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4501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: The no-jobs speech on: September 09, 2011, 01:10:19 PM
I still haven't gathered the strength of stomach to read or watch the speech yet.  Fascinated by what a non-news story it is.  We had back-to-school curriculum night last night as did thousands of school districts I'm sure and I made the right choice.  I will read the bill when there is one.  One revelation seems to be that Obama had another half-tril of cuts he was willing to make but was hiding and saving those to offset new spending.  We will see.  This time maybe we can pass the cuts and skip the new spending and 'revenue enhancers'. 

It seems to me he set his own trap and caught himself being the anti-jobs, anti-growth, anti-private sector president that he is.  It was a mistake to draw attention to his worst quality.  'Pass it and I'll tell you what's in it.' Should instead have made one more speech on the killing of OBL, then say he needs to spend more time with family - and golf without criticism - and will not be running again.

People with better senses of humor than me set out to enjoy the pre-game speech with BINGO boards and drinking games.  Let's drag out the film and pass out the board markers.  See how many you can get:

4502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: September 09, 2011, 12:10:01 PM
"Lets take that to the Tax thread please." (from 'Glibness')

The mortgage deduction and charitable contributions will be the last two to go.  In theory, I prefer very low rates and no deductions with no social engineering, but the home mortgage deduction was a very long institution of encouraging home ownership, neighborhoods, stability that people have long relied on.  This is not a great time in housing to make things dramatically worse, nor does that save us money, see housing thread.  If we did, a multi-year phase out does less damage.  Don't we already cap and limit the mortgage deduction?

The point is IMO, is get the garbage out of the tax code, get the rates down to what a rich person with options would be willing to pay and you will get more growth and more tax collections.
4503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: September 09, 2011, 11:43:05 AM
One link on the lawsuit story:  Feds suing institutions that are federally insured...  Cut off new funding and existing losses get worse.  Yes, very confusing when there is no painless way out.

PP,  Great to you have you back in. A bad situation but very helpful info.  I have made good use of the info you already posed; not getting rich but avoiding new mistakes.  Combining the numbers Fannie, Freddie, FHA and VA, mortgages are 95% federal(?) and the other 5% I assume are federally insured banks?  And none of it is savings based, as in the old S&L concept.(?) As one who is greatly exposed to the continued downturn, this is painful.  Housing is tied to jobs and income so the ending of bailouts and closing of failed agencies needs to follow the policies that will lead back to growth, meaning no time soon.

Other groups tied to property values include the property tax authorities across the country.  I wonder what percent of foreclosed homes never make it back to life.  90,000 in Detroit alone?
(I hear the Kelo property in New London is still available.)

The reforms needed lead to higher mortgage interest rates, but that is in addition to the certainty that rates out of the Fed eventually will rise and that rise could be severe when new dollars already printed have their known effect.  People only pay the monthly that they can afford so it follows that values will drop further.  Plenty of people are still in adjustables at artificially low rates partly because they can't qualify to refinance what they already owe, so when rates go up and up, down go more more properties into default.

Besides aging baby boomers with fading birth rates, net immigration I think is close to zero so demographics won't bring any explosion of demand.

I favor privatization wherever possible, but that alone doesn't make any of this go away.  Only sustained, robust economic growth can make a positive difference on housing IMO.  That could be years out?
4504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 10:05:02 AM
Some follow up points because this is central to evaluating this president and this election - then back to the other threads.   

We hold Gov Perry to results in Texas during his time and Romney in Massachusetts for his.  But the operative Obama line is "when we got here" meaning post-crash Jan. 2009, and that everything that happened when they took control of both chambers of congress, took control of domestic policy and bragged swaggeredly about taking full control  in Nov 2006 did not count.  We can blame Bush for losing that midterm election and losing congress and losing all control of domestic policy but Jan. 2007 is certainly when they got there, if one is talking about control and direction of policies in Washington.

One could also say that Obama was only a junior senator and only one senator of 100 but he was the rock star in the party even as a candidate ever since his keynote speech at the 2004 convention and he was a de facto leader in the senate and congress the day he arrived in Washington.  When they took the majority two years later he waited less than 30 days to launch his successful Presidential run.  Hillary was the presumed nominee and next President but his only policy difference with Hillary turned out to be that he opposed the individual mandate.  Go figure.  The direction of the Pelosi-Reid congress under lame duck Bush was something Obama had a direct hand in or should have, while saying he was ready to run it all.  They were saying trust us to govern and then they were saying watch what we do, correcting disparities etc. and they did, and now I am pinning those results on them just as they wished - back then.

The tie between investment results and unemployment is economic and inextricable.  It follows policies choices and policy mistakes, not calendar years or names on office doors.  We attempted this discussion before.  If wealth went up slightly during brief interludes on the graph posted, like when unemployment went from 10.2 to 9.1, then so be it.  They are still linked.  If you kill investment and wealth, you kill jobs and opportunities for workers and young people.  

My real point is that disparity during economic growth is a fact.  When policies move away from job-killing to more neutral and economic growth resumes or better yet grows gangbusters, those who are invested in the economy, putting their own money on the line, owning stocks and small businesses, holding the faith, taking the risks and making the innovations, those are the ones who will benefit first and disproportionately the most, as compared with those who have nothing of their own at stake and are sitting this one out.  It is a fact of economic life and it is not atrocious, it is freedom and choice.  To the disparity-phobics I say - get over it.  A growing economy with all its unfairness, unevenness and blemishes is far better than the alternatives, as we now see!  To the have-nots, it represents only opportunity to do anything you want, not a trickle-down.  Whether or not they take advantage of that opportunity depends on personal choices, not a government program.
"the rich are able to avoid taxes much easier than the middle class"

Yes but only by avoiding productive investment and taxable income.  Once it hits line 32 or whatever it is - it gets taxed.

"I'd rather see a lower number like Huntsman suggested, but eliminate ALL the deductions and tax havens"

Me too!

"Frankly, I bet a lot of the rich end up paying more if all their precious deductions are eliminated."

No, they end up paying a lot more when rates are lowered.  The purpose of allowing deductions like business expenses is to calculate income accurately.  The failed attempts at social engineering should be limited to the spending side and limited to what we take in in actual revenues.  It wasn't the rich who wrote the precious deductions, it was the greedy, power hungry, know it all, technocrat, representatives of the people.  For example, how did healthcare creep even further into the tax code under Obama if we were really trying - laser focus - to energize private sector jobs?  Isn't that a public spending question?  Really a personal and private one?

4505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 01:41:50 AM
"the disparity of incomes is truly atrocious."

The disparity in what different people produce in the economy is 'atrocious'.

4506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 01:26:46 AM
Sorry but I don't speak emotocon very well and I think we have had this argument before.

"Obviously, they are NOT "paying MORE as a percentage of the load"."

Sorry, nothing is obvious to me.  Please link or support that.  You are saying their income went up in a progressive rate system.  If so, their load increased.

Yes, the economy is growing consistently now at about 0.0% under Obama so it is possible that people are getting richer.  Your March data ignore the summer crash and the years you point to deny when power actually changed in Washington:

The policy arrow in Washington turned over to the spread-the-wealth /tax-the-rich direction in Nov 2006.  That was when the young glibness and cohorts took majority in both chambers of congress and that was when W took lame duck status according to every liberal leftist pundit and awake observer:

Washington Post Nov. 2006:  "Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid of Nevada told supporters, "All across America tonight . . . there is in the air a wind of change." "

Yes.  Change for the worse.

CBS 2006: "Bush Is Now A Lame Duck"

Yes.  Democrats will be calling the shots and are promising to raise taxes and spread wealth.  Probably expand the CRA too and get the last homeless person into home ownership...

Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2006: Bush faces daunting challenges in his lame-duck years

Washington Post  October 18, 2006:  Elections May Leave Bush An Early Lame Duck

Huffington Post:  Bush was a lame duck President after the 2006 Mid-terms according to Democrats like Harry Reid and Nanci Pelosi and the CBS,ABC,MS­NBC,NPR,CN­N,NYT,AP,R­UETERS,DNC­,

50 months consecutive job growth ended at this moment.  What changed?  You've got a different theory?

"And we are suppose to reduce their taxes??"

No.  You aren't supposed to do anything.  But if you want to stop the job killing you will have to alleviate the disincentives to produce.  You are supposed to fight back for more job killing and we are supposed to defeat you.  (Why do you revert to arguing anti-growth economics while endorsing Huntsman before and after he came out with a supply side plan?)

For all of this time in power there has been a promise that tax rates will be raised on the rich right around the next corner.  For the most part that never happened so we got the Murphy's Law combination of all of the production and wealth destruction with none of the revenue increases that the higher rates would have allegedly yielded.  Completely braindead economics.  His new chief economic adviser was the architect of cash for clunkers.  Now it is the OBAMA tax cut extensions that need to be made permanent, yet he refuses to remove this warclub from over their heads while he piles on page after page of new regulations and presiding over a doubling of energy costs.  

What part of OWNERSHIP of their results do they not understand?

4507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 08, 2011, 09:45:06 PM
I agree with JDN. - Just kidding.  wink

First this: "The rich get richer and the middle class pays."

What did that mean?  As rich get richer, they pay more and more in dollar and percentage of the load.  Is there any data that say otherwise?  In what way does the middle class pay at a higher rate than the rich?  At the median 50th percentile (middle) taxpayer, the federal income tax they pay is zero.

When a news story conflicts with what you see with your own eyes it is time to dig deeper.  A couple of things stand out that I see.  For one thing, in the story they admit the total number still has not recovered to pre-recession levels.  For another thing, the 'illusory gains' mentioned in the March story unfortunately were wiped out by the market performance over the summer.

The rich do get richer in times of real economic growth.  But now we have stocks down again.  Real estate down.  Sure some are getting richer - likely investing outside the reach of the regulatory hurricane and the impending U.S. tax increases.  

The point really is just that the plights of investors and workers are inextricably linked.  When you attack investment, you hurt jobs.  You don't spread the wealth.  You destroy the wealth.

The story that caused me to make that comment was this in the WSJ last week:

Review and Outlook - Wall Street Journal  - AUGUST 17, 2011

Millionaires Go Missing
There's nothing like a recession to level incomes.

Speaking of "millionaires and billionaires" (see above), the real tax news is that there are fewer of both these days. This month the IRS released more detailed tax data for 2009, and the nearby table records the decline of the taxpaying rich.

In 2007, 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. In 2009, there were only 237,000 such filers, a decline of 39%. Almost four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42%.

Those with $10 million or more in reported income fell to 8,274 from 18,394 in 2007, a 55% drop. As a result, their tax payments tanked by 51%. These disappearing millionaires go a long way toward explaining why federal tax revenues have sunk to 15% of GDP in recent years. The loss of millionaires accounts for at least $130 billion of the higher federal budget deficit in 2009. If Warren Buffett wants to reduce the deficit, he should encourage policies to create more millionaires, not campaign to tax them more.

The millionaires who are left still pay a mountain of tax. Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2% of all tax returns but paid 20.4% of income taxes in 2009. Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3% of tax filers but paid 50.1% of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes. This means the top 3% paid more than the bottom 97%. Yet the 3% are the people that President Obama claims don't pay their fair share. Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5% of the income tax.

For the past three decades, the political left has obsessed about income inequality. As the economy experienced one of the largest and lengthiest economic booms in history from 1982-2007, the left moaned that the gains went to yacht club members.

Well, if equality of income is the priority, liberals should be thrilled with the last four years. The recession and weak recovery have been income levelers. Those who make more than $200,000 captured one-quarter of the $7.6 trillion in total income in 2009. In 2007 the over-$200,000 crowd had one-third of reported U.S. taxable income. Those with incomes above $1 million earned 9.5% of total income in 2009, down from 16.1% in 2007.

It's an old story: The best way to produce income equality is to destroy trillions of dollars of wealth. Everyone loses, but the rich lose relatively more than the poor and the middle class. By that measure, if few others, Obamanomics has been a raging success.
4508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 08, 2011, 01:14:09 PM
JDN,  I guess you either missed or disagree with my point but that is a relatively small improvement in exports - not much bang for the buck - considering the fiscal and monetary carnage that was involved to get there.  Further I would add that the American consumer is also harmed by losing the option of choosing to buy a Japanese made Japanese car which traditionally held a higher value in the used market than its American made counterpart.  Not only exports, but also the right to buy from elsewhere and the ability to travel reasonably overseas are economic assets.  Pretty insulting  to have foreigners place a low value on our currency.

Exporting was my business and a weak dollar is one factor in sales.  Since the US is not a low cost producer in the first place, far more important factors are things like a climate and reputation for world leading innovation and manufacturing competitiveness that appear to have come and gone.  
4509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 08, 2011, 11:14:32 AM
"In the last year, exports are up 15.1% while imports are up 13.6%."

People will have to judge for themselves if the hundred year collapse of the currency was worth it.  Even after $5 trillion in Obaman Keynesian stimuli, demand is stronger elsewhere?

I wonder how much of those increased exports came from Solyndra solar, electric cars and new Marxism-based battery technologies and how much came from the surviving free market players out doing the hard work in competitive private enterprise.
4510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Spread the Wealth? Millions fewer millionaires was not a good jobs program. on: September 08, 2011, 11:00:21 AM
Perhaps the most memorable and candid moment from the summer of Obama 2008 was this line in a long explanation of how good his elaborate economic tinkering could be for this country:

"I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody."

My observations 3 years later:

a) When we had economic growth, the emphasis of the left was always on disparity, not success or opportunity.

b) Obama succeeded in the first part: there are now millions fewer millionaires.

c) Destroying, capturing and hindering the creation of obscene, excess wealth did not help the downtrodden whatsoever.  To pick the one group where his message resonates best, black unemployment doubled since Dems took power in Washington.  Who knew?

d) Lastly and the reason I bring that quote back is that he was specifically and memorably admitting that we had wealth in this country just before he won the Presidency.  In 3 years we went from an academic argument about what to do with our wealth to not being able to find any.
4511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: September 08, 2011, 10:31:47 AM
S&P lowered its rating after the deal, not during the stalemate.  That blame argument rings hollow for anyone paying attention.  The

If that false blame argument slips into the speech, like he did in SOTU at the Supreme Court with false characterization of the Citizens United decision, those this time on the receiving end of it should quietly and politely stand up and walk out.  Freedom of speech does not include any kind of compulsion to listen, and that shows more openmindedness than not showing up in the first place which is what I would probably do in their situation.

Moving the decimal point on the cuts in the last deal to the new unit trillions, that draconian 'cut' was $0.02 trillion and it lasted one month until tonight where the President will likely propose another half trillion in new spending.  Yes the tea party picked the wrong fight on debt ceiling and lost it.  Don't minimize however that the tea party succeeded in drawing enormous attention to the problem of spending, deficit and debt even in the middle of summer when conventional wisdom says that no one is paying attention.

They lost because there was no republican consensus on making 40% cuts in spending in a recession nor any ability to win that argument with the senate and executive even if there was.  The debt ceiling was going to go up right from the beginning and the rest was about drawing attention to the problem.

Those making the blame tea party case OTOH are not exactly winning.  They got their debt limit raised and their license to keep on spending at quite a cost.  Obama's approval on his economic policies is down to just immediate family and a couple of journalists and it is still falling.  If spending does increase dramatically now, and I don't see how, he would then face another debt ceiling fight just before the election.

If the President wants $400 billion more here or there for new domestic initiatives, first tell us which failed domestic initiatives you will end to free up the funds.

Next step if there is no stomach for real cuts is to freeze spending (END ALL BASELINES) and get focused on growth.
4512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Compromise or Cave on Core Principles? on: September 07, 2011, 11:09:57 PM
The Berlowitz piece and JDN reaction: Great Post!  "[compromise] is exactly what we need..."

Good grief!

He starts with a takeoff from something Rush L. said about winners not compromising.  What did he get, two lines out of a 20 year, 3 hour a day show?  Berkowitz's must be the piece Rush was responded to as I tuned in. He says they always point back to the same 3 examples, Christine what's-her-name and Sharon Angle lost.  And Goldwater in '64.  That's it. That proves that principled conservative candidates never win and RINOs always do. Really?  Christine and Sharon were the least qualified candidates running.  How about Marco Rubio who won by a MILLION votes, Rand Paul and plenty of others - like a conservative businessman over liberal lion Russ Feingold in Wisconsin where Obama had just won by FOURTEEN POINTS over the senate's most moderate member, John McCain!  Goldwater lost in '64 but Reagan won twice and won big, 40 states in 1980 and then 49 states in 1984!  Ford, Dole, McCain? 0 for 3.  Democrat-Lite. Not exactly a winning flavor.  Who were the great moderates of history?

Reagan compromised plenty - as pointed out in the piece.  So does Rand Paul now and Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson (R-WI).  It is a complete straw argument IMO to say this is about compromise.  Compromise is what they all do every day on every issue.  The question at hand is about CAVING, or are we just choosing candidates who share none of our core principles in the first place?

CRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, these are Alinsky type wedges that would never be the law of the land without the signing on of moderate RINOs.  Let's see - these and a few others brought down the country if not the world economy.  Government owning mortgages, auto manufacturers, investing in energy - the inefficient types, mandating healthcare and bailing out insurance companies?  Bailing out Central banks - of foreign countries? Drilling for oil in Brazil while banning it at home?  The feds choose your light bulbs, food in the schools, hell, everything in the schools.  Now we have federal spending at nearly 4 trillion with no end in sight, on revenues stuck at 2 1/2, and 72 distinct federal means tested welfare programs, none authorized in the constitution that I can find.  Maybe unenumerated powers??  That is compromise?  On what core conservative principles??  There are none left that I recognize! 
4513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NPR: All Things Considered - National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion on: September 07, 2011, 12:22:25 PM

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion

by NPR Staff  August 6, 2011  All Things Considered

When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

It's those medium- and long-term debt problems that also worry economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, who served as a senior economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. He says the national debt, which the U.S. Treasury has accounted at about $14 trillion, is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We have all these unofficial debts that are massive compared to the official debt," Kotlikoff tells David Greene, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered. "We're focused just on the official debt, so we're trying to balance the wrong books."

Kotlikoff explains that America's "unofficial" payment obligations — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits — jack up the debt figure substantially.

"If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That's the fiscal gap," he says. "That's our true indebtedness."

We don't hear more about this enormous number, Kotlikoff says, because politicians have chosen their language carefully to keep most of the problem off the books.

"Why are these guys thinking about balancing the budget?" he says. "They should try and think about our long-term fiscal problems."

According to Kotlikoff, one of the biggest fiscal problems Congress should focus on is America's obligation to make Social Security payments to future generations of the elderly.

"We've got 78 million baby boomers who are poised to collect, in about 15 to 20 years, about $40,000 per person. Multiply 78 million by $40,000 — you're talking about more than $3 trillion a year just to give to a portion of the population," he says. "That's an enormous bill that's overhanging our heads, and Congress isn't focused on it."
4514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 07, 2011, 01:01:54 AM
"Give us this day our daily reminder that there is a bullish case to be made."

 - Funny!  Bullish or bullshi*? Just kidding! I like Wesbury. This is not an economy in freefall.  This is an economy with zero-point-something percent growth.
This from Bloomberg earlier this summer, still true:

Stocks Cheapest in 26 Years as S&P 500 Falls, Profit Rises

What's missing in this Price-Earnings-Growth ratio?  Projected growth. 
4515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: South Carolina debate Sept 2011, Romney Economic Plan on: September 06, 2011, 09:29:19 PM
Romney Economic Plan:

If elected, Romney says he would submit a jobs package on his first day in office consisting of five proposals. That legislation would reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent; implement free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea; and direct the Department of the Interior to work with energy companies to survey energy reserves and lease all areas currently approved for exploration.

He would also immediately cut non-defense spending by 5 percent, reducing the federal budget by $20 billion. He would also cap spending at 20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Romney also reiterated that he would work to repeal Obama’s health care law, as well as the “Dodd-Frank” Wall Street reform law co-authored by US Representative Barney Frank of Newton.

Romney would also restructure the tax code, eliminating the so-called estate taxes on inheritances, as well as taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for low- and middle-income taxpayers. His plan does not offer a specific plan on the marginal income tax rate, saying only that he would “explore opportunities” to lower it.
4516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Romney starts to run? on: September 06, 2011, 12:50:59 PM
First re. super swing states: "Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13)."

If this is a landslide, those and more (new Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan...) all go one way, it's just about 14 months too early to say that.  States like MN and CA are meaningless only because if Republicans win them, it was already clinched in the above.
A couple of signs that Romney has finally started to run for President from very different sources Washington Post:  and this from Byron York in the Washington Examiner.

I am not endorsing, just trying to get to know the candidates.  I am happy to see any positive signs coming out from any or all of them.  Romney has a 59 point plan coming out today ahead of the debate and the Obama speech.
After Perry bails, Romney shines in South Carolina forum
By: Byron York | Chief Political Correspondent | 09/05/11 8:05 PM
Had Perry shown up (missed to deal with Texas wild fires), he would have had his hands full dealing with Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor originally turned down DeMint's invitation and decided to appear only after seeing Perry rocket to the front of the Republican pack. But once on stage, especially when faced with a series of questions on financial regulation -- Dodd-Frank, Fannie and Freddie, the Community Reinvestment Act, Sarbanes-Oxley -- Romney delivered a masterful performance. Asking Romney about financial matters and the economy is like asking former Sen. Rick Santorum about abortion -- it's something he seems to understand deep inside himself.

And even on the issue of abortion, on which he has famously flip-flopped, Romney found a way to shine. Conservative Princeton professor Robert P. George, one of the questioners, asked each candidate about a hugely unlikely scenario in which Congress, relying on the 14th Amendment, would pass a law overturning Roe v. Wade and set up a constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court over abortion. Repeated over and over, the question had the feel of a personal cause rather than an urgent national issue. Romney's carefully phrased answer was, in effect, no thanks. "I'm not looking to create a constitutional crisis," he told George.

Could Perry have outperformed Romney? After the forum, one Perry partisan said the Texas governor could have "out-commonsensed" Romney. Perry would certainly have scored some points, and perhaps delivered a good show, but it's hard to see him beating Romney on the substance of the issues.
4517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 06, 2011, 11:18:28 AM
CCP,  Besides his dearth of writings, there is no evidence or indication anywhere that he has even read a book on economics that did not oppose our economic system.

CCP: "His backing off the climate emissions regulations is really an example of he knows full well his policies kill the economy."

Spot on, as well as his agreement to 'extend the Bush tax cuts'.  He knows full well that taxes, regulations and spread the wealth programs are economic killers.  He was willing to accept anti-growth 'fairness' in an academic sense, but the reality of it setting in is killing his Presidency and our country.  He is troubled by the former more so than the latter.
(Stolen form Crafty's post yesterday:) 
"Daydreams of a fair world which would treat him according to his real worth are the refuge of all those plagued by a lack of self-knowledge." (Ludwig von Mises)
4518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Harry, I lost my gift. on: September 06, 2011, 10:47:26 AM
Yes, small time amateur show in a grand national venue, like perhaps having a middle school football game in the Superdome and the cameras try not to show the empty seats.  In this case, a full house (why would anyone go?) but the cameras will be panning for reactions to a presumably partisan speech touting more already proven to be failed policies.  Is he going to change course? What headline is he looking for Friday morning? Republicans will sit politely expressionless and comment candidly after.  He will give them 1 or 2 fake applause lines, tax reform, exports, trade?  But all that he knows falls into a government centric world pitting labor versus management and bigger and bigger government versus free markets and capital investment.

Combine 2 posts of this morning, 81% say his policies failed, then he demands prime time full venue to draw attention to that, propose more of the same, while calling opponents (the majority in the room) "enemies". "terrorists", "barbarians" and "sons of bitches"?

I suggested that he and Biden resign if the love their country and want jobs to recover before 2013.  The point of reserving this venue and national television spot should only be to announce a serious change of course - endorse real economic growth policies.  Of course he will do neither. The only thing he knows how to do is blame others and propose more of the same.

For a clue as to content, the new chair of his economic advisers was the lead administrator of Cash for Clunkers.  Yet he still expects the reaction to be women fainting in the front row??  Unless they poisoned the food, it ain't gonna happen. 

Sorry Harry, I have lost my gift.   
4519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance: The feeling is mutual! on: September 05, 2011, 08:45:14 PM
A satirist at Reason magazine writes that the Obama administration's approval of the American public has now dipped to an all time low.
4520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 03, 2011, 04:08:13 PM
A war hero has no meaning (but eating in real Chinese restaurants with the proper utensils is foreign policy experience) - with only that information I believe I could pick the poster out of lineup.  wink

Neither side has any recent track record of moving rocket scientists to the top of the ticket - Dole-Bush-McCain, the only things worse were Gore, Kerry and even the scholar Obama -they have all tried to hide their lousy records.  There is hardly grounds for partisan bragging in either direction.  You have to go back to Clinton being a Rhodes Scholar and still he still learned more in one day about economics by losing congress than he did in all of college and DLC thinktankland.

I'm not endorsing Palin, nor is she running(?), but (JDN) to say you would choose Obama over Palin while endorsing the  economic plan of Huntsman, the polar opposite of Obama and likely to the right of Palin, is to me to have no interest in  policies or governing philosophy.  I suspect a hate crime in progress.

Palin is an intuitive conservative, not a scholar or academic.  She was competent in her executive position before Governor and highly rated and approved before the ups and owns of national stardom.We don't any of us know how good a President she would be but her insights and directions on policies have been far more informed than the incumbent IMO.  I don't want her to run because she didn't finish the job that gives her the credibility to be considered. (Neither did Obama BTW)  She offers at least some upside risk of being a good President and he does not.

To trivialize (Perry) the leadership of a state the economic size of (G8) Russia for the longest duration of anyone in history and have a strong record of performance ahead of the other 49 states doing that is to (further) trivialize this discussion.  If chief executive of one the largest states for a long steady duration and having an excellent track record isn't a pretty good qualification... what is? 

Perry has weaknesses, I have posted 12 of them.  Why trivialize his strengths? If doing less with government is what improved private sector economic results, maybe there is something there you are missing... If producing oil and natural gas and not having big government choke that off was economically helpful, again, maybe you are missing something with his record.

Wouldn't we have a better chance at success for this country in the White House with a random name out of the phone book than with the one person proven to stubbornly and dogmatically lead us in the wrong direction no matter the consequences?

On Tuesday Romney will weigh in with his economic/jobs plan.  On Thursday we will see Obama's. We have seen Pawlenty, Huntsman and Cain.  I have posted mine for the most part.   I would love to hear what others here, moderates, especially moderate Dems, favor for an economic plan going forward at this point in American history.  Is it more borrow and spend?  Have government go even further picking winners and losers?
4521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: September 03, 2011, 02:52:54 PM
That was quite a story posted by P.C., perfect example of why to do away with 'hate crimes'.  It reminds me of the lung cancer ad - when you cannot breathe it does not matter who you are.  We live in a system that has a strict requirement of equal protection under the law. (True??) If so, once that trigger was pulled it should not matter who the shooter is or who the victim is.  While we are out investigating the one person's alleged gayness and the other person's alleged hatred of that, those LE resources are not being used to prevent or solve the next crime.  Social scientists, not detectives solving crimes can later study the hatred.  The families of the gay and not-gay victim deserve equal justice for their loss; the shooter of the gay and non-gay victims deserves equal punishment.  The issue comes down to prosecuting the right person and establishing premeditation.  This case was also confounded by the 14 year age falling into an area where reasonable people disagree about trying him as an adult.  There again IMO the penalty for something that drastic should be the same, adolescent or adult, if mental competence to comprehend is present.  The wrongness of taking a life and the severe consequences for doing that are both concepts they better comprehend before we let them move past about kindergarden IMHO. 
4522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Lector in Chief on: September 03, 2011, 12:19:26 AM
The writing is instructive.  Amazing for one thing because it seems to be a rare sighting of what is likely his own work.  He starts with a simple grammatical error, holds himself up as evidence the system is working and dives into to a logic-free loop of impossible to follow ramble.   When he said later, Harry I have gift, I think he meant the delivery not the writing of speeches.
Next week if everyone shows up we will have the entire Executive and Legislative branches assembled all in one room and the one who knows the very least in the country about job creation will be the only person allowed to speak. Unbelievable.
4523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: September 02, 2011, 11:11:20 PM
I enjoyed the Gilder interview very much.
4524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Water scarcity? on: September 01, 2011, 01:47:37 PM
Regional differences I'm sure, but I'm not a big believer in water scarcity.  I think the NYT had one story on this but has anyone else heard about the US Army Corps of Engineers caused floods along the Missouri River where 'spring' floods still have freeways closed and homes evacuated along its path:
4525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 01, 2011, 01:02:58 PM
"Being from WI I know what I will watch."

I will miss the Reagan center debates Wednesday with my aging warrior team (senior tennis) training for nationals.  For the great ratings war on Thurs maybe I will watch exciting debate replays.  Don't tell me who won.  wink

For a real Obama jobs plan announcement, may I respectfully suggest that he and his terrorist veep resign during the speech. THAT would signal to the markets and to the world that he is serious.
4526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: September 01, 2011, 12:34:26 PM
JDN,  First,. must note the humor that the LA Times headline says 'Straightforward and common sense'.  If the Perry plan is identical I expect a different headline even though presumably they are only quoting the candidate.  There is zero chance that the LA Times will be endorsing this plan over Obama in 2012.  (Happy to being proven wrong!)

I agree with all the economic points made in the article about his plan.  I still have foreign policy questions for him but this plan pretty much locks in my vote for him IF he is nominated.  Real tax reform, repealing Obamacare and reining in the EPA at least clarify for us why he ruins as a Republican.  Strange that for 2 1/1 months close observers weren't clear on that until now.  It would seem to me that, like what Romney went through in 2008, Huntsman now feels a need to reach rightward.  Instead of looking for contradictions, I would like to say welcome.  Is JDN reaching rightward too or will you now look for a different centrist moderate?  smiley

Note that the LA Times skipped this one:

Eliminate The Taxes On Capital Gains And Dividends In Order To Eliminate The Double Taxation On Investment. Capital gains and dividend taxes amount to a double-taxation on individuals who choose to invest. Because dollars invested had to first be earned, they have already been subject to the income tax. Taxing these same dollars again when capital gains are realized serves to deter productive and much-needed investment in our economy.

Pawlenty had that proposal too and maybe this vidicates himeven though his plan went by largely unnoticed.  I think the reasoning is largely true but unrealistic; it goes too far though I like the way he is thinking.  Locking in current rates or calling for another small, permanent decrease would be a huge victory over the prospects investors have faced constantly since the Pelosi-Reid-Obama electoral takeover of Nov. 2006.

As these economic plans begin to look similar, it will come down to who can win and who will actually get these things done.  That will come down to who can persuasively articulate why these things NEED to be done.  Posting them with solid reasons as he did on his position statement is a start.
4527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 01, 2011, 11:50:20 AM
"Looks like His Glibness is backing off from trying to speak during the Rep. candidates debate"

It seems the bully who wanted to take audience from the Republican debate now can compete the the long awaited NFL opener with the world champion Wisconsin Packers playing the 2 year ago champion New Orleans Saints.  The excesses of capitalism go straight up against yet another round of government-centric job talk.  Nielson ratings callers will be busy.
4528  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: September 01, 2011, 11:25:44 AM
Avoiding a complete shutdown is one of the advantages of the internet's decentralized design loaded with redundancies and endless, alternate paths - which our benevolent government would like to streamline for us.

"What happens if the internet itself goes off-line?"

That is something like the Y2K scenario; we were told that water and electricity would shutdown if computers went down.  We don't know exactly because it didn't happen then.  If all internet went down, the world we now know would stop for a moment and people would be forced to get up and walk out their front door to talk with other people.   wink
Excellent points by Tony.  The next generation raised with social media seem highly capable of staying organized. I'm still not clear on how you can broadcast all the right information to the right people without also informing the wrong people.

4529  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: September 01, 2011, 10:42:34 AM
"Venezuela can sell oil abroad in dollars and then transfer its currency reserves to gold"

Regimes of Venezuela, Iran and Russia are empowered by misguided U.S. policies that artificially drive up the price of oil and gold (just pointing out the obvious).

It is a no-win situation for the people of Venezuela but if the USA switched suddenly to pro-growth policies that started with major expansion of domestic energy production and combined sound fiscal and monetary policies it could simultaneously bring down the price of both oil and gold.
4530  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: September 01, 2011, 10:19:36 AM
"...this point about cell phones and social media..."

I recall that the start of the Arab spring uprising in Tunisia was both triggered by crackdowns on social media and organized on them.
4531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Progressivism: Gov. Hickenlooper, D-Colo. on: September 01, 2011, 10:08:20 AM
Contrast the Obama administration with what we find for Dem governance elsewhere across the fruited plain.  Kind of a fluff piece by George Will today but he points out that Colorado's new Dem Governor has a business background, and a more relaxed view of placating his state's divided electorate; he seems to be governing so far without Washington style, firebrand liberal activism.

“We are such a purple state” — Colorado is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third unaffiliated — “we can avoid the big fights.”
From the NYT: In the 2010 midterms (when Hickelooper was elected), Coloradans sent four Republicans and three Democrats to the U.S. House. In 2008 the split was five to two in favor of Democrats.

4532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: September 01, 2011, 09:21:19 AM
"If I have my numbers right, the 1100 now vaporized jobs were created at a cost of $486,364 each (i.e. $535,000,000) this "public-private partnership" (a.k.a. economic fascism)"

In our elaborate system of checks and balances, I wonder if that 'investment' was properly vetted by the other branches of government like the Jobs Czar, the Auto Recovery Czar, the California Water Czar, the Car Czar, the Climate Czar, the Economic Czar, the Energy and Environment Czar, the Government Performance Czar, the Green Jobs Czar, the Health Czar, the Information Czar, the Pay Czar, the Regulatory Czar, the Science Czar, the Stimulus Accountability Czar, the TARP Czar, the Technology Czar, or the Urban Affairs Czar.  With all that oversight you would think that someone watching the public hearings on CSPAN would have smelled a rat!

(Those were only 19 of the 32 Czars listed at

Might I add my opinion that even if the subsidy of the federal government singling out and unequally helping one specific enterprise over all others was just $10 per job and even if the venture went on to become world champion, it is still a violation of founding principles and the constitutional concept of equal protection.

There is something sinister about injecting 'investment' into a 'market', where it is therefore in fact not a market.  Why not just go whole hog Soviet style state enterprise to the produce desired goods if you truly believe central government knows best?

At $486,364 each and $535,000,000 total over 1100 jobs, none of which materialized, could we at least get a full recap of political contributions that led to it or came from it?
4533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: September 01, 2011, 08:47:17 AM
Government not recognizing marriage would end traditions like spousal privilege or inheritance rights if not specifically willed?
4534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 31, 2011, 01:13:57 PM
Spokesman Carney says the organizers of the debate are free to "adjust the timing of their debate".

Obvious from the reaction that this petty move was intentional.  If Boehner accepts this I will support a new Speaker to work with the new President. 

How do spell Chutzpah?  I guess he did promise audacity.

Same guy would not allow a debate change that conflicted with the national emergency of the 2008 financial crisis.
4535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 31, 2011, 12:59:54 PM
"Why do we have to pay f*ckin rent all our lives - all our lives?  Why?  Why?? Why can't we just pay f*ckin rent for like maybe 10 years, you know, you stay in a place, you know pay f*ckin rent like 10 years and after that you shouldn't have to pay rent again ever and I mean like ever for as long as you live."

Youtube offers a sneak inside peak into my world.  sad  

4536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs for having children on: August 29, 2011, 07:32:04 PM
Just to expand slightly on maternity/ paternity leave from the humor on media issues.  I have taken 17 years off of full time work to raise just one - everybody's situation is different.  Mom bonding with baby is great.  Maybe 2 years or 5 years should be the law - and mom's without babies can pay for it??  Dumping the kid at day care full time at 2 days or 91 days is unbelievable to me.  No slam on Ms. Kelly, perhaps her husband or the kids grandparents watch and I doubt she is on the air 40 hours a week, who knows.  Point is that you can make a federal law to fit her situation, even though she already has it in her contract, then it applies to all women in all states in all industries at all pay levels and all company sizes.  Add gender fairness to that and it applies to men too.  Then if the employer can't afford to pay people not working, the company closes.  You can't pay out what you don't take in.  Even if you write the law perfectly and it all makes sense, it is one more mandate on top of thousands of others and it causes less hiring.  3 months off, if that is the magic number, could be the expense of the employee, the choice to not get paid for not working - that is extreme!  18 years off could be paid for with accumulated savings and investments if that was still legal or by having the other spouse work, if half the pay didn't go to the government - for other people's children.  A tangled web we weave - there is not a one size fits all solution available, I'm sorry. 

General Motors before the bailout was paying healthcare for 10 times more people than actually worked there.  9 out of 10 were on some kind of leave until the cost of healthcare surpassed the cost of all materials in the car, not to mention labor.  The what could possibly go wrong question already has.  Only big business knows how to jump through all the hoops, take GE with no income tax, but big business is inefficient and losing out to leaner operations everywhere else.

Can't people negotiate for themselves in a free society?  Or understand a connection between work and pay?
4537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 29, 2011, 06:59:59 PM
A couple of links:
Funny but misleading.  The original piece of her skewering the radio show host I thought really was funny though you couldn't tell if he was serious, if she was really mad or what any of her political views really are:

She was giving shit to a friend who asked for it.  He said something intentionally to get her going - the maternity thing is a racket. I doubt he doesn't understand mothers being with newborn.  Her time off was in a private contract, not a government entitlement.  Yes she said US in the dark ages on that with a twinkle in her eye, perhaps devil's advocate to a conservative radio host friend of hers. 

The Stewart assumption is that she is otherwise a complete anti-government anarchist because she works at Fox and has asked tough questions in the past about entitlements that can't be reformed.  He tried a few gotcha moments and for sure it worked with his audience.  A straw argument string of unrelated partial clips of her insinuating that overall entitlements have gone too far.  Yes they have.  The clip of her saying "the free market should dictate" was about the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE, not pregnancy, leave or child rearing.  Stewart has it down to either you favor all entitlements and government control 'like us' or you don't.  Everyone in between, like a moderate on Fox, is a hypocrite.
4538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afpakia: Drone Warfare on: August 29, 2011, 02:02:35 PM
This could go in a number of places on the forum but currently relates mostly to strikes in Pakistan.  The AEI author (conservative) comes down on the pro-drone side, but can you imagine the public uproar today if it was a Cheney or McCain administration who had quadrupled the unmanned aerial attacks inside a 'sovereign' country?  As an aside, I have a newer acquaintance who is a leading researcher/developer of UAV (drone) technology and I would be very interested in suggestions for intelligent, non-classified questions to ask if I am able to get some access.

The Morality of Drone Warfare
The reports about civilian casualties are unreliable.


Last week, the London-based nonprofit Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a series of articles accusing the U.S. of covering up civilian casualties caused by drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas. In a New York Times op-ed on Sunday, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama's former director of national intelligence, declared that America's drone campaign "is eroding our influence and damaging our ability to work with Pakistan to achieve other important security objectives like eliminating Taliban sanctuaries, encouraging Indian-Pakistani dialogue, and making Pakistan's nuclear arsenal more secure."

In reality, drones represent the most discerning—and therefore most moral—form of aerial warfare in human history. In Pakistan, they keep terrorists on the run. They also help Washington to pressure an ostensible ally that doesn't respond to carrots alone.

According to the Bureau's journalists, drones have killed at least 45 civilians over the past year. This flatly contradicts White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, who said in June that drones have not caused "a single collateral death" since last August.

Then there's the realpolitik argument. Drones allegedly create day-to-day friction in U.S.-Pakistan relations. Without the bad blood they cause, Adm. Blair suggests, ties between Washington and Islamabad would flourish.

To be fair, neither argument can be casually dismissed. The claim of zero collateral deaths in a land where militants often live with their families, or cheek-by-jowl with other civilians, appears implausible. The strikes—53 so far this year—tend to draw street protests and harsh criticism from the Pakistani press. Both Pakistan's parliament and the provincial assembly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have passed resolutions calling for their end.

On closer examination, however, this case collapses. According to U.S. government officials quoted in the Times, the Bureau's reportage is unreliable. To begin with, Pakistani authorities, and the local reporters they hold sway over, have an incentive to fabricate or exaggerate casualty figures. And the reports rely, at least in part, on information provided by a Pakistani lawyer who publicly outed the CIA's undercover station chief last year.

Though even a single civilian casualty ought not to be taken lightly, the focus on alleged collateral damage distorts the essence of the drone program. Technology allows highly trained operators to observe targets on the ground for as much as 72 hours in advance. Software engineers typically model the blast radius for a missile or bomb strike. Lawyers weigh in on which laws apply and entire categories of potential targets—including mosques, hospitals and schools—are almost always out of bounds. All these procedures protect innocent civilian life.

As for affecting U.S. popularity, according to the Pew Global Attitudes survey, the U.S. favorability rating—long battered by conspiracy theories and an anti-American media—hovers at about 12%, almost exactly where it stood before the drone program's advent in 2004.

The program also serves a larger purpose. One of Washington's most pressing objectives in Pakistan is to end the use of its territory for attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan. Another is to wean the country off its historic support for terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, India and beyond. It cannot achieve either without the help of the Pakistani army and its notorious spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

But the Pakistani army, riddled with jihadist sympathizers, and with a two-decade old belief in its mission to dominate Afghanistan and bleed India, has shown little inclination to do much more than the bare minimum. The violently anti-American Haqqani network remains comfortably ensconced in North Waziristan near the Afghan border. And terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, whose group was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans, routinely give inflammatory speeches to adoring crowds.

Against this backdrop, drones offer a practical way to eliminate some terrorists and keep others on the run. They also raise the incentives for the Pakistani military to crack down on terrorism, or else deal with the social unrest unleashed by the strikes.

Instead of cutting back on drones, the U.S. should threaten to ratchet up their use if the army and ISI fail to suppress anti-NATO forces in Afghanistan. Over $20 billion in aid in the past decade has not done enough to alter Islamabad's behavior. A carefully calibrated drone strategy, backed by resolve to stay the course in Afghanistan, may produce better results.

Mr. Dhume is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, and a columnist for
4539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 29, 2011, 01:47:59 PM
There are some like Ron Paul who think they will stop attacking if we stay home and stop fighting back.  Some like Huntsman share the JDN view that we mostly stay home and just strike out in perfect high threat situations like the Osama kill op.  But that intelligence comes only from being out there chasing every threat, and the information even then is never perfect.

Unfortunately wink it has been GM and Crafty who have been right on this.  Their commitment and patience to attack can be measured in hundreds or thousands of years, and look at us, losing our patience and commitment after about 10 pretty good years at home filled with horrific, mostly failed attempts.
4540  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Unusual Conditioning technique: The Pod on: August 29, 2011, 01:29:08 PM
Don't try this at home.  wink  I have an interest in high altitude training, this $75k pressurized capsule simulates something like that - allegedly for health and conditioning benefits:

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic hasn't earned his No. 1 ranking by taking the conventional road. There's his odd ritual of excessive ball bouncing before serves, which can break an opponent's concentration. There's his new gluten-free diet, which he's said has helped him feel stronger on the court.

Novak Djokovic and other athletes are using a secret weapon called a CVAC pod that they believe boosts performance by simulating high altitude.

Ever since last year's U.S. Open, Djokovic has been trying to improve his fitness by climbing into a rare $75,000 egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressure chamber.

The machine, which is made by a California-based company called CVAC Systems and hasn't been banned by any sports governing bodies, is one of only 20 in the world. Unlike the increasingly trendy $5,000 hyperbaric chambers many professional athletes use to saturate the blood with oxygen and stimulate healing, the CVAC is a considerably more-ambitious contraption. It uses a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals.

The company claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod three times a week can boost athletic performance by improving circulation, boosting oxygen-rich red-blood cells, removing lactic acid and possibly even stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and stem-cell production.

Djokovic is so convinced that the pod helps his game that during the U.S. Open, which starts Monday, he's staying (for the fourth year) with a wealthy tennis-trainer friend in Alpine, N.J. who keeps one of the machines on his property.

Djokovic has never mentioned the pod publicly before. He acknowledged using it for the first time last week during a sponsor event in New York after he was asked about it for this article. "I think it really helps—not with muscle but more with recovery after an exhausting set," he said. "It's like a spaceship. It's very interesting technology."

The pod, which is seven feet long, three feet wide and seven feet high with the lid open, looks like a cross between a tanning bed and the giant egg Lady Gaga emerged from at the Grammys. CVAC says its pod is different from other pressurized chambers on the market because it combines altitude pressure with cyclic compression (a combination some studies suggest is more effective than one or the other). Because the pressure, temperature, air density in the CVAC pod can be adjusted, the company says it enhances an athlete's ability to adapt to a range of conditions.

While pod users don't do much beyond sitting while they are inside (cellphone use is permitted), CVAC Systems chief executive Allen Ruszkowski says the treatment seems to have many of the same effects on the body as intense exercise. He claims that the technology may be twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping—a banned form of performance enhancement.

Former U.S. Olympic wrestling coach Bob Anderson, motocross racer Ivan Tedesco and ultra cyclist George Vargas say they've used the pod and believe it helps. CVAC's Ruszkowski says a slew of other high-profile athletes use the Pod but often insist the company doesn't tell anyone, "because they feel it's a competitive advantage." Rock star Axl Rose owns a pod as well, according to his spokeswoman.
4541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: August 29, 2011, 12:57:13 PM
Tack this on to Crafty's post with the youtube of Sen. Marco Rubio at the Reagan Library - this is the Q &A that follows.  Off script he is just as compelling.
Questions: Will he be VP? How do we attract more young people to conservatism? Tax code reform? Defense? ("The world is as dangerous as it has ever been.  If somehow we think that weakening America's national defense is something we can afford to do we are sadly mistaken.  We cannot.  Weakening our national defense is not the way to balance the budget of the United States of America.")  What should the Tea Party focus on?
4542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: An Entrepreneurial Fix for the U.S. Economy on: August 29, 2011, 12:02:34 PM
Regarding the previous post, you can put Marco Rubio's name right into the title of The Way Forward thread, or would that be redundant?
My simplest proposal to jumpstart enterprise would be to waive all employment law in the first year for entrepreneurs other to avoid blatant discrimination and mistreatment.  Require only a 1099 for monies paid out, with no withholding or other forms required in the first calendar year.  This WSJ piece goes further:

An Entrepreneurial Fix for the U.S. Economy
Several reforms can make it faster and easier for new business startups.

The Kauffman Foundation recently proposed a way to do that with a set of ideas aptly called the Startup Act. Those ideas, which would cost the government virtually nothing, include:

• Letting in immigrant entrepreneurs who hire American workers.

• Reducing the cost of capital through capital gains tax relief for early stage investments.

• Reducing barriers to IPOs by allowing shareholders to opt out of Sarbanes-Oxley.

• Charging higher fees for patent applicants who want quick decisions to remove the backlog of applications at the Patent Office.

• Giving licensing freedom to academic entrepreneurs at universities to accelerate the commercialization of their ideas.

• Having the government provide data to permit rankings of startup friendliness of states and localities.

• Regular sunsets for regulations and a consistent policy of putting new ones in place only if their benefits exceed their costs.
4543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy: We’re All Cheneyites Now on: August 29, 2011, 11:32:29 AM
From Daily Beast and Newsweek, hardly right wing publications:

We’re All Cheneyites Now
Aug 28, 2011 10:01 AM EDT
The dark lord of American politics has a new book out, fiercely defending his Legacy. Lay down your arms, Dick. You won the fight.

On the Fourth of July, Dick Cheney surprised his friends and neighbors in Jackson, Wyo., by coming downtown for the parade, an annual procession featuring a rollerblading moose and a wagon of farmers tossing raw corn—the Wyoming equivalent of Mardi Gras beads—into the crowd. Cheney didn’t stay long and he didn’t say much. Mostly he chatted with folks about fishing (the water’s too damn high this year) and posed for a few pictures. But it was enough to reassure people that the former vice president, who had been rarely spotted during a year that combined recuperation from radical heart surgery with the burden of producing a lengthy memoir, was still on the scene.

This week, his book, In My Time, is scheduled to arrive in bookstores. Simon & Schuster paid Cheney a multimillion-dollar advance, and recouping it means mounting the kind of intensive marketing effort that would tax the energy of a much younger, healthier author. But much more than money is involved. After 40 years in the contentious center ring of American politics, this is Cheney’s last rodeo.

When he signed the deal in 2009, he was in bunker mentality—an embattled ideologue gearing up to defend a deeply unpopular terrorism policy under constant attack from the left. As his tome arrives in bookstores at summer’s end, the battlefield has changed dramatically. His defense brief lands after the court of public opinion has ruled—in his favor. President Obama has largely adopted the Cheney playbook on combating terrorism, from keeping Gitmo open to trying suspected enemies of the state in military tribunals. Obama’s drone war, which has quadrupled the number of attacks in the past two years, reflects Cheney’s whatever-it-takes approach. The leftist wrath once trained on Bush’s veep is aimed at the Democratic incumbent these days. Even the Bush-Cheney pro-democracy doctrine, born as a substitute rationale for the Iraq War after the failure to find WMD, is bearing fruit, toppling dictators from Cairo to Tripoli. The dirty little secret of the last few years is that the man George Bush called “Big Time” won. We’re all Cheneyites now.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney., David Hume Kennerly / Contour-Getty Images

But he’s still fighting the good fight—taking shots in the book at members of the national-security team who didn’t share his Manichaean view. George Tenet let the president down by bailing under fire, in Cheney’s telling; Condi Rice was wobbly on Iraq and suspect in her dealings with North Korea (Rice can return fire this fall, when her own book comes out). He’s rough on Colin Powell: “It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government.”

But then it’s no real surprise that he’s drifted far from Powell politically. Two years ago, he said on Face the Nation that he was closer to Rush Limbaugh than the general. He won the lasting admiration of conservatives for speaking out against Obama at the height of his popularity, while 43 maintained a studious silence.

On May 2, as the final version of In My Time was coming together, American SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Cheney praised President Obama, but the hit meant going back to the book for “updating” as his editor, Mary Matalin, put it. Whatever edits Cheney made, they didn’t require a change of mind about how to deal with America’s enemies. As the anniversary of 9/11 draws near, and In My Time hits the bookstores, Dick Cheney will have one more moment on the national stage to remind people that the policies of today were shaped by his strategic vision. And then, if his HeartMate II keeps pumping and the water recedes, he can go back home and fish in peace.
4544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 29, 2011, 11:19:11 AM
In our famous people reading the forum series, Hugh Hewitt in the Washington Examiner finally runs with my allegation that the 2007-2008 years were under 'their' watch as well:
"The hope and change hangover the country is experiencing is 100 percent the consequence of the policies adopted in 2007 and 2008 by President Obama in concert with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."  (Short piece, read it all.)
100% blame is an overstatement and not all the destructive policies were adopted, but the fact that they have been looming over investors for all this time has been enormously destructive. 

From an economic point of view, the inflection point on the curve coincides exactly with the elevation of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-Hillary-Ellison group to the majority in congress promising to inflict specific, anti-growth policies against an economy experiencing 50 consecutive months of job growth.  Taking the Presidency was just icing on their cake.  Assuming it ends, this was a 6 year, not a 4 year, experiment.

4545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: liberalism, progressivism: Ten ThingsCould have done differently on: August 29, 2011, 10:58:49 AM
There is a consensus that Obama both over-reached with leftism and is incompetent.  From a left point of view, over-reaching left is not good because it energized the opposition and potentially killed the movement.  And incompetence is never good.

Answering the 'clueless' series, this is a piece in the daily caller today with ten specific things Obama could have differently (better) and still be a progressive Democrat IMO.  I don't agree with all these, but I'm not a moderate Dem.  At the end he writes: "Would doing these 10 things have revived the economy? Who knows. Probably not. (Still clueless? - DM) FDR didn’t really revive the economy either until World War II began, as Alter knows. But Obama would have shown leadership and creativity. He wouldn’t be both unsuccessful and disdained." (I still say switch parties and switch directions.  Heading off the cliff at 60 mph vs. 80 mph have similar consequences!)

Top 10 Things Obama Could Have Done Differently: Excessively well-sourced Obama boosters are now channeling, not just White House spin but White House self-pity. Both Ezra Klein and Jonathan Alter wonder aloud why our intelligent, conscientious, well-meaning, data-driven President is taking a “pummeling.”   ”What could Obama have done?” (Klein) “What, specifically, has he done wrong .. .?” (Alter)

They’re kidding, right? There are plenty of things Obama could have done differently. Most of these mistakes were called out at the time.  Here, off the top of my head, are ten things Obama could have done:

1. Not subcontracted out the details of the 2009 stimulus to interest-group-addled Congressional Democrats.  Instead, he could have drawn up his own plan that relied more on large, quick payroll tax cuts rather than the ”shovel ready” infrastructure projects that, as Obama later admitted, weren’t shovel ready and (in the case of home-weatherization efforts) were delayed most of the year while bureaucrats figured out how to apply union-backed “prevailing wage” regulations. And why do we think aid to state and local governments–a stimulus centerpiece–had such a big Keynesian “multiplier”? Didn’t many states use the money to pay down their debts rather than retain workers?

2. Sold his health care reform as a valuable benefit for voters that would give them security (they’d be covered) and freedom (they could leave their jobs without losing insurance) rather than as an eat-your-peas plan that would not only “bend the cost curve” by denying treatments but somehow actually reduce the deficit–a sales pitch that assured Obamacare would be unpopular and vulnerable long after Dems rammed it through Congress. At the time, New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza said that Obama had “staked his presidency” on Budget Director Peter Orszag’s notion that “health care reform is deficit reduction.” It was a stupid bet. He lost it.

3. Made the UAW take a pay cut. Whoever else is to blame, the UAW’s demands for pay and work rules clearly contributed to the need for a taxpayer-subsidized auto bailout.  To make sure that future unions were deterred from driving their industries into bankruptcy, Obama demanded cuts in basic pay of … exactly zero. UAW workers gave up their Easter holiday but didn’t suffer any reduction in their $28/hour base wage. Wouldn’t a lot of taxpayers like $28 hour jobs? Even $24 an hour jobs?

4. Pivoted! In 2010, after the health care bill passed, Obama was going to “pivot” to jobs but wasn’t able to do that when … yeah, I don’t remember what prevented him from doing it either. What’s that FDR quote Alter likes to trot out, about “bold, persistent experimentation”?  That is not the attitude the Obama White House gives off when it comes to jobs. Maybe the Weitzman profit-sharing plan isn’t the answer. Maybe a use-it-or-lose-it credit card won’t work. Maybe a neo-WPA paying minimum wages wouldn’t attract unemployed middle class workers–though it could be tried in one or two states. But Obama’s attitude has been: “I tried A. I proposed B. So I propose B again. And again. And again.”

5. Not pursued a zombie agenda of “card check” and “comprehensive immigration reform”–two misguided pieces of legislation that Obama must have known had no chance of passage but that he had to pretend to care about to keep key Democratic constituencies on board. What was the harm? The harm was that these issues a) sucked up space in the liberal media, b) made Obama look feckless at best, delusional at worst, when they went nowhere;  c) made him look even weaker because it was clear he was willing to suffer consequence (b) in order to keep big Democratic constituencies (labor, Latinos) on board.

6. Dispelled legitimate fears of “corporatism“–that is, fears that he was creating a more Putin-style economy in which big businesses depend on the government for favors (and are granted semi-permanent status if they go along with the program).  I don’t think Obama is a corporatist, but he hasn’t done a lot to puncture the accusations. What did electric carmaker Tesla have to promise to get its Dept. of Energy subsidies?  Why raid GOP-donor Gibson’s guitars and not Martin guitars?  We don’t know. At this point, you have to think the president kind of likes the ambiguity–the vague, implicit macho threat that if you want to play ball in this economy, you’re better off on Team Obama. That’s a good way to guarantee Team Obama will be gone in 2013.

7.  Stolen some populist Tea Party thunder by going vigorously after Wall Street.  Even Alter says Obama “neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public.”  (Alter was also the first to get Obama’s admission of “shovel-ready” ignorance. How many does it take, Jon?)

8. Not appointed pro-union innovators to NLRB who try to hamstring our biggest remaining industrial exporter by preventing it from opening a non-union factory in South Carolina–and then not had his spokesman say there’s nothing the president can do about it because, hey, the NLRB is “independent.”

9. Faced with Republican demands for leaner government, embraced them! Instead of letting GOPs make him the champion of bigger government and higher taxes, Obama could have said he thought higher taxes are probably inevitable but that he wasn’t going to raise them or cut a penny from benefits until he was sure all the fat has been wrung out of Washington. Become Dr. Cut-the-Bloat! Instead of letting his top management official advertise for a new $80,000-a-year ”deputy speechwriter,” tell him to lead a government-wide diet of the sort private companies conduct all the time. Publicize and promote the agency heads who cut their staffs and lower their budget requests instead of those who protect their turf. Have some “RIFs”–actual layoffs of redundant bureaucrats. The goal would not just be to reduce the deficit but to shrink the government to a level that’s … how do they put it … sustainable. This would be the greatest gift Obama could give to liberalism, and it would leave the Republicans gasping for air, speechless, Don’t they teach “co-optation” in Alinsky School? Given the choice between a triangulator and someone who acts like a triangulator, people will vote for the real triangulator every time.

10. Defend the core of Medicare, a popular universal program that works and (according to Orszag) is cutting costs, rather than proposing to  shrink Medicare by raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67.  It seems like only yesterday Democrats were trying to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 55–a political winner. Now the party has to defend a standard bearer who wants to raise taxes but who has no sympathy for the most valuable things those taxes pay for. (Screw granny for “green jobs”!).
Would doing these 10 things have revived the economy? Who knows. Probably not. FDR didn’t really revive the economy either until World War II began, as Alter knows. But Obama would have shown leadership and creativity. He wouldn’t be both unsuccessful and disdained.

P.S.: I’m also not saying that Obama is necessarily headed towards a failed presidency in the larger judgment-of-history sense. Just a single-term presidency. If his health care reform sticks, he’ll go down as a success in a way Jimmy Carter won’t.  One day soon we may look back on 2011 with fond longing.  But that’s not the question Klein and Alter asked.
4546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 29, 2011, 10:31:30 AM
On 9/11 they had two hits on what they consider symbolic for the business center of the US (WTC), and they hit the Pentagon and almost / would have hit the White House.  3000 dead, that's the carnage.  300 million terrorized, that was the point.  Add in the attacks that followed in western Europe and it is more like a half billion terrorized.

Does anyone remember the first Superbowl after 9/11.  The game was delayed by a week because of 9/11.  There was a feeling in the air that they would love to blow up 73,000 in the Superdome with 100 million watching, maybe right while U2 was playing Beautiful Day.  What are the odds of that - with and without security?  [Reading the posts since writing, how about with half the place secured, or half of known al Qaida terrorists on the run, lol] One reason they didn't was because the master planners were running and hiding and having their satellite phones monitored.

Asymmetric warfare, yes, to their advantage. I have no idea how to fight back against someone who is willing to blow themselves up to accomplish a point I can't understand. We had to throw out our own rules of innocent until proven guilty.  They are pulling mostly young Arab-Islamic men, and GM would argue from all demographics, individuals from a pool of over a billion potential who are willing to do this.  They want Israel.  They want Western Europe.  They want Russia.  They want China, and they want the USA.  Of course they won't kill every one of us because we will fight back at some point. Sooner is better than later in terms of when to fight back.  Post-911 is not the time to fight back?  They would have quit attacking?  It's not true, they didn't.  Just write it off as small numbers of casualties and ignore it?  Why?  It's not small in numbers or locations.  They are trying to build a base of operations nearly everywhere.  If you don't believe everywhere, then try Madrid, London, NYC, LA and Minneapolis.  Do none of those hit close enough to home for you?  They do for me.

Regarding the radical-Islam threat being unreal, because it happened before I was born, Hitler's march seems unreal to me as well, no one would even want to do that or ever get any support - but it happened! He took Germany without force, no problem. Then he took Austria, Czechoslovakia, part of Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, The Channel Islands (UK), Greece, Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia), Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia... and some were still arguing here that he didn't pose a threat here.  From my secure midwest location, the local police and the water patrol are strict enough.  I am thankful they don't display Nazi flags and enter my home.  If that analogy fails it is because Jihadists have far less compassion.

The best way to understand who the jihad wants to kill would be to listen to them.  They want to kill you.

The math-logic problem in the piece is that they measure the losses with a decade of our offense in place, including taking down all bases of harbor we could find and hunting down and killing their leaders, and with all our defenses in place including search and seizure of everyone in almost every public place.  To then say those efforts weren't that necessary because we are suffering so few deaths is absurd.  If you don't see a flaw in that math I unfortunately cannot help you.  Once again, they have said they want to kill you.  From their point of view: so many infidels, so little time.

[There are other places to cut the budget!]
4547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 28, 2011, 06:04:51 PM
So he said "almost treasonous", which means not treasonous, and he said he doesn't favor secession.  You'd think media attacks would be aimed at the misportrayers instead of the misportrayed.  Unless the deception is intentional.
4548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 28, 2011, 05:59:24 PM
" "So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said."

Correcting his math, how much did we spend to get it down from 1 in 1, certain death, to 1 in 3.5 million and was it worth it.

If at some point you will have to fight or die, at what point, as your enemy builds in numbers, weaponry, organization and momentum, would you like to get started?

4549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: August 28, 2011, 05:46:58 PM
Crafty, I see why you put that POTH article in this category; it fits nicely with the other current MSM / left wing takes that I call 'clueless'.  For one thing they quoting Gov. Granholm with her vision of the future without pinning her for her role in the region's demise.

While the central planners were raising taxes and piling on work rules, regulations and litigation costs, companies and comparative advantages were leaving.  Now they mourn an economic death and still have no clue or curiosity as to what killed it.

6 pages of evidence that industrial policy doesn't work and they are still pondering how it got a bad name - and where to target next.

I offer this clue to them.  Since we don't know where, by looking in the rear view mirror, the next great things will come from or what they will look like, why don't we just make the playing field level and competitive and as unobstructing as possible and let creativity and innovation happen - in a private, freedom-based enterprise system.  Imagine THAT! 
4550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Lessons from Depression I for Depression II on: August 28, 2011, 04:31:12 PM
Trying to figure out what cured the previous great depression and how that could apply today.

WPA spending, the largest new deal program, peaked in 1938 and there were no new 'New Deal' initiatives passed after 1938.  FDR's power was declining.  Unemployment was still 19% at the start of 1939 because programs then, like cash for clunkers and shovel ready projects today, failed in any real way to stimulate private economic growth.  Then, strangely and coincidentally, the unemployment and economic growth situation started improving exactly as the emphasis was shifting away from government-based programs.  (Who knew?)

They say it was the war that brought back the economy but the growth really surged two years before Pearl Harbor and America's direct investment in the war.  The war brewing elsewhere was boosting foreign demand.  Increased demand only has an effect if you are in a position to build and supply what they need and cannot build for themselves.  What products would that be today - as we ban drilling for oil, use up our corn wastefully as energy, close our pipelines, put a noose around coal mining, attack new methods of extracting natural gas, add an extra layer of direct taxation to medical devices, chase out semiconductor fabrication and put federal restrictions on aircraft manufacturers to keep them from addressing their uncompetitive cost structure - what will we build that they will need?

In 1939, we were rich with ready-to-go supplies of natural resources in demand elsewhere and we were filled with idle manufacturing capacity ready to produce the specific goods in demand.  

How does that measure up in 2011-2012?  Not very well.  In the current case the rest of the world is already doing pretty well largely without using many of our products.  They are especially unlikely to purchase from us anything that we are unwilling to produce.
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