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4451  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Chinese test scores on: December 08, 2010, 08:32:50 AM
Well noted in the story is that is Shanghai and not all of China.  A fairer comparison in the US would be a representative sample of 5100 Chinese American students in American schools.  I believe we have some demographic groups (like whites, blacks and Hispanics) that are not testing as well as Asian Americans.

The US stays ahead of China and everyone else because we have a system that fosters innovation, excellence, entrepreneurial spirit, capital formation and productivity...  Whoops. That line of thinking died in about 1963 with John F. Kennedy.

Americans may rank 15th out of the top 15, but they consistently rank first about how they feel about how they performed.
4452  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 06, 2010, 01:49:16 PM
Nice discussion on the Palin thread.  As we look for the next Reagan keep in mind there isn't one.  We need to pick from this current group and maybe a handful of names we haven't thought of yet.  Reagan for one thing was a two term governor of our largest state and was long outspoken on national and international issues. The executive experience brought him some credibility.  For those who didn't care about that it also brought with him the experience and skill to manage a staff, stay focused on priorities and to campaign and govern effectively.  Reagan annoyed the left as much as Palin but also stole from the Democrats and independents their more moderate members.  Palin is not having that affect. 

Since we aren't working with a perfect list, I don't count her out, but I certainly move her down from the 'A' list for those things already mentioned, she left her highest post midterm first term, and she annoys people like Crafty's wife and CCP both of whom I think we need to win.  On the positive side, I think I can live just fine with all of her agenda, governing philosophy and positions on issues as it stands today.  As Crafty hinted regarding her experience with energy, she was the most powerful woman in Alaska before she was governor and energy is still a central issue.

Who else is still on the 'A' list, Gingrich, Romney and Huckabee?  I object to each for different reasons so none is my first choice.  Gingrich is quite an idea guy and he certainly is well qualified as a past Speaker of the House.  The personal stuff I think is his main political downfall.  Like a Rove, he needs to be used for his wisdom, ideas and instincts but not be the candidate.

Romney has sufficient credentials to run and win including private sector successes and being governor of a blue state but got there by being inconsistent with principles and stands on issues.  He projects himself as Presidential I think most people agree, and that is rare.  But how can we take advantage of the political energy that comes from resistance to a government takeover of healthcare and then choose someone whose greatest accomplishment is something similar?  Romney has veered back and forth on principle and issues a bit too much to ever be a Reagan-like leader.  Yet maybe he can emerge as one who has erred and learned.

Huckabee is not my cup of tea either.  I haven't seen him lately but he wasn't very conservative in his postions or governance yet close enough in most people's minds to be seen as the Christian-right and to alienate all who get alienated by that.  His embrace of the Fair Tax was opportunistic IMO.  Apologies to those here who disagree with me, but we aren't going to be repealing all other taxes at this point in history so now as we struggle to close the deficit is a very bad time to even mention the another potential layer of federal taxation.

That leaves a handful of not too well-known governors without foreign policy experience and a few others from congress or ambassadorship without executive experience.  One of these needs to emerge as Presidential in a very short order.

The timing is bad for Republicans.  Everyone is either tied to Bush or lacks experience in the executive branch.  If we had 4 more years, there is a great group of conservative politicians coming up through the ranks.  But we don't have 4 more years.

Right now I will keep my eye on people like Mike Pence and Ambassador Bolton.  They are both acceptable to me, in both cases not quite enough experience, and we will see how others respond to them.

People might start getting to know the other second and third tier candidates like our Governor Tim Pawlenty.  He won two terms in a blue state including the sweep election of 2006.  He balanced a budget 8 times (really 4 biennium budgets) without raising state taxes, while working with (against) a 60+% Democrat majority legislature.  He came in with a deficit, left with a surplus.  He is conservative without coming across as extreme or threatening. (His wife is an attractive lady and a judge.)  He is personable and sharp, can probably small talk with Katie Couric just fine.  He is soft spoken mostly and doesn't make a big splash or impression. Not a Reagan in clout, clarity or by any other means. Maybe more like a Bobby Jindal who I also like.  Pawlenty's google hit rate, as pointed out in the original Palin piece, is 1/87th that of Palin even though he has been traveling regularly to Iowa, New Hampshire and appearing on the national shows.
4453  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - Thomas Friedman - only collective action can save us on: December 06, 2010, 10:17:58 AM
GM,  I look forward to reading a best selling rebuttal to Friedman: The World is Round - and just the right size and temperature.   smiley

'Hot, Flat and Crowded' ... we will all [burn to death?]... 'if we do not act quickly and collectively'.
http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/hot-flat-and-crowded

The world is not crowded.  Some 3rd world parts of it are, ,mostly where collectivists and poverty rule and individual freedom and decision making is stifled. And the cities where they the collectivists all want us all to live are crowded.  Has anyone ever looked down when they fly across our fruited plain? We just had the coldest Thanksgiving here in decades, we've had no melt off and it's still snowing, people are dying from the cold across Europe, the 'research' his book was based is all discredited, yet he is an award winning author - like Krugman - and Michael Moore and Al Gore?  Why are there no updates to the conclusions when we find out the underlying data was tweaked and biased?

I have seen more accurate reporting in The Enquirer.

GM is correct about China.  Friedman writes about 'poisons', then gives China a pass for filth while lambasting us for exhaling a harmless trace molecule that plants breathe.  I wish that people who write about economics or environmentalism were required by their employer to study it first.  If we really needed CO2-free energy, every book of his would be about nuclear energy and a larger grid.
4454  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - Thomas Friedman on: December 05, 2010, 10:34:18 PM
"Friedman catches a well deserved beating"

Thank you.  He deserved that. One of his other drumbeats is that we are addicted to oil and that is the heart of all our problems.

We are not 'addicted' to oil.  We are powered by oil.  The impact that imbalance has on international trade is caused by our refusal to produce energy, not by our consumption.

If the U.S. produced as much as we consumed, our impact on the global market would be net zero, gas would still be at 99cents/gallon, the Saudis and Chavez's would be less enriched, the trade deficit and dollar outflow for oil would be nothing and all our businesses would be far more competitive.

Producing ethanol, solar or windmills off of government subsidies would accomplish none of that.

Sen. Vitter from Louisiana says that 97% of our oil is still off limits by government regulation.  Even with all those prohibitions it is still our best transportable fuel source.  Friedman should look into freeing American oil production if his concerns were at all what he says they are.
4455  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 04, 2010, 02:49:24 PM
CCP,  I was wondering if it was her substance or her so-called Fargo / rural northern MN accent that is driving your Palin annoyance.  I don't watch cable but why is she on? For Fox it is viewership. For Palin it is great money plus practice and exposure.  For you, over-exposure.  Don't underestimate her, she is the hottest political attraction going.  This ride is now over 2 years so she is not just a flash.  OTOH, she is the well known Republican losing the 2 way race with Obama.  We know they are very aware of polls.  Maybe she will take that information and remain a role player, not a national candidate.

I wrote previously that she had every right to end her governorship but then don't come back to us running for President saying you were an important governor, for part of a term.  Yes that worked for Obama who left the senate to campaign without resigning, after no record of any significance.  No one I know of is looking for another Obama.  The path to high elected government office should be through proof of winning, serving and finishing other high elected offices along the way.  If we are going to open up the search to pundits who never served, I have several others in mind.
4456  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 01:43:38 PM
"National Sales Tax has considerable appeal to me."

It will be in addition to federal income tax unless you can explain where the votes will come from to repeal the 16th amendment in our lifetime, and an additional layer of taxation is exactly what liberals and deficit hawk independents (our opponents) are calling for right now.

Unless you live in South Dakota, Florida or a handful of other places, you will still be required to complete a full income tax return.
Add in a state sales tax and a 30% federal sales tax is really a 35-39% state and federal sales tax, not to mention that my property taxes in the tens of thousands.  When you start making any exclusions such as for governments purchases or home purchases, it will start to look like a 50 or 60% tax.

Are we REALLY going to mess with housing right now?

In my very strong humble opinion this is a great big boulder in the middle of the conservative road threatening again to split the movement as Huckabee was able to do by opportunistically adopting the Fair Tax platform in 2008 with no plan or proposal whatsoever for repealing the 16th.

If we were designing a tax system from scratch, for a low spending low tax nation, this idea would be very very interesting.  We aren't and we aren't.

IMO we need to: 1) cut spending first.  (Then cut spending again.)

2) Bring everybody into the tax system and simplify income taxation.  Since a true flat tax is something else that will never happen, I would offer something like this:  a 1cent tax on the first dollar of income and a cap on the highest rate, maybe 25%.  Make tax rates continuously variable in between with no more stair steps.  Then we can argue about what income level is best to set the cap.  

If a new system can't be passed, then any incremental simplifying the existing system is still far preferable to authorizing any new tax authority for Washington.  Each time we can eliminate a deduction or loophole we should lower all marginal rates accordingly - until the private sector flourishes.  Get social engineering out of the tax code and over to the spending side where it has to compete with every other public need.

3) Regulatory reform is just as crucial as taxes.
4457  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: Equal Protection, different circumstance? on: December 02, 2010, 11:17:21 AM
Bringing forward a question I posed a couple of months ago relating to one concept in law applyied to two different issues.  Bigdog or anyone else, please point out where my logic fails.

Our progressive tax system allows and requires that a dollar of income is taxed differently depending on the how it is earned and the circumstances of the earner.  It passes constitutional muster because the same formula applies to everyone, but it is explicitly sold to the voters as treating different classes of citizens differently:  "these folks" can afford to pay more, "only the rich" will have their taxes raised.  (Only the gay will have their marriages denied.)

Moving to gay marriage:  Tradition marriage gives every adult the exact same right to marry one person of the opposite gender.  That you have a different circumstance is no different (IMO) than an estate tax not applying to a poor person, a capital gain tax not applying to a person without a capital gain, corporate double taxation not applying to people without a corporation, food stamps not available to the well-fed, etc.  Every person has the exact same right in America to marriage.  Some such as single persons or gay couples are in different circumstances, not denied equal protection.

How do you strike that down without also striking down our bizarre system of endlessly targeted and intentionally selective taxation?
4458  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 02, 2010, 10:46:56 AM
The question of elected and unelected judges is very interesting, and more complicated than that sounds.  For example, the Iowa vote was a form of impeachment by the voters.  The new justices will still be appointed and confirmed by the state executive and legislative branches respectively (as I understand it).  Urban legend here in Minnesota is that the best judges were picked by the wholly unqualified independent governor, Jesse the wrestler, because he did not have a pool of partisan, party, political paybacks to attend to and was able to select based only on merit.  That being the exception rather the rule indicates that the ordinary process of appointment-confirmation is less than perfect and objective also. 

The Des Moines register contemplates the question of how the ousters will affect the pool of potential new justices. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20101120/NEWS/11200334/How-will-ousters-affect-pool-of-justice-applicants-   My feeling is that of course it has an effect but the experience of being ousted puts you in private practice with increased pay and the credential of being a former supreme court justice.  That is not all bad, so it seems to me that a good justice will still do what is right in their mind and not necessarily cling to power like a typical Washington politician.

The full faith and credit clause pointed out by bigdog is what makes these policy questions settled by such small numbers of people so huge in implication.

Regarding Stevens, thank you bigdog for conceding point 3) to me. (smiles!)  For some reason I never see that point acknowledged in death penalty discussions.  Important context of point 3) is that Stevens prefaced his 5 points with this: "To be reasonable, legislative imposition of death eligibility must be rooted in benefits for at least one of the five classes of persons affected by capital offenses."  I will settle for one out of five and rest my case. 

Clarifying my point on elitism, I only intended it as a negative when judging the benefits of the general public as per Stevens point 4).  I certainly value choosing the finest minds and highest character for the people who will review the technical arguments of constitutional and case law for interpretation, though I often disagree with them.

Unequal application is a concern.  I hadn't seen the argument before regarding elected/unelected judges.  I see it made over black vs. white convicts and don't know what to make of it.  What I see in the neighborhoods is how unfair it is that black people are disproportionately crime victims in black neighborhoods, not that the guilty are pursued or punished too harshly. 
4459  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 02, 2010, 12:55:45 AM
I am a big fan of Wesbury; he was my pick for Fed chair.  That said, ...

2.3% and 2.5% are growth rates that never get us out of this funk.  We are not coming out of this IMHO because all of the underlying problems are still staring us in the face and still getting worse.

The productivity increases come from success of layoffs, not from growth.

The huge tax increase coming on employers, investment and capital is sure to keep the growth rate low, if positive at all.

My recollection from my readings and analysis is that 3.1% growth is breakeven or ordinary growth, not even improving circumstance or solving our unsolvable fiscal challenges.  Maybe it is some other number but it isn't the growth we have now.

Yesterday I saw that Rep. Mike pence re-proposed the flat tax. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/11/30/rep_mike_pence_proposes_flat_tax.html  Maybe if this miserable economy is stagnant long enough people will reach for a bold growth strategy and leave these days of covet, encumber and capture behind us.  Tax each dollar the same and then, besides economic growth,  we would have good one example of equal protection under the law.
4460  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Hispanic vote on: November 30, 2010, 10:43:55 PM
Interesting update on the Hispanic vote by Jay Cost.  Dems won Hispanic vote by 22% but that actually is an improvement and close enough for the overall sweep.



Nobody it seems ever talks about the white vote:



Black vote he says still swings 90-10 to the Dems.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/how-did-gop-hispanic-voters-2010_519739.html
4461  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: The Death Penalty - on: November 30, 2010, 12:33:32 PM
Thanks to Bigdog for posting and opening the issue here.  There are two things going on in that writing, his coverage of a book by David Garland and of course his own views on the (lack of) underpinnings for the death penalty.

Start with his last and most important point first: "finality includes the risk that the state may put an actually innocent person to death"

On this point, we can all agree and that may be enough alone to oppose the death penalty.  On the rest of the analysis, I find my own view to be different than Stevens.  

Stevens writes of 5 classes of persons affected by capital crimes. Summarizing:
1) victims, 2) survivors, 3) judicial process, 4) the general public, 5) inmates on death row.  In each category, I categorically disagree with the great retiring Justice.

1) The victims, Stevens says, are dead and have no continuing interest.  Below I will cite one example, Mariane Pearl, then-pregnant wife of beheaded WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl.  Why not take an extreme example for an extreme penalty? Stevens says she is a survivor, not a victim.  I disagree.  She gets to live with this just like a rape or an arm cut off of her own.  

2) Survivors: "often suffer enormous grief and tangible losses. The harm to this class is immeasurable; but punishment of the defendant cannot reverse or adequately compensate any survivor’s loss."    - The goal of justice after a heinous crime or string of murders is not to bring the loved ones back or fully compensate anyone.  A straw-man argument to my reading, but let's continue.  

3) Stevens examines the death penalty's place in 'judicial process' without any mention of the use by prosecutors and law enforcement of the possibility or not of death penalty to get information, cooperation, a guilty plea or to help solve other crimes or gain additional convictions.  Am I mistaken about this aspect of the death penalty or did Stevens leave out an important point?

4) Stevens notes nothing that the general public gains justifying a death penalty, even though earlier in the piece he already conceded the general public believes otherwise.  The term elitist sneaks into my mind for someone who knows other people's gain better than they do.

5) Stevens laments that many inmates on death row have repented and made positive contributions to society. The finality of an execution always ends that possibility.     - True about some people changing to some extent in some cases.  We don't have an accurate way of measuring repent.  My view and I think that of those who favor the death penalty is that some crimes against humanity take the convict beyond the opportunity for a second chance.  Stevens' concern for killing the guilty who repented never caused his pen to move an inch to save any of the 34 million innocent  killings over convenience reasons with their first chance taken away during his 34 years of upholding Roe and deciding Planned Parenthood v. Casey, but I digress...

Let's meet a victim/survivor.  In 2002 I watched Jim Lehrer interview the surviving wife of Daniel Pearl.  She said something that stuck in mind ever since.  Asked about the death penalty for those who perpetrated this brutal killing, in a heavy French accent she said " I think this guy is a nuisance for humanity".  Jim Lehrer replied "a what?" Pearl: "He's a nuisance for humanity."..."I would certainly not cry over his death".  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/jan-june02/pearl_3-18.html

My thoughts into her words: When you behead an innocent journalist , there isn't something left to repent or redeem here on earth.  You have made yourself a detraction from humanity, not a part of it.  How we deal with such extreme things is a moral choice for our society to live with.  We can release with wishful thinking, we can hold for life or we can execute the very worst offenders.  These are choices and Stevens and Garland add thoughtful insights, but one-sided analysis to that (IMO).  Speedier execution in some cases would be more worthwhile question from my point of view.  We as a species or as a civilization draw a line, a moral line.  We don't kill for adultery or shoplifting or Stevens example, drunken drivers who cause fatal accidents.  But some crimes are so heinous that you are entitled to all the protections of our legal system including reasonable doubt and nearly endless appeals, but there are cases where at the end you are out.  You have given up your right to live in our society, to breathe the air or eat the fruit, even among our guards and cement walls.  Death penalty doesn't fix what happened.  It may not deter others, but the very worst crimes (assuming guilt and after proper appeals) can be met with closure and the finality of a penalty that is in fact an ending.
4462  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Revenues at 19% of GDP on: November 30, 2010, 10:56:05 AM
Thank you BBG for posting the Hauser piece.  You nailed it with this: "Better to cut rates and get 19% of a larger pie."

I would add, why not constitutionally limit federal spending to 19% of most recently measured GDP since that is the most we know we can afford. 
4463  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Gay marriage decision in Iowa has consequences for judges on: November 28, 2010, 11:18:17 PM
New rights and more rights, that sounds good.  A state court finding a new right of free health care would be an example?  

How about changing marriage from a man and a woman becoming husband and wife into an any-gender experience - no matter what the people of the state say - and no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court would have said:

"We hold the Iowa marriage statute violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution."
 - http://www.slideshare.net/LegalDocs/findlaw-iowa-gay-marriage-decision

Iowa voters oust justices who made same-sex marriage legal
http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/03/iowa.judges/index.html
4464  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 01:52:21 PM
GM,  I assume you (re)posted that (Jihad Jane) to bolster my point.   smiley

Close but does not fit the sample criteria I laid out, I think she hit one of my 6 criteria - she is female. I assume Jihad Jane ("a moniker she apparently coined herself") was not an extremely frequent flyer and would not have submitted to or passed a voluntary frequent flyer background check that I suggested.  If 'Jihad Jane' was so clean that she would pass all our tests (and I don't think she would) then she could also be the attendant at the search or scanner when 'Jihad Joe' goes through with the liquids, the whole purpose of the gropedown is negated.

Once again, for the 4th or 5th time, I did not say judge them by their appearance.
4465  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: November 28, 2010, 01:06:36 PM
Regarding the 'horse's mouth': http://www.korea-dpr.com/forum/

The name of the other Korean entity is the "South Korean puppet"? Try a word count on that, lol.  The U.S. then is the real enemy?  We are the "imperialists" even though for half century plus have never invaded their space or rescued a single starving innocent from their millions.  Amazing to me how this writing style is nearly identical to that of the former Saddam Hussein regime.

Who other than their own leadership says that DPRK couldn't quit threatening the world and open their economy for commerce, aid and travel tomorrow?
4466  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: November 28, 2010, 12:36:19 PM
"Under the theory of new judicial federalism, a state court may interpret its state constitution in the same way that federal courts have interpreted an analogous federal provision. On the other hand, a state court may, without violating the U.S. Constitution, interpret a state constitution as granting an individual more protection than the federal rights."
http://www.law.csuohio.edu/lawlibrary/resources/lawpubs/ohioconlaw/documents/Renquist.pdf
4467  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 12:10:59 PM
"A Corvallis man... Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen"

a) male, and
b) 19 yrs old, and
c) Somali born, and
d) interested in explosives - "classmates recalled he once gave a presentation on how to make an explosive device" - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40389899/ns/us_news-security/, and
e) interested in Jihad: "Mohamud said he had been interested in jihad since an early teen even writing for a jihadist website", "friends say Mohamud... would joke about being a terrorist. they thought nothing of that until now.

Nice job by the FBI with timely work! Whatever profiling or infiltrating they were doing to find this guy - I likely approve.  I note that they did not give up their methods in the news story.

In other news, no examples of:
a) female, and
b) Jewish or Lutheran, and
c) active in her faith, and
d) over 50,
e) with 7 or more grandchildren... (or draw your own profile criteria here)
ever bowing up an airliner full of innocent men, women and children.

Note the logic string connector 'and'.  No one said looks Muslim or looks white, or person of certain age, gender or ethnicity alone.
--------

Regarding TSA vetting, I only meant that if vetting is possible it could be applied to our extremely frequent fliers on a voluntary basis as well and free up more resources for the unrecognized fliers, like me.

TSA vetting isn't foolproof either: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/25911785/detail.html 
TSA security worker accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman had previously been convicted of misdemeanor harassment and stalking. (Atlanta 11/24/2010)...  King (previously) was charged with nine offenses of harassment and stalking by communication in January 2001. A court clerk told Regan that King pleaded guilty and spent three months in jail for skipping a court appearance.

TSA has a long list of “disqualifying offenses” for employment at the federal agency that operates airport security. Those offenses include felonies, violent crimes, theft, and crimes involving security and transportation. Regan checked the list and found that it did not include misdemeanor offenses of harassing and stalking.
4468  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 26, 2010, 12:43:09 PM
"How was business travel on 9/12/2001?"  - 100% true, but my point is that we do not succeed if we inflict the same economic damage on ourselves that they were trying to do.

"Do not assume that there aren't grandmotherly jihadists"   - That is the same level of intelligence as finding a terrorist from a photo.  Some grandmas will never be terrorists and I know several.  We are already incorporating some intelligence information.  It needs to do better and same goes for borders, sanctuaries, released terrorists, any case law regarding fairness or anti-discrimination that hampers intelligent security, and a census that finds every person then shares no useful information to law enforcement, ICE, IRS or the intelligence agencies. If we are going to radiate ourselves and photograph and touch our mothers and daughters genetilia, then this is war and wartime rules and strategies should apply IMHO.  In other words, if we are going to harass 100% of the innocent, we need to throw the full force of our four trillion dollar federal government plus state and local at the known guilty.  For one example, how many hijackers had expired visas?  How many expired visas are out there today?  24 recent al qaida related arrests in the twin cities alone - I assume they did not get all of them - and these people were traveling freely back to join wars in their homeland or plot things here, going through the same treatment as grandma and the Obama daughters if their dad did not have a taxpayer plane.

Regarding alternatives, Crafty already said it well but the business schedule alternative to flying is not going.  I am currently not flying but my business lacks any energy or benefit it could attain from a seminar or conference in Vancouver, Chicago or Slovenia.  

Pulling a partial sentence out I found a point maybe intended facetious but that I think I agree with: "we are but minutes away from rectally implanted GPS beacons and laser-etched bar codes on our foreheads".  How much worse is that than the status quo?

"Just how big of a domestic intelligence agency do you want? Do you wish to negate the civil liberty/privacy protections in place that regulate law enforcement intelligence databases in the US?"

Can't speak for others but a 'voluntary' check fora  frequent flier isn't any further out of bounds than authorizing a background check for employment (IMO) as you would have at the airline or the TSA.  How do YOU know that the guy watching the scanner isn't the jihadist if every grandma could be one?
4469  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 26, 2010, 11:36:32 AM
CCP from Israel post: "About the only time this President of ours is passionate is when he is pleading the Muslim cause, the minority cause, anything anti - white, pro - muslim, or anything anti American."

When he finally used the term "enemy" it was to describe his political opponents relationship to Hispanic voters for wanting our country defined with legal, enforced borders.
4470  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and Russia on: November 26, 2010, 11:32:06 AM
Noted from recent posts and news elsewhere that Obama to give our missile defense to Russia met with Medvedev, while China to change trade relations with Russia met with Putin.  I'm sure that Obama is smarter (sarcasm disclosure) and that Medvedev will hold the power to keep an agreement after Putin is long gone.
4471  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: November 26, 2010, 11:23:57 AM
'when interest rates begin to rise, it is going to be far faster and far more than people... imagine."

You are correct.  Remember that the Clinton budget balance was accomplished partially by financing long term debt with short term borrowings.  That it worked out in that instance does not mean it was a wise bet.  Recall also that China recently 'downgraded' America so we won't be selling new debt at the same risk level even if interest rates stayed the same.  sad 

The parties in a worse position than the sellers of our debt are the holders of our debt.
4472  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: November 26, 2010, 11:09:03 AM
The success of Gold as a traded stock for one thing reminds me of the  Qualcomm exhuberance in Jan.2000 after it had gone up 2400% percent.  How could anyone buy anything other than that stock.  It is still a great company but the people who bought afterward didn't fare the same.

Investing in gold is a withdrawal of resources from the productive economy and a bet against the economy, the country and the dollar.  Looks great now and during these runups, but the gold price now already reflects the current state of affairs.  At the end when you want out, they will give you back dollars, not gold - and those will be devalued dollars, not the kind you started with.  Then they will report that 'gain' which was 100% inflationary - not a gain, and it will also be 100% taxable at both the federal and state levels before the remainder is yours (in devalued dollars).  Good luck.

From my friends betting on total collapse, I liked the idea of buying silver dimes better.  Gold in paper at an investment house or a big block of it at home won't buy you a loaf of bread in an emergency unless the bakery can make change.

I write with zero confidence as I continue to buy homes at 15 cents on the dollar of most recent purchase with no idea which direction it will go from here.
-------
"China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies."

But the yuan 元 is pegged to the dollar $ and the ruble рубль tries to follow the $ and the euro € and the € may collapse ahead of the $ so it all looks to me a lot like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic rather than anyone changing course to go around an iceberg. 
4473  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 26, 2010, 09:26:05 AM
The alternative to flying to your business appointments is not canoeing up the coast or bicycling to Chicago.  Like the goal of cap and traders, your alternative is to abandon much of your productive business activities.  Shrink your business and shrink the business of everyone you touched along the way.  Live in a failed economy and a bankrupt state because the terrorists in fact were smarter than us.  But the flights that remain will still search grandmas visiting grandchildren with equal zest to the searches of young males with loose ties to terror camps.

Greyhounds do not travel at even the speed of driving.  They get up to speed and then exit again at the next town and take union based driver breaks along the way.  If we constructed high speed rail across the country, the terror threat would move right over.
4474  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 24, 2010, 12:28:30 PM
There is a frustration that we aren't smarter than terrorists, we are a step behind them, to them this is laughable, we have fallen into their traps to the point of hating, scanning and fondling each other, there is no easy answer, but worst I think is that we are not doing EVERYTHING ELSE we can do to make our nation safe BEFORE we need to touch and scan each other (such as secure the borders, crack down on existing laws etc.). 

Imagine the uproar right now if George Bush was President during this! Imagine the leftist equivalent of a comment Rush L. made yesterday...

RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Remember when Obama went swimming in the Gulf with his daughters to show it was safe during the oil spill? How about taking his daughters through a screening? How about Obama take his daughters to the airport and have a TSA groper go through the exact routine everyone else is going through right now to show it is safe...
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/11/23/rush_obama_should_take_daughter_through_tsa_to_show_its_safe.html
-----
Only over the top if you think nothing is wrong with current procedure. 

It may be a standard LE pat down, except that is done as I understand it with suspects, not all victims, witnesses, bystanders, etc.  Our county government center now has a security check metal detector, but not the full pat down.  Flying is 'optional' but not really for some jobs or for some people to be with family over the holidays.  Appearing in a county courthouse can be mandatory and unavoidable in some situations.
4475  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 23, 2010, 10:05:07 AM
The post regarding the market since 9/11/2001 is interesting and accurate.  They acknowledge that 2001 was already a recession.  I would add a reminder of what turmoil the markets had gone through both on the up and then on the down starting with the crash of tech stocks in March 2000 and spilling over to the DOW and all stocks over the next year.  Hard to find a stable point in that period to make long term comparisons.

The Fed's extreme reaction then was due to an abrupt end to air travel as we knew it, which meant impending failure of that sector, then hotels, rental cars and everything to do with tourism which includes the economies of major regions potentially failing.  The Fed would have gone further than 1% (essentially zero interest) if it knew how to.

True that the housing bubble came out of that.  Air travel and tourism/travel somewhat recovered and the Fed needed to rightsize sooner to avoid unintended consequences - it's been 10 years!

Today of course we face the same thing if we can't make travel secure without the pornography of unwilling participants.

I hear the warnings that the lines will be longer this Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My expertise in efficiency  huh tells me that a longer line doesn't get more people through and spending more time with each traveler doesn't get the same number of people through.  Besides the increased time required for security, the cost of security is going up.  If you pass that to the customer, air travel will go down as well, alleviating the lines but killing the industry...and even more expansionary Fed policy!?

I read the popular mechanics links on the scanners.  Radiation levels are thousands of times lower than a chest x-ray (or nuclear war), not very reassuring if you must pass through thousands and thousands of times.

Small comment on the lady terrorist.  Of course there will be exceptions and we need to find them.  Looking at a photo without info would be the exact opposite of what I would call using some intelligent profiling.  Also she may be capable of both but I draw a distinction between a criminal plot to muder one perceived enemy and someone willing to kill yourself, suicidal, homocidal plot to blow up innocent men, women and children.

Plenty of people might consider killing their worst enemy if they thought they could get away with it (and plenty do).  The worst part of defending against terrorism IMO is these people's willingness to blow up themselves and the innocent around them. 
4476  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 22, 2010, 12:13:26 PM
Time then maybe to close down air travel and all public transportation.  I suggested (repeatedly)that someone who travels every week on business could voluntarily submit to some kind of deeper profile check and then prove who he/she is at the airport and not be treated exactly the same as a complete unknown from a high risk group.  That does not mean no screen at the airport. That means less aggressive groping would be necessary if you knew the first thing about them.  Unburdened by some of the idiocy, we might better our chances of finding the 'needle'.

How could a convicted terrorist by a ticket?  Why is he out?  That problem is not at the groping station.  Next they will embed the fluid in their stomach or under the skin.  Where does this end?

What about these scanners?  What is the radiation level?  Are they safe for everyone?  If so, why is there an opt out?  I'll show you an opt out - don't buy a ticket.  But these pictures coming back of highly invasive searches of complete non-suspects is going to kill the industry and maybe our society.

The terror planners in their caves watching hi-def footage of Americans fondling each other must find this comparable to the 911 inferno pictures themselves.
4477  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 22, 2010, 10:54:21 AM
My guess is that no authentic NRA member has ever taken down an airliner full of innocent people.  I would profile him further (voluntary) and then let him carry the gun in case we misjudge the other guy.

Let's get closer to home.  Which of the following will need full intrusive screening before an aircraft is safe to fly:

a) Crafty's mom
b) My sister
c) JDN's wife
d) none of the above

I will bet my life on none of the above and worry only about ice storms and engine failure.
4478  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 20, 2010, 02:24:08 PM
"Before Maj. Hasan went on his shooting spree, he was a US Army officer with a DOD ID and a secret level security clearance. Exactly what sort of security screening should he have gone through before flying?"

A gun guy more than a chemist, I would run him through the metal detector.  Who is next in this line - let's keep it moving folks.

Some profiling for flying might have brought his issues into view and saved lives.  He was probably as likely to shoot up an airport as an airplane so that part of the Israeli system would have made sense.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1940011,00.html
"Nidal Malik Hasan struck some of his classmates as a "ticking time bomb" whose strange personality telegraphed trouble long before he allegedly killed 13 people at Fort Hood."

4479  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 19, 2010, 05:17:19 PM
I couldn't remember the mayor's name, but just google 'dc mayor on crack' and it comes right up. Marion Barry.

CCP, add to your list Keith Ellison the pretend Muslim who represents Minneapolis which is one of the strongest gay populations (Democrat) outside of San Fran(Muslims stone gays), he represents the strongly Jewish (Democrat) suburb where AL Franken grew up (Infidels/Zionists?) and he represents the rich white elite urban Democrats of the professional and business financial center of the Twin Cities even though he is anti-business and insurance violates Islam. Before congress Ellison made a name for himself defending a gang member who killed a cop.  Ellison led protests chanting "we don't get no justice, you don't get no peace".  Besides the violence threatened, you've got to love the grammar.

Quietly to the southwest of Ellison (people leaving the city), my friend our young conservative congressman may be joining the Ways and Means Committee in the MAJORITY where Rep. Rangel has left the Chairmanship, the committee and the majority.

In politics I fear the reasonable, mild mannered, center sounding leftists more than I fear Rangel, Ellison or Rev. Wright.  Unfortunately, we need a face on Leftism.
4480  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Rangel on: November 19, 2010, 01:05:43 PM
CCP, my take: These are laws he broke (allegedly).  We need prosecution, fair trial, then penalty.  Not committees.  He lost his Chairmanship.  He faced public humiliation from his peers.  He (and about a dozen crooked Obama appointees) helped bring down his party and his own political cause and continues as a negative force.  Sure he should be thrown out, but that should have been done by his voters who placed no importance on decency.  So let Pelosi with her name and face attached to opposing the will of Americans and Rangel synonymous with corruption and tax cheating serve on for their leftist causes.  I personally don't care as long as they are out of power.  That means two more years before some new liberal with innocence and charisma can start a freedom-hating, race-baiting career from that leftist congressional district.  Meanwhile we have thousands of great new candidates and leaders gaining experience across the country to run for the next level.
4481  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California - Ahnold on: November 19, 2010, 12:50:33 PM
He is a failure, but no one could be a success with that legislature and those voters.  From a couple of posts back (Crafty/Dennis Prager):

What's the difference between California voters and the passengers on the Titanic?

The passengers on the Titanic didn't vote to hit the iceberg.

Our state MN is a similar Blue State, similar voters in terms of well meaning white elites, white blue collar and heavy Dem inner city vote, similar problems on a smaller scale, but a different border.  Just elected a complete loser from the left to be Governor (still in recount).  What no one noticed or expected with all the governor race polling was that both chambers of the legislature swung from 60% Dem to similar margin to the R.  Now we will have a reverse of the divided government we were getting used to.  Nothing can get solved, but we can slow the rate of new damage done.

Our voters partially get it that you can't border on states that are advertising for our businesses and have no income tax and keep going up and up and up with penalties on production.  But there is no momentum to reduce a huge state government burden either.

Calif voters had the marijuana crowd, the open borders crowd and I assume the gay marriage crowd out in force up against an unfocused Republican message.  A note to the libertarians among us.  You may not like your political partnership with the conservatives very well, but when you partner with the liberals to try to get things done on so-called social issues, the results on everything else (big government) are not something to crow about.
4482  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Body Language on: November 19, 2010, 09:58:27 AM
In the context that it is fiction and it is television, I like the show.  There were shows about psychics doing similar work.  In this case he denies extraordinary powers, just heightened awareness with good humor.  Like the Harry Potter plots, the good guys have to constantly stray near the edges of the rules to find justice.  Just doing your job correctly doesn't fill the seats.

There were movies such as Pacific Heights about tenants from hell.  As a landlord I found zero entertainment value, nothing original and could turn it off and walk away at any point in a so-called thriller plot.  If I were in law enforcement, the last decade or two of cop shows might not be what I would watch for laughs after work.  But it is where the rest of us get our information about LE.

Nothing realistic since Columbo, or Dragnet.  smiley
4483  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: the Inattentive Student of Gandhi on: November 18, 2010, 02:37:47 PM
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/obama_the_inattentive_student.html

Obama, the Inattentive Student of Gandhi

On his recent trip to India, President Obama was lavish in his praise for Mahatma Gandhi. Obama maintained that Gandhi's message of being "the change we seek in the world" was instrumental in inspiring his own journey from community organizer to President of the United States. "I might not be standing here today," said the president, had it not been for the Great Soul's influence.

Knowing, however, that Gandhi's political philosophy included highly persuasive polemics against big government, the welfare state, foreign aid, affirmative action, identity politics, divisive rhetoric, and malice toward one's opponents, it's hard to imagine the president devoting much time as a student in quiet and humble contemplation with the great guru's writings.

Gandhi, for example, would have lasted about twenty seconds in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity "United" Church in Chicago. On the other hand, Barack Obama and his family dutifully attended Wright's church for twenty years. Wright's racially divisive theology of "liberation" would have constituted for Gandhi a direct assault on one of the main pillars of his own political philosophy: "liberation," or swaraj.

While swaraj literally means "independence," for Gandhi, the term was much more importantly associated with intense self-examination and self-mastery. True freedom, according to Gandhi, meant an inward journey of liberation from the kind of anger, fear, and hatred that served only to perpetuate cycles of domination and division in society.

Gandhi argued, for example, that national liberation from the British would actually create a more harmful situation in India if the new Hindu political class failed to cleanse themselves of longstanding resentments and ill will. Gandhi understood quite rightly that the internal "weaknesses and failures" that might continue to animate the new rulers "would then be buttressed up by the accession of power."   

It's quite impossible, in other words, to conjure up a picture of Gandhi unleashing the kind of unbridled rhetoric ("I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking") that President Obama has often used to characterize his own conservative countrymen. In addition, when the president advised Hispanic voters to think of the recent election as an opportunity to "punish our enemies" and "reward our friends," he was giving painful evidence to the suspicion that someone other than Gandhi had in fact inspired his own run for the White House.

Swaraj is also the reason why Gandhi was deeply suspicious of big government. Gandhi saw an inverse relationship between disciplined self-mastery and the need for the welfare state. Indeed, the Bhagavad-Gita -- Hinduism's holiest scripture -- is a beautifully arranged set of eighteen sermons by the avatar Krishna to the warrior Arjuna on the philosophical intricacies of self-control, or yoga, which forms the basis of an individual's moral and spiritual progress. Said Gandhi:

    I look upon an increase of the power of the state with the greatest fear, because although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of all progress.

Gandhi observed that while individuals have souls, the state is "a soulless machine" that "represent violence in a concentrated and organized form." Rather than rely on the state, then, to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality, Gandhi proposed what he called "trusteeship." Trusteeship meant persuading the affluent to think of their wealth as something held in trust for the indigent poor. Again, Gandhi was trying to couple the freedom inherent in Hindu philosophy with the faith in a man's ability to master and overcome his often self-centered proclivities: "We know of so many cases where men have adopted trusteeship, but none where the State has really lived for the poor."

The great Gandhi scholar Dr. Dennis Dalton, who taught for years at Columbia University, has said that when Gandhi used the term "welfare for all," he meant "economic justice and equal opportunity, not dependency on the welfare system as we know it in America." [Emphasis added.] Professor Dalton adds:

    Gandhi's idealism is usually associated with compassion and charity, but in his appeal to discipline and hard work there is an undeniable strain of what we might call ‘Yankee individualism.'  He identified with the gospel of self-reliance in the philosophy of two of the Americans that he admired most, Thoreau and Emerson.


For Gandhi, the dangers of welfare-state dependency extended beyond individuals to nations as well. To those advocating global wealth redistribution, Gandhi made the quite startling observation that a nation that accepts economic aid succeeds only in crippling itself:

    There is nothing more degrading for a country than to beg from others when it cannot meet its requirements.  It is a practical principle that if you want to be friends with someone and you want the friendship to endure, you should not seek economic aid from them.

Like all of history's great moralists from Aristotle to Kant, Gandhi recognized that the source of benevolent moral relationships included both freedom and a healthy sense of personal responsibility. Gandhi's fear of welfare-state dependency was remarkably similar to the concern Adam Smith had about the bureaucratic state "pushing too far" and destroying the basis for human benevolence. "Beneficence is always free," said Smith. "t cannot be extorted by force."

In addition, swaraj was also the reason why Gandhi objected to the affirmative action and quota policies that many social reformers were advocating for India's untouchables back in the 1930s. Gandhi was strikingly clairvoyant in his belief that quota policies -- such as reserved legislative seats and separate electorates -- would serve only to inflame identity politics and perpetuate the bondage of the untouchables.
...
In sum, Gandhi argued that Western socialism is predicated upon a entirely dismal view of human potential compared with Hinduism, which holds that free individuals had the capacity to "respond to the spirit" within them and rise above the petty forces of bitterness and self-indulgence.
4484  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed, Monetary Policy & the US Dollar: It's NOT a Dual Mission on: November 18, 2010, 02:27:10 PM
"The Federal Reserve should focus exclusively on price stability and protecting the dollar," said House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana, author of legislation to narrow the Fed's mission, which he plans to push in the next Congress when Republicans control the House.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/17/fed-chief-grilled-on-hill-over-policies/
----------------

George Will today in the Washington Post:
"The trap of the Federal Reserve's dual mandate"

[I believe we were all over this a week ago.  Another famous person caught reading the dogbrothers public forum.]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/17/AR2010111705316.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

The trap of the Federal Reserve's dual mandate
   
By George F. Will
Thursday, November 18, 2010

This lame-duck Congress - its mandate exhausted, many of its members repudiated - should merely fund the government for a few months at current spending levels with a "continuing resolution," then apologize for almost everything else it has done and depart. If, however, the 111th Congress wants to make amends, it should repeal something the 95th did.

In 1977, Congress gave the Federal Reserve a "dual mandate." Although the central bank is a creature of Congress, it is, in trying to fulfill this mandate, becoming a fourth branch of government.

The Fed's large, and sufficient, original mission was to maintain price stability - to preserve the currency as a store of value. "Mission creep" usually results from a metabolic urge of government agencies. The Fed, however, had institutional imperialism thrust upon it when Congress - forgetting, not for the first or last time, its core functions - directed the Fed "to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates." The last two goals are really one. In the pursuit of the first, which requires the Fed to attempt to manage short-term economic growth, the Fed has started printing $600 billion - this is the meaning of what is called, with calculated opacity, "quantitative easing."

Those running the Fed, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) dryly, "are really putting the fiat in fiat money" - money backed by nothing but trust in the judgment and good faith of the government creating it. The Fed is doing what the executive branch wants done but that the legislative branch will not do - creating another stimulus.

By seeming to do the president's bidding, the Fed stumbled into a diplomatic thicket. While the president was impotently accusing China of keeping the value of its currency low in order to facilitate exports, many nations were construing America's quantitative easing as similarly motivated currency manipulation. The primary purpose of quantitative easing might be to force down the yields of government bonds in order to induce investors to invest in corporate bonds and stocks. But when a predictable result of the policy is to devalue the dollar, it is a pointless parsing of words for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who serves a president who has vowed to double U.S. exports in five years, to say that America will never weaken its currency "as a tool to gain competitive advantage."

In a 2007 speech, Frederic S. Mishkin, then of the Fed's Board of Governors, lauded the dual mandate as "consistent with" the Fed's "ultimate purpose of fostering economic prosperity and social welfare." Note how easily the mandate to "maximize employment" becomes the grandiose, and certainly political, function of promoting, and therefore defining, "social welfare."

Mishkin said "the rationale for maximizing employment is fairly obvious": "The alternative situation - high unemployment - is associated with human misery, including lower living standards and increases in poverty as well as social pathologies such as loss of self-esteem, a higher incidence of divorce, increased rates of violent crime, and even suicide." Obviously, some of the central bank's governors have been encouraged by Congress to think of themselves as more than mere bankers - as wizards of social control, even regulating society's reservoirs of self-esteem.

The Fed cannot perform such a fundamentally political function and forever remain insulated from politics. Only repeal of the dual mandate can rescue the Fed from the ruinous - immediately to its reputation; eventually to its independence - role as the savior of the economy, or of any distressed sector (e.g., housing) that clamors for lower interest rates. Ryan has introduced repeal legislation before and will do so again in January.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has wistfully imagined a day when economists might get "themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists." But that day will not dawn as long as the dual mandate makes it almost mandatory for him to vow that the Fed "can assist keeping employment close to its maximum level through adroit policies." Even defining "maximum employment" is a political as well as technical act.

Ryan, incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee, says the Fed thinks it can adroitly "put the cruise missile through the goal posts." But how adroit can Fed management of the economy be? No complex economy can be both managed and efficient, meaning dynamic. To think otherwise is what Friedrich Hayek called "the fatal conceit." That conceit can be fatal to the Fed's independence.
4485  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 18, 2010, 12:32:31 PM
Good point, the Chechen whites will be on my full screen list, guilty until proven innocent.

I think you ignored my point.  Is your solution the status quo?
4486  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 18, 2010, 12:22:30 PM
Ethics chief counsel recommends censure for Rangel

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1153ap_us_rangel_punishment.html?source=mypi

Followup to some discussion on Charlie Rangel on rants and thought pieces.

It is wonderful that the Dem congress acted at all on this IMO.  Rangel was begging to make himself look like he is being persecuted by the new Republican House and it didn't come to that.  He already lost his Chairmanship and would have lost it any way in the party sweep.  Expulsion vs. censure? I don't really care.  It was for mostly his constituents to remove him.  He was just re-elected with 80 percent of the vote.  If he really is criminally guilty, jail might keep him from voting in congress.  We are going to get a liberal from Harlem no matter what.  It is Democrats that should wish Rangel would go away. 

I give the Dems some credit here.  They said they would clean up the house and they didn't, but in this one instance I give them credit for eventually doing something here and not letting it slide forward.
4487  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 18, 2010, 12:02:04 PM
"Donald Stewart- Whyte, a UK passport holder. Tell me how you'd profile him."

I assume you mean before he showed up as a terrorist on google.   smiley
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6825337.ece

Or when he didn't look like this picture:


Did he buy a one way cash ticket, I don't know.  He did have a gun and I don't think anyone is ready to get rid of metal detectors.

Assuming intelligence had not penetrated any groups he joined, that we didn't know he was a recent Muslim convert who had changed name to Abdul Waheed and that we did not know of his mental health instabilities and suicidal tendencies... Assuming our intelligence missed all that, he still fits a partial demographic of young male in a certain age range, who rarely steps onto an airplane, from a country known for imported and home grown terrorists (UK).  We would check him over closer than my sister or mother if the mission was strictly safety and security rather than equal treatment, which we don't seem to apply anywhere else in America.

Honestly I don't know if or how we would know GM, but if we could clear the names of most of the frequent flying no-threat public, we would have more time to search this guy's crevices.
4488  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 18, 2010, 09:58:45 AM
"Passengers are categorized at the outset as to whether they are Israeli Jews, foreign-born Jews, and so forth, with Arabs and certain other foreigners most likely to be profiled."

 - These strategies are illegal here(?)  4 choices: a) start profiling, b) stop flying, c) Let planes blow up, or d) the status quo with thousands standing around, naked and groped, and Muslims bypassed from search for religious objections.  What are we teaching our kindergardners about good touch, bad touch?

Under the category of start profiling, I would add to the assignment of finding the potential bad guys, identify all the known good-guys (all-gender) that we can in this country and approve them for easy boarding with or without concealed carry of whatever the marshalls think is safe to discharge on a plane.

I notice that other than Cairo (and Amsterdam), El Al does not fly to Muslim countries.  And Saudi airlines for example has no flights to Tel Aviv. 
----
I recall my first business trip overseas.  It didn't occur to me that my briefcase with electronic design equipment might be suspicious or maybe they treated everyone this way.  I was in London Gatwick, I think, entering the country rather than boarding an airplane, way-pre-911.  I recall being very surprised by the very intense questioning with an intense questioner judging my response; it went like this:
Who are you?
Who are you REALLY??!
Why are you here?
Why are you REALLY here??!
I have re-told that story many times wondering in jest how many terrorists cave in on that follow up question and then tell them their plans, lol.  I assume I was more surprised by the doubting followup question than a trained terrorist would be.  Maybe the ordeal was just their way of treating a naive young American of Scottish-English origin the same way they would a Saudi or Yemeni national.
4489  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California's Destructive Green Jobs Lobby - George Gilder, WSJ on: November 17, 2010, 01:07:33 PM
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2010/11/16/california039s_destructive_green_jobs_lobby_245841.html

California's Destructive Green Jobs Lobby
Silicon Valley, once synonymous with productivity-enhancing innovation, is now looking to make money on feel-good government handouts.

By GEORGE GILDER

California officials acknowledged last Thursday that the state faces $20 billion deficits every year from now to 2016. At the same time, California's state Treasurer entered bond markets to sell some $14 billion in "revenue anticipation notes" over the next two weeks. Worst of all, economic sanity lost out in what may have been the most important election on Nov. 2—and, no, I'm not talking about the gubernatorial or senate races.

This was the California referendum to repeal Assembly Bill 32, the so-called Global Warming Solutions Act, which ratchets the state's economy back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020. That's a 30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500 billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state to bankruptcy.

Conservative pundits have lavished mock pity on the state. But as America's chief fount of technology, California cannot go down the drain without dragging the rest of the country with it.

The irony is that a century-long trend of advance in conventional "non-renewable" energy—from wood to oil to natural gas and nuclear—has already wrought a roughly 60% drop in carbon emissions per watt. Thus the long-term California targets might well be achieved globally in the normal course of technological advance. The obvious next step is aggressive exploitation of the trillions of cubic feet of low-carbon natural gas discovered over the last two years, essentially ending the U.S. energy crisis.

The massive vote against repeal of the California law—62% to 38%—supports an economy-crushing drive to suppress CO2 emissions from natural gas and everything else. In a parody of supply-side economics, advocates of AB 32 envisage the substitution of alternative energy sources that create new revenue sources, new jobs and industries. Their economic model sees new wealth emerge from jobs dismantling the existing energy economy and replacing it with a medieval system of windmills and solar collectors. By this logic we could all get rich by razing the existing housing plant and replacing it with new-fangled tents.

All the so-called "renewables" programs waste and desecrate the precious resource of arable land that feeds the world. Every dollar of new wages for green workers will result in several dollars of reduced pay and employment for the state's and the nation's other workers—and reduced revenues for the government.

Most destructive of all is the bill's stultifying effect on America's and California's most important asset: the venture capital industry, which accounts for the nation's technological leadership, military power, and roughly a fifth of GDP.

Led by Al Gore's investment affiliate, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, the campaign to save AB 32 raised $31 million—more than three times the $10 million that the oil companies raised for repeal. Pouring in millions were such promethean venturers as John Doerr and Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins, Eric Schmidt and Sergei Brin of Google, and the legendary Gordon Moore and Andrew Grove of Intel. The campaign even managed to shake down a contribution from the state's public utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, and gained the backing of the GOP's eBay billionaire gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman.

What is wrong with California's plutocratic geniuses? They are simply out of their depth in a field they do not understand. Solar panels are not digital. They may be made of silicon but they benefit from no magic of miniaturization like the Moore's Law multiplication of transistors on microchips. There is no reasonable way to change the wavelengths of sunlight to fit in drastically smaller photo receptors. Biofuels are even less promising. Even if all Americans stopped eating (saving about 100 thermal watts per capita on average) and devoted all of our current farmland to biofuels, the output could not fill much more than 2% of our energy needs.

In the past, Kleiner Perkins funded scores of vital ventures, from Apple and Applied Materials to Amazon and Google. But now Kleiner is moving on to such government- dependent firms as Miasole, Amyris Biofuels, Segway and Upwind Solutions. Many have ingenious technology and employ thousands of brilliant engineers, but they are mostly wasted on pork catchers.

Other venturers plunged into solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received some $500 million in federal subsidies and a campaign visit from Barack Obama before laying off 17% of its work force and giving up on a new factory that was supposed to create 1,000 green jobs.

Many of these green companies, behaving like the public-service unions they resemble, diverted some of their government subsidies into the AB 32 campaign for more subsidies. Virtually every new venture investment proposal harbors a "green" angle that turns it from a potential economic asset into a government dependent.

A partial solution is a suit by four attorneys general outside of California. They argue that the California law violates the Constitution's interstate commerce clause because of the limits it places on electricity generated by out-of-state, coal-fired power plants. But ultimately the new Congress must act. The Center for American Progress has found that 50 out of 100 or so new Republican congressmen elected earlier this month are "climate-change skeptics." But Republican leaders such as incoming Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor show dangerous gullibility in the face of environmentalist claims.

Co-sponsoring a disgraceful bill introduced in September to force utilities to expand their use of "renewable energy" to 15% by 2021 are Republican Sens. Sam Brownback and Susan Collins. Republican politicians are apparently lower in climate skepticism than readers of Scientific American, which recently discovered to its horror that some 80% of its subscribers, mostly American scientists, reject man-made global warming catastrophe fears.

Republicans may delude themselves that the U.S. can undertake a costly, inefficient and disruptive transformation of the energy economy, estimated by the International Energy Agency to cost some $45 trillion over 40 years, while meeting our global military challenges and huge debt overhang. But the green campaign wastes scarce and precious technological and entrepreneurial resources indispensable to the nation's future. Now it is debauching America's most precious venture assets. It must be defeated, not appeased.
4490  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections: Sen. Murkowski on: November 17, 2010, 12:57:49 PM
Looks like Murkowski has the votes.  A so-called loss for the so-called tea party, but Miller became the endorsed Republican and Murkowski promised to sign again with the Republicans.  Combined they took 75% of the vote and the Dem took less than 25%. 

My initial thought was that Murkowski will retaliate against tea partiers who snubbed her.  But it makes more sense to make peace with her own side.  Running for nomination unopposed and staying out of jail will give her a seat in the senate for life if she wants it.

Murkowski draws a 'C' from the Club for Growth, she is not Pat Toomey but she is no Susan Collins either.  Most likely she will continue on as she was, as a run-of-the-mill Republican, not visionary but right from my point of view on most of the issues: http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/Lisa_Murkowski.htm

Pick any issue you want, I see these 4 -  Voted NO on Sonia Sotomayor and NO on Elena Kagan, Voted YES on Samuel Alito and John Roberts  - and say... welcome back Lisa.
4491  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 16, 2010, 07:05:45 PM
"So then law enforcement would be enforcing those laws with search warrants, yes?"

There were two points there, local zoning ordinances and child protection.  I was ready to go off on a rant about child protection, but maybe you were referring to the zoning rules.  In both cases, I think you can start off presumed guilty which removes some of the need for specific evidence.  Neither is necessarily a criminal charge which removes defendant rights you would  have had with a criminal charge.  Sounds flippant but I can give first hand stories.
-------
Crafty, I agree.  If the goal is resolution, the issue should be separated down to areas where political agreement is possible.  The argument here keeps drifting back to extreme examples. 
4492  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 16, 2010, 12:02:30 PM
I like the focus on movement the positive instead of weight the negative, also to changing the types of foods.  Carrots and spinach are not as addicting as MSG loaded potato chips dripping in salt and fat.  You can't quit eating but it seems to me you would have to commit to quitting forever certain named junk foods that are causing you the most problem (or resign to living a shortened and immobile life).  For example, if you are 100 pounds long term overweight and serious about improving your health, and french fries, glazed donuts and all you can eat buffets are your 3 worst violators, you need to make a conscious yes-no list for all the foods you have been eating and commit to never again eat certain named worst violators, as serious as drug addiction withdrawal, and add an equal number of new, healthy choices for sustenance to your list that don't sound as good right now to replace them.  And then stick with it, everyday, like a recovering alcoholic refusing to have one beer.

Regarding mobility, I'm no expert but there are forms of swimming and water exercise that might be lower impact on the joints than even going for a walk.

Other helpful hints: Scale down to one small refrigerator and one small television and put them in opposite corners of the house.  The conscious brain can limit some choices of the subconscious brain.  Instead of a midnight snack, go to bed earlier.  You will be more tired if you worked on mobility during the day.
4493  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / War on Drugs, Meth Labs, Meth Orphans on: November 16, 2010, 11:11:11 AM
A Meth Lab in a residence would still be a violation of local zoning ordinance in any municipality I know of, like having an oil refinery or nuclear waste storage site (as I have offered to do for money) on your property.  If there isn't a local ordinance against it because it is already against state law, then there will be. 

If meth were legalized - and it won't be - child protection laws would be unchanged.  If authorities wouldn't remove the meth; they would remove the children.

Regarding meth orphans, I have been inside of foster homes and I have been inside meth homes.  The children are doing far better in the former. 
4494  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed, Monetary Policy: Quantitative Easing Explained on: November 15, 2010, 11:35:42 PM
Sometimes we get so quickly and deeply into a technical issue that no one ever slows down and backs up to explain it all in simple and direct terms.  This should take care of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiadcgYQguo
4495  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 15, 2010, 11:06:21 PM
More trouble at security.  Jay Leno reports that an older woman came out of TSA screening all out of breath, angry, crying and hollering to her husband, 'How come YOU never touch me like that anymore?!'
4496  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 15, 2010, 10:38:52 PM
CCP, You are exactly right.  In the one example I would cite, the weight came off seemingly easily to a very healthy level but did not stay off, nor did he ever repeat the weight loss - ever.  For most that I know, the excess weight seems stable, just not near levels considered healthy.

One thing I have learned in this discussion is to make a distinction between the obese with the difficulty in losing weight compared with the fit with their challenge of staying fit.  In this forum, most people likely range from extremely fit to fanatically fit.  The self discipline referred to by the fit is to keep doing what has always worked, where life is centered around awareness, health and fitness.  The obesity problem is a wholly different challenge - to change everything about a person whose lifestyle and history is very much the opposite.  I have not watched the video yet but what 5rings says make sense to me.  Conscious choice is only a part of behavioral choice.  I assume the conscious part of the brain and nervous system is a small part (1%?) of all that is going on.  The martial artist likely is unusually proficient at controlling the rest of the system, with mind very in tune with and in control of body, extremes in awareness and self control.  The obese patient is, I assume, very much the opposite.  Innate within us, someone else mentioned, is the subconscious survival urge to eat all that you can, when you can, because it might not be there tomorrow. 

Anther observation is that with a smoker, an alcoholic, a coke, meth or heroin addict after withdrawal and treatment, if successful, would hopefully never try it or use again.  With food, it is necessary and keeps getting reintroduced.  It would be like training an alcoholic or addict to get high in moderation 3 times a day with complete self control instead of quitting.
4497  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 15, 2010, 12:03:12 PM
'Eat less. Move more...all these overweight people never thought of that either.'

Doc, It doesn't work if they only think about it, they have to do it for it to work.   smiley

Same advice might likely apply to most knee, hip, back issues - the load bearing areas of the body being asked to carry the wrong sized load.  Also the location of the load moves outward with increases in size.  Just tell them to lose the excess baggage and get back to you...   I think you will lose your license if you do.  They are looking for staples and pills by the time they come to you for weight loss.  Sometimes that is what they need.

My grandpa always enjoyed telling us that in the early 1960s I think, WAY before warning labels, his doctor told him to quit smoking - 'Neal, those cigarettes are going to kill you.' No one told him about addiction or offered him patches, pills or hypnosis, but he did quit - right then.  Everybody is different.
4498  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kiev topless protesters: Drawing attention to women's rights in Iran on: November 15, 2010, 11:03:04 AM
The powerline link will save you from a signup and age check at youtube.

A very worthy cause, I admire these brave protesters and the work that they do.

"A group of feminists called Femen went topless at an event at the Iranian embassy to protest the sentence of death by stoning that Iran meted out to Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. Few things attract attention like a group of topless women; you can see what happened in this brief, somewhat-explicit video:"  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/11/027685.php
4499  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 15, 2010, 10:30:21 AM
Scott Grannis - The six fatal flaws of ObamaCare
(Go to the his blog to light up the links at the end: http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/2010/11/six-fatal-flaws-of-obamacare.html )

In a series of posts earlier this year in which I discussed the growing list of fatal flaws in healthcare reform, I opined that "the defects of this legislation are so massive and pervasive that it will never see the light of day." Arguably, that's still true today, especially as we can now add one more fatal flaw to the list: you don't have to comply with the law because you can get a waiver! To date, 111 firms have been granted waivers by the Obama administration, and the list is sure to grow by leaps and bounds. The very fact that many firms need to apply for waivers is good evidence that ObamaCare is fatally flawed. To celebrate the increasing likelihood of ObamaCare's eventual demise, let me recap the fatal flaws as I see them:

Fatal flaw #1: The penalty imposed for not buying a policy is very likely to be less than the cost of insurance for a great many people. This, combined with the requirement that insurance companies may not deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition, means that a large number of people will forgo signing up for a policy, knowing that they a) will save money and b) can always sign up for insurance if they turn out to develop a serious medical condition. Thus, the actual revenues will far way short of projections.

Fatal flaw #2: The government has no ability to enforce the penalty for noncompliance.

Fatal flaw #3: Mandating that people buy a health insurance policy simply because they are alive is arguably unconstitutional. It is also a way of hiding the fact that young people will effectively be paying a huge new tax in order to subsidize older people.

Fatal flaw #4: Regulating the price which insurance companies must charge for policies, coupled with a requirement that companies must rebate to their customers the amount by which their loss ratios fall below 90%, effectively turns these companies into government-run enterprises and would likely result in the effective nationalization of the healthcare industry. That is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, and of a Supreme Court requirement "that any firm in a regulated market be allowed to recover a risk-adjusted competitive rate of return on its accumulated capital investment."

Fatal flaw #5: A government-imposed restructuring of the healthcare industry can't possibly improve our healthcare system, and is extremely likely to make it worse. As Don Boudreaux has noted, "Trying to restructure an industry that constitutes one-sixth of the U.S. economy is ... so complicated that it's impossible to accomplish without risking catastrophic failure."

Fatal flaw #6: In cases wherein companies find that complying with the law would result in large increases in healthcare premiums that would threaten employees' access to a plan, the Dept. of Health and Human Services may grant a waiver to the company. As evidence of the first five fatal flaws accumulates, and as healthcare insurance companies continue to raise premiums to pay for the unintended consequences of government attempting to regulate an entire industry and hundreds of millions of people, more and more companies are likely to apply for waivers. At some point the whole edifice will come crashing down of its own weight.

I have a more detailed discussion of each of these flaws here, here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Lest I be accused of offering only non-constructive criticism, I refer readers to previous posts about the right way to reform healthcare, here, here, and here.
4500  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 15, 2010, 10:22:50 AM
Dan Henninger at the WSJ has a simpler answer to the economic doldrums than the technical adjustments of 'quantitative easing'.  Stop throwing Molotov cocktails at business.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703805004575606750168419176.html
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