in the NY Times hit piece.  Reprinting here with state names and regulatory agencies in bold to be easier to follow and the use of italics is mine. The full letters are at the pdf link.  These are regulatory agencies, not greedy producers, though a liberal source might say there is no difference if they side with business.


"After 25 years of investigating complaints of contamination, DMRM geologists have not documented a single incident involving contamination of ground water attributed to hydraulic fracturing."  - Ohio Department of Natural Resources

After review of DEP's complaint database and interviews with regional staff that investigate groundwater contamination related to oil and gas activities, no groundwater pollution or disruption of underground sources of drinking water has been attributed to hydraulic fracturing of deep gas formations.  - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

"we have found no example of contamination of usable water where the cause was claimed to. be hydraulic fracturing."  - New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

"I can state with authority that there have been no documented cases of drinking water contamination caused by such hydraulic fracturing operations in our State."  - STATE OIL AND GAS BOARD OF ALABAMA

"Though hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 50 years in Texas, our records do not indicate a single documented contamination case associated with hydraulic fracturing."  - chief regulatory agency over oil and gas activities in Texas

"There have been no verified cases of harm to ground water in the State of Alaska as a result of hydraulic fracturing."  - Commissioner Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

"To the knowledge of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff, there has been no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing in Colorado."

"There have been no instances where the Division of Oil and Gas has verified that harm to groundwater has ever been found to be the result of hydraulic fracturing in Indiana."  - Director Indiana Department of Natural Resources

"The Louisiana Office of Conservation is unaware of any instance of harm to groundwater in the State of Louisiana caused by the practice of hydraulic fracturing."

"My agency, the Office of Geological Survey (OGS) of the Department of Environmental Quality, regulates oil and gas exploration and production in Michigan. Hydraulic fracturing has been utilized extensively for many years in Michigan, in both deep formations and in the relatively shallow Antrim Shale formation. There are about 9,900 Antrim wells in Michigan producing natural gas at depths of 500 to 2000 feet. Hydraulic fracturing has been used in virtually every Antrim well.
There is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other resources in Michigan."

"No documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracture stimulations in
Wyoming."

Link again: Hydraulic Fracturing –15 Statements from Regulatory Officials
http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com/Documents/Hydraulic_Fracturing_SGEIS_comments.pdf
4071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 27, 2011, 11:23:10 AM
JDN,  The death penalty is applied to people convicted of heinous crimes in certain jurisdictions, it hits blacks disproportionately and it is labeled discriminatory and racist. (Their victims were disproportionately black as well!)  Abortions paid for by taxpayers hit black babies disproportionately more than 3 times worse than white babies, and they are not labeled discriminatory by the people who put themselves in charge of those labels.  Employee check will hit people of certain ethnicities disproportionately, maybe Hispanic where you are and maybe Somali and Hmong here, but much harder than 4th or 5th generation midwestern Scandinavian Americans for certain.  Applying the law evenly doesn't make the charge go away.

Employers are not the enforcement arm of the federal government and don't need more burdens.  IMO they should supply and submit to the federal immigration authorities any information that the feds require of them for each applicant or employee.  Then the Feds have the responsibility to act on the information, come out and arrest and deport if they were serious about their job.  Simply turning away English challenged, medium skinned people with lousy documentation from work to welfare is no solution in my view.

The same rules that are applied to employers to pay someone should apply to all agencies of government and welfare.  How is it legal to pay out or take money for doing nothing but illegal to work and earn it?  I will need that explained to me.
4072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The electoral process, vote fraud: MN Voter ID Bill with 80% Support Vetoed on: May 27, 2011, 10:57:43 AM
I would like to put this under progressivism but we already have a category for voter fraud.  Voter ID is a very important issue here brought to light in the Al Franken recount because it is illegal in a recount not to count again all the illegal votes that were cast.  As I wrote in my first post in this thread, when ACORN block workers tried to drag me in against my will to vote in South Minneapolis where I did not live, they had people on the block already setup to vouch for me.  No identification, pre-registration or anything else is required. Unlike the questioning techniques used by Israeli El Al airlines, MN election judges use an on-site registration scrutiny technique called Minnesota-nice.   Ballots are available in English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, and people who will vouch for you are standing by.
----------
New MN Governor vetoes Voter ID bill.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/05/029110.php
John Hinderacker at Powerline:

In 2010, control over Minnesota's government flipped: Republicans captured both the Minnesota House and Senate, while Democrat Mark Dayton replaced Tim Pawlenty as governor. The Republican legislature passed legislation to reform the state's voting system, in part by requiring photo identification. The law provided for issuance of free voter IDs to any legitimate voters who, for whatever reason, have no driver's license or other form of identification. Minnesotans, aware that voter fraud has likely played a key role in recent elections, overwhelmingly support the law: the Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll, which routinely tilts left, found 80 percent support.

Nevertheless, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill yesterday. That a Democratic governor is willing to fly in the face of overwhelming public opinion, even as he is fighting a budget battle with the legislature that likely will lead to a slowdown in state government, says volumes about where the Democratic Party stands on the issue of voter fraud.

In 2008, Minnesota Republicans were traumatized by the Coleman-Franken race, which Al Franken eventually won by a few hundred votes. National attention focused on the recount, which was scrupulously fair. The problem was that, as with any recount, all you can do is count for a second time the votes that were cast illegally on election day. I have no doubt that more legal voters voted for Norm Coleman than Al Franken, but once the ballots are in the box, there is nothing that can be done. Hence the urgency of the voter ID law.

Until now, Minnesota has had lax laws that facilitate voter fraud. Not only does the state have same-day registration, there is also an absurd system whereby a resident of a precinct can "vouch" for as many as 15 people who are not registered in the precinct and have no identification that would otherwise allow them to register. This means that the Democrats can station an operative at a polling place, bus in students from Wisconsin, illegal immigrants, etc., and allow them to vote illegally by having their operative vouch for the whole busload.

For many years, Republicans have been trying to tighten up Minnesota's voting laws to prevent voter fraud. But they have never been able to get such a bill through the legislature, since the DFL has controlled the state's Senate since Senate races were first made partisan. This year, for the first time, the Republicans are in a position to carry out the will of the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans by reforming an electoral system that is designed to encourage fraud. The fact that the Governor Dayton felt compelled to veto those reforms confirms that voter fraud remains a significant component of the Democratic Pary's electoral strategy.
4073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Policy: USA is the 44th freest country in the world on: May 27, 2011, 10:29:07 AM
"Oil Traders sued by Feds"
  - That should help the supply of oil... (sarc.)
------------------------------------------------
I wonder if Michelle Obama again has never before been this proud to see our country ranked 44th freest in the world for oil production, unable to keep up with freedom bastions like Angola ranked 18th:

"It is almost as if the United States deliberately wanted to be more dependent on foreign oil. Consider that while the World Economic Forum rates the U.S. 4th in its ranking of the world's most competitive economies, it would rank far down the list if the WEF were to look at the competitiveness of the oil and gas industry in isolation. A proprietary ranking of political and investment risk for oil and gas by IHS's Petroleum Economics and Policy Solutions unit places the U.S. 44th, below several African nations such as Angola, which is ranked 18th. As an IHS analyst observes, in the U.S. "there is the constant threat of adverse contract or fiscal regime changes at both the state and federal levels of government. None of these threats or business risks is present in Angola." "
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/05/029102.php
-----------------
What kind of economic OR security strategy involves decades of blocking the energy production needed to power our economy.  It isn't just taxes and debt that are killing us, and these are self-inflicted wounds.
4074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Marginal rates back up to 58% federal, 62% to 70% combined on: May 26, 2011, 06:15:01 PM
Crafty,  Your discrepancy point is right, but so is this point of yours: "the fundamental point about the cumulative effect of the various taxes, current and proposed, in the present environment is profound."

First off, I think the regulatory environment is even worse than the taxes coming, but let's stay with taxes here.  The pre-Reagan / Stagflation top tax rate was 70% federal PLUS the state rates.  Almost no one paid at that rate as they would rather sit on their cash, adjust behavior, buy munis or buy gold, rather than give most of all gains to the government.

Stephen Moore in the piece shows how the federal rate under existing proposals will hit 58% (not 62% or 70%), then he figures 4% for the average state and local tax rates.  You and I live in places where 4% doesn't come close to covering the highest state tax rates that are coming.  Here we are having the same surcharge the rich argument simultaneous with the federal argument so that combined figure will easily get to 70% if the tax hikers prevail at both levels.

Still we are comparing an apple with ...most of an apple.  We are not at Jimmy Carter's 70% federal tax rate,  but we also aren't competing in a 1970s global economy either. These rates coming might be more harmful than Carter's rates were then. Capital and labor are for more mobile today.  Jobs and plants pick up and move often and easily, and tax rates elsewhere have gotten far more competitive in response to the Reagan revolution.

Not lecturing to you Crafty who already knows all this, but to anyone who will listen... 70% tax either for total rate or at the federal level alone is a major disincentive to produce.  Robert Mundell, architect of the Reagan plan, called the existing marginal tax rates then: "asphyxiating" (to kill or make unconscious through inadequate oxygen).  Maybe worse now.  Think of it as a tax per mile for driving.  The exact rate doesn't matter after you get past the point where nobody is going anywhere.

I mentioned previously a friend who has started 3 successful companies from scratch and sold the latest one, with a thousand employees, for an amazing sum recently.  We were having the tax-the-rich conversation with friends who also know him while our new governor is trying to put another 3% surcharge onto the rich at the state level.  One friend (not even a liberal) said, what the hell difference does it make to so and so if he has to pay a little more (while sitting on untold millions)(the focus is always on the difference, not the total).  I said back that while he is pointing to the direct tax cost, he is ignoring the much more damaging disincentive effect.  There aren't that many people who are ready, willing andable to build a new thousand person, billion dollar company from scratch, and everyone there knows this guy is capable of it and young enough to do it again.  Why would he and why should he do it again as we throw ever increasing barriers, roadblocks and regulations at him and then, if it should succeed in spite of all that, we let him keep very little of the reward for the capital risked and the enormous burden undertaken.  At some point in the disincentives of taxation and regulation he will choose the status quo and make do very comfortably with what he has, as most investors are already doing.  Who loses in that scenario?  Not him, he is set.  Who loses is the next thousand people whose jobs never get created and the chain affect that has on our region and on our economy with each of those people who would have lived more affluently, spent more, hired their own help and invested more in the economy.

I don't know how to get this through the resistance of a liberal, a moderate or even about half of the conservatives, but you can not design a tax on the rich that is not a tax on yourself, on your own family and neighbors and on the economy as a whole.  It is all interconnected. That tax on the rich is really levied on all of us, not just the rich, and the damage is impossible to measure when the effect of it is to cause something extremely positive not to happen that otherwise would have occurred, including amazing wealth creation and thousands of jobs in one case and literally tens of millions of jobs across the economy.
4075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: May 26, 2011, 03:06:49 PM
"Does anyone know if this forum has a "Poll" function?   I'd love to see a vote on who is "winning" this conversation!"
-------
VERY interesting points revealed on both sides of this argument.

The truth IMO, in just this one case, is somewhere in between the extremes.  We aren't about to legalize meth level dangers and we don't need to lock and throw away the key on Grandpa for honestly helping Grandma. I propose a compromise.  If you are terminally ill with less than a year to live, you can smoke anything you want.  But at the end of the year, unlike the released and Lockerbie bomber, you have to keep your part of the bargain.

I believe (stated previously) that the casual and safe user of mild and relatively accepted substances will be far better served with decriminalization than with legalization which would most certainly be accompanied with a complete government takeover - enforced with criminal penaltiues.  The user whose odor permeated the hallway should learn to efficiently operate a one-hitter.  And weatherstrip that door; your heat and AC are getting out too.   smiley
4076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 26, 2011, 01:52:31 PM
"Just like those monsters that think only Americans should vote in American elections."

We are halfway there.  Did we not just grant them all representation in the 2010 census?

http://www.city-data.com/forum/illegal-immigration/809069-senate-rejected-2010-census-citizenship-question.html

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/censusandstatistics/a/censusandaliens.htm
"Why the Census Should Count Illegal Aliens
    A Matter of Money
Not counting illegal aliens costs cities and states federal money, resulting in a reduction of services to all residents. The census count is used by Congress in deciding how to distribute more than $400 billion annually to state, local and tribal governments. The formula is simple: the greater the population your state or city reports, the more federal money it might get."  [And representation"
4077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Path Science: Japan, along with Germany and China, rejects Climate Change on: May 26, 2011, 01:37:18 PM
A 600 year earthquake has had its direct nuclear radiation death toll reduced to 0 out of 20,000 total earthquake/tsunami deaths, so out go all new nuclear plans and several existing ones in favor of the much 'more safe'  huh greenhouse gas based fossil fuel combustion.  

That policy shift alone in one island country will add 7 TRILLION more pounds (350 billion tons)of CO2 per year into the atmosphere.

What could possibly go wrong with that?


http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/18/fukushima-open-thread-6/
http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/2011/05/updated_analysis_the_costs_of_canceling_japans_plans_for_nuclear_power.shtml
-------------

CCP, The Muller piece is very interesting.  He covers both sides fairly well.  No question there was some warming.  No question there is some human component in it. And no question that there are other factors, known and unknown, and no question our ability to measure any of it is flawed.  No question that previous accounts were exaggerated.  If his is the first reliable data, that isn't much data.  Unfortunately, for the umpteen hundredth time, I read through an entire 'scientific' climate change pdf with glorified headlines to find no answer to the two burning questions: how much was the warming and what component of it was human caused.

Cherry picking, I found this: " if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow [and they will], our cutting back will not achieve any real good."

(See the first half of the post, other countries are NOT cutting back.)

I will be more impressed when some scientist gets both the climate science and the economics of it right.  Cap trade and every other artificial mechanism to get energy prices up and energy use down here will move manufacturing to India, China and all other places outside our jurisdiction.  It already has.  Instead of doing no measurable good, while destroying our economy, these laws do no good at all, and Muller, give him credit, admitted it.

The answer to replace fossil fuels will come, most likely, from private sector innovation, like most other major technological developments.  I would argue that allowing the private sector to re-energize robustly is the solution, not the problem.  When energy prices go up for real instead of artificially, an economic alternative solution will emerge, It always does.  We will solve this better from a position of economic strength instead of desperation, IMO.
4078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 26, 2011, 12:45:41 PM
"If you require on a state level, proof of legal status for employment or government goodies, you'll see many illegals self-deport."

GM, If we had a rule like that and applied it evenly to all employers, all employees and all applicants, wouldn't that be discriminatory?   wink
4079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Chrysler SUVs saved the co. on: May 26, 2011, 12:42:37 PM
"Obama plans to make this “success” (auto bailouts) a centerpiece of his 2012 campaign"

BBG, maybe his fund raisers can be called Cash for Clunkers...
------------

http://detnews.com/article/20110524/MIVIEW/105240374/Payne--SUVs-saved-Chrysler

"But there is one inconvenient truth you won't hear ... Chrysler wouldn't be here had it not defied its green White House masters. Chrysler's return to profitability is a direct result of the fabulous success of its SUVs.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110524/MIVIEW/105240374/Payne--SUVs-saved-Chrysler#ixzz1NTuNqtlB
4080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: May 26, 2011, 12:26:27 PM
I love that joke! From the more liberal jurisdictions I thought the ending would be that he got the ticket for driving a pickup truck.
4081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 26, 2011, 12:01:50 PM
Crafty wrote: "... just what are the standards for determining the line between state and federal responsibility in this sort of thing?"

I would add that charity and neighborly assistance used to be the norm.

During Katrina, the US Coast Guard helicopters flew from rooftop to rooftop until there was no one left to rescue.  I do not know of any purse tightening, scary conservative who opposes that type of use of federal resources.

Monday morning after our tornado I bought a chain saw with my 'self-insurance settlement' and began cutting a path to get a ladder to a roof to start rebuilding.  Nowhere else within sight or earshot had work begun within 24 hours of the twister.  The work that began was to see office dressed people wandering through with clipboards and cameras preparing their cases for third party pay.  

I was impressed to see our postal carrier climb through the debris between homes right on schedule.  He told me the mayor and councilman were on the block (safely above the damage).  Mark me down as a cynic and a skeptic, but they weren't looking for survivors or helping people dig out of their homes; it was a photo opp to begin the case for federal emergency assistance. http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2127500.shtml?cat=1

When is it federal, when is it state, when is it local, when is it private, when is it charity, when do neighbors pull together and lend a hand ... there is no easy answer or criteria but when we are talking about money and checks after the fact, rather than equipment emergency and manpower to save lives, there will be pork, waste and fraud within those funds. Discussing that should not be off-limits.  The 'quote' under Cantor's picture is not what he said.  The "Duh" that the writers put to "priority" apparently don't know the meaning of that word.  You put a priority AHEAD of something else, not just with everything else. The further away the money comes from the more abuse I would expect to find.  I couldn't help but ponder from my roof with helicopters for gawkers circling, where is my bailout?  So I took the free bottle of water that the Salvation Army tossed up.  (It was the electricity, not the water, that was off.)

North Minneapolis may be near blight now, but when these neighborhoods were built 90 years ago, homes were built solid - with basements well below frostline.  No comparison to Joplin with a type 5, but only 4% of tornadoes are stronger than what cut right through this major metro, yet no one who was able to take cover in their homes and basements was killed.  

Like the argument of smaller efficient cars taking the brunt in a crash, the feds will pay you to build homes with energy star ideas like in floor heat instead of basements with no consideration for where to take caver when the storm hits.  

I can't tell the shame I feel when the Minnesota politicians petition the federal government for cold weather assistance.  Who knew about cold weather?  But in winter it is our turn to dip into the sugar jar if we are going to pay the rest of the year for hurricane damages to people who build in hurricane zones, earthquake funds to people who live on fault lines, tornado assistance to people who build to in 'tornado alley', flood payments to people who build in the flood plain, etc etc.

Horrific in Joplin are the deaths IMO, not the property damage no matter how devastating.  Money after the fact does not bring the deaths back to life and Cantor did not say no federal money. I'm sure no one yet knows what part of this loss is insured.  $3 billion to Washington is a rounding error and who says the feds should pay all of it and why is not okay to question in Washington whether that will be a priority, putting it ahead of something else, or a debt or mini-QE that we will never repay.

Mpls damage estimated at a couple hundred million dollars means that 0.000001 of total assets in MN were wiped out, most of it insured.  That is not something that that a local community could not absorb or rebuild - at least if not for the $44 billion/yr MN already sends to the federal government alone.   JMHO.
4082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: May 25, 2011, 11:19:19 AM
"Justice Kennedy's opinion included an array of anecdotes regarding prison conditions in California, where "as many as 54 prisoners may share a single toilet" "

  - I don't have time to study a case now, but that sounds like the foundation of a solid argument ...  to fund an additional toilet.  How does a factual statement have the words "as many as"..."may" in it?
4083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Tim Pawlenty on: May 24, 2011, 11:43:28 AM
Tim Pawlenty announced he was turning against ethanol supports - in Iowa - yesterday, announcing support for raising the retirement age - in Florida - today, and unveiling his plans on financial reforms - on Wall Street - tomorrow. 

Courage to Stand.

What did O'bama/Biden/Pelosi/Reid get done this week?
4084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 24, 2011, 11:30:56 AM
"China has warned that an “attack” on Pakistan will be taken as an attack on China"

Just thinking aloud here, but maybe we can cut out the middle man.
4085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 24, 2011, 11:28:11 AM
"where do you start in negotiations with these people?"

From a position of strength.  Giving what they want before negotiations and weakening yourself is no place to start.

"And while they are despicable, so are regimes in North Korea, Iran, et all and we do negotiate with them.  Why are Hamas different?"

On trade, we took opposite paths with China and Cuba; neither strategy delivered change inside the repressive regimes.  Note that N.K. has nukes and Iran wields regional power and energy power.  Nothing went well enough in any other example to risk destruction of an ally. The ones who would risk destruction of Israel don't consider it an ally.  Obama speaks out of both sides of his mouth so I have no idea what his real view of Israel is.  Mentioned already was that the Palestinian leaders of terror are elected leaders, which takes quick fixes like deposing or regime change off the table, until it comes from within.

"Ignoring the Hamas obviously isn't going to work either."

What does Israel want from them, other than to stop attacking.  Has any previous gift / giveback of land stopped the attacks? (No.)

What I don't get is why all the focus from Obama for a certain failure, does he think he is on the brink of a breakthrough? Is his strategy so deep, clever and well-thought out that no one sees it?  Judging his performance in other areas like our economy, energy supply, budget deficit, etc. I would say no. Was he wishing for the public lecture on Israeli survival he received from Netanyahu as part of some larger strategy or thinking Bibi would roll over when the cameras were on? Quite a naive and stupid misjudgment unless I am missing something.  What point is there in making Israel look bad for choosing survival over destruction?
----
Crafty already asked: "a) Why was this speech sprung upon the Israelis?  Why did BO not give N. a heads up with sufficient time for some backchannel communications? b) What the hell does "contiguous" mean in this context?  That Gaza and the West Bank will be connected?!?..."
----

Great question regarding contiguous! Someone please post Obama's ultimate peace map... seriously, with survival, not just an Jewish-Israeli graveyard.

Per capita income for Palestinians is about $1100 in real purchasing power.  For Israel that is close to $30,000?? (http://palsolidarity.org/2010/01/10761/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Israel)  Failed state vs. free society.  That looks to me like the place to start.  Maybe thinking outside the box, our leader with all his deep thinking advisers could suggest some humanitarian path for advancement and self sufficiency along these lines instead of just the endless quest for land grab and terror support.

I would think a 10 year waiting period after all the countries in the region drop their destruction of Israel platform and after the last missile is fired on them would be reasonable before we even ask Israel to negotiate or offer concessions.

Has our current leader with his immense knowledge of history ever explicitly articulated what a good thing it is that the bloody tyrant who paid $25,000 per suicide bombing is gone?
--------
"How do you negotiate with someone who stated purpose is serve as Allah's servant by killing you and yours?"

Why wouldn't those people be more comfortable inside an Arab or Muslim land  instead of living with their most hated enemy and waging eternal war.  Why not have American push that direction, while supporting the survival of Israel, our ally.  'Crazy talk.'
4086  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 24, 2011, 12:07:39 AM
Amen to that BD. Worst in 60 years...

Nothing like Joplin MO, but yesterday was my first tornado ever as a property owner - Minneapolis was hit hard also. God Bless my tenants who ran for to their basements and found safety while the funnel ran through.  I have some cleanup to do, these are 2 story homes buried in debris with pieces of the homes knocked off.  Streets closed, schools closed, all wires down, power off, helicopters circling and 9pm curfew. It wasn't looting at the liquor store where the whole top blew off according to the owner they were taking the bottles out on the honor system when he got there. Lots of photos today but it looks about like this in every direction:
4087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2011, 06:35:39 PM
Among the short short list of people who know more about the security of Israel than Pres. Obama, this is Gene Simmons of Kiss: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/05/21/kiss_gene_simmons_obama_has_no_fing_idea_what_the_world_is_like.html
4088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation: Silver Dollar Irony, Nothaus v. Bernanke on: May 22, 2011, 06:02:29 PM
This could go in the thread of very bad humor or WTF...

Via Powerline: "Our friend Seth Lipsky wasn't able to make it to the press conference, but he took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to pose four questions for Bernanke. Here is the third of the four questions Seth served up:" (all 4 are linked below)

    Mr. Chairman, last month a federal jury in North Carolina convicted a man named Bernard von NotHaus of counterfeiting U.S. coins. His medallions, which he called "Liberty Dollars," were made of silver. When he sold them he was getting about $20 for a medallion containing an ounce of silver, and now the coin is worth nearly twice that amount in U.S. dollars.

    Yet the dollars you issued back when Mr. von NotHaus was in business have plunged in value to but a fraction of the silver or gold they were worth when you issued them. Mr. von NotHaus may be going to jail for years, and yet here you are. I don't mean to suggest in any way that you broke any law, but how do you feel about this situation?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703778104576286813887619884.html
4089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Herman Cain on Fox News Sunday on: May 22, 2011, 05:56:12 PM
I tuned in at the awkward moment described at the first link where Cain appeared to not know what Chris Wallace meant by 'right of return' in the Israel-Palestinian issue.  Wallace jumped back in to elaborated as he was not looking for a gotcha moment to advance his career (unlike Gibson, Couric with Palin) and since there is more than one right of return issue possible.  Cain still looked a bit lost for details.

On Afghanistan, I have previously appreciated his point about people without all the information second guessing the war effort and strategy.  However... running for Commander in Chief, communicator in chief, he should have plenty to say about goals, decision criteria, etc. for a question about America's longest running war.

Did anyone see the entire interview?

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/herman-cain-i-would-offer-palestinians-nothing-for-peace-they-dont-want-peace/
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/05/22/herman_cain_would_offer_palestinians_nothing_in_peace_deal.html
4090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead on: May 22, 2011, 02:34:19 PM
I am skeptical of that story.  Could involve elements of truth and new discovery of facts but seems unlikely that they and no one else know the whole story.  Let's see if the embassy snitch gets the reward.

"Clinton made sure that the vice president was made aware of the situation."

For one thing, I don't think the players on the inside would screw around much with the secrecy set up for the operation, other than Obama who has the power to declassify anything and choose who knows.  Regarding the role of Valerie Jarret, I believe Obama sought political advice when he needed to sleep on it and then approved it with no operational follow up.  Maybe his most trusted adviser is Jarret.  I just don't believe one freelance journalist, if he knows the Pak or Afghan embassy story that is completely new, would also be first to know and tell the whole story inside the west wing story - with all the behind the scenes details.

"Too bad she's not President versus Obama...."

 - Very sad that out of 300 million Americans that Obama, H.Clinton and McCain were the last 3 people standing for that position.  (People, get involved earlier in the process!)

If enough people inside Pakistan knew OBL's whereabouts, how could Obama know he had months to sit still on the information and then strike with complete surprise?  The CIA sets up a safe house in the neighborhood, within view(?), where home visits by military police are routine, and no one in Pakistan knew that either??...

The courier story makes more sense to me.  OBL had more than 30 tapes delivered to the media, with delays and safeguards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videos_and_audio_recordings_of_Osama_bin_Laden  I'm sure we were at least trying to track the movement of those from the first one.  Interesting that bin Laden was denying his involvement in the released tapes but proved his involvement in one that American forces found:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/july-dec01/video_12-13a.html  I think we will be waiting longer than the JFK assassination to get the whole story.  Be patient.

BTW, does anyway believe that the trusted couriers were sneaking porn into the compound for themselves, without bin Laden's approval?  The villains of the Batman series were more authentic than this fraudulent religious freak.
4091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 21, 2011, 11:03:17 AM
We could have gov't get the hell out of healthcare and let the free market price it. I know, just crazy talk.....   rolleyes

That would solve it, but for some reason we can't.
4092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential, Recent college grads sour on Obama, surveys say on: May 21, 2011, 11:02:00 AM
Regarding race baiting of conservative blacks and sexism against conservative women:  Yes of course this happens-- but my sense of things is that the rubber band on this sort of excrement is about to snap back-- people are getting fed up with this crap and Bachman and Cain are ideally suited to be the tip of the spear on this IMHO.

You make a good point.  Also for the next year Republicans will be judged by the field of candidates, not the nominee.  Nothing looks more stereotypical than having 12-16 white guys on the stage for a year, all wearing the same suit, same tie, same age, same background, and saying the same things.

Obama's dual base of rich elitist whites along with the unproductive inner city vote of all colors is mostly not going to switch teams; they've just lost enthusiasm because the expectation of getting big results for doing nothing is gone.  The ground game in the inner city is still ACORN, the anti-capitalism, pro-big-government and welfare rights organization but under a new name.  They will be supporting leftism over color.  Likewise for the ground game within academia, teachers union etc.

A ray of hope with young voters: http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailycaller/20110520/pl_dailycaller/recentcollegegradssouronobamasurveyssay;_ylt=Ase0UH_am0IDPFioAHCKdJSyFz4D;_ylu=X3oDMTNtaDU5ajA0BGFzc2V0A2RhaWx5Y2FsbGVyLzIwMTEwNTIwL3JlY2VudGNvbGxlZ2VncmFkc3NvdXJvbm9iYW1hc3VydmV5c3NheQRwb3MDMTUE

Recent college grads sour on Obama, surveys say

A very large proportion of recent university graduates have soured on President Barack Obama, and many will vote GOP or stay at home in the 2012 election, according to two new surveys of younger voters.

“These rock-solid Obama constituents are free-agents,” said Kellyanne Conway, president of The Polling Company, based in Washington, D.C. She recently completed a large survey of college grads, and “they’re shopping around, considering their options, [and] a fair number will say at home and sit it out,” she said.

The scope of this disengagement from Obama is suggested by an informal survey of 500 post-grads by Joe Maddalone, founder of Maddalone Global Strategies. Of his sample, 93 percent are aged between 22 and 28, 67 percent are male and 83 percent voted for Obama in 2008. But only 27 percent are committed to voting for Obama again, and 80 percent said they would consider voting for a Republican, said New York-based Maddalone.

That’s a drop of almost 60 points in support for Obama among this influential class of younger post-grad voters,
------

The challenge as posed in the first paragraph is to get a significant portion of these people who are tempted to sit out converted over to pro-growth, limited government conservatism.  If they just sit out a cycle, Republicans could win this one by default, but the seesaw battle of stagnation, hating incumbents and getting nothing good accomplished continues.
4093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Bachmann, Cain on: May 20, 2011, 06:07:01 PM
One point IMO with Bachmann-Cain is that it is upset down.  He is the executive.

I have defended Bachmann plenty, mostly because she is criticized so strongly.  She is smart and conservative but a bit of a lightning rod for liberals and independents who hate and distrust anyone or anything far right.  A few gaffes along the way, but has done plenty of good for the conservative cause.  Her opponents for her congressional seat keep underestimating her as she keeps winning reelection against huge liberal money in Minnesota's most conservative district, the so-called x-urbs, a ring across the northern metro and outward.

GM is right on both counts.  Cain somehow gets no credit for being black and hugely successful because he is a conservative.  Bachmann, like Palin, is a freak to ordinary liberal to independent women for raising so many children and having conservative views especially in education.

She is somewhat self-appointed as a tea party leader.  I like Marco Rubio's explanation of not joining that legislative group.  Paraphrasing: the tea party by definition is the grass roots leading the elected officials, not the other way around.  Taking that distinction further, I would say that Rubio with a million vote win in a key swing state is an example of attracting people to the movement, while Bachmann is well liked I think only by people who are already very conservative.  Bachmann could not similarly be elected to the senate in Minnesota.

For Bachmann, not brilliant, but the smartest person in the room in this youtube committee hearing clip with Barney Frank presiding and Bachmann questions Bernanke and Geithner about the constitutionality of all the tarp funds and federal bailouts of non-financial institutions.  Bernanke at least had an answer.  Geithner is a blathering idiot and Barney Frank's talk at the end is beyond words.:
4094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: May 20, 2011, 12:57:00 PM
It makes some sense, but being the smartest guy in the room doesn't help if no one can follow you.

In the 90s, his opponents wrongly took his words 'whither on the vine', a statement about some antiquated bureaucracy, to make it look like a death sentence for all seniors.  It worked because he had already been painted as enemy of the women, children and the elderly.  This is different.  It was his allies who blew their fuse.   It worked because conservatives are already skeptical about his conservatism.

The clarification is wonkish and vague.  "My plan will... "  I'm sure he will have his own specific plan for us to judge the merits.  Like Romney, he is still talking about increased government involvement in health care and producing sound bites for Republican opponents.  He has been in close contact with Paul Ryan for 4 years.  If he is the leader of this movement, where was plan then to show the public when Washington was deeming PelosiObamaCare passed and ramming it down our throats?

If Newt ran a perfect campaign and hit all the right notes on every issue with every group, he still faced an insurmountable problem IMO.  As a loose cannon, drawing questions on himself and alienating friends, GM unfortunately has this about right.
4095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 20, 2011, 12:13:10 PM
From the Newt discussion, thanks CCP, this is worth pursuing here:

Newt:"Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it"

CCP: Good point.  There is no easy answer to this.
...
CCP: People don't get insurance because they can't pay for it, can't get it (preexisting condition), or take a chance.

But all these groups know they can show up in an ER and they will get treated.
-----
Above on this thread page, Lawrence Tribe put it this way (in a BD post):  "Individuals who don’t purchase insurance they can afford have made a choice to take a free ride on the health care system."
----
I feel bad about posting my honest and accurate reaction to Tribe/BD: ("Bullsh*t") because that seemed to end the discussion, but as one healthy self-employed person with enough assets to be disqualified from state plans who now has lapse in coverage, I can say that none of the above is the reason.  In fact, the Republican counter-proposal to Obamacare of last year would have solved my problem, but Dems are not going to allow any partial fixes to pass while Utopia is pending in court.

I paid almost 20 years of major medical coverage when I went self-employed without receiving an insurance dime paid out toward my health care.  Now I desperately want to be covered again but can't find any plan to fit my need.  My illiquid assets are my coverage.  Yes I will be treated in any emergency room or any other medical facility and it will be FEE FOR SERVICE just like it was when I was covered and just like it is for ever other product or service I procure in the economy almost anywhere in the world.  That does not make me a leach on society.  I will be paying the bill.  Not Prof. Tribe or anyone else. 

I am victim of the 12 cent rule.  My experience is that every dollar 100% of every healthcare product and service I have procured was paid by me out of my pocket and watched like a hawk, in addition to the tens of thousands I paid in premiums.  But I pay 100% in a world where everyone else is paying only 0.12 of every dollar of service and don't give a rip what it costs.

Third party pay is the problem, not the solution.  I would LOVE to pay fair market value for medical services I can afford and medical coverage beyond what I can afford, but that would be beyond the value of any bond that Newt would require.
-------
When mandatory car insurance started, we also had the option of posting 'bond' up to minimum coverage in lieu of sharing risk with worse drivers.  That alternative should have been 'post assets of your choosing' - in a free society - and furthermore that partial freedom provision quietly went away once people became acclimated with mandatory insurance.


4096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential, Rick Perry continued on: May 20, 2011, 11:22:32 AM
From 'The Way Forward' April 21, 2010,  Freki: "I am from Texas and I don't like Perry.  He is a POLITICIAN = weasel.  I do not trust him.  I am a conservative and I did not vote for him in the primary.  If he gets the Republican nomination for Pres he will be better than a liberal but I would classify him as a progressive republican.  Voter beware.  IMHO  - Freki
-------

Commentators are observing that Rick Perry is saying he is out but acting like he is in.  The weasel/politician comment is consistent with that.  There aren't many big names or big state, multiple term Governors left to enter. 

I wrote that I would support our former gov. Pawlenty as conservative enough and possibly electable, but many MN conservatives dislike him and say similar things to Freki's comments on Perry.  I've also shared the story that I was wearing his conservative opponent's sticker on my lapel when I first met him.  OTOH, Pawlenty was house majority leader at the time, won that election and reelection and got things done, like fighting off further moves to the left in the land of 10,000 taxes.  His conservative primary opponent was an outsider, a common sense businessman who got painted early as the scary extremist in the race, not by Pawlenty but by the media and by association.

From Freki or anyone, looking for more details and examples on Perry.  The politician thing is only partly a negative for this job, someone has to do it  wink and the weasel is a clever and successful creature able to prey on animals larger than themselves... 

Texas seems to be the leading state in the nation now after California fell off the edge.  The deadline for a serious campaign I'm guessing is probably early Sept.  If Perry gets in, it could be with a steamroller of momentum.  The more informed we are when it happens, the better off we will be.
4097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: May 20, 2011, 10:20:49 AM
"The way I remember it the Gingrich Congress exercised control over Clinton spending, cornered him into a major welfare reform, cut the capital gains tax rate, and ran a budget surplus"
----

All true, and more. Obviously the electoral success of 1994 was based on his vision and direct leadership.  The hemisphere wide free trade agreement (Reagan's vision) was an accomplishment of Clinton with the majority of Republicans and a minority of Dems while Newt was whip.  The capital gains cut was hugely important in the economic growth that employed the nation and balanced the budget, overcoming the slow growth of Clinton's earlier tax hike.  Welfare reform brought pride to the inner city and temporarily changed the direction of the role of government.  Also the telecom deregulation act of 1996 spurred phenomenal growth in conjunction with a friendlier investment environment.  Reelection of those congresses 5 times (even after Gingrich) bolster the point of his success.  The ethics charges forcing him out I believe proved to be bogus and unfair, like what Palin faced after drawing attention in Alaska.

If the Presidential race comes down to who has done the most so far for the conservative movement, Gingrich has already won and there is no second place.  If he is the nominee, I am his supporter.

Jay Cost, not talking about Gingrich, says the party is seeking conservative, authentic and exciting.  Gingrich is now trying to prove he is still conservative.  He has problems with authenticity.  The excitement he is stirring unfortunately is from Democrats.  He quickly clarified and reversed the remarks made Sunday, but damage is already done (and it isn't the first time).  http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/05/19/gingrich-will-star-in-democrats-anti-ryan-medicare-attacks According to [Dem] party sources, they plan to use Gingrich's assault on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plan in a bid to knock down every Republican who voted for it, and every Republican voted for it.

Figuring out Newt's positions is too hard.  I still see him now as more of a strategy and policy guy behind the scenes than as the candidate and the face of the movement.  (I prefer lower key and less excitement, but I'm the midwesterner here.) You can't govern effectively with high disapprovals.  You can't lead effectively without building up your teammates.  You can't win the general election without support from independents, and for sure you don't win by splitting the conservative movement.

His openness for ideas in the American Solutions project was extremely admirable.  Maybe I am too early on this but I say the time for brainstorming is over.  It is time to tell us what you came up with - in crystal clear clarity.

Here he is explaining the Meet the Press fiasco on the Rush L show.  It is for the newcomers IMO (Palin with Charlie Gibson/Couric, Bachmann on Chris Mathews) to fall into a media trap.  The seasoned professional like Newt should instead have led the Meet the Press host into a conservative trap.
----------
http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_051911/content/01125106.guest.html

RUSH: ... Let's try to cut to the chase here. There seems to be some confusion over your position -- or people's understanding of your position -- on the individual mandate, and it goes back to Meet the Press on Sunday where you seemed to say that you were for a mandate, then later said you weren't; and it sounded to some people like you were being critical of Paul Ryan when you used the term "social engineering" to describe parts of his Medicare solution in his budget. What is "social engineering"? What does that mean to you? I'm not sure I understand.

GINGRICH: Well, can I just take the two one step at a time?

RUSH: Yeah.

GINGRICH: David Gregory brought up an 18-year-old interview, in 1993, on Hillarycare, which we were in the process of defeating. And in 1993, the conservative alternative to government-run health care was you buying your own insurance. Now, I still have not seen the total interview. What I should have said to him is, "Gee, why don't you play the rest of the interview? Let's see the context of that conversation," but that was an 18-year-old tape about a totally different fight when we were trying to stop Hillarycare from taking over health care.

RUSH: But, Newt, I've got some quotes from you from 2004 and 2006, I think, basically advocating the same principle that it's not fair that somebody should be treated if they don't have insurance.

GINGRICH: (garbled) I'm giving a speech in New Hampshire next week outlining how we can apply the Tenth Amendment to solving health problems and how we can use patient power and do it with zero mandates. No federal mandate, no state mandate. This is a topic [John] Goodman and I worked on now for a decade. He's probably the leader -- you know John well -- of this kind of solution. I'm opposed to any federal mandate. I do not believe any state should adopt a mandate. I think there are ways to solve the problem without a mandate. But we're trying to solve three things: Preserve American freedom; ensure that people can have health care; and have some sense of responsibility that if you do get health care, you ought to pay for it -- which is the opposite of the liberal position that you ought to have free health care and somebody else ought to take care of you. So I think that's a very... That position is very clear.

RUSH: Okay, what was the point of the Republican --

GINGRICH: And by the way, I talked with Paul Ryan about this two days ago and I look forward to very much to continuing to work with him -- and, as you know, I endorsed his budget. I wrote a newsletter endorsing his budget. I think it's a very courageous step in the right direction. He concedes that the Medicare part of it is the beginning of a conversation. It's not a final document; it's not the last bill, and I want us to have an approach which allows everyone in the country to be engaged, to understand that it is a better Medicare system that is fiscally gonna survive and that -- if designed right -- will lead to more innovation, more choices, and better outcomes.

So, I think he and I are pretty much on track. What I was trying to say that day -- and I was answering a very specific question by David Gregory which, by the way, had nothing to do with the budget vote. I would have voted "yes" on the Ryan budget. It had to do with this question -- and I'd be curious, Rush, to hear your answer. "If there was a major change that affected the lives of every American..." and not necessarily in Medicare, "...a major change that affected the lives of all Americans, and the party in power had failed to convince the American people that it was the right thing to do, should that party impose that change against the will of the American people?"
RUSH: No, but you've just described the entire Obama administration agenda.

GINGRICH: Right, and all I was trying to say that day was: It's fundamentally wrong for Obama to try to impose a left-wing America against the will of the American people. I believe as a center-right majority we are the will of the American people. I believe we can get a majority for what we want --

RUSH: (sigh)

GINGRICH: -- but that's not what David Gregory asked me. He said, "Would it be okay for us to impose against the will...?" It was a very specific question he asked.

RUSH: Newt, this is very difficult. You're on a cell phone, and because of that you can't hear questions I'm trying to ask you. So this is a bit frustrating for me 'cause I want to go back to three or four answers ago. You yourself said that it was the conservative position in '93 to support a mandate. The Heritage Foundation even had a paper back then supporting a mandate in opposition to Hillarycare, as you said, 'cause they were trying to eventually get to single-payer. Heritage later said: You know, it's not workable; it's not constitutional; it doesn't work out.

I know that's what Gregory was asking you about, but still: People can produce quotes from more recently than 1993 of you advocating posting a bond or having a mandate that people buy insurance, under the premise that it's not fair that somebody not buying insurance should be able to waltz into an emergency room and get treated. So the question is: Why, back in 1993, was it the conservative position to support a mandate in opposition to Hillarycare?

GINGRICH: I think we went through a long evolution, and I've been part of that. I mean, I'll be clear: I think I've reached conclusions different over an 18-year period than I would have in 1993. In '93, we were narrowly focused on trying to beat Hillary, the Hillarycare project. We weren't thinking fundamentally about resetting the country, and I give Heritage a great deal of credit, and I give John Goodman at the National Center for Policy Analysis a great deal of credit.

They, more than anybody else, began the process of thinking through: "If you were not gonna mandate because it's wrong -- at either the federal or state level -- to impose that on people, how could you design a system that encouraged people to be fiscally responsible, to pay for the things they got, and at the same time enable them to buy health insurance if they wanted to? I've consistently said all along: You could never impose a universal mandate. You'd have to have alternatives that allowed people to find ways to not be forced into buying insurance, because I'm very aware of the fact that there are substantial number of people...

I have a good friend who's a Christian scientist, and she said to me, "You know, it would violate my religious freedom for you to impose on me health insurance since I don't believe in using it." Now, I thought... That, frankly, I thought was a very compelling argument. That was part of the evolution as we thought this through, and in the speech I'll give next in New Hampshire I'm gonna outline the patient power model that John Goodman has been building; and I'm gonna suggest that we want to apply the Tenth Amendment to return most of these decisions back to the states and to recognize that Washington has been a grand failure at trying to solve health care in a centralized way.

RUSH: Now, look, this is really uncomfortable for me because you know that we've known each other a long time and I've had such -- and still do -- profound respect, admiration, and even envy for your intellect at times. But there's just some things that are confusing me. There's a June 2007 op-ed in the Des Moines Register, and you wrote, "Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it."

An "individual mandate," you added, should be applied "when the larger health-care system has been fundamentally changed." The reason why all of this matters now is that 26 states are suing the Obama administration over the Commerce Clause violation of an individual mandate, and yet it appears that there are some on our side who have also supported this, and your appearance on Sunday with Gregory... I know he was going back to 1993, but when you answered it also with the "social engineering" side of it. I don't think it's good left or right, that's why people thought that it was a slam at Paul Ryan.

And so that's why this stuff is there and is not going away, because it seems that they can go back into archives and find where you have continually supported it even since 1993, and in the current context of us opposing all of Obamacare because we think the fastest way to beat it is to knock down the unconstitutionality of a mandate it just offers confusion here -- and that's why people are constantly asking you about this. What they want is a satisfying, reassuring answer. They just don't want to think you're not conservative anymore, Newt.

GINGRICH: Well, look, let me say a couple things that you can verify. When Bill McCollum as attorney general took the lead in the 26-state suit, I actively personally supported him. I encouraged him. I spoke out in his favor. I helped him get coverage. When [Virginia Attorney General Ken] Cuccinelli took the lead was the first person to file a lawsuit, I actively encouraged him and supported him. At the Center for Health Transformation we have been wrestling for nine years with the question: How do you have an affordable health system when you realize if you talk to hospital administrators, people have been taught over the last half century that health is their right, and they don't have to pay for it. So you have people who earn 75 or a hundred thousand dollars a year who won't pay their hospital bills. They just say, "I'm not doing it," and we were wrestling with what's the technique? How do you find personal responsibility without infringing on people's liberty.

RUSH: Right.

GINGRICH: As I said, my conclusion ultimately was that these various efforts were going to work -- and I have opposed the Obamacare proposal largely from the Center for Health Transformation for two and a half years. The three best charts destroying Obamacare's credibility all exist at HealthTransformation.net, and they combine, have 115 square feet of charts that you put up a wall. They're amazing. We did all that work, and we actively, aggressively have opposed Obamacare at every stage.

RUSH: All right. Newt Gingrich is with us.
BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We're back with Newt Gingrich here on the EIB Network. Okay, we want everybody to be responsible for their health care, but you now oppose mandates. So how do we solve that?

GINGRICH: Well, John Goodman has developed an entire approach in which he would give everyone the same tax break if they wanted to buy insurance, and the people who didn't want to buy insurance wouldn't be compelled to. Their share of the tax break would go into a high-risk pool. And if something did happen to them, they would then be eligible for the high-risk pool, but they would also be limited to the high-risk pool. And so they wouldn't have -- you wouldn't have -- an automatic assumption that you would be able to go be taken care of except through the high-risk pool because you'd made the voluntary decision you wanted to live at risk. He wrote a book several years ago called Patient Power and we began meeting at the American Enterprise Institute about these ideas in about 2001 -- and he's really, I think, probably the leading student of developing a personal freedom approach to how you solve the health problem.

RUSH: "The health problem" in a lot of people's minds exists precisely because of government, and therefore to a lot of people -- and I'll throw myself in with them -- the government's the last place the solution to this problem should be. The government messed it up; the government continues to mess it up. There's no evidence or proof that people in government are any smarter than people in the health care business to fix what's wrong. Why do we continue to accept the premise?

I mean, you're in a little bit of a trouble here simply because everybody's accepting the premise put forth by the liberals that government must fix, must police, must control health care because only they can do it fairly. We've gotten ourselves into a circumstance... I saw a statistic the other day that explains why we're in this mess. Of every $1 spent on health care, only 12¢ is paid for by the patient. Imagine, Newt, if you only had to pay 12% of every meal you ate. You wouldn't care what it costs, and that's where we are now, and government has created that circumstance.

GINGRICH: You're right.

RUSH: Getting government out of this is the solution to it.

GINGRICH: Right, and that's why my program will be among the most bold in American history at saying -- not just on this topic, but of many other topics -- we have to have a fundamental break with the last 80 years going back to 1932; that we've had a steady migration towards Washington and a steady migration towards bureaucracy, and a steady migration towards redistribution -- and if we're serious about stopping it, this will be the most decisive break since 1932. I wrote a book in 2002 called Saving Lives & Saving Money, which made exactly your argument.

It said: No third-party payment model ever works because you'd never have the buyer-seller relationship, and you only get satisfaction when the person getting this good or service is paying something and the person who's providing the good or service is getting something and they're looking each other in the eye and the system works. Now, how you migrate back to that is very complicated and you have to do it in a way that the country understands it and will accept it. So in Medicaid I will be proposing that we implement the Tenth Amendment by block granting all Medicaid back to the states, letting the states figure out what to do with it and recognizing that Washington has failed and that we need the experiments of the governors and the state legislatures trying to solve health for the poor.

RUSH: Okay, so you're signing on with the Ryan plan, essentially?

GINGRICH: Oh, yeah. I signed on for that part of the Ryan plan from day one. I've advocated consistently from day one, and, you know, I --

RUSH: What did you call to apologize to him for?
GINGRICH: I have talked to him for years; and my wife, Callista, has known him since he was an intern. We're big fans of Paul Ryan. But the second thing I would do, though, is I -- and this is the part of what probably got me in trouble so let me be very open about it. I believe we are better off as conservatives who believe in markets, to design choice for people so people can make the decision that this is better for them.

And when I was chairing the Medicare taskforce in '96, we initially designed Medicare Advantage to be attractive to people, so they would voluntarily go to it. Well, 25% of all seniors have found  Medicare Advantage to be something they like. We began building in health savings accounts, 'cause we want people to decide they like controlling their own money. I would like to see Congressman Tom Price's bill, which allows private contracting on a voluntary basis. I mean, one of these we learned in 1996 with extensive focus groups is senior citizens love to be allowed to choose.

They hate to be forced to choose, and so you want to say to them, "If you would like to have private contracting, if you would like to be allowed to spend your own money, if you're in a position where you'd like to do things your own way, why wouldn't we give you that freedom? We don't have the government require you to buy a government house after 65 or go in a government vacation or pick up a government car. So why not liberate Medicare to the point where seniors can choose?" and then the marketplace -- doctors, hospitals, pharmacies -- they've gotta organize competitively. So it's a more desirable future to accept the conservative personal choice option over the government bureaucrat-control option.

RUSH: Okay, now, I need to ask you because this is something you said on Sunday with Gregory that you didn't believe in "left wing or right-wing social engineering." What is that? Define social engineering for me.

GINGRICH: It's very straightforward. It's when the government comes in and tells you how to live your life and what you're gonna do, whether the values that lead it to do that are left-wing values or the values that lead it to do that are right-wing values. I believe in personal freedom. I believe in your right to lead your life. I believe that we are endowed by the Declaration of Independence, by Our Creator with the right to pursue happiness --and I want a government that is much more humble about its ability to tell you what to do, whether it's people on either side of the ideological spectrum. By the way, it was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer.

RUSH: Well, then what did you apologize to him about?

GINGRICH: Because it was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble, which he doesn't need or deserve, and was causing the House Republicans trouble. One of my closest friends -- somebody I truly, deeply respect -- e-mailed me and said, "You know, your answer hits every Republican who voted for the budget." Well, my answer wasn't about the budget. I promptly went back and said publicly, and continue to say: "I would have voted for the Ryan budget. I think it's a very important first step in the right direction," and I have consistently said that from the time that Paul first briefed me on it weeks before he introduced it -- and I've been talking with Paul Ryan about budget matters for the last four years.
4098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Presidents choosing Justices on: May 19, 2011, 07:41:17 PM
"...if Republicans offer a philosophy that all classes get equal justice (I know this may be more idealistic more than realistic) and an equal playing field..."
   - Yes, yes, yes!  All the targeted goodies, takings and policies that require waivers are exactly the opposite.

"Doug, you rightly point out the disgrace that wealthy people can have bribing local governments  to literally force people off their property  for business deals.  Well this is a local issue I guess but this has got to stop.  This is one example of unfairness due to economic class."
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No.  Unfairness due to bad governing policies.  I don't blame the rich for buying what was made legal and available to them.  I blame the Justices on the court who fail to recognize liberty and oppose tyranny.

It starts with Presidents appointing justices who respect founding principles, and they have not.  Then moves to the Senate confirm that we are continuing founding principles for a new justice's lifetime, and they have not.  Choosing Justices is right above Commander in Chief in the importance of Presidential duties IMO.  Also the most important vote of each Senator.

I wasted years studying the economic relationships of scarcity, demand, products, services, behavior of willing sellers and price theory only to now live in a country where transactions are decided by a politburo of elitists, who know best which private party is best suited to own which parcel.  The Court approved the power of local government to change private ownership by coercion based on money and false promises - the land at Kelo v. New London CT is still bulldozed and vacant.  They can declare my property no longer mine and your property no longer yours; decide it would be better used by someone else, then pay unjust compensation determined another panel of elitists who know better than a market what a life savings or a family home is worth.  That isn't the fault of people who covet.  It is the failure of the people sworn to uphold our guarantee against oppression and tyranny to do so.

Hard to say what these elitists who place no value on consent in transactions or privacy in our homes and businesses deserve.  One thought is to have Governor Huckebee pardon some inmates to move into their homes and offices to enjoy some legalized, unconsensual activity.  When they are done we can ask the inmates to send over what they think is 'just compensation'.

The deciding vote in Kelo was Justice Kennedy who sits in the seat President Reagan chose Robert Bork to serve.  VP Biden was head of the Judiciary Committee that invented the process called 'Borking' a candidate, elevating judicial nomination discord and leading to legalized private takings. President Obama in his minute in the senate, besides voting against raising the debt ceiling, voted against both Supreme Court nominees of his predecessor.  People say conservatives need to compromise more and reach to the middle to win.  With wins like these, how will we know when we lose.
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In comparison to Reagan's time, we have the opportunity next year to choose someone who will govern where Reagan would like to have governed instead of where he did.  And they don't Reagan's charisma to pull it off.  Just a clear and focused return to basic common sense and time tested principles.
4099  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Head injury/brain damage/concussion in hockey: What's your head worth? on: May 18, 2011, 11:57:38 AM
Crafty: "I'm looking for leads on good sources of data concerning just how much impact a human skull/brain can safely take."

I recall an ad for helmet breakthroughs that ran during the high school championships.  I finally went back to dig that out.  It is called the Messier Project, M11
http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=844818
http://www.themessierproject.com/
http://www.themessierproject.com/theepidemic/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/sports/hockey/18concussion.html?_r=1&ref=hockey

A news story this week:  http://www.startribune.com/sports/wild/121813554.html  NHL star Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday, five months after he sustained a season-ending concussion with the New York Rangers.  There was a delay to announce cause of death; now they say suicide.  The family has donated his brain at his request to research: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2011-05-16-1035067980_x.htm "... spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine confirmed Sunday that his brain will be examined for signs of a degenerative disease often found in athletes who sustain repeated hits to the head." BU Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy I think will be a good place to start for existing research.

A more simple answer to your question.  Your sport and so many others I think need to figure out how to keep the intensity up but get the impact to the head down.  The better we are able to measure damage, the more we are going to find.  'What's your head worth?'
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(Update: The NHL death above is now called accidental overdose, oxycontin and alcohol.)
4100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Rest in Peace, Harmon Killebrew on: May 18, 2011, 11:21:35 AM
Thank you CCP!  Harmon Killebrew was my childhood hero.  Class act!  It took very little charting to figure where to sit in left field and be guaranteed Killebrew home run baseball.  Mostly from pre-game batting practice but I think I got one every time I went to the ballpark.  Pretty amazing for a little kid, to sit some 400 feet away and have your favorite player hit it right into your glove.
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