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4751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy - Jim Webb bill on humanitarian interventions on: May 14, 2012, 01:04:14 PM
Speaking of redundancy, Jim Webb is now saying congress should authorize the use of federal funds, declare wars, etc.

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/rtd-opinion/2012/may/14/tdopin01-webb-is-right-ar-1912177/

Sen. Jim Webb is wrong on certain issues, but not on this one.
By: Richmond Times-Dispatch Opinion Staff
Published: May 14, 2012

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb has introduced legislation requiring the president to obtain congressional say-so before sending American troops abroad for humanitarian interventions where U.S. interests are not directly threatened.

Few people should find any grounds to challenge such a notion. Even Barack Obama has said that "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

Of course, Obama made those comments as a candidate. Since assuming the presidency he has taken a rather different tack — especially with regard to Libya, where — Webb says — he "failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale" based on U.S. security interests for ordering military intervention.
4752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - Warren on: May 14, 2012, 12:48:18 PM
I hate to beat the Elizabeth Warren story to death but the story keeps adding twists and turns.  My understanding now: besides that claiming minority was only 1/32nd, then that 1/32nd was false, then that the great great grandfather married to the non-Cherokee they made us go back and find actually was involved with rounding up Cherokee for removal from their homes...

Now it looks like a genealogist committed a fraud on the matter for the cause

http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/05/genealogist-who-claimed-elizabeth-warren-was-132-cherokee-goes-silent-as-source-document-exposed-as-false/

The one document that said Cherokee does not say Cherokee.  Who knew?  More importantly, who asked them to say it said what it didn't.

"the original claim of a marriage certificate listing Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as Cherokee demonstrably was false, as is the revised claim that there was an “electronic transcript” of a marriage application reflecting Cherokee heritage."

When I joked about renaming my daughter 'running bear' for her college app, it was a JOKE not perpetrated fraud backed up by a false claim of a reputed genealogist.
4753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: May 14, 2012, 12:34:42 PM
Yes, redundancy is what I read into it also.  Those of us who believe our rights have already been taken do not take our rights for granted.  A current vote that the constitution still applies and our rights still exist is very far from the worst I see coming out of legislatures.  I am not always quick enough to catch all of BD's insight or humor; if you see more than that written into the Kansas law, please advise.

The redundant "Department of Redundancy Department"  lol

We have far worse here.  I take my orders from the Department of Oxymorons.
4754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - The Absent Vetting of John Edwards on: May 14, 2012, 12:01:28 PM
The Edwards ordeal seemed irrelevant because it imploded right after his candidacy didn't quite make it.  Besides irrelevant, it seemed personal, sad and stupid.  But in fact, he was VERY close to being the non-Hillary who very well could have been President if Obama had not run such a flawless 2008 campaign. He also could have been VP and wanted to be attorney general.

What I forgot was that he WAS the candidate - chosen for VP in 2004, I was reminded by: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/john-edwards-and-the-reality-based-community.php

Amazing what lack of vetting occurred with this unaccomplished one term Senator, now known to be a liar and corrupt (pending more defense and a jury verdict).

Edwards’ own attorney told the trial judge this week: “No one is going to deny that Mr. Edwards lied and lied and lied and lied.” 


http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/john-edwards-endures-two-pronged-trial-testing-his-morals-and-his-actions/2012/05/12/gIQAhNL0KU_story.html
4755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Klaus-Eckart Puls: if CO2 were doubled, temperature would rise 1°C on: May 14, 2012, 11:33:20 AM
Last week I saw the IMAX production of "To The Arctic" with beautiful photography, music by Paul McCartney and narrated by Meryl Streep to a script of deceptive half truths of environmental agendaisms that completely destroyed the peaceful serenity of what they were showing.  The focus they chose was the plight of the polar bear whose populations, never mentioned, have dramatically increased over the last 30 and 50 years.  Every never-ending worst on record claim was referring to the last 30 years while implying billions of years.

On the other side of the coin is another acclaimed scientist, German Meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls, who has come out vocally against the eroding myth of manmade climate disaster.  This interview is from a Swiss magazine, with an English translation below well worth reading.  Hghlights:

The Belief That CO2 Can Regulate Climate Is “Sheer Absurdity”

"The entire CO2-debate is nonsense. Even if CO2 were doubled, the temperature would rise only 1°C."

"Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it."

http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/news-cache/dafuer-schaeme-ich-mich-heute/
http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/09/the-belief-that-co2-can-regulate-climate-is-sheer-absurdity-says-prominent-german-meteorologist/
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/the-belief-that-co2-can-regulate-climate-is-sheer-absurdity.php

factum (Swiss science publication): You’ve been criticising the theory of man-made global warming for years. How did you become skeptical?

Puls: Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it. The CO2-climate hysteria in Germany is propagated by people who are in it for lots of money, attention and power.

factum: Is there really climate change?

Puls: Climate change is normal. There have always been phases of climate warming, many that even far exceeded the extent we see today. But there hasn’t been any warming since 1998. In fact the IPCC suppliers of data even show a slight cooling.

factum: The IPCC is projecting 0.2°C warming per decade, i.e. 2 to 4°C by the year 2100. What’s your view?

Puls: These are speculative model projections, so-called scenarios – and not prognoses. Because of climate’s high complexity, reliable prognoses just aren’t possible. Nature does what it wants, and not what the models present as prophesy. The entire CO2-debate is nonsense. Even if CO2 were doubled, the temperature would rise only 1°C. The remainder of the IPCC’s assumed warming is based purely on speculative amplification mechanisms. Even though CO2 has risen, there has been no warming in 13 years.

factum: How does sea level rise look?

Puls: Sea level rise has slowed down. Moreover, it has dropped a half centimeter over the last 2 years. It’s important to remember that mean sea level is a calculated magnitude, and not a measured one.  There are a great number of factors that influence sea level, e.g. tectonic processes, continental shifting, wind currents, passats, volcanoes. Climate change is only one of ten factors.

factum: What have we measured at the North Sea?

Puls: In the last 400 years, sea level at the North Sea coast has risen about 1.40 meters. That’s about 35 centimeters per century. In the last 100 years, the North Sea has risen only 25 centimeters.

factum: Does the sea level rise have anything to do with the melting North Pole?

Puls: That’s a misleading conclusion. Even if the entire North Pole melted, there would be no sea level rise because of the principles of buoyancy.

factum: Is the melting of the glaciers in the Alps caused by global warming?

Puls: There are many factors at play. As one climbs a mountain, the temperature drops about 0.65°C per 100 meters. Over the last 100 years it has gotten about 0.75°C warmer and so the temperature boundary has shifted up about 100 meters. But observations tell us that also ice 1000 meters up and higher has melted. Clearly there are other reasons for this, namely soot and dust. But soot and dust do not only have anthropogenic origins; they are also caused by nature via volcanoes, dust storms and wildfires. Advancing and retreating of glaciers have always taken place throughout the Earth’s history. Glaciology studies clearly show that glaciers over the last 10,0000 years were smaller on average than today.

factum: In your view, melting Antarctic sea ice and the fracture of a huge iceberg 3 years ago are nothing to worry about?

Puls: To the contrary, the Antarctic ice cap has grown both in area and volume over the last 30 years, and temperature has declined. This 30-year trend is clear to see. The Amundsen Scott Station of the USA shows that temperature has been declining there since 1957. 90% of the Earth’s ice is stored in Antarctica, which is one and half times larger than Europe.

factum: Then why do we always read it is getting warmer down there?

Puls: Here they are only talking about the West Antarctic peninsula, which is where the big chunk of ice broke off in 2008 – from the Wilkins-Shelf. This area is hardly 1% of the entire area of Antarctica, but it is exposed to Southern Hemisphere west wind drift and some of the strongest storms on the planet.

factum: What causes such massive chunks of ice to break off?

Puls: There are lots of factors, among them the intensity of the west wind fluctuations. These west winds have intensified over the last 20 years as part of natural ocean and atmospheric cycles, and so it has gotten warmer on the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula. A second factor are the larger waves associated with the stronger storms. The waves are more powerful and so they break off more ice. All these causes are meteorological and physical, and have nothing to do with a climate catastrophe.

factum: Then such ice breaks had to have occurred in the past too?

Puls: This has been going on for thousands of years, also in the 1970s, back when all the talk was about “global cooling”. Back then there were breaks with ice chunks hundreds of square kilometres in area. People were even discussing the possibilities of towing these huge ice chunks to dry countries like South Africa or Namibia in order to use them as a drinking water supply.

factum: What about all the media photos of polar bears losing their ice?

Puls: That is one of the worst myths used for generating climate hysteria. Polar bears don’t eat ice, they eat seals. Polar bears go hungry if we shoot their food supply of seals. The polar bear population has increased with moderately rising temperatures, from 5000 50 years ago to 25,000 today.

factum: But it is true that unlike Antarctica, the Arctic is melting?

Puls: It has been melting for 30 years. That also happened twice already in the last 150 years. The low point was reached in 2007 and the ice has since begun to recover. There have always been phases of Arctic melting. Between 900 and 1300 Greenland was green on the edges and the Vikings settled there.

factum: And what do you say about the alleged expanding deserts?

Puls: That doesn”t exist. For example the Sahara is shrinking and has lost in the north an area as large as Germany over the last 20 years. The same is true in the South Sahara. The famine that struck Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia was mainly caused by the leasing of large swaths of land to large international corporations so that they could grow crops for biofuels for Europe, and by war. But it is much easier for prosperous Europe to blame the world’s political failures on a fictional climate catastrophe instead.

factum: So we don’t need to do anything against climate change?

Puls: There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. it’s impossible to protect the climate, but we can protect the environment and our drinking water. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.
4756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: May 14, 2012, 09:41:02 AM
America is a melting pot.  If you come here Muslim or convert to Islam you have the same rights to participate in making our laws and to be governed by our laws as everyone else.  The Kansas law quoted below really is saying what is already the law, you cannot contract away your constitutional rights and liberties.

Already well-answered, but the "simply don't like Muslims" comment was way out of line for people who truly believe in freedom of religion. That freedom ends at some of those extreme acts, already illegal here.  I've read a lot of posts here and never found someone who opposed peaceful prayer because a person worships a different religion. The part of Islam we don't like is when and where they teach hatred, vow to destroy others and recruit their young to come kill us, forcing our response.  That is NOT what this issue is about.  (P.S. CINO: Catholic in name only, there is nothing Catholic or Christian about abusing children or covering it up, though most certainly it happened.  They also are not entitled to be judged by a separate set of laws, prohibited in the Kansas law.)

Kansas House Bill (Substitute for SENATE BILL No. 79)

AN ACT concerning the protection of rights and privileges granted under
the United States or Kansas constitutions.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
Section 1. While the legislature fully recognizes the right to contract
freely under the laws of this state, it also recognizes that this right may be
reasonably and rationally circumscribed pursuant to the state’s interest to
protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the United States
or Kansas constitution.
Sec. 2. As used in this act, "foreign law," "legal code" or "system"
means any law, legal code or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state
or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international
organizations and tribunals and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts,
administrative bodies or other formal or informal tribunals.
Sec. 3. Any court, arbitration, tribunal or administrative agency ruling
or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and
unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal or administrative agency
bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on
any foreign law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties
affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights
and privileges granted under the United States and Kansas constitutions.
Sec. 4. A contract or contractual provision, if capable of segregation,
which provides for the choice of a foreign law, legal code or system to
govern some or all of the disputes between the parties adjudicated by a
court of law or by an arbitration panel arising from the contract mutually
agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and
unenforceable if the foreign law, legal code or system chosen includes or
incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at
issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties,
rights and privileges granted under the United States and Kansas
constitutions.
Sec. 5. (a) A contract or contractual provision, if capable of
segregation, which provides for a jurisdiction for purposes of granting the
courts or arbitration panels in personam jurisdiction over the parties to
adjudicate any disputes between parties arising from the contract mutually
agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and
unenforceable if the jurisdiction chosen includes any foreign law, legal
code or system, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the
parties the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under
the United States and Kansas constitutions.
(b) If a resident of this state, subject to personal jurisdiction in this
state, seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, agency or similarly binding
proceedings in this state and if the courts of this state find that granting a
claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely
violate the fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under the
United States and Kansas constitutions of the nonclaimant in the foreign
forum with respect to the matter in dispute, then it is the public policy of
this state that the claim shall be denied.
Sec. 6. Nothing in this act shall be construed to disapprove of or
abrogate any appellate decision previously rendered by the supreme court
of Kansas.
Sec. 7. Nothing in this act shall be construed to allow a court to: (a)
Adjudicate or prohibit any religious organization from deciding upon
ecclesiastical matters of a religious organization, including, but not limited
to, the selection, appointment, calling, discipline, dismissal, removal or
excommunication of a member, member of the clergy, or other person who
performs ministerial functions; or (b) determine or interpret the doctrine of
a religious organization, including, but not limited to, where adjudication
by a court would violate the prohibitions of the religion clauses of the first
amendment to the constitution of the United States, or violate the
constitution of the state of Kansas.
http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/documents/sb79_01_0000.pdf
4757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mitt Romney the Community Organizer on: May 14, 2012, 08:22:11 AM
The silver spoon argument of course had to do with how you grew up and how you lived your life, not the metal used in your utensils or the bonus checks your dad cashed after you grew up.  The bully story had traction for about a minute but didn't march the guy we know now.  Successful people who have their own act together it turns out are actually in a better position to help others than poor people generally are.  The WashPost could have uncovered a couple of stories like these that follow, except these don't advance the agenda.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/mitt-romney-community-organizer.php

Mitt Romney, community organizer

Was Mitt Romney a jerk in high school? Maybe. But what is the adult Romney like?

From The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman (pages 120-121):

    One Saturday, Grant Bennett got up on a ladder outside his two-story [house] intent on dislodging a hornets’ nest, which had formed between an air-conditioning unit and a second floor window. . . .The hornets went right at him, and he fell off the ladder, breaking his foot. . . .Romney learned what had happened and went over that afternoon to see if there was anything he could do. He and Bennett chatted for a few minutes, and then Romney left.

    About nine thirty that Sunday night, Romney reappeared. Only this time, it was dark out. Romney was in jeans and a polo shirt instead of his suit, and he was carrying a bucket, a piece of hose, and a couple of screwdrivers. “He said, ‘I noticed you hadn’t gotten rid of the hornets,” Bennett recalled. “I said, ‘Mitt you don’t need to do that.’ He said, I’m here, and I’m going to do it. . .You demonstrated that doing it on a ladder is not a good idea.’” Romney went at it from inside the house, opening a window enough to dislodge it. Soon the hornets were gone.

    Everyone who knows Romney in the church community seems to have a story like this, about him and his family pitching in to help in ways big and small. They took chicken and asparagus soup to sick parishioners. They invited unsettled Mormon transplants in their home for lasagna.

    Helen Claire Stevens and her husband once loaned a friend from church a six-figure sum and weren’t getting paid back. Suddenly, they couldn’t to pay their daughter’s Harvard College tuition. Romney who was [a local Mormon] leader at the time, not only worked closely with the Stevens family and the loan recipient to try to resolve the problem, he offered to give Stevens and her husband money and tried to help her find a job. “He spent an infinite amount of time with, all the time we needed,” Stevens said. “It was way above and beyond what he had to do”. . . .

    On Super Bowl Sunday 1989, Douglas Anderson was at home in Belmont with his four children when a fire broke out. The blaze spread quickly, and all Anderson could think of was racing his family to safety. “There was no thought in my mind other than ‘Get my kids out,’” he said. “I was not thinking about saving anything.” He doesn’t remember when Romney, who lived nearby, showed up. But he got there quickly. Immediately, Romney organized the gathered neighbors, and they began dashing into the house to rescue what could: a desk, couches, books. . . . “They saved some important things for us, and Mitt was the general in charge of that.” This went on until firefighters ordered them to stop. “Literally,” Anderson said, “they were finally kicked out by the firemen as they were bringing hoses and stuff.”

    After the fire was finally out, Anderson, Romney, and other church members shared a spiritual moment on the front steps of the charred home. . . .Anderson recalled, “we talked about how even in a case like this, if we tried to be true to our faith, it could turn out to be a positive thing.” Over the many years since, Anderson said, the family has seen that come true.

    Romney’s acts of charity extended beyond just the church community. After his friend and neighbor Joseph O’Donnell lost a son, Joey, to cystic fibrosis. . .Romney helped lead a community effort to build Joey’s park, a playground. . .in Belmont. “There he was with a hammer in his belt, the Mitt nobody sees,” O’Donnell said.

    Romney didn’t stop there. About a year later, it became apparent that the park would need regular maintenance and repairs. “The next thing I know, my wife calls me up and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but Mitt Romney is down with a bunch of Boy Scouts and kids and they’re working on the park,’” said O’Donnell. . . .”He did it for like the next five years, without ever calling to say, ‘We’re doing this,’ without a reporter in tow, not looking for any credit.”

Perhaps these sorts of actions signify what it meant to be a community organizer before the left politicized the concept.
4758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: May 13, 2012, 12:06:26 PM
Crafty's point is crucial IMO, Oklahoma's law referenced singled out a particular religion and was struck down.  The Kansas law does not.

JDN says freedom you should have a freedom to freely draw up contracts; great idea, but that is not true in any other area of law. In housing, I cannot write provisions such as a longer term to return a deposit than is specified in state law if both parties agree, or set a faster, easier reversion process for default in mortgage in exchange for a lower interest rate if all parties agree.  Loan sharks and usury are another example or prostitution and narcotics; you simply cannot do these deals.

If you want more freedom to make enforceable, consensual, private contracts, the starting point should be smaller government.  Get active to oppose these laws but don't expect a court to strike them all down. MHO.
4759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - polls, 'Julia' - life without aspiratition on: May 13, 2012, 11:48:02 AM
A comment on polling, polls list what they call their 'margin of error' which is the statistical error of projecting the results of a limited random sample onto the entire population.  IMO, that is only one of the categories of errors contained in the various polls.  For example, gay marriage consistently polls better than it votes.  People tell a pollster what they think sounds better or more tolerant and then vote on a harder line.  That same phenomenon may or may not be true for whether they say they still support or approve our very likable first President of color versus how harshly they will judge him in the privacy of the polling booth.

Another areas of potential error is whether or not it is completely random as to who the pollsters can't reach or who, like me, refuse to talk to them.

It only takes 1 or 2 out of a hundred difference (or less) to swing a national election.
--------------------

A swing state, conservative columnist answers to the cradle to grave 'Julia' campaign piece symbolizing the government centric philosophy of the Obama administration.  He references Iowahawk facetious parady on Julia (http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2012/05/julias-circle-of-life.html) but makes serious points to follow:

"Up to now we’ve put a high value on self-sufficiency, while acknowledging the need for a safety net for support in old age or temporarily, when life deals a bad hand. Julia, by contrast, is supported at virtually every step with subsidies of various sorts...[Obama’s] larger goal [is] to fundamentally change the relationship between Americans and their government."

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/12/3606608/the-life-of-julia-or-life-without.html

The ‘Life of Julia,’ or life without aspiration
By E. THOMAS McCLANAHAN
The Kansas City Star
 
The right-wing blogosphere has been having a fine time with the “The Life of Julia,” the Obama campaign’s attempt to show, through a series of USA Today-style illustrations, how the policies of President Obama come to the aid of women at every important moment in their lives.

At 3, we see little Julia enrolled in a Head Start program. At 17, she’s in a Race to the Top high school. Later she has surgery and receives free birth control, thanks to Obamacare.

The story goes on: She has a career as a web designer, gets a Small Business Administration loan, then “decides” to have a child and names him Zachary. Zachary is apparently begotten by immaculate conception, since Julia never marries and no one else appears in the story.

“The Life of Julia” details the cradle-to-grave attention this supposed Everywoman receives from the caring people in the government. Thanks to Obama, she enjoys a comfortable retirement. Because of that, she can volunteer at a community garden.

The illustrations also show how Republican Mitt Romney would blight this story of placid contentment. Forget Head Start. Under Romney, that program would be cratered by budget cuts. Race to the Top? Ditto. And on and on, until the nation’s crops are burned by Republicans, the fields sown with salt and all the small furry animals are eaten by free-market fanatics.

I couldn’t resist. “The Life of Julia” has spawned parodies everywhere, but the topper is the sendoff at Iowahawk.typepad.com. A sample: At age 3 under President Obama, “Julia is enrolled in a Great Leap program where she will learn critical community organizing and obedience skills....”

Under Mitt Romney, poor little Julia “will be marched to a Mormon polygamy camp in Utah where Paul Ryan will torture her with boring Republican math mumbo jumbo.” And so on.

Parody aside, I’m at a loss to understand how this drab story could galvanize support for Obama’s re-election. Who could identify with Julia? She never finds love. Until Zachary arrives, she’s alone in the world. She claims no real accomplishments. Throughout, she remains passive. She stays within the channel laid down for her by the government. I wondered if they left out the story of her lobotomy.

“The Life of Julia” reveals much about its originators and the man on whose behalf it was created. Here we see the sterile vision of a certain kind of hard-left liberal, who apparently views the American citizen as a submissive, isolated entity — docile and disconnected from extended family or the web of groups and associations that make up a healthy civil society.

Omitted is any mention of the cost of Julia’s benefits, how they will be financed or, more to the point, how this vision, translated into policy, will change our notion of who we are as Americans.

Up to now we’ve put a high value on self-sufficiency, while acknowledging the need for a safety net for support in old age or temporarily, when life deals a bad hand. Julia, by contrast, is supported at virtually every step with subsidies of various sorts.

In Obama’s first address to Congress, he outlined a radically ambitious legislative program that made it clear his larger goal was to fundamentally change the relationship between Americans and their government.

One of the major underlying issues in this year’s election is to what extent we will, as Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute put it, continue to value “earned success,” or slide into “learned helplessness.”
4760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US-Russia, NY Times: Romney's view of Russia Stirs Debate on: May 13, 2012, 11:01:24 AM
While no one's political attention seems to be on questions like how to deal with Russia, it is an area where the candidates could not disagree more.  A few excerpts of a NY Times piece below.  Question is presented as to whether Romney will be a better negotiator in America's interests by starting with a stronger stance (while Obama already signaled his desire to make greater concessions after his reelection).
---
"Mr. Obama, who came to office promising to “reset” relations with Moscow, only to find that Russia can be a difficult partner."
...
"Mr. Romney signaled his stance toward Russia two years ago, when he argued that the New Start missile treaty with Russia should be rejected, putting him at odds with a long line of former Republican secretaries of state and defense."
...
"Mr. Romney felt the missile treaty was a bad deal partly because it would impede American defenses..."
...
"Mr. Romney also criticized a White House decision scrapping a proposed antiballistic missile shield in Eastern Europe..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/us/politics/romneys-view-of-russia-sparks-debate.html?_r=2
4761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 12, 2012, 06:11:59 PM
"Wapo conveniently has shady Romney hit piece ready to go:"

As if they knew...

Well looky here: https://store.barackobama.com/collections/lgbt-for-obama.html

"I'm Out for Obama"  lgbt.barrackobama.com

This site, the official campaign site, has LGBT for Obama attire up and ready to go by Sat when the announcement was just this week.  Who knew?

What was the announcement anyway in terms of policy changes?
4762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: May 12, 2012, 04:39:49 PM
Thank you JDN.  It is quite a beautiful campus with green grass and majestic trees, up on a hill overlooking the river valley and the metro area to the north and southern MN to the south.

Small colleges are quite competitive.  St. Olaf's claim is being the only school in the nation whose fight song is in 3/4 time - a waltz, Um Ya Ya at 3:30 and 3:45 in the video after a blonde MN college girl gives her homecoming commentary in Swedish:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9K4Mx87p1w
----

"while I was quite good at tennis, I was not good enough to play varsity while I was at USC"

You will need to remove the past tense attached to 'quite good at tennis' before we meet halfway for the match to decide all differences.  )
4763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: May 11, 2012, 10:55:56 PM
Thanks JDN.   St. Olaf College.  They are strong academically and she was recruited for sports.  They are especially famous for their choir but have great orchestras, beautiful campus, nice people, religious atmosphere even though it is Lutheran and she is Catholic, alcohol and drug free atmosphere, top notch food, an hour from home and mostly paid for.  A 4 year residential liberal arts college, they are also very good in the sciences.

The last one she passed on was a great business school at a major university, almost all scholarship including a semester abroad scholarship, but no chance to compete for the school team (because of Div 1 and title 9), large urban campus (scary for a protected suburbanite), and she isn't sure business is her major to enter such a focused program.  Could possibly make that switch after one year, or for grad school.  We'll see...

https://www.stolaf.edu/about/ (some info)
According to the most recent National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates, St. Olaf ranks 11th overall among the nation's 262 baccalaureate colleges in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees.  St. Olaf earned top 10 rankings in the following fields: religion/theology and social service professions (2nd); arts/music, education, and medical sciences (4th); life sciences (5th); mathematics/statistics, chemistry, and engineering (8th); foreign languages and biological sciences (9th); and physical sciences (10th).
4764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Too brainy to be president?" on: May 11, 2012, 10:52:36 AM
Too smart but he can't release a grade or test score.  Too smart but wrong on everything economic.  Too smart but no clue on how to solve a crises in Syria, Egypt, the Chinese embassy or anywhere else.  Can't balance a budget - ever.   He is perhaps the only person on earth to have moved from pro gay marriage 1990s to against it in the 2000s back to for it again in 2012.  Too smart or spineless or have gay people 'evolved' that much in such a short time.

This is lousy journalism to me reflecting on the paper that pays for it and publishes it, but it is opinion so into the cognitive dissonance of the left thread it goes.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-daum-obama-love-letters-maraniss-20120510,0,2453306.column

Obama's intellect doesn't have much currency in the political climate of extreme partisanship and pandering to a very low common denominator.
4765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 11, 2012, 10:15:35 AM
Republicans including Romney on the gay question need to articulate how life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is a guarantee fully open to all.  That to me does not lead to where women sue women over paternity in a gender-free society.  http://abcnews.go.com/US/colorado-lesbian-mom-wendy-alfredsen-granted-paternity-custody/story?id=16280117#.T60r_dmIhdg
4766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 11, 2012, 10:01:00 AM
JDN, Don't worry, in Purple Rain, Prince didn't know his Minneapolis lakes either.  Just the point that Minneapolis has sent good teams to LA for the larger market before.  The economic tenet is that these athletes (and owners) deserve the large fruits of their labor (and investment risk taking) IF those dollars flow based on a free economic exchange.  If you can bring entertainment and enjoyment to millions of people based on talent and hard work then you are entitled to your share of the money rightfully generated.  Unfortunately pro sports has a false model with a hole in it where the already humungous money is inflated by the taxpayers in the communities.  Their money comes partly from a threat of taking my home or imprisoning me if I don't pay.  Nice.

"although I don't necessarily buy it, supposedly pro teams bring in revenue to the city."

Of course they do and that is more visible and measurable than the money taken from all the other businesses to artificially support them.  Meanwhile, they build homes a lot like Mitt Romney's.  http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2010/06/kevin_garnetts.php (Click where it says 'view larger map' to see what a Minneapolis metro lake look like.)

Taxpayer support of pro sports is from the same argument as special treatment for auto makers or anyone else.  Of course we don't want to lose them, but not at the cost of undermining the principles that make the whole system work.  Like paying ransom for hostages, we'll do it just this once thinking big pay with no risk won't encourage more hostage situations.  Too-big-to-fail thinking ironically makes the too-big get bigger and bigger, literally at the expense of the small.  That is what we want?

It is hard to articulate, but the possibility of failure in capitalism is part of the dynamism and constant rejuvenation of freely flowing assets, resources and innovation that all centrally run, state directed economies by definition lack.
4767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races: The Cherokee Professor on: May 11, 2012, 08:54:56 AM
The lies (She joined minority groups to make friends?) keep the story relevant and the search for its basis.  Certainly she now uses her status as Harvard law Professor to gain credibility, so any funny business about how she got there has relevance.  There is the hypocrisy of supporting affirmative action while undermining it.  In theory, some real native American woman should have had that job.  In racism is her unspoken rationalization that there is no real Cherokee that could do her job as well as she can, an argument against affirmative action in the first place.

A second institution says she used it for advancement.  She should admit being a dishonest cheater and get back to the business of advancing more great programs like affirmative action.

Instead of being Cherokee because one great great grandparent was one (actually a Swede), the search for that led to the finding that her great great grandfather was rounding up Cherokee people for removal from their homes and forced relocation, sometimes fatal, in the infamous Trail of Tears.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2141789/Elizabeth-Warrens-ancestor-rounded-Cherokees-homes-Trail-Tears--brushes-claims.html?ito=feeds-newsxml  No worries.  She has denied that.
--------
Our own local gaffe machine, Republican Michele Bachmann is renouncing her Swiss citizenship.  Her dual citizenship became known because she told a Swiss audience about it, while running for reelection in the north suburbs of Minneapolis.  Exhibiting focus she learned from Newt?
4768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Morris: Romney Landslide? on: May 11, 2012, 12:15:50 AM
Going back to the Dick Morris post of yesterday:

"If the election were held today, Obama would lose by at least 10 points and would carry only about a dozen states with fewer than 150 electoral votes."

He is partly on to something and partly overplaying the hand IMO. 

Most of the other analysts starts with the perfect storm electoral map of 2008.  When every factor was perfectly in his favor (in 2008) he won by only 7 points.  This will be nothing like 2008; the issues and circumstances today and likely in November are more like 2010 when Republicans won by the same margin of about 7 points.  That was a mid-term and this is a Presidential election,so  my best guess is that Romney can win by half that margin, 3-4 points nationwide, assuming conditions like today, which would sweep enough swing states for the electoral margin to be quite convincing and bring the house and a narrow win in the senate as well.

This will be a national election on  the candidates, the issues and the record.  President Obama at some point is going to run out of shiny objects like gay marriage and Romney's wild teenage years to spotlight and it will all come back to the record and that age-old question:

Are you better off now than you were six trillion dollars ago?

If Romney wins by 1-2%, he takes the electoral college with maybe no states to spare and perhaps a 50-50 senate.  If the margin is less than a point for either one of them, then the electoral count is a crapshoot with our future hanging in the balance. 

If Obama wins  a squeaker which I think is his only possibility, then the tiebreaker for a 50-50 senate goes to the Dem VP.  Every issue in that scenario will go just as smoothly as last summer's debt ceiling negotiations.   (
4769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics: Stadium subsidies on: May 10, 2012, 01:21:51 PM
"Doug, since you are in MN, what is your take on this?"

Thanks JDN.  Yes the issue is perhaps the same everywhere at different times.  

Your opinion from LA is relevant too because that their threat - to move the Vikings to LA.  Does anyone even know what lakes your  Lakers are named for?

I hate public private partnerships as a violation of about a dozen principles, equal protection comes to mind, extortion being illegal is another.  It should either be a public asset that they rent to a team or a private football business investment. The road and highway changes and other infrastructure expenses should be enough for the taxpayer portion. This is subsidy to help billionaires hire more millionaires - (so that largely white people can watch black people hurt each other).  What they forget is that it is zero-sum because they take from all other businesses to subsidize one.

Locally they call it the "cold Omaha" argument, meaning that one of the world's greatest cities and region's population and cultural center will be as irrelevant as Omaha (quite insulting!), and colder (farther north), if not for pro sports.  Missing in that argument is that except that good teams like the Packers come visit, we already lost the pro-level quality of all our teams a few years back.

Also missing in the local argument is that this really was a two stadium question, Twins and Vikings, and really more stadiums than that over the last few years.  Former Governor Tim Pawlenty got the Twins stadium done by allowing Hennepin County to foot the taxpayer portion.  Henn Co got the tax approved with rule by 4 commissioners and never put it on the ballot.  Hennepin County not even counting the Minneapolis part has an economy larger than about 8 states.  The Vikings deal then should have been put on all counties except Hennepin for MN to retain the last vulnerable pro franchise.  Not so.  We get to double pay.  Ironically those of us in the outskirts of Hennepin live further from t he stadiums than all of Ramsey County(St. Paul) and parts of 4 other  counties, but get the double tax.

Also missed in the SI story is that we also built a new football stadium on the Univ. of MN campus, one of the nation's 5 largest public university campuses, in the same city, in the same time frame, for the same sport, for 6 home games/yr, but there is "no way" that pro football could be played in that stadium, for 'economic' reasons.  Building two stadiums at the same time for the same sport in the same is economical?  Only with government approval of taxpayer money.


U of M also broke ground on a new baseball Stadium this week.  Don't tell me we don't have enough money.

Like Sweden, the Minnesota blue state economic plan only worked back when people had a Scandinavian (and German) work ethic that didn't allow anyone to quit work unnecessarily and soak up public resources.  Those ethics are long gone while the spending programs keep growing.

What did Milton Friedman say about public subsidies...  Investments that don't pay for themselves  - aren't worth making.
4770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Biden in the 2008 debate on: May 10, 2012, 12:35:47 PM
A great catch by Crafty: 
..."one of his most flagrantly-ignored-by-the-pravdas gaffes occurred during the debate with Palin"...
----------
http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/debates/transcripts/vice-presidential-debate.html

"When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, "Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, Hezbollah will control it."

  - Yes, and it seems it was mostly right wing sites pointing out the 'mother of all gaffes' out of this  foreign policy expert.  Factcheck.org skipped it entirely (shocked).
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/03/mother-of-all-gaffes/  Details below some other issues from that debate

All eyes were looking for Palin to display ignorance in that debate.  She survived but came across mostly as repetitive with her handler scripted talking points.  Joe had a near endless supply of false facts as I saw it, mostly regarding economic matters. My observation was that every time that Biden slowed down and repeated himself for emphasis, which happened several times, he was wrong on his facts.
------------

From other sites that covered the debate:

Biden said five times that McCain’s tax plan would give oil companies a "$4 billion tax cut."  - He was referring to McCain’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent — for ALL corporations, not just oil companies.  (Extremely misleading!  And a corp tax rate cut would have helped the recovery.  Still not done.)

Biden said: McCain voted on the same way on the budget resolution as Obama did.

Biden said: Under Obama people will not pay more taxes than they did under Reagan.

Biden said: It would take at least ten years to get any oil from new production.

Biden said: The “Use of Force” resolution was NOT a war resolution / authorization for war.

Biden said: McCain voted the same way Obama did with funding the troops.

Biden said: The United States spends more in three weeks in Iraq as we have in the past seven years in Afghanistan.

Biden said: That Article I of the Constitution refers to the Executive branch.

Biden said there is a windfall profits tax in Alaska.

Biden said: McCain opposed President Clinton on Bosnia.

“We don’t call it redistribution we call that ‘fairness’.” – Joe Biden  (True, that's what you call redistribution.)
-------------------------

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/03/mother-of-all-gaffes/
http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2008/10/03/and-now-for-something-completely-insane-the-mother-of-all-biden-gaffes/

    Of course, no one “threw Hezb’allah out of Lebanon.” They have been there all along as the expert above notes. The Lebanese people threw the Syrians out of Lebanon, with no help from liberal Democrats like Biden and Obama, but with a great big behind the scenes lift from France and the US. It was we who put the bug in King Abdullah’s ear to lobby the Syrians to get while the going was good as the French worked directly on Baby Assad. The combination worked wonderfully and the Syrians left in a hurry – after a couple of million Lebanese took to the streets in a breathtaking show of defiance to tyranny and love of freedom.

    Joe Biden – or any rational human being on this planet anyway – never recommended that NATO be dispatched to “fill the vacuum.” It is a lie. If it had been proposed. Colin Powell would have been laughed out of the room – something we should do to Biden at this point because he compounded his gaffe by evidently believing that not having NATO as a buffer between Israel and Hezb’allah – an absolute impossibility mind you – led to the ascension of Hezb’allah in Lebanon as a political power.

    Where has Biden been for the last 20 years – at least since the Taif Accords were signed in 1989 which gave Hezb’allah a free hand in the southern part of the country and then pressuring the Lebanese government to formally designate them as “the resistance” to Israel? Hezb’allah’s rise is directly related to Iran’s funding of their proxy to the tune of around $250 million a year.

I cannot recall anyone seriously suggesting that NATO occupy the sub-Litani region of Lebanon.  NATO already found itself stretched to meet its commitments in Afghanistan, although Germany and Italy did find troops to contribute to the beefed-up presence in UNIFIL, the same multinational force that had sat idle while Hezbollah armed itself after the Israeli withdrawal from the region a few years ago — and then turned around and did the same thing after the Israeli withdrawal in 2006.

Some people assumed that Biden meant that the US and France kicked Syria out of Lebanon, but Michael Totten — who has spent considerable time in Lebanon — doesn’t buy that explanation, either:

    And did Biden and Senator Barack Obama really say NATO troops should be sent into Lebanon? When did they say that? Why would they say that? They certainly didn’t say it because NATO needed to prevent Hezbollah from returning–since Hezbollah never went anywhere.

    I tried to chalk this one up as just the latest of Biden’s colorful gaffes. Did he mean to say “we kicked Syria out of Lebanon?” But that wouldn’t make any more sense. First of all, the Lebanese kicked Syria out of Lebanon. Not the United States, and not France. But he clearly meant to say Hezbollah, not Syria, because he correctly notes just a few sentences later that Hezbollah is part of Lebanon’s government. He wasn’t talking about Syria. He was talking about Hezbollah all the way through, at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of his outlandish assertion.
4771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Martha's Vineyard anyone? on: May 10, 2012, 09:32:10 AM
Boston Herald reporting there will be no annual island luxuriating with the elites this year.  Okay to golf while troops are in harm's way but not if it jeopardizes job one, holding onto power.  Off the coast of Mass. is not a swing state.
http://bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view/20220510prez_snubbing_the_vineyardthis_summer/srvc=home&position=6
4772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 10, 2012, 09:17:43 AM
I will grant that some of his slips are intentional and on some he jumps the gun to make himself relevant, like getting out front on gay marriage.  Experts say the VP makes about a 1% difference, if that.  Biden with Obama is perhaps a 0% factor for the reason posted, Obama is the vital player.  But Biden will be out there with cameras on him everyday of this campaign with all the risks that poses.

'Dumb like a fox' is generous.  Take this answer: 'Part of what a leader does...is demonstrate he or she knows what their talkin' about...when the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on television...'  FDR wasn't President until 3 years later, there wasn't any television and the lessons of the Great Depression are crucially relevant today.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBl7jrD1GzU So Katie Couric, famous for bringing down Sarah Palin, let this pass without comment. (I wonder what she reads?) His soft treatment by the main press might end suddenly and it might not.  A person that high up willing to talk on camera about what they don't know is a risk you would think this campaign machine would fear more than anything, even a jobs report.

Yes he plays key roles behind the scenes (scary), but as I see it, Joe Biden as VP was front and center the first indicator that the new administration would not be governing from above the clouds.

The braintrust of the campaign keeps Biden out of the planning meetings, but keeping Joe out of the loop has its own risks.  They send him handlers I'm sure but he doesn't let himself be held to a script.  He is especially open and loose when things feel like they are going well.

For Republicans, there is an unfairness to it all that with the knowledge that their own next gaffe (Sarah Palin afraid to say she mostly reads hunting magazines?) will bring down their whole public existence, while this guy knows less, puts his foot all the way in and people laugh and say that's just old Joe.

He is a heartbeat away and he was this President's first 'Presidential' decision.  Biden is not the problem; he is a symptom of the problem.   This administration hires, tolerates and governs with incompetence. (JMHO, it is only what independent voters think that counts.) The second term offered up will be the same players(?) doing the same things, getting different results.

Under the Biden-isn't-vital theory they also leave themselves with no new leader groomed to follow Pres. Obama, win or lose in 2012.
4773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential, Joe Biden - The problem in Iran on: May 09, 2012, 01:14:22 PM
"WE were the problem" in Iran.

The elevator in Joe Biden's brain does not go to all the floors.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/05/08/biden_on_iran_we_were_the_problem.html
4774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races: Lugar on: May 09, 2012, 11:51:51 AM
I think the roll call piece sums it up pretty well.  He was a pretty good Senator who had his moments. He was fairly conservative when he wanted to be.  http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Richard_Lugar.htm.  Not an Olympia Snowe at all, but Indiana is not Maine.  Reaching across the aisle to him meant leftward to 'get things done', but not to his constituents on his right who are mostly up in arms about the things that got done.

The last 6 years have been a disaster that incumbents even in opposition need to answer for:  Did you do everything you could do to stop this?  I have been mostly blaming Barack Obama as Senator and President and the Pelosi-Reid congress for the current situation.  Crafty has often put some blame on people like Speaker Boehner and asked where the Republican congressional leadership is on issues of urgency and survival.  Lugar was one of those senior statesman who either failed to speak out or failed to be persuasive in doing so.  Where was he when the Republicans were in power as the voice of reason to stop the runaway growth of government and spending? Where was he before the crash blowing the whistle on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for both the corruption and the abandonment of market principles that would bring down our prosperity?  Where in the aftermath of the 2010 tea party revolution, when the Dems lost 63 seats and control of the House, was he when the parties fought to the death over spending and then locked in emergency spending as permanent and raised spending another 5%?  Even if he was ostensibly on the 'right' of these issues, where was the passion to get bad policies stopped?  Missing.  A 20 point loss says that at least the primary voters in Indiana are looking for more.  Give someone else a try.

President Obama's praise for Lugar reaching across the aisle looks like a back stab considering Lugar's reach gave them R votes for Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayer and Kagen when Sen./ Obama the uniter couldn't even bring himself to vote for Chief Justice John Roberts.  

People say statesman.  He is calm with wisdom on some areas of foreign policy but largely silent on crucial economic issues IMO. I post speeches on the Senate floor of Marco Rubio and show a statesman.  There aren't many Marco Rubios for charisma, so I offer exhibit B, Ron Johnson junior Senator of Wisconsin of ordinary talent but far more active and persuasive IMO.  I realize Lugar is 80 and maybe his reticence to speak out is age related but I don't recall much previous passion either.  He wasn't outraged when HW Bush broke his no new taxes pledge and hasn't been outraged at very much since.

The following is taken from the websites of his opponents articulating their gripes.  As Crafty intimates, they lead with guns, but I don't think that is the core of it.
--------
http://retirelugar2012.com/Top_Twenty_Reasons.pdf

Top Twenty Reasons to retire Lugar in 2012
The Tea party wants you to know that we are not “inarticulate”, that Hoosiers who oppose Lugar are not “dupes”, and that we are ready to “get real” working to defeat Lugar in 2012.
While there are hundreds to choose from the Jay County Tea Party selected these as the top twenty worst Lugar Votes.
1. 1993 – Lugar voted to unconstitutionally ban semi-automatic handguns and rifles.
2. 2004 - Lugar voted to unconstitutionally ban semi-automatic handguns and rifles.
3. 2002 – Lugar voted to ban political speech during an election in the unconstitutional McCain Campaign Finance Reform.
4. 1993 – Lugar voted to confirm extreme left wing judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court.
5. 2009 - Lugar voted to confirm extreme left wing judge Sonya Sodomayor to the Supreme Court.
6. 2010 - Lugar voted to confirm extreme left wing judge Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.
7. 2003 – Lugar voted for the Climate Stewardship Act, a cap and trade bill that would have at least doubled Indiana electric Rates.
8. 2005 - Lugar voted for another democrat cap and trade bill that would have at least doubled Indiana electric Rates.
9. 2006 – Lugar voted to give amnesty to illegal aliens in the McCain comprehensive amnesty bill.
10. 1982 – Lugar voted for a tax increase that, when it was passed, was the largest tax increase in history.
11. 1990 - Lugar voted for a tax increase that, when it was passed, was the largest tax increase in history.
12. 2007 – Lugar voted to give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens.
13. 2010 – Lugar voted against auditing the Federal Reserve.
14. 2008 – Lugar voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
15. 2008 – Lugar voted for TARP
16. 2008 – Lugar voted against ending earmarks.
17. 2009 – Lugar voted to bail out the car companies.
18. 2009 – Voted against returning 350 billion in unused TARP money to the Treasury.
19. 2010 – Lugar Voted for the Dream Act illegal alien amnesty bill.
20. 2010 – Voted for the START unilateral disarmament Treaty.
Honorable Mention
In 1993 Lugar sponsored a universal health care bill with an unconstitutional individual mandate.
In 2009 he was one of the deciding votes against concealed carry reciprocity for Indiana license holders.
Also in 2009 he voted to continue the total ban on handguns in Washington DC.
Lugar voted for over three trillion dollars in deficit spending under Bush
4775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Alan Reynolds - Rasising Tax Rates Excessively is Counterproductive on: May 08, 2012, 06:45:26 PM
Oops, posted a tax policy piece today on political economics. Maybe it was an excuse to get it out there twice.  Maybe hard to follow, but it is VERY IMPORTANT to know the answer to this question ifyou plan toraise taxes on the rich: How much will they adjust their income to the new circumstance? Does revenue go up? By how much?

Where he points out the other economists are misguided on elasticity, they are wrong in his estimation by up to a factor of 10.  From as low as 0.2 versus as high as 1.99!  If we cannot narrow it closer than that or agree one side is wrong, Economics is hardly a science.
-------------------
   
Alan Reynolds: Rasising Tax Rates Excessively is Counterproductive

Economist Alan Reynolds is always worth the read IMO, challenging politicians, and economists who ignore elasticity.  It reminds me of the arguments made to raise minimum wage a dollar. It there is no ill effect, why not raise it $20 or $50.  If 50% or 70% tax rates have no ill effect, why not go to 100%?  Those who project no revenue loss are using the wrong elasticity multiplier, Reynolds argues.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577376041258476020.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

Of Course 70% Tax Rates Are Counterproductive
Some scholars argue that top rates can be raised drastically with no loss of revenue. Their arguments are flawed.

By ALAN REYNOLDS

President Obama and others are demanding that we raise taxes on the "rich," and two recent academic papers that have gotten a lot of attention claim to show that there will be no ill effects if we do.

The first paper, by Peter Diamond of MIT and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, appeared in the Journal of Economic Perspectives last August. The second, by Mr. Saez, along with Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Stefanie Stantcheva of MIT, was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research three months later. Both suggested that federal tax revenues would not decline even if the rate on the top 1% of earners were raised to 73%-83%.

Can the apex of the Laffer Curve—which shows that the revenue-maximizing tax rate is not the highest possible tax rate—really be that high?

The authors arrive at their conclusion through an unusual calculation of the "elasticity" (responsiveness) of taxable income to changes in marginal tax rates. According to a formula devised by Mr. Saez, if the elasticity is 1.0, the revenue-maximizing top tax rate would be 40% including state and Medicare taxes. That means the elasticity of taxable income (ETI) would have to be an unbelievably low 0.2 to 0.25 if the revenue-maximizing top tax rates were 73%-83% for the top 1%. The authors of both papers reach this conclusion with creative, if wholly unpersuasive, statistical arguments.

Most of the older elasticity estimates are for all taxpayers, regardless of income. Thus a recent survey of 30 studies by the Canadian Department of Finance found that "The central ETI estimate in the international empirical literature is about 0.40."

But the ETI for all taxpayers is going to be lower than for higher-income earners, simply because people with modest incomes and modest taxes are not willing or able to vary their income much in response to small tax changes. So the real question is the ETI of the top 1%.

Harvard's Raj Chetty observed in 2009 that "The empirical literature on the taxable income elasticity has generally found that elasticities are large (0.5 to 1.5) for individuals in the top percentile of the income distribution." In that same year, Treasury Department economist Bradley Heim estimated that the ETI is 1.2 for incomes above $500,000 (the top 1% today starts around $350,000).

A 2010 study by Anthony Atkinson (Oxford) and Andrew Leigh (Australian National University) about changes in tax rates on the top 1% in five Anglo-Saxon countries came up with an ETI of 1.2 to 1.6. In a 2000 book edited by University of Michigan economist Joel Slemrod ("Does Atlas Shrug?"), Robert A. Moffitt (Johns Hopkins) and Mark Wilhelm (Indiana) estimated an elasticity of 1.76 to 1.99 for gross income. And at the bottom of the range, Mr. Saez in 2004 estimated an elasticity of 0.62 for gross income for the top 1%.

A midpoint between the estimates would be an elasticity for gross income of 1.3 for the top 1%, and presumably an even higher elasticity for taxable income (since taxpayers can claim larger deductions if tax rates go up.)

But let's stick with an ETI of 1.3 for the top 1%. This implies that the revenue-maximizing top marginal rate would be 33.9% for all taxes, and below 27% for the federal income tax.

To avoid reaching that conclusion, Messrs. Diamond and Saez's 2011 paper ignores all studies of elasticity among the top 1%, and instead chooses a midpoint of 0.25 between one uniquely low estimate of 0.12 for gross income among all taxpayers (from a 2004 study by Mr. Saez and Jonathan Gruber of MIT) and the 0.40 ETI norm from 30 other studies.

That made-up estimate of 0.25 is the sole basis for the claim by Messrs. Diamond and Saez in their 2011 paper that tax rates could reach 73% without losing revenue.

The Saez-Piketty-Stantcheva paper does not confound a lowball estimate for all taxpayers with a midpoint estimate for the top 1%. On the contrary, the authors say that "the long-run total elasticity of top incomes with respect to the net-of-tax rate is large."

Nevertheless, to cut this "large" elasticity down, the authors begin by combining the U.S. with 17 other affluent economies, telling us that elasticity estimates for top incomes are lower for Europe and Japan. The resulting mélange—an 18-country "overall elasticity of around 0.5"—has zero relevance to U.S. tax policy.

Still, it is twice as large as the ETI of Messrs. Diamond and Saez, so the three authors appear compelled to further pare their 0.5 estimate down to 0.2 in order to predict a "socially optimal" top tax rate of 83%. Using "admittedly only suggestive" evidence, they assert that only 0.2 of their 0.5 ETI can be attributed to real supply-side responses to changes in tax rates.

The other three-fifths of ETI can just be ignored, according to Messrs. Saez and Piketty, and Ms. Stantcheva, because it is the result of, among other factors, easily-plugged tax loopholes resulting from lower rates on corporations and capital gains.

Plugging these so-called loopholes, they say, requires "aligning the tax rates on realized capital gains with those on ordinary income" and enacting "neutrality in the effective tax rates across organizational forms." In plain English: Tax rates on U.S. corporate profits, dividends and capital gains must also be 83%.

This raises another question: At that level, would there be any profits, capital gains or top incomes left to tax?

"The optimal top tax," the three authors also say, "actually goes to 100% if the real supply-side elasticity is very small." If anyone still imagines the proposed "socially optimal" tax rates of 73%-83% on the top 1% would raise revenues and have no effect on economic growth, what about that 100% rate?

Mr. Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and the author of "Income and Wealth" (Greenwood Press, 2006).
4776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead - The Panetta Memo on: May 08, 2012, 06:34:17 PM
Time magazine broke this without fanfare in late April; I can't find it on their site.  The Blaze is all over it.  Holder's predecessor Mukasey calls it a highly lawyered document designed to put blame back on the Navy Admiral if the mission failed: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2141038/Revealed-How-White-House-planned-shield-Obama-blaming-Navy-chief-bin-Laden-raid-went-wrong.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

The White House denies that.  Anyone here have an opinion?

http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/bin-laden-memo.jpg
http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/theticket/cia-memo-panetta.jpg

4777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead on: May 08, 2012, 05:30:32 PM
CCP: "
There is no rational logic to the concept that water boarding three people with no permanent harm is some such incredible crime against humanity yet sending robots (drones) out to assasinate alleged combatants/enemies and kill them like that is humane and ethically ok.  Don't get me wrong - I am not against either - just the illogic of one is so totallly outrageous and immoral and the other is morrally justified and within international law."..."I wonder what the outrage would be if W was still ordering all these drones ..."

This is really well put.  I'm not for torture but torture to the guy who beheaded WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl in his bare hands on camera would be to gouge out his eyeballs and chop off his limbs one by one, not sleep deprivation or water tricks.  He is fully intact and ready to be belligerent in the courtroom of his fair trial.

Also as you say, can you imagine the uproar from the left if the drone hits were still Bush's!  Those drone attacks escalated under Obama.  Assuming we are acting on good intelligence, the policy of continuing those cross border hits was a far more controversial and courageous decision (IMHO) by a peace prize winning President than authorizing a one-time, high-profile hit on Osama, which appeared to be quite a no brainer.
4778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: May 08, 2012, 02:45:09 PM
Besides the Black Hills it seems to me that the UN HQ is also on 'tribal lands'.

I hope everyone has their title insurance in place as we turn over our sovereignty to a global authority for review and distribution.
4779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re. Bin Laden dead: Did harsh interragation lead to the kill? on: May 08, 2012, 02:06:50 PM
CCP,   I agree except that I don't remember if Republicans made big on that operational failure or if people mostly just took that as having had enough with a policy of dealing with the world from a position of weakness. To me it was not that it failed, but that the failure was a symbol of our weakness. 

The alternative side (Reagan) was saying we will arm and grow in order to deal with our adversaries, including those a lot stronger than Iran, from a position of strength.
----------------------------

There are some people including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin: http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=f3271910-3fad-40a5-9d98-93450e0090aa saying we already had the courier information through other means.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Eric Holder's predecessor:  "That is a half-truth peculiarly designed to irritate anybody who knows the other half."

"Yes, the CIA knew about the name before it was disclosed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. However, that information lay unexploited because it came from an insignificant source. When it came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, after he was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, they followed it up and found that this guy was still active. They then went back to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who by then had his wits about him, and asked him again about this guy, and he said, "Oh, he's been out of it for some time." That was a lie. They knew it was a lie. And because he had lied about it, that enhanced even more the significance of the information. So the information didn't become significant until they learned about it from him and its significance was increased by the fact that he lied about it. They learned about it after enhanced interrogation techniques."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577388473896862672.html
4780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Joe Biden, the Gaffe machine on: May 08, 2012, 01:38:17 PM
They let him on Meet the Press and he calls Romney 'President Romney' http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gaffe-prone-biden-strikes-again-calls-mitt-president-romney-and-obama-president-clinton/, Obama 'President Clinton' and opens the door on gay marriage to a media circus ahead of any announced policy change.  Meanwhile, they leave him out of the highest campaign planning meetings. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/us/politics/at-sunday-meetings-team-obama-prepares-for-a-tough-fight.html?_r=2&ref=politics

This one was an innocent slip up (or two or three), but I especially like the way he slows down and repeats for emphasis his false facts as he did several times in his debate against Sarah Palin.

In January of this year he told the San Francisco 49er fans: “the Giants are on their way to the Super Bowl.”
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/01/biden-botches-49ers-rally-cry

Anybody remember FDR reassuring us on television in 1929 after the stock market crash...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hrQABAlo8g

At a 'stump' speech in 2008 Biden told wheelchair bound State Senator to stand up and be honored. 
"Stand up Chuck, We wanna see ya."  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2mzbuRgnI4

Dunkin Donuts? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM19YOqs7hU&feature=related

"The first mainstream African American who is articulate, bright and clean... that's a storybook, man."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgIFV7jXBFQ 
4781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead / Israeli Ugfandan rescue on: May 08, 2012, 11:21:18 AM
Amazing story Bigdog!  Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1ct-meb6U0

3 hostages died in crossfire, still that is how you negotiate with terrorists.

One Commando was killed, the commander of the unit, Yonathon Netanyahu.
4782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Europe: Austerity caused double dip recession, or austerity was not tried? on: May 08, 2012, 10:51:49 AM
The stalled economy of Europe is 50% government.  If larger and larger government could cause economic growth, European countries would be swimming in it.
-----------------
"Austerity? Spending has boomed in the EU over the last decade. During the 2000s, EU member nations collectively boosted government outlays by 62%. Average government spending by EU nations today stands at about 49.2% of GDP — vs. 44.8% in 2000."

"National budgets are NOT decreasing their spending, they are increasing it," the EU says, noting that in 2011, 23 of the 27 nations in the EU increased spending. This year, 24 of 27 will do so.

Did that decade-long spending increase boost GDP growth? No. During the 2000s, average annual GDP growth in the EU fell to 1.2% from 2.2% in the 1990s.

http://news.investors.com/article/610596/201205071832/european-voters-swallow-media-myth-of-budget-austerity.htm
-----
1.2% growth for a decade!?  - Or what our President might call a model for our economy going 'forward'.
4783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alan Reynolds: Rasising Tax Rates Excessively is Counterproductive on: May 08, 2012, 09:11:39 AM
Economist Alan Reynolds is always worth the read IMO, challenging politicians, and economists who ignore elasticity.  It reminds me of the arguments made to raise minimum wage a dollar. It there is no ill effect, why not raise it $20 or $50.  If 50% or 70% tax rates have no ill effect, why not go to 100%?  Those who project no revenue loss are using the wrong elasticity multiplier, Reynolds argues.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577376041258476020.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

Of Course 70% Tax Rates Are Counterproductive
Some scholars argue that top rates can be raised drastically with no loss of revenue. Their arguments are flawed.

By ALAN REYNOLDS

President Obama and others are demanding that we raise taxes on the "rich," and two recent academic papers that have gotten a lot of attention claim to show that there will be no ill effects if we do.

The first paper, by Peter Diamond of MIT and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, appeared in the Journal of Economic Perspectives last August. The second, by Mr. Saez, along with Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Stefanie Stantcheva of MIT, was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research three months later. Both suggested that federal tax revenues would not decline even if the rate on the top 1% of earners were raised to 73%-83%.

Can the apex of the Laffer Curve—which shows that the revenue-maximizing tax rate is not the highest possible tax rate—really be that high?

The authors arrive at their conclusion through an unusual calculation of the "elasticity" (responsiveness) of taxable income to changes in marginal tax rates. According to a formula devised by Mr. Saez, if the elasticity is 1.0, the revenue-maximizing top tax rate would be 40% including state and Medicare taxes. That means the elasticity of taxable income (ETI) would have to be an unbelievably low 0.2 to 0.25 if the revenue-maximizing top tax rates were 73%-83% for the top 1%. The authors of both papers reach this conclusion with creative, if wholly unpersuasive, statistical arguments.

Most of the older elasticity estimates are for all taxpayers, regardless of income. Thus a recent survey of 30 studies by the Canadian Department of Finance found that "The central ETI estimate in the international empirical literature is about 0.40."

But the ETI for all taxpayers is going to be lower than for higher-income earners, simply because people with modest incomes and modest taxes are not willing or able to vary their income much in response to small tax changes. So the real question is the ETI of the top 1%.

Harvard's Raj Chetty observed in 2009 that "The empirical literature on the taxable income elasticity has generally found that elasticities are large (0.5 to 1.5) for individuals in the top percentile of the income distribution." In that same year, Treasury Department economist Bradley Heim estimated that the ETI is 1.2 for incomes above $500,000 (the top 1% today starts around $350,000).

A 2010 study by Anthony Atkinson (Oxford) and Andrew Leigh (Australian National University) about changes in tax rates on the top 1% in five Anglo-Saxon countries came up with an ETI of 1.2 to 1.6. In a 2000 book edited by University of Michigan economist Joel Slemrod ("Does Atlas Shrug?"), Robert A. Moffitt (Johns Hopkins) and Mark Wilhelm (Indiana) estimated an elasticity of 1.76 to 1.99 for gross income. And at the bottom of the range, Mr. Saez in 2004 estimated an elasticity of 0.62 for gross income for the top 1%.

A midpoint between the estimates would be an elasticity for gross income of 1.3 for the top 1%, and presumably an even higher elasticity for taxable income (since taxpayers can claim larger deductions if tax rates go up.)

But let's stick with an ETI of 1.3 for the top 1%. This implies that the revenue-maximizing top marginal rate would be 33.9% for all taxes, and below 27% for the federal income tax.

To avoid reaching that conclusion, Messrs. Diamond and Saez's 2011 paper ignores all studies of elasticity among the top 1%, and instead chooses a midpoint of 0.25 between one uniquely low estimate of 0.12 for gross income among all taxpayers (from a 2004 study by Mr. Saez and Jonathan Gruber of MIT) and the 0.40 ETI norm from 30 other studies.

That made-up estimate of 0.25 is the sole basis for the claim by Messrs. Diamond and Saez in their 2011 paper that tax rates could reach 73% without losing revenue.

The Saez-Piketty-Stantcheva paper does not confound a lowball estimate for all taxpayers with a midpoint estimate for the top 1%. On the contrary, the authors say that "the long-run total elasticity of top incomes with respect to the net-of-tax rate is large."

Nevertheless, to cut this "large" elasticity down, the authors begin by combining the U.S. with 17 other affluent economies, telling us that elasticity estimates for top incomes are lower for Europe and Japan. The resulting mélange—an 18-country "overall elasticity of around 0.5"—has zero relevance to U.S. tax policy.

Still, it is twice as large as the ETI of Messrs. Diamond and Saez, so the three authors appear compelled to further pare their 0.5 estimate down to 0.2 in order to predict a "socially optimal" top tax rate of 83%. Using "admittedly only suggestive" evidence, they assert that only 0.2 of their 0.5 ETI can be attributed to real supply-side responses to changes in tax rates.

The other three-fifths of ETI can just be ignored, according to Messrs. Saez and Piketty, and Ms. Stantcheva, because it is the result of, among other factors, easily-plugged tax loopholes resulting from lower rates on corporations and capital gains.

Plugging these so-called loopholes, they say, requires "aligning the tax rates on realized capital gains with those on ordinary income" and enacting "neutrality in the effective tax rates across organizational forms." In plain English: Tax rates on U.S. corporate profits, dividends and capital gains must also be 83%.

This raises another question: At that level, would there be any profits, capital gains or top incomes left to tax?

"The optimal top tax," the three authors also say, "actually goes to 100% if the real supply-side elasticity is very small." If anyone still imagines the proposed "socially optimal" tax rates of 73%-83% on the top 1% would raise revenues and have no effect on economic growth, what about that 100% rate?

Mr. Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and the author of "Income and Wealth" (Greenwood Press, 2006).
4784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: May 07, 2012, 10:20:02 AM
One take is anti-incumbency,ery much like America in 2006, 2008.  I understand that people were tired of Bush and anyone like him then, and Sarchozy now.  I don't understand why that change has to be in the direction statism instead of freedom.

Just what the world needs is another leading nation to re-learn the failures of socialism.  Didn't we already have enough data on that?
4785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Corruption etc: Detroit Looted by its Elected Officials on: May 07, 2012, 10:13:47 AM
Walter Russell Mead makes a great point that this man-made disaster is right in one of America's once great cities and no one seems to care.
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/05/05/rogue-democrats-loot-detroit-as-nation-sleeps/

May 5, 2012
Rogue Democrats Loot Detroit As Nation Sleeps
Walter Russell Mead

Few readers will be surprised to learn that decades of incompetence and entrenched corruption in Detroit’s government have not only helped wreck the city; firms linked to former Democratic mayor Kwame Kilpatrick also looted the pension fund.

The latest scandal, which leaves even hardened observers of the abysmal Democratic machine that has run the city into the ground bemused, involves a real estate firm which gave the felonious mayor massages, golf outings, trips in chartered jets and other perks as this enemy of the people went about his hypocritical business of pretending to care about the poor while robbing them blind. The firm, apparently run by a sleazy low class crook named by the reprehensible Kilpatrick to be the Treasurer of what was left of Detroit’s finances, used Detroit pension funds to buy a couple of California strip malls. Title to the properties was never transferred to the pension funds, and they seem to be out $3.1 million.

Kilpatrick’s partner in slime is his ex-college frat brother Jeffrey Beasley, who is accused of taking bribes and kickbacks as he made bad investments that cost pension funds $84 million.  Overall, a Detroit Free Press investigation estimates that corrupt and incompetent trustees appointed by Democratic officials over many years in Detroit are responsible for almost half a billion dollars in investments gone wrong.

I honestly don’t know why there is so little national outrage about this despicable crew and the terrible damage they have done. The ultimate victims of the crime are Detroit’s poor and the middle class and lower middle class, mostly African-American municipal workers who may face serious financial losses in old age.

The 41 year old Kwame Kilpatrick may well be the worst and most destructive American of his generation; his two terms as Mayor of Detroit are among the most sordid and stomach churning episodes in the storied history of American municipal corruption. Now under federal indictment for, essentially, running Detroit City Hall as a criminal enterprise, Kilpatrick reportedly turned down a plea bargain that included a 15 year prison term. Insiders say that since the maximum time for the charges he faces was 18 years, the offer from the prosecutors indicates strong confidence in their case. Indicted with him was his father; it’s nice to think that father and son will have some quality time in the can.

We must all hope for mercy in this world and the next and VM doesn’t exactly wish the worst on these people, but if between the civil penalties, fines and lawsuits from those they have wronged Kilpatrick and company are picked so clean that they have to depend on their prison earnings for snack money in jail, helping them out won’t be at the top of our charitable giving list. And one thing Michigan legislators should check is whether the state has a nice harsh pension forfeiture law.

These judgments are always subjective, but it seems to me that there is not nearly enough national publicity about and outrage over the crimes of Kwame Kilpatrick. If a white or Asian Republican pol had looted fire and police pension funds, blighted the lives of a generation of minority kids and helped do more damage to a great American city than Hurricane Katrina, I don’t think this would be primarily a local news story. I would expect that the scandal would grip the nation, and there would be wall to wall national media coverage.

As there should be.

As it is, an eerie silence envelopes the subject. Outside the Michigan area, only the most dedicated news hounds and political junkies follow this story.

Three factors seem to be at work. One is quite simply financial; falling newsroom budgets in the MSM mean that it is harder for national papers and legacy networks to cover the country.

The second factor is more disturbing: there is a pervasive national sense of ennui and despair about urban areas in which African Americans are the majority. ‘We’ expect decline, decay and corruption in these places, so the Kilpatrick story strikes many editors and journalists as just another ‘dog bites man’ story: not news. Cory Booker is news; Kwame Kilpatrick isn’t.

That ennui and despair intensify when the subject is Detroit. Frankly, while the genteel world hates the thought of being racist, in reality there is a widespread belief in even the most liberal and well educated portions of the white upper middle class that nothing much better can happen in Detroit. I don’t believe that, and this is one of the reasons the city’s decline makes me angry as well as sad. Lax law enforcement and oversight from federal and state authorities allowed a climate of unrestrained corruption to grow up in Detroit over many years.

Putting a lot more people in jail much earlier in their careers, and instilling a healthy fear of the law in Detroit’s political class would have slowed the decline at least, and might well have created openings for better politicians to emerge. The failure of Detroit’s political class must also be seen as a dramatic failure of national and state law enforcement. The horses had been out of this stable for a long time before the authorities showed up with padlocks in hand. One hopes that the Department of Justice will move aggressively to target big city machines for investigation before more Detroits pop up. Similarly, state governors might want to suggest to their attorneys general that corruption bears watching. Michigan taxpayers are going to be stuck with huge bills as the state struggles to cope with the consequences of misrule in Detroit; smart governors might not want to wait until their cities collapse.

Finally, there is a disconnect between important local news and our national news culture today. The New York Times does a lousy job covering New York city and New York State; in the rarefied world of Times readers, local news is dull. Many of our national news editors and writers see themselves as cosmopolitan citizens of the world, interested in much more exciting and important things than the grubby realities of local and municipal life.

In this, the journalists faithfully reflect the thinking of many members of the genteel upper middle class; it is a kind of weird Platonic vision of reality in which the ‘lower’, grubby levels of politics and national life count for less than the ‘higher’, ‘nobler’ levels. Call it the gentrification of news; before Ivy Leaguers filled the newsrooms, American papers focused on the nuts and bolts of life. Now, they are much too highfalutin and hoity-toity for crime and city hall reporters to be the cocks of the walk.

Thus, even as interest in and reporting on the economic and social meltdown of so many once prosperous American cities and states ebbs, the ‘aristocracy’ of the press corps intensifies its endless and endlessly overdone coverage of the national election cycle. Very little that is said or done in either the Romney or Obama campaigns right now has much to do with what voters will be thinking about and voting on six months from now. But that doesn’t stop the legacy press from obsessing about it while ignoring far more consequential developments taking place on every side.

Detroit doesn’t matter all that much to the New York Times and many of its readers for the same reasons that Albany, Queens, Buffalo and Schenectady don’t matter. The new American elite wants to live and think as if it has transcended all that dreary provincial mess and lives on high in a world of Big Ideas and Global Issues. Mrs. Jellyby is much more interested in visionary programs to uplift the inhabitants of Borrio-Boola-Gha than on making sure her own children are well dressed and well cared for.

(At the American Interest we are trying to change this pattern. Go here to read a review of some recent books on Detroit by John G. Rodwan that appears in our May/June print issue.)

There is something profoundly wrong with an American political culture that accepts chronic misgovernment in major cities as OK. It is not OK; the people who do these things may call themselves liberal Democrats and wear the mantle of defenders of the poor, but over and over their actions place them among the most cold blooded enemies and oppressors of the weak.

American cities have been festering pits of graft and bad governance since at least the early 19th century, but there is a difference between the “honest graft” of Tammany Hall and the nihilistic destruction practiced by some of today’s urban machines. Today’s situation, in which some city machines are so dysfunctional that the parasite is literally killing the host (and not just in Detroit), is new and, again, the most vulnerable in our society suffer the worst consequences. Minority children are the greatest ultimate victims of this loathsome corruption: they attend horrible schools and grow up in decaying, unsafe urban landscapes where there is no growth, no jobs and no opportunity for the young.

How is it anything but racist not to care about that — and not to burn with the desire to put the scabrous thugs who misgovern our cities and waste our social funds in prison where they belong?

(Mead is a Democrat who voted for Obama.)
4786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Marco Rubio on: May 07, 2012, 08:41:49 AM
Ditto, thanks Bigdog. I was thinking of the numbers constraint, hearing 70 cases out of 10,000, but also that this might not be the 'right' case in the sense of emergency actions versus how long a case would take in the Court.
------------------
Marco Rubio interviewed by Chris Wallace, always worth a listen IMO.  Put him on the ticket and you would have a 16 year plan for prosperity.  It struck me that a son of Cuban immigrants will be a quick study on the oppressors in China. 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/05/06/rubio_obama_a_typical_washington_politician_that_is_very_sad_to_watch.html
4787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Without the first-person pronouns, the man would fall silent. on: May 06, 2012, 09:03:41 PM
George Will nails it, asked and answered in 50 seconds.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/05/06/will_without_first-person_pronouns_obama_would_fall_silent.html

“If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually,” Will said. “Because he was been so incontinent for the last three years that you wind up with, as you said, [an] Ohio State University with empty seats.”
4788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The phoniest women's right issue on the planet; Jane Roe recants on: May 06, 2012, 05:49:25 PM
"nor should they [women who have had abortions] think any less of themselves."  You write so freely and confidently about what you know nothing.  You oughtta ask JANE ROE about her decision before driveling about who ought not feel what and who doesn't need accurate information to make life and death decisions.  http://www.dailycampus.com/2.7440/once-a-champion-of-pro-choice-jane-roe-speaks-on-change-of-heart-1.1054507#.T6b7OtmIhdg (text below)

Yes I do in fact openly question and oppose MANY supreme court decisions.  You OTOH often say or imply that because it was ruled, that is that. Settled law.  Good that we are back to questioning, not acting like sheep.  Texas drew up its law within the guidelines set up by the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  If you know otherwise, please cite.    

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/health/policy/texas-court-allows-sonogram-law-to-be-enforced.html
Chief Judge Edith H. Jones used her opinion to systematically dismantle the argument that the law infringes on the free speech rights of doctors and patients, the key argument against the law. “The required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information,” Judge Jones wrote.

"Doonesbury said it better."  - No.  Doonesbury said straw.  They oppose their own caricature of the law, right out of hating Sarah Palin for what Tina Fey said.  Now you have introduced shame into the discussion when the law was about making sure it is informed decision on such a grave matter.  That is good straw, but the Chief Judge of the 5th Circuit said it better.  It's "settled law" now.

You see no shame because you see no life there or think they don't see it.  Or hear it.  What other settled science do you deny?

Do you oppose the Obama rule, killing it out of the womb as long as you intended to kill it in the womb?

Why do proponents say "safe, legal and RARE? Why do they say 'I am personally opposed' but politically in favor of abortion rights?  If there is no life, no killing, what is there to personally oppose?  You don't even admit it should be rare or any personal qualms about it.  That puts you WAY out in the extreme.

What about the Mac plan accepting both women's rights AND life.  Allow her to have it removed but not allow her to kill it.  It's not her baby if it's not a baby.  Maybe someone else wants it.

No qualms even about killing black babies in America at 3 times the rate of white babies?  No objections to the killings in Asia, not just China, for gender selection purposes?  That is not Roe v. Wade, settled law, that is purely a matter of right vs. wrong and you say right.  Unbelievable.

How about killing it for up to 9 months from conception even if born.  

Which is more human, an 8.9 month baby in a womb killed legally or a 24 week born preemie that survives?

If you are GOD maybe you know the answer to that?

How do you feel about the choice your own mom made?  If not your life, how about hers, that she was allowed to live.  Not a shred of a feeling about that?  Good grief.

As stated previously, if you can't accept reason and you won't accept science and we have no principles whatsoever in common, not even a base level, God fearing, even atheist level of respect for human life, why would we hope to find any common ground on any policy or candidate?
------------------------------

http://www.dailycampus.com/2.7440/once-a-champion-of-pro-choice-jane-roe-speaks-on-change-of-heart-1.1054507#.T6b7OtmIhdg

Once A Champion Of Pro-Choice, 'Jane Roe' Speaks On Change Of Heart

By Diane Dauplaise

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 16:01

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4-3 Roe by Erik.jpg

Norma McCorvey speaks in front of a packed house Wednesday at the Student Union Theatre.

In 1973 Norma McCorvey - better known as "Jane Roe" from Roe vs. Wade" - won the landmark case that legalized abortion in the United States. Wednesday night in the Student Union theatre, she spoke out on why she now feels that decision was a mistake. Brought to UConn to speak about her experiences by the UConn Pro-Life club, McCorvey, who had spent most of her life working in abortion clinics and championing a woman's right to choose, was clear that she felt she had made a mistake and was now a changed woman. She was heard by an audience that included students, community members and clergy members.

McCorvey took to the podium a bit uneasily but she warmed up the audience with her subtle dry wit, reminding them at times, "Its' ok to laugh."

Her story began the day an anti-abortion group called "The Rescuers" moved into the space next door to the fourth and final abortion clinic she worked at. She recounted traumatic tales from the clinic including trifles with the abortionist, nearly full-term women and girls as young as 14 seeking abortions.

McCorvey said that her mind was changed by one particular client who came in. The woman was nearly full-term and seeking an abortion when McCorvey questioned her as to why it had taken her so long to come to this decision. The woman replied that she was pregnant with a girl and had decided that she wanted a boy instead. McCorvey said that two weeks after the procedure, "I could feel she had some kind of torment, but I didn't know what it was called."

Missy Pfohl, a 7th-semester animal science major, said that "her personal accounts of working in the abortion clinic" was the most moving part of her the speech.

Going forward from those stories, McCorvey began to talk about her radical change of heart, which came with her beginning to consort with the anti-abortion group next door. She said she was moved by how open and content they always seemed and told a particular story of how one of the anti-abortion worker's daughters would come and watch "Jeopardy!" with her at the front desk of the abortion clinic. She then began attending church with that particular family and said that her heart was truly changed by scripture.

When discussing her conversion, she also made a reference to her years of alcohol and narcotic abuse as well as various suicide attempts that she said was a reaction to the "horrors" she witnessed in the abortion clinics, calling them "grim places." Also much of her emotional plight, she said came from the guilt of being "Jane Roe."

"It wasn't any fun being Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade," she said. "I've been shot at and threatened."

She said she was misled by her lawyers and did not know that her involvement in the case would result in a national law legalizing abortion.

"I'm glad she came," said Lauren Colello an 8th-semester molecular and cellular biology major. "She showed that it's important to keep questioning yourself and to be humble."
4789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Big tents are for circuses on: May 06, 2012, 03:27:33 PM
Inclusiveness for a political party is to include people who mostly share your principles and values.  The former Gov has it backwards.  Republicans and conservatives generously included him as electable in the 'big tent' theme.  He got elected and he spit on them.  What governing principles does Arnold Schwarzenegger share with American conservatives?  He has a record now.  

What a sick and perverted political joke it is to imply that anything to the right of his unprincipled, big government failure is ideological purity.  His record makes the case for the empty book I call: The core, uncompromising principles of moderates.

The party included Bob Dole the tax hiker, the compassionate conservative guy who created a new entitlement while failing to reform any old ones.  Republicans went along with a Ted Kennedy Education bill in a reachout, with CRAp out of fairness and with TARP in a manmade crisis.  Now we picked Romney, and liberals like AS want us to turn further leftward. People like Arlen Specter made that same argument.  How's he doing?

Arnold, there already is a party to our left.  Join them.  And tell them to turn further rightward, to be inclusive and to stop being such ideologues.

Republicans should have a trademark and take back the 'R' when people like Nixon and Schwarzenegger govern like they did.
4790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - Unregulated medicine? on: May 06, 2012, 02:53:24 PM
Are you saying there should be no regulations about doctors informing patients before a procedure or just not on this one- because killing a human heartbeat is shameful?  I kind of like it your way, no government regulations whatsoever on doctors and medicine.  We are all big kids now.  We can do our own due diligence?

Wouldn't a woman with a conscience want to know forever that she got the fetus in early pregnancy removed before it had a heartbeat - verfied by sonagram?

Why would a woman without a conscience, like the one Doonesbury demeans, give a rat's ass if it had a heartbeat or not.  If you have no conscience, no respect whatsoever for unborn life, there is no shame.

Does the 24 waiting period for the clinic procedure drive her instead to stabbing it in the back alley with the coat hanger?  (The Court ruled that it does not.) That, you might recall, was a main objection of Rachel's to prohibiting abortion.  They will abort, legal or not.  Responsibility can not be taught or learned. (?)

Funny that when you agree with the court like legalized abortion, it is right because 'the Court ruled on it', but these reasonable restrictions on abortions were upheld by the same court.  Yet you object and call it GOP (We The People) inflicting shame (sharing medical information).  

With logic one might think that being fully informed would help to prevent the shame after the fact that so many experience.  What do you think of THAT for a women's right, a law requiring women to be fully informed before killing their young.  Ooops, you already answered it.  You oppose it and show no deference for a ruling already made by the highest Court in the land on the matter, not the Texas GOP, the U.S Supreme Court.
----
As an aside, the Democrat party controlled Texas for a hundred years up through the mid 1990s. The GOP doesn't control Texas or write the laws, the people do.  Dems lost control, FYI, because the national party went nuts on issues like this one.
4791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 05, 2012, 05:50:50 PM
Perfect if straw is your only argument. We have a humor thread if you think that's funny.

Why wouldn't you want to hear it's heart beat before you kill it?
4792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Parenting Issues, Jon Will on: May 05, 2012, 03:01:47 PM
A couple of follow up thoughts on the beautiful George Will story about his son.  He closes by saying his son will enjoy his birthday at his favorite activity, a baseball game.  Later I recalled what a baseball enthusiast and Red Sox fan the father is.  There is quite a joy in finding that your offspring end up loving some of the same things in life that you do.  Personally I'm grateful my daughter loves the same sports that I do.  No idea how that happened.  Her favorite orchestral piece that they performed this spring is perhaps a favorite of 3 generations before her.
4793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 05, 2012, 03:00:08 PM
The same George Will piece above ran in our local paper and I noticed a letter to the editor later in follow up said that his joy and pride should not mean that the other 90% should be judged in the decisions they made to kill off these imperfect, innocent family members developing in the womb upon learning of their defects.  My view: Yes, you will be judged for that.
------------
In other news, some states require in the abortion process a viewing of the ultrasound and a listening to the heart beat and a lady is donating iPods to the clinics to make that 'listening' less informing.
http://www.lifenews.com/2012/05/03/abortion-backers-give-women-ipods-to-drown-out-ultrasound/
4794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues in Constitutional Law: General Motors bailout on: May 05, 2012, 02:39:01 PM
Taking some discussion from the Presidential 2012 thread over to here. 

Asked: "The authority to make such a move [selective privater company bailouts and investments] is contained in Article ___ of the constitution?"

Court citations?
------------
Other bailouts were going on at that time like AIG, Bear Stearns.  I recall a congressional committee questioning the Treasury Secretary and Fed Chair (video link below) about where they derived that authority [to bail out non-financial institutions].  Which provision in the constitution gives authority to the Treasury for the extraordinary actions taken?  Geithner literally could not grasp the question much less the answer, kept answering that congress had authorized it.  Bernancke pointed to congressional right to authorize funds as they did in TARP to the 1930s legislation for emergency lending in financial crisis.  Could not point to a constitutional limit on that authority. "The actions we've taken have been solely and entirely in the interest of protecting the American economy from financial collapse."  A brokerage here, an insurance company there.  General Motors not mentioned.  Ends justify means.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSWztq4yc_U  Interesting question and non-answers, that's all.

If congress has the power to authorize funds, is there no limit on how it is spent?

The equal protection clause limits the powers of States: 'No State shall... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' 

Is there an unenumerated right to equal treatment from the federal government or where does the constitution limit the federal government from picking winners and losers in the private economy, to pick a better connected competitor and give them competitive advantage over you to survive and to prosper.  No limits?

Perhaps it comes back to powers that were never granted to congress or the executive in the first place.  Did the power to regulate interstate commerce in our founding mean the power to alter the playing field in favor of certain players, at the disadvantage of others in private commerce including private commercial, legal contracts, such as the position of the secured bondholders of General Motors?

Did "promote the general Welfare" and "those things of a general welfare that they could not provide themselves" mean no limits?  Bernancke referred to a "practical limit", his power to manage monetary policy, including fabrication of money into the multiples of trillions.  Congress likewise. Not even limited by whjat they can agree to tax.  No other limits?  Really??

JDN wrote about the GM bailout: "A few suffered in exchange for the greater good.  Hundreds of thousands of jobs were saved especially if you look downstream at suppliers, etc."

I disagree with the result, but let's say he is right about the ends, where was the power to do that authorized in the constitution?
4795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: General Motors should have gone through reorganization on: May 04, 2012, 11:24:57 PM
Yes.  In bankruptcy the last thing they do is close the cash register.  The immediate change is that the bankruptcy judge becomes the de facto CEO and CFO deciding what bills get paid in what amounts. They reorganize, not close the town.  They don't come in and put boots on all the tires or shut down all operations.

They might let people go at the top and at the bottom, but jobs are mostly secure at the level where the work gets done.  Products or plants that have no hope of ever paying their own way get dropped, but under what alternative would that not be so.

GM was mainly a healthcare company that also made and sold some cars. http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/11/crippling-burden-of-legacy-costs-gm-is.html

Obama took charge, injected taxpayer money selectively into the industry, meaning unequal treatment under the law, bypassed bankruptcy code and procedure, installed his own management and rearranged the ownership and debt hierarchy according to political expedience instead.

The authority to make such a move is contained in Article ___ of the constitution.

Now they call it the model for what they can do for the rest of the economy in a second term.
4796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Bahr-ruck on: May 04, 2012, 01:32:26 PM
"I adopted a more formal, mature name at 19.  I have a friend who changed names at 30. "

Guessing you started using the more formal name you already had (?) and you knew how to pronounce it?  Did you add or subtract a trill to the r's and change the syllable with the accent?  If so, I wasn't trying to offend, just trying to get to know a guy who invites us to read two autobiographies about his past personal life.

When naming my daughter, your thought crossed my mind, what name sounds good for a little girl and what version of her name will she want as a business professional or as President.  I have tried not to call certain relatives by the -y or -ie version of their first name in front of their colleagues, assuming they prefer the more professional version as surgeons.

I get the part where he went from Barry to Barack and dropped the last name of a step father period of his life gone by.  Maybe the confusion over pronunciation was due to the absence of his father but his mother knew his father and no doubt used his long name a time or two.
----------------------
" (From the book):   She called him Bahr-ruck, with the accent on the first syllable, and a trill of the r’s. Not Bear-ick, as the Anglophile Kenyans pronounced it, and not Buh-rock, as he would later be called"
4797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 04, 2012, 12:40:36 PM
"My daughter told me this morning that she hopes we will be able to stay in CA."

There are other beaches and plenty of places to keep horses, but it is very hard to pack up and move kids away from their friends depending on their age and other factors.
4798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 04, 2012, 12:34:17 PM
I know 2008 is the starting point for all the analysts, but this year has no similarity.

Mitt Romney needs to defeat Barack Obama in the national election.  On issues, competence and direction, he needs to do that by more than a sliver of a point.  If he does, he will win Florida and Ohio.  Indiana by double digits and win North Carolina easily.  The latest Virginia poll shows Obama leading but also shows him running better with independents than he carried them in 2008.  That is not likely in Nov.  Twice as many say we are on the wrong track.  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/whats-up-in-virginia.php

In the scenario in the piece, they say Romney would have to switch those 5 AND get one more.  But if he switches those 5 states, he most certainly will carry New Hampshire and win. Also possible are Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

In a squeaker, who knows, but if Romney wins nationwide by a couple of points or more, the electoral victory will be convincing.  My scenario has him beating Obama by a nearly 2:1 margin in the electoral college.  That is more likely than Obama all the he did in 2008.

4799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, workforce % worst in 30 years on: May 04, 2012, 10:49:50 AM
In April, the percentage of adults working or looking for work fell to the lowest level in more than 30 years.
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/04/152007639/unemployment-dips-to-8-1-percent-fewer-jobs-added

Number of people on food stamps has doubled.  And they were only trying to attack the rich.

Milbank and Maddow called Romney a liar for how he characterized this recovery.  Watching and waiting for a retraction and apology.

End this nightmare.
4800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President's early years: Barry, Bahr-ruck with a trill of R's, before Buh-rock on: May 04, 2012, 10:40:23 AM
Stranger than dating a composite girlfriend and writing about a life changing racial incident that never happened is that at 22, he didn't know his name:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/barrys-imaginary-girlfriend.php
John Hinderacker: 

It was striking to me that when Genevieve met Obama he was a 22-year-old college graduate, but hadn’t yet figured out what his name was. In high school, he had generally been called “Barry,” but by this time he apparently was looking for something more formal:

 (From the book):   She called him Bahr-ruck, with the accent on the first syllable, and a trill of the r’s. Not Bear-ick, as the Anglophile Kenyans pronounced it, and not Buh-rock, as he would later be called, but Bahr-ruck. She said that is how he pronounced it himself, at least when talking to her.

JH: I find that very odd. Think how fundamental a part of you your name is: when you were in elementary school, did you have any doubt about what to call yourself? At 22, Obama was still trying out names.
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