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4701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 07, 2010, 03:01:19 PM
"...appealing to Latino Americans"

I never understood why Republicans couldn't get a group of very persuasive black conservatives into predominantly black neighborhoods and at least expose people to a different message and win maybe a few votes. 

Republicans today should use the historic and impressive new class of newly elected Hispanic Republicans to take a very optimistic, pro-growth economic message to the Hispanic community. 

Second is to somehow get ahead of the curve on getting the undocumented documented and out of the shadows, without true amnesty and without ripping apart the conservative base.  But I really don't see how that can be done.

One question I have regarding Marco Rubio is what connection Cuban-Americans have with Mexican-Americans and people here from South America.  It often seems that politically they do not.  Does anyone out there have any insight on that?
4702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 07, 2010, 01:44:59 AM
"Doug, anyone: Any thing else at the federal level? And what about at the state level?"

At the state level, hard to answer with 50 different states.  Mine just made the biggest flip in the legislature since parties have been designated on ballots.  Yours, ...  sad   Seriously, the states have some role in this mainly by keeping their competitiveness up and lessening the burden they place on enterprise and investment.  I would like to see states implement preferential long term capital gains rates.  (Does your state have that now?) It make no sense to tax inflationary gains as ordinary income.  If nothing else it violates cruel and unusual punishment.  I like what states have done to join together and fight PelosiCare. 

At the federal level, we face two tasks:  a) rescue the republic, and b) keep the political momentum moving forward because point a. will take more than one election cycle.

Here is a 6-legged stool, taxes, healthcare, spending, energy, monetary reform and the border, to set the foundation for sustained growth. 

Taxes: The House should vote to make tax cuts permanent immediately upon taking office.  The Senate will probably agree to extend them all for one year, but that only leaves us in the same lousy situation we were in the past year with investors still not knowing what future rates will be. I think this will need to settle at two years which rightfully passes it to the next congress (and next President) which means letting the people decide again.

Health care defund needs to be accompanied with 'repeal and replace'.  Don't let the critics say it is going back to the way it was.  Republicans had bills that did most of the popular parts of this bill without the total takeover of government.  Go back to the best of  those ideas and pass it in the House.  Then defund the PelosiCare while the 'greatest deliberative body bloviates and dithers on the new proposals.

Spending.  End earmarks for two years - really - and roll back discretionary spending to 2008 levels.  That is a pretty good compromise; I would rather roll them back to 1956 levels.

Cap / Trade / Energy Tax:  I would take each serious proposal in this arena and conduct an up or down vote on each.  In other words reject these political limits on energy and get Dems on record for their votes.  Again I would do it right away so manufacturers know those caps and taxes are not coming.  Then approve ANWR, some offshore drilling, more clean coal and more nuclear.  Also a major new effort toward expanding clean natural gas into more areas of production and usage from north American sources. 

The Fed:  I would put the Fed on notice that we aren't going to tolerate another failed attempt at wealth through inflation and devaluation. That isn't where the jobs are.  Let the Fed know they will be getting their congressional charter re-written if they can't stay focused on their primary mission, a strong stable dollar.

Border: Link some of the human talent returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and resources freeing up with the need to secure the border.

4703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 07, 2010, 12:25:31 AM
Total US trade with China is about $400 Billion a year (330 in imports, 70 in exports, 2008).  Only in a full scale war would that go to zero.  Let's say we have have a trade interruption of half that - $200 Billion in lost business between the countries.  Our economy is 3 1/2 times larger than theirs.  Just from a numeric standpoint we are 3 1/2 times more able to absorb that loss. 

Now let's say that loss causes economic contraction and social disorder on both sides.  Our system is designed for revolution - to throw the bums out.  We did it last week.  Their system is not.  They have a new generation entering leadership at the PRC politburo but really the same regime since 1949.  A lot has changed in Chinese society since Tiananmen 1989.  If they had a new uprising, I don't think anyone has any clear idea how it would play out.  The leadership must carry a substantial fear of that, IMHO.
4704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 06, 2010, 11:53:43 PM
Rubio's message is of Reagan but his presentation reminds me more of JFK.
4705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 05, 2010, 07:48:46 PM
"but THEN we must be able to specifically name the leashes that hold them back and what we are going to do to cut them"

Okay, here's one.  Besides lowering and simplifying tax rates, how about a 90 day delay for all government compliance requirements for all private sector new-hires, including no tax withholding for 90 days, and a delay to file all paperwork, forms, IRS/OSHA/workman's comp/healthcare etc. requirements.
4706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 05, 2010, 02:00:35 PM
What I meant by hoping Obama does an about face is that the center of the Democrat party needs to move right.  Obviously Obama won't but someone needs to.  If he says or does one or two things right, it is a head fake - like expanded offshore drilling, deficit concern etc.

The blamed Rahm for leaving, not for giving bad advice while he was there.  Amazing.

Thanks for the Bernardine Dohrn video, my first experience seeing and hearing her.  Outrageous that someone would accuse him of 'palling around with terrorists', lol.  Easy to see Obama enjoying a talk about strategy or economics with her, agreeing privately with everything she says.  He should hide Valerie Jarrett too if he wants his inner political thoughts concealed.

You know they are left wing when they think the media is right wing controlled.
4707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: WSJ - How's that inequality thing working out? on: November 05, 2010, 12:54:21 PM
This WSJ editorial is dated Sept 20 2010.  The topic is timeless.  I apologize if already posted.  We need economic growth not equality.  In good times I think people take growth for granted and have time to focus/whine about inequality. 

Wealth and Poverty
How's that inequality thing working out?

If there is a single unifying principle behind the Democratic agenda of the last two years, it is this: Reduce income inequality. So yesterday's annual Census Bureau review of American incomes is a kind of progress report on how this agenda is working out. In a word, our wealth isn't spread any more equitably, though more of us are poor.

The Current Population Survey shows that in 2009 the poverty rate climbed to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008—the highest since 1994. That figure translates into 43.6 million Americans living below the poverty line, the largest absolute number in the half-century for which comparable data are available. At $49,777, the real median household income fell slightly, though not in a statistically significant way. It declined 1.8% among families and rose 1.6% for individuals.

In a statement yesterday, President Obama attributed these results to the financial panic and recession, and that's true in part. The Census data also overstate the true level of poverty because they don't include noncash government payments like housing subsidies, food stamps, the earned income tax credit or entitlements like Medicaid.

But then Mr. Obama couldn't resist adding that "Even before the recession hit, middle class incomes had been stagnant and the number of people living in poverty in America was unacceptably high, and today's numbers make it clear that our work is just beginning." So to address the rising poverty on his watch, the President wants to plow ahead with the same policies that aren't reducing poverty.

We draw a different lesson, which is the continuing imperative of rapid economic growth. Census Bureau figures over the last 50 years show that poverty falls most rapidly during times of the most sustained growth—the 1960s, 1980s and second half of the 1990s. The poverty rate also fell in the mid-2000s before heading up again when the recession hit. The most important goal of economic policy should be to increase society's overall wealth. This helps the poor and everybody else.

Yet starting with his first budget proposal, Mr. Obama has made clear that his main policy purpose is reducing inequality. As the White House budget scribes put it, "There's nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few. . . . It's a legacy of irresponsibility, and it is our duty to change it."

Thus the 2009 stimulus was assembled around social programs and redistribution, defying even Keynesian precepts about immediate job creation. Among its many other goals, ObamaCare is intended to produce "a leveling" of the "maldistribution of income in America," as Senate Finance Chairman and chief author Max Baucus put it. Even now, amid a mediocre recovery and 9.6% unemployment, the inequality imperative is driving Democrats to insist on a huge tax increase—no matter the impact on growth.

The irony is that, while there has been a modest widening of the income gap in recent decades, the Census (as measured by the "Gini index") shows that inequality has remained mostly unchanged since the early 1990s—regardless of which party is in power. The reasons are many and rooted in larger economic and social forces that can't be fixed with higher taxes and White House social engineering.

More important, this preoccupation with inequality is actively harmful because it leads to economic policies that inhibit growth. That's the real warning in the new Census data. Democrats are succeeding in their goal of punishing business and the wealthy, but to the extent that this has produced anemic growth it is also punishing the poor and middle class.

The moral claim of Obamanomics is that it ensures that everyone pays his "fair share," but its early returns show this agenda is producing more poverty. In their obsession with income shares and how many people have how much wealth, the Obama Democrats are imposing policies that ensure only that there will be less wealth for everyone to spread around.
4708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 05, 2010, 12:33:31 PM
Rarick, I think you nailed this one: "That is why Reid won. The thinking independants of nevada would mostly dislike Schumer, and if there is going to be a democratic majority in the senate- better to have OUR guy there rather than someone else's."

R's were projected to fall short in the Senate so Reid would still be the powerful majority leader for Nevada.  If this were to be a sweep and he would lose power anyway then they may have swung the other way to the inexperienced challenger.  It is hard for me to think like centrists absent of core principles.

Flashback, I ran across this Washington Post focus group study of the 2008 Dem field from 4 years ago.  Some insights.  Many have died a political death since then.  Most interesting is Hillary was considered unelectable and IL state senator Barack Obama was not mentioned: 
4709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness, "Harry I have a Gift" on: November 05, 2010, 12:13:15 PM
“Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.”

"we were too stupid to know he is right." - Yes, he is saying he needs to work on his talk-down-to-us skills.  We aren't all Ivy Leaguers. 
Interest insight into Barack Obama from my radio, James Lilacs on the Hugh Hewitt show, goes something like this: 

All the great men who rose to be President all faced great setbacks along the way... and he named a few.  Obama however is the first President to ever have the first setback in his life be while he was President.
Think about it, all that early family turmoil and he ends up in the best school in Hawaii living with loving grandparents.  Looks a little different than others so he gets into Columbia.  Ordinary grades and blows coke, gets into Harvard law School.  Can't write a lick without a script, is chosen Editor of the Law Review.  Runs for State Senate, gets his opponent removed. Runs for a US Senate in a hard blue state, gets Alan Keyes from elsewhere as an opponent.  Speaks at the convention, brings down the house.  "Harry, I have a gift", he said afterward to the majority leader. Enters the Presidential fray before authoring a bill or casting a vote, beats Hillary Clinton, Gov/Ambassador Bill Richardson and all the others.  Starts to get close in the general election and the world financial system falls down on his opponents, beats the former media darling McCain.  Needs a 60th vote in the senate to pass health care, ACORN compatriots come through raising Al Franken from second place to first in a recount.  Loses his 60th vote with Scott Brown, but deems it passed after the fact. No problem. ... Then they promise and declare that the healthcare in spite of the steamroller tactics will be loved and its supporters will be loved.  As far as we knew then, he was right, but he wasn't.

Lifting the veil.  Now he had two wars lingering too long.  Promised negotiations on CSPAN became cornhusker kickbacks hidden in private.  Unemployment will be 8% if we don't pass the stimulus became 10% with it.  All the political opportunism against Bush over Katrina started to become Obama's oil spill.  His own daughter couldn't understand why he wouldn't command the resources of the greatest country on earth and plug the hole.  Instead he sat powerless while private engineers at a big-oil firm eventually did it.

Alinsky-economics is false.  Krugman and Keynes are wrong.  No amount of gift of gab can change that but it didn't matter because his gift of gab was still aimed at destroying the pillars of our economy, not building them back up.

I honestly hope he does an about face, but there is nothing whatsoever in view to believe that.

I think it sounded bad but Obama was put on notice when Mitch McConnell said defeating this President is a top priority.  A change of direction is going to come out of the House in the form of legislation, and then presumably die in the senate.  Republicans will need just 3 or 4 Dem Senators from red states up for re-election to sign on to make legislation popular and bipartisan while it dies of the filibuster obstruction or the veto pen.

Obama has never been in this situation before.  He can veto to stop a Republican agenda, but he cannot lead or win.
4710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Confused Fed: Bernanke, QE2 and Intentional Inflation on: November 05, 2010, 12:11:01 AM
"It's like being in a slow motion car wreck, waiting for the final impact. Tell me I'm wrong and these people know what they are doing."

 - I've been a pretty big defender of the Fed compared to others here, but reading Bernanke in his own words today he makes about as much sense to me as Krugman and I think we are exactly as you described, headed into a wreck.

It's just nuts to think the lack of jobs today comes from a lack of money considering already easy money along with everything else we know that is wrong, such as new taxes coming on capital movement scaring away new investment and locking in old investment, the new health monstrosity scaring away hiring, looming new energy taxes and regs scaring away production or factory expansion, $3 trillion in new debt hovering over the dollar and the future budgets, new individual tax rates aimed at small business owners along with the highest corporate tax in western civilization while are biggest competitor's was lower already and lowered it twice more since 2008.  No, this slump isn't caused by lack of money or solved by throwing money at it, and what slump ever was?

At the center of this, the Fed's mission is not a "dual mandate" and that needs to be re-set by the new Congress.  The Fed has a singular mandate, a stable dollar, and then some secondary objectives come in to play that are not at all equal to the Fed mission of protecting the value of our currency IMHO.
4711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; Miller/ Murkowski on: November 04, 2010, 11:18:44 PM
Seems to me this goes to Murkowski. Margin of victory matters. Total write-ins lead Miller by 41 to 34%.  Of those 41%, how many are not Murkowski or no good?  Who knows but this was a hotly contested, 3-way race.  I don't see why people would bother to go vote if they didn't have a clear preference.

81,876 write in votes
68,288 votes, Joe Miller
47,414 Scott McAdams, Dem. in 3rd place

13,589 Number needed to disallow for Miller to win.

The officials did not say the name has to be perfect.  But they need the arrow shaded and to make intent clear with the name. Here is the list to compare with:

Seems to me that maybe several hundred will be wrong or not Lisa with maybe several hundred others to argue over, but not 13-14,000 to be disqualified.  The rules were clear and well-publicized. The name is familiar.  The list is available, long but not that hard to read through.  Seems to me that maybe several hundred will be wrong or not Lisa and several hundred others to argue over, but not 13 or14,000 to be disqualified. 

I think Lisa, when she gets to Washington, will make us appreciate why people were taking such a big chance supporting inexperienced tea party candidates.
4712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed, Monetary Policy: Ron Paul, Ben Bernanke on: November 04, 2010, 01:10:05 PM
"The Federal Reserve's objectives - its dual mandate, set by Congress - are to promote a high level of employment and low, stable inflation."

"there is scope for monetary policy to support further gains in employment" - Ben Bernanke, below. 

 - monetary policy is not the only or the correct lever to expand employment!

" lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance"

 - mortagage rates are artificially low already, and generally not available to buy foreclosures that need buying.  It is the principal that is too high on these loans, not the interest.

" Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending."

 - Other factors outside of the Fed's jurisdiction are destroying investment, and get the hell out of artificially stimulating stock prices and spending!
Perhaps Ron Paul's job will be to simply the Fed's double assignment.  This is a policy subcommittee Ron Paul is to head, if the report is accurate.  Bernanke appears before the full committee.

Ron Paul did a nice job of staying out of the spotlight during Rand Paul's senate election; I forgot he was still in the congress.  We might not need a monetary policy (IMO) if we followed Ron Paul's foreign policy. I hope he will use this role to steer, expose, oversee and influence the Fed, not as a podium to try to end the Fed.

My view of monetary policy is that there isn't a policy possible to compensate for a federal government that incurs $3 trillion in deficits in 21 months and that taxes and regulates itself out of production and into an unbalanced, import economy.  The current administration and congress want a Keynesian injection of trillions without correcting structural and competitive problems.  An independent Fed chair is not obligated to oblige if that destroys the purchasing power of the dollar and if the real answers to the problem lie outside of Fed policy.  Strong questioning along these lines could draw the Fed Chair into revealing how these other excesses create imbalance and complicate the monetary challenge. 

Here is what Bernanke says, including his meddling with private investment and target of keeping inflation ABOVE 2%.

What the Fed did and why: supporting the recovery and sustaining price stability

By Ben S. Bernanke
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two years have passed since the worst financial crisis since the 1930s dealt a body blow to the world economy. Working with policymakers at home and abroad, the Federal Reserve responded with strong and creative measures to help stabilize the financial system and the economy. Among the Fed's responses was a dramatic easing of monetary policy - reducing short-term interest rates nearly to zero. The Fed also purchased more than a trillion dollars' worth of Treasury securities and U.S.-backed mortgage-related securities, which helped reduce longer-term interest rates, such as those for mortgages and corporate bonds. These steps helped end the economic free fall and set the stage for a resumption of economic growth in mid-2009.

Notwithstanding the progress that has been made, when the Fed's monetary policymaking committee - the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) - met this week to review the economic situation, we could hardly be satisfied. The Federal Reserve's objectives - its dual mandate, set by Congress - are to promote a high level of employment and low, stable inflation. Unfortunately, the job market remains quite weak; the national unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent, a large number of people can find only part-time work, and a substantial fraction of the unemployed have been out of work six months or longer. The heavy costs of unemployment include intense strains on family finances, more foreclosures and the loss of job skills.

Today, most measures of underlying inflation are running somewhat below 2 percent, or a bit lower than the rate most Fed policymakers see as being most consistent with healthy economic growth in the long run. Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy - especially when the economy is struggling. In the most extreme case, very low inflation can morph into deflation (falling prices and wages), which can contribute to long periods of economic stagnation.

Even absent such risks, low and falling inflation indicate that the economy has considerable spare capacity, implying that there is scope for monetary policy to support further gains in employment without risking economic overheating. The FOMC decided this week that, with unemployment high and inflation very low, further support to the economy is needed. With short-term interest rates already about as low as they can go, the FOMC agreed to deliver that support by purchasing additional longer-term securities, as it did in 2008 and 2009. The FOMC intends to buy an additional $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by mid-2011 and will continue to reinvest repayments of principal on its holdings of securities, as it has been doing since August.

This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action. Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.

While they have been used successfully in the United States and elsewhere, purchases of longer-term securities are a less familiar monetary policy tool than cutting short-term interest rates. That is one reason the FOMC has been cautious, balancing the costs and benefits before acting. We will review the purchase program regularly to ensure it is working as intended and to assess whether adjustments are needed as economic conditions change.

Although asset purchases are relatively unfamiliar as a tool of monetary policy, some concerns about this approach are overstated. Critics have, for example, worried that it will lead to excessive increases in the money supply and ultimately to significant increases in inflation.

Our earlier use of this policy approach had little effect on the amount of currency in circulation or on other broad measures of the money supply, such as bank deposits. Nor did it result in higher inflation. We have made all necessary preparations, and we are confident that we have the tools to unwind these policies at the appropriate time. The Fed is committed to both parts of its dual mandate and will take all measures necessary to keep inflation low and stable.

The Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy's problems on its own. That will take time and the combined efforts of many parties, including the central bank, Congress, the administration, regulators and the private sector. But the Federal Reserve has a particular obligation to help promote increased employment and sustain price stability. Steps taken this week should help us fulfill that obligation.

The writer is chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
4713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Republican Senate? on: November 04, 2010, 10:31:15 AM
Republicans just took back a majority of Governorships.  Interesting political point by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline regarding the Senate:

"Republicans have a natural majority in the Senate. In a "50-50" election, the presidential race goes to a recount while the House splits down the middle and ultimately goes to the party who has won the redistricting battles. But in the three cycles necessary to populate the Senate, "50-50" elections go to the Republicans due to the equal representation of small, mostly Red, states.

Yet, (red states) Arkansas and North Dakota have two Democratic Senators (until January), Montana has two, South Dakota has one, Nebraska has one, and Indiana has one (until January). Over the next two cycles, assuming Republicans can maintain something close to 50 percent status or better, the Senate should come to reflect its natural Republican majority."
(A simple majority in the Senate however is not enough to get business done.)
4714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 04, 2010, 09:46:27 AM
Trusting California voters is different than trusting Oklahoma voters.  Can't you see the difference.   smiley
4715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 04, 2010, 09:44:51 AM
BBG, Okay I will stay focused (for the coalition) and lay off for 2 years of the rights of liberal women to slaughter their young.  You will note however that my posts on the subject were aimed more at changing minds than changing laws.  It was the arguments back that presumed I was advocating criminalization in spite of my denials.

Back to the war on drugs, statistics and claims of high levels of incarcerations don't match my property management experience of doing criminal lookups on inner city tenants.  I see arrests and convictions but not large amounts of time served for minor amounts of possession.  Maybe our state laws are different than elsewhere?

You moved on to costs of incarceration that are true without accepting my point that, aside from incarceration, an addicts right to freely screw up his life should be linked to my right to not pay for it.  We are a million political miles away from the latter.

I am curious about prescription drugs.  Outside of proper prescription they are illicit drugs too as you see it?  So legalization (if we were to discuss it later) would have some loosening on the pharmacy industry?  I knew of a woman able to get prescriptions of strong mental health type drugs and trade them directly with a dealer for pot and cocaine which I assume means they have a high street value and that is a widespread practice(?)  Open it all up?
GM, I don't favor legalization especially of meth but you probably could get the meth addicts kids over to child protection based on other outward signs of neglect.
4716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 04, 2010, 09:05:50 AM
AGW is not smog.  Smog has a direct link to the tailpipe. You can see it, you can follow it, you can measure it.  Human caused global warming is closer to the establishment of religion than it is to smog.  Crafty, your economic externality point is exactly right if this were smog and the link was established. Since the link between this law and global temperature is not established, the wish to do something good or right in your mind should start with individual free will.  We are talking about carbon dioxide, what plants (and oceans) breathe and what animals exhale.  And we are talking about 1990s levels.  If the link was established, why wouldn't we go back to 1840s levels?  Economic curtailment is not an indirect effect of the law, it is what is being directly curtailed, by a thin majority, based on faith.

Will of the collective free people? Good grief. If 51% don't need more than a Prius, is it okay to mandate the Prius - by 'collective free will'? No, it would tyranny of the majority, not collective free will.  If 51% are Christian, is it ok to mandate Christianity? No. That would be establishment of religion; we wouldn't allow a 98% majority to do that. But why not? If a majority support it and believe it, why isn't that good enough?  Ask a fundamental Christian, they know what is best for you - just like a prop 23 voter.  Let's vote. If 51% live within 5 or 10 miles of work, is it okay to limit daily driving to 20 miles for all? No.

The law reeks of unequal protection. Will Californians be restricted from fossil fuel based air-travel, a.k.a. criminal activity that often crosses state lines?  Let's end out of state flights and flights to Asia, ban airlines from flying over California too.  What about from buying a products made in China while you close your factory in California - and 'decrease California emissions'?  End foreign trade, then check in again on unemployment levels.  And CO2 levels.

Calif. AB32:

No honest scientist on earth can say AB 32 will change CO2 levels or global warming beyond any margin of measurement error.  It is all about faith in a link and a majority favor government placing limits on productive economic activity - and trips to visit Grandma, youth soccer tournaments, boy scout camps, etc.  I oppose it.

Closing down 90% of state and federal government operations in California would have a larger effect on emissions without tromping on the freedoms of your fellow citizens.  If that was what mattered.
4717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 03, 2010, 10:50:15 PM
BBG, Fair enough, but small steps might be less controversial and more do-able.

My theory is that prisons need a class rank based on crime done, time served and threat posed.  Then we boot out the least dangerous guy each time we convict a new murdering rapist or bomb-building Islamist.  Small-time drug offenders should walk quickly.
4718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 03, 2010, 10:36:27 PM
"Amongst the many of our stupidities yesterday was to reject the postponement of our unilateral global warming law."

Once again, more trust in government than in people.  People can choose more efficient cars.  Companies can choose to build more efficient factories.  Families can make older homes more energy efficient.  Anybody can buy a solar panel or a wind turbine on eBay any day of the year. None of these voluntary steps cost you more than living under oppressive government.  I don't even know the details of the law, but I can tell from what is described that the people of California put their trust in a big, failed government over the free will of the people to do the right thing.  Not exactly what the colonists fought for.
4719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 03, 2010, 09:43:34 PM
BBG, thanks for posting. I prefer decriminalization (portugal) over legalization(that failed in Calif), but I don't like that they include all illicit drugs.  I am thinking of meth but other illicit drugs or prescription drugs are dangerous or highly addictive and don't need more sanctioning, encouragement or tolerance.  If penalties are absurd or disproportional, get them down to where the system can plea bargain an addict into treatment instead of wasting our limited space in jail.

Even if legalization is right, it isn't the focus we should have right now in terms of divisive social issues.  I personally would not like to see full libertarian legalization with consequences for the addicts before I receive full libertarian freedom to not pay a damn penny for any of the choices that they make including drugs, food, shelter or healthcare.

OTOH, (I've posted this before but) whenever the Court determined that growing one pot plant on your own property for your own consumption is a form of interstate commerce started a constitutional problem much larger than drug use.
4720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward ... on: November 03, 2010, 01:17:51 PM
CCP, From the thread 'California' I thought I would move my reply over to 'The Way Forward' as I wander with my answer.

"Doug, What is your take with California?  The state that gave us Reagan in the 70's? Rush was saying Fiorina and Whitman lost because they are "RINOS". He actually believes a stricter conservative would have won."

No. Some things aren't winnable, but in general a more consistent pro-freedom message is more persuasive than the we are just like them but not as bad message, with no mention or commitment to core governing principles.  The next Presidential race needs to be won without California unfortunately, just like Obama was able to win his Presidency without getting my vote.  Some people you need to persuade - some people you need to defeat.  Rand Paul wouldn't win in Calif. but he can play a role in this.  No bailouts for failed states.  Bailouts prevent error corrections.  I have no idea what it would take to make California look like the land of opportunity again, but right when political turnarounds seem impossible is when they can happen suddenly.

"Who do you think all these maids, grass cutters, nail hammerers, housekeepers, apple pickers are going to vote for?"  - They sound like very dedicated, principled, hard working people in a country where people can jump classes and quintiles in less than a generation.  I would think they would support economic freedoms but one good leader or candidate can not always cut through the rest of the noise they are hearing, and no one is really trying.  

"Savage lays out a proposal for repubs in his book though I haven't read it.  He says the new "contract" or whatever you want to call it is lame. I think he may be right."

 - I disagree.  The 'Pledge' is a governing philosophy that would have prevented most of this economic carnage if those basic fundamentals had been adhered to a few years back.

"the pocketbook issue"  - Yes.  There are hundreds of issues out there. My opposition to abortion and yours to immigration are not starting points - they follow things like giving responsibilities back to the states and having a federal government provide for our security. The focus needs to be on what rescues the republic right now and that requires a focus on what unites the coalition, what unleashes the economy, what balances the books, and what policies will get the government back to governing, not running the economy.  A maid may be on the free-ride side of current federal taxation, but does she really believe that her beautiful and smart children in school and her grandchildren not yet born will never amount to anything and will never be burdened by the debt and bureaucracy that we are now growing?  I don't think so.  Someone needs to make that case with every bill, every vote and every issue that we face.  This relates to what I posted about the tea party alienating young voters, and  blacks, Hispanics, gays thinking they have more economic opportunity and freedom under Dem rule.  At double digit unemployment, the facts indicate otherwise.  Right now the focus needs to be (IMHO) control spending first, stop the expansion and pull the government back out of private industries other than to provide reasonable and necessary regulation.

No time now but I would like to come back to this thread and post answers Marco Rubio gave to basic liberal questions (how can government create more jobs etc.) in his debates in a very key swing state.  He sounded more like Reagan than like Keynes or Krugman or a typical Dem-lite RINO. He won a swing state by a million votes over a (formerly) popular sitting governor.
4721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: November 03, 2010, 12:24:10 PM
This was an amazing year. Historic wins but also some key losses and a sitting President not likely to change much.  Maybe 65 seat gain in the House (which I see as a 130 vote swing).  Huge wins in swing states Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida.  Disappointing losses in Colo and left coast.

One reason R's did better in house seats than senate was a shortage of qualified and experienced conservative candidates due to the big losses the last 2 cycles and that the House is better suited for entry level candidates.  Crafty posed the question a few days ago regarding the fight between tea party and establishment GOP.  That will certainly play out strongly in the upcoming Presidential contest as well as with policy positions and votes in the meantime.

A few of the tea party surprises turned out to be disappointments, but some of those were no-win situations.  O'Donnell was the focus, but putting a RINO in for 6 years who votes with your opponents half the time has its own drawbacks, would not have won the senate and gives permanent bipartisan cover to those votes taken by Dems, whatever the issue.  It was worth a couple losses to send a message to BOTH parties.  Delaware is frankly not a red state and Nevada Hispanics I guess will have to live with 15% unemployment while they negotiate their border and amnesty differences with the party that supports their legal, economic freedoms. 

Next time, in most of these cases, there will be better candidates available for senate races due to all these wins in the House, the Governorships and the state houses, though I fear we face a similar lack of readiness for a qualified Presidential candidate this cycle through most of the field.  (Very interesting development regarding Mike Pence!)

Some stars were born: One is to give credit to Chris Christie (IMO) for starting this.  Rubio! and may I be the first to nominate Mrs. Rubio for First Lady. Ron Johnson changed Wisconsin, first time candidate, ran like a pro and never flinched or looked back. Kristi Noem, already mentioned. Alan West!  Rand Paul ran a tough race with everything thrown at him and will be quite a thorn if RINOs start talking about new entitlements or expanding federal programs.

Give credit where credit is due (from the NY Post),  Democrats stubbornly built this backlash.

Among the OUT, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN)  Chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, representing an old time blue district from Duluth to the iron range cities for nearly 40 years ... OUT!

Republicans gained votes in every congressional district in the country!  Unfortunately, any Dem that won this year is likely safe forever so don't look for any bipartisanship in the House. 

I am wondering which of the Dem Senators from red states up in 2012 will be negotiable with the 48 R's and the House to move any legislation to Obama for key vetoes to be challenged in the next election.  Here are 11 possibilities:  Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania,  Jim Webb of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia (has to run again), and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.

I will love to see how the new Congressional Black Caucus Meetings go with the new members joining (see Alan West video).  I don't see a teleprompter writing his script.   smiley
4722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 03, 2010, 11:12:25 AM
Comments written by friends of from California while awaiting the results.  Interesting that while some may have favored Prop 19 from a libertarian perspective, having it on the ballot likely brought out the people, otherwise non-political, who give you 6 more years of Boxer and a state govt of fiscal madness.
    "I expect both Brown and Boxer to win [handily]. This is based on my experience of living here all my life. The population is radically different from what it was in the 1970s. The public employee unions are ultra-powerful, the blacks are solidly Democratic, and the millions of Hispanics are led by leftists, even though the average folks are more moderate. Then you have the Silicon Valley elitists, the Hollywood crowd, and, finally, the gays, many of whom are one-issue voters and rabid liberals. As an aside, when I dropped off my absentee ballot this morning, I realized that, judging from the appearance of the some of the people in line, the heavy turnout in my precinct was likely prompted by Proposition 19, marijuana legalization."
Same conclusion based on different reasoning:

    "After watching (too much) TV, and the overwhelming number of Boxer and Brown ads, [my non-political wife] is convinced that Fiorina and Whitman have just spouted cliches without substance and that they are exploiters of the working class. Fiorina and Whitman have allowed the ads to define them negatively, the Brown ads (painting himself as a born-again Tea Partier) and Boxer ads (painting Fiorina as a ruthless, self-serving protiteer). Neither Whitman nor Fiorina have connected emotionally with the open minded voters."
4723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The electoral process, 380,000 vote double count in Minneapolis on: November 03, 2010, 10:53:03 AM
"Doug: Keep us posted on that please!"

No worries.  The error that allowed Hennepin County (Mpls and S and W suburbs), a county larger than 8 states, to be counted twice and not noticed was due to a computer glitch.  The R candidate for Gov was down 12 points while this was discovered, now losing by less than 1/2% going into automatic recount - to be overseen by re-elected MN Sec State Mark Ritchie of roots.  An overcount of 380,000 went unnoticed, but everything else is fine, we are assured.  sad

Prior to this election, Dems had super-majorities in both houses held in check by a somewhat moderate R Governor (Tim Pawlenty). Interestingly, all the statewide races were won by Dems, but the precincts outside of ACORN and Urban League vote count control swung so far the other way the R's took both the state House and State Senate for the first time since party designations were put on the ballot.

4724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: November 02, 2010, 11:21:48 PM
Speaking of double wins, Feingold OUT of the senate ... and available to run for President.

Sampling the heartland, North Dakota is currently a Dem Senate seat (equal in value to the Boxer seat).  The R leads 78-22.

Republican Gov for Wisconsin.  Republican Gov for Michigan - by 20 points!

Kristi Noem leading slighlty for the South Dakota house seat - too close to call.

Hennepin County (Mpls), home of Keith Ellison and where all the shenanigans for Al Franken took place, is reporting a 400,000 vote overcount.  Details to follow.  sad
4725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: November 02, 2010, 04:47:06 PM
Marc,  What your friend writes makes perfect sense to me.  Very nice detail on the lead up and buildup to the collapse and right on the mark regarding the prescription from here.  Foreclosures need to go forward.  That is the mechanism for the correction and the correction needs to happen.  Maybe some errors were made in a few foreclosures but it didn't make any sense to me that foreclosure firms don't know how to do foreclosures or that they would use robo Signatures if those weren't allowed.  

I agree with GM but would like to substitute 'let it correct' for let it crash.  We shouldn't need to approach zero or far over-correct in order to right-size these values.  Unfortunately there are others factors causing uncertainty and over-correction in housing, same as for the lack of investment and hiring in the rest of the economy, compounded by homeowners or potential homeowneers not finding work or with depressed or stagnant incomes.  In other words, if employment had recovered and incomes were growing and housing was the only problem we could have grown out of this somewhat quickly, without this prolonged death recovery.

My place went up 8-fold in 2 decades to the peak. The bulk of that came from artificial and inflated factors.  I was proud of my investment when it doubled.  After that it just became bizarre with pretend values with runaway taxes until property taxes exceeded food, clothing, transportation and shelter combined.  Now I have paid more in real estate taxes than I paid for the house, but I digress...

I wonder when we will learn anything from the events described.  Why would we want to get people into homes they can't afford?  Why do we still want values to be artificially high?  Why would we want markets and values to be constantly changing, unstable and out of whack, high or low? Why would we want to prevent or delay a correction?  Why do we keep doing things that over inflated the market?  We were still offering multiple thousand dollar home buyer credits long after the crash which is a federal stimulus spending program that Democrats are still passing off as a "middle class tax cut'".

A different way to encourage home ownership might be lower property taxes and to reduce economic penalties for hiring, earning and creating and retaining wealth.

Today it seems equally bizarre to me how low some foreclosure prices have gone, down to 14 cents on the dollar of previous purchase in some cases. Buyer exhaustion, and it keeps getting worse as the inventory keeps coming.  The wild fluctuations and high levels of uncertainty are still screwing up the efficiency and integrity of the market.  

One observation about foreclosure owners is that they do almost nothing to make the houses ready for sale beyond emptying them.  I can't understand why they won't do basic, neglected repairs and small investment to protect their asset value, bring the house up to at least their own lending standards and slow the free fall of prices.
4726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 01, 2010, 12:38:47 PM
"one might think that securing the cargo industry would have taken a higher priority.  The bigger question here isn’t how we missed the plot, but whether the administration gave us the straight truth in the aftermath."

I recall that the failure to secure the cargo industry, like the oil spill, is Bush's fault. 

Frankly I care more that our own security apparatus tells each other the straight scoop and takes aggressive action.  Saudi is a very strange and questionable ally, but possibly more reliable than Britain, France and Germany combined.
4727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections: No October surprise - Let's Get Out The Vote! on: November 01, 2010, 12:32:05 PM
I am amazed that there has been no change in the political fundamentals since the health care bill passage in March, against the will of the people.  The gulf oil spill came and went.  The opportunity for Dems to steal a couple of pro-growth economic ideas from their opponents and at least partially fix things came and went.  The only thing that has changed has really just been voters becoming more and more certain that they don't like what they see.

Republicans released a governing agenda that went by largely unnoticed.  Divided government will be a mess but better than most of the alternatives.

Tomorrow, everyone needs to call everyone they consider like minded with their own 'get out the vote' campaign.

I was thinking that for your liberal friends and family you might want to check in on them in person tomorrow, fairly early, buy and drop off a couple of DVDs each of maybe a season of their favorite show or favorite concert DVDs and a couple of bottles of nice wine (or Jack Daniels) to make staying at home for the day more comfortable and enjoyable.
4728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Young people on: November 01, 2010, 11:09:18 AM
No surprise, but a terrible tragedy that young people, current President included, are only taught Alinsky-onomics through the age of 30 and need to find out real info by accident or by making political-economic mistakes.  We will never have an economy hitting on all cylinders consistently while we keep the fundamentals of how it works a secret from the newer participants.

The citizens on Communist China, a totalitarian, dictatorial regime with zero consent of the governed are receiving, in some ways, better economic governance than we are.
4729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Tea party movement alienating young voters? on: October 31, 2010, 10:40:13 PM
This article was linked at conservative Townhall and says that young voters are alienated by certain aspects of the tea party movement.  What I take from it is the need for one thing to keep a sharp focus on who will pay most for the trillions of excess today.  Young people by their nature come from a dependent class, used to having others pay their bills, needing tuition subsidies etc.  It is a rare talent in conservative leaders to be able to explain why pro-growth policies with economic freedoms are preferable to redistributionism and dependency.  In the current cycle one person with that gift i think is Marco Rubio.  We will need way more people to understand it and articulate if we want to be successful in 2012.  OTOH, reader beware, the underlying study comes out of Harvard.  People in their 20s are too young to know that liberalism, socialism and communism were all tried and failed. It's not still an open question.

Tea party movement alienating young voters

The tea party is failing to woo young voters despite a loose structure that could make it easier for those under 30 to achieve leadership roles, analysts and political activists say as the grass-roots movement prepares to flex its muscles in midterm elections.

A survey released Oct. 21 by Harvard University's Institute of Politics showed that only 11 percent of those 18 to 29 consider themselves supporters of the tea party, and analysts say the leaderless movement's ties to social conservatism and rhetoric in favor of an earlier America are hampering its appeal.

Despite widespread voter anger ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, the tea party has been a hard sell to young voters because many equate joining with embracing conservative social values, said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE, a Tufts University group that conducts research on the political involvement of young Americans. He said this holds true even for those who would otherwise identify with the party's call for stricter fiscal conservatism.

"A lot of young people, whether it's from the media, professors or other sources, come to the opinion that the tea party is just a bunch of right-wing extreme radicals, racists _ whatever," said Patrick Kelly, a tea party activist and freshman at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill. "That's the biggest deterrent."

Tea party supporters want to open the door for young voters, and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe said the movement can win over those under 30 by placing them in leadership roles. FreedomWorks was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, and has fueled much of the movement's growth.

"More young leaders begets more young participants," Kibbe said. He said that young voters are tougher to organize but that the tea party can engage them through things they enjoy. "The tea party is different," he said. "We have music, we have fun, we do protests. It's a different set of activities than your typical, canned Republican stump speech that was driving people away in droves."

Matthew Segal, the 25-year-old executive director of the nonpartisan Student Association for Voter Empowerment, said the tea party's opposition to government action also turns off young voters. "The tea party is based on an anti-government premise, and young people are the most trusting constituency of government," said Segal, whose Washington-based organization promotes electoral participation by students.

And while the tea party often seems to be recalling earlier times, with rhetoric harkening back to the Founding Fathers, American youth don't always share those sympathies. Even the movement's name refers to an insurrection more than two centuries ago, notes Christopher Kukk, who teaches political science at Western Connecticut State University.

"It's all about keeping America, preserving America, not changing America," Kukk said. Young people, he said, are "talking about changing America."

Many young voters also recoil at the tea party's homogenous racial makeup. According to the Pew Research Center's October political survey, 85 percent of registered voters who agree with the tea party are white. Just 2 percent are black.

"The young generation is just by the numbers the most diverse generation in American history," Levine said. "You can't get that much purchase on this generation if you look like you're all white."

Supporters agree that a large part of the party's problem with youth is perception. Although some tea party groups are libertarian and don't espouse socially conservative values, voters and the media rarely make that distinction, said Emily Ekins, a UCLA doctoral student who studies the movement's different, and sometimes opposing, philosophies.

Some tea party backers also note the generational gap when it comes to all the talk about history. Joel Pollak, a tea party-endorsed Republican trying to unseat Democrat Jan Schakowsky in Illinois' 9th Congressional District, said young voters' lack of Cold War memories prevents them from recognizing the threat that overreaching government policies pose to American freedom.

"Young people today grew up with very little knowledge of communism and socialism," the 33-year-old Pollak said.

Still, observers see an opportunity for a third-party group to make headway. More than 40 percent of voters under 30 don't identify with a major political party, according to Harvard University's October poll.

"There is room for an independent party to rise up and grab young people," Segal said. "If the tea party numbers don't show that, then they clearly aren't resonating with young voters."
4730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: New Death Taxes are coming, people to do what now to avoid them? on: October 31, 2010, 10:08:56 PM
With capital gains tax rate increases coming, people sell off assets before the end of the year.  With new death taxes coming Jan.1, people will want to do what in December to avoid the new tax??

Wyoming Rep. Lummis: Estate tax rise has some planning death

By BEN NEARY - The Associated Press | Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010

CHEYENNE -- U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis says some of her Wyoming constituents are so worried about the reinstatement of federal estate taxes that they plan to discontinue dialysis and other life-extending medical treatments so they can die before Dec. 31.

Lummis, a Republican who holds her state's lone seat in the House, declined to name any of the people who have made the comments.

But she said many ranchers and farmers in the state would rather pass along their businesses -- "their life's work" -- to their children and grandchildren than see the federal government take a large chunk.

"If you have spent your whole life building a ranch, and you wanted to pass your estate on to your children, and you were 88 years old and on dialysis, and the only thing that was keeping you alive was that dialysis, you might make that same decision," Lummis told reporters.

Lummis and other Republicans are fighting to renew the Bush-era tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year. The cuts exempt large inheritances as well as certain wage income, interest, dividends and capital gains. She said the estate tax would go from zero this year to a maximum of 55 percent next year.

Lummis said the children of some people choosing death over taxes told her of their parents' decision. She wouldn't identify them and said it would be their decision to come forward.
4731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential on: October 29, 2010, 12:16:13 PM
"Agreed. Gingrich is damaged goods."

I have to say same for Palin.  She had a choice of continuing to make a huge national impact or completing her term as Governor.  I think she made the right choice but a resigned Governorship, her strongest credential, is not the path to the Presidency.
4732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 29, 2010, 12:03:40 PM
"at least he didn't bow to [Jon Stewart]"  - Very Funny!!

"a deepening disenchantment with Barack Obama himself. (He has a meager 37% approvalrating by the latest  Harris poll"

That poll is a bit of outlier but approvals stuck in the 30s could be the norm as even his own side loses confidence in him.

I remember candidate John Kerry headed into this conundrum.  He needed to move to the center and be called a flip flopper or be too liberal to govern.  Obama needs to abandon leftist principles or preside over country in decline, which means his Presidency in decline.  There is no win there for him and it is something, unlike Clinton, that he has no skill or experience at doing.  He won't resign but the country might be better off with Joe Biden... sad  shocked  huh  angry  embarassed  undecided  ... who could at least hire an economist and wouldn't bat an eyelash about changing his small mind.

I have long contended that Obama has never read a book about economics that did not oppose our economic system.  Adviser Romer warned that looming tax increases would have a 'contractionary effect' on the economy already in the dumps.  Result?  She's gone.  Lawrence Summers knows some economics - gone.  Paul Volcker is highly respected in certain ways, especially in a fight against future spiraling inflation - never consulted.  Volcker needs to go through Valerie Jarrett to get to the President.

The public is not going to like the fight they are about to get between the new, energized house and the old, stuck on redistributionism administration.
4733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Gingrich? on: October 29, 2010, 11:39:38 AM
Washington Post weighs in on Gingrich.  Pretty fair and it takes them until internet page 3 to say: "Then there is the question of whether the religious conservatives who are an important part of the GOP base could embrace an admitted adulterer who has been married three times."

Obama had his birth certificate question, his Marxism ties, his radical reverend, past cocaine use, no college records, no executive experience, no foreign policy experience, no senatorial experience, etc. etc. but they never got him for being unfaithful to his wife.  Clinton is his own exception, no one can get away with what he can.  Everyone knows that Republicans are held to a different standard.  Reagan was a divorced and re-married man, but that was 3 decades before running, 4 years between wives and at a different time and had no other reason to make anyone look any further into it.  Gingrich's issues were during his power and during Clinton's impeachment.

I honestly think this is a deal-killer.  Newt is brilliant - the closest we have to someone prepared to step up, run and lead.  If John Edwards and Gary Hart can't come back on the Dem side, no one can overcome this on the R side.  Obama can lie cheat and openly steal and then run for reelction as the more moral alternative.  Characters matters for the highest office.

Crafty, CCP, others, what say you?
4734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China - Rere Earth Elements on: October 29, 2010, 11:16:39 AM
Washington Post wanders belatedly into this story:

"China's rationale matters less than its conduct. Export quotas are hardly in the spirit of Beijing's responsibilities as a member of the World Trade Organization."

Imagine that, shocked when totalitarian dictators do not live up to their social responsibilities.  (And we snubbed CANADA from getting on the UN security council.)
4735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: New Leader of the Senate - Chuck Schumer on: October 29, 2010, 10:58:19 AM
Assuming Harry Reid loses, the new Dem leader of the senate will be Schumer who I fear but I don't think has much more national appeal than Harry Reid. (Dick Durbin, if not Schumer.)  Probably Steny Hoyer becomes Dem leader of the House if R's win there assuming Nancy won't want to be minority leader and fly a smaller plane.
As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings - NY Times
Speaker of the House is a big deal because for one thing is second in line behind VP to ascend to the Presidency.  Presumably Boehner keeps his leadership post for winning but I would hope R's start from scratch and pick their very best going forward.  Ryan or Pence come to mind.  And it can't be someone running for President.
4736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs, spending, process - Thomas Sowell on: October 29, 2010, 10:30:44 AM
Thomas Sowell (age 80) is on my short list for VP or maybe press secretary for the next administration.  This is about the election but really about spending and process jeopardizing our freedom.

A Crossroads Election
By Thomas Sowell

Most elections are about particular policies, particular scandals or particular personalities. But these issues don't mean as much this year-- not because they are not important, but because this election is a crossroads election, one that can decide what path this country will take for many years to come.

Runaway "stimulus" spending, high unemployment and ObamaCare are all legitimate and important issues. It is just that freedom and survival are more important.

For all its sweeping and scary provisions, ObamaCare is not nearly as important as the way it was passed. If legislation can become laws passed without either the public or the Congress knowing what is in those laws, then the fundamental principle of a free, self-governing people is completely undermined.

Some members of Congress who voted for ObamaCare, and who are now telling us that they realize this legislation has flaws which they intend to correct, are missing the point.

The very reason for holding hearings on pending legislation, listening to witnesses on all sides of the issue, and having Congressional debates that will be reported and commented on in the media, is so that problems can be explored and alternatives considered before the legislation is voted into law.

Rushing ObamaCare into law too fast for anyone to have read it served no other purpose than to prevent this very process from taking place. The rush to pass this law that would not take effect until after the next two elections simply cut the voters out of the loop-- and that is painfully close to ruling by decree.

Other actions and proposals by this administration likewise represent moves in the direction of arbitrary rule, worthy of a banana republic, with only a mocking facade of freedom.

These include threats against people who simply choose to express opinions counter to administration policy, such as a warning to an insurance company that there would be "zero tolerance" for "misinformation" when the insurance company said that ObamaCare would create costs that force up premiums.

Zero tolerance for the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution?

This warning comes from an administration with arbitrary powers that can impose ruinous costs on a given business.

Those who are constantly telling us that our economic problems are caused by not enough "regulation" never distinguish between regulation which simply enforces known rules, as contrasted with regulation that gives arbitrary powers to the government to force others to knuckle under to demands that have nothing to do with the ostensible purposes of the regulation.

As more businesses reveal that they are considering no longer buying health insurance for their employees, as a result of higher costs resulting from ObamaCare legislation, the administration has announced that it can grant waivers that reduce these costs.

But the power to grant waivers is the power to withhold waivers-- an arbitrary power that can impose millions of dollars in costs on businesses that the administration doesn't like.

Recent proposals from the Obama administration to force disclosure of the names of people who sponsor election ads would likewise open all who disagree with Obama to retaliation by the government itself, as well as by community activists and others.

History tells us where giving government one arbitrary power after another leads. It is like going into a Venus fly-trap, which is easy to enter and nearly impossible to get out of.

The headstrong, know-it-all willfulness of this administration, which threatens our freedom at home, also threatens our survival in the international jungle, because Obama seems determined to do nothing that will stop Iran from going nuclear.

The Obama administration goes through all sorts of charades at the U.N. and signs international agreements on sanctions that have been watered down to the point where they are not about to bring Iran's nuclear weapons program to a halt. The purpose is not to stop Iran but to stop the American people from realizing what Obama is doing or not doing.

We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopardizes both our freedom and our survival.
4737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness / Dude? on: October 29, 2010, 10:19:22 AM
Jon Stewart called him dude.  "You don't want to use that phrase, dude."  It took me quite a while to get the joke.  He was trying to say that Lawrence Summers (economic adviser while unemployment ran up to nearly 10%) did "a heck of a job".

Apparently that was the exact same phrase Bush used when his Katrina chief left and the show (I don't watch) made quite a theme out of it.
4738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy politics, the FAIR Tax Trap on: October 29, 2010, 10:14:05 AM
Once again major publications are reading the forum here and taking our material, this time the WSJ.  smiley  If we were starting from scratch (we aren't), the fair tax has merit, but only at a far lower rate of spending and taxation.  A much higher taxer than Rand Paul is accusing him (rightly) of supporting a 23% (30%) tax on groceries,  forcing him to go on defense and say that is after we repeal the 16th amendment and take away the right of the federal government to tax income whatsoever- which feeds back into the line they are running against him that he is out of touch and out of the mainstream.  In an age where we elected Pelosi, obama, and name your favorite local liberal, let's say Boxer, we aren't going to repeal all taxation on income, state of federal.

Public anxiety over rising taxes is helping Republicans in this midterm election—with one exception. Democrats are trying to turn the tables on the GOP over the so-called FAIR Tax, a tax reform idea that has bounced around conservative circles for years.

The proposal would end all current federal taxes, junk the Internal Revenue Service and impose in their place a 23% national sales tax. In 16 House and three Senate races so far, Democrats have blasted GOP candidates for at one point or another voicing an interest in the FAIR tax. In Kentucky's Senate race, Democrat Jack Conway is running a TV spot charging that Republican "Rand Paul wants a new 23% sales tax on groceries, clothes, prescriptions, everything."

FAIR tax proponents are right to say these Democratic attacks are unfair and don't mention the tax-cutting side of the proposal, but the attacks do seem to work. Mr. Paul's lead in Kentucky fell after the assault, and the issue has hurt GOP candidate Ken Buck in a close Colorado Senate race.

In a special House election earlier this year in Pennsylvania, Democrat Mark Critz used the FAIR tax cudgel on Republican opponent Tim Burns. In a district that John McCain carried in 2008, Mr. Critz beat the Republican by eight points and is using the issue again in their rematch.

This is a political reality that FAIR taxers need to face. Pushed by Texan Leo Linbeck and his Americans for Fair Taxation, among others, the FAIR tax became a political fad in the 1990s. It was promoted by Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader who never brought it to a vote even as he soaked campaign contributions from its supporters.

Mike Huckabee, who raised taxes when he was Arkansas Governor, embraced the FAIR tax in his 2008 Presidential run to try to assert some conservative economic bona fides. Yet none of these voices or checkbooks can be heard now that other candidates who once flirted with the FAIR tax are under attack.

No one supports tax reform more than we do, and in theory a consumption tax like the FAIR tax is preferable to an income tax because it doesn't punish the savings and investment that drive economic growth. If we were designing a tax code from scratch, the FAIR tax would be one consumption tax option worth debating.

But we live in a country that already has an income tax, and most states rely on sales taxes for a major part of their revenue. Unless the Sixteenth Amendment that allowed an income tax is repealed, voters rightly suspect that any new sales tax scheme will merely be piled on the current code. Adding a 23% federal sales tax on top of a 5% or more state sales tax levy would also be a huge additional tax on all purchases. The temptation to avoid such a tax by paying cash or via other means would be high, and collection might require the same army of auditors that the IRS now deploys.

These are all reasons we've long been skeptical of the FAIR tax as a practical tax reform, and the current campaign only reinforces our doubts. No doubt we'll once again hear from the many FAIR taxers who seem eternally vigilant to write letters whenever tax reform is raised. But if the FAIR tax is going to get anywhere politically, its supporters ought to show they can defend the candidates who are under attack for having endorsed it, or even having said nice things about it.

Our advice to the FAIR taxers is that voters will start to take the idea seriously once the income tax is on the road to repeal. Until then, our advice to candidates would be to avoid the FAIR tax and focus on goals that are more achievable and less politically self-destructive.
4739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 28, 2010, 10:24:37 AM
The trend is bad but in my experience the supercomputer was made obsolete in the 1990s by American technology such as Fibre Channel that allow the linking of the processors of separate workstations at the speed of light eliminating the need or desirability of having massive number of processors in one box. Maybe that has changed by now in a lower price environment but I doubt the technology inside the box, processors and linking of processors, is of Chinese origin.
4740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2010, 09:42:16 AM
"I gather than DE (O'Donnell) is going to fall Dem?"

Yes, but many inexperienced newcomers are making a huge impact elsewhere.

RCP has the best coverage.  They moved largely to polls measuring likely voters.  I don't trust polls but you see where different polls show very similar things.  They are all trying to get their final poll accuracy up right now for that is what their professional reputation will be based on.

If held today, Republicans (at 49) fall short of 51 but pick up 8+ Scott Brown making 9 since the Al Franken travesty giving Dems 60.  That is a big deal. And that is conceding Boxer, W.V., and Patty Murray which are still possible.

There are some big, big stories in this.  Tossing out incumbent Republicans was part of it, in Utah, Alaska (maybe) and Pennsylvania, anybody remember Arlen Specter (R-PA)?  Sends a message to the others. Tossing out Harry Reid is HUGE.  If he wins close he is still permanently injured.  Feingold - Wisconsin?  Out!  And a common sense conservative businessman in! Obama's seat in Illinois - possibly lost.  

Watch for recount troubles and legal challenges.  This isn't over when the polls close.

Look at what is still on the table for 2012 senate races.  Those senators know it won't be 2006 over again in states like Montana and Virginia and that should affect their wish to separate from the leftist agenda, dead in its tracks.

Generic poll gives probably the best overall look.  From -12 for R's in Jan 09 to about +6 now, an 18 point move in underlying philosophy separate from the individual story of the local candidates in less than 2 years.  Wow! 

That did not come from having Republicans sound more like Democrats to win as many wanted in Delaware.
4741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: October 28, 2010, 09:22:03 AM
"In St. Paul, organizers from the Tea Party and related groups announced this week that they were offering a $500 reward for anyone who turned in someone who was successfully prosecuted for voter fraud.

The group is also organizing volunteer “surveillance squads” to photograph and videotape what it suspects are irregularities, and in some cases to follow buses that take voters to the polls."

For one thing it is a slap in the face to the elected MN Sec of State from that private groups need to advertise that vote fraud is a felony, and a call to action for citizens that the camcorder capability in your cell phone is strong weapon for law enforcement and deterrence - be ready to use it.  Volunteer to be an election judge and everyone be as aware as you can of everything happening around you when you go to vote.

For years they have been saying, what could be wrong with making it easier to vote.

Numbers of prosecuted cases may be low, but numbers of false votes cast all too often exceed the margin of victory.
4742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 28, 2010, 09:10:35 AM
I hate it when our enemies are right about us.  OTOH, China and some other Asian economies have benefited greatly over the last 30 years IMHO by delegating their monetary policy to our Fed.
4743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: October 28, 2010, 09:02:44 AM
I don't think Williams was expressing a phobia (irrational fear) of Muslims.  He was IMO expressing a rational wish to not die in a plane crash.  The intent of the horror of 9/11 and other attacks was not for the .001% of Americans who were killed, but to place the fear in the other 300 million people here and billions around the globe.  Juan Williams was saying that effect is still there for him.  The only issue is whether he should or should not have reported his honest feeling publicly.  The blame doesn't go to Juan Williams or to the peaceful Muslims, it goes to the people who so dramatically created that link.

Some gay people have a gay agenda and want something from the rest of us politically.  Most gay people want life liberty and pursuit of happiness like the rest of us.  Some non-gays see the gay acts as unnatural and repulsive.  Some express those real feelings honestly and get ripped for it.  But GM already said it, no gay movement we know of is intentionally associating gayness or gay agenda with death to America or danger on airplanes.

Regardless of the author's other good works, this comparison is based on a false premise.
4744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security, Keith Ellison watch, Juan Williams statement on: October 26, 2010, 03:20:10 PM
"I'm thinking like Ellison is worthy of continued observation, perhaps on the Islam in America and/or the Homeland Security threads"

I'll put this here just because the underlying issue, nervous about Muslims on planes is about Homeland Security.

Note what a nut this guy is how reasonable and thoughtful he comes across.

Couple of straw men arguments, Juan didn't want the Muslims messed with, he was just saying how it made him feel, and Schulz jumps right over to the unFairness Doctrine which would solve absolutely nothing in American media or freedom.

Ellison is the strongest opinion I've heard supporting the NPR firing.  He says Juan Williams is an "Un-American" " Bigot", and the leftist host agrees 100%.  The host hates Fox and Ellison takes offense of the slam against Muslims. See the youtube .  Found this through Powerline and they take the opportunity to rip him and his past pretty well:

Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison made his name as the first Muslim elected to Congress. It was therefore all but obligatory for him to weigh in on the firing of Juan Williams from NPR as a result of Williams's expression of his feelings on Fox News about seeing air passengers dressed in "Muslim garb," as he did last week on Ed Schultz's MSNBC show.

It's always illuminating to hear the deep thoughts of Keith Ellison on matters of public concern. We still await the enterprising journalist who will ask Ellison which branch of Islam it is that comports with the tenets of the Democratic agenda on the equality of women, abortion, gay rights and all the rest. Then we might learn something from him that we don't know.

Incidentally, Ellison used to hang with the gangbanging Minneapolis cop killer Sharif Willis. Now he hangs with the likes of Schultz, an altogether better class of thug. In his conversation with Schultz, Ellison announced he felt like taking Williams's books (referred to in in the singular as "that stuff") off the shelf "and putting it in the garbage."

Schultz elicited from Ellison the fevered charge that "Juan Williams contributes to profiling and harassing Americans." He doubts Williams's integrity -- this from a guy who predicated his first congressional campaign on three easily demonstrable lies.

Given the profile of the perpetrators of 9/11, Ellison makes the point that Williams's reaction to passengers in "Muslim garb" is misguided. Is Ellison chiding Williams for failing to observe that the rational fear would be focused on Muslims who blend in? Muslims like Keith Ellison? Let's consider the point duly noted. While Ellison's point has superficial plausibility, however, one should also consider the uses of "Muslim garb" in concealing the explosive vest that has proved so popular among Muslim terrorists.

It should be noted that Ellison lurked in the background of the November 2006 incident involving the flying imams at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The whole point of the lawsuit brought by the flying imams was to disable law enforcement from acting on the justifiable concerns of ordinary citizens about ostentatious Muslims behaving in a manner that would cause rational concern.

The flying imams were removed from the aircraft and interrogated while the USAirways flight went on its way. USAirways and the law enforcement defendants in the flying imams' lawsuit paid an undisclosed but tidy sum to the flying imams to settle their lawsuit. The flying imams prevailed; the next time around, it will be the imams who fly and the other passengers who stay behind.
4745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california (or mountain west / top of the rockies) on: October 26, 2010, 01:43:44 AM
"The mountain west is far more attractive..."

"I'll freeze to death, or or I'll die of heat, and worse, I'll die of boredom.  It's a wasteland"

"in certain parts beautiful for a short visit.  Great places for a second home"
The natural beauty in California is amazing, see Crafty's hiking video for one thing, but to move there now one would inherit the man-made disasters with no solution in sight.  I for one won't be moving to any higher tax state or looking for a higher cost of living.  I have enough problems now.  

Must jump in regarding mountain west with what I discovered.  Found Lake County Colorado by accident, looking for an affordable place near the greatest ski resorts.  Roughly a half hour drive to Copper Mountain - the favorite of Denver skiers, Breckenridge - most popular ski resort in North America, Vail - most variety of any mountain according the current Ski magazine, Beaver Creek - a very high end resort and very beautiful, home of the 'Birds of Prey' steepest downhill on the world cup circuit, all high speed lifts and reasonable season passes, Turquoise Lake - google it for photos(!), Independence Pass, the seasonal shortcut to Aspen, two tallest peaks in Colorado, can hike trails to the peaks with no special gear, rafting the headwaters of 3 rivers including the nation's most popular whitewater river,snowmobile trails, world class golf at the ski resort towns, 10th Mountain manages a system of 29 backcountry huts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, connected by 350 miles of suggested routes. (see  Soft powder and warm sunshine - 300 days of sunshine. I came for the skiing, but discovered the summers.   Campgrounds everywhere.  Rainbow trout on every cast. Sailing on Lake Dillon.  90 minutes to a major metro and get frisked at DIA if you need that.

10,200 feet at the house, highest town in north America.  Great for conditioning, home of the 100 mile mountain bike race.  Or ride your bike to Steamboat if you have the energy.  The golf ball travels farther and curves less.  You tend to find zero obesity at the high elevations.

3 out of 4 roads out cross the continental divide.  Unbelievable views.  National forest in every direction.  Zero smog unless pine trees are emitting something.

Property taxes 1/20th of my taxes at home for same size, roughly same condition house.

Bored to death? JDN, you're a skier.  Just stay with us 1 day on the mountain for just 7 short hours, 9-4. Wear a helmet and carry a sandwich because we aren't stopping.  At the end I'll ask if you were bored.  smiley  
4746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections - Sen. Boxer: call me ma'am on: October 26, 2010, 12:25:08 AM
An ad or a spoof?  I don't know but very funny.

In the comments someone has the title I think she earned.
4747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 25, 2010, 08:42:18 AM
"the enviro consequences of making the battery, generating the electricity that charges it, etc."

Also the transmission losses in the lines.

I like the CNG concept (compressed natural gas). Uses American or North American sources and burns cleaner, but requires large tank for a shorter range, depending on compression pressures. 

A gallon of gas is still the most safe, stable and transportable for the energy content that you need.
4748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Chevy Volt Fraud on: October 23, 2010, 07:06:37 PM
"Advertised as an all-electric car" - turns out it has a gas engine.

"GM addressed concerns about where you plug the thing in en route to grandma's house by adding a small gasoline engine to help maintain the charge on the battery as it starts to run down. It was still an electric car, we were told, and not a hybrid on steroids.

That's not quite true. The gasoline engine has been found to be more than a range-extender for the battery. Volt engineers are now admitting that when the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack runs down and at speeds near or above 70 mph, the Volt's gasoline engine will directly drive the front wheels along with the electric motors. That's not charging the battery — that's driving the car.

So it's not an all-electric car, but rather a pricey $41,000 hybrid that requires a taxpayer-funded $7,500 subsidy to get car shoppers to look at it. But gee, even despite the false advertising about the powertrain, isn't a car that gets 230 miles per gallon of gas worth it?

We heard GM's then-CEO Fritz Henderson claim the Volt would get 230 miles per gallon in city conditions. Popular Mechanics found the Volt to get about 37.5 mpg in city driving, and Motor Trend reports: "Without any plugging in, (a weeklong trip to Grandma's house) should return fuel economy in the high 30s to low 40s."
I have an 18 year old Honda that does better than that.
4749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 23, 2010, 06:59:49 PM
Returning to ordinary bias, Here is Newsweek Editor Jonathon Alter's latest, entitled:
"The GOP’s agenda has to be stopped."
4750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 23, 2010, 06:40:40 PM
"I think a rather productive firestorm has been ignited by JW's firing by NPR."

Yes.  smiley

There was a question on the board of whether the media had turned at all (from worship to just bias). 
This grilling by Chris Mathews of Rand Paul's opponent may surprise you:
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