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4201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs ,budget process: HAMSTER!! George Will on: February 24, 2013, 10:48:46 AM
George Will hits Obama's slow hanging curve ball out of the park:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-the-manufactured-crisis-of-sequester/2013/02/22/d22d4466-7c81-11e2-82e8-61a46c2cde3d_story.html

George F. Will
    Opinion Writer, Washington Post

The manufactured crisis of sequester

The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”

“Forced”? The Navy did indeed cite the sequester when delaying deployment of the USS Truman. In the high-stakes pressure campaign against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, U.S. policy has been to have two carriers in nearby waters. Yet the Navy is saying it cannot find cuts to programs or deployments less essential than the Truman deployment. The Navy’s participation in the political campaign to pressure Congress into unraveling the sequester is crude, obvious and shameful, and it should earn the Navy’s budget especially skeptical scrutiny by Congress.

The Defense Department’s civilian employment has grown 17 percent since 2002. In 2012, defense spending on civilian personnel was 21 percent higher than in 2002. And the Truman must stay in Norfolk? This is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.

The sequester’s critics correctly say it is not the most intelligent way to prune government; priorities among programs should be set. But such critics are utopians if they are waiting for the arrival of intelligent government. The real choice today is between bigger or smaller unintelligent government.

Obama, who believes government spends money more constructively than do those who earn it, warns that the sequester’s budgetary nicks, amounting to one-half of 1 percent of gross domestic product, will derail the economy. A similar jeremiad was heard in 1943 when economist Paul Samuelson, whose Keynesian assumptions have trickled down to Obama, said postwar cuts in government would mean “the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced.”

Federal spending did indeed shrink an enormous 40 percent in one year. And the economy boomed.

Because crises are government’s excuse for growing, liberalism’s motto is: Never let a crisis go unfabricated. But its promiscuous production of crises has made them boring.

Remember when, in the 1980s, thousands died from cancers caused by insufficient regulation of the chemical Alar sprayed on apples? No, you don’t because this alarming prediction fizzled. Alar was not, after all, a risk.

Remember when “a major cooling of the climate” was “widely considered inevitable” (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must “stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974). Newsweek (April 28, 1975) said meteorologists were “almost unanimous” that cooling would “reduce agricultural productivity.”

Today, while Obama prepares a governmental power grab to combat global warming, sensible Americans, tuckered out with apocalypse fatigue, are yawning through the catastrophe du jour, the sequester. They say: Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the hamsters of sequestration.
4202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - ObamaCare and the '29ers' on: February 23, 2013, 03:40:07 PM
I have referenced the phenomenon in France several times:  Why France has so many 49 person companies.  Of course it is because so many regulations kick in when you hit 50 that new or further employment is thwarted.  Now it is the trend in America brought on by Obama and the Dems who preceded him and supported his policies ending exactly what they were trying to cause more of, companies paying full time benefits to more employees:

ObamaCare and the '29ers'
How the new mandates are already reducing full-time employment.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324616604578304072420873666.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Here's a trend you'll be reading more about: part-time "job sharing," not only within firms but across different businesses.

It's already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we've heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King BKW +2.39% or Wendy's to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts.

Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare. The law requires firms with 50 or more "full-time equivalent workers" to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says "equivalent" because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don't offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.

These employment cliffs are especially perverse economic incentives. Thousands of employers will face a $40,000 penalty if they dare expand and hire a 50th worker. The law is effectively a $2,000 tax on each additional hire after that, so to move to 60 workers costs $60,000. ...  ( more at the link)
------------------
What could possibly go wrong with these kinds of policies?
4203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science, Winter is still on - 2013 on: February 23, 2013, 03:33:58 PM
Previously on the thread we see record cold temps in China and Siberia when it was warmer in other places.  The phrase global warming seems to be dead now because the warming isn't consistent or necessarily global.  The climate is always changing so the term climate change is safer to use, can apply to everything and can't be disproven.

The last 5 winters in Germany were colder than 'normal'.  This chart show the cooling trend since 1988:


I keep running into evidence that winter continues at least so far despite humans and their bad behaviors.  Yesterday I took a long drive along the mighty Mississippi only to find it completely frozen over.  Not up north where it is small but in southern Minnesota where it is a mile wide.  A truck parked at at an ice fishing house prompted me to take a picture.  Apologies for the quality of the shot not showing just how beautiful this is, but this is the Mighty Mississippi fully frozen over and blanketed with snow for as far as the eye can see:


Next is an ice road on the world's largest freshwater lake:

http://bayfield.org/bayfield-activities/ice-road/

Maybe next year warming will spiral out of control or maybe from where you are it looks like it already has.  Not so here.

4204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / America's Inner City; Half of Detroit property owners don't pay taxes on: February 22, 2013, 01:51:00 PM
An estimated 47 percent of Detroit’s property owners pay no taxes, according to recent report from The Detroit News.
(Abortion rights taking a toll?)

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130221/METRO01/302210375/
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/22/report-47-percent-of-detroit-property-owners-pay-no-taxes/

“Nearly half of the owners of Detroit’s 305,000 properties failed to pay their tax bills last year, exacerbating a punishing cycle of declining revenues and diminished services for a city in a financial crisis,” the report notes, citing more than 200,000 pages of tax documents.

“Some $246.5 million in taxes and fees went uncollected, about half of which was due Detroit and the rest to other entities, including Wayne County, Detroit Public Schools and the library,” the report adds.

In fact, according to The News, delinquency in the shattered city is so bad that that 77 blocks had only one owner who paid taxes in 2012.

Yes, one person paid taxes in an area covering 77 blocks.
4205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anatomy of a stoning on: February 22, 2013, 01:03:33 PM

Ughh!!!  The religion of peace, gay rights, women's rights.  One might say that such harsh penalties, no one would commit the 'crime'.  Unfortunately, among the 'offenders' are young female rape victims:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/world/africa/05somalia.html
4206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: February 22, 2013, 12:55:26 PM
"The left's war on women (and children) continues."

And war on religion.  Also the left's war on science.  By the time you detect a separate heartbeat it is pretty hard to argue this is no living thing. 


"I see that Gov. Cuomo of NY is seeking to expand late-term abortions.  Anyone have details?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/02/20/cuomos-logical-but-risky-late-term-abortion-push/
Andrew Cuomo’s late-term abortion push
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/nyregion/cuomo-bucks-tide-with-bill-to-lift-abortion-limits.html
guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable.

I haven't read New York law but there is ALWAYS an exception for when the life of the mother is in danger.  (Look for the iberals lie in the first sentence.)  What child is "viable" when the mother is stabbing it or holding a plastic bag over its head?

We need legal abortion because we know many unwanting mothers will kill the baby anyway in what they used to call back alley abortions.  Why not update the New York code for unwanted spouses.  We know that a good number of them will be killed anyway.  Why not facilitate that in a safer environment?
4207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance Glibness - Best of times and worst for African Americans on: February 22, 2013, 12:02:33 PM
Pres. Barack Obama:  "And you know, I think these are both the best of times and the worst of times for large portions of the African American community."

No recognition whatsoever of the unemployment and dependency damage that his policies have caused.  All partisanship about the hatred of Republicans.

I can't believe host Al Sharpton didn't ask tougher questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVH8IMm_ulk&feature=player_embedded#!
------

African American Teen Unemployment Rate at a 25 Year High
http://www.laprogressive.com/african-american-teen-unemployment/

155,000 New Jobs Added, But Black Unemployment Rises
http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/01/04/155000-new-jobs-added-but-black-unemployment-rises/

Black teen unemployment still 4 times national average
http://thegrio.com/2011/03/04/is-black-teen-unemployment-the-biggest-threat-to-us-economy/
seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for African Americans between the ages of 16 and 19 reached 49 percent, up from 45.4 percent in August and 41.7 percent for the same period last year.
http://www.laprogressive.com/african-american-teen-unemployment/

once unemployed, Blacks are less likely to find jobs and tend to stay unemployed for longer periods of time. Blacks remained unemployed longer than Whites or Hispanics in 2011, with a median duration of unemployment of 27.0 weeks (compared to 19.7 for Whites and 18.5 for Hispanics).
http://www.dol.gov/_sec/media/reports/blacklaborforce/
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Best of times because of increased opportunities - in an intentionally shrinking economy?

Fool me once, fool me twice, looks like a pattern...
4208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jack Lew- Forrest Gump at Treasury? on: February 22, 2013, 11:13:45 AM
NYU, a taxpayer owned institution, paid Lew $840,339 in a year and lent him and additional $1.4 million Mr. Lew said that the university "provided a mortgage forgiven in equal installments over five years, and an additional shared appreciation mortgage."  Plus severance when he left voluntarily.  Citi paid him 1.1 million to run a group that lost a billion and required a taxpayer bailout.  Let's put him in charge of the Treasury.  Liberals and leftists are up in arms about this.  Just kidding.
----
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323949404578314412568158962.html

Jack Lew doesn't seem to know much about how or why he got paid.

Senate Democrats are in a hurry to confirm Jack Lew as Secretary of the Treasury before anyone notices his biography. Otherwise, liberal lawmakers might be embarrassed voting for a man who represents everything they've been campaigning against.

Investor in Cayman Islands tax haven? Check. Recipient of a bonus and corporate jet rides underwritten by taxpayers at a bailed-out bank? Check. Executive at a university that accepted student-loan "kickbacks" for steering kids toward a favored bank? Check. Excessive compensation with minimal disclosure? Check.

Like a financial Forrest Gump, Mr. Lew keeps walking into the frame of the business-political dramas of the last decade. But unlike the lovable movie character, Mr. Lew is playing the villain of liberal financial lore. One very compelling role, highlighted by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), was Mr. Lew's star turn as an administrator at a university that encouraged students to borrow from his future employers at Citibank.

Prior to working at Citi, Mr. Lew was the executive vice president for operations at New York University from 2001-2006. He was responsible for NYU's budget and finances. During his tenure the university agreed to recognize Citibank as its primary private lender for student loans. Citibank in turn paid NYU 0.25% of the value of the loans.

Mr. Lew and the school say that Citi offered the payments to NYU only after winning a competitive process to offer low rates to students. Mr. Lew says he doesn't recall much about the arrangement, and he responded to a Grassley inquiry by saying, Gump-like, "I do not believe that I approved the selection of Citigroup as C +0.61% a preferred lender for NYU students."

We never thought it was the crime of the century for universities to get a cut of loan revenue when they recommended particular lenders to students. But politicians like Senator Max Baucus (D., Mont.) referred to these payments as "kickbacks." Yes, the same Max Baucus who has spent his career howling about the Cayman Islands. Yes, the same Mr. Baucus who has now forgotten how outraged he is while supporting Mr. Lew's nomination.

Anyway, after Mr. Lew had left NYU to work at Citi, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged in 2007 that the school's payments from Citi had not been adequately disclosed to students and that the school's policy toward Citi created a conflict of interest and violated state laws. NYU settled without admitting any wrongdoing and agreed to a new code of conduct.

We'd have thought this story would offend principled liberals, but then they're also giving a pass to Mr. Lew's fabulous compensation from the tax-exempt school. NYU students shoulder one of the highest collective debt burdens in the country as they struggle to afford one of the nation's most expensive universities. For those who claim after watching Mr. Lew's confirmation hearing that he doesn't understand finance, we say: Check out his NYU compensation package. He sure knows how to get paid.

According to a 2004 report in NYU's student newspaper, Washington Square News, Mr. Lew was paid $840,339 during the 2002-2003 academic year. This meant that Mr. Lew earned more than most of the country's university presidents that year, including his own boss, John Sexton.

After more Grassley inquiries and reporting by the New York Post, it's not clear whether even that astronomical figure covers all the compensation paid to this employee of an ostensibly nonprofit outfit.

The Post discovered in NYU's IRS forms that the school lent Mr. Lew at least $1.4 million. When Mr. Grassley asked the Treasury nominee about it, Mr. Lew said that the university "provided a mortgage forgiven in equal installments over five years, and an additional shared appreciation mortgage."

Mr. Lew says that NYU reported "income related to housing assistance" on his W-2, so it's possible the loan subsidy was counted in the $840,339 figure. We asked NYU and the Treasury to disclose Mr. Lew's total compensation from the school, including benefits. NYU suggested we review their public tax filings and White House spokesman Eric Schultz said only that, "Mr. Lew has answered more questions than any Treasury Secretary nominee in history. He has been fully transparent and responsive to the Committee and deserves a vote as soon as possible."

What Mr. Lew has told Mr. Grassley is that "in addition" to his salary, he received other benefits, including "a one-time severance payment upon my departure." The website for the Obama Department of Labor notes, "Severance pay is often granted to employees upon termination of employment." That's our understanding as well—severance is typically paid to employees being laid off. But NYU says he left voluntarily.

Why would the school shovel still more money to an employee as a parting gift before he heads off to Wall Street? NYU is a university that gets favorable tax treatment on the premise that it is pursuing an educational mission, not a commercial or political one.
***

The Grassley inquiry is unlikely to derail Mr. Lew's nomination, because Senate Democrats, the White House and most of the media really don't care. But Mr. Grassley is doing a public service in revealing how liberals redistribute income to themselves. And Mr. Lew is finally delivering educational value to youngsters by providing a lesson for the Obama era: If you want the big bucks, go into the world of taxpayer-backed enterprises.
4209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues - Charles Krauthammer: The Lesser of Two Evils on: February 22, 2013, 10:49:47 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-immigration--the-lesser-of-two-evils/2013/02/21/d20213cc-7c63-11e2-9a75-dab0201670da_story.html

Immigration — the lesser of two evils

By Charles Krauthammer, Published: February 21

The president suggested he would hold off introducing his own immigration bill as long as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace — until his own immigration bill mysteriously leaked precisely as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace.

A naked political maneuver and a blunt warning to Republicans: Finish that immigration deal in Congress, or I’ll propose something I know you can’t accept — and flog the issue mercilessly next year to win back the House.

John McCain responded (correctly) that President Obama was creating a “cudgel” to gain “political advantage in the next election.” Marco Rubio, a chief architect of the Senate bill, called Obama’s alternative dead on arrival.

They doth protest quite a lot. Especially because on the single most important issue — instant amnesty — there is no real difference between the proposals.

Rubio calls it “probationary legal status.” Obama uses the term “lawful prospective immigrant.” But both would instantly legalize the 11 million illegal immigrants living here today. The moment either bill is signed, the 11 million become eligible for legal residence, the right to work and relief from the prospect of deportation.

Their life in the shadows is over, which is what matters to them above all. Call the status probationary or prospective but, in reality, it is permanent. There is no conceivable circumstance (short of criminality) under which the instant legalization would be revoked.

This is bad policy. It repeats the 1986 immigration reform that legalized (the then) 3 million while promising border enforcement — which was never carried out. Which opened the door to today’s 11 million. And to the next 11 million as soon as the ink is dry on this reform.

The better policy would be enforcement first, followed by amnesty. Yes, amnesty. But only when we have ensured that these 11 million constitute the last cohort.

How to ensure that? With three obvious enforcement measures: (a) a universal E-Verify system by which employers must check the legal status of all their hires; (b) an effective system for tracking those who have overstayed their visas; and (c) closure of the southern border, mainly with the kind of triple fence that has proved so successful near San Diego.

If legalization would go into effect only when these conditions are met, there would be overwhelming bipartisan pressure to get enforcement done as quickly as possible.

Regrettably, there appears to be zero political will to undertake this kind of definitive solution. Democrats have little real interest in border enforcement. They see a rising Hispanic population as the key to a permanent Democratic majority. And Republicans are so panicked by last year’s loss of the Hispanic vote by 44 points that they have conceded instant legalization. As in the Rubio proposal.

Hence Rubio’s fallback. He at least makes enforcement the trigger for any normalization beyond legalization. Specifically, enforcement is required before the 11 million can apply for a green card.

A green card is surely a much weaker enforcement incentive than is legalization. But it still is something. Obama’s proposal, on the other hand, obliterates any incentive for enforcement.

Obama makes virtually automatic the eventual acquisition of a green card and citizenship by today’s 11 million. The clock starts on the day the bill is signed: eight years for a green card, five more for citizenship. It doesn’t matter if the border is flooded with millions of new illegal immigrants (anticipating yet the next amnesty). The path to citizenship is irreversible, rendering enforcement irrelevant.

As for Obama’s enforcement measures themselves, they are largely mere gestures: increased funding for border control, more deportation judges, more indeterminate stretching of a system that has already demonstrably failed. (Hence today’s 11 million.) Except for the promise of an eventual universal E-Verify system, it is nothing but the appearance of motion.

And remember: Non-implementation of any of this has no effect on the path to full citizenship anyway. The Rubio proposal at least creates some pressure for real enforcement because green-card acquisition does not take place until the country finally verifies that its borders are under its control. True, a far weaker incentive than requiring enforcement before legalization. But that fight appears to be totally lost.

In the end, the only remaining vessel for enforcement is the Rubio proposal. It is deeply flawed and highly imperfect. But given that the Obama alternative effectively signs away America’s right to decide who enters the country, the choice between the two proposals on the table today is straightforward.
4210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 21, 2013, 11:53:36 PM
http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/20/what-causes-government-spending-to-go-do
From the article:
...
The biggest surprise of all, of course, is that real, per-capita spending has not just flattened under Barack Obama but has actually declined.

[Crafty already nailed this but I post my thoughts as they were written.]

Surprising because it is both false and misleading.

Covered somewhere in the threads here, these discredited studies put the first 8+ months of Obama's Presidency in the Bush budgets.  The federal fiscal year is Oct 1-to the following Sept 30.  That kind of budget tracking makes sense in ordinary times, runners left on base, but in this case it included amazing amounts of "emergency spending" before and after inauguration.

The emergency spending between the election and the inauguration was on Bush's watch but in consultation and agreement with President-elect Obama, and also with direct approval of Obama as a de facto leader of the Senat majority that approved the spending.  The lie in Washington was that these emergency disbursements were temporary.
 
What is most dishonest is to put the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress with all Democrat majorities in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009 by President Barack Obama onto George Bush's budget year.  

What the flawed accounting accomplishes is to move the increases to Bush and then when President Obama breaks the temporary spending promise in the legislation and makes nearly a trillion a year of emergency spending permanent and then steps up and says he slowed or ended the increases in spending.

Besides screwed up budget years, the red-blue designations for President ignore the makeup of congress - where spending bills originate.  The 2008 surge is under a Dem congress.  The Clinton spending restraint 1995-2001 was under a Republican congress.  The people at Reason should know better but libertarians opposing Republicans and vice versa is part of the problem.  

I prefer to tie policies more than people or party or calendar dates to economic results.  For tax revenues, it is not what year did Reagan or Bush get elected, but what date did their policies take effect.

The effect of the Nov 2006 election that elevated Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Hillary-Biden-Ellison et al to the majorities in congress was that tax rate cuts could not and would not get renewed, meaning to investors faced higher tax rates going forward.  Investment is forward looking on tax rates.  A 50+ month employment expansion that began with the full implementation of the Bush tax rate cuts ended at that time and unemployment hit its bottom at 4.7% and headed up. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts  Unemployment rising means structurally higher spending.  In 2008 facing apparent certainty of tax rate increases at year end the financial markets crashed.  Whether one buys my economic theory or not, to put a red bar on spending for 2008 and then characterize the budget fights of Obama, Boehner and McConnell as Democratic spending restraint is not just simplistic, but flagrantly deceptive.  

Other than that, I like Nick Gillespie, Reason magazine and economist Veronica de Rugy.

[another good point from Crafty is that Obamacare which had zero Republican votes and no dollars to speak of on that congress' record or this President so far, is supposedly unrepealable in divided government, yet will count against the spending record of the next President - trillions over budget.  Very unfair. Again, tie the policies, not calendars or names on the door, to the results when you are serious about policy analysis.

The war point is also very good.  The 'Bush' wars were arguably a result - partly - of Clinton's intelligence defunding and Clinton not really addressing either of those known threats in his Presidency.  From the same chart, was Truman a wild spender in 1945 or did he wrap up a Hitler/FDR/Imperial Japan war?]
4211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: February 21, 2013, 09:02:50 PM
On the first part regarding unanimous cases and interesting splits, point taken!  I admit reading only high profile cases.


"A person is most secure in his home. And if you don't agree with Roe, why cite it?"

The womb is where a person first felt secure. Whoops: http://www.numberofabortions.com/

I agree wholeheartedly with the finding of a right of privacy in the womb in Roe and a right of privacy in the home as seen by the dissenters in Kelo, and in my health insurance records and choices.  The right of privacy in the home would not shield you in the event of a killing or even a case of mistreatment of animals, see Michael Vick.  Ditto for the womb, in my opinion.  Short of the interest of protecting another life, all the choices and records of the womb are hers.

My point bringing up Roe may be lost because it is not the same Justices on Roe, Kelo and ACA.  That said, I think these four Justices recognize privacy quite clearly even while an innocent life is taken in one situation yet don't give it a thought or a mention that I noticed for the citizen who is home minding his or her own business.  That neglect troubles me.

"Is there another argument to be made without so much fallout for your own beliefs?"

I will accept your help in answering that.  I gave my best shot above at making the distinction.  For me, privacy is recognized in all cases but not past the point where the health policy records, the home or the womb become tied to a terror case, a killing, evidence of mistreatment, endangerment of others, etc.  That's when privacy ends and the authorities can come in - to protect others.  These Justices are in effect sending in the authorities when you are sitting home, harming no one, paying your property taxes and all the healthcare expenses you incur (actual, not ACA) in full and on time.  For that, they can still take your home.


4212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion Horror for both mother and daughter/son on: February 21, 2013, 01:54:58 PM
Mother sues Planned Parenthood over forced, botched abortion
    by Heidi Miller
    February 20, 2013
 
When Ayanna Byer scheduled an appointment at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to take an abortion pill to end her pregnancy, there was no way for her to foresee the horrors ahead of her.  Earlier this month, Byer, through the assistance of the attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, brought a lawsuit to hold Planned Parenthood liable for the botched abortion that she did not consent to.

According to that complaint, when Byer arrived at the Planned Parenthood clinic, it was determined that her pregnancy was too far along to be terminated through the use of a pill, therefore a surgical abortion was recommended. Ms. Byer agreed upon the condition that she would receive IV anesthesia, for which she would be charged extra.  Although the employees could not get the IV started, the doctor came to start the procedure anyway.

The complaint states:

    At this time, Plaintiff immediately told the Planned Parenthood Doctor to stop and that she did not want to go through with the abortion procedure because she had not received any anesthetic.  Plaintiff also informed Planned Parenthood Doctor and agents or employees of Planned Parenthood Defendants that she believed this to be a sign she should not go through with the abortion.  The Planned Parenthood Doctor did not stop despite Plaintiff’s request, and assured Plaintiff the I.V. would be administered and the procedure would only take a few minutes.

    At this time, the Planned Parenthood Doctor turned on the vacuum machines and told Plaintiff it was too late to stop.

Seven minutes later, due to Ms. Byer crying from pain, the procedure finally stopped. She received an apology and a prescription for a painkiller and antibiotics and was sent on her way. Planned Parenthood never followed up with her.

About two days later, Ms. Byer went to the hospital due to pain and bleeding, where it was found that part of the aborted baby was still inside her, resulting in an infection. She had to have emergency surgery.

Sources: NY Times, LA Times and Washington Post.  Just kidding, maybe they will cover it tomorrow
http://liveactionnews.org/mother-sues-planned-parenthood-over-forced-botched-abortion/
http://www.adfmedia.org/files/ByerComplaint.pdf
4213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: February 21, 2013, 12:46:35 PM
Thanks Bigdog.  When Justice Stevens said Kelo was the most unpopular decision in his entire career I assumed he was caught reading the forum.   wink

Do you see some of these same problems in the healthcare decision?  Roberts view aside, the other four never seem to object to expansions of government powers and the corresponding losses of individual rights and freedoms.  As much as owning a home, isn't something as basic as the right to choose what services you want to buy or insure in my opinion a basic right in a free society?  Aren't healthcare choices part of a right to privacy?  Especially in the wake of Roe!
4214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: February 21, 2013, 11:17:15 AM
The Republicans on the cable shows keep going after Obama.  I think this is off the mark. 
The target is too narrow.  They should not go after him.  They must go after all leaders of the Democrat Party.
I mean Hillary is on deck while she begins a speaking tour just like Bill did for her in 2008 ; a quarter million a pop.
If we focus only on Brock we will miss the rest of the enemy assault.

It is the governing philosophies, not the person, we oppose, and the criticisms just deflect off of him anyway.  But still this is a people business.  We need to do both, impugn these policies and hold specific people accountable for their results.

The lost popularity of George Bush in his second term cost him (us) 1) the House, 2) the Senate, 3) all of his second term domestic agenda including energy.  It meant that tax rates cuts would expire instead of becoming permanent.   And the agenda that never happened should have included housing finance reform that might have prevented or alleviated the severity of 4) the financial collapse.  Bush's lost popularity 5) guaranteed the election of the other party in the next Presidential election.  That is a big swing for just convincing the people they have a lousy President.  Bush partly deserved that.  So does Obama.

If Pres. Obama is tied personally to the failed economy, even after reelection, it hurts his ability to move more legislation, more spending,more taxes.  It hurts his ability to help Dem House and Senate candidates next year, it hurts the prospects of the next Dem nominee, and it hurts the future reputation of leftism. 
4215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care - Ezekiel J. Emanuel on: February 21, 2013, 10:11:15 AM
CCP, I looked up Rahm's brother Ezekial and found many columns at the NYT:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/ezekiel-j-emanuel/

Reading through I found him to be somewhat reasonable and restrained for a liberal.  I didn't find anything overly provocative or controversial like a Krugman for example.

For a question in a room full of doctors I would look for something where both the question and the answer might resonate with the audience.  Perhaps something along the line of asking how can we limit government's role to informing, but not interfere with or replace the judgment of the attending physician.

A not very timely and more hostile question: Given that the more an industry is controlled by government the less they are able to innovate, improve services or control costs, why do we turn over our most important industries to the entity with the worst track record for performance?

His most recent column:

February 14, 2013, 9:11 pm158 Comments
Health Care’s Good News
By EZEKIEL J. EMANUEL

THINK about it. When was the last time you heard the phrases “good news” and “health care costs” in the same sentence?

I can’t remember either.

Most of the recent talk about health care spending has been pretty bleak. Just take a look at the Rate Review Tool on Healthcare.gov and you’ll know why. Major insurers are proposing painful, double-digit premium increases in 2013. In California, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Aetna all announced rate increases of 20 percent or higher for some of their customers. Many are taking this as a sign that, despite its intentions, the health care reform law is failing and costs are going up as a result.

But there is something bigger going on here, though commentators may not be shouting about it. Health care spending is still going up, but the rate at which it grows year to year has actually been declining for about a decade now.

This is truly a sea change. Look at Medicare: over the last 43 years, costs per beneficiary grew 2.7 percent faster than the overall economy. That’s why Medicare spending rose from $7.7 billion in 1970 (or 0.7 percent of gross domestic product) to $551 billion in 2012 (almost 4 percent of G.D.P.). But this trend has finally reversed; over the last three years, Medicare costs per person have grown 1.3 percent slower than growth in the overall economy. In January, a Department of Health and Human Services report showed that Medicare spending per beneficiary grew just 0.4 percent in 2012. And last week, the Congressional Budget Office lowered its 10-year Medicare spending projection by $137 billion, because “health care spending has grown much more slowly” than “historical rates would have indicated.”

This slowdown is not limited to Medicare, nor is it simply the result of belt-tightening in the wake of the Great Recession. Since 2004 — nearly four years before the economic downturn — the rate of health care inflation per person has been just 0.8 percent higher than the growth of the G.D.P. Between 1965 and 1993, for comparison, it was 3.2 percent higher.

So if the growth of spending is decelerating, why are premiums increasing? First, the big increases were in relatively small parts of the market, among individual and small-business policies. Second, like everyone else in the health care industry, insurance companies are uncertain about the future, particularly about what will happen to their margins when the new exchanges open in October. The natural response to uncertainty is caution, and for insurance companies, the cautious approach is to increase revenue and profits as much as possible in the short term in case Obamacare lowers them in the long term.

But once the exchanges begin to facilitate competition, this fear should dissipate and premiums should come down.

Regardless, the good news on health care costs shouldn’t make us complacent. Despite the slowdown, total Medicare spending is still rising, because more and more baby boomers are becoming eligible for the program every day. The number of beneficiaries is projected to grow 3 percent each year. As a result, total Medicare expenditures are projected to rise to over 4 percent of the G.D.P. by 2023 and to 6.7 percent by 2037. This is a looming threat to the nation’s long-term fiscal stability.

So what more can be done? Here is another piece of good news: there are many common sense reforms that should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.

One example is competitive bidding. Historically, the government has effectively set prices through Medicare for wheelchairs, hospital beds and other medical equipment. But a demonstration project begun in 2011 introduced competitive bidding in roughly 100 metropolitan areas to see if market forces could bring down prices. The results have been dramatic. Prices for oxygen equipment went down 41 percent; wheelchairs, 36 percent; hospital beds, 44 percent; and the cost of diabetic testing equipment, like glucose strips, dropped by a whopping 72 percent. And research has shown no adverse effects on beneficiaries.

The Affordable Care Act will expand competitive bidding for these items to the rest of the country in 2016. But why wait? We should roll it out nationwide next year. And it shouldn’t just be for medical equipment. In his last budget, President George W. Bush recommended expanding competitive bidding for blood tests and other lab procedures. It could also work for X-rays, CT scans, pacemakers — for all medical commodities. This would drive health care spending growth closer to the increase in G.D.P.

The moderating of health care spending is fantastic news. But now we just have to work harder. If we can push the rate of growth even lower, we will come close to solving our nation’s long-term financial problems.
4216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Debate Commission Co-Chair says selection of Candy Crowley was a "mistake" on: February 20, 2013, 01:54:14 PM
Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, admitted that the selection of CNN's Candy Crowley to moderate the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in October 2012 had been a "mistake."

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

Fahrenkopf is a Republican.  Democrats disagree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again talking out of both sides of the mouth leaves a quote on record for all purposes.  Too bad that in the age of information we still have a partisan, lapdog press.
4217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: February 20, 2013, 12:17:57 PM
"China’s Army Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S. "

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

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

Phew!!  That ought to do it.

On second thought, if they believed "raising concerns at the highest level" will stop it, why admit the need to do it "repeatedly"?
4218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Retired Justice Stevens in defense of Kelo on: February 20, 2013, 11:57:24 AM
http://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/speeches/1.pdf
A speech by retired Justice Stevens defending Kelo.

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

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

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

Huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like the stunned dissenters in NFIB v. Sebelius repeatedly questioned, what powers doesn't the federal government have if they have all of these?  Stated differently since this is about local government powers, what rights have you retained now that you lost all of these?  Very few.  If you follow the Stevens hypocrisy of original text selectivity carried forward by enough others, you will retain only those rights that are recognized by 5 elites on a given day, generally those linked in politics to liberal causes.  
4219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: February 19, 2013, 09:35:35 PM
Crafty wrote recently: "I note how hard the first Euro downturn hit the US markets."

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

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

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

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

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

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.
http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/198468.Margaret_Thatcher
4220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 19, 2013, 09:00:59 PM
Excellent points, all of them.  Singling this one out: 

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

On other threads we have been discussing income tax rates in general and California in particular.  Both federal and state tax rates just went up in Calif on high incomes, tending to chase away productive investment and new hiring.  A surge of foreign cash coming in to buy existing homes may be a surprise, but not a contradiction to that theory.  Wealth coming in is not taxed, just new income.  Cash sales of existing home causes almost no new hiring for an investment that size, just a name change on the title.  For the seller it is a tax free transaction because of the homestead exemption and decreased values, and selling the home can be a ticket to leave Calif.  A surge of foreign cash buyers of existing homes in popular coastal areas does not in itself change the Calif employment situation.  Unemployment is currently 9.8% and likely to get worse.  Hard to wage a real recovery in housing when the most important underlying factors, business investment and employment, are so gravely ill.  MHO.
4221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Cass Sunstein, ends justify means on: February 19, 2013, 01:29:07 PM
Continuing in our get to the know the left series.

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

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

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

"Conly convincingly argues that behavioral findings raise significant questions about Mill’s harm principle [coersion can only be to prevent harm to others]. When people are imposing serious risks on themselves, it is not enough to celebrate freedom of choice and ignore the consequences."
4222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: February 19, 2013, 01:03:34 PM
"financial remittances most often sent by Somalis in the U.S. back to family members in Somalia. Such remittances have become harder to make over fears that people sending money could be accused of aiding a terrorist organization such as al-Shabab."
-----------------

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

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

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

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

Besides a Somali magnet, Minneapolis is also a leading gay rights district.  Maybe Rep. Ellison can give a public lectures in Somalia about gay rights - and women's rights - while he is there.   Can't we all just get along?  I hope the Jihadists don't find out about his Catholic upbringing or his inconsistent Mosque attendance record.
4223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 18, 2013, 05:17:46 PM
Interesting.  I have only shot trap and shot skeet one time each a long time ago.  Does his gun show enough incline to be a skeet shot or is that a target shot?
To me, it looks like a shot at a static target. Probably a round of birdshot for the photo.

Yes.  The context of the photo release was that he said he was shooting skeet "all the time" at Camp David.  To support that claim they release a photo of him shooting last summer - at a target.
4224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gov. Hickenlooper: I drank the fracking fluid, a pro-energy Democrat? on: February 18, 2013, 05:08:21 PM
Gov of Colo, on my 2016 Dem short list, seems to be taking on the fracking opponents on the left (like the NY Times) by asserting that the fluid is completely safe.  He is such a newcomer that he doesn't even know the name Haliburton is a Democratic swear word.

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

I drank fracking fluid, says Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If we were overzealous in forcing them to disclose what they had created, they wouldn’t bring it into our state,” he said.
4225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 18, 2013, 04:47:35 PM
Interesting.  I have only shot trap and shot skeet one time each a long time ago.  Does his gun show enough incline to be a skeet shot or is that a target shot?
4226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 18, 2013, 04:34:23 PM
How many decades has it been since we have built new refineries?


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

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

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

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

Oil prices have been more stable, only up a couple of dollars lately.
------------
Good, detailed article here on gas prices:
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/why-are-gas-prices-going-up-when-demand-is-going-down-feature
Looks like gas prices now are the lowest they will ever again be.  A refinery in Phillie is going down this summer that is 1/4 of the east coast capacity?!!
4227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 18, 2013, 11:30:25 AM
Drudge lead:


Didn't the Cheney task force call for more refining capacity 12 YEARS AGO?!
4228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: February 18, 2013, 11:25:47 AM
"Our silence here on the Sequester cuts disturbs me.  Do we agree to tax increases to avoid them?  This is serious stuff!   With the massive contraction of the American navy apparently in the pipeline, what substance to our alleged pivot to the South China Sea?  Does not the day come when the Chinese blow us off of Taiwain?"

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Your comments on Rumsfeld are a reminder for those who say what difference would Hagel make.
4229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: February 18, 2013, 10:26:07 AM
"...note how hard the first Euro downturn hit the US markets"

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

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

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

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

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

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

All these taxes, rules and regulations keep out startups and newer, weaker competitors, and actually help the entrenched players to a point.  The DOW, NASDAQ and S&P are indexes of the entrenched players, not of the economy as a whole.  The big health insurers just got 30 million new customers for example, and the subsidies to help to sell autos, furnaces etc.  But these lines can't go in opposite directions forever.  These companies are not fully insulated from the other troubles in the economies.  Yes, if I was in the market I would be very worried.  If gold were at 400 or even under a thousand I might say put it all there.  At 1600-1800 an ounce, who knows.  The money most of us have won't buy much gold.  No easy answer except to think wisely about playing defense.
4230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, McCain v. David Gregory on: February 17, 2013, 11:28:18 PM
Gregory is trying to argue why we should not be looking into it?  A coverup of what?

McCain showing a backbone answers the question:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/17/john-mccain-snaps-at-david-gregory-over-benghazi-do-you-care-whether-or-not-four-americans-died/
4231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Only 17 states plus DC set up Obamacare exchanges before deadline on: February 17, 2013, 07:04:53 PM
The deadline was Friday.
---------------------------

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

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/16/after-obamacare-health-exchange-deadline-passes-26/#ixzz2LCxmemrv
-----------------
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/16/state-health-care-exchange-deadline-passed/1923257/
4232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 17, 2013, 12:42:50 PM
Milton Friedman had a license plate that said: MV=PQ, contending that each of four very important but difficult to measure variables are all intrinsically tied to each other, either proportionally or inversely.  The money supply times the velocity of money equals the total value of all the goods and services in the economy.

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

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

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

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

A bank reserve is money sitting still whether you count it or not.  Yes, if it were to invested and moving full speed in a fractional reserve system, it would grow in multiples.  The key to preventing or at least postponing a price spiraling crisis is our commitment to no-growth, anti-investment/employment policies.  What a miserable web we wove.
4233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - KY Senate 2014 on: February 15, 2013, 02:16:25 PM
Good points.  I am wondering who the Republican nominee will be.  Much of the dissatisfaction with McConnell in his home state comes from the right.

Also wondering what the Obama economy will look like 6 years into it while he takes one last shot at consolidating power.  If Democrats nationalize the election, it won't help candidates in the most conservative states.  Unemployment in KY is currently 8.1%.
4234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: February 15, 2013, 01:55:45 PM
This is the attack ad referred at the link:


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

The model (IMHO) for Dem victory in KY is probably Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota who ran with distance from Obama (http://heidifornorthdakota.com/issues/health-care/), not a Hollywood actress who would start from his left.
4235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, The wagon not the plowhorse on: February 15, 2013, 01:37:38 PM
"Industrial production declined 0.1%"
"Manufacturing, which excludes mining/utilities, declined 0.4% in January. Auto production fell 3.2%, while non-auto manufacturing declined 0.1%."
----------------
A Plowhorse can't pull a plow backwards.  The plowhorse analogy implies a very strong horse pulling a very heavy load at very slow, consistent pace.   But we aren't pulling a fixed load with a fixed force.  A good part of our load consists of people who could be helping us pull.

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

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

4236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Race, religion, ethnicity? "food fight" becomes chaos at Mpls South High School on: February 15, 2013, 10:27:35 AM
I'm having a hard time figuring this out.  The media and others report it as racial, African Americans versus the Somalis.  Where do they think Somalia is and what race do they see?  It looks to me like local blacks' intolerance of minority, immigrant blacks - for being different?  Authorities will be reviewing surveillance footage.

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

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

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

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







4237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi Shame on: February 14, 2013, 11:35:07 PM
Our President never made a phone call.  He didn’t talk to Leon Panetta, or any military personnel, or Hillary Clinton.  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/14/white-house-no-phone-calls-benghazi/  He accepted the defeat at the first sign of a fight, then probably worked with his speechwriters on the Vegas event. 
They may have worked out the cover story about the video while the fighting was still going on, not knowing it would drag on for 7-8 hours before the last American was killed. 

No backup was ever ordered.  How do you not even try to help?
4238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pope Benedict challenged Islam to live up to the slogan: religion of peace on: February 14, 2013, 08:37:55 PM
Pope Benedict XVI challenged Islam to live up to the slogan, religion of peace. in the 2006 Regensburg Lectures:

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

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/02/the-pope.php
4239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Chavez undergoing more treatments? on: February 14, 2013, 03:22:34 PM
Still no public appearance of Hugo Chavez.  The updates come only from the VP.  Has anyone else heard from him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any new vote in South America's top oil exporter would probably pit Maduro, Chavez's heir apparent, against Henrique Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state, who lost to Chavez in last October's presidential election.
4240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economic Obama 4 Year Scorecard: Wesbury losing vs. G M? on: February 14, 2013, 03:16:26 PM
Investors Business Daily says worst growth in 60 years!  Who predicted 0% growth?  Moving forward requires greater than 3% growth.  0.8% long term growth is more like a corpse lying in a morgue than a plowhorse working in a field.
--------------
Obama's first term, however, puts the paltry level of growth during Bush's second term in a newly favorable light. According to the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis), average annual real GDP growth during Obama's first term was a woeful 0.8%.

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

Prospects for the future under current policies:  More of the same, best case.
4241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: February 13, 2013, 11:20:41 AM
Copying my comment to the new thread.

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

Full text of the speech, 4 internet pages:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/12/full-text-of-rand-pauls-tea-party-response-to-state-of-the-union
4242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Marco Rubio! on: February 13, 2013, 10:56:37 AM
Crafty,  Good point, he is wrong about the rise in violence.  The rise is in media and public attention to it right now.  There are two points to be made in gun control, the wisdom or utter lack of it in these policies, but also the point that stomping all over the constitution is not an acceptable way to approach problems it no matter the efficacy.
--------

Van Jones, extreme liberal, commenting on Marco Rubio:

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

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

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

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

Spanish language version of speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2ec6HQKsIg
4243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Michelle Malkin asks: Who failed Chicago? on: February 13, 2013, 09:29:46 AM
Could go under Glibness, failed programs, gun control, ACORN corruption or America's inner city, Michelle Malkin hits it out of the park.  How come the party of science doesn't tie policies to results?

Who Failed Chicago?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Obama will find perverted ways to lay blame for Chicago's youth violence crisis on the NRA, Sarah Palin, FOX News, George Bush and the tea party. But as the community organizer-in-chief prepares to evade responsibility again, he should remember: When you point one finger at everyone else, four other fingers point right back at you-know-who.
4244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio's SOTU response on: February 13, 2013, 09:13:19 AM
My reaction is mixed.  He hit the right notes but in a venue and situation where it is impossible to hit it out of the park.  The main criticism seems to be that he paused a second to sip water once.

Good comments from Scott Conroy at Real Clear Politics:

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

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

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

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

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

“We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country,” he said. “But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.”
4245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - SOTU on: February 13, 2013, 08:59:20 AM
"We cannot JUST cut our way to prosperity."

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

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

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

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

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

Comments anyone?
4246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: February 12, 2013, 11:32:09 PM
"The public-duty doctrine holds that the government and its officials owe a legal duty to the public at large but not to any individual citizen....two exceptions... the “danger creation exception” and the “special-relationship exception."  http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1172&issue_id=52007

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

4247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting thought pieces: The man who shot bin Laden on: February 12, 2013, 01:25:41 PM
Long piece on Esquire, March 2013.  Because of secrecy and security, this guy comes back and starts over keeping his claim to fame hushed.
http://www.esquire.com/features/man-who-shot-osama-bin-laden-0313?src=rss

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


For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but abou3t the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced an skilled warriors carry on with their lives.
http://www.esquire.com/features/man-who-shot-osama-bin-laden-0313?src=rss
4248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Lawrence Summers says growth agenda on: February 12, 2013, 01:10:53 PM
Clinton's Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers says growth agenda.  Then he lays out an agenda that largely skips over taxes and regulations.  Good luck.  His points if they were numbered 3-8 are actually pretty good:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lawrence-summers-the-economic-growth-agenda-we-need/2013/02/10/86d41afa-7239-11e2-8b8d-e0b59a1b8e2a_story.html
4249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Please tell Vladimir I will have moire flexibility after my breelection on: February 12, 2013, 12:43:12 PM
"And where is the serious Rep response to this? , , ,"

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

Nearly all Republicans are strongly pro-defense.  Where is response of sane and responsible Democrats and independents to weakening the United States and making the world more dangerous?
4250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Preview of Rubio's Tuesday evening speech on: February 12, 2013, 10:08:49 AM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/rubio-readies-republicans-response-obama_701127.html

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

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

He’s there now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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